Mumbai, India’s financial capital, is fondly called the ‘City of Dreams’. It is home to the second-largest movie industry in the world – Bollywood – and contains some of the most famous landmarks in India.
It has an incredibly diverse population and lifestyle – ranging from crushing poverty to extravagant cosmopolitan culture. India’s richest businessman lives here in a $2 billion home, but the city also houses the largest slum in Asia.
Mumbai now has a complex mix of British heritage buildings, swanky shopping malls, skyscrapers and ancient infrastructure like dhobi-ghat (a massive open-air laundry).
This 3 day Mumbai Itinerary will give you the chance to explore all facets of the city, from the modern, thriving nightlife to the age-old historical culture and architecture.
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Using the map of Mumbai, you can explore all the days and stops.
South Mumbai is considered to be the ‘happening’ part of the city of Mumbai. The locals take pride in the lifestyle, culture and history of their southern hub.
You can witnesses nightcrawlers swing to their guitar music along the Marine Drive right when the sun starts to set. Visiting any of the famous landmarks of this area will escalate your desire to linger there longer.
There is an endless list of popular attractions in South Mumbai itself. From Colaba Causeway Market to Khotachiwadi Village, there are numerous shopping opportunities as well.
From witnessing the grandeur of Gateway of India to exploring the Art district of Kala Ghoda, you will be spoilt for choice in South Mumbai.
After you check into your accommodation, the first place you should head to is the Gateway of India. One of the most iconic structures in Mumbai, it serves as the starting point of sightseeing for most tourists.
The Gateway of India was built during the British rule to commemorate Queen Mary and King George V’s visit to Mumbai. It is located at Apollo Bunder and was designed by British architect George Wittet.
It features a 26-meter high archway joined together with four turrets. You can see intricate latticework on the stones of the monument. The arch alone cost 2.1 million rupees to build.
It faces the Arabian Sea on one side and the renowned Taj Mahal Hotel on the other side. It is a must-visit attraction, especially at night, as its pristine glory against the glistening sea is unmatched.
Next, head to the Leopold Café for lunch amongst history. Located on Colaba Causeway, it is undoubtedly one of the most renowned restaurants in Mumbai. It has been operating successfully since 1871 and has been the background in numerous books and movies.
It was also one of the targets in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, and one can still see the bullet holes in the restaurant’s walls.
The restaurant offers a mix of Continental and Indian cuisine. However, it is more renowned for its ambience and history than the food.
After lunch, spend some time perusing the street markets lining the Colaba Causeway. It is quite popular amongst locals to shop for different items such as inexpensive junk jewellery, handicrafts, books, clothes, incense and crystals.
Browse the different shops and whatever you buy, do not forget to haggle to get the best deal.
If you are someone who prefers shopping at boutiques instead, visit ‘Clove The Store’, a fashion and lifestyle concept store located in the Art Deco area. The store offers a myriad of products from different Indian designers as well as numerous Ayurvedic wellness brands.
For a memorable experience, splurge on an elaborate high tea at Taj Mahal Palace. Located opposite the Gateway of India, it is the most luxurious and famous 5-star hotel in the city.
Dating back of 1903, this regal heritage hotel is dotted with history and opulence. The Sea Lounge at the hotel offers a gorgeous view of the sea across Mumbai Harbor.
The afternoon tea offered here is enough to satiate your soul with an elaborate selection of scones, sandwiches, cakes, muffins, gateaux, biscuits and fruit desserts.
Next, take a cab and take a drive along Marine Drive to reach Girgaum Chowpatty. The drive along Marine Drive is an experience in itself.
Fondly known as the Queen’s Necklace, this 3.6-kilometre promenade is a renowned landmark in the city. Featured in innumerable movies, it is considered to be the symbol of glamour and glitter of Mumbai.
It is extremely popular with visitors for watching the sunset or just for taking a stroll by the seashore. The view of the marine drive after sunset when the coastline lights up is breathtaking.
It is also considered to be one of the most romantic spots in the city offering a gorgeous view of the Mumbai skyline, coupled with the sounds of the waves and the star-filled sky.
Stroll through the narrow and colourful streets and marvel at the gorgeous Portuguese architecture in Khotachiwadi Village. This place is quite popular amongst tourists as it is a great place to take some amazing photographs.
The contrast between the loud and chaotic streets of Mumbai and the quieter area of Khotachiwadi is already evident here. You can explore the colourful Portuguese style houses, browse through the small plastered bylanes and witness the arched doorways, mini chapels and red-tiled roofs.
Witness the unique style of Portuguese architecture and take a break from the chaotic Mumbai streets. Do not forget to click some amazing pictures for Instagram.
After Marine Drive, head to Girgaum Chowpatty just in time for sunset. The beach is trendy amongst locals as an evening hangout where they flock to watch the gorgeous sunset to break free from their hectic city life.
The Chowpatty is lined with numerous street food stalls offering classic Mumbai street foods such as vada pav, bhel puri and pav bhaji. Make sure you don’t miss out on their delicious offerings.
Besides the food, this sandy beach is a great place to chill and a must-visit for all tourists visiting the city for the first time.
