This emerging city has several holiday spots and hill stations around it. Just outside Pune, these beautiful places serve as the perfect weekend getaways. Be it the lush green Lonavala and Mahabaleshwar or the serene Diveagar and Harihareshwar, Pune has a fantastic list of weekend getaways ranging from hilly terrains to marvelous beaches.
Sinhagad Fort is constructed on the top of a cliff on the Bhuleshwar range of the Sahyadris and about 25 km away from Pune. The glorious history of this fort is related to Mohammad bin Tughlaq, and how Shivaji took charge of it later in 1647, all these stories are so fascinating that it attracts the travelers more.
National War Museum The museum holds the memories of all the efforts and contributions of war martyrs and became immensely popular among foreigners who are interested to know about Indian history and hence it indeed is one of the best places to visit in Pune. You’ll also get to see a replica of INS Trishul here which was used in the Pakistan War of 1971 and Portuguese-Indian War.
Things to do: Known for its clear water, casuarina groves and white silvery sand, Kashid is the perfect beach for surfing as the waves reach the height of almost six feet. You can go for surfing almost throughout the year. During the period between November and January, you can also spot dolphins. You can also indulge in water sports like banana boat ride and water scooter. You can also swim but it is not recommended during the monsoon.
Driving distance: 191.9 km (3 hours 55 minutes)
Located in Raigad district, Diveagar is around 160km west of Pune. This beach town is sparsly populated and include a fishing settlement, a temple and a beach. Locals are also engaged in beetle nut and coconut farming. The beach in Diveagar is around four kilometres long. The beach has a small fishing settlement at the north end, which also has a small stream entering the sea. The south end of the beach is home to a sanctuary for migratory birds. This pristine beach also serves as a nesting ground for sea turtles. You can also see thick cover of belu trees on the beach. Lined with casuarinas trees, the beach is an escape from the hustle-bustle of the city life. Diveagar is popular for the Suvarna Ganesha (Ganesha of Gold) temple.
Things to do: Apart from the beach, Diveagar has many temples. Uttareshwar temple is located near Srushti villa. The temple is dedicated to Shiva. Another temple you must visit here is the Roopnarayan temple. The main feature of this temple is the 900-year-ol idol of Vishnu. This beautifully carved idol was made during the 12 th century CE. Although the idol and the temple is called ‘Roopnarayan’, the idol depicts Vishnu as Lakshmi Keshav. The temple is adorned with delicate carvings of Mahesha and Brahma along with the ten avatars of Vishnu. Both the Uttareshwar temple and the Roopnarayan temple have been renovated recently and are worth a visit.
Malshej is located about 120 km north of Pune. The region is one of the most popular tourist spots in Maharashtra. The thick forest, medieval forts, mountains, cliffs and several waterfalls make this place a paradise for adventure junkies and nature lovers. Malshej Ghat is the mountain pass nestled in the beautiful Western Ghats. The mountain pass is home to varieties of flora and fauna. You can spot cuckoos, flamingos, rails and quails here. The nearby Shivneri Fort is also famous. It is the birthplace of Maratha King Shivaji. Another tourist attraction is the Harishchandragad fort. It is famous for rock climbing, trekking, waterfall rappelling, bird watching and rappelling. The valley point in Malshej offers a spectacular view of the valley. The winding roads of Malshej Ghat are treacherous and caution should be exercised while driving especially during monsoons.
Things to do: Malshej Ghat is a popular weekend getaway and has many trekking and hiking route. Some of the famous trekking routes include Shivneri, Kalu waterfall, Naneghat and Harishchandragad. The gushing waterfalls and the wilderness will take you away from the city life. You can indulge in bird watching. You can spot flamingos in the ghat during the period between July and September.
