Mumbai is jam-packed with interesting sights and attractions old and new. With two days in this sprawling Indian city, you’ll be able to check out important religious sights, ancient cave temples, and colonial-era buildings, with time left over for people watching, nightlife, and sampling local fare. Here’s how to make the most out of your 48 hours in Mumbai.
Day 1: Central Mumbai Highlights
Morning: Start your morning off with a visit to the historic—and photogenic—Dhobi Ghat, the world's largest outdoor laundry operation, located in the Mahalaxmi neighborhood. While in the area, check out Haji Ali, a 15th-century marble shrine and mosque situated on a promenade jutting out into the sea.
Afternoon: In the afternoon, delve into Indian history at the museum Mani Bhavan, where exhibits illuminate the life of Gandhi and the Indian Independence Movement. From here, it's a short jaunt to the Hanging Gardens, a lovely green space known for its elaborate topiary and lovely sunset views.
Night: Mumbai is one of the best cities in India for dancing the night away. Top off your first evening with a guided pub crawl or a visit to one of the many nightclubs in town; the Lower Parel area is particularly good for partying and features a handful of clubs housed in converted old mill buildings.
Day 2: Caves, Colonial Buildings, and Beach Time
Morning: Head straight to the Gateway of India in South Mumbai’s Colaba neighborhood first thing in the morning to catch a ferry to Elephanta Island in Mumbai Harbour. The island is known for its rock-hewn cave temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, most of which date to around the seventh century AD.
Afternoon: Head back to shore in the afternoon and choose one of Colaba’s many appealing restaurants for lunch. Afterward, stroll up through the Fort area of Mumbai to check out the historic buildings in the area, including the Raj-era Bombay High Court and the spectacular Indo-Saracenic railway station Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Night: Start your last evening in Mumbai with a stroll down the coastal promenade of Marine Drive, making your way up to Chowpatty Beach at the northern end of the road. Spend your final evening at the beach here, a popular sunset and evening hangout spot for Indian families and an excellent place to sample local street foods.