If you’re someone who believes that long lists, shopping trips and meticulous planning are the cornerstones of a good holiday, you’ve probably already planned for the impending long weekend. However if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum so far as travelling goes, an unplanned long-weekend will probably end one of three ways - a bike ride to Lonavla, (let’s face it - if you’re a true blue Mumbai local, you know that chocolate fudge is the main attraction), a horse ride in Matheran (an activity that, quite surprisingly, hasn’t lost its charm over the years) or in another horizontal date with Netflix and your mattress. Does that mean that newer, fresher holiday experiences, filled with the excitement of exploration, are out of reach for the last-minute planner? Not quite. Beyond the teeming island of concrete and crowds that is Mumbai, lie quaint villages, unexplored coastlines, cultural retreats and rich hot spots of biodiversity that are havens for both nature-lovers and adventure junkies alike.
Is navigating through the labyrinth of the web to seek these out still more work than you’d like to put in? Well we have you covered with this list of 10 lesser-known getaways that are just a short drive or ferry ride away from Mumbai (and no, Alibaug does not make an appearance on this list). From visiting a Warli village in Dahanu to lounging under the sun on a rare, pristine beach near Malad, our curation of day-trips around the city is a definite wave goodbye to clichés, without stretching your wallet.
So, scroll down and pick an offbeat day-trip that matches your travel style - the options are endless.
I. Exploring The Warli Village Ganjad, Dahanu
How To Get There: We suggest you take a local train from the Western Line and get off at the last station - Dahanu Road. The village is only 20 minutes away from there.
Travel Time: 3 hours
A beautiful village situated in the foothills of the lush rain-fed Sahyadris, Ganjad is home to 40 houses adorned with Warli art - ancient stylistic paintings made with rice paste that have a profound relationship with nature. The village is also home to renowned Warli artist Anil Vangad - who has given demonstrations globally on Warli. If you are lucky, he might even treat you to a tour of his village and introduce you to the intricacies of Warli art. You can also sit with artist Jivya Soma Mashe, who has also been conferred the prestigious ‘Padma Shri’ award, and watch him work. A visit here ensures that Warli art is enjoyed in a setting that it truly represents - a village, its people and their lives.
II. Kayaking and Fishing in Vasind
How To Get There: We suggest you take a local train from the Central line to reach Vasind, or load up the car for a pleasant drive.
Travel Time: - 1 and a half hours
Vasind may lie just a few kilometers outside Mumbai but it’s a whole world in itself. The most scenic locations in Vasind lie nestled in between the Mahuli hills and Bhatsa river with kayaking (even under the moonlight) offered by Easy Adventures. You can even try your hand at the trap form of fishing - at Vasind, they have special instructors who can help you baith the perfect catch for a unique, river-to-table dining experience.
III. Taking In The Untouched Beauty Of Bordi Beach
How To Get There: We suggest you take the Ghodbunder Road to NH8 in Versova, Mira- Bhayander.
Travel Time: 2-3 hours
This is a quaint small beach-town along the borders of Maharashtra and Gujarat Bordi where Irani-Parsis built their colonies many years ago. Known for its untouched beauty, this scenic hamlet is marked by the presence of casuarina trees, coconut groves, and chickoo orchards. For trekkers, hills like Mahalaxmi, Asherigad, Bahrot, and Kahoj offer adventurous trails and a spectacular view too!
IV. River Rafting In Kolad
How To Get There: We suggest you take the NH17 Highway route.
Travel Time: 2 hours
Kolad is perhaps most famous for the Kundalika White Water Rafting, which is the only all-year white water rafting location in India. If you’re looking for accommodation options at Kolad, we suggest the Big Red Tent camping ground with hammocks, camp fires, picnic tables and dimly lit hurricane lamps. Th camp stay is perfect for a night of rest and relaxation, especially after an adrenaline-pumping brush with Kolad’s legendary rapids.
V. Soaking In The Cultural Richness Of Udvada, Gujarat
How To Get There: We suggest you take the Gujarat Express train to Udvada.
Time Time: 2 and a half hours
The pilgrimage center for Zoroastrians world over, soak in the Bawa culture at Udvada. Lounge on the Udvada beach which has a beautiful shoreline or visit the Faredoon Cottages - ancient structures that reflect the culture and history of the Parsi community in India. As for food lovers, this is the ultimate haven for Bawa cuisine. According to this blog by Bawi Bride, “this has to be the only town where you can feast like a king on all kinds of Parsi food without having to trek distances or waiting for that elusive Parsi wedding invite.” Parsi signature dishes like Salli Per Eedu, , Khurchan and Kheema Pav, Fried Fish “Boi”, Pulao Dar, Mutton Pulao Dhansak, hand-churned mango ice-cream, mawa cakes and Dudh Na Puff are all up for your binging pleasure.
VI. Lounging On The Beaches Of Manori and Gorai
How To Get There: We suggest you to take a ferry from Marve Beach at Malad.
Travel Time: Barely a 5-minute ride by sea or 1-2 hours by road depending on what part of the city you are in.
Known as the mini Goa in Maharashtra these beaches are a blend of the serene seashore and breath-taking environs surrounded by some quaint villas. If you are a history buff, Manori is a good place to be. You can visit the Global Vipassana Pagoda that has relics of Gautam Buddha or the Mobai Bhavan Museum ; a rare East Indian Museum with displays of artefacts, showcasing the lifestyle and traditions followed by their forefathers.
VII. Trekking At Lohagad Fort, Khandala
How To Get There: We suggest you take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway route by road or take a train to Pune and get off at Malawi station.
Travel Time: 2 and a half hours
Situated in the lush Sahyadri range of Lonavala, the fort is at an elevation of 3400 feet. To get here, you need to trek up the steps that cover a distance of around 5 kms. Many Maratha and Vidarbha rulers used this citadel, making it an important part of Maharashtra’s political history. Exquisite sculpting can be seen at the fort entrance that speaks of the art and architecture prevalent in those times. For explorers, there is also a step well and a large tank constructed during the 18th century that is waiting to be discovered.
VIII. Being One With Nature at the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Panvel
How To Get There: We suggest you take the Eastern Expressway by road or take the local train on the Harbour line to Panvel.
Travel Time: Approximately 1.30 hours
Spread over an area of 4.8 square km, this sanctuary houses 150 resident birds and 37 types of migrant species. For nature lovers, it is a treat to sit quietly and listen to the many different bird calls! Lush greenery can wipe your mind of the noise and pollution of the city, making Karnala Bird Sanctuary the perfect getaway for those looking for some peace and quiet.
IX. Extreme Adventure and Jungle Camp at Della Adventure, Lonavala
How To Get There: We suggest you take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway route.
Travel Time: Approx 90 minutes.
Hear us out before you accuse us of tainting this list of lesser-known holiday spots around Mumbai by listing this resort and adventure park. The offerings at Della are unparalleled - from the thrilling Motocross rides to Zorbing, your itinerary will be pretty packed. But what piques our excitement the most is their Jungle Camp Package which offers trekking and trailing in the wild with expert rangers who provide guidance about the terrain and the region’s unique history.
X. Paragliding & Trekking in Kamshet
How To Get There: Take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway route.
Travel Time: 2 hours
Quietly nestled in the Western Ghats, Kamshet is now a globally renowned paragliding destination thanks to the host of flying facilities that have opened up in the past decade. However, Nirvana Adventures, one of the oldest paragliding schools in the area, is quite popular with both Indian and foreign paragliders alike. They also offer treks that include valley-crossing, hiking, rappelling and a ropes course amidst scenic locales.
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