This 24 hours in Agra Travel Guide includes everything you need to know before visiting one of the top tourist attractions in the world! This guide includes what to expect, how to get around (best taxi driver # included further below), where to eat, where to stay, and what to do!
PS: Blue dress is Revolve, linked here 💙
What to Expect in Agra, India
- Local Language: Hindi and English are the official languages. We were able to get by pretty easily with English as most people speak it there, except for taxi drivers who sometimes had more limited English vocabulary. I would recommend having your hotel speak with your driver for the day to talk through your desired route which will make your travel much smoother!
- Currency: Indian Rupee. 1 USD = 81.85 Rupees (as of date written).
- Credit Cards: I forgot to notify my credit cards I was traveling (oops) BUT I had no issues with them. However to be safe I would call your cards to let them know you will be traveling! You can get by with credit card in many cases such as hotel, Uber/Ola, restaurants, many shops, etc.
- Cash Withdrawals: If you can, I would recommend withdrawing cash when you land at the airport. Otherwise, you can find ATMs around the city. Cash is handy to have for tips, souvenirs, and entry fees if applicable.
- Safety: Agra is one of the most visited cities in the world, and we felt very safe here, especially with our guide. Our hotel had high security measures to get in the building.
- Water: Do NOT drink the tap water! Locals let us know that the only three water bottle brands to trust are Bisleri, Kinley, and Aquafina (we never had any issues finding these water bottle brands during our trip).
How to Get to Agra
Train: We took the Gatimaan Express from Delhi (Hazrat Nizamuddin Delhi Station) to Agra. You can buy tickets here. The train runs everyday except Friday leaving at 8:10 AM and arriving at 9:50 AM. This is the quickest option to get to Agra from Delhi across all of the trains or compared to driving (especially when factoring in traffic).
Note that I may have panicked *just a tiny bit* upon arrival to the Hazrat station. Upon arrival, our first impression of Indian trains was seeing a train STUFFED to the brim with people – I had never seen anything like it 😅 (example photo below) The station also just looked and felt super dirty/unhygienic. Our panicked response was to just forego the train and call an Uber BUT we decided to stick it out. We figured we were taking such a high tourist route with assigned seats that it couldn’t possibly be like the other train we witnessed. Ultimately we were very glad with that decision to stick it out!! The train turned out to be completely fine and definitely got us to Agra much quicker than any other option.
PS: THIS TRAVEL PILLOW has turned out to be the best purchase I ever made. Such a lifesaver for travel.
Drive: You can also either hire a driver or call an Uber/Ola from Delhi to Agra. Note the drive takes 3-4 hours but could take longer with India traffic. We learned that the hard way when driving Agra to Jaipur!
PS: My red dress is Revolve, linked here ❤️
Where to Stay in Agra
Luxury: The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra
A stunning 5 star hotel with amazing views of the Taj Mahal. This is really as close as you can get to the Taj Mahal for a hotel with it being right next door. I would love to stay here next time I visit India! They also have a few restaurants but you must make reservations far in advance. Prices range from $392-$1K per night depending on time of year.
Mid Range/Budget: Radisson Hotel Agra
Another great option when exploring Agra (this is where we chose to stay at since we were hardly spending time in hotel anyways). Only a 10 minute drive from the Taj Mahal and there was security checkpoints to enter so you feel safe and spotless clean. The rooftop also has a pool and view of the Taj Mahal. Noting that I did find the sheets rather uncomfortable and rough, so something to keep in mind if booking! Prices range from $49-$150/night.
*Pro Tip: Ask for early check in so your rooms are ready upon arrival!*
How to Get Around Agra:
There are a few ways you can get around Agra including: Uber, Ola, Hired Driver, or Tuk Tuk.
- Uber/Ola: Call a ride via these apps. Make sure to download Ola (Indian version of Uber) prior to traveling to India to find rides. They have an amazing feature where you can actually reserve a ride for up to 6 hours and the driver will take you around to wherever you would like to go.
- Driver: Our Delhi driver actually connected us with his friend Shahazad in Agra to drive us around for the day. If you would like to connect with him in Agra, his number is: +91 98375 70294. He’s been touring people around Agra for 20+ years, so he definitely knows his stuff! He picked us up from the train and took us to every stop requested for the day and gave us a tour of each attraction. If you prefer to just explore a city on your own though, I would just reserve a Tuk Tuk or Uber for the day.
