Mumbai may be the commercial, financial and celluloid capital of India, but there is more to this city of slumdogs and millionaires than just its frantic mélange of extremes.
From swanky clubs to seedy slums, Mumbai is one metropolis that wows and appalls you at the same time. Added to this is the frantic frenzy of the crowd, financial excess, communal tug and choking pollution that can just leave you shell-shocked. If the awful traffic, fretting smog and shocking poverty is too loud for your senses and you wish for an escape from the din and bustle of Mumbai city life, then exploring the tourist places near Mumbai should give you that much-needed break. There are a host of places fringing Mumbai, from monumental centers, to picnic spots, wildlife parks and more for you to explore. Scroll down to find out some of the exotic places to visit around Mumbai to go, relax, enjoy and carry memorable moments with you.
Tourist Attractions Around Mumbai
Karnala Bird Sanctuary
Karnala, one of the famous fort cities, located in Panvel Taluka of Raigad, Maharashtra, 54 kilometers away from Mumbai, is the ultimate paradise for the bird-watchers. Established in 1968, this bird sanctuary serves as the home to migratory birds and other resident birds. Dotted with old forts, mountain ranges, lush forests, rivers and an exotic potpourri of flora and fauna, this place is highly famous for its avian songsters. Best time to flock this eco-friendly destination is between November and February.
Located 40 kilometers away from Mumbai, Kanheri Caves in Borivali is seated deep within the picturesque greens of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. This simple and minimally embellished basalt cave, which once served as the seat of Buddhist monks, is adorned with the unique figure of Avalokiteshwara, which is the major tourist attraction here. Small cells, curved pillars, stone idols, defaced woodwork and platforms are the other highlights of this cave. You can easily reach Kanheri caves from Mumbai by local trains, cabs and buses.
This hilltop destination is a huge favorite with tourists seeking for a quite recluse, away from the city din. Situated 108 kilometers away from the city of Mumbai, this popular gateway between Mumbai-Pune is located on the Sahyadri range. Whether you wish to see the panoramic view of nature or experience the most breathtaking views of sunrise and sunset, Matheran is one place that is sure to wow you with its natural splendor. Special attractions of Matheran are Charlotte Lake, Malet Spring, Porcupine Point, Echo Point, Panorama Point, Heart Point, Monkey Point, Alexander Point, Mount Berry, Luisa Point etc.
Situated 70 kilometers away from hustle and bustle of city life, this truly picturesque tourist outpost, streaked with lush green plains, hilly terrains and unspoiled atmosphere, is the ultimate hub for the adventure freaks. Located in the backdrop of Bhor Ghat, Karjat serves as an ideal place for trekking and river rafting. You can also catch up with other tourist hotspots like Bahiri Cave, Nakhind, Chanderi and Kondheshwar Temple here. This hilly hamlet is well connected to Mumbai with local trains shuttling between the city and Karjat almost every day. Best time to visit Karjat is between November and March.
One of the most popular hill stations in Maharashtra, Khandala, perched on the Sahyadri mountain range, is appropximately101 kilometers away from Mumbai. An ideal place for outing, this green hill station offers the ultimate sports for adventure freaks like trekking, hiking and rock-climbing. Khandala has umpteen numbers of attractions like Tugauli Lake, Lonavala Lake, Bhushi Lake, Karla and Bhaja Caves, Duke's Nose etc. You can reach Khandala by tourist buses or private cabs from Mumbai. Best time to escape to Khandala is from October to May.
The coastal town of Alibag is situated just 35 kilometers away from Mumbai, overlooking the Arabian Sea. This picturesque coastal area is flocked with tourists all over the year because of its scenic beauty and calm beaches, hemmed with coconut and betel trees. Special attractions of Alibag are Kolaba Fort, Tower of St. Barbara, Vikram Vinayak Temple, Janjira Fort, Kihim Beach, Nagaon Beach, Mandawa Beach etc. It surely is a must-visit place to unwind and revitalize. Many local transports shuttle between Alibag and Mumbai.
Ajanta Ellora Caves
Situated about 400 kilometers away from Mumbai, the magnificent hand-chiseled cave shrines of Ajanta and Ellora are nestled within the hills of Sahyadri near Aurangabad in Maharashtra. An outstanding architectural specimen of wonderful caves, enchanting sculptures and carvings, depicting the incarnations of Buddha, the intriguing Ajanta and Ellora Caves are a true marvel. There are 29 caves in Ajanta and 34 caves in Ellora with an enriching heritage of more than a million years and has been declared as World Heritage Site. One can reach Ajanta & Ellora Caves by tourist buses, trains or private cabs.
Lonavala hill station, snuggled in the Sahyadri mountain range, is 96 kilometers away from Mumbai. Lonavala not only attracts tourists from all over the world but is also a favorite destination for the adventurers. A Buddhist centre initially, now this hill spot serves as a vacation destination. Best time to visit Lonavala is from October to May.
Mahabaleshwar is a beautiful hill station lying in the Satara district. One can reach Mahabaleshwar in a private cab or a tourist bus. With a splendid mix of architectures of ancient and modern styles, Mahabaleshwar is crammed with exquisite forests, waterfalls, springs and valleys. Major attractions of Mahabaleshwar include Arthur's Seat Point, Malkam Point, Tiger Spring, Hunter Point, Castle Rock Point, Savitri Point, Elphiston Point, Cannought Peak Point, Wilson Point, Bombay Point, Babington Point, Krishna Valley and Venna Lake. Best time to visit Mahabaleshwar is from October to June.
About 170 kilometers away from Mumbai, Pune is known as the cultural capital of Maharashtra and the second largest city of India. Pune is famous for its nightlife and shopping streets. The must visit shopping venues are MG Road, Laxmi Road, Tulsi Baug, Fashion Street and Junna Bazaar. With a glorious past to its name, the city is famous for historical spots, museums, temples, palaces and hill forts. Famous tourist attractions are Shanwarawada Palace, Osho Ashram, Raja Dinakar Kelkar Museum, Pataleshwar Caves, Aga Khan Palace, Pashan Lake, Vishram Bagh Waada and so on. Best time to visit Pune is between October and March.
Shirdi is a divine domicile of Sri Sai Baba - the godly saint who taught universal brotherhood and religion to all and was the source of inspiration of this small town. Located in Ahmednagar, about 300 kilometers from Mumbai, the major hotspot of this shrine is a mosque like structure called Dwarkamai where Sai Baba spent most of his time. On your visit to Shirdi, you can also see the famous neem tree where Sai Baba originated. Other significant places to visit are his memorial called Guru Sthan, Chavadi and Khandoba temple. Best time to visit this place is from June to August.
Panchgani is one of the eminent hill stations of Maharashtra, located about 265 kilometers away from Mumbai. Mainly influenced by the British architecture and style, Panchgani is a fabulous place worth visiting with gracious greenery and valleys. Famous attractions are Sydney Point, Krishna Valley, Pandavgad, Mandhardeo etc. Though Panchgani is thronged with visitors all the year round, the best time to visit it is between October and May.