Weekends are the most awaited days for overworked urbanites. Thankfully, there is no dearth of places around Mumbai to unwind after a hectic week. The surrounding countryside of Mumbai offers an eclectic mix of natural beauty, wilderness and adventure to the travelers. Here are 15 of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai.
A Quick Glance Through
- Elephanta Caves – 10 km
- Sanjay Gandhi National Park – 34 km
- Karnala Bird Sanctuary – 50 km
- Karjat – 63 km
- Matheran – 83 km
- Lonavala – 90 km
- Alibag – 96 km
- Kamshet – 110 km
- Kolad – 122 km
- Kashid – 126 km
- Malshej Ghat – 130 km
- Igatpuri – 135 km
- Murud Janjira – 153 km
- Bhandardara – 165 km
- Harihareshwar – 198 km
1. Elephanta Caves – 10 km
A group of rock-cut caves, located on Elephant (Gharapuri) Island in Maharashtra, is a quick getaway from Mumbai city. Known as Elephanta Caves, these ancient caves are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and date back to the 2nd century BC.
The Elephant Island lies just 10 km off the coast of Arabian Sea, near Mumbai. By ferry, it is about an hour away from the iconic Gateway of India.
It houses a collection of caves, associated with the cult of Hindu God Shiva, and a few Buddhist caves. The caves are spread over two hills, separated by a valley.
While the most visited caves are located on the western hill, the eastern hill hosts artistically carved stupas. A trip to Elephanta Caves offers a sneak into Maharashtra’s rich cave culture of the bygone era.
2. Sanjay Gandhi National Park – 34 km
Vast expanses of green, rolling hills with abundant flora and fauna, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) makes for a perfect day trip for Mumbaikars. It lies in the Western Suburbs of Mumbai near Borivali and is roughly 34 km from Mumbai Central locality.
Popularly known as Borivali National Park, it is one of the most beautiful national parks in Maharashtra. In 1996, it was renamed as Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
The famous attractions here include jungle safari, Kanheri Caves and Van Rani (toy train). With a large number of nature trails, trekking is one of the popular activities in this park.
It is conveniently approachable by train from the local train station in Borivali. The park entrance is walkable from the train station or you can catch an auto-rickshaw to reach here.
3. Karnala Bird Sanctuary – 50 km
One of the nearest wilderness areas to Mumbai, Karnala Bird Sanctuary is stationed along the Mumbai-Pune Highway. It is a small sanctuary, spread over barely 12 sq km but is home to more than 200 species of birds.
In the middle of the sanctuary, atop a hill, lies the ruins of Karnala Fort that dates back to the early fourteenth century. A nature trail dotted with beautiful vistas leads the way to this fort.
Monsoon is the best time to visit here when the surrounding hills are brimming with greenery. Malabar grey hornbill, Nilgiri woodpigeon, Indian Roller and magpie robin are some of the birds that can be spotted in the sanctuary. With the onset of winters, quite a few migratory birds also arrive here.
The sanctuary is almost 1.5 hours’ drive from Mumbai. Panvel is the nearest local train station, located some 12 km away. From Panvel, you can take any state transport bus, plying on this highway.
4. Karjat – 63 km
Nestled on the banks of the river Ulhas, Karjat offers a perfect nature retreat to Mumbaikars. Karjat is well known for its eye-pleasing vistas, replete with lush hills, elated waterfalls and ancient caves.
Not to mention, Monsoon is the best season to visit here for nature lovers. Kothaligad (Peth) Fort, Kondana Caves, Bhivpuri Waterfall and Ulhas Valley are the major attractions in Karjat.
Owing to a multitude of nature trails in the area, it is also popular as a trekking destination among adventurers. Plenty of outdoor adventures, like rappelling, zipline and river rafting in the Ulhas river are also offered here.
Being one of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai, it draws hordes of travelers longing for a short break. Karjat is hardly a 1-1.5 hours’ drive from the city.
5. Matheran – 83 km
Set at an elevation of 800 m (2,600 ft), Matheran is a beauteous hill station in the majestic Western Ghats. It forms a part of Maharashtra’s Raigad district.
Albeit one of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai, this hill town still remains unscathed by the modern civilizations. It is an eco-sensitive region where automobiles are not allowed within the town limits. So, you can explore this place either on foot or on horse’s back.
Matheran was discovered by Hugh Malet, the erstwhile district collector of Thane in 1850. Enamoured by its cool and rarely humid weather, British used Matheran as a summer retreat.
The hill station is widely known for its 38 viewpoints that include Panorama Point, One Tree Hill Point, Hart Point, Porcupine Point and Louisa Point amongst the many. For the adventurers, it offers umpteen opportunities for trekking through the scenic trails of the ghats.
