Hyderabad is a beautiful demonstration of the modern and traditional living side-by-side in sweet harmony; this Hyderabad Tourism Guide will take you through all you need to know for a trip to the city.
Hyderabad is the capital of Telangana, also known as the Pearl City of India owing to its reputation of once being the hub the diamond and pearl trading in India. It is the location of the mines that have produced some of the world’s most amazing diamonds, including the Nassak Diamond, Koh-i-Noor and the famously cursed Hope Diamond. Its reputation has developed since then and it is now known as one of the most important Information Technology hubs in India; HITEC City or Cyderabad is Hyderabad’s centre of modernity. There are glittering malls, sophisticated restaurants and desirable clubs located in this area that are definitely worth visiting on your trip.
The Old City is the origin of two rich Muslim Royal Houses: Qutb Shahs and Asaf Jahs whose legacy can be felt all around you as you visit Hyderabad. This area is equally as beautiful as its modern counterpart, but in a more rustic way; there are so many signs of the past, including its markets, auto rickshaws, vibrant colours, religious structures, palaces, tombs and the occasional goat wandering around.
There is a lot to do in Hyderabad, so we’ve brought to you our useful Hyderabad Tourism Guide to guide you through the must-dos and sees of this city. Our guide is an introduction, it is up to you to break off and find out more about this amazing city and share back with us so we can make sure no-one misses out on any of these scintillating experiences.
“At first glance, Hyderabad can seem like a modern, bustling metropolis, but scratch the surface and you’ll find a charming 400-year-old walled city – an ode to its bygone royal era. Feel the pulse of Hyderabad in its grand mosques, ornate palaces and soulful tombs, almost as though you are time traveling.”
By Shivya Nath, Founder of www.the-shooting-star.com
Places to Visit in Hyderabad
The Birla Mandir is one of the most popular sights in Hyderabad; this ghostly white marble construction was built in 1976 and is dedicated to a form of the Hindu God Vishnu: Venkateshwara. It is a Hindu temple that sits on Kalabahad overlooking Hussain Sagar Lake, giving you sensational views of Hyderabad city (which can make for a romantic moment at sunset). Did you know that it took 10 years to build this great structure, but it was well worth the wait! The temple is open daily from 07:00-12:00 and 13:00-21:00 and is free to visit for anyone.
Hill Fort Rd, Hyderabad, Telangana, 500004, India
Did you know the Salar Jung Museum is the world’s largest one-man collection of antiques! This huge collection was created by Mir Yousef Ali Khan, a once grand vizier, who dedicated his life (and fortune) to collecting Asian and European arts. There are over 40 galleries housing incredible sculptures, fine art, manuscripts and all sorts of other items from the past. Some of the most famous Indian items include paintings from Raji Ravi Varma, a gold and diamond tiffin box and Aurangzeb’s sword. It is a remarkable collection that will leave you in awe, and luckily for you it is open Saturday-Thursday from 10:00-17:00 and costs ₹10 for entry and ₹50 to bring in a camera.
22-8-299-320, Darul Shifa Road, Afzalgunj, Hyderabad, Telangana, 500002, India
Ramoji Film City
Another world’s largest that resides in Hyderabad is Ramoji Film City (Tollywood), it is the largest integrated film city in the world. This 2,000 acre complex includes many attractions including an amusement park, shows and tours of the vicinity. General admission tickets start at ₹1000 for an adult and ₹900 for a child; this includes a bus tour, funfair rides and shows. But if you’re willing to spend a bit more you can have more luxurious, VIP experiences or visit the Sahas Adventure Park; see the Ramoji Film City website for more details.
Anaspur Village, Hayathnagar Mandal, Hyderabad, Telangana, 501512, India
“Although Hyderabad is one of India’s fastest growing metropolises and IT hubs, the real pearl of this city is its colourful 400 year old history and tantalizing melting pot of cultures and religions. Take time to join a heritage walking tour or simply wander the narrow, atmospheric lanes of the Old City, learn about the Nizam rulers through Hyderabad’s collection of imposing Islamic monuments, mosques, bazaars and palaces (fine enough to rival Delhi’s) and of course eat your way to the real heart of the city through its famous biryanis.”
By Anna Phipps, Travel Writer and Blogger, www.global-gallivanting.com
Golconda Fort (aka Golkonda Fort)
This fort is considered to be one of Hyderabad’s most wondrous pieces of architecture; did you know that if you clap your hands in a particular place in the entrance, it will be heard over 1km away at the highest point of the pavilion. This fort sits on a 400ft hill and has three lines of defence; its walls range from being 17 to 34ft high and you can still see the remnants of drawbridges and a deep moat that circled the outer most wall. Entry to the Golconda Fort costs ₹5 and it is open from 09:00-17:00. There is also an exciting sound and light show at 18:30 in November to February and 19:00 in March to October; tickets for this show cost between ₹70-130.
