A Travel Price Comparison for India Varanasi vs. Kolkata (Calcutta) for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Varanasi or Kolkata (Calcutta)?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Varanasi and Kolkata (Calcutta) can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Varanasi or Kolkata (Calcutta)?


Known to be one of India's holiest cities, many come to Varanasi on a spiritual pilgrimage looking to bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganges River. Dating back to the 11th Century BC, it is also one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Centuries old temples make up the backdrop, as many come and come again to perform their holy rights at the edge of the historic river.

Kolkata (Calcutta)

Formerly known as Calcutta, Kolkata is the capital of West Bengal, India. Featuring colonial architecture, galleries, temples, and festivals, the city has flourished from its roots as an East India Company trading post in the 18th Century to a thriving metropolis. Today Kolkata is a diverse center of culture and bustling activity.

Which place is cheaper, Kolkata (Calcutta) or Varanasi?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Varanasi is $30, while the average daily cost in Kolkata (Calcutta) is $37. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Varanasi and Kolkata (Calcutta) in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Varanasi $16
    Kolkata (Calcutta) $17
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Varanasi $32
    Kolkata (Calcutta) $34
Compare Hotels in Varanasi and Kolkata (Calcutta)

Looking for a hotel in Varanasi or Kolkata (Calcutta)? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Varanasi

Hotels in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Varanasi Hotel Prices and Kolkata (Calcutta) Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Varanasi $4.98
    Kolkata (Calcutta) $5.14
Typical Local Transportation prices in Varanasi

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Varanasi:

  • Tuk Tuk Through Town
  • Rickshaw Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Varanasi

Also for Varanasi, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer: Varanasi Station to Hotel: $12
  • Private Transfer Varanasi Airport (VNS) To Varanasi Hotels Drop: $12
  • Private Transfer: Varanasi Airport to Varanasi Hotel: $13
  • Varanasi Airport Transfer: $14
  • Varanasi Airport to hotel private transfer: $18
  • Varanasi Airport: Transfer to/from Varanasi Hotels & Airport: $18
  • Private Departure Transfer from Varanasi Hotel to Airport: $28
  • Private Varanasi Heritage Walk with Hotel Transfer: $28
  • Varanasi Airport Transfer: $30
  • Delhi Private Arrival Transfer From New Delhi Airport To Hotel In Delhi: $34
  • Private Departure Transfer to Airport from Hotel in Delhi By Car: $34
  • 3-hours Temple hopping with transfers: $34

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kolkata (Calcutta):

  • The Second City of Empire: A Kolkata Heritage Walking Tour with Private Transfer: $132
  • Private Transfer with English Speaking Representative : $20
  • Private Transfer from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (CCU) Airport to Kolkata: $58
  • Private Transfer from Kolkata to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (CCU) Airport: $59
  • Private Transfer Kolkata Airport CCU To Kolkata Hotels Drop: $22
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Kolkata Airport: $32
  • Path of Knowledge: A Heritage Walking Tour of Kolkata with Private Transfer: $136
  • Kolkata Airport to Hotel Transfer by Private Car: $43
  • Kolkata - Arrival transfer from Airport to Hotel: $28
  • Airport Transfer in Kolkata: $35
  • Airport Taxi: Round Trip Transfer Between Kolkata & Kolkata Airport CCU: $49

Is it cheaper to fly into Varanasi or Kolkata (Calcutta)?

Prices for flights to both Kolkata (Calcutta) and Varanasi change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Varanasi $7.18
    Kolkata (Calcutta) $14
Typical Food prices in Varanasi

For Varanasi, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:

  • Dinner In Town

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Varanasi

For Varanasi, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Varanasi Food Tour: $30
  • Cooking Classes in Varanasi for 2 Hours: $30
  • From Street food tour with Evening Ganga Aarti: $42
  • Private Evening Rooftop Dinner: $44
  • 3-hour Shopping and Street Food Tour on a tuk-tuk ride: $46
  • Evening Dinner with Private Transfer: $50
  • Afternoon tour of Varanasi with Boat ride over Ganges & Dinner on a tuk-tuk : $59
  • Night Boat Ride, Aarati Ceremony and Dinner: $62
  • Private Evening Street Food Tour: $63
  • India: Evening Ganga Aarti With Dinner and Private Transfer: $65
  • Private Evening Handicraft Market Tour with Dinner: $71
  • Night Boat Ride, Aarti Ceremony and Dinner: $100

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Kolkata (Calcutta).