At night, the beach turns into a colourful fair with kids’ amusement rides such as a merry-go-round and Ferris wheel.
Today wake up early to experience the lifestyle of the city as it wakes up. On the second day, we will explore the more historical and traditional parts of the city.
Mumbai is a city of contrasts. Not only is it the financial capital of India and home to Bollywood and the richest man in the country, but it is also home to Asia’s largest slum. Many parts of the city still follow their ancient traditions and culture.
To view this aspect of Mumbai life, it would be best to opt for organized tours such as Good Morning Mumbai Tour. Offered by Mumbai Magic, it will take you across various interesting areas such as Dadar wholesale flower market, Sassoon Docks, Dhobi Ghat and British Heritage Buildings.
Situated in the heart of the city, Dhobi Ghat is known for being the largest outdoor laundry in the world. The Ghat is renowned across the globe for its rich history as well as for the numerous movies shot here.
If you visit here early in the morning, you will see numerous Washer-men, locally known as Dhobis, washing clothes by hand in the huge sinks. This tradition has been in place since centuries and continues even today.
The Dhobis begin their work at 4.30 am and often continue to work till the late hours of the night. It is considered a wonder that the Dhobis wash clothes of almost half of Mumbai’s population while still ensuring that all clothes reach their rightful owners.
If you want to unravel all that makes up this unique city, Mahalakshmi Temple will be one of the most important pit stops. Dedicated to deity Mahatmyam Mahalakshmi, the temple was built in 1831.
Though it is primarily a Hindu temple, it is visited by millions of people belonging to all faiths every year. If you travel in Mumbai local train, you will witness people folding their hands and praying as soon as the train enters Mahalakshmi station.
Endowed with the images of Tridevi goddesses – Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati and Mahakali, the divine experience you have on visiting the temple are unmatched.
Haji Ali Dargah is a famous place of worship for the people following Islamic faith in Mumbai. It is the mausoleum of Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.
Located on a small island near Worli, the entire structure comprising of white colored dome and four minarets depicts gorgeous Mughal architecture. It cover a sprawling 4500 sq. m and houses a mosque, tomb of the renowned Sufi saint and a 3-storey sanatorium.
A 700-yard long walkway runs over the water and connects the Dargah with the Arabian Sea shore. Walking up to the Dargah is a thrilling experience in itself as the waves lap against and walkway and there are no railings on it either. During high tides, the walkway often gets completely submerged under the water.
A visit to the Dargah offers a divine experience to its visitors. During high tides, it feels as if the entire structure is floating on water and there is no connection with the mainland.
A favourite local hangout is Worli Seaface. Worli Seaface is another prominent promenade in Mumbai where you can get gorgeous views of the sea from.
It is one of the most loved places in the city to experience the Mumbai monsoons as you can get remarkable views of the angry waves splashing against the road.
The iconic Bandra-Worli sealink, also known as the Rajiv Gandhi Sagar Setu, also originates from here. It is also one of the most preferred places of residence for the rich and famous celebrities of Mumbai.
It extends from the World Fort in North of the Narayan Pujari in South. It is also quite common to see movie scenes being shot here.
If you have watched a few Bollywood movies, you would have seen this place in many of them. Kala Ghoda is considered to be the art district of Mumbai.
Resembling Connaught Place in Delhi, the epicentre of Kala Ghoda is the Horniman Circle. It is basically a huge park surrounded by office complexes.
Kala Ghoda hosts numerous famous festivals such as Ruhaniyat - a Sufi music festival and the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
It is also known for the huge fountain built-in 1864 with the sculpture of Roman Goddess Flora in it. Listen to the soulful music and explore the Victorian-style structures in Kala Ghoda.
To take a look at some fascinating relics and antiques, visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai’s main museum. Housing some of the most cherished historical relics in the country, this landmark is a must-visit for tourists and locals alike.
The building of the museum is also an important city landmark due to its glorious architecture. It was designed by Scottish architect George Wittet who took inspiration from Agra’s Taj Mahal and Bijapur’s Gol Gumbaz.
It was conceptualized in 1905 after several prominent citizens of the city resolved to develop a public museum to commemorate the visit of Prince of Wales. The foundation stone was laid by the Prince himself.
The museum opened to the public in 1922 and was inaugurated by Lady Lloyd, wife of the Governor of Bombay. Today it houses a huge collection of artefacts and archaeological finds from the Mughal Era, Indus Valley Civilization and the Marathas.
There are numerous galleries dedicated to European paintings, Nepal-Tibet, armours and arms of Mugal Emperor Akbar and much more.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, commonly known as CST, is another UNESCO World Heritage site in Mumbai. It is an iconic railway station and works as the headquarters for Central Railways. Built-in May 1888, it is quite popular amongst tourists for its splendid architecture.
It is a great example of the Victorian Gothic Revival architecture and is an important railway station as well. Operated by Central Railway, it has 18 platforms with hundred of trains leaving them daily.
The song ‘Jai Ho’ in the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was shot here. It is also featured in the movie ‘Ra-one’. It has also featured in a show on BBC about the World’s Busiest Railway Station in the year 2015.
