Vijayawada travel guide – Amidst the post-second-wave of the pandemic, I visited one of Andhra Pradesh’s most well-known cities, Vijayawada. Standing by the waters of Krishna River was a moment to remember. Anyone who’s ready to get sweat beads on their foreheads, or simply interested in ancient temples, Vijayawada is the perfect spot for you!
While the city bustles day and night, it also features the 4000 ft Prakasam Barrage over the river along with ancient temples like the Undavalli Caves. Apart from its rich history, Vijayawada is simply a photogenic city.
Here’s everything you need to know before visiting Vijayawada. Here goes the Vijayawada travel guide!
Vijayawada Travel Guide: Things to Know
Vijayawada Travel Guidelines during COVID
With the pandemic getting worse over the past year, here are some things to look out for while touring Vijayawada:
- Keep your gear on! Masks on, sanitizers handy – yep, just keep up with your safety even if others don’t. When I visited, people were careless on the streets with their half-worn masks and social distancing.
- Visit temples at non-peak periods. While temples like the Kanaka Durga temple can be overwhelming to visit during a special occasion, it’s best to avoid crowds. Go for late mornings or early evenings.
- Use services like Ola and Uber for transport. Local transport such as autorickshaws, buses, and vans are bound to get crowded. While Ola cab services are expensive, they follow their own strict guidelines for COVID.
With the pandemic’s second wave subsiding in India, travel restrictions aren’t very stringent. But it’s better to stay alert on travel between states when traveling via flight. During the post-wave period, travelers from the states of Maharastra and Kerala had more restrictions.
Where is Vijayawada?
Vijayawada lies right by one of the capitals of Andhra Pradesh, Amravati, across the vast Krishna River. From Amravati, the easiest way to get there is over the Prakasam Barrage.
From other southern parts of Andhra Pradesh, traveling by bus is the cheapest way to Vijayawada.
Vijayawada International Airport: However, the most popular route (and the quickest) is via the Vijayawada International Airport. Being on the outskirts of Vijayawada, it takes around 30 minutes (18 km) to get to the city over the NH16 service road.
Cab services like Ola work here. It’ll cost you anywhere between 500-600 rupees from the airport. Pick Ola autorickshaws for a budget ride.
Where to Stay in Vijayawada?
There are tons of options for accommodations in Vijayawada. For tourism, I’d recommend staying in the city, close to most of the attractions in Vijayawada and also the Krishna river.
Look for stays close to the Vijayawada MG road that passes by the Indira Gandhi Stadium. The prices here are reasonable for budget travel and also cut down costs on transport. The most used transport here is the autorickshaw and it’s quite affordable to get around as well.
Here’s a map with stays from Booking.com to help you choose your accommodation along with their prices. A moderate accommodation should range anywhere between 1000-1500 rupees here:
To choose better, here are the best budget hotels in Vijayawada.
Budget Accommodation in Vijayawada
With tourism evergreen and growing in Vijayawada, accommodation at all levels is on the rise here – be it 5 Star hotels or cheap budget stays under 1000 rupees.
Being a budget traveler myself, here are some tips for finding the right hotel for your stay:
- For budget travelers, make sure your accommodation is close to the Vijayawada bus stand (PNBS). Though prices can be higher, you’ll save money on transport and also time.
- Go for AC rooms. The heat and humidity in Vijayawada get unbearable. While AC rooms cost more, their prices have reduced over time as many budget hotels offer this facility for low rates.
- Stays and lodges of around 1000 rupees are a modest price for one night in Vijayawada.
Considering all of it, here are some best hotel deals to pick from on Booking.com. Check out the best fit for you!
Tips before Visiting Vijayawada
- What to Pack? It’s best to go for light clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sun lotion. With Vijayawada close to the east coast, it experiences humidity throughout the year and mild winters from November – February.
- Keep cash handy! Many shop vendors, taxis, and places do accept online mobile payment here, but it’s best to keep some cash in hand for
- Best time to Visit: Visit Vijayawada during the winters (November – February). Thus, you avoid July’s monsoon rains and also the scorching heat of the summers in March. Added to heat, with vacation period, Vijayawada tends to get crowded during the summers.
- Keep the temples and caves for the evenings. Especially when you’re walking under the sun, avoid the afternoons. We walked the streets of Vijayawada for lunch and it was
What is Vijayawada Famous for?
Temples, temples, and more temples! While the city is known for its caves and temples, the state locals from other parts of Andhra Pradesh visit here for its theatres, malls, markets, and leisure activities.
But from a traveler’s perspective, apart from the rich ancient temples, the Prakasam Barrage and the Krishna River flowing right by the city is a sight to capture.
With the waters gushing with force and people bustling over the bridge, it was a beautiful chaotic evening.
Best Things to do in Vijayawada
1. Walk on the Prakasam Barrage
Yes, don’t just drive over the barrage, walk on it! The evenings are the best time to walk here. You don’t need to walk the entire 1-kilometer stretch. You can walk a part of it and still catch an autorickshaw anywhere between!
With 70 gates across the barrage, the waters can get really loud when it’s released from the 3 channels’ end – and it’s a sight out of a dream! So look up the water release timings for an option, it’s usually the evenings.
2. Stay/Visit the Bhavani Island Resort
Bhavani Island is one of the biggest river islands in India. One good reason to visit it is that river islands aren’t permanent. That’s what makes these 130 acres of islands standing in the Krishna River one of the key attractions of Vijayawada.