Ibrahim Bagh, Hyderabad, Telangana, 500008, India
Nehru Zoological Park
Nehru Zoological Park is a zoo with a twist: there are no thick railings between you and the animals, just an open moat. They are housed in open-air enclosures similar to those they would naturally be found it. This zoo covers over 380-acres and has over a 1000 animals from around 140 species. This zoo is so large it really cannot be done in one day, but you can hop on the train around the park or rent your own bicycle to get around more quickly. Since it has been opened the zoo has been growing and growing and now has its own Lion Safari Park and Nocturnal Animal House. Owing to the liberal nature of the park it cannot be stressed enough that guests must be on their best behaviour, further more you will not be able to take bags in (but can leave them at the entrance). Entry into the zoo is ₹30 for adults and ₹15 for children, prices for other attractions vary, for example you can go on a train ride for ₹5-15. The zoo is open from 08:00-17:00 April to June and 08:30-17:00 July to March, but it is never open on a Monday.
Zoo Park Main Rd, Kishan Bagh, Bahadurpura West, Hyderabad, Telangana 500064, India
Often considered to be the centre piece of Hyderabad, the Charminar is a grand, majestic structure in the centre of a bustling plaza. It was built in 1591 by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah; there are many legends around the origin of this building including the idea that the Sultan built it to honour his wife or it was built as an offering to save the city from a plague The most likely reason is that it was built to commemorate the end of the water shortage in Hyderabad and all of the problems that this brought to the city. Regardless of this origin, it is a beautiful sight to behold and a great example of Islamic architecture (with a slight hint of Hindu) and should certainly be on your to do list whilst in Hyderabad. It is open from 09:00-17:30 every day and costs ₹5 to visit. Whilst you are visiting the Charminar, you should pop next door to the Laad Bazaar, where you can shop for jewellery, trinkets, silverware, fabrics and many more interesting items.
Charminar Road, Hyderabad, Telangana, 500002, India
“Don’t forget to experience the real Hyderabad by checking out the narrow lanes, “Irani chai” shops, riding the rickshaws, eating the kebabs and visiting the city’s old ancient buildings to capture the essence Hyderabadi culture and history. Don’t forget to buy your diamonds, emeralds and pearls – only in Hyderabad.”
By Shalu Sharma at www.shalusharma.com
Qutb Shahi Tombs
This large cluster of 21 elegant domed tombs sits quietly near the Golconda Fort; they are the resting place of all but the last Qutb Shahi Sultans. This burial place was also reserved for favourites of the Sultan and being buried here was an incredible honour to them and their families. When you visit the tombs you can walk around the beautifully landscaped gardens gazing at these magnificent mausoleums. Also, a visit to the exhibition at the entrance will tell you all the extra information about the Sultans and the tombs that might interest you. The tombs are open from Saturday to Thursday, 09:30-17:30, and they charge ₹10 for adult entry and ₹5 for a child. If you want to take your camera in (which we recommend you do) it will cost an extra ₹20.
Qutb Shahi Tomb Road, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Some other incredible sights to see in Hyderabad include the Mecca Masjid, Hussain Sagar Lake, Chowmahalla Palace, and HITEC City. If you know of any more that you think should be on our list somewhere, please share in the comments section below.
Nightlife in Hyderabad
Nightlife in Hyderabad is booming. From classy cocktail bars to pulsating nightclubs, there is something for everyone. Below is a list of a couple of clubs we recommend you try if you’re looking for a night out on the town.
10 Downing Street
No, we don’t mean the place where the Prime Minister of England lives, but rather the shabby chic, vintage club in Hyderabad. It looks like an English drawing room or pub and encourages all the fun and entertainment inspired by London life. With a large oval bar in the centre, there is plenty of room for dancing and hanging out with friends.
Shop No. 10, 11, Ground Floor, Lifestyle Building, Begumpet, Hyderabad, Telangana 500016, India
Altitude at Marriott Hotel
For a contemporary and more relaxed experience, head to Altitude at Marriott Hotel where you can sip on cocktails high up in the hills whilst looking over the peaceful Hussain Sagar Lake. It is a serene area to unwind and bask in the warm breeze whilst having great conversation with friends and loved ones.
Tank Bund Road, Opposite Hussain Sagar Lake, Hyderabad, Telangana 500080, India
Art-deco meets style and elegance at KISMET; it’s one of the hottest spots in Hyderabad and a must-try nightclub for visitors. There is a huge dance floor where you can dance to the latest house, hip-hop and club music. It has a great atmosphere and we guarantee you’ll love every minute of it.
22, Raj Bhavan Road, Somajiguda, Hyderabad, Telangana, 500082, India
“Hyderabad’s thriving nightlife was a revelation. Lost behind Old City’s biryani, when I walked into Kismet (The Park), I let my hair down without any apprehension. With great international music, good cocktails and special nights, this discotheque is not to be missed.”
