Often called ''The Jewel of the East Coast,'' this city has a lot to offer for a packed cultural weekend or a relaxed holiday exploring ancient Buddhist caves and excavation sites. Beyond the beautiful beaches and spicy Andhra cuisine, take a peek into the country's maritime history and a vibrant festival season that runs from November to February. The city is also called Vizag.
How to reach Visakhapatnam
Getting around/local transport in Visakhapatnam: Auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws are popular options for transportation. There are buses by APSRTC that runs throughout the city along with app-based taxi services.
Dharani is a vegetarian restaurant that serves up delectable south Indian and Andhra style thalis that are wholesome and good value. Dakshin offers a range of southern India non-vegetarian delicacies, of which the Andhra-style mutton and fish dishes, are not to be missed.
Located on the top floor of the hotel, Zaffran is perfect for a fine-dining experience, serving excellent north Indian cuisine with lovely views of the Bay to round out the dining experience.
If you need a break from India food, head to this small and cosy eatery, with its super thin crust pizzas, great kinds of pasta and authentic Italian flavours. Come early if you don't want to wait.
This open-air seaside restaurant serves up Indian fare including Andhra and Chettinad options, and is perfect if you are dining to impress.
If you are looking for authentic Andhra fare without the fuss, then head to the Sea Inn, more popularly known as Raju ka Dhaba, after the owner. His wife cooks homestyle spicy Andhra delicacies. The food is cheap and services quick. Ask for the mutton biryani and local prawn fry.
The Park, Beach Road One of the most famous hotels in Visakhapatnam, The Park is beautiful and elegant, with one of the best locations in the city. Lovely green lawns are overlooking the bay, a swimming pool and great restaurants including the beachfront Bamboo Bay and the ultra-posh Vista.
Novotel Varun Beach, Beach Road Location. Location. Location. Bang in the middle of RK Beach, the newer Novotel gives stiff competition to the Park Hotel as Visakhapatnam’s best. The terraced poolside venue with sizeable lazy lounge chairs and live music most nights is perfect for sunsets. The service is, and the coffee shop serves excellent international fare at not too exorbitant prices.
Haritha Beach Resort, Rushikonda Run by Andhra Tourism (APTDC), rooms here are simple but large and comfortable with the higher-end rooms boasting balconies with beautiful sea views. An excellent mid-range option, the Hairtha is located just above Rushikonda beach, which is its prime selling point.
Hotel Daspalla, Suryabagh One of the oldest hotels in the city, Hotel Daspalla is located in the heart of town and is a favourite with tourists from around the state. The rooms are comfortable, and the guard at the gate is a storehouse of information. The hotel is home to some of the best food in town, including their special filter coffee, a modern spin on the south Indian classic.
Hotel Supreme, Beach Road This is one of the best budget hotels in Vishakhaptnam is located on the opposite end of Beach Road from The Park. It has modern and spacious rooms, some of which have sea views. The breakfast buffet is basic but good, the shipyard is walking distance, and it’s an excellent option for a beachfront stay without breaking the bank.
If you are in the mood for tranquillity, one of the best things to do in Vizag is to head down to Araku Valley as a guest of the India Railways, taking Andhra's best train ride through the beautiful lush forests of the Eastern Ghats. The area is home to tribal communities and is known for its organic coffee. Hop into the excellent Museum of Habitat to understand a little more about the tribal population of Andhra Pradesh. If you are there on a Friday, don't miss the weekly market, where locals and tribals come to buy and sell. And if adventure is what you are in the mood for, then head to the famous Borra Caves, 40 km before Araku Valley. The million-year-old limestone caves are some of the biggest in India, complete with spectacular views, waterfalls and include a crawl through an 80ft tunnel. Stay at the Jungle Bells Eco Camp run by the APTDC and get back into nature.
Once you've had your fill of the beach, cable car it up to one of the best tourist places in Vishakhapatnam, Kailasagiri Hill. This hill is a must-visit for fantastic sunset views, some of the best things to see in Visakhapatnam. The park on the mountain has a play area for kids, a toy train, a sculpture park and walking paths.
The famous Simhachalam Temple, located on the city's outskirts, is dedicated to Lord Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The central shrine was built in Kalinga architectural style and bears influence from the Odishan form of temples. Large but orderly, the temple is worth a visit, especially for the carvings and stone panels. Don'tDon't miss the sculpture of Lord Narasimha disembowelling a demon on the rear wall.
Full of history, the coast of Andhra Pradesh has an exciting mix of Buddhist, Dutch and Hindu monuments and heritage sites. The oldest is the Buddhist Complex of Bavikonda and Thotlakonda, north of the city, which monks inhabited from 3BC to around 3AD, and is a well laid out excavation site. Head further north to explore the old Dutch settlement at Bheemli Beach, of which the old Dutch cemetery remains intact, with beautiful looking tombstones and a lighthouse from 1861. The beach itself is fascinating, with statues of mermaids and goddesses and an oversized head of the Buddha strewn across the sand.
The other beautiful ancient Buddhist sites lies 40km south of the city. Monks used Bojjannakonda and Lingalakonda from the 2nd to the 9th century AD, and they are made up of rock-cut caves, stupas, ruins of monastery structures and remains of statues of the Buddha. Climb to the top of the caves to get some fantastic views of the surrounding countryside and checkered rice fields.
Celebrated for over two days to promote and propagate the ethnic culture of Visakhapatnam and the traditional Carnatic music, the music festival brings several artists and performers on one stage