- Tuk Tuk: These are automated mini van like cars that are all over India. Just call one down as you would any taxi to take you around. You can also call these via Uber app. Make sure to agree on price prior to departing.
- Rickshaw: I would not recommend a rickshaw in Agra since things are a bit spread out so you want something to get around that is a bit faster!
Prefer a Guided Tour? Some Options Below
One Day in Agra Itinerary:
Arrival to Agra
Morning: We took the train from Delhi to Agra with ~10-10:30am arrival. We then met our driver/guide to transport us to the hotel so we could check in and freshen up for day.
Afternoon: We were starving after a busy morning, so first stop was lunch at Pinch of Spice! We wanted some authentic Indian cuisine and this hit the spot! Split a few plates including tandoori chicken and ofc butter chicken our fave 😊 Ideally we would’ve gotten lunch at the Oberoi hotel but they were completely booked (so make a res WAY in advance – I tried to make it a couple weeks before we were even there)!
Head your way over to Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Center, either with your driver or Uber/Tuk Tuk. The fort was built in 1565 and completed in 1573. This fort served as main rulers’ residency during the Mughal Dynasty until 1638 when the capital transitioned from Agra to Delhi.
If you are with a driver/guide they will automatically get you skip the line access to Agra Fort. If exploring on your own, I would recommend getting a skip the line ticket. It can get pretty crowded on peak days! Also definitely download your tickets beforehand so you aren’t scrambling upon arrival.
After Agra Fort, make a quick pit stop at Itmad-ud-Daula (nicknamed ‘Baby Taj’). If we had more time we would’ve gone in, but we wanted enough time to see the Taj Mahal with guided tour and make it to a sunset viewpoint in time!
Next, it was time for the big attraction: the Taj Mahal (1 of the 7 wonders of the world)! We arrived in the afternoon which gave us plenty of time to tour. There is no way to describe the feeling of walking into the entrance for the first time and seeing the Taj Mahal through the entrance. It was truly magical!
Note, we happened to be visiting during free entry day in honor of the Urs 368th death anniversary, so it was extra packed! We are glad we decided to escape the chaos with a sunset boat ride and sunrise visit summarized further below.
There is nothing like seeing an attraction at sunset, so make sure to know what time that falls during your trip so you can plan accordingly. There are a few options to finding the most incredible sunset views of the Taj Mahal as follows:
- Stay right inside the Taj Mahal
- Our guide was pushing us to just stay to watch, but we pushed back for another viewpoint
- Boat ride on Yamuna River (our decision – gorgeous views)!
- Chhatris by the Yamuna River
- This blog post has a great recap on how to get there
- Mehtab Bagh – garden
- This is right across the river from the Taj Mahal and another popular viewpoint. Get there early to secure a good spot.
Boat Ride on the Yamuna River
We followed the directions from this Youtube video which was spot on in getting us to the right destination. Our guide Shahazad helped us find the boat owner and coordinate a ride for us. Note the water is pretty disgusting, BUT the views are incredible and it’s so serene on the water away from all the chaos.
Cap off your day in Agra with dinner at the Salt Cafe Kitchen & Bar. We LOVED the ambiance and ordered a few plates for us to share, very heavy on the ‘butter chicken’ theme including pizza, pasta, and chicken. You can make a reservation in advance, which I would recommend to be safe if visiting in peak season.
Sunrise @Taj Mahal
Wake up at the crack of dawn to get ready to see the Taj Mahal upon opening at sunrise. We chose to do this so that we could see it much less crowded than it was in the afternoon. Even at sunrise it filled up fast, but we are so glad we woke up early to see it!
Pro Tip: Walk all the way down to the Taj Mahal and head to the right side for some amazing viewpoints (pictured below). It was also much less crowded on this side since the crowds hadn’t filled up yet.
After seeing the Taj Mahal, we headed back to the hotel for our driver to take us on to the next stop in our journey: Jaipur! We booked a driver through Viator here beforehand, but our guide also said he could’ve coordinated a driver for us at a great price.
PS: Shop My Travel Essentials
I hope you found this 24 hours in Agra guide helpful, and be sure to check out my Delhi guide. I’m always a DM/email away if you have any questions.