When the mundane Monday to Saturday schedule starts making the life of city dwellers hectic, often they take it as an indication of ‘vacation-calling’. And if it is about the life of the people of Mumbai- a city that never sleeps, then I am sure the pressure gets multiplied. But every problem has a solution and it is you, who need to sort that out. So, instead of complaining about the absence of greenery and peace in the city of Mumbai, let’s find out the places around the city which can be a true delight for weekend holiday lovers. Less time consuming, less crowded, and less polluted hill stations are the picks of this blog of ours. Let’s learn in brief about the best hill stations in Mumbai for planning a short weekend break.
Distance from Mumbai: 62km (Approx)
An ease to the eyes of Mumbaikars who are fed up seeing the same skyscrapers and vehicle studded streets, Karjat offers something which is beyond simple expectation. The noiseless streets, distant households, and multihued paddy fields have alluring charm and can mesmerise any solitude lover. The adventure loving tourists can go for trekking, hiking and mountain climbing in Karjat. Bhor Ghat, Ulhas Valley, Kondana Caves, Peth Fort are some of the major tourist attractions in Karjat.
Distance from Mumbai: 83km (Approx)
Perhaps the closest hill station to Mumbai, Matheran is situated at a height of around 803m above sea level in Sahyadri Hills. A completely unspoilt tourist destination in Maharashtra, this nature’s wonder is completely free of automobiles and serves as a paradise for the peace and tranquillity seekers. The heritage building of Elphinstone Lodge was built by Lord Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay and served as his weekend retreat. A fascinating toy train ride from Neral takes you through the hills and forests of Matheran and presents unrivalled memories. There are 33 look out points in Matheran, among which Porcupine Point, Louisa Point, Hart Point are the best.
Distance from Mumbai: 84km (Approx)
Located along the main train line connecting Mumbai to Pune, Lonavla is a delight for the tourists who are looking for a break from crowd and hectic life. The awe-inspiring views of Sahyadris and Konkan Coast are the achievements of a trip to Lonavala. The hill station is famous for Chikki, a caramelised sweet. The city is spread across the bustling main street, lined with several shops selling souvenirs and serves as an ideal base for exploring the nearby hills. Lonavla is a favourite base for avid rock climbers.
Photo: Mini Parameswaran
Distance from Mumbai: 93km (Approx)
A highly popular and worth visiting hill station of Maharashtra, Khandala is around 93km from Mumbai and ideal for a quick and unplanned weekend trip. One of the best tourist attractions in Maharashtra, this hill town is situated in the midst of Western Ghats and serves as a perfect hiking and trekking destination for the beginners. Duke’s Nose, Tiger’s Leap, Bhushi Lake, Karla and Bhaja caves, Ancient Jail and Amrutanjan Point are some of the must visit attractions in Khandala.
Photo: Selvin Kurian
Distance from Mumbai: 121km (Approx)
Set amidst the high mountains of Sahyadris in Western Ghats, Igatpuri is trekkers’ paradise and known for its grassy mountain slopes and green meadows. One of the major attractions of Igatpuri is the Dhammagiri, a Buddhist Pagoda which has 400 cells for individual meditation. Bhatsa river valley, Tringalwadi fort, Amruteshwar Temple, Ghatandevi temple, Camel valley etc. are some of the must visit attractions in Igatpuri.
Distance from Mumbai: 127km (Approx)
If you are not willing to spend much time travelling and yet wish to spend a romantic weekend with your close ones, mark Malshej Ghat on your list of favourite weekend getaways near Mumbai. Malshej Ghat is around 127km from Mumbai and enchants tourists with its share of adventure as well as leisure activities. Monsoon decks this wonderland with new garb as the greenery grows darker in its shade. Apart from the wildlife living in its deepest woods, Malshej Ghat presents several sightseeing options like Bird Graveyard, Shivneri Fort, Malshej Falls, and Pimpalgaon Joga Dam.
Distance from Mumbai: 155km (Approx)
The art lovers and the lovers of ethnic wears would need no introduction about Warli Paintings and I am sure if they get a chance to visit the place where there is a Warli painter in every household, they would go crazy. So, if you are one of those tasteful travellers, then do not forget to choose Jawhar as your next weekend retreat. Jawhar is around 155km from Mumbai and known for being the residence of Warli Tribes. The verdant forest, not-so-high hills and historic monuments give yet another reason to be in Jawhar.
