We being travelers love to explore new places which are historical and close to nature. And the amazing city of Mumbai has provided us with a plenitude of such opportunities. There are so many wonderful places to visit in Mumbai and there is no dearth of places to visit near Mumbai if you are looking for a perfect weekend getaway or a long weekend holiday. Here are some of our favorite places around Mumbai where we like to hang out on weekends and holidays.
Mahabaleshwar is a popular hill station in Satara district of Maharashtra. Mahabaleshwar is around 6 hours journey from the city of Mumbai and about 3 hours from Pune. The location of the hill station in the Sahyadri mountain range endows it with numerous vantage points offering breathtaking views of lush green mountains and valleys.
Elephant Head Point
If you are looking to cover all the points in the city then you may need to extend the weekend holiday to a day or two more. Another important draw of the hill station is its strawberry farms. Visit during the season to devour on some delicious and scrumptious strawberries.
Panchgani is another hill station close to Mahabaleshwar and offers equally stunning vantage points. Table Land is one of the popular attractions in Panchgani. The flat plateau at an altitude of 1386 m is the second highest mountain plateau in Asia. A walk along the edge of the plateau offers marvelous views of the valleys and the surrounding mountains.
One of the best places to visit when in Panchgani is the village of Bhilar popularly known as the ‘Book Village’. Around 25 premises in the village like schools and private houses have opened libraries open to the public for free. This is one of its kind in the country and a great initiative. A couple of hours drive from the city of Panchgani is the UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites of Kaas Plateau. Kaas Plateau is known for its beautiful landscape comprising of rich flora. The best time to visit Kaas Plateau is from August to October when the place is in full bloom with a variety of colorful wildflowers and butterflies.
One of our favorite things to do in Mumbai during the rainy seasons is to go trekking. There are plenty of trekking spots in and around Mumbai which are a great respite from the bustling city life. Karjat is a city some 90 mins drive from the city of Mumbai.The hiking trails wind through the lush forests and are dotted with gushing rivers, streams, waterfalls and historical places like forts and temples. The trekking spots located in the beautiful countryside let you experience the quaint village life and the rich flora and fauna. Kothligad or Peth Fort, Kondeshwar Temple, Kondana Caves, Bhivpuri Waterfalls are some of the amazing places to visit in Karjat.
Kolad is a small village set on the shores of banks of River Kundalika some 3 hours drive from on Mumbai. The village turns lush green during monsoons and the River Kundalika flowing with full force is a major point for water sports activities especially rafting, rappelling, river crossing, and kayaking. There are also a couple of waterfalls, forts, and lakes to visit around the village.
Bhira Dam is one of the places not to miss when visiting Kolad for its scenic location. The dam is surrounded by lush green hills dotted with waterfalls and peaks covered in clouds during the monsoons.
Matheran is a beautiful hill station couple of hours drive from Mumbai. The best way to get to Matheran is to board one of the trains on the Mumbai-Karjat route and get down at Neral station. From Neral Station one can take one of the shared taxis to the summit. The route up the hill itself is full of a thrill as the taxis take numerous hairpin bend turns. During monsoon, the route is overflowing with stream and waterfalls is a sight to behold. All public vehicles are allowed only until a point on the summit.
Further inside into the village and to vantage points one has to trek, hire horses or board the toy train. There are over 40 viewpoints offering stunning views of the hills and the valleys. You will find numerous homestays, resorts, hotels, and restaurants in the Matheran Village. You can visit any time of the year but summers can be very hot and humid and so our favorite time is monsoons (rainy seasons).
Aurangabad City popular as the tourist capital of Maharashtra State makes for an ideal base to visit the historical caves of Ajanta and Ellora. The city is about 7 hours drive from Mumbai which definitely needs a long weekend. But if you are looking to spend only a weekend in the city then there are well connected night trains from Mumbai to Aurangabad.
The Ajanta Caves are located at a distance of 100 km from the city of Aurangabad which needs a complete day to explore. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ajanta Caves are a group of 30 Buddhist Caves. The caves of Ellora and other historical sites like Daulatabad Fort, Khultabad which houses the tomb of emperor Aurangzeb and the Bibi ka Maqbara can all be visited in a day.
Nashik is an ancient pilgrimage city situated on the banks of Godavari River. The city is well known for the magnificent Kumbh Mela held every 12 years where pilgrims gather to bathe in a sacred Godavari River. The other major draw of the city is its wineries and vineyards. Nashik hosts several wine festivals and is popularly known as the ‘Wine Capital of India’. Also worth a visit in the city is the ‘Statue of Ahimsa’, an idol of first Jain Tirthankara Rishabhdev carved in monolithic stone, said to be the tallest Jain idol in the world. The Pandavleni Caves, or Nasik caves, are a group of 24 Buddhist caves dating from the 1st century BCE and the 2nd century CE. The city is also home to several historical temples.
Alibaug is a popular coastal town 3 hours drive from Mumbai. The fastest way to reach Alibaug from Mumbai is to take a ferry from ‘Gateway of India’ in Mumbai which reaches Mandwa Jetty in about 45 minutes and from there it is another 45 minutes ride by bus or by auto rickshaw. There are several unspoiled and beautiful beaches in Alibaug which are great for a laidback holiday. Murud- Zanjira Fort amidst the vast sea is a wonderful sight behold at the Murud Beach. The fort is accessible during the low tide or by a boat ride.
Murud Janjira Fort
The beaches host a range of watersport activities and interested can also try some delicious street food (Indian Chaats) sold on carts around the beaches. The town of Alibaug has a charm of a coastal town with coconut palm-fringed resorts and homestays, mouthwatering seafood and gorgeous coastline. The town also has a couple of historic forts, temples, and churches which are great to explore.
Pune is another bustling city 3 hours drive from Mumbai well connected by buses and trains. There are several important historical landmarks in and around Pune like Pataleshwar cave temple, Shaniwarwada, Aga Khan Palace and Sinhagad fort. The city is also home to some great museums and ample of green space like gardens and parks around the city. There are also several trekking spots and camping grounds around Pune for adventure lovers. The hill stations of Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani are much closer to Pune than Mumbai and hence Pune can be a perfect base for reduced hours of journey.
Lavasa is a hill station and a private resort town 4 hours drive from Mumbai and a couple of hours from Pune. The city with colorful waterfront houses is said to be inspired by the town of Portofino in Italy. The city is located in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra offering breathtaking views of the mountains and the valleys.
Do not miss a visit to the Temghar Dam which is situated in a scenic landscape surrounded by lush green hills. There are several indoor and outdoor recreational activities and watersports hosted by Lavasa for adventure lovers. The city also has numerous restaurants and stay options like hotels and resorts to make the most of your weekend.
Have you visited these places around Mumbai? How many of these are on your bucket list? Do share with us your favorite weekend spot near Mumbai in comments.