Like much of India, Mumbai is a city of contrasts - contrasts that greet you on every street corner. This you experience in the juxtaposition of contemporary architecture and stately Victorian buildings; sprawling markets and glittering shopping malls; vast urban slums and luxury hotels. It may take you a moment to adjust to Mumbai’s frenetic pulse and loud energy, but dig a little deeper and you’ll soon discover the charming soul of this vibrant metropolis.
Mumbai is a vast Indian city, extending along India’s west coast. Originally a fishing village, the city became known as Bombay during its time under British colonial rule. A financial and manufacturing hub, Mumbai holidays transport you to a city that’s fast-paced and dynamic, packed with life of all colours and shades.
A world of discovery awaits your holiday to Mumbai
At Mumbai’s heart, some of colonial architecture’s greatest feats stand tall and proud. A visit to the magnificent train station introduces you to the city’s most extravagant gothic-era building - Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj - an embodiment of British colonialism in India. Join the throngs on the harbour waterfront to take in the iconic Gateway of India stone arch.
Colaba is Mumbai’s neighbourhood of old-world charm, a maze of dilapidated buildings and mismatch colonial architecture. Stop for afternoon high tea at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel; spend the rest of the day browsing souvenir stalls, boutique shops and trendy restaurants. As dusk falls, head to Marine Drive with the rest of the city - a palm-lined boulevard, between Nariman and Chowpatty Beach, and a popular spot for street-food and sunsets.
Mumbai is the Bollywood capital and the epicentre of India’s thriving film industry. A holiday to Mumbai would not be complete without an authentic Bollywood show - celebrating the diversity and colour of Indian culture. Other city highlights include intriguing Elephanta Island and the authentic Sassoon fishing docks. Find tranquillity in the tropical expanses of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, just outside the city.
If you’re ready to start your journey to one of the world’s most mesmerising destinations - get in touch. We’ll ensure you have the trip of a lifetime.
Great sample itineraries
From the palm-fringed span of Kerala to Rajasthan’s colour and exuberance, our itineraries show you the best of this magical country. Get in touch to discover how we can craft your bespoke trip.
Delhi Jaipur Agra Varanasi Tour
India Forts And Palaces Escorted Tour
This horseshoe-shaped avenue is hugged by a bay-front promenade where most of Mumbai seems to gather at night. The lights along this avenue sparkle like a queen's necklace, thus the nickname. Walk the promenade and see Sikhs in maharajah costumes pedalling rides on their chrome carriages and watch children toss sticks of burning incense over the shimmering water.
The main tourist area of Mumbai, Colaba sprawls along the southern part of the city. The area is presided over by an amalgamation of colonial buildings erected over the past half millennium, reflecting English, Portuguese, and continental European styles. Wander past the art-deco style Regal theatre. Walk under the Gateway of India, a basalt arch overlooking the Arabian Sea, and go next door to explore the splendid Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel.
Sample the Street Food
Mumbai is an eclectic mix of Indian cuisines. While outside of India you may only have tried Indian Mughlai food (think kebabs, naan, and curries), Mumbai's food is influenced by Muslim, Parsi, Goan, Coastal, Gujarati, and South Indian cultures. Sample tasty parsi akuri cometh or ignore your diet entirely and try uber-rich butter chicken, a dish where chunks of chicken are marinated in yoghurt and spices, fried, and served with a butter cream sauce.
Visit Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
This historic railway terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) is a perfect example of the meeting of two cultures. The architecture blends England's Victorian Gothic Revival architecture with traditional Indian architecture, complete with turrets, high arches, gables, elaborate porches, decorative corbels, and jutting gargoyles. Besides being something stunning to look at, it serves as the headquarters for Mumbai's Central Railways.
Best time to visit Mumbai
The best time to visit Mumbai is during the winter - and cooler - months, from November to February. The humidity begins to rise in March as summer begins, and monsoon starts in June.
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“Join a street food walking tour around the city, where you’ll tour your tastebuds the Shantaram way. These culinary tours introduce you to Mumbai’s best street food, with a local guide who knows all there is to know about the city and its cuisine.”
“A Mumbai Heritage Walk is a great way to really get to know the city, its fascinating history and famous landmarks.”
Events & Festivals
Brimming with people and life, Mumbai is the ideal location if you want to immerse yourself in real India. Plan your Mumbai holiday to coincide with a festival to see the city come alive.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival in August or September, celebrating the birth of the beloved elephant-headed God, Ganesha. Local communities put up large idols of Ganesha and the streets are filled with laughter, music and drums.
Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is celebrated in India during October by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. A five-day celebration, coinciding with Hindu New Year, the festival celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. Diwali is a time of vivid colours, huge firework displays, twinkling lights and an excess of incredible food. A wonderful time to be in Mumbai.
Christmas is celebrated with fervour in Mumbai, and different religions have their own ways of celebrating. A lovely time of year to visit, find huge church masses, Christmas-themed parties and elaborate Christmas feasts.
Holi - The Festival of Colours - is one of India’s most popular festivals, celebrated all over the country with much colourful paint, mischief and dancing. The festival takes place in March, marking the coming of spring and good harvest and commemorating good over evil. Rajasthan, Mumbai and Goa are popular Holi destinations for tourists. Come with paint and expect to end the day dressed in colours!
Maha Shivratri is held annually in February, a Hindu festival honouring Lord Shiva and marking his marriage day. Temples are decorated, feasts are held, and the streets see processions of dancing, drums and singing. Wherever you are in India, join the revellers for their celebrations and get lost in the excitement.
Mumbai’s most iconic dishes are street food snacks, exemplifying the city’s culture and atmosphere. A Mumbai holiday is the perfect time to sample some of India’s best street food - lace up your shoes and take to the streets to explore. Don’t forget to find a Parsi restaurant to sample some of their unique cuisines.
Vada Pav is a vegetarian fast-food dish, consisting of a deep-fried potato dumpling, served in a bread bun with spicy garlic and green chutney. It is one of Mumbai’s most well-known dishes, found in street stalls all over the city.
Pav Bhaji is another iconic street dish from Mumbai - a thick, spicy vegetable curry served with a bread roll. To sample the best Pav Bhaji, simply observe where the majority of the locals eat.
A savoury snack, made of puffed rice, vegetables and a tangy tamarind sauce. Bhel Puri is often identified with the beaches of Mumbai, such as Chowpatty or Juhu.
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