Before it came to be favoured as the holiday destination for big-city folk, Alibaug was comfortable in its little-known role, as a picturesque hamlet across the Arabian Sea. In fact, it was this escape-the-city vibe that attracted people to its largely untouched greenscape. The pandemic further highlighted the benefits of retreating to small-town sanctuaries, where people were fewer in number and access to the outdoors was easy. In recent years, Alibaug has become the go-to second-home destination for city-dwellers, especially from Mumbai. Many private luxury villas with private pools owned by Mumbaikars have come up. And others seek out that idyllic Alibaug beach bungalow on rent.
This newfound fame is certainly down to its natural cover and sun-kissed beaches. But there is so much more that this little town offers—places best explored when you are living here and have the time to indulge your curiosity. And with the RoRo now making things so much easier, you can simply drive around and discover its charm. And learn that living in Alibaug is so much more than just the crisp air and nature-decked surroundings.
Before it became that coveted beach sanctuary for Mumbaikars, Alibaug was always known for its forts and Portuguese architectural ruins. A visit to the Kolaba Fort across Alibaug Beach is a must. It sits on a rock that projects out into the sea. During low tide, you can walk right up to the fort. It’s 900 feet long, 350 feet wide and has 25-foot-high walls that hold an 18th-century shrine. Other smaller forts in this vicinity, unfortunately, are closed to visitors.
The Magnetic Observatory was built here in 1904. Made by the British using Porbandar sandstone, this observatory was moved here from Mumbai, to reduce costs! Then there are the museums if you are looking for a dose of culture. Alibaug has its own art galleries, such as the Guild and the Dashrath Patel Museum. The latter was founded and built by architect and multidisciplinary designer Pinakin Patel.
If you are considering taking an Alibaug beach bungalow on rent, and if you enjoy the thrill of adventure, then Alibaug or Varsoli beaches should be on your radar. This is where all the action is from banana boat rides to jet-skiing, paragliding and even scuba-diving! Do make the right enquiries though, regarding safety and other procedures before diving into the fun. Other beaches where some form of adventure sport is on offer are Nagaon, Kihim, Zirad and Mandwa. Even if high-energy fun is not your thing, a stroll on the beach is equally enchanting, especially in the evenings to view the spectacular sunsets.
If you like exploring the great outdoors, then there is all that on offer too. You can choose to cycle around the quiet lanes or trek to the multitude of forts that dot the landscape. If bird-watching is more your speed, then Kihim Beach is the place to indulge this hobby. Hirakot Lake is another place with unmatched views. About 5km from the city centre, this is a popular tourist attraction. A large freshwater lake, it has unusual crystalline sand on its banks and offers a fantastic view of the historic Hirakot Fort, another favoured tourist spot right next to it You can go on a boat ride on its beep-blue waters and indulge in some local cuisine—including fresh seafood—at one of the many food joints around.
So if you can tear yourself away from lounging in the private villas with the private pool in Alibaug, you’ll be surprised by the potential for discovery in this picturesque town across the Arabian Sea.