Morning view of Dal Lake

Getty Images/Flickr RM

Dal Lake

Top choice in Srinagar

Over 15km around, Dal Lake is Srinagar's jewel, a vast sheet of water reflecting the carved wooden balconies of the houseboats and the misty peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains. Flotillas of gaily painted shikaras (gondola-like taxi boats) skiff around the lake, transporting goods to market, children to school and travellers to delightful houseboats inspired by originals from the Raj era.

If you get up early, you can paddle out to see the floating flower and vegetable market: a colourful spectacle, but one where you can expect plenty of attention from souvenir vendors.

For a visual portrait of Dal Lake life, watch the prize-winning 2012 movie Valley of Saints.