Best places to visit in Mumbai on a 3-day itinerary

Mumbai is India's most exciting city and this 3-day itinerary includes all the best places to visit in Mumbai such as Marine Drive, Colaba & Gateway of India.

Best places to visit in Mumbai on a 3-day itinerary

Best places to visit in Mumbai on a 3-day itinerary

Gateway of India near Taj Palace hotel on the Mumbai harbour.
Gateway of India near Taj Mahal Palace Hotel on Mumbai Harbour. Photo credit: iStock.

If you’re planning a trip to India and thinking about adding Mumbai to your itinerary, you’re in the right place. This 3-day Mumbai itinerary covers all the best places to visit in Mumbai,  ensuring you experience the essence of this bustling Indian city. Our 3-day Mumbai itinerary covers must-see spots, some offbeat gems, and useful tips to make your trip hassle-free and unforgettable.

Imagine New York and Hollywood rolled into one, set in the tropics, and squeezed onto a peninsula several sizes too small. Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is one of the biggest and most densely packed cities on earth, India’s economic engine, and the home of Bollywood, the glamour factory that makes more movies than anywhere else – more than twice as many as Hollywood. It buzzes, it never sleeps, and don’t get in its way!

Mumbai is on the move, and you better be too if you want to get on and off trains, cross the street, order food, shop or achieve any kind of success. For this city represents both the future, in the shape of the dreams of millions, and the past, in the streetscape of grand Victorian buildings.

What do you do with three days in Mumbai? I asked local travel writer and blogger Anjali of Travel Melodies to offer her suggestions for a three-day Mumbai itinerary.

The perfect 3-day Mumbai itinerary

By Anjali of Travel Melodies.

Mumbai, formerly Bombay, reminds me a lot of New York City, particularly Manhattan. Like Manhattan, Mumbai is also located on a peninsula and ranks among the world’s richest and largest cities. One of the most notable features of Mumbai is the stark contrast between abundance and scarcity. You can see lavish homes and soaring skyscrapers that shape the city’s iconic skyline side-by-side massive slums and underdeveloped areas – such as Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, which became famous because of the film Slumdog Millionaire. 

Constantly evolving as India’s financial nucleus, Mumbai is home to more millionaires and billionaires than anywhere else in the subcontinent. It is also the home of the Indian film industry or Hindi cinema, popularly known as Bollywood. It’s here where countless ambitions take flight every second, earning it the nickname City of Dreams. The city pulsates with aspirations, dreams, and non-stop energy: Mumbai is also the City That Never Sleeps.

Despite its size and urban challenges, Mumbai’s dynamic spirit, rich history, diverse culture, delicious food, and mix of colonial and contemporary architecture make it a fascinating place to explore. A visit to Mumbai is an essential addition to your bucket list for India. I was captivated by its charm from my first visit, and the city has drawn me back many times since. I’m confident that its glamour will be irresistible to you as well. So, let’s discover the city’s magic, one day at a time. 

NOTE: Like many major tourist destinations, Mumbai has its share of scams. Therefore, it’s wise to be cautious of overly friendly strangers or unofficial tour guides who might approach you with questionable offers or deals. Always verify the authenticity of any offer and rely on official sources for tours and information to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the city.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of the best places to visit in Mumbai
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Colaba, South Mumbai, is India’s most famous train station.

How to Get Around Mumbai

Mumbai’s public transport doesn’t quite match up to Delhi’s, but once the Metro train system fully connects the city, it should be comparable. (Note: Read our Perfect 3-day Delhi itinerary here.) The Mumbai Metro, though limited, is useful for certain routes like from the airport to Andheri.

The city’s infamous local trains and unique double-decker buses are the mainstays of public transportation in Mumbai. Talking about local trains, while they can be insanely crowded and not the most comfortable, riding a Mumbai Local, fondly known as the lifeline of Mumbai, is considered an essential experience for any visitor.

