Enter Mahabaleshwar and you’re welcomed with a sight of the soaring peaks and breathtaking valleys. The cool crisp mountain air makes this hill station a great escape from humdrum of Mumbai’s daily life. Catch a boat at the lake or simply spend the afternoon gorging on strawberries. Here’s a list of must-do Mahabaleshwar experiences.

VENNA LAKE

Surrounded by tall trees and greenery, the Venna Lake in Mahabaleshwar is one of the most popular tourist attractions in town. Paddle your way across the lake and enjoy the sight of lush greenery enveloping the waters.. Along the banks of the lake are different street food stalls where you can grab a bite. Watching the sun set into the waters while sitting on a boat is the best way to spend your evening here.

MAHABALESHWAR 1VIEWPOINTS

Translating to mean ‘God of Great Power’ in Sanskrit, Mahabaleshwar is a favourite hill destination with Maharashtrians. Once the summer capital of the Bombay Presidency during the British Raj, it offers visitors a perfect blend of modernity with old-world charm. Aside from being abound with natural beauty, there’s lots you can do here to keep entertained. All parts of the hill station are accessible by car, so getting around is no problem, and if you’re feeling adventurous, just climb onto a horse and get going. Make your way to Malcolm Peth, the bazaar at the heart of Mahabaleshwar, which has a good mix of hotels, shops and restaurants. Visit Mount Malcolm which was built in 1829 and once served as the Governor’s residence, Moraji Castle which was home to Mahatma Gandhi back in 1945, and wind down at the Mahabaleshwar Club in the evening over drinks. During the day you can take the short drive up to Venna Lake and go boating or fishing, and proceed a little further down to Panchgani, and walk through the strawberry fields.

MAPRO GARDENS

For a sight (and taste!) of juicy, positively divine berries visit Mapro Gardens, situated en route to Panchgani. Not only are various jams and preserves manufactured and sold here, but you can also treat yourself to fresh salads and juices. The Gardens also host the annual Strawberry Festival where you can get your hands on some farm-fresh strawberries.

CAMEL AND HORSE RIDING

Traversing through lesser known trails is best when you’re perched up on a horse or camel. If you’re one for literally taking the reins of your adventure, then this should definitely be on your list. Most hotels provide guests easy access to horse rides. Camels and horses are in abundance at Echo Point in Mahabaleshwar and can be booked for short or long rides.

CONNAUGHT PEAK

Initially known as Mount Olympia, this peak was renamed the Connaught Peak, after the Duke of Connaught visited this spot and literally fell in love with its beauty. The second highest peak in Mahabaleshwar, it offers trekkers great views and thrilling adventures.

So strap on your bags and get ready to walk through the valleys of Mahabaleshwar. The Pratapgad Fort, Venna Lake and the Krishna Valley are clearly visible from here, and will steal your breath away with their distant magnificence.