Marina Beach

Beach in Chennai (Madras)

Image by Muralidharan Alagar Arts and Photography Getty Images

Take an early morning or evening stroll (you don’t want to roast here at any other time) along the 3km-long main stretch of Marina Beach and you’ll pass cricket matches, flying kites, fortune-tellers, fish markets, corn-roasters and families enjoying the sea breeze. But don’t swim: strong rips make it dangerous. At the southern end, the ridiculously popular Madras Lighthouse is India's only lighthouse with a lift; the panoramic city and beach views are fabulous.

Kamarajar Salai, flanking the beach, is lined with particularly fine Indo-Saracenic buildings, among them Presidency College and the University of Madras' Senate House.