The City of Dreams, Mumbai is a spectacular paradox of the old and new, glamour and simplicity, modernity and tradition. Formerly known as Bombay, the city is a melting pot of cultures and lifestyles. Situated right beside the Arabian Sea, Mumbai has lots to see and do as a tourist. Despite this, being in the city can get exhausting, given its busy lifestyle and perpetually warm weather.
Seeking a refuge from the humidity and buzz, people often prefer to visit the hill stations nearby. Nestled in the Sahyadris (Western Ghats), such places offer much more than just scenic views. The best part about these is that you hardly need longer than a weekend to visit these. So, even if you are on a relatively short trip and getting bored at your hotel in Mumbai, you can head to these lovely spots. Below is a list of the best hill stations to visit near Mumbai:
Karjat (75 km)
Karjat is one of the greenest and most picturesque hill stations in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The best time to visit Karjat is during the monsoon, when the hills are covered in lush greenery and the waterfalls gush with all their might. This place is great for trekking, rappelling, white water rafting, valley crossing and many more adventure activities. Kondana Caves, Ulhas Valley, Bhor Ghat and Peth Fort are some of the major attractions in and around Karjat. Merely 1.5 hours from Mumbai, Karjat can be easily visited if you need a short break.
Matheran (81 km)
Matheran, one of the closest hill stations to Mumbai, is the one to throng if you are looking for some peace and tranquility away from a fast-paced city. This beautiful hill station is an entirely pollution-free zone and also one of the very few places in Asia that do not allow any vehicle. Matheran has 33 viewpoints, among which Porcupine Point, Louisa Point and Heart Point are the most iconic ones. This picturesque hill station is only 2 hours from Mumbai, ideal for a break any time.
Lonavala-Khandala (82 km)
Lonavala and Khandala are among the most preferred getaways for most people from Mumbai and Pune. Both these hill stations are blessed with lush green vistas, lovely waterfalls, crisp, fresh air and an atmosphere of complete relaxation. Mumbai to Khandala as well as Lonavala by road is about 1 hour 35 minutes, perfect for a relaxing outing. Must-visit attractions here include Kune Waterfalls, Lohagad Fort, Bhaja Caves, Karla Caves and Rajmachi Fort.
Malshej Ghat (125 km)
Malshej Ghat is a magnificent mountain pass in the Western Ghats with picturesque views, milky waterfalls and a variety of flora and fauna. Birdwatchers can spot some amazing species of winged creatures, and during the monsoon, you can enjoy the sights of pink flamingos.
Igatpuri (117 km)
Igatpuri is blessed with one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the region; therefore, it is a favorite of nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Igatpuri, with its many forts in the surrounding area, is an ideal place for trekkers. It is also one of the best places for rappelling and rock climbing. Those seeking peace and spiritual rejuvenation will revel in the cool breeze, scenic views and tranquility. Plus, Igatpuri is home to a center of the Vipassana International Academy, the largest Buddhist meditation society in the world that adheres to the ancient method of meditation, known as Vipassana. Other attractions here include Vaitarna Dam, Bhatsa River Valley, Tringalwadi Fort, Kalsubai Peak and Camel Valley.
Lavasa (165 km)
Lavasa is perfect for those, who want to spend some quality time amidst nature surrounded by all the modern-day luxuries. This is a planned city in the lap of the Sahyadri Ranges that gives visitors uninterrupted views of the scenic ranges and flowing rivers. Options for a plethora of adventure sports and exciting gaming zones further add to its allure among globetrotters. You can also enjoy indoor recreational activities at the Indoor Golf Recreation and Learning Center.
Mahabaleshwar (203 km)
Mahabaleshwar is well known for its diverse flora and amazing landscapes. This famous place gets a lot of tourists, who want to take a breather from their otherwise mundane life. This is the reason hotels in Mahabaleshwar are always packed to capacity. One of the best things you can do here is visit the strawberry farms. The Strawberry Festival held in March or April is something that must be attended. Arthur’s Seat, Wilson Point, Bombay Point, Kamalgad Fort, Elephant’s Head Point, Wax Museum, Venna Lake, Lingmala Falls and Velocity Entertainmentz are some of the major attractions in Mahabaleshwar.
Panchgani (221 km)
A hill station surrounded by 5 hills in the Sahyadri Ranges, the quaint town of Panchgani draws hordes of holidaymakers on weekends. It used to be a summer resort for the British officers during the Raj. Pleasant weather, British architecture and abundance of trekking routes make Panchgani a perfect holiday destination for Mumbaikars and people from other nearby cities.
Amboli (483 km)
One of the lesser-known hill stations in the Sahyadri Ranges, Amboli attracts visitors in large numbers because of its ever-pleasant weather, calming silence and verdant forests that are perfect for trekking and wildlife spotting. The woods abound in a huge variety of flora and fauna, so remember to take a camera with you. For breathtaking views, you can enjoy hiking to Madhavgad Fort.
Hill stations make for a perfect getaway if you are hoping to relax and rejuvenate your senses. Hence, without pondering much, quickly treat yourself to a vacation at one of these beautiful hilly places near Mumbai, and experience their vivid scenes firsthand.