Running from north to south, the local train network, with three main lines – Western, Central, and Harbor, connects almost all the major areas and is the fastest and most economical way to travel long distances across the city. All the stations have ticket counters, and a tourist pass is available for short-term visitors. For female visitors, I recommend getting a ticket in the ladies compartment. (Note: Read our Guide to train travel in India.)

BEST buses are another option, covering areas beyond train routes. They’re affordable and offer a slower, scenic view of the city.

The iconic black and yellow taxis are metered and can be hailed on the street. However, if you plan to travel by taxi, I’d recommend app-based cabs like Uber or Ola over traditional taxis to avoid taxi scams.

If you are exploring the suburbs, you can hail an autorickshaw. They are ideal for short distances and are cheaper than cabs. Please ensure that the autorickshaw driver uses the meter. Note: autorickshaws are not allowed in South Mumbai.

In some areas, especially in South Mumbai, walking is a great way to soak in the city’s vibe.

Top Tip: If you are overwhelmed by public transport like me, traveling with young kids, or as a solo female traveler, I’d recommend sticking to autorickshaws or app-based cabs like Uber and Ola.

The iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai
The iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai.

Three Day Mumbai Itinerary

Day 1 in Mumbai: Morning in Colaba

I always suggest starting your day super early when you are exploring a new city. This way, you can beat the crowds and make the most of your time – and this is especially true in India. Let’s face it, time is precious, especially when you have a few days to immerse yourself in a new place and experience its true essence.

7:30 am: Leopold Café

Begin your early morning with breakfast at Leopold Café in Colaba, a place that’s more than just a café – it’s a Mumbai icon. Open since 1871, this café has been a part of the city’s history for over a century.

As you enjoy your meal, keep an eye out – you might be spotted for a movie role! Leopold Café is known for being a place where casting agents often look for foreigners to appear as extras in Bollywood films.

The café serves a diverse menu, including Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Continental dishes, and is especially renowned for its fresh juices and desserts like pastries and tarts.

  • Address: Police Station, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Colaba Causeway, near Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
  • Opening Hours: 7:30 am to 12 am

8:30 am: Gateway of India

After a hearty breakfast, stroll over to the nearby Gateway of India. Constructed in 1924, this grand stone archway, facing the Mumbai Harbour, represents the city’s colonial history.

The area around the Gateway is bustling with vendors, photographers, and street food stalls, making it a lively spot to experience Mumbai’s vibrant atmosphere while capturing some great photos.

  • Opening Hours: 24X7
  • Entry Fee: Free

9 am: Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

Right next to the Gateway of India, the majestic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel stands proud. This iconic hotel has a legendary story. It’s believed that Jamshedji Tata built this luxurious hotel in 1903 after being denied entry to a British hotel in Bombay.

Despite the devastating terrorist attack in November 2008, the hotel demonstrated its resilience by reopening just a few days later, and it has been completely renovated since.

You can admire the hotel’s stunning architecture from the outside, wander through its public areas, and take a moment to relax with a cup of tea at the famous Sea Lounge, which offers picturesque views of the Mumbai Harbour.

Top Tip: Try to make time for traditional Afternoon Tea at the Sea Lounge during your 3-day stay in Mumbai.

Elephanta Caves is a UNESCO World Heritage site of India
Elephanta Caves.

10 am: Elephanta Caves

From the Gateway of India, take a ferry to the Elephanta Caves, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The journey itself, lasting about an hour from the Gateway of India to Elephanta Island (Gharapuri), offers stunning views of Mumbai’s skyline, harbour, and the Arabian Sea. Ferries depart and return to the Gateway of India every half hour, starting at 9 am with the last one departing at 3:30 pm.

These ancient caves are renowned for their rock-cut temples, dating from the 5th to the 7th century, and featuring some of India’s most extraordinary temple carvings.

Be ready for a bit of walking once you reach the island. A short distance from the jetty, you can either walk or take a small train for a nominal fee. Then, you’ll climb a stone staircase of more than 120 steps leading up a hill.

