You know that visiting the Taj Mahal is THE thing to do when in Agra. That’s why you’re going to Agra!
But how about other sites?
What to do in Agra?!
First, here’s what’s below to help you plan out your one day in Agra:
- Day trip to Agra from Jaipur or Delhi
- One day in Agra itinerary
- Quick tips for visiting the Taj Mahal
- Beyond the Taj Mahal: Things to do in Agra
You can also see how to spend your days as in Udaipur (city of lakes), Jaipur (pink city), Jodhpur (blue city), Jaisalmer (golden city), the Thar Desert (camel safari), Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal, and… one week in Kerala!
Get ideas on how to get around Rajasthan, including by bus, local train, and overnight train.
And if you’re backpacking around the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan alone, you may like the idea of staying at one of the best hostels in Agra or hostels in Rajasthan.
Agra beyond the Taj Mahal: Is there anything worth visiting?
Agra has a number of sites that you might find to be worthwhile if you like to admire architecture and Indian history… and if you want to see the Taj Mahal from behind!
But the main “problem” is that after you pay the high foreigner entry fee for the Taj Mahal, you may not feel inclined to pay the entry fees at the other sites and monuments.
In reality, the cost of the Taj Mahal isn’t that high if you think of it in terms of US dollars – it’s like $15 – but if you’ve been traveling around India on a budget and you’re used to paying low prices, 1,000 rupees can sound like a lot!
Now, if 1,000 rupees sounds reasonable to you for visiting a global icon and world famous UNESCO world heritage site, and if you don’t mind some more entry fees in Agra, be sure to look further into Agra beyond the Taj Mahal!
There are other things to do in Agra, and you don’t have to just go straight to the Taj Mahal and back!
First, here’s the quick list…
5 best things to do in Agra in one day
1. Visit to the Taj Mahal (obvi)
2. Rooftop restaurant with Taj Mahal views from far away
3. Garden for Taj Mahal views from behind
4. See the Baby Taj from across the river
5. Visit to Agra Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site
Should you spend a night or make it a one day trip to Agra?
Spending a night or 2 in Agra will give you a bit of breathing room when traveling around the Golden Triangle.
But I dislike traveling with luggage. So I made it a day trip to Agra from Jaipur.
One less city I had to carry my luggage to! 😉
So after you’ve spent a perfect 3 days in Jaipur following this itinerary, you can head to Agra!
More for your itinerary with 2 weeks in Rajasthan
- 3 days in Udaipur
- 2 days in Jodhpur
- 3 days in Jaisalmer
- 3 days in Jaipur
- 1 day in Agra
Day trip to Agra from Delhi or from Jaipur
So I did my day trip to Agra from Jaipur.
I got started at the Jaipur train station in the morning before sunrise, and I returned back to Jaipur past sunset. I took a “nicer” train, the Jaipur to Agra Fort Shatabdi Express.
This is also called a superfast train, and there are a few different routes across India for the Shatabdi Express type of train.
The train I took was specifically for travel between Jaipur and Agra.
There are 2 train stations in Agra, and the superfast express train that I was on went to the Agra Fort train station.
Making it a day trip to Agra, I found taking the train from the Agra Fort station to be convenient.
In planning my one day itinerary, I ended the day by making the last place to visit in Agra the fort!
This meant the train station was pretty close by, about a 10 minute walk to end the day.
Unfortunately, as of spring 2018, it seems as though they have discontinued the specific route of Jaipur to Agra to Jaipur for the Shatabdi Express superfast train.
But there are other trains available that could work out, and there are also buses between Jaipur and Agra.
Since Delhi is slightly closer to Agra than Jaipur is, I imagine that it’s reasonable to do a day trip to Agra from Delhi too.
If you end up doing a day trip from Delhi or Jaipur, just be prepared to be out all day.
But, the good news is at the end of the day, you’ll get to return to familiar territory!
To check train timings I like to use the trainman website or app. To check bus timings, I like to use the redbus website.
Is one day really enough in Agra?
Below is exactly what I did with one day in Agra.
See what you think about this DIY full-day Agra tour!
Here’s your itinerary with some of the best places to visit in Agra in one day
1. Visit the Taj Mahal
Cost: 1,000 rupees for foreigners (US$15)
Well, this UNESCO world heritage site is the #1 reason for visiting Agra, and it will be best to head to the Taj Mahal first.
This way, you can spend as much time on the grounds of the Taj Mahal as you want.
Then once you’re finished, you can determine how much time you have left, and what other sights in Agra you want to keep on your itinerary.
Now here are some quick tips for visiting the Taj Mahal
1. When planning out your Agra itinerary, you’ll also want to add in some buffer room for getting into the Taj Mahal
2. The lines may not be as long as they seem. (So don’t let the tour guides let you believe that they are!)
3. There are separate lines for foreigners
4. If you don’t take a backpack or bag, you can get visit the Taj Mahal quicker!
5. If you bring a prohibited item with you, there’s an easy solution. (There’s a luggage storage area.)
6. If you are forced to go check your bag from the entry gate, you don’t have to go back through the line when you return.
See more details about these tips for visiting the Taj Mahal.
Visiting the grounds of the Taj Mahal
Once you get through the entry gate…
Finally, what you came for!
The grounds of the Taj Mahal are pretty expansive.
And there is plenty of architecture to admire on the grounds of the Taj Mahal.
So if you want to enjoy the experience even more, you can spend some extra time here just taking it all in!
2. Visit a rooftop restaurant for the best views of the Taj Mahal with a cup of tea
A visit to the Taj Mahal can feel chaotic with the sheer number of people all around.