Apart from the fun activities like the dinosaur park, golf, and garden maze, also check out the Bhavani Island Resorts Villa for a stay. However, after diving into its reviews, most stress how the island is great only for a day’s visit and nothing more.
3. Wander the Kondapalli Fort
The Kondapalli fort lies on the outskirts of Vijayawada and about 18km from the Prakasam Barrage. Though it lies far from most tourist spots in Vijayawada, it’s worth the heat ride! Its large coverage area lets you immerse into its history and its breathtaking views.
The towers here not only are a majestic sight but also let you breathe in the stunning views of the city from the top. Sure, the forts and buildings are only 3 stories, but they date back to the 14th century.
Here’s a fun fact – this massive spot was used for military training and now it stands popular for its handcrafted wooden toys!
4. Visit the Bapu Museum
Are you into archeological museums? Well, the Bapu Museum, formerly known as the Victoria museum, is a must-visit spot for history enthusiasts.
Built-in the year 1887, along with its ancient relic exhibits, it’s sure to fascinate any person. Here’s the coolest part of it – this very museum is the spot where Pingali Venkayya presented the Indian Flag colors to Mahatma Gandhi in 1921. The very flag was then adopted to become the National Flag during independence!
Now, let’s get back on track with this Vijayawada travel guide.
5. Walk into the Undavalli Caves
One thing Vijayawada’s known for is its rich heritage. There are tons of fascinating caves and temples that make this place a cultural haven.
Undavalli Caves stands as the highlight of the city, making it a must-visit spot for any traveler visiting Vijayawada. It lies on the Amravati’s side of the Krishna River across the Prakassam Barrage from Vijayawada.
We visited the Undavalli Caves and the breathtaking views of the greens and the river from the peak were totally worth it. Make sure to visit it in the evenings!
6. Spend an evening at the Kanaka Durga Temple
Not far from the Prakassam Barrage is one of Vijayawada’s most well-known temples of the goddess Durga.
While it’s a 400-step climb up to the majestic structure, there’s lift availability for the elderly. I wasn’t aware of its popularity until I looked it up and found it has a staggering 30,000 reviews. Not many pictures of the place are found on the internet as photography isn’t allowed here.
For those who wish to only catch its sights, it’s best to visit on the off-times of the darshans. For darshan timings, check out its official website.
7. Check out the Akkana Madanna Caves
Laying on the other side of the Krishna riverbanks (on the Vijayawada side), opposite to the Undavalli caves, are the Akkana Madanna Caves. Not to mention, they also appear very similar to the Undavalli Caves itself.
However, these aren’t as highlighted as the Undavalli Caves. But being only a few kilometers away across the Prakassam Barrage, why not give it a visit as well?
8. Hinkar Thirtha Temple
About 25 kilometers from Vijayawada’s center towards Amravati, Guntur district is the massive Hinkar Thirtha Jain temple on Vijayawada’s highway. While devotees visit this temple every year during a particular occasion, its architecture is something to ponder.
Like most Jain temples, it has marble pillars. But the Hinkar Thirtha is known for its beautiful artworks, inscriptions on its pillars, and its exquisite marble structure.
Best shopping spots in Vijayawada
Done with roaming the city? Getting back a souvenir for someone from here? Or is it simply a bucket list thing to shop in every corner of the world? Well, Vijayawada’s got you covered!
Luckily, most of the popular shopping spots run on the same lanes, close to one another at the heart of the city. A day should be good to finish up on shopping. But again, some people naturally spend more time shopping :)
Here are some well-known marketplaces and malls to check out in Vijayawada:
1. Besant Road
The Besant Road is one of the busiest streets of Vijayawada, bustling with markets of all sorts almost at all times. Daytime goes by with vendors that offer clothes, accessories, toys, and various other products.
The evenings are filled in with the food vendors till the late am, offering various sorts of delicacies.
2. MG Road Markets
No, not the Bangalore MG Road market, the Vijayawada’s MG Road is another similar spot to the Besant Road! Here, you can find great wooden and metal handcrafted items for souvenirs.
3. Kondapalli Shopping District
Kondapalli comes off as a small region of Vijayawada. Right by the popular tourist attraction – Kondapalli Fort – is the marketplace of colorful crafts, toys, and other accessories in Kondapalli.
4. Elluru Road
Staying by the Vijayawada’s bus station? Guess what – you’re already on a market road! Right from Vijayawada’s bus station, the Elluru road makes up for a bustling stretch of vendors of all sorts on either side of the road.
Be it hotels, sports and furniture shops, gold shops, complexes, and movie theatres, you can find them all here.
5. Shopping Malls in Vijayawada
More and more shopping malls have been turning up here over the years. Coming from Bangalore myself, I don’t find malls very appealing as they all offer the same facilities and stores – be it any part of the country.
As a traveler, I’d pick the bustling markets of a place to understand a spot rather than its fancy malls. But people do love checking malls out. The comfort and the step away from the heat make it all more alluring.
So here are some of the most well-known shopping malls in Vijayawada:
- Trendset Mall
- MVR Mall
- PVP Square Mall
- D-Address mall
- LEPL Centro
- Bang Shopping mall
Vijayawada travel guide: Tailpiece
That sums up this Vijayawada travel guide. There are actually many more places to visit, like the scrap museum and the Gandhi hill in Vijayawada. I shall be making a separate post on it.
However, the places mentioned in this post are the most popular and also safe to visit for most travelers. I hope you have a great trip to Vijayawada. Feel free to tell me about it. Have a great day :)
*This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost of the products to you. I recommend products and services I trust.