Alibaug is one of the closest weekend getaways from Mumbai with clean beaches. It is easily accessible by ferry from the Gateway of India in Colaba, South Mumbai. Alibaug is one of the most popular destinations from Mumbai and Pune due to its clean beaches and laid back environment. During my last two visits to Mumbai, I went to Alibaug and saw some interesting places. There are many small & big hotels, bungalows & homestays in Alibaug for every traveler with different budgets. Many prominent people from Indian industrial houses and Bollywood film stars have bungalows in Alibaug due to its proximity to Mumbai. There are some interesting places to visit and things to do in Alibaug for a relaxing break from the busy life of Mumbai.
Also read about Beautiful Global Vipassana Pagoda in Mumbai
This post will answer –
Which are the best beaches in Alibaug.
What are the other things to do in Alibaug.
How to travel to Alibaug from Mumbai.
How to go to Kolaba Fort during low and high tide.
Which are the best places to stay and eat in Alibaug.
Main and Best Beaches in Alibaug
The beaches of Mumbai are not clean and that’s why people can’t swim & enjoy the sea there. Alibaug’s long and clean (Most of them) are a welcome relief for any traveler or resident of Mumbai. Here are some of the best beaches of Alibaug to visit depending upon personal preferences and liking. Alibaug is on western coast and sunsets are always beautiful here on every beach.
It is situated approximately 17 km from Alibaug town. This beach is close to Mandawa jetty from where catamaran and ferries operate for Mumbai. Mandawa beach is popular among water sports enthusiasts. Jet skis, banana rides, power boat ride and parasailing are most popular water sports on this beach. The camel & horse riding is also available on the beach. Other than these quad bike rides are also popular due to the long length of the beach. Many good hotels and resorts are close to the Mandawa beach. Some Bollywood celebrities own bungalows near Mandawa beach.
It is 8 km from Alibaug and is popular amongst tourists for its clean and uncluttered sands and surf. Kihim the cleanest beach as compared to Varsoli beach and Kashid beach through the sand here is black. It also popular for its adventure water sports activities.
Other than clean sands, it’s proximity to Akshi beach make it a preferred place to relax and explore the area. The coconut and betel nut plantations near the beach are open for tourist, walking around in these is a welcome respite.
Nagaon beach is around 3 km long. It is an ideal spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. The clear water is good for diving and exploring the coral reefs.
The Nagaon beach and Akshi beach are connected, one can walk from one beach to another in ten minutes. Watching the sunset on the beach is another interesting activity.
It’s one of the best beaches on the Alibaug coastline. There are many hotels and resorts in close proximity to this beach.
This rocky beach is located between Alibaug and Mandawa beach. Kihim is a bird watcher’s paradise, there is a healthy inflow of migratory birds in the dense cover of trees and forests near the beach. A walk in the woods across the beach is must if you want to see rare birds and butterflies in their natural surroundings.
Kihim beach is not crowded and a perfect place to spend time in the middle of nowhere. There are few food stalls on the small road leading to the beach, these stalls sell chaat, vada pav, coconut water and other local food items. The parasailing and buggy rides are available on this beach.
There is a tented accommodation right on the shores of Kihim beach. Other than that there are some hotels and resorts in close by area.
The clean and unclutter beach is next to popular Nagaon beach. This most secluded beach lies between Nagaon and Alibag beaches and does not see much inflow of tourists due to its location. There are seagulls on the beach and area is surrounded by the Coconut Palms.
Here you will see more of the local people.
The best experience is to stay at the Akshi beach cottages or homestays.
This beach is also known for its jetty from here the ferry services operate for Mumbai. The ferry and catamaran for passengers operate from Mandawa but the passenger boats landing here also have a facility of carrying a two-wheeler on the ferry by paying a nominal charge. While traveling from Mumbai to Rawas jetty, one can enjoy unparalleled views of the Uran beach from the middle of the water.
There are many resorts and hotels in and around Rewas beach.
