When it comes to a weekend getaway, we Mumbaikars still LOVE the good old Lonavala. From lush green hill views and clear skies to authentic Maharashtrian fare, we can't help but keep going back there. Running away from city life, just looking for a chilled weekend, or passion for road trips - there are many reasons why we Mumbaikars land up at this hill station so often. Now, if you're there only for a day, we've made an amazing itinerary for you guys. So, here's a list of things to do in Lonavala.
Here's How You Can Have An Amazing One-Day Trip To Lonavala
Kickstart The Road Trip To Lonavala (6:00 AM - 9:00 AM)
The drive to Lonavala is a trip on its own, to be honest. Early morning is the best time to start the journey as you can skip the traffic which comes later. Once you get out of traffic and hit the highway, it’s all about looking out the window and breathing in the fresh air.
P.S: If you're already hungry, there are a couple of thelas on the highway where you can enjoy amazing chai, poha and pakoras. It's low key but is full of authentic flavors and spices. You can also stop at Shree Datta Snacks Corner where you can gorge on poha and piping hot batata vada followed by tea for breakfast. Pair it with red chutney or with fried green chilly.
If not that, you can stop by the food court too.
Trek It Out (9:00AM -11:00AM)
Mornings are the best time to trek in Lonavala or explore a fort. Head to Karla Caves, a Buddhist rock-cut cave shrine located in Karli. You’ll need to climb steps and there are small hills in the vicinity. Characterized by large horseshoe-shaped windows lighting the interiors, the caves have vaulted interiors and attract tourists in hoards. It’s better to reach this attraction early. Note, that it's approximately 10 km away from Lonavala, so make sure you map it correctly.
Other Popular Places For Trekking In Lonavala: Lohagad Fort, Visapur Fort, Rajmachi, Duke's Nose, Tikona Fort, Bhimashankar.
Disclaimer: Karla caves might not be open at the moment due to Covid-19 restrictions, but do keep a check on when it'll reopen if you're keen on exploring this beauty.
Explore & Eat Lunch At The Mapro Garden (11:30 AM - 2 PM)
Tucked away in the old Mumbai-Pune highway a bright red door reading Mapro Garden welcomes you in. A lot like the one in Mahabaleshwar, this Mapro garden too has got amazing strawberry themed decor, lots of greens and huge space allotted for Mapro products. Spend a good one hour exploring the garden, shopping for jams, chocolates, syrups, and taking endless images. Once done you can enjoy an amazing lunch here. For those who aren't aware, Mapro Garden serves heavenly wood-fired pizzas.
Must-Have: Italian Delight Pizza, Classic Sandwich, Fresh Strawberry ice-cream, Thick shakes.
Shell Out: INR 1,000 for two
Visit A Dinosaur-Themed Park (2:30 PM - 4:00 PM)
Never thought you’d live to see a Jurassic Park in India? Well, brace yourself because there's an amazing dinosaur-theme park right here in Lonavala called Dinosaur Park. Sprawling across a whopping 6.5 acres of land, this amusement park consists of animatronic dinosaurs, games and events themed around dinosaurs.
P.S: Note that it's little ahead of Lonavala (near the Pawna dam), so plan your route accordingly.
Entry Fees: INR 200 for adults; free for kids below four years of age
Drive Straight To The Lonavala Market (4:00 PM - 6:00 PM)
A zillion boards of Maganlal Chikki, local spice markets and tiny food joints - welcome to the super busy Lonavala market. While there's not a lot to shop for in Lonavala, you can always fill up your bags with chikki from Maganlal and the iconic chocolate fudge from Cooper's. Up for some evening snack? We'd highly highly recommend munching on wada pav, pakoras and samosas from Golden Vada Pav. Located at the heart of the market, this one's easy to spot. Thanks to a huge number of foodies lining up outside the tiny shop.P.S: Not many are aware about this, but there's a fun gaming zone in the Lonavala market called the Kumar Resort Game Zone. There's dashing cars and tons of video games. Once done, you can redeem all the won coupons and get yourself cute gift hampers.
Pause For A Quick Chai Break
You can end your trip inside Lonavala with a cup of chai at Jay Shiv Shankar Tea House. We hear the locals swear by this place, and it apparently serves around 20 varieties of tea. We really loved the lemon tea with honey and mint. For those who love milk, the kesari ukala, which they highly recommend, is one of the best things on their menu. A special cutting chai comes for INR 10 and the most expensive (if you can call it that) item on their menu is the ice tea which comes for INR 30.
Shell Out: INR 10 onward
Dine At A Dhaba On The Highway (8:00 PM - 10:00 PM)
The highway is blessed with some really amazing Dhabas that whip up hot and delicious butter chicken, dal makhani, buttery naans, kebabs, and so much more. While heading back to Mumbai, we'd suggest that you dine at a dhaba instead of a fancy restaurant or cafe. Sunny Da Dhaba and Kinara Village Dhaba are our favorites!
Shell Out: INR 1,200 onward for two