Strapped for cash but still want to take a holiday? No problem! You don’t need to have pots of money to take a break. Some smart planning and an open mind is all you that are required to have fun. Here are some pocket-friendly budget weekend getaways from Mumbai to consider taking off to.
If you’re a birding enthusiast, a weekend getaway is suited for you. Home to the Karnala Bird Sanctuary spanning over 12 square kilometres, this is where you can spot rare birds like the three-toed kingfisher, Malabar trogon and ashy minivet along with over 150 other avian species. Also worth the hour-long trek is a visit to the Karnala Fort atop a hill in the sanctuary. Also known as Funnel Hill, the fort dates back to the early 1400s. While accommodation in Karnala is sparse, choose to stay at a budget friendly private camp to stay on budget.
Distance from Mumbai: 48 kilometres
Karjat situated on the banks of the Ulhas River, is an idyllic getaway amidst nature’s best. Trekking is a major attraction here with the Chanderi Fort, Matheran via Rambagh Point and Peth Fort trails being the most popular. Also to be visited are the old temples, caves and forts in Karjat that serve as a reminder of its historical past. Budget conscious holidaymakers have multiple accommodation options to choose from in Karjat.
Distance from Mumbai: 62 kilometres
Located on the banks of the Bhatsa River, Vasind is surrounded by verdant hills. The Mahuli Fort stands tall in Vasind at a height of 2,815 feet. With caves and rock formations, it’s frequented by both trekkers and rock climbers who are eager to explore this rugged terrain. Visitors to Vasind can enjoy several picnic spots around the river and can also spend a night at the campsite set up nearby.
Distance from Mumbai: 63 kilometres
We all have visions of Aamir Khan serenading Rani Mukherji in the movie Ghulam at the mere mention of Khandala. This hill station tucked away in the Western Ghats is where you can take endless walks through its picture perfect terrain. Trek up to Khandala’s most famous peak, Duke’s Nose to feast on panoramic views of lush green hills in all directions. Other points of interest in Khandala include Tiger’s Leap and the rock cut Bhaja Caves that symbolise Buddhist architecture. Choose from a host of budget and mid-range resorts to stay at in Khandala or opt for quiet home-stay.
Distance from Mumbai: 81 kilometres
At an elevation of 2,625 feet above sea level, Matheran’s unique distinction is that there are no automobiles allowed in this hill station. An eco-sensitive zone, Matheran’s mode of transportation is horse back! Places to visit in Matheran include Louisa Point, Prabal Fort, Charlotte Lake and Shivaji’s Ladder, all of which offer spectacular vistas of the undulating topography. There are several budget accommodation options to choose from in Matheran so get going!
Distance from Mumbai: 83 kilometres
Alibaug is a favoured weekend getaway destination from Mumbai. With a vast stretch of shoreline, the Alibaug beach remains the most popular draw here. Other points of interest include the historic Kolaba Fort and Kanakeshwar Devasthan Temple with its 54-feet statue of Lord Shiva. Several locals rent out their cottages to tourists, making Alibaug an extremely budget friendly option!
Distance from Mumbai: 92 kilometres
Mountains, waterfalls and forts are synonymous with Igatpuri. Surrounded by the Western Ghats, the lush green forest cover makes it all the more stunning. Besides admiring it natural beauty, attractions in Igatpuri are plenty and include the Tringalwadi Fort, which houses a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, Ghatandevi Temple dedicated to the protector of the ghats and Vaitarna Dam, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. There are some reasonable budget and mid-range hotels to choose from at Igatpuri.
Distance from Mumbai: 120 kilometres
The Indo-Portuguese town of Silvassa prides itself in scenic beauty. The capital of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, explore the many architectural marvels that dot this town. Dating back to the 1800s, Our Lady of Piety Church boasts of extravagant interiors including carved archways, the Silvassa Tribal Museum houses a collection of tribal artefacts from the region including weapons and ornaments and Swaminarayan Temple with its elaborately carved temple walls – all of which are worth a visit. For some adventure, take a mini safari at Vasona Lion Safari Park where you can see lions in a 20-acre habitat and the adjacent Satmaliya Deer Park with plenty of deer and birds to sight.
Distance from Mumbai: 166 kilometres
The coastal jewel known as Daman is divided in to Moti Daman (Big Daman) and Nain Daman (Little Daman). Rooted in Portuguese heritage, there are many sights that amaze in Daman with the most prominent being Fort of Moti Daman, which dominates the landscape. Cross over the Damanganga River and stroll along Nani Daman’s fishing jetty. Daman’s Devka beach is always buzzing with activity but if you prefer something quieter, head to Jampore Beach where palms sway in the gentle breeze.
Distance from Mumbai: 171 kilometres
A popular weekend jaunt with accommodation options across budgets, the hills station of Panchgani is blessed with splendid scenery at an altitude of 4,242 feet. This once upon a time summer resort of the British Raj, Panchgani’s many vantage points offer panoramic glimpses of the fertile region. Popular attractions in Panchgani include the Rajpuri Caves with their healing kunds and the Lord Karthikeya Temple. Several prominent boarding schools call Panchgani their home including St. Joseph's Convent School where Bollywood actress Kajol studied.
Distance from Mumbai: 238 kilometres