Top Tip: there will be lots of walking so wear comfortable shoes to ensure ease during your exploration.

  • Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm, daily except Mondays
  • Entry Tickets: INR 40 (about 0.48 cents) for Indians and INR 600 for foreigners

Day 1 in Mumbai: Afternoon in Colaba Causeway

Back in Mumbai, walk about 900 metres to the nearby Colaba Causeway aka Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, a bustling commercial street in Colaba. It’s famous for its street market, colonial-era buildings, and a variety of restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors.

2 pm: Lunch at Café Mondegar

Café Mondegar, affectionately known as Mondy’s, is another historical café in Mumbai. Every time I’m in Mumbai, I make sure to visit Mondy’s, and I’m confident you’ll love it too.

The menu includes a wide range of dishes, from Indian and Chinese to Western cuisine. Popular choices include onion rings, chili cheese toast, fish and chips, and various sandwiches and burgers.

  • Address: Metro House, Colaba Causeway, near Regal Cinema, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
  • Opening Hours: 7 am to 12 am

3 pm: Explore Colaba Causeway

Post lunch, take some time to discover the Colaba Causeway. The area is a shopping haven, with its boutiques and lively street markets. You can find everything from trendy clothes, costume jewelry, and handbags to antiques and home décor items.

It’s a perfect place to score unique and affordable souvenirs. Just remember, bargaining is key to getting the best deals here, so don’t hesitate to negotiate prices!

Marine Drive is one of the best places to visit in Mumbai
Marine Drive, Mumbai, is known as The Queen’s Necklace.

Day 1 in Mumbai: Evening on Marine Drive

5:30 pm: Architectural Walk to Marine Drive

As you walk from the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel to Marine Drive, take in the stunning architecture.

Make sure to stop by Oval Maidan, lying between Churchgate and Marine Lines, famous for being the nurturing ground of many renowned Indian cricketers.

The area surrounding Oval Maidan is an architectural delight, showcasing a mix of Victorian Gothic structures like the Bombay High Court and the University of Mumbai, alongside Art Deco buildings such as Regal Cinema, Eros Cinema, Soona Mahal, Empress Court, and Keval Mahal, two contrasting styles that are part of Mumbai’s unique architectural heritage.

These Art Deco structures, along with others in Mumbai, were recognized with a UNESCO World Heritage designation in 2018 under the title The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai, highlighting their global cultural significance.

Tip: If you’re feeling hungry and have some time to spare, consider visiting Swati Snacks (a bit of a detour from Oval Maidan to Marine Drive) for an authentic street food experience in Mumbai – but in a stylish and hygienic setting.

6 pm: Capture the sunset along Marine Drive

Known as the Queen’s Necklace, Marine Drive is a crescent-shaped boulevard that provides breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea, especially at dusk. It’s an ideal place for a peaceful walk, offering a break from the city’s hustle.

As you near Chowpatty Beach, completing the 2.5 kilometre (1.5 miles) walk, you’ll notice the atmosphere gradually shifts to a lively and festive vibe.

In the evenings, this beach turns into a festival, attracting both locals and tourists who gather to unwind, sample street food, and enjoy the beautiful sunset.

For an unobstructed view of the Arabian Sea, head to the Girgaon Chowpatty Viewing Deck.

8 pm: Dinner in Chowpatty

Chowpatty is an ideal spot to sample Mumbai’s famous street food, such as bhelpuri and pav bhaji.

Near Chowpatty Beach, you’ll find Cream Centre, a well-known vegetarian eatery beloved by both locals and visitors for many years. It’s the perfect place for a meal after a leisurely walk by the sea.

Tip: While indulging in street food, be mindful to choose stalls that uphold basic hygiene standards, such as having a garbage can, using gloves for food handling, and displaying a high turnover of customers, indicating freshness and popularity.

11 pm: Nightcap at Dome

If you still have energy left after your first day in Mumbai, take an Uber or Ola from Chowpatty to the Intercontinental Hotel located on Marine Drive.

