Most visitors to Mumbai eventually find their way to the bustling district of Colaba, the city’s tourist heart and location of the iconic Gateway of India monument.
It’s an attractive area of crumbling colonial-era mansions and fascinating laneways, fishing docks, churches, vibrant vegetable markets and great selection of street-food stalls.
As you take a wander through the district, seek out the opulent mix of Victorian and art deco buildings, like the Regal cinema and 1870s Sailors Home. The grand buildings of the High Court and Mumbai University flank the maidan, and a series of arcaded state buildings surround the 1860s Horniman Circle.
The Portuguese held onto Little Colaba Island until the 1760s, longer than other parts of Mumbai, but the colonial remnants are firmly British. Colaba is also where you’ll find the ritzy Taj Mahal Hotel, Naval cantonment, upmarket residential areas and shopping malls, lively fruit and vegetable markets, contemporary art galleries and art deco cinemas.
The fish caught off Colaba are cooked up for the city’s signature dish, Bombay duck, along with seafood like crabs and lobsters. If you’re in need of a caffeine fix, Colaba’s trendy barista bars serve Mumbai’s best caffè lattes.
Colaba sits on the southernmost tip of Mumbai’s southern peninsula, around 7km (4.5 miles) south of central Mumbai. One of the city’s original seven islands, it is now connected to the rest of Mumbai by a causeway.