Travelling goes beyond just seeing a beautiful place. It is a journey of personal growth that enhances your knowledge of different cultures, food, lifestyles and languages. Though we know that the pandemic is still raging on, and the restrictions of the lockdown have not yet fully lifted, no one says you have to constantly confine yourself to your house. We have compiled a list of getaways around the City of Dreams — Mumbai — that are perfect for short term trips in very small groups (remember those gloves, masks, hand sanitisers and social distancing norms).
Keep in mind that the requirement of e-pass for inter-district travel in state-run buses may have been withdrawn, but you still need one if you are using your private vehicle for travelling. Click here to apply.
Here are 10 beautiful getaways that you can travel to for a break.
1. Karnala Fort
This beautiful hill fort situated 52 km from Mumbai in the Raigad district offers you serenity. Historians say that the fort was constructed under the Devagiri Yadavas and the Tuglaq rulers before 1400 CE. Due to its strategic positioning in terms of main trade routes into the Deccan Plateau, the Gujarat Sultanate, the Ahmadnagar Sultanate, the Portuguese, the Mughals, the Bhonsle Maratha clan and the British East India Company wanted to take control of the fort in different time periods.
Now, the fort is perfect for hiking. Two trails lead to the top, a fort trail and the nature trail and the trek is about 2.7 km. Luckily, the forest department has created five resting spaces on the route. The nature trek is even shorter and is about 1.2 km. At the bottom of the fort, you will find the Bhavani temple. One can also visit the Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
This green offbeat hill station is at a distance of 83 km from Mumbai. This area is an eco-sensitive zone and the word Matheran actually means “forest on the forehead”. There are about 38 viewpoints in Matheran that offer a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding areas. Some of these are the Monkey Point, Heart Point, Louisa Point, and Porcupine Point among others.
The place is known for its British style architecture and some places you can visit include the Dodhani Waterfalls, Charlotte lake, trek to Kalavantin Pinnacle, and Chanderi Caves among others.
Places to stay: Check out these Airbnb options.
This tiny village is nestled in the Sahyadri ranges and situated by the banks of river Amba, all at a distance of 76 km from Mumbai. If you want to connect with nature and interact with the butterflies while strolling through orchards and take a dip in the waterfall, this is the place for you. Monsoon is the perfect time to visit this place!
Visit the mountain forts of Sarasgad and Sudhagad at an altitude of 490 meters located in Pali township. This fort was renovated and restructured under Maratha king Shivaji.
Places to stay: Durshet Forest Lodge, Khopoli
About 95 km away from Mumbai, the coastal town of Alibaug in the Raigarh District is a must-visit if you want to relax by the beach. Steeped in Portuguese culture, the place will delight the true history buffs. Drive down to the Revdanda Fort and the Korlai Fort, around one hour away. Don’t forget to enjoy some beach time at the Revdanda Fort.
You can also visit the Magen Aboth Synagogue which is a testament to the Bene Israel Jews who lived in the coastal town. Kolaba Fort and the Hirakot Fort also highlight the architectural prowess of the Marathas in the region.
Places to stay: Check out these farms, cottages and resorts in Alibaug.
This village is situated in the Pune district and is about 110 km away from Mumbai. The village affords a beautiful view of the Sahyadri ranges. There are places that you can trek to like the Kondeshwar cliff, Tower Hill or Shelar. There are several caves to explore in the area like the Bhaja Buddhist Caves, Bedse Caves, and Karla Caves among others.
Visit the Ulsan Lake and Shinde Wadi hills and drive to the Pawna Lake only 30 mins away and enjoy the views!
Places to stay: Check out these beautiful stays in Kamshet.
Located about 130 km from Mumbai and nestled in the Western Ghats, Igatpuri’s greenery will soothe your eyes. Having visited this place myself, I can vouch for the beauty and peace this place offers. One can visit the site of ‘The five waterfalls’, the Igatpuri cemetery, and the Bhatsa River Valley just as you enter Igatpuri.
Reach the Kalsubai Peak at a distance of 35 km from Igatpuri or if you want to be in tune with yourself, you could visit the Dhamma Giri Meditation Centre.
Places to stay: Check out these beautiful stays in Igatpuri.
This fishing village falls under the Mumbai Suburban district and is less than 50 km away from Mumbai making it possibly one of the most convenient places to visit in the entire list. Manori is also known for its delicious seafood and wherever you stay, make sure you ask them about the fresh catch.
If you had been planning a Goa trip for a long time which was cancelled due to the pandemic, Manori may be able to give you the beach vibes you were anticipating. Other well known and clean beaches in this village like the Manori beach, Gorai Beach and the Marve Beach.
Located in the Raigad District, this quaint little town is only 70 km away from Mumbai. This peaceful and quiet place has a lot to offer. The Kondana Caves, located about 12 km from Karjat, are a group of 16 Buddhist caves. The caves are filled with beautiful structures and walls with the carvings. You could also visit the Kondhane waterfalls while you are here.
Other than that, visit the Blackwater of the Pali Bhutivali Dam, Ulhas Valley, Bhivpuri waterfalls, the Bahiri Caves and enjoy the beautiful view from Kothaligad fort.
Places to stay: Check out these beautiful stays in Karjat
This village in the Raigad district is located about 117 km away from Mumbai. Situated by the banks of River Kundalika, Kolad is well known for river rafting. There is plenty of scenic beauty to view from the Devi Kedar Janani Hill. There is also the Sutarwadi Lake and the Tamhini Falls and if you want to visit forts, check out the Tala Fort and Ghosala Fort. Willing to travel the distance? Then visit the Buddhist Kuda Caves located about 37 km.
The only place in the entire list perfect for a staycation, Forest Hills at Tala is a place where you can take it slow and just enjoy nature without having to move from one place to the other. This place is located about 136 km from Navi Mumbai and this eco-resort has a lot to offer.
You can enjoy the nature trails and this place is not too far from the Kuda Caves. You could also take a bicycle and explore the vicinity of the beautiful resort. Check out how they do organic farming here to provide you with chemical-free food. Other than these, you can take a dip in the pool (if open) or enjoy a relaxing massage.
Place to stay: Forest Hills at Tala
Now that you know where you go, grab that e-pass and visit these beautiful getaways. Stay safe and unwind!
Featured Image credits: Manori beach, Manori
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)