So next, a peaceful setting with a view of the Taj Mahal seemed perfect!
Sit back with a tea or a lassi (or both!) and enjoy some of the best views of the Taj Mahal from afar.
I went to the Saniya Palace Hotel, and you can walk to here from the south gate of the Taj Mahal.
You can also take a rickshaw, as there will be plenty of rickshaw drivers trying to get you to go with them.
But a rickshaw is unnecessary. It’s really a short walk to this rooftop restaurant.
3. Visit the Mehtab Bagh garden for the best views from behind the Taj Mahal
Cost: 200 rupees for foreigners (US$3)
Well, Agra is all about the Taj Mahal!
So next, it was off for another perspective of the Taj Mahal.
This time, it was a view across the Yamuna River… behind the Taj Mahal to get views from the back!
This was another peaceful setting away from the chaos of Taj Mahal visitors.
Be sure to walk through the gardens too, instead of just heading to the river and back.
Walking through the gardens will afford you another spectacular view of the Taj Mahal!
You can make this a quick visit, or you can spend an hour or more in the gardens surrounded by green.
I also saw a couple of birds here that looked nothing like any other types of birds I had seen before.
They were a rare appearance though!
4. Visit the Baby Taj because it’s the baby of the global icon!
Cost: 210 rupees for foreigners (US$3)
As I was going from the Mehtab Bagh to the Agra Fort by rickshaw, my driver pointed over to a monument that stood out on the river.
It was the Baby Taj!
I didn’t make it here for a visit, but this seems like another good place to admire architecture.
I asked my rickshaw driver to stop so I could take some pictures directly across the river from the Baby Taj.
When I was on the train from Agra to Jaipur, someone mentioned that they really enjoyed their visit to the Baby Taj.
So this could be another tourist attraction to consider if you have extra time in Agra.
5. Visit the Agra Fort
Cost: 500 rupees for foreigners (US$8)
By the time I visited the Agra Fort, I had visited the Jodhpur Fort, the Jaisalmer Fort, 2 more forts as day trips from Udaipur (Chittorgarh Fort and Kumbhalgarh Fort), and also the 3 famous forts in Jaipur (Amber, Jaigarh, Nahargarh).
So, you would expect that I’d be “forted out,” right?!
Well, I still thought the Agra Fort was pretty impressive!
You can take it slowly as you walk around the fort, palace, and gardens.
And, you’ll get a view of the Taj Mahal in the distance from the fort too! 😉
After spending 1,000 rupees on a ticket to the Taj Mahal, 500 rupees for the Agra Fort might seem like a little bit of a hefty price.
But I did think the Agra Fort felt pretty grand.
This is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
6. Visit the Jama Masjid
From the streets of Agra, this mosque (aka masjid) was another monument that stood out pretty well.
The Jama Masjid may not be a must-visit, but it’s located near the Agra Fort train station. So if you find yourself nearby with minimal luggage, it may be worth a visit.
So if I had more time before my train departed, with the proximity to the train station, I may have gone for a quick visit to the Jama Masjid.
Instead, I viewed it from the road and the train station!
So can this entire itinerary really all be done with one day in Agra?!
If you’re only in Agra once and you want to get the most out of your time there, then yes I think it’s reasonable to fit all of these things onto your one day Agra itinerary if you really wanted to.
I was running low on time so I didn’t make a formal visit to 2 of the places on this list.
But I got to Agra around 11am and didn’t get to the Taj Mahal until around noon as I didn’t go straight from the train station to the Taj Mahal.
Then I had to be at the train station around 5pm.
So this was 5-6 hours in Agra to give you an idea of what you might be able to do.
If you spend a night in Agra, or even 2 nights, I think it will be enough time to enjoy all of these sites if you start your day early and finish up right before sunset.
It might feel like a long day, but you’re only in this world-famous city once!
Getting around Agra by rickshaw: How much does it cost?
When you’re walking the streets around tourist attractions, you will be constantly asked if you want a rickshaw.
You will also most likely be quoted a price for the rickshaw much higher than is necessary to pay.
I’m not sure if I overpaid, but as a baseline, here are some prices that I considered to be reasonable during my time in Agra in 2018:
- Agra Fort train station to Taj Mahal: 100 rupees (US$2)
- Rooftop restaurant near Taj Mahal to Mehtab Bagh: 150 rupees (US$3)
- Mehtab Bagh to Agra Fort: 100 rupees (US$2)
It’s also possible to hire a rickshaw for a full day, or for a round-trip that includes waiting time.
For every one-way trip I took, during the ride, the rickshaw driver tried to get me to go add on another site too, or to agree to a round-trip cost.
This could be okay to agree to, but it makes it more important to make sure you get your first trip for a reasonable cost so your starting point isn’t too high.
Or you can just look to hire a rickshaw for a full day or half day from the beginning.
Lonely Planet India says that to hire a rickshaw in Agra for 4 hours should cost around 400 rupees (US$6).
It would seem that from other listed rickshaw prices that I may have overpaid a little bit, but… I was contributing to the local economy. 😉
That’s what you can tell yourself after you discover you got ripped off. 😉
HAPPY ONE DAY AGRA ITINERARY PLANNING!
How to spend 2 weeks in Rajasthan
- 3 days in Udaipur (city of lakes)
- 2 days in Jodhpur (blue city)
- 3 days in Jaisalmer (golden city)
- 3 days in Jaipur (pink city)
- 1 day in Agra
PLUS: How to spend one month in South India