If you arrive at the right time, you may also see the famous Mumbai’s Dabbawalas in action as they bring back lunchboxes at the end of the day to return to their rightful owners.
Film City is undoubtedly one of the primary highlights of the city. Thus, it is quite popular among tourists as well. Equipped with several huge studios comprising of artificial lakes, mountains, cities, villages and garden, the landscape is so well-designed that it is hard to differentiate real from fake.
Built by Dada Saheb Phalke, film city dates back to early 20th century and is located in Goregaon near the Borivali National Park. It is one of the largest film studios in the world and a sight to behold.
On the other hand, the iconic Elephanta Caves are a wonder of nature, comprising of hand-carved caves inscribed with the images of Lord Shiva. You will need to take a short ferry boat ride to reach the islands on which the caves are located.
After this eventful trip, you can end the day with some street shopping and a delightful dinner at Ziya in Oberoi Hotel, Nariman Point.
Any visit to the city of Dreams is incomplete till you get a taste of Bollywood. If you are a fan of Hindi movies and are looking forward to witnessing the workings of the Indian film industry up-close, now is the chance.
Bollywood is the second-largest film industry in the world, producing thousands of movies every year. The Mumbai film city organizes a Bollywood Tour, which will take you behind-the-scenes of the magic of movies.
The official Film city tour comprises of a 2-hour guided bus tour. It takes you through various locations within the Film City, where you may even see a live shooting taking place. Besides this, there is another Live Show Tour, which would take you to the sets of a TV series. You can see actors working on set and take pictures with them.
After exploring the Film City, you would be taken outside the houses of several celebrities as well. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of them as well.
Nestled within Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Kanheri caves attraction hundreds of tourists from around the world who are looking for some isolation. There is a seasonal waterfall near the site as well, which gets lots of water during the monsoons.
The front passageway of the site is adorned with a stupa, which attracts curious minds to investigate the legacy of the caves further. Dedicated to the Buddhist faith, it is not only a spiritual place but a place of artistic exploration as well.
In ancient times, each cave was most likely used as a room for a monk; each one adorned with a stone platform that was used as a bed. You can also see an additional huge corridor housing a ‘Dagoba’ – a Buddhist image. The hall was probably used as a place for religious gatherings.
Elephanta Caves are a collection of cave temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located on the Elephanta Islands on the Mumbai Harbor, the island consists of 5 Hindu caves and few Buddhist stupas dating back to 2nd century BC.
It is a UNESCO Heritage Site and can be reached with a short ferry ride from the Gateway of India. There are 2 groups of alcoves on the site. The Hindu caves contain stone sculptures representing the Shaiva sect, including the ‘Trimurti’ or three-headed Shiva, Ardhnareshwar’ – a representation of Parvati and Shiva in a single body and ‘Gangadhar’ – a manifestation of river Ganga.
It is also one of the most popular trekking destinations in the city.
After to arrive back to the mainland after your trip to the Elephanta islands, the next place you should head to is a shopping haven – Fashion Street. This is the best place in Mumbai where you can test your bargaining skills and pick up some fantastic pieces to add to your wardrobe.
The rule of thumb followed here is to quote half-price and then bargain your way to the final price. Browse through the various shops, and you will be able to find numerous knick-knacks at throw-away prices.
Not only this, you will be able to find various A-grade imitation items of luxury brands at affordable prices (perfect for those travelling Asia on a budget). This means that you will have the chance to pick up your favourite pieces of Vera Moda or Levi’s at pocket-friendly prices.
After your shopping spree, you can try the various cafes and street food options available here. You can also enter one of the spas there to get a relaxing foot massage to ease your tired muscles.
After a whole day of sightseeing, it is time to end your 3 day Mumbai itinerary with a lavish, lip-smacking meal at Ziya – the signature restaurant in Oberoi Hotel.
Operated under the direction of two-Michelin starred Chef Vineet Bhatia, the restaurant serves traditional Indian cuisine with an innovative twist. If you are in the mood to savour the aromatic herbs and exotic spices of the East, Ziya is the perfect choice for you.
Chef Vineet Bhatia is considered to be the most talented Indian chef in Britain. He is known for breaking boundaries and combining various ingredients innovatively, coupled with a creative presentation style.
Relax in the elegant surrounding and enjoy the delicious dishes prepared under the guidance of one of the masters of Indian cuisine.
Mumbai is one of the most popular destinations amongst tourists visiting India, especially for those wishing to indulge in culture, spirituality, lip-smacking cuisine and days filled with adventure.
Mumbai is undoubtedly the most lively and colourful city in the country. It is a city that celebrates history and tradition while paving the way for the modern lifestyle. It is also the home to the renowned Bollywood film industry.
This 3-day Mumbai itinerary will ensure that you can dig your teeth into the juiciest parts of this gorgeous city. Discover the finest facets of the city and understand what makes Mumbai the epicentre of India’s economy.
Be prepared to explore and to have a memorable time in Mumbai!
This article was edited by Loredana Elena.
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