The fastest way to get to Mahabaleshwar is by flight. However, it doesn’t have an airport of its own. The closest one is at Pune, at a distance of 120 kms. Pune International Airport is well-connected to the rest of the country and also offers connectivity to several international destinations across the world. The nearest international airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Mumbai. Both the airports are further well-connected to Mahabaleshwar and you can avail the excellent taxi service that is present at the airports.
Whether you arrive at Pune or Mumbai, simply go to the pre-paid taxi counter and state your destination. Once you get your token, you can get into the next available taxi and soon be on your way to Mahabaleshwar. Take care to travel only with registered taxi operators to avoid getting taken for a ride.
Both cities also offer you the option of booking a seat on state-run or private owned luxury buses that ply regularly between the cities and Mahabaleshwar. You can book your ticket in advance or hop into the next available bus. Some of the operators do require prior booking, so plan your journey accordingly. You will take about 3.5 hours from Pune, while the journey from Mumbai will be about 5.5 hours.
The airports at Pune and Mumbai are both geared to cater to the well-travelled visitor. The airports have all the amenities that you could think of. Restaurants, cafes, restrooms, book stores, souvenir shops and even exchange bureaus. You will also find comfortable corners where you can rest between your journeys with a book in your hand.
The area outside Mumbai airport is fairly crowded all hours of the day and night. Do factor in travel time from the airport to your destination.
If you stay in any of the major cities or towns of Maharashtra, you can easily plan a road trip to Mahabaleshwar. The city is well-connected to the rest of India with an excellent road network. You can either drive down yourself or hire a private taxi to bring you to Mahabaleshwar. The roads are wide and it is an easy drive to this hill station.
Driving down to Mahabaleshwar allows you to enjoy the scenery at your own pace. You can stop when you please to stretch your legs or to take wonderful pictures along the way. As you get closer to Mahabaleshwar, the road starts to wind quite a bit and you might be in for a slightly rough time.
There are also several state-run and private luxury bus operators and you can book yourself a seat on either of these to get to Mahabaleshwar. The frequency of these buses is quite good and you can pick a time that suits you. The advantage with buses is that you can focus on the beautiful landscape as it passes you by without worrying about the road or oncoming traffic.
Let’s take a look at the distances between Mahabaleshwar and some its major neighbouring cities:
Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar – 250 km
Pune to Mahabaleshwar – 120 km
Satara to Mahabaleshwar – 45 km
Wathar to Mahabaleshwar – 80 km
Hyderabad to Mahabaleshwar – 580 km
Nashik to Mahabaleshwar – 330 km
Kolhapur to Mahabaleshwar – 180 km
If you plan on visiting Mahabaleshwar during the holiday season or on an extended weekend, you might need to book your seat in the luxury bus in advance simply because of the rush.
Mahabaleshwar is the quintessential hill station that does its best to stay secluded from the world to create a haven of bliss and quiet. Which is why perhaps it has no railway station of its own. The closest railway station is at Satara, which is still at a distance of 45 kms from Mahabaleshwar. Satara is connected to all major cities in Maharashtra and other parts of the country as well. Another station for you to alight at is Wathar, which is about 60 kms from Mahabaleshwar.
Whether you alight at Satara or Wathar, you need to find transport for your onward journey. You can book a seat in a state-owned MSRTC buses that will take you to the heart of Mahabaleshwar. Alternatively, you can hire a private vehicle or a taxi to take you to your destination in Mahabaleshwar. The advantage with a private car is that you get dropped right to your doorstep, as against the bus which will drop you at a public spot, leaving you to hire another vehicle to reach your hotel.
The train journey to Satara or Wathar is beautiful and if you happen to be traveling during the monsoon or the winter, you will love the mist-i-cal landscape that the train will slowly take you through.
Mahabaleshwar is quite popular among people in Maharashtra as well as other parts of the country. Keep in mind the time when you plan to holiday in Mahabaleshwar. Holiday seasons will see heavy volumes of people traveling daily on these trains, whether to Mahabaleshwar or not. Do book your tickets well in advance to avoid being waitlisted, which means you cannot board the train. If your travel plans coincide with summer holidays you are well advised to book months in advance to avoid disappointments. Visit the Indian Railway official website or go to any Indian Railway booking counter at a railway station to book your tickets. Remember, you cannot board the train without a confirmed reservation.
Depending on your budget and time on hand, you can choose from any of several modes of transport that are available in Mahabaleshwar. There is a lot to see in this hill station and knowing where you want to go is paramount to deciding how you will get there.
Bus: You can rely on government buses that have been commissioned just to take tourists around the tourist main attractions in Mahabaleshwar. These Mahabaleshwar Darshan buses run in the afternoon daily, taking you around 13 of the main attractions in the hill town. The only disadvantage with this is that you have limited time at each spot, forcing you to travel as per the fixed duration of the tour. This is why many people with higher budgets opt for private taxis that they have at their disposal all day.
Taxi/Cab: Taxis are a convenient way to see Mahabaleshwar, especially if you are traveling with family or as a group. You can hire a cab for the day to take you around or you can even ore one to take you to Pratapgadh and back. The rates are usually fixed. Check with your hotel to know the right fare before you pay the taxi driver. You can also request the concierge to arrange a taxi for you
Auto Rickshaw: Mahabaleshwar also has auto rickshaws that you can hire to go around. These are cheaper than taxis, but do check with the hotel for approximate fares as you could get fleeced. Feel free to haggle a little before agreeing upon the final fare. You will find rickshaws in almost all prominent locations.
Walking: Mahabaleshwar is not a very large town and you can also walk to some of the closer attractions. If you are traveling in the winter, it is a great way to see the place without driving past it in a rush.
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