Driving distance: 119.7 km (3 hours 11 minutes)
Located just 47.3 km north-west of Pune, Kamshet is a hill station at an elevation of around 2200 ft. The hill station is just 16 km from Lonavala and Khandala. With rolling hills, lakes and green cover, Kamshet is the perfect weekend getaway destination. The hill station is nestled in the Western Ghats and sits on the ancient trade route that runs between Pune and the Konkan region. Medieval fortresses and ancient cave temples in and around Kamshet make it an interesting place. You can also go for trekking up the Kondeshwar Cliff or the Tower Hill. You can also visit Bhandar Dongar, Bhairi Caves and Kondeshwar temple.
Things to do: Kamshet attracts adventure enthusiasts from all over the state and the place is known for world-class paragliding facilities. Gliding over the beautiful landscape of Kamshet is once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Driving distance: 47.3 km (1 hour 12 minutes)
Located around 75 km north-west of Pune, Lohagad is a hill station known for the Lohagad fort. Lohagad is located at an elevation of 3.389 ft and is near Lonavala, another hill station in the state of Maharashtra. Lohagad also overlooks the Pavana reservoir.
Lohagad fort is also known as the iron fort and is great option for trekking. A small range connects Lohagad fort to the close by Visapur fort. It is among the easier treks, perfect for the beginners. The hill station looks surreal during the monsoon when the valley is covered in mist. The fort is a sight to behold during this time. Lohagad is the perfect weekend getaway for nature lovers or for those who like archaeology and history. The hill station is home to different types of insects and birds.
Things to do: The hill station is famous for Lohagad fort. The route, through a small village and small natural streams, is one of the easier treks. Enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding region from the top of the fort. You can see Pabana dam, Duke’s Nose and the summit of Tung Hills and Tikona Hill from the top.You can also go for boating and enjoy water sports at Pavana dam.
Located about 65 km north-west of Pune, Lonavala is a popular hill station and a weekend getaway from Pune as well as Mumbai. Known for its natural beauty and pleasant climate, Lonavala located at an elevation of 625 meters. It offers respite from the hustle bustle of the city. Lonavala is the perfect destination for people who want to escape from the city. The rain-fed waterfalls along the picturesque setting add to the charm of the place.The hill station is dotted with caves like Karla, Bedsa and Bhaja. You can also combine your trip to Lonavala with Khandala, Visapur and Lohagad. Lonavala and Khandala are twin hill stations.
Things to do: There are several places to visit in Lonavala. Tiger’s Leap point is one of the popular points at this hill stations. The point gets its name from the waterfall, which looks like a tiger leaping into the valley. You can see the waterfall during the monsoon. Another interesting place to visit is the echo point.Another famous tourist attraction is the Bushi dam. People from across the state flock to Lonavala during monsoon and make sure to visit the dam. You can swim in the dam but it is restricted during the monsoon as a precautionary measure.
Driving distance: 65.1 km (1 hour 14 minutes)
Located around 69 km north-west of Pune, Khandala is a hill station nestled in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra. Lonavala and Khandala are called the twin hill stations. Khandala is known for its cool climate and natural beauty. From Yadavas to Mughals, many have vied for control of Khandala due to its strategic position. Eventually, Khandala fell under the control of British.
Khanadala is popular among the trekkers. Khandala is located close to one of the ancient trade routes connecting cities like Sopara and Pune. The hill station has been featured in many Bollywood movies. Similar to Lonavala, Khandala is a treat for eyes during the monsoon. People flock to these two hill stations during the rains. The clouds covering the mountains and many waterfalls along the valley will relax you.
Things to do: Most of the places to visit in Khandala are the same as Lonavala. Amrutanjan Point is one of the popular points in Khandala and offers a stunning view of the surrounding region. Another point is the Duke’s Nose also known as ‘Nagfani’, which means Cobra Head. The point gets its name from the Duke of Wellington, whose pointed nose was similar to the cliff. The 2506 ft. tall cliff is popular among the rock climbers. It is also a popular destination for rappelling, valley crossing and trekking.
