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This article is a Shimla travel guide that also contains a Shimla itinerary for one day.
Shimla is a picturesque and popular hill station located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Since it's located in close proximity to major cities in Himachal, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, a lot of people come here to take a break from the city life. Even though a majority of people visit Shimla in the Summer season to cool off in the queen of hill stations, Shimla is a wonderful place to visit in any season.
You'll find quite a few things to do in Shimla like local Shimla sightseeing, shopping at Mall Road and eating at nice cafes with unbelievable views. However, the major joy lies in sitting back and enjoying the views of the mountains. With this in mind, this post is a Shimla travel guide that contains all the major information you need for planning a trip to Shimla and figuring out the things to do in Shimla city. Additionally, it also contains a Shimla itinerary for one day.
Shimla Travel Guide & Itinerary
Because Shimla is one of the most popular hill stations in India, it's always filled with tourists and locals who want to cool off and witness the magic of the mountains. If you too are planning a visit to Shimla then you'll find this Shimla travel guide extremely helpful. I've also included a Shimla itinerary for one day inside this guide.
Shimla Weather and Best Time to Visit Shimla
People prefer to visit Shimla during the Summer season in May-June, to get a relief from the scorching heat but Shimla is also a popular tourist destination in the other seasons as well.
If you want to experience snow and to see the slow life in Shimla, sip hot chai inside a cafe while overlooking mountains laden with snow from a window then you should visit Shimla in the peak winter months of December and January.
Additionally, September, October, March and April are the shoulder months when there aren't too many tourists and the weather is pleasant. For me, personally, this is the best time to visit Shimla.
How to Reach Shimla
Shimla, being a popular sightseeing destination can be reached in numerous ways from nearby cities nad towns. Shimla is connected to all major nearby cities by road, train and flight. Take a look at the various ways of reaching Shimla.
How to Reach Shimla by Bus
Travelling to Shimla by bus is a popular option that most people tend to choose. There are frequent buses to Shimla from all major cities within and outside of Himachal. From Delhi, you'll find a range of buses such as ordinary, semi-sleeper, Volvo etc based on your level of comfort. Similarly, there are regular buses from Chandigarh, Manali etc to Shimla.
How to Reach Shimla by Train
One of the best, most pleasing ways to reach Shimla would be to take the toy train from Kalpa to Shimla. The scenic journey will take you through rolling hills, tunnels and stunning landscapes. If I could change one thing about my Shimla trip, I would've travelled by train instead of the bus.
How to Reach Shimla by Flight
The nearest airport to Shimla is at Jubbarhatti, located 22 km away from Shimla city. You'll find inexpensive direct flights from Delhi to Shimla quite easily.
Delhi to Shimla by Car
One of the best options to reach Shimla is to go from Delhi to Shimla by car. The drive is not too long. In fact, the distance of 342 km from Delhi to Shimla can be covered within 7 hours. This route is extremely scenic and it will be a great road trip to take with either family or with friends.
Where to Stay in Shimla
If you're looking for a short stay in Shimla to travel further towards Kinnaur and Spiti, it's best to find a hotel near the ISBT Tutikandi bus stand. I stayed at Star A-One Homestay which was located right at the bus stand.
However, if you're travelling to Shimla for more than just a day for sightseeing in Shimla then find a hotel near Mall Road, which will be the central location for visiting all the Shimla attractions. You can very easily find hotels starting from the INR 500 rupee range.
Places to Visit in Shimla in One Day - A Shimla Itinerary
Shimla is one of the most popular hill stations in India. Its close proximity to Delhi makes it a favorable summer destination for city dwellers. There aren't a whole lot of things to do in Shimla. Since it has a lot of natural beauty, Shimla is a place to relax, unwind and disconnect from the city life. There are just a handful of Shimla sightseeing places. Take a look at them and the various other things to do in Shimla in this Shimla itinerary for one day.
1. City Point
City point is exactly what it sounds like - a point in the city. I had presumed it might be called so because it would be a point where you get a view of the city. But it turns out it's a location from where one end of the mall road stretch begins. You can start your Shimla itinerary tour from here.
2. Town Hall
If you're an architecture buff like me, you'll fall in love with the Town Hall in Shimla. This beautiful building has been constructed in the Tudor style of architecture which originated in the 1500's under King Henry VIII in England. One could spend hours admiring the make of this building. Luckily for me, I found a cafe with windows overlooking the Town Hall. But more on that later.
3. The Ridge
The Ridge is the upper section of the mall road from where you get to see incredible views of the Shimla city, Christ Church and the city square area. The mall road opens up to a wide area where you'll find lots of people walking around, college kids hanging out, parents buying treats for their kids from the street vendors and lots of activity. This area looks particularly delightful on a snowy or a rainy day.
4. Christ Church
The Christ Church in Shimla is located right next to the ridge. This church is the backdrop of the open square area. You'll identify this church in many Bollywood movies that are shot in Shimla. One of the more popular ones being 3 Idiots movie where two scenes were filmed in front of Christ church as well as at the ridge.
Where to Eat - The Best Cafes in Shimla
As I had mentioned earlier, I came across a cafe that was situated directly across the Town Hall. It was a charming little place with large windows to enjoy the outside view. The name of this place is Wake and Bake cafe. When I visited the cafe, there were two guys there practising their music on the guitar. With a little drizzle outside and the melodious music next to me, I can say it felt like I was sitting in the best cafe in Shimla. What a beautiful afternoon that was! Other than Wake and Bake, Cafe Shimla Times is a popular cafe, especially famous for its view of Shimla city.
Unmissable Things to do in Shimla: Shopping at Mall Road
You can't leave Shimla without doing a little (or lots of) shopping at Mall Road. This stretch of road is lined with the latest stores as well as small locally owned businesses. Moreover, you'll find lots of cafes and eating joints as well so you never go hungry! The area near Town Hall has branded stores whereas the stretch near City Point has local stores. Shopping at Mall Road is one of the unmissable things to do in Shimla that can't be excluded from any Shimla travel guide or Shimla itinerary.
What to Wear in Shimla
No matter when you visit Shimla, always be prepared for a little cold. I did my Shimla sightseeing in the month of September when there were still light drizzles and it got especially cold in the mornings and evenings. If you're visiting Shimla in the rainy months, carry a raincoat or umbrella. Whereas if you're taking a trip to Shimla in the winter months from November to March, carry sweaters and expect snow in the peak winter months. Carry thermals accordingly. In the summer, you'll need a light shrug for the evenings but the afternoons will be pleasant.
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