Make your way to Dome, their rooftop bar, to take in stunning views of the Arabian Sea and the twinkling lights along Marine Drive. 

It’s a fantastic spot to relax and experience the lively nightlife of Mumbai, a city renowned for its never-ending energy.

Bandra Worli Sea Link is one of the best places to visit in Mumbai
Bandra Worli Sea Link Mumbai. Photo credit: iStock.

Day 2 in Mumbai: Morning in Kala Ghoda

The second day in Mumbai promises to be thrilling as you delve into the city’s glamour and glitz, along with an exploration of the vibrant neighbourhood of Bandra.

8 am: Breakfast at Malido Cafe

Fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Malido Café, an up-and-coming café in Kala Ghoda. It offers a variety of dishes, focusing mainly on Parsi cuisine. Try their Bombay sandwich, avocado toast, or risotto.

  • Address: 15-17-19, Burjorji, Bharucha Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
  • Opening Hours: 8 am to 11 pm

9 am: Hanging Gardens and Malabar Hill

After breakfast, take a taxi to the Hanging Gardens aka Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, in Malabar Hill. These terraced gardens are known for their lush greens and animal-shaped hedges and afford a view of the Arabian Sea.

Adjacent to the Hanging Gardens is Kamla Nehru Park, another urban green space known for its huge shoe-shaped structure, the Old Woman’s Shoe ,that kids and even grown-ups love to climb.

Malabar Hill is one of the most upscale residential areas in Mumbai, known for its scenic views over Nariman Point, Marine Drive, and Chowpatty and the lavish homes of some of Mumbai’s elite.

  • Opening Hours: 6 am to 9 pm
  • Entry Tickets: Free

10 am: Take a Bollywood Tour or Watch a Bollywood Movie

Visiting Mumbai without a taste of Bollywood is like missing a key part of the city’s essence. Taking a guided tour of Mumbai’s Film City or a Bollywood studio provides a unique opportunity to peek behind the scenes of movie-making.

Alternatively, catching the latest Bollywood film at a local cinema is another great way to dive into the narratives that reflect India’s life, culture, traditions, and values.

Day 2 in Mumbai: Afternoon in Bandra

1 pm: Lunch in Bandra

Take an Uber or Ola taxi to Bandra, often known as the Queen of Suburbs, one of the most happening places in Mumbai. Part of the fun will be crossing the Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge – a 5.6 kilometre engineering feat that connects Bandra with South Mumbai. 

Before you start exploring this chic neighbourhood, have lunch at one of Bandra’s trendy cafes or restaurants. My top picks are Elco Market, Birdsong, and Suzette.

3 pm: Explore Bandra

Post lunch, it’s time to explore the vibrant suburb of Bandra. Every time I find myself in Bandra, it just feels special. In Mumbai’s busy life, Bandra has its unique charm.

Once a quaint fishing village, Bandra has grown up to house some of the city’s most illustrious residents, such as Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan. Here, chic cafes, soaring condos, and stylish shops stand side-by-side crumbling bungalows, 500-year-old Catholic churches, and roadside fish stalls.

But what makes Bandra really special is its vibe – there’s an energy here that’s just contagious.

Begin your exploration on Linking Road, a shopping hotspot, offering everything from trendy, affordable fashion at street stalls to high-end brands in boutiques.

Spend some time meandering through the backstreets of Bandra, particularly Chapel Road and Waroda Road. These areas are known for their colourful street art and murals, offering a visually engaging and enjoyable walk.

Head to Bandra Reclamation, an area that hosts various cultural and social events including music concerts, exhibitions, and food festivals contributing to the vibrant cultural scene of Mumbai.

Take a moment to snap a picture with the I LOVE MUMBAI sign in Bandra Reclamation. This sign has become a beloved symbol of the city, representing Mumbai’s spirit, diversity, and resilience.

Next, visit a Roman Catholic Basilica, Mount Mary Church, located on Sunderban Bandra hill. The visiting timings are 8 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 8:30 pm and the entry is free.

