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How to Spend 1 Day in Kolkata

How to Spend 1 Day in Kolkata

Flanking the River Hooghly in West Bengal, Kolkata is India’s 2nd-biggest city and pulsates with energy and color against a backdrop of British colonial architecture, teeming streets, and pockets of extreme poverty. Unpeeling all these layers could take weeks, but here’s how to get the most out of this extraordinary city in just one day.

Morning: Explore the Sights

Known as Calcutta during its time as India’s British imperial capital (1773 to 1911), Kolkata has a rich heritage that’s now intertwined with its reputation as the nation’s intellectual and cultural capital. Use the morning to get acquainted with its key colonial landmarks, such as the Governor’s House, Victoria Memorial, and the churches and museums that stand as testament to its period of British rule. Alternatively, widen your lens with a tour that also takes in the city’s contemporary sights, such as the chaotic New Market bazaar, the flower market, and Howrah Station—India’s busiest railway station.

Afternoon: See Kolkata Closer Up

While poverty is a feature of Kolkata, the city is also known as the City of Joy for the indomitable spirit of its residents. This afternoon, look beyond the sights to experience the slums where an estimated third of the population lives. Opt for a guided tour to discover the hardships of its inhabitants and see how they strive to overcome their conditions with small-scale industries and strong communities. Alternatively, touch on the life story of Mother Teresa—the Catholic nun who cared for Kolkata’s destitute—by visiting Mother House, to see the continuing work of her Missionaries of Charity and visit her tomb.

Night: Take in a Cruise and Cuisine

After a busy day, slow the pace with a sunset cruise along the River Hooghly. Float by silhouetted temples, colonial-era buildings, and crowded ghats—stairways descending to the river—and admire the illuminated Howrah Bridge and skyline as you enjoy onboard tea and refreshments. Or spend the evening discovering Kolkata’s culinary repertoire. Sample popular local snacks on a street food tour, or seize the chance to meet and eat with a local by visiting a Kolkatan’s private home to observe them cooking, learn about their lives, and share a classic Bengali dinner.

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4 Tours and Activities | All Kolkata Tours

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Evening Excursion: Sailing towards the Goddess Through Sunset River Cruise

Evening Excursion: Sailing towards the Goddess Through Sunset River Cruise

star-4
Take a chilled-out evening cruise along the Hooghly River at sunset and enjoy seeing the city of Kolkata from a different angle. This ticket saves you the time and hassle of lining up to buy a ferry ticket. Kolkata is a big, busy city; leave all that behind as you cruise down the river, spotting the silhouettes of temples and grand colonial-era buildings along its banks. Receive a welcome drink and evening snacks, too.
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  • 3 hours
From
$48.63
Price varies by group size
From
$48.63
Price varies by group size

British Raj Walk in Kolkata

British Raj Walk in Kolkata

star-5
Kolkata is filled with buildings that reflect its time as the British Raj’s capital during the 18th and 19th centuries. On this walking tour, view the sights as you retrace the history of the British in the city. See the Governor’s House, Victoria Memorial, and more; and hear stories about the Raj and India’s independence struggle you might miss otherwise. If you wish, upgrade to include hotel pickup and drop-off.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$71.80
Price varies by group size
From
$71.80
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Slum Tour: A Different Side To The 'City Of Joy'

Slum Tour: A Different Side To The 'City Of Joy'

Looking beyond Kolkata’s tourist sights into its slum areas is best done with a guide to provide background and ensure you don't get lost. This shared walking tour steps up: with a guide to lead you around one of these districts. See how the inhabitants live, discover their hardships in ensuring life’s necessities, and leave with a better understanding of Kolkata’s slum communities than you might if on your own.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$69.99
Price varies by group size
From
$69.99
Price varies by group size

Heritage Walking Tour of Kolkata

Heritage Walking Tour of Kolkata

star-5
Learn about Kolkata's rich heritage on this walking tour of the East Indian city. You'll explore the streets with a guide, checking out some of the city's most beautiful colonial-era buildings as you hear all about its history. You'll also get to take a ferry ride across the River Hooghly, great for taking photos of the city's bridges.
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  • 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$69.99
Price varies by group size
From
$69.99
Price varies by group size