  • Join in Kolkata's Authentic Walking Food Tour: $12
  • Cooking experience in Authentic Bengali House with Lunch/Dinner: $28
  • Small Group Kolkata Uptown Food Tour: $35
  • Alleyway Food Tour: $37
  • Dinner Cruise on Ganges Kolkata 3Hrs: $42
  • Kolkata Culinary tour (Food tour): $49
  • Cooking class and home cooked Bengali meal in New Town, Kolkata: $49
  • Half Day Sunset Cruise with Dinner in Kolkata : $341

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Varanasi $11
    Kolkata (Calcutta) $15
Typical Entertainment prices in Varanasi

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Varanasi's activities, tours, and tickets:

  • Boat Ride

Tours and Activities in Varanasi

For Varanasi, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Audio Guided Walk/Tour of Banaras Gullys & Ghats, Varanasi on HopOn India App: $5.34
  • Audio Guided Walking Tour of Banaras Ghats, Varanasi: $6.12
  • Varanasi Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $6.69
  • Varanasi Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $6.87
  • Sarnath Audio Tour on HopOn India App – Land of Buddha's First Sermon, Varanasi: $7.66
  • Spiritual and Heritage Walking Tour in Varanasi: $8.64
  • Ghats of Varanasi Morning Walking Tour: $9.87
  • Cultural & Spiritual Trails of Old Town Varanasi Guided Walking Tour: $9.88
  • Varanasi Walking Tour : $12
  • Cycle of Life, Death & Rebirth (2 Hours Guided Walking Tour): $12
  • Travel With Monu- Tour Guide in Varanasi: $12
  • Heritage Kashi Photography Tour(2 Hours guided walk to capture hues of Varanasi): $13

Tours and Activities in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Kolkata (Calcutta) are as follows:

  • 2-Day Tour to The Taj Mahal, Agra from Kolkata with Both Side Commercial Flight: $572
  • Romantic tour in Howrah: $433
  • Romantic tour in Kolkata: $433
  • The best of Howrah walking tour: $433
  • The best of Kolkata walking tour: $436
  • 14 Days Private North East India Tour from Kolkata: $2,572
  • 2 day trip to Agra from Kolkata with air tickets: $864
  • 2 day trip to Agra from Kolkata without air tickets: $504
  • 2-Day Tour to The Taj Mahal, Agra from Kolkata with Both side Commercial Flights: $568
  • 2-Night Private Taj Mahal and Agra Tour from River Cruise Pier: $667
  • 3 Days Guided Private Tour of Kolkata : $200
  • 3 Days Private Tour of Kolkata & Sunderbans : $370

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Varanasi $7.90
    Kolkata (Calcutta) $8.32

Sample the Local Flavors in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Also in Kolkata (Calcutta), these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Pub Crawl Kolkata: $20

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Varanasi and Kolkata (Calcutta), we can see that Kolkata (Calcutta) is more expensive. And not only is Varanasi much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Varanasi would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Varanasi and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Kolkata (Calcutta) would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Kolkata (Calcutta) than you might in Varanasi.

Which is Bigger, Varanasi or Kolkata (Calcutta)?

Kolkata (Calcutta) is bigger, and its population is about 4 times larger than the population of Varanasi. When comparing the population of Varanasi vs. Kolkata (Calcutta), keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit and the activities that interest you.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Varanasi vs. Kolkata (Calcutta) Travel Comparison

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