Driving distance: 68.8km (1 hour 25 minutes)
Located 120.5 km south of Pune, Mahabaleshwar is a famous summer retreat in Maharashtra. In Sanskrit the name, Mahabalehswar, means ‘God of Great Power’. Nestled in the lush green Western Ghats, Mahabaleshwar is blessed with pleasant climate. The temples and the stunning views make this place a favourite among tourists. Durign the British Raj, the palace was the summer capital of the Bombay Presidency. The architecture of Mahabaleshwar reflects its colonial past. The bungalows, cottages and mansions built by the British add charm to this place.
The climate of Mahabaleshwar is suitable for strawberry farming. You will find many strawberry farms here. Mahabaleshwar is also famous for pure honey.
Things to do: You can visit Tapola, which is also called ‘The Mini Kashmir’. The rustic hamlet with a beautiful lake is one of the most popular tourist spot and is preferred bytrekkers, photographers and nature lovers. The scenic view of the place relaxes you. Non air-conditioned tents are available here for the overnight stay. Another tourist attraction is Kaas Plateau, the valley of flower. The plateau is located 35 km from Mahabaleshwar. Spread over 1000 hactare, Kaas plateau is a visual treat. Wild flowers cover the plateau during the month of August and September. You can see the blooms till October. Covered in different colours, the plateau looks like a beautiful carpet. Over 450 different species of orchids and flowers can be found here. People flock to this place during the blooming season to enjoy this amazing view. The plateau has received the statues of World Natural Heritage Site.
Driving distance: 120.5 km (2 hours 56 minutes)
Located about 226.7 km north of Pune, Igatpuri is one of the popular weekend destinations from Pune. With gushing waterfalls, majestic mountains, pleasant climate, old forts and green vistas, Igatpuri attracts nature lovers and trekkers.
Monsoon brings out the beauty of this place. Igatpuri is also home to the Vipassana International Academy. The centre provides training in Vipassana meditation technique along with a ten-day meditation course. Igatpuri is located close to Thal Ghat, which is a gateway to Nashik and Pune. Due to its strategic location, Igatpuri has many forts. The most prominent forts in Igatpuri are Ratangad fort and Tringalwadi fort. These forts attract many visitors and trekkers. Amruteshwar temple and Ghatandevi temple are other tourist attractions.
Things to do: Located amidst the Sahyadri mountain range, Igatpuri is ideal for adventure activities like rappelling, rock climbing and trekking.
You can visit the Vaitarna dam, which is built on the Vaitarna River. This gravity and landfill dam is a popular tourist spot that offers a sweeping view of the Western Ghats. The dam is the main source of water and electricity for several parts of Mumbai.
Driving distance: 226.7 km (4 hours 35 minutes)
Located 326 km south of Pune, Ganpatipule is famous for its beach and temple dedicated to Ganesha. There are two popular stories regarding how the town was named Ganpatipule. According to folklore, Ganesha got offended by a remark and left his abode, gule, and reached Pule. As per another legend, the town was named after the white sand, which is called Pule in Marathi. The sand is used for making the Ganesha idol.
The town is a major pilgrimage site with devotees from all over the state visiting the Swayambhu Ganpati temple. Swayambhu Ganpati means that the idol is self-manifested. The most unique feature of this 400-year-old temple is that it is one of the few temples across the India in which the face of the presiding deity is towards west. The hill behind the temple is also famous and it offers a sweeping view of the surrounding area. You can view upto Varawada, Malgund and Tivari port.
The beach in Ganpatipule is one of the major tourist destinations. The long beach of white sand, clear water will invite you to relax and forget about your stress. Swimming is not recommended due to the rocky stretches.
Things to do: You can enjoy several water sports in Ganpatipule beach. The 6 km long stretch of the pristine and unexplored beach is perfect for sunbathing. You can relax on the beach and witness a magical sunset. For adventure enthusiasts, the beach offers pedal boats, aero boats, water scooters, rowboats and motor boats.
The Ganpati Swayambhu temple another place you must visit in Ganpatipule. It is said that the idol of Ganpati was found by a farmer in the Kerda jungles and a temple was built around it. The temple has two idols; one is made of brass and the other using fine white sand. The brass idol depicts Ganpati riding a lion.
Driving distance: 326 km (6 hours 37 minutes)