The perfect itinerary for your next trip to Kolkata

Schenelle Dsouza 
The capital city of West Bengal, Kolkata was voted among the top destinations for food in 2023 according to the food website Eater. An award-winning digital media brand, Eater is a go-to place for all things relating to food, and Kolkata was the only Indian destination to make it to the list along with destinations like Tamaki Makaurau (New Zealand), Asheville (North Carolina), Albuquerque (New Mexico), Guatemala City (Guatemala), and Cambridge (England).
Kolkata is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in India. Previously known as Calcutta, the city’s stunning Victorian Gothic architecture, heritage and cultural attractions, flourishing metropolis and of course the food, have all painted an irresistible picture which has attracted numerous tourists and visitors over the years. And if Eater’s list has convinced you to head to this vibrant city, here’s an itinerary to help you plan your trip.
How to get there 
Kolkata is accessible via flight, train and road. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) is the main airport in Kolkata as well as the aviation hub for eastern and northeastern India.
Getting to Kolkata by train is fairly easy. The city has a total of four railway stations – Howrah, Kolkata, Sealdah, and Shalimar. While there are several trains that will get you to Kolkata, the Superfast Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and Duronto Express are the best options given the limited number of halts during the journey.
Commuting by road is another option, which oftentimes is a much longer journey. This one is best avoided unless you’re someone that enjoys tediously long road trips.
Stay 
ITC Royal Bengal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kolkata
ITC Royal Bengal
Photo Courtesy: Marriott
A 69-minute drive from Kolkata Airport, ITC Royal Bengal describes itself as an ode to the region’s cultural heritage and lineage. Timeless European and indigenous architecture, elegant dĂ©cor and a selection of artworks celebrating Bengal are displayed throughout the hotel including in the hotel’s 456 rooms and suites.
One of the best things about the hotel, apart from its stunning design and decor, is that it is a LEED® Platinum certified hotel. This means that all of the operations conducted throughout the hotel are designed to have a positive impact on the planet without holding back on the authenticity of luxury indigenous experiences.
Address: 1, JBS Haldane Ave, Tangra, Kolkata, West Bengal 700046
Price: â‚ą19,000/- per night onwards Book Here
JW Marriott Hotel Kolkata
JW Marriott Hotel Kolkata
Photo Courtesy: Marriott
Located in the old central business district of Kolkata, JW Marriott Hotel Kolkata is a mere 30 minutes away from the airport. Combining understated elegance and sophistication, JW Marriott Kolkata houses 281 spacious rooms, all fitted with state-of-the-art facilities; the large windows provide unobstructed views of the bustling city.
While there is much to do in the city, those looking to unwind in the hotel itself can check out Spa by JW which offers a selection of treatments and therapies including facials, massages, body scrubs and wraps, a sauna, steam room and more.
Address: 4A, JBS Haldane Ave, Tangra, Kolkata, West Bengal 700105
Cost: â‚ą11,270/- per night onwards Book Here
Taj Bengal Kolkata
Taj Bengal Kolkata
Photo Courtesy: Taj Hotels
An elegant landmark hotel, the Taj Bengal hotel is located in the affluent Alipore neighbourhood. The location of this hotel is one of its biggest highlights with prominent landmarks like Victoria Memorial, Royal Calcutta Race Course, Horticultural Gardens, National Library, Eden Gardens and the Alipore Zoological Gardens all located nearby.
Designed by the legendary American architect Bob Fox, the interiors feature a ton of stone and marble fitted with rare antiques, priceless art, and traditional accents. The decor is said to be inspired by the city’s art, culture and heritage. The grand Presidential Suite is said to be the best accommodation with a plush living room, dining room, work area, powder room, guest room, and a luxurious bathroom.
Food
From street food to fine dining, the food scene in Kolkata is expansive, so much so that visitors will never ever be disappointed. While the city has a number of hotspots, the fine dining industry in Kolkata has expanded marvellously over the years, with many restaurants adopting a fusion style that blends Bengali cuisine with another contemporary cuisine. And if that sounds like fun to you, take a look at some of the city’s hottest culinary gems.
