Explore this cosmopolitan and dynamic city
Superlatives quickly exhaust themselves with regards to Mumbai, a city with an astonishing 19 million inhabitants that is India’s most important port and also the centre of the country’s commercial and entertainment industries. Hard to believe it was once a collection of sleepy islands and trading posts, today it is India’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan city.
- The city is at the heart of India's entertainment industry and is the home of Bollywood. You can discover more about the heritage of India's film industry on a Bollywood-focused tour of the city
- You can sample the city's culinary heritage, from street food vendors through to world class restaurants - some of India's finest restaurants are located in Mumbai
- For an authentic Indian experience, sample exotic and often spicy dishes such as Bhel Puri, a masala dish typically sold on the beaches of Mumbai, including Chowpatty Beach on the renowned Marine Drive
- For night owls Mumbai offers some of the best nightlife in the country with plenty of bars, clubs and live music venues to be discovered
- Well worth a trip across the bay is the UNESCO-listed Elephant Island which sits in the middle of the city's harbour. See intricately rock-cut temples including that dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva
Best time to visit Mumbai
• The tropical climate in Mumbai means that it is warm and humid year round
• The most pleasant time to visit is between November and March when the temperatures are cooler than during the summer months
• The months of September and October are also great times to visit with a range of vibrant festivals such as Diwali taking place.
Mumbai holiday highlights
Known as the ‘Gateway of Mumbai’, the highlight of Colaba is its vibrant causeway, built by the British in 1838 and today a thriving shopping hub favoured by Mumbai’s elite. As well as pricey boutiques you will find malls, shopping complexes, colourful street stalls, bustling cafés and lively restaurants. Watch fishermen bring in and sell their fresh catch at Sassoon Docks and visit the 19th-Century Afghan Memorial Church of St John the Evangelist, a Neo- Gothic landmark with a soaring spire and stunning stained glass depictions.
A cool escape from the bustle and heat of the city centre’s Colaba, Mumbai’s main promenade, Marine Drive is an elegant seafront boulevard connecting Nariman Point and Chowpatty beach at the foot of Malabar Hill. This pretty corniche is lined with palm trees and art deco buildings with views of the sea and skyline. When the sun goes down, the c-shaped road glitters with street lights, earning it the moniker ‘Queen’s Necklace’.
Watch dabbawallas unpack lunchboxes at Churchgate Station before delivering them throughout the metropolis, in a service that harks back to British rule. Visit the terraced Hanging Gardens perched on Malabar Hill, taking in a beautiful sunset over the Arabian Sea. In Mahalaxmi, watch sleek horses dash around the racecourse and visit Dhobi Ghat, an open-air laundry. Journey to Elephanta Island, teeming with monkeys, and see Hindu gods sculpted in caves. Escape the city chaos and unwind on Chowpatty beach, tasting the refreshing milk of a green coconut.