Dasturi Naka is the last point in Matheran for motor vehicles. It is around a 2-hour drive by car from Mumbai. The nearest railway station is in Neral and from there, you can take a toy train joy ride till Matheran hilltop.
Also Read: 12 Best Hill Stations in India.
6. Lonavala – 90 km
Famously known as the twin hill stations, Lonavala and the adjacent Khandala sits at 622 m (2,041 ft) in the Sahyadri ranges. Lonavala gets its name from the word lonavli, which refers to a series of caves situated nearby.
The twin hill stations have a special natural charm during the monsoons when the surrounding hills are draped in greenery. They are not just one of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai but are also Mumbaikars favourite vacay spot year-round.
Bushi Dam, Duke’s Nose, Karla, Bhaja and Bedsa caves are the popular attractions around this place. Besides the dazzling natural beauty, you can explore many splendorous forts of the bygone era, like Lohagad, Visapur, Korigad and Tikona.
Lonavala is also known as the “Lake District of Western India” as it is dotted with plenty of man-made lakes. The likes of Pavana Lake in Lonavala is popular as a camping destination.
Also Read: 20 Major Lakes in India That Will Amaze You.
Lonavala is easily accessible by road from Mumbai and is nearly a 2-hour drive. Khandala is another 15 minutes’ drive (5 km) from there. By train, you can reach till Khopoli and take a bus or a taxi for onwards journey to Lonavala, around 15 km away from Khopoli train station.
7. Alibag – 96 km
A tiny coastal hamlet in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, Alibag is famed for its serene beaches and historic splendour.
The town of Alibag owes its existence to Kanhoji Angre, the fearless naval commander of Marathas during the eighteenth century. Nearly a kilometer away from the town lies the captivating Alibag Beach that attracts hordes of beach-loving travelers.
Adding to the charm of the beach is an imposing marine fort, built by Marathas to counter invasion attempts by the Portuguese and British. That’s Kolaba Fort, which is situated not more than a kilometer away from the shores of Alibaug.
It is easily approachable on foot during low tide. You can wade through the water or hire a horse-driven buggy to reach there. The fort not just offers a panoramic view of the Konkan coastline and the Arabian sea but also gives a sneak into the glorious past of Marathas
Besides the popular Alibaug Beach, there are many placid beaches in the vicinity. Kihim, Versoli, and Mandwa are located on the northern side of Alibag Beach and Nagaon is on the southern side.
Also Read: 12 Most Famous Beaches in India.
As one of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai, it offers an escape from the clamour of city life. It is approximately 2.5 hours’ drive from Mumbai. On extended weekends, traffic congestion might add to the travel time.
8. Kamshet – 110 km
Surrounded by blooming meadows flush with sunflowers and neatly stitched paddy fields, Kamshet is an enchanting hill station in Pune district of Maharashtra. It is perched at an elevation of 670 m (2,200 ft) in the Sahyadri mountain range.
A wealth of state-of-the-art paragliding facilities is a prime attraction of this place. From a joyride to professional gliding, you can get all sorts of paragliding experiences in Kamshet.
Apart from adventure activities, you can explore the caves and lakes situated nearby. Bedsa Caves, Bhairi Caves, Pavana Lake and Vadivali Lakes are some of the popular tourist spots here.
Kamshet is one of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai that lies hardly 110 km away. It is almost 20 km ahead of Lonavala-Khandala, the twin hill stations. By cab, it takes around 2.5-3 hours to reach here from Mumbai city.
9. Kolad – 122 km
Tucked away in the Sahyadri mountain range, Kolad is a noted river rafting destination in Maharashtra. It is one of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai, roughly 3 hours’ drive away (122 km).
Kundalika River is the prime attraction in Kolad where adventure seekers can enjoy white water rafting. In addition to this, adventure water sports like kayaking, jet ski and banana boat rides are also offered here.
Kolad is blessed with abundant natural beauty in the form of plentiful waterfalls and swathes of green meadows. Monsoon is the best time to soak up the exquisite landscapes that beckon the nature lovers to visit this place.
Tamhini Falls, Bhira Dam, Ghosala Fort and Kuda Caves are some of the famous attractions near Kolad.
It is conveniently accessible by road from Mumbai via the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Kolad Railway Station is the nearest railhead to the village with direct train connectivity from Mumbai.
10. Kashid – 126 km
Straddling the Alibag-Murud Road, Kashid is a beach village in Raigad district of Maharashtra. Kashid Beach is located approximately 135 away from Mumbai city.