Distance from Mumbai: 165 km (Approx)
Nestled among the picturesque Sahyadris at a distance of around 165km from Mumbai, Bhandardara is one of the best places to visit near Mumbai. The hills of this region reach a maximum height of 1600m and enfold cascading waterfalls and a plethora of green forests. The plains of Bhandardara are carpeted with fluorescent green paddy fields and compel the travellers to halt by the winding roadside. The major tourist attractions in Bhandardara are Arthur Lake, Wilson Dam, Ratangad Fort, Ghatghar, Kalsubai, Harishchandragarh fort, Mount and Amriteshwar temple etc. Bhandardara in recent past has become one of the best picnic spots near Mumbai.
Distance from Mumbai: 185km (Approx)
The hidden gem amongst the hills of Western Ghats, Lavasa is a perfect getaway for the nature lovers of Mumbai. This quaint hill resort lies at an elevation of around 640m above sea level. The dark green surroundings, long untouched roads and the undulating hills running across the city make it a perfect shelter for the people looking for a peaceful break. There are several parks and gardens in Lavasa where tourists can opt for a picnic or day outing with family. There is a lake in Lavasa which allows the visitors to get involved in different water sports activities.
Distance from Mumbai: 244 km (Approx)
Panchgani is a paradise for the trekkers and amuses all for the précised trekking routes passing through the green forests and lush valleys. It is around 18km east of Mahabaleshwar and looks stunning for the five surrounding hills. The town is also famous for being the starting point of many scenic trails. Tourists in Panchagni can quench their thirst of travelling, visiting the old Parsi and British bungalows.
Distance from Mumbai: 245 km (Approx)
A heaven for the devotees of Nature Goddess, Saputara appears to be the best destination to go for weekend holidays from Mumbai. Located in the lap of Sahyadris, this magnificent hill station is close to the Maharashtra border and situated in the Dang District of Gujarat. Around 245 km from the city of Mumbai, this hill station has verdant forest, charming lakes and a couple of lush gardens. The famous Gira Waterfall is only 49 km from Saputara. Saputara also houses the famous Pushpak Ropeway which is one of the longest ropeways in the country. Pandava Caves, Step Garden, Echo Point, and Sunset point are some of the major attractions near Saputara.
Distance from Mumbai: 254 km (Approx)
Mahabaleshwar is the largest hill station in Maharashtra and known among the globetrotters for its lush green vegetation, swaying paddy fields and lively waterfalls. Perched at a height of around 1438m above sea level, this summer vacation retreat forms a part of the magnificent Western Ghats. The literal meaning of the name Mahabaleshwar is the God of Great Power, and one would find it to be true when the old world charm of its heritage buildings and natural beauty is explored rigorously. Christ Church, Frere Hall, Government House, Krishna Temple are some of the major attractions in Mahabaleshwar. If you are fond of boating, Veena Lake at the outskirt of the town is an ideal option.
Distance from Mumbai: 382km (Approx)
Panhala is a popular hill station in Kolhapur District of Maharashtra and known among the tourists for the magnificent Panhala Fort. The town was the capital of Maratha rulers from 1782 to 1827. This gigantic fort is perched on a hill top in the Sahyadris and well protected by three impressive double walled doors. The fort was built by Raja Bhoja II in the 12th century and bears beautiful stone carvings on its walls.
Distance from Mumbai: 460km (Approx)
Tucked away on the hills of Satpura at a height of around 1461m, Toranmal is around 460km from Mumbai. The scenic surroundings and favourable climate are the USPs of this popular hill station. The main attraction of this place is the Mahashivaratri Festival when thousands of devotees gather to attend an annual yatra. Aawashabari Point, Yashwant Lake, check dam, Gorakshaknath Temple, Seven Steps view point, Lotus Lake, Nagarjun point and Sita Khai are the popular attractions in Toranmal.
Distance from Mumbai: 491km (Approx)
Amboli is a comparatively lesser known hill town in the lap of Sahyadris. The hill station reaches a height of around 690m and attracts visitors for abundant species of trees in the forest. Amboli receives heavy rainfall throughout the year and as a result remains covered with dense vegetation interspersed with several waterfalls. Soon after a spell of rain the region gets covered with dense mist and becomes perfectly pleasing in summers.