Hey there, fellow adventurers! This blog right here could be your ultimate guide for an out of the ordinary road trip to Goa.
Your Road Trip, Your Rules
The thrill of the open road is embracing freedom, and there’s no better way to do that than hitting the road in your very own vehicle. A self-driven road trip offers you the freedom to explore at your own pace and savor every moment of the journey. But driving Mumbai to Goa in your own car is definitely no joke.
The roads may be great, the open 6-lane national highway is a pleasure to drive on like no other, especially when you are accustomed to driving on the bustling bumper-to-bumper roads of Mumbai. But the journey is long…yes 12 hours long, if you try to do it without any stops…and driving amidst the trucks and on the deserted Ghats can be tedious & tiring for us city folk.
But this road trip does not have to be about reaching your destination i.e GOA; instead make it about the journey and the hidden wonders worth exploring along the way. Give your road trip more than a day or two and it will definitely be a trip worth blogging about.
But, before you get revved up, a little preparation goes a long way. First and foremost, ensure your car is road-trip ready. Get a good engine and tire check-up. You don’t want any breakdown surprises along the way as help will take a very long time on this route. Make sure you have emergency numbers handy – ambulance, police, 24×7 car towing service.
For extra safety, keep a car fire extinguisher & a car window glass breaker along with your car mechanical kit handy. I know it may be too much safety advice, but we city folk aren’t used to being stranded in the middle of nowhere…
Unveiling Mountainous Charms, Wildlife, a bit of Adventure
If you are looking for a little adventure along the way or just want to get lost in the serenity that the Maharastrian mountain range offers, or perhaps it’s the chirping of the birds and their unreal colors that always catch your attention; then this road trip is certainly for you.
KARNALA BIRD SANCTUARY
This could be the most exciting pit stop along the way…About 120 kms from Mumbai, so about a 3 hour drive en route, this is a must do, if your road trip is planned during the monsoons. You can add in a visit to the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, if you are looking at spotting migratory birds in a more organized manner.
However, this entire region is filled with such birds and one with a keen eye for nature, will spot them all around. The biggest attraction in Kolad is the ‘Kundalika River Rafting’, while the river also offers other adventures like kayaking, river zip line, boating, hiking, climbing up through thundering waterfalls, etc…This is a great base to camp at night. But if camping is not your preferred choice, there are a variety of home stay options along the river banks too.
If you are not much of an adventurer and more of a geek…then this region has a lot of history. The ancient Raigad Fort which was once the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Maratha Empire, is a place where history comes alive. This fort is en route to Goa at a distance of about 190 km from Mumbai.
On the other hand, Sindhudurg Fort is a stoical piece of architecture standing amidst the mighty Arabian Sea with walls narrating tales of valor for centuries. You can consider visiting this fort even on your return journey as it is approximately 130 km from Goa & about 535 km from Mumbai en route Goa.
For those seeking a spiritual experience, the majestic Ganpatipule Temple located in the quaint town of Ganpatipule, is positioned approximately 375 km to the south of Mumbai city, tracing the picturesque Konkan Coast.
It is a small town of 100 houses, and the temple sits peacefully on the tranquil shores of Ganpatipule Beach – a truly enchanting sight. The serene ambiance and breathtaking ocean views will leave you in awe. This beach also has some decent stay options if you want to rest out at night.
While this next stop I propose is a whole destination in itself, it’s a place worth mentioning. Dandeli in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka,may be a bit of a detour from your main road trip to Goa, but if this trip is all about wildlife and adventure, then you can’t miss this. Nature & adventure is at its bountiful best at Dandeli with its unparalleled scenic beauty along the banks of the river Kali.
You have it all here right from Jungle Safaris, birdwatching, whitewater rafting, kayaking, camping…etc..So if it’s not on the list of stops for this itinerary, calendar down this destination for another time.
But one of the lesser glorified towns en route 530 kms to Goa is Sawantwadi. Sawantwadi is a land of artists & is a lesser known epicenter of many hand-based art forms. Famous for Ganjifa Art and Lacquerware, it is home to many skilled artisans. It is the Royal Family of Sawantwadi who once again revived these art forms by opening their palatial doors to enthusiasts world-wide.
The Sawantwadi Palace which is now a boutique hotel is a must visit not only to experience a humble royal experience of local art & culture but it is also an oasis of tranquility offering you the best of fusions of local palates and Michelin Star restaurant culinary experiences.
Your Taste Trek
Authenticity is the essence of any exploration journey & good food enriches not just the body but our soul. So, if you are to truly enjoy this road trip – then you can’t do it on an empty belly. So here’s some of the charming eateries peppered along the Mumbai-Goa highway.
Driving through picturesque landscapes of mountains & coastal towns, you must indulge in a feast of lip-smacking local highway style Dhaba food.
So here’s some along the way to pick from:
SHREEKAR THE DHABA, KOLAD
This sought-after roadside eatery in Kolad is a favorite among road explorers. Open until 11:30 PM, Shreekar The Dhaba serves mouthwatering Punjabi dishes and delectable South Indian snacks at budget-friendly prices, ensuring you won’t go hungry whatever the time
MOTEL VISAVA & DINE-N-DRIVE RESTAURANT, MAHAD
Discover a delightful retreat in Mahad at Motel Visava, where you can also enjoy a cozy stay in their hotel rooms or their charming cottage, it’s a great spot to rest.
It has an adjoining Dine-N-Drive Restaurant with a variety of comfort food options, including indulgent pizzas, flavorful pav bhajis, crispy pani puris, and savory dosas..
HIGHWAY EASTERY – NH17 DHABA
It is located along National Highway 17 in Maharashtra & offers authentic Maharashtrian & Goan food, so it’s a great spot en route to your trip. The must try here are the Vada Pav, Fish Thali, Sol Kadhi. In case you cannot find this, there are ample options en route this highway.
SEASIDE CAFE – MALVAN DELIGHTS
This is another great pit stop to fuel your belly with amazing fresh seafood located in Malvan district in Maharashtra. Their Malvani fish curry, bombil fry..are the must haves.
CULTURAL EATERY: UDUPI SAGAR
As you cross into the Karnataka border en route Goa, this restaurant is a savior for vegetarians. They serve delightful South Indian specialties like Masala Dosa, Idli-Vada, Filter Coffee, etc..
HOTEL DEEPAK DELUXE, CHIPLUN
Nestled in a picturesque spot, Hotel Deepak Deluxe is located in Chiplun in Maharashtra. They have a warm and inviting ambiance that perfectly complements the mouthwatering coastal seafood they serve.
The Locals and travelers can’t get enough of this place, and for a good reason—their fresh catches are out of this world. And don’t even get us started on their thali! Packed with authentic Konkani delights, it’s like a taste of paradise on a plate.