Pondicherry, or Pondi, is an old French colony that holds history very close to its heart and easily makes visitors fall in love. With cobblestone streets, bohemian stores, and mind-blowing French bakeries lining the entirety of the Union Territory, you can just start walking and end up in paradise. But, there’s a little more to Pondicherry than just walking. So, we charted a Pondicherry itinerary for 4 days that would give you the best this place has to offer. Check it out!
The location of your accommodation will be a huge deciding factor in the nature of your trip. So, pay very close attention to where you are staying. In fact, we’d suggest you start scouting for places as soon as you start planning for this trip. Without further ado, here are a few places you might like.
If you want to stay in the middle of the city, close to where everything happens, book a hotel in White Town itself. You’ll find a bunch of hotels and hostels here with a variety of budgets to fit your bill. A lot of White Town is built on the old French Quarters, meaning you’ll find quite a few old-timey buildings converted into hotels and hostels. Here are a few options for you to consider:
Auroville, the alternative living society built right beside Pondicherry, has been the center of every conversation regarding a trip to this area. If you want to experience the tranquility of Auroville, the best way is to just live there! While it has a few hostels for people staying there for courses, there are also a few hotels and resorts in the area for casual visitors. Here are a few that we think will make your stay in Auroville that much better.
If the primary purpose of your trip to Pondicherry is to relax, then we suggest you look for a place right by the beach. There are a few beachside resorts and hostels that will put you in the sand, while giving you all the comforts required for a good vacation. If that sounds like what you want, check out these beachside properties in Pondicherry!
Also Read: Best homestays In Pondicherry
Once you get to the town, you’ll find that there are many modes of transport available and you can easily arrange for different ones throughout your trip. One great option is to find an auto-rickshaw driver who would charge you lump sum and take you around for the entire day. We recommend using this option for the days on which you know you will be tired or traveling long distances.
On the day you are exploring Pondicherry itself, a two-wheeler would be the best option. Pondi, as it is fondly called, is small enough that you can actually just walk to all the attractions. However, that takes time and might get tiring after a while. So, exploring on a moped or a cycle would be most convenient.
Lastly, visiting places like Auroville, which are about an hour away from White Town, will warrant renting a vehicle. We would recommend renting a two-wheeler as the traffic in Pondicherry can get a little crazy and driving a car through it can become frustrating.
Now that you’ve got your travel sorted, let’s get into the most exciting part of this blog; the itinerary!
Also Read: Pondicherry Travel Guide
You’ve made your way to Chennai, you’re all fresh and peppy in the morning, and you’re ready to reach Pondicherry. There is only one thing between you and the Old French Quarters; an almost three-hour drive.
Since you’ll be starting out in the morning, one good way to go about the journey is to make a day out of it. Take breaks, try some street-side food, and definitely stop at Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram, a tiny town living between the Great Salt Lake and the Bay of Bengal, is full of folklore and monuments from a time long gone. Dedicate a couple of hours to walking in the alleyways of this town and exploring remnants of the Pallava dynasty, dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries. Places like the Ganesha Ratha Stone Temple, Krishna’s Butter Ball, and Varaha Cave have astounded visitors for centuries, and we’re sure you would fall in love with them too.
Regardless of when you start from Chennai, it is a good idea to stay in Mahabalipuram until lunchtime. The hotels here offer a variety of cuisines, including local delicacies like puliyodharai, atho, and kothu parotta.
Where To Eat?
Food joints like Eagle’s Nest, Chettinadu Virundhu, and Alai Osai Family Restaurant are every traveler’s respite. The first two are extremely budget-friendly and will have you sorted in under INR 500 for one person. The innovative experience of eating at Alai Osai makes it a different type of treat altogether. Here, you can go fishing in the pond located inside the restaurant and actually catch your meal.
After a rather scrumptious meal, a relaxing drive full of serene scenery awaits you. It is an almost two-hour drive on a highway lying right beside the Bay of Bengal. Once you complete the journey and reach Pondicherry, we recommend checking in, settling down, and exploring the attractions close to your place.
For example, if you’re staying in White Town, then a walk along the Promenade would be the perfect introduction to Pondicherry. If you’re staying closer to Auroville, Rock Beach or The Sacred Heart Basilica are great options for a relaxing first evening. However, if you’re checking into a beach-side resort, you can just chill on the beach for the evening!
Before we get into the details of the second day, here is something you should know. Since White Town is the central-most part of Pondicherry, the distances and prices included in this itinerary, will be from White Town itself.
On day two, we start our day at around 8 am and make our way to Auroville. On this day, we suggest hiring scooters since you'll only be using vehicles until you reach the entrance of Auroville. In this case, paying a driver for the entire day wouldn’t make sense, and cycling would take too long and tire you out before you ever get there.
Once you get to Auroville, make your way to Bread & Chocolate for a continental breakfast. They are famous for delicacies like cinnamon rolls, fruit bowls, sourdough bread, and apple tart. They taste just as good as they sound and with an average cost of only INR 450 for two people; won’t blow a hole in your pockets either.
Next, head to Matrimandir, the meditation center in Auroville that has turned into one of the biggest attractions in recent years. If you want to truly experience Matrimandir, make a reservation about 5-7 days before you visit the place so that you can enter the space and meditate for some time. Otherwise, take a walk around the golden structure and admire its surroundings which are embellished with beautifully crafted gardens and lakes.