The beach here offers tranquility and solitude, since it is not crowded most of the day. Plenty of waters sports facilities, including jet skiing and parasailing, are available at this beach for adventure lovers.
As one of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai, it draws weary city dwellers looking for a beachside escape. By car, it is a 3.5 hours’ drive from Mumbai. Buses might take a bit more time but the travel time is usually less than 4 hours.
If you are interested to know more about planning a trip to Kashid, check this post: Kashid Beach – Ultimate Guide To The Jewel of North Konkan.
11. Malshej Ghat – 130 km
Sitting pretty amid the Western Ghats range, Malshej Ghat is a wondrous mountain pass along the Thane-Ahmednagar Road in Maharashtra. It is nestled at an average altitude of 700 m.
Malshej is one of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai that you have to visit in Monsoon. Cloud-kissed hills, gushing waterfalls, lush valleys and a multitude of flora and fauna attract many nature lovers to this place.
The backwaters of Pimpalgaon Joga Dam is another major attraction here. It is especially famous for the migratory European flamingos, which arrive here between July and September.
A fabulous 3 hours drive from Mumbai via Kalyan, Shivale, Kasgaon and Tokawade takes you to Malshej Ghat.
12. Igatpuri – 135 km
In the Nashik district of Maharashtra, at an altitude of 600 m (2,000 ft), located is the quaint hill station of Igatpuri. Encompassed by the towering mountains of the Sahyadri ranges, it is a trekkers’ haven.
Camel Valley, Bhatsa River Valley, Tringalwadi Fort and Dhammagiri (Vipassana Meditation Centre) are the must-visit spots in Igatpuri.
It is one of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai that is worth-seeing in Monsoons. Blessed with a plentitude of tumbling waterfalls in rains, Igatpuri offers spectacular scenery of the surrounding verdant hills.
From Mumbai, it is around 3 hours’ drive from and is also well connected by train.
13. Murud Janjira – 153 km
Lying about 12 km west of Dapoli town in Maharashtra, Murud village is renowned for the majestic Janjira Fort and serene Murud Beach. The Janjira Fort is built on a massive oval-shaped rock in the Arabian Sea that is accessible from Rajapuri Jetty by boats.
It remained unconquered despite several takeover attempts by foreign forces and the ruins of the fort are a testament to its resilience. Some edifices and canons inside the fort are still in good shape and are worth-seeing.
Aside from the Janjira Sea Fort, Murud Beach is another famous attraction here. A long stretch of black sand and the palm-fringed shoreline, this beach boasts of picture-postcard landscapes. Murud Beach is perfect for swimming and activities, like jet skiing, speed boat ride and parasailing.
It is one of the nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai that is almost 4 hours’ drive. On extended weekends, the traffic rush might add to the travel time.
14. Bhandardara – 165 km
Lying on the banks of the river Pravara, Bhandardara is a charming hill station in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. It is dotted with some astoundingly beautiful nature trails and mountain sceneries.
The must-visit places in Bhandardara include Arthur Lake, Wilson Dam, Randha Falls and Ratangad Fort. Arthur Lake is a reservoir of the Wilson Dam constructed on the river Pravara.
From the short hikes in the scenic Sahyadri range to the thrilling trek to the Mt Kalsubai summit, this hill town is an adventure lover’s delight. At 1600 m (5,400 ft), Mt Kalsubai is the highest peak in Maharashtra as well as in the Western Ghats.
Bhandardara is approximately 165 km away from Mumbai and a 3.5 hours’ drive via the Mumbai-Nashik road. The nearest train station is in Igatpuri (40 km).
15. Harihareshwar – 198 km
Nestled on the Konkan coast, precisely where the Savitri river flows into the Arabian Sea, Harihareshwar is a tranquil beach town in Maharashtra. It is enveloped by the four hills of Harihareshwar, Harshinachal, Bramhadri and Pushpadri.
The Harihareshwar Beach, Ganesh Gully and Kalbhairav temple are the prime tourist attractions in Harihareshwar. A narrow mountain passage, just about 3 ft wide, leading to the Om-shaped Harihareshwar Beach is called Ganesh Gully.
The beach offers awe-striking views of the Arabian Sea in the backdrop of rugged hills. It is bereft of tourist footprints most of the day. So, if you want to experience nature’s bliss in solitude, Harihareshwar is an ideal place to visit.
Kalbhairav temple attracts a large number of religious tourists from all across the country. It houses idols of Trimurti deities – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh along with Goddess Parvati.
By cab, it takes almost 5 hours to reach here from Mumbai. Buses also ply from Mumbai to Harihareshwar.
Over To You Now…
What all places have you explored from this list of nearest weekend getaways from Mumbai? Tell us in the comment section below.
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