Bandstand in Bandra is one of the best places to visit in Mumbai.
Sun sets over the Arabian Sea on Bandstand in Bandra .

Day 2 in Mumbai: Evening on Bandra Bandstand

6 pm: Sunset at Bandstand

As the sunset starts, head to the seaside promenade of Bandra Bandstand, a popular hangout spot, lined with upscale homes and cafes.

Walk towards the lover’s point, and witness Bandra Fort aka Castella de Aguada. It’s a great spot for photography and to enjoy a panoramic view of the Sea Link, which is stunning at twilight. The opening timings are 6 am to 6:30 pm and the entry is free.

While you walk the Bandra promenade towards the lover’s point, you can stop at Mannat, the home of Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan. You will recognize it by the crowds, waiting for a wave from the man himself.

I vividly recall my first visit to Bandra, standing in front of Mannat. As I looked up at the iconic residence, I was filled with thoughts of ambition and success – I love places like this that really show the power of dreams and the heights they can reach.

8 pm: Dinner at Taj Mahal Tea House

For a laid-back dinner, visit iconic Brooke Bond Taj Mahal Tea House. They offer light meals and an assortment of teas in a peaceful setting, ideal for a tranquil evening.

  • Address: Sanatan Pereira Bungalow, 36/A, St John Baptist Rd, Bandra West, Mumbai 400050
  • Opening Hours: 7:30 am to 11:30 pm
Kala Ghoda Statue, Mumbai
Kala Ghoda Statue, Mumbai.

Day 3 in Mumbai: Morning in Fort

On your final day in Mumbai, prepare for an exploration of the city’s cultural and spiritual heart. This last day is set to be a special end to your trip, bringing you closer to the vibrant spirit of the city.

8 am: Breakfast at Kala Ghoda Café 

Start your day with a traditional breakfast at Kala Ghoda Café. Located in the artsy Kala Ghoda area, it’s renowned for its charming ambiance and delicious menu.

Known for its organic and fresh ingredients, Kala Ghoda Cafe serves a variety of dishes catering to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It’s particularly famous for its coffee, which is often described as one of the best in the city.

  • Address: 10, Rope Walk Lane, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai 400001
  • Opening Hours: 8 am to 12 am

9 am: Explore Fort

After breakfast, explore the dynamic Fort district. This area, rich in history and culture, gets its name from the old Fort George, a relic of British colonial times. Now a thriving business hub, Fort is brimming with impressive colonial-era architectural marvels.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CST), formerly Victoria Terminus, shines as the most remarkable heritage building in Mumbai. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s famed for its stunning Victorian Gothic architecture, marking it as a must-see landmark in the city.

Next, make your way to the artistic Kala Ghoda Art Precinct. This area is famous for its art galleries, trendy boutiques, and cozy cafes. You can plan to visit Jehangir Art Gallery or the National Gallery of Modern Art to dive deep into the creative pulse of Mumbai.

For a dose of art, history, and culture, head to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrehalaya, previously known as the Prince of Wales Museum. Open from 10:15 am to 6 pm, it charges INR 200 for Indian visitors and INR 700 for foreign guests. 

Fort is also famous for its authentic shopping experience. Explore the bustling markets like Crawford Market and Chor Bazaar.

Housed in a beautiful building featuring a mix of Flemish and Norman architectural styles, Crawford Market, officially known as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai sells everything from fresh produce, spices, meats, and textiles to household items and local delicacies.

While here, don’t miss the Crawford Market Fountain aka the Lockwood Kipling Fountain, a historic landmark designed by Rudyard Kipling’s father. The clock tower of the market is another notable feature.

Top Tip: Make sure to visit Ashok Patil Tea Stall in Crawford Market, a prime spot in Mumbai to enjoy Cutting Chai, a small glass of masala chai that’s a cherished ritual, a moment of respite in the bustling life of Mumbaikars.

Britannia and Company is a famous Parsi cafe in Mumbai
Britannia and Company is a famous Parsi / Irani cafe in Mumbai.