By Amrita Das, Founder of www.travellingidesofmarch.com
Where to Eat in Hyderabad
Hyderabad is the land of the biryani, so we forbid you to leave without having had any. You can find it in any good restaurant and no matter what the time of day it will always be available to you. We also recommend trying Hyderabadi Marag, Keema Samosa, Boti Kebab and Mirchi ka Salan to name a few. All of Hyderabad’s most scrumptious dishes can be found somewhere in the selected restaurants we’ve listed below; they are our favourite restaurants as reviewed by those who have tried and tested their dishes.
Who does not love a good barbecue? A visit to this restaurant will see you starting off your dining experience with five barbecued starters (from a set menu). But here is the fun part, each table has its own barbecue with all the sauces you could want and you can cook up your own storm. The food has an international vibe but is largely based on Indian dishes.
Plot No. 797, 4th Floor, Araka Prime, Road No. 36, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana 500033, India
Dakshin is everyone’s favourite restaurant in Hyderabad; despite the city’s mid-India location you will find a lot of Southern Indian dishes on the menu, including a lot of seafood. The Kerala Stew is a favourite among visitors, but it is not just the food that gives Dakshin its great reputation – the service is outstanding. You will be waited on hand and foot by staff who genuinely care about your dining experience, so head down there now for a delightful dinner for any occasion.
Sudershan Reddy Nagar, Quthbullapur, Hyderabad, Telangana, 500055, India
Located conveniently near to Dakshin is K&K; the team behind this elegant restaurant are fully dedicated to ensuring your experience is something to remember in the best possible way. You can choose from individual dishes like biryanis or go for the very filling set menus and sharing platters (we highly recommend the kebab platter). Whatever your taste (vegetarian or meat) you will leave the restaurant full and satisfied and pining for the day you can return.
6 -3 -1187, Greenlands, Begumpet, Hyderabad, Telangana, 500016, India
“Carrying the princely legacy of Nizams and Sultans the cuisine of Hyderabad is not only royal and delectable but is also a beautiful fusion of some of the richest cuisines like Mughlai, Arabic, Turkish with deep influence of Marthawada and Telgu. Be it Hyderabadi Biryani, Haleem, Dopiyaza or Shahi Tukre, every dish has a vibrant history and an enticing story to tell.”
By Prerna Singh, Founder of www.indiansimmer.com
Hotels in Hyderabad
We always want to be recommending the very best hotel experiences in our reviews, but sadly we cannot list them all. So, we’ve taken a selection of the most highly-rated and recommended hotels from guests who have already had the pleasurable experience of staying at these hotels. We have also divided them into different budget categories to make sure there is something for everyone.
Luxury Hotels in Hyderabad
The Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel is as glamourous as it sounds. The hotel has 4 restaurants serving quality Indian food, but if that isn’t alluring enough then why not indulge in a soothing massage at the hotel’s full-service spa. It also has a health club and an outdoor pool where guests can cool off from the hot Hyderabad sun. If you stay in this hotel located in Falaknuma, you will be conveniently located within 5km of the Nehru Zoological Park, Charminar, Chowmahalla Palace, Sudha Cars Museum and Mecca Masjid.
Another guest favourite is the Taj Krishna in the Banjara Hills. The hotel has three restaurants, a spa and an outdoor pool. The mix of the modern and the traditional in this hotel makes for some incredible luxury décor. Situated within 5km of the many great places to visit in Hyderabad, including the Birla Mandir Temple. After a long day exploring this beautiful city you will return to incredible comforts such as cosy bathrobes, memory foam beds and premium bedding.
Other hotels in Hyderabad that exude luxury and high-quality comfort include The Golkonda Hyderabad, The Courtyard by Marriott Hyderabad or the Marigold by Green Park. The starting cost of these hotels usually begin around ₹10,000 and continue upwards. To see more luxury hotels in Hyderabad visit the Expedia website, click on the link at the bottom of this section.
Mid-Range Hotels in Hyderabad
If you’re looking for something to suit a more modest budget, then we suggest the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. This light, airy hotel automatically makes you feel easy and comfortable which is just want you want from a hotel. It is great for families, singles, couples and business people alike and is usefully situated next to the business district and within 5km of the Birla Mandir. The hotel also has a spa, health club, fitness centre, bar, restaurant and outdoor pool where you can lay down with a good book and relax.
Alternatively, the Hampshire Plaza Hotel in Hyderabad is a family friendly, sleek hotel that is a mere 15min walk from key sights such as the BM Birla Science Centre, Birla Mandir Temple, Lumbini Park and A.P. State Museum. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, fitness centre, a bar/lounge, café, rooftop terrace and free Wi-Fi in public areas and free valet parking are also provided. You will be in good hands when you stay at this hotel, as staff are always on hand to ensure you are getting the most out of your stay in Hyderabad.