You can also check out the amphitheater and the Unity Garden until lunchtime. Speaking of the amphitheater, if you’re staying in Auroville, make sure you attend the pre-dawn bonfire that takes place every morning.
Afterward, we recommend walking just a tiny while longer to the Dreamer’s Café in the Visitor’s Center. They also have a flair for continental food and serve some of the best kombuchas, French pastries, and parottas. Then, you can take a walk to the Sadhana Forest and get lost in its beauty as you end your Auroville excursion.
Last but not least, there is a spot close to Auroville that offers mind-blowing views of the sunset, i.e. Serenity Beach. There are a bunch of restaurants lining the beach, a surf school, and even a few shops to buy trinkets from. We highly recommend just sitting on the sand and waiting for the sun to dive below the horizon. The drive back to White Town is only about 45 minutes and takes you through civilization, ensuring that you wouldn’t have a hard time driving back home even after dark.
Also Read: Best bars And Pubs In Pondicherry
You are in a coastal town that lies beside the beautiful waters of the Bay of Bengal. What is the one thing that you absolutely must try in a place like this? Scuba diving! We recommend contacting an aggregator like Avathi or Temple Adventures and booking yourself an experience. You can find a package between INR 6,500 and INR 35,000, depending on how sophisticated and deep-diving (conceptually and literally) your scuba diving session is.
If you aren’t a fan of being underwater, you can also ask the same aggregators for their boating packages. They bring in some very exciting and serene views as well. In fact, looking back at the shore of Pondicherry from a boat will let you see the charm of the old French Quarters.
Pondicherry knows how to have fun. The nightlife in this part of the world carries its own swagger and it also lets you choose the kind of nightlife you want to experience.
For example, if you want to absorb the essence of the French culture that still lives in Pondi, visit Heritage Town and bar-hop for the evening. If you want to drink with the locals, like the locals do, check out Kofi Bar for its antique decor and yesteryear charm. If you’ve fallen for Pondicherry’s shoreline and would love to spend an evening with it, you must visit L’Aqua, a lounge on the waterfront with some of the best views of the sea. Alternatively, if you’re in Pondicherry with someone you love and want to dedicate an evening to them, Bay Of Buddha is one of the most romantic open-air restaurants in town.
Alas, the last day of your trip is here. We’ve already covered all the exciting parts of Pondicherry, and there is only one thing left to do; explore the town itself. Pondicherry is home to some extremely significant historic monuments carrying stories from a few centuries ago, to approximately 80 years ago.
Places like Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the French War Memorial, the Old Lighthouse, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, are all places in close proximity to White Town. We recommend you rent a cycle for this day and check them all out since they aren’t very far from each other. Last but not least, a trip as beautiful as this deserves a few trinkets that hold memories, if not a gift for your loved ones.
For that last bit, we recommend Crafts Bazaar, a cute and quaint corner of Pondi that holds its handicrafts market. Crafts Bazaar is known to sell everything from authentic leather to home decor to handlooms, for very reasonable prices. We also recommend having your last dinner in Pondicherry in Café des Arts, a restaurant located in a renovated 19th-century building in White Town. This beautiful café is pocket-friendly, with a meal cost averaging INR 550 per person.
Also Read: Best Beaches In Pondicherry
This is the day you say goodbye to Pondicherry. As a proper farewell, we recommend you have breakfast at Coromandel Café, a small café with pastel, old-timey interiors serving mind-blowing continental and Italian food. On average, Coromandel Café will cost you about INR 1,400. Grab a seat, have some mind-blowing coffee followed by their hummus, and a carrot cake to top it off. After this meal, it’s until next time, traveler!
Pondicherry, while small in size, holds the charm of multiple dynasties, a few cultures, and two countries. Since we only have four days to check it out, we’re giving you an itinerary that covers all that you can and must experience in Pondicherry. We hope you visit the place soon and bring home a treasure trove full of memories and experiences. Happy traveling!
Why Is Pondicherry So Famous?
Pondicherry is renowned among Indians for its unspoiled beaches, historical architecture, harmonious coexistence of diverse cultures, and delectable cuisine.
How Many Days Are Enough For Pondicherry?
Generally, a trip of about 3 to 5 days is enough to explore all of Pondicherry.
Is Pondicherry Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Pondicherry happens to be one of the most admired tourist destinations in all of South India and has something to offer to every type of traveler.
Is Pondicherry Cheaper Than Goa?
No, considering accommodations and travel, Goa is slightly cheaper than Pondicherry.
Which Part Of Pondicherry Is Best To Live In?
White Town, the centralmost part of Pondicherry, is also the best part of the town to live in.
Are Drinks Cheaper In Pondicherry?
Yes, alcoholic drinks are slightly cheaper in Pondicherry than they are in the rest of the country.
Can We Go To The Beach At Night In Pondicherry?
Yes, you can visit the beaches after sunset for a little time. However, some beaches are closed off to the public at 8:00 pm every day.
Can We Swim At Auroville Beach?
Yes, people visiting Auroville Beach are allowed to swim in the pristine waters of this beach.