The capital of Maharashtra and India’s economic powerhouse, Mumbai is a huge metropolis home to over 22 million people. A melting pot of cultures, the affectionately named City of Dreams envelops all who come in a cloud of colour and sound, its energy undeniably contagious. Mumbaikars have a real love for life, which they live at quite a pace, and the best way to enjoy this city is to simply join them.
The city previously known as Bombay become the principle gateway to the Indian Subcontinent and it has transformed from a collection of fishing islands on the shores of the Arabian Sea to one of the world’s biggest urban sprawls.
Mumbai is a city of contrasts. It is at once home to some of the country’s most expensive real estate and some of Asia’s biggest slums. Its high-rise buildings and glitzy shopping malls share pavement space with British-style architecture and bustling street markets. Weaving its way through this fascinating tapestry are streets that heave with cars, pedestrians, rickshaws and bikes. What may seem chaotic to the untrained eye is in fact a finely-tuned system that enables its inhabitants, who always have somewhere to go, to get from A to B.
There is so much to see and do, from marvelling at iconic structures such as the Gateway of India and Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus to exploring its museums, temples, mosques and churches. Admire the city’s skyline with a stroll along coastal Marine Drive and get swept up in the glamorous world of Bollywood. If you need to escape the hustle and bustle, Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a 103sqkm oasis of green on the northern fringes of the city, home to numerous species of birds, butterflies and plants.
Much of Mumbai’s appeal lies in its diversity. Keep your ears open to the hundreds of different dialects, let your taste buds savour the different regional cuisines and allow yourself to get swept up by this hugely vibrant and exciting city.
A vibrant cosmopolitan city, here you’ll find buzzing restaurants, eclectic shopping and a lively promenade culture along the sweeping Marine Drive. Visit the colorful flower markets, experience the sounds and smells of Sasoon Dock and watch in wonder at the work of the dabbawalas.
What to do
- Visit the Gateway of India, Mumbai's most iconic landmark
- See the dabbawalas in action as they deliver thousands of lunchboxes across the city
- Learn about India's fight for freedom at the Mani Bhavan Gandhi museum
- Take an evening stroll along Marine Drive
When to go
The best time to visit is between October and March. September and April are considered the shoulder months when it is very hot in the middle of the day but mornings and late afternoons are lovely. From the end of December until the middle of January, mornings and evenings can be foggy and nights cold, but during the day the weather is great for sightseeing.