2 pm: Lunch in Fort

For an authentic culinary experience, the area is full of historic eateries, mostly Persian and Iranian, such as Yazdani Bakery, Britannia & Co., Military Café, Café Excelsior, and many more.

If you are a seafood lover, you can’t miss Mumbai’s favorite seafood restaurant, Trishna. Foodies swear by the king prawn. Other menu highlights include jumbo crab, seafood biryani, and Bombay Duck – which is not duck at all, but a local fish.  

3 pm: Shree Mahalakshmi Temple

Take an Uber or Ola to Mahalaxmi Temple. Among Mumbai’s oldest, it’s a significant Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi.

The temple features traditional architecture and a peaceful, spiritual atmosphere, making it a revered site for worshippers. Its scenic location by the sea adds to its charm and beauty.

Tip: If you are keen, you can time your visit to experience an aarti, a sacred Hindu worship ritual, to truly immerse yourself in the spiritual and other-worldly aura.

  • Opening Hours: 6 am to 10 pm
  • Entry Fee: Free

Day 3 in Mumbai: Evening at Juhu Beach

5 pm: Haji Ali Dargah

A scenic walk along the edge of the Arabian Sea takes you from Shree Mahalakshmi Temple to Haji Ali, a revered mosque and a mausoleum of the Sufi saint Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.

Located on a small islet off the coast, the shrine is accessible only via a narrow causeway. The causeway gets submerged during high tide, thus, it’s crucial to check the tide schedule before planning a visit.

The best time to visit is usually early morning or late afternoon when the tide is low. There are many online resources like this one that provide accurate and updated information on tide timings.

  • Opening Hours: 5:30 am to 10 pm
  • Entry Fee: Free

Top Tip: Choose modest attire when visiting religious sites. Carry a scarf to cover your head.

7 pm: Unwind at Juhu Beach or Catch a Show at the Royal Opera House

After a busy day, take a moment to unwind and reflect on your time in Mumbai. There’s no better way to end your trip than by spending your evening at Juhu Beach, enjoying local snacks like pav bhaji and gola, soaking in the serene beachside vibe, and experiencing Mumbai’s lively nightlife.

For dinner, pick from the array of seaside restaurants in Juhu or Versova to enjoy a meal overlooking the Arabian Sea.

Or, for a different experience, consider attending a performance at the Royal Opera House, Mumbai’s sole remaining opera house, adding an element of sophistication and cultural flair to your night.

And that wraps up an incredible three-day itinerary for Mumbai!

Mumbai is a huge city with endless experiences to offer, and while this 3-day itinerary covers some of the best, there’s still much more to explore. You’ll have to come back to uncover the secrets Mumbai has up its sleeve!

Tiffin walas at Churchgate station, Mumbai
Mumbai’s famous tiffin walas at Churchgate station.

Where to Stay in Mumbai

Now that you’ve got a great plan for three days in Mumbai, picking a good hotel in the right area is important. It’ll make getting around easier and let you enjoy the city’s buzz and culture.

For first-time visitors to Mumbai, staying in South Mumbai areas like Colaba, Nariman Point, and Fort is ideal due to their closeness to major attractions and easy access.

Accommodations in these areas offer many choices but tend to be crowded and noisy, a trade-off for being in the centre of the action.

For a quieter stay in Mumbai with easy access to attractions, consider Bandra West, Powai, or Juhu, which offers a relaxed vibe, local culture, green spaces, and convenient connections to the city.

You can opt for apartment stays if you’re looking for a more homely and personal experience during your visit. I love the fact that apartments can be quite budget-friendly, even in dreamy, sought-after areas like Pali Hill. A perfect balance of comfort, location, and affordability makes them an attractive option for accommodation.

Author Bio: An avid traveler and writer with a keen interest in culture and history, Anjali explores the world with her family and shares these adventures on her blog, Travel Melodies. Her stories inspire families everywhere to embark on their own journeys, traveling more and creating better experiences.