The average prices for these hotels usually start off around ₹2,500 and tend not to go any higher than ₹10,000, however this can change depending on the length of your stay and when you intend on visiting Hyderabad. Some of our other most highly-recommended hotels in this category include: Fortune Park Vallabha, Aditya Park-A Sarovar Portico Hotel and the Lemon Tree Premier, HITEC City. As always though, make sure you visit the Expedia website to explore all of your options and get the right price and location for your trip to Hyderabad.
Budget Hotels in Hyderabad
Travelling to Hyderabad on a budget? Not a problem, as there are plenty of low-budget hotel options where you will be very comfortable. The FabHotel Jubilee Hills is located in Hyderabad’s modern HITEC City and has one of the best ratings on the Expedia website. Nearby attractions include Durgam Cheruvu Lake, Mindspace IT Park, Inorbit Mall, Cyber Towers and Shilparamam Cultural Village, all within 3km. This hotel has its own restaurant and they provide a free continental breakfast to all guests.
Another option available to you is the OYO Premium Himayathnagar hotel in Hyderabad, located within 5km of the Birla Mandir Temple and Salar Jung Museum. Hotel comforts include free Wi-Fi, free continental breakfast, 24-hour room service and TVs with satellite channels. This hotel has been complimented by guests as a comfortable and very pleasant hotel that has been an asset to their trip to Hyderabad.
Other budget hotel options that range from ₹1,000-₹2,000 per night (on average) include: OYO Rooms Q City Gachibowli and The Central Court Hotel. To view even more alternative options click the link below and visit the Expedia website.
“A city where the old Nizami culture co-exists with the modern IT-hub, Hyderabad is synonymous with the Char Minar. However, my personal favorites are the Golconda Fort and Ramoji Film City. It can also be dubbed a city of lakes with Hussain Sagar Lake taking the cake. It has a statue of Buddha in the middle and a beautiful promenade dotted with pubs that lights up like a necklace at night. The famous Hyderabadi Biryani from Paradise or Bawarchi and Karachi Biscuits are a foodie’s delight.”
By Kumar Kisland, Marketing Head of www.holidify.com
Getting Around Hyderabad
As with any Indian city Hyderabad suffers with issues of congestion, however there are many methods of transport available to you to help alleviate this problem.
One of the most classic and easy methods of transport used across India is the auto rickshaw. These nifty vehicles are fairly cheap and usually able to manipulate traffic a lot better than most cars. Officially fares start at ₹20 for the first 1.6km, then ₹11 for each kilometre after that. There is sometimes a surcharge between 11pm and 5am, usually around 50%. But as with anywhere most drivers are unlikely to switch on their meters, so make sure you explicitly negotiate a price, you can usually haggle it to around ₹20 for each kilometre.
By far taking a bus around Hyderabad is the cheapest method of transport. There are over 4,000 buses running very frequently within Hyderabad connecting multiple points within the city. The company that run the buses are called APSRTC and you can book tickets or find out more about the routes online.
Private Car Hire
If you are more comfortable in a car and aren’t too fussed about the traffic, then there are many places to hire a car from. Enquire with your hotel or do some exploring online; the current average price per day, for an economy car with a driver (8hours) is ₹1200.
If you are thinking of visiting Hyderabad in 2017, then you will fortunate enough to arrive at a time where the Hyderabad Metro Rail has been finalised. This transit system will have three lines and 66 stations connecting the city via rapid transit, making the roads less congested and your life a lot simpler.
“Hyderabad is a city steeped with the Mughal history of India. Faluknama palace once a historic place is now a Taj hotel property and can afford you a peek into the the lives of royalty. The food is delectable and in particular Hyderabadi Biryani is a must eat affair. A bustling chaotic Indian city that is so rich in culture and heritage melded into modernity.”
By Renuka, Founder of www.roadtripper.co.in
Best Time to Visit in Hyderabad
Being in one of the Southern states of India, Hyderabad usually has a warm to hot climate. We recommend visiting in the cooler months so you are distracted by the potentially overwhelming heat of the sun. October to February are much cooler months, with some days even being overcast and cloudy; temperatures range from around 14-30°C.
If you’re not conscious of the heat then March to May could be a good time for you to visit. Although we must emphasise that temperatures can reach over 40°C on a daily basis and travelling around the city can be incredibly stifling. Alternatively, June to September is a time for those who can handle the monsoon rains; it is the off-season so prices are likely to be cheaper and evenings will be clearer and cool.
If you want to start booking your holiday now, start by visiting the Expedia website to look at flights. Click the link below to see all of your options.
Select the link below to download and print the PDF version of our Hyderabad Tourism Guide.