It is a quiet beach with white sand and clean seawater. Approximately a mile from the main Varsoli beach is a very large naval base.
Varsoli beach is a relatively less-visited beach with no watersports activity available on the beach.
It is the main beach and close to the Alibaug town. Alibaug beach is not very clean in comparison to other beaches of Alibaug. The sand on this beach has a hard texture and is blackish grey in color but the sea water is clean. It is the beach to go to Kolaba Fort.
There are many food stalls and hotels on the shore, Alibaug beach is one of the busiest beaches in Alibaug due to its location.
Other places to Visit in Alibaug
Alibaug or Kolaba Fort
The name Kolaba should not be confused with “Colaba” in Mumbai, both are different. This fort is around a km into the Arabian sea. The Fort has two main entrances, one is on the seaside and the other towards Alibaug beach. The average height of the fort walls is 25 feet. There is a freshwater well in the fort’s premise.
This sea fort was built by Shivaji in 1680 to fight the Siddis of Murud Janjira and the British in Mumbai. Many battles were fought near Kolaba fort between Siddis and Kanhoji Angre.
There is a temple of Lord Ganesh and a Dargha in the fort, these two religious spots in the fort are very popular among local people.
The most interesting aspect of the fort is going to the Kolaba fort from Alibaug beach.
– During low tide, it is possible to walk to the fort in the sea water.
– When water starts rising between low and high tide, at that time horse baggies carry people to the fort because the water level is high for walking and boats can’t operate in that level of water.
– During high tide, only boats operate between Alibaug and Kolaba Fort. If in case you have come walking and stay there for long. Then for going back to the beach, you may have to pay double as all boats operate charge for the return journey.
– When I visited the second time, the water level was high but it was not high tide at that time. We hired small boats to reach the Kolaba fort, those boats were like a Kayak in width but made of the wooden material. It was near the end of monsoon season so the sea was a bit volatile and boats were shaking & swaying in the sea. None the less it was a fantastic experience.
Khanderi and Underi Islands
These twin islands are a short distance from Kihim Beach. Khanderi and Underi islands were fortified by Shivaji as sea observation posts in 1660 to keep track of the Siddis of Murud Janjira fort. After the fall of Murud Janjira, these island forts lost their importance. A lighthouse was built in 1837 on the island, which is still used for sea navigation.
Kihim Pond and Kanakeshwar Temple
These are 16 km from Alibaug. The Shiv temple is situated on a 900 ft hill. There are well-paved stairs to reach to the top of the hill and from here one can see the scenic view of the surrounding areas.
The front gate is ornated with lion sculpture on both sides and deepmaal (traditional lamp-pillar). The ancient sweet water tank here is enclosed by traditional structure of black stone.
Magen Avot Synagogue
There was a very big Jewish community in Alibaug from 18th to 20th century and most of the Jews were oil pressers and sellers. In those days Jewish built this synagogue. There is no Jewish community in Alibaug now but this place is still preserved and is one of the best-maintained heritage property in Alibaug.
Places around Alibaug
Murud Janjira Fort
This 16th Century Sea Fort is a couple of km off Murud Janjira beach and accessible via a local ferry. The Fort mostly ruins and it is not maintained but still, it is popular among tourists. Though the fort is in ruins still the surrounding walls are intact. These 30 to 40 ft high walls make this fort look grand from distance. The fort is architectural marvel because of its location in the sea and has 23 tremendous bastions. The canons used by Siddhi’s in those days are still displayed along the walls. A special attraction of Murud Janjira fort is 3 gigantic cannons named Kalalbangdi, Chavri and Landa Kasam. These canons were made with five metals and after all these years of neglect still in good looking conditions. There is a deep well, which is still functional provides fresh water despite the fort being surrounded by sea.
The main passage to the fort has a stone cutting delineating six elephants caught by a solitary tiger, this is the image of the courage of the Siddis. The gate of the fort is designed in such a way that it can be seen only when you are 40 feet from it. According to legends, there is a secret passage from the fort to the beach under the sea.
This beach is on the Alibaug-Murud highway on the way to the Murud Janjira fort. Kashid beach is one of the cleanest and most beautiful beaches in the region with almost ‘white’ sand. There are water sports facilities on the beach. Kashid beach is the perfect place to relax for few days. There are few snacks shops along the beach for snacks.
There are many cottages and resorts on this beach. The Kashid village does not have any wine shops and closest wine shop is 6 km towards Murud.
How to Reach Alibaug
By Boat – This is the fastest and most fun way to reach Alibaug from Mumbai.
– There is ferry service from Gateway of India in Colaba to Mandawa jetty in Alibaug. Ajantha, Maldar, Apollo Catamaran and PNP Maritime Service are four operators who provide the ferry/catamaran service. These ferries have air-conditioned lower decks and open upper decks.
– The distance between Gateway of India to Mandawa Jetty is 10 nautical miles and takes around half an hour to 40 minutes.
– The ticket includes both – the boat trip and the bus journey to Alibaug from Mandawa Jetty, which is 14 km from Alibaug and takes about 45 minutes.
– Online ferry tickets can be booked on Maharashtra Maritime Board’s website.
– In Alibaug tickets for ferry can been booked from a counter near the bus stop.
– These ferries operate throughout the year from 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM, except during monsoon months from June to September.
** There is another ferry point at Bhaucha Dhakka and ferries from here go to Rewas Jetty. This route is beneficial for people who want to take their two-wheeler to Alibaug. The ferries charge a nominal fee for carrying the two-wheeler. These ferries go through the Rewas creek to Rawas jetty, from here you can take state transport bus or tuk-tuk to Alibaug.
The RO-RO Ferry service is going to start from this jetty after monsoon season. In these ferries you can carry your car also in the vessel.
* Speedboats are available from jetty no.5 at the Gateway of India for people looking for speed and exclusivity. These boats take 20 to 25 minutes depending on the weather.
Road Travel – It is approximately 100 Km from Mumbai to Alibaug.
By Bus – There are several state transport buses available from Borivali, Thane, Kalyan to Alibaug.
By Train – Take a local train from any Mumbai station to Panvel and from Panvel take the train to Pen, which is closest to the Alibaug. From Pen, you can take a bus or taxi for Alibaug, which is 30 Km.
Best Time to Visit Alibaug –
The summer temperature varies from 22 to 40°C and also gets humid during summer & monsoon. In winters months temperature remain between 12 to 33°C.
In terms of weather and watersports activities October to March are the best months. If you want to relax by the clean and uncluttered beaches then it is good to visit throughout the year.
What and Where to eat in Alibaug –
– Alibaug is surrounded by sea from the 3 sides and you can have the best seafood here.
– Sanman restaurant in Alibuag is one of the must visit the place. It is a basic restaurant with no frills but the food is one of the best in town.
– If you are vegan or vegetarian then visit Suruchi Restaurant.
– If you are looking for a little fancy place then eat at Boardwalk by Flamboyante and Kokum & Spice.
Where to stay in Alibaug –
There are a number of small resorts, luxury resorts, Bungalows, homestays, farms and budget hotels in Alibaug to cater to rising number of travelers from Mumbai. I personally recommend these places for the good experience.
* Radisson Blu Resort and Spa is one of the best in Alibaug. The manicured garden and pool in the resort is the best place to relax. The spa of the resort is one of the best in the area. It is not on the beach but the resort is big enough.
* Outpost on Mapgaon road is a good option and is run by the Future group. They have a tree house and hammocks in the resort to give a different holiday experience.
* Casa de Kihim near Kihim beach. It is a medium range resort with good amenities.
* Vedant Holiday Home at Nagaon beach road is a good budget hotel.
* Krushna Kunj Holiday Home on the Rewas road is also a good budget option.