The cultural capital of the state of Maharashtra with a young vibrant crowd, a colonial-era charm and contemporary beauty, Pune is home to lush-green destinations and beautiful beaches. As a foreign student in this beautiful city, you should definitely explore Pune and the picturesque destinations near it. Some of the popular weekend getaways near Pune include Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala, and Khandala. Whether you’re looking for audacious treks, visit scenic mountains and falls, a day lounging on the beach or a trip to the soul-stirring ancient monuments, the Pune getaway list has something for everyone.
The popular weekend destination is a 2000-year-old majestic hill fortress that has seen many wars and battles including the famous 1670 Battle of Sinhagad in which Tanaji Malusare, the right-hand man of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the famous Martha ruler fought with Mughals to regain the fort. After the death of Tanaji during the war, Shivaji said, ‘we gained the fort, but lost the lion’. Hence the name ‘Lion Fort’ (Sinhagad).
The fort offers a stunning view of the city and rolling green mountains, especially during the monsoon season. The entrance is lined with small eateries and shacks that offer delicious Marathi food such as Pithla Bhakari/ Zunka Bhakari, Bhaji (pakodas/ fritters), Dahi (curd), Taak (buttermilk), lemonade, local fruits, etc.
How to get there: If you are an adventure enthusiast, you can trek or reach there by bike or car. The fort is open every day from 9 AM to 6 PM.
Lonavla and Khandala
Scenic beautiful hills, deep green valleys and waterfalls, Lonavla and Khandala are popular hill stations near Pune. A two-hour drive from Pune, Lonavala is nestled in the Sahyadri ranges and is the perfect spot for students who are looking for a break from the hectic college schedule. Some of the popular tourist spots in Lonavala include the hill known as ‘Duke’s Nose’, Bushi dam and caves such as Bhaja and Bhedsa. Located near Lonavala, Khandala is a quaint hill station that boasts of some beautiful spots including Kune Waterfalls, Karla caves and Bhor Ghat.
How to get there: Khandala and Lonavala are well connected with Pune by road. You can avail of the bus service from Pune. Moreover, buses shuttle regularly between Khandala and Lonavala. The nearest railway station is Khandala.
One of the smallest hill stations in India, Matheran is a cosy little town near Mumbai. It is one of the few places in the world that does not allow vehicles. Apart from the blissfully motor-free roads, the pollution-free environment, the colonial architecture and 36 alluring viewpoints to Sahyadri ranges make it the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Spend your weekend walking and horse riding and enjoying the long walking trails and dense forest.
How to get there: The heritage toy train from the nearest railway station, Neral takes you inside Matheran.
At a distance of 143 km from Pune, Alibaug is a coastal town in the Raigad district of the state. Due to its proximity to the sea, it is often referred to as the “Goa of Maharashtra”. Well known for its beautiful beaches and ancient forts, some of the top tourist spots in the city include Alibaug beach, Varsoli beach, Kihim beach, Kashid beach, Nagaon beach and Murud beach, Murud-Janjira fort, Kolaba fort, Korlai fort, Khanderi fort, and the Kanakeshwar Temple.
How to get there: The town is well connected by road from Pune. You can hire a taxi or a bus to get there.
Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani
The twin hill stations of Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani are famous not just for the breathtaking sights from famous viewpoints but also for the trekking and other adventure activities such as paragliding, go-carting, horse riding. From a summer hill station, the place has evolved into an all-season getaway. Some of the popular viewpoints include Parsi Point, Kate’s Point, Lodwick Point, Sydney Point, and Venna Lake. Don’t forget to visit the famous Mapro Garden that is famous for its syrups, juices, jams, and chocolates. It also has a fun tasting counter.
How to get there: Mahabaleshwar is just over 120 km from Pune and it takes around 3 hours to reach there by bus and car.
Apart from these popular destinations, there are a plethora of holiday destinations that will help you rejuvenate. Some other amazing weekend getaways from Pune include Kamshet, Pawna Lake, Lohgad, Rajmachi, Karjat, Kolad and Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary. So, take a break and enjoy the beauty of your adopted country.