Action-packed Mumbai, India’s financial capital, is known to be a loud and chaotic city that’s overwhelming at times. As a result, it’s natural to want to escape for a while. The best day trips to take from Mumbai offer adventure, nature, history, beach, wine and more. Here’s where to go.
Just north of Mumbai, in the opposite direction to Alibaug, the beach town of Vasai feels more like Goa with its pervasive Portuguese heritage and peaceful palm-lined streets. Back in the 16th and 17th centuries, Vasai was much larger and more important than Mumbai—although, nowadays this is hard to believe! The remnants of historic Vasai Fort, which was the headquarters of Portuguese rule, is the main attraction and its history is fascinating. You can also marvel over ornate churches and ancestral homes (some of which are centuries old), visit a religious statue carving workshop (the statue makers have received multiple UNESCO awards for heritage conservation), and dine on delicious local cuisine.
historically known as Bassein or Baçaim is a historical suburban town in Palghar district of Maharashtra state in Konkan division. It forms a part of Vasai-Virar city.
Alibaug has always been a popular getaway from Mumbai, as it’s a short ferry or speedboat ride from the Gateway of India in Colaba. However, it recently became even more appealing as a day trip destination after the opening of some hip new restaurants. The best of them is Boardwalk by Flamboyante at Mandawa Port. Situated right on the seafront, just a few steps from the jetty, you’ll be able to kick back with a cocktail and feel like you’re somewhere in the Mediterranean. You can even travel there in style, as one of the owners has a luxury yacht and packages are available (phone 99205-69772 for details). Alternatively, charter your own boat for the day! If you’re going on a weekend, be sure to book a table well in advance.
Also at Mandawa Port, Beach Box is India’s first container park, where old shipping containers have been turned into into fashionable boutiques set around an amphitheater. Kiki’s Cafe and Deli is another outstanding oceanfront option for dining at the jetty. It’s open for breakfast onwards, for those who like to get an early start.
If you want to venture further afield, there are some interesting art galleries in and around Alibaug such as The Guild and the Dashrath Patel Museum. Another trendy place to hang out for the day is Bohemyan Blue.
Matheran is delightfully unique because it’s the only hill station in India where vehicles aren’t allowed. Situated about 2.5 hours east of Mumbai, it’s an ideal place to escape the ubiquitous honking and city pollution, and enjoy the fresh mountain air. Getting there, by toy trainor horseback from the car park, is also memorable. More than 35 viewpoints are dotted around Matheran, reached by walking tracks through the forest. For an extra dose of nature, stop by Saguna Baug Farm near Neral, about 35 minutes from Matheran. It offers an exceptional rural experience, with so many things to do that it’s worth spending a whole day there for great family fun. Packages, including lunch, are available.
If you’ve got kids, they’ll be thrilled with a day trip to one of India’s top amusement parks in Khopoli, a couple of hours from Mumbai on the way to Pune. Conveniently spread across 300 acres just off the Expressway, Adlabs Imagica is made up of a theme park, water park and snow park. Oh, and there’s a luxury Novotel hotel too, in case you want to extend your time there. The theme park has more than 25 rides for kids, families and thrill-seekers (including India’s largest roller coaster). The novel 15,000 square foot snow park offers numerous activities, from toboggan rides to climbing a snow castle, in freezing conditions. You can also experience real snowfall. If that hasn’t cooled you down enough, the 15 rides at the water park definitely will!