Aaheli
Aaheli
Photo Courtesy: Aaheli
When visiting Kolkata, a trip to Aaheli is a must. The restaurant gets its name from the Arabic word “aahel”, which translates to authentic. And rightfully, Aaheli is said to offer some of the best and most authentic versions of traditional Bengali cuisine served within a sophisticated ambience. The décor especially reflects traditional Bengali culture, folklore and etiquette combining paintings of the village life in Bengal while the floor tiles feature mosaics depicting the arts and crafts culture of Bengal. Sticking with the etiquette of a Bengali home in the olden days, guests are served food in bell metal with an oil-lit lamp on the table.
The food is a fusion of French and Indian cultures and specialises in dishes that were prepared in the homes of Bengali aristocrats. Their slow-cooked Kosha Mangsho is deemed to be one of the best in the city, along with dishes like Narkel Dudhe Hansh and Anarashi Ilish. For a more comprehensive meal check out Aaheli’s thali menu which includes four non-vegetarian and one vegetarian option.
Address: 12, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700013
Cost: â‚ą5,000/- for two approx.
Baan Thai
Baan Thai
Photo Courtesy: Baan Thai
The go-to spot in Kolkata for Thai food, Baan Thai employs the complete Thai experience, right from the food to the ambience and everything in between. Stepping inside, the first thing guests appreciate is the wooden ambience – hand-carved wooden screens and statues, wooden masks, artefacts, a life-sized Buddha, etc. The restaurant attempts to recreate the ambience of a Thai home with a rich Thai tapestry while the walls are decorated with traditional Thai trays also known as khantoks.
The cuisine served at the restaurant focuses on traditional dishes that were handed down to Chef Klae Somsuay’s by his grandmother. These heirloom recipes feature some of the oldest, almost forgotten delicacies like Baan Thai Kaeng Luang which is the chef’s special homemade Thai yellow curry. Given their love for seafood, dishes like Chingri Sobar Opore, Crispy Chilli Mourola, and Panchforan Bati give visitors an experience that combines Bengali and Thai cuisine.
Address: The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata, 15, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, Kolkata, West Bengal 700013
Cost: â‚ą4,000/- for two approx.
Capella – Altair Boutique Hotel
Capella - AltAir Boutique Hotel
Photo Courtesy: Altair Kolkata
Rooftop dining often has its own charm, and Altair’s Capella restaurant has to be one of the best rooftop diners in Kolkata. A rooftop lounge slash sky bar, Capella sits on the 20th floor providing one of the grandest views of the city. The space is often described as the ideal party spot in Kolkata, perfect for DJ performances, live gigs and soulful renditions paired with scrumptious bite-size offerings.
That’s right, Capella is the first fine dining spot in Kolkata to serve bite-size portions like pan-tossed dirty mushrooms, garlic lounge bread, scallops and beetroot tikka, charcoal-covered mozzarella sticks and more.
Address: 4, Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, Township, Kalikapur, East, Kolkata, West Bengal 700107
Cost: â‚ą3,000 for two approx.
Chinoiserie
Chinoiserie
Photo Courtesy: Chinoiserie
As mentioned above, Taj Bengal is among the city’s well-known landmarks, and its Chinoiserie restaurant, among the top restaurants for Sichuan and Cantonese food. The restaurant itself boasts a simple and elegant interior with the décor posing as a European rendition of Chinese design in the form of a grand pagoda complimented by wall paintings reminiscent of Chinese folklore.
Like most restaurants in Kolkata, Chinoiserie too, attempts to fuse the cultural aspects of Bengali cuisine with that of Cantonese food. And so the menu features a generous selection of seafood with dishes such as Classic Hanoi Grilled fish, wok-fried Andaman lobster, and crab claw dumplings among others. Meat lovers ought to try out the sweet n sour pork belly, Sichuan-style chilli mountain chicken and xiao long bao lamb.
Address: Taj Bengal, 34-B, Belvedere Rd, Alipore, Kolkata, West Bengal 700027
Cost: â‚ą6,000 for two approx.
Zen
Zen 
Photo Courtesy: Zen
Open kitchens are a common trend in the culinary industry in India, and Kolkata’s Zen restaurant is a part of that trend. Located inside the esteemed The Park hotel, Zen puts on a theatrical ambience inspired by open kitchens in traditional Japanese, Chinese and Thai restaurants. Contemporary décor, dark wooden furniture, hardwood floors and dim lighting give the space a minimalist contemporary aesthetic whilst keeping the focus on the open kitchen.
Zen specialises in Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine although the Chinese food served remains a speciality. Like most Asian kitchens, Zen allows its diners to participate in the food preparation process to enhance their experience. The sushi served at Zen is also said to be one of the best in the city, with favourites like ebi nigiri sushi, akami nigiri sushi, and avocado and smoked cheese sushi. Aside from sushi, the lamb pickle chilli in oyster sauce and yasai okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza) are worth a try.
Address: Hotel 17, Park St, The Park, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016
Cost: â‚ą5,000/- for two approx.
Attractions 
Fort William
Fort William
Photo Courtesy: Kolkata Tourism
One of the oldest buildings in Kolkata and a very important heritage spot, Fort William sits on the eastern shore of the famous Hooghly River. It was built by the British in 1696 and was initially used as a prison bearing some of the most inhumane circumstances.
The massive structure is spread over approximately 177 acres of land with five sides facing land and three, the Hoogly river. It bears over a hundred arched windows with exemplary stonework making it an interesting attraction for both history and architecture buffs.
Howrah Bridge
Howrah Bridge
Photo Courtesy: Ujjwal Jajoo/ Unspla
Combining the best of art and engineering, the Howrah Bridge is an iconic landmark and a must-visit for all. Extended across the Hooghly River, the massive steel structure is supposedly the third-longest cantilever bridge in the world and is said to be constructed without any nuts and bolts.
While the view from the bridge is breathtaking, it is recommended to take a ferry from Launch Ghat in order to get the best view of the bridge itself, especially at night.
Indian Museum
Indian Museum
Photo Courtesy: Kolkata Tourism
Kolkata’s Indian Museum is iconic for many reasons, one of them being that it is the oldest and largest one in the country. Built in 1814, the grand Indian Museum boasts an enormous display of artefacts and antiquities, with a chink of original collectibles from the bygone era.
Some of their noteworthy collections include an original Egyptian mummy, the skeletons of the elephant used in the Grand Delhi Durbar of 1911, prominent Mughal paintings, a rare collection of antiques, armour and ornaments, as well as a dedicated section for stones and minerals and another for textiles.
Jorasanko Thakurbari
Jorasanko Thakurbari
Photo Courtesy: Kolkata Tourism
The birthplace of Rabindranath Tagore is a prominent attraction for many who visit Kolkata. A poet, novelist, artist and Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore’s home is a reflection of his personality. Constructed during the 18th century by Tagore’s grandfather, Dwarkanath Tagore, the home gets its name from the two Shiva temples near the home called Jora Shankar. Inside the sprawling mansion, guests and visitors can find artefacts connected to Tagore’s life right from his childhood which include his poems letters, clothes and paintings.
Marble Palace
Marble Palace
Photo Courtesy: Kolkata Tourism
One of the most fascinating places in Kolkata has to be the Marble Palace. The 19th-century palatial home belonged to the ancient royals of Kolkata. To this day, the Marble Palace remains a brilliant example of 19th-century architecture. The palace maintains a number of original details with artistic statues, elegant glassware, and artworks on display.
Victoria Memorial
Victoria Memorial 
Photo Courtesy: Kolkata Tourism
Victoria Memorial has always remained the most prominent attraction in the city, as well as a very important landmark for the city. It was built in 1921 as a tribute to Queen Victoria. Spread across 57 acres, the building is an architectural marvel with a magnificent dome, four subsidiaries, octagonal-domed chattris, high portals, a terrace and domed corner towers. Moreover, there are about 21 lush gardens surrounding the building. 
The inside of the building is just as impressive with as many as 25 galleries. Each of these is filled with more than 24,000 artefacts ranging from photographs, sculptures, weapons, and rare books. The museum reportedly has over 3500 paintings, many of which are well over 200 years old.
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