Konkan Coastline, a narrow strip of land that runs from the south of Mumbai all the way up to Goa, is peppered with picture-perfect beaches, colorful fishing villages, and ruined forts. Its beaches are perfect for lazing around on pristine clean sands and listening to the intermittent lull and fury of waves. Traveling to Konkan and exploring this laid-back part of the country is sheer bliss. However rail connections on this route are minimal, and there are no airports on the Konkan Coast. Thus the only way to enjoy the beauty of Konkan is by a road-trip.
In the era of Google Maps, a road and transportation guide may seem dated. However, getting a hang of the highways and important towns on your route helps ease navigation, and this guide hopes to achieve just that.
Main Highways to reach Konkan
There are three main highways, that run parallel to the Konkan Coastline, all the way from Mumbai to Goa.
NH 66 aka Mumbai – Goa Highway:
The route made famous in the film Dil Chahta Hai is the busy highway along the Western coast of India that connects Panvel in Maharashtra to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. The scenic four-lane highway passes through many forests, rivers, and streams. The roads, however, are uneven and there are sections that are riddled with potholes due to the heavy rains that this region receives. This result is a slow drive along this road, and on a typical day, one cannot expect to drive above an average speed of 50 Km/h. However, there are no tolls on this road, which is a plus point.
NH 48 aka Mumbai – Bangalore Highway:
This route comprises of a 6 lane Expressway from Mumbai to Pune and going ahead all the way up to Bangalore. The roads on the Expressway are a delight to drive on, as vehicles can cruise at speed on 80-100Km/hr. The route cuts through the Sahyadri mountains, and in monsoon, one can witness the many waterfalls along this route. On the flip-side, the route has tolls and the amounts though on the higher side are justified for the quality of roads and services provided along the way.
SH 4 aka the Konkan Coastal Road:
This route is a minor state highway that runs all along the Konkan coast from Alibaug to Goa. The condition of the roads are not quite up to the mark, and there are stretches where the road becomes pretty narrow allowing only a single vehicle to pass through. But that does not take away anything from the expansive views of the Arabian sea that this route offers. There are stretches near Harihareshwar, Velas, Dapoli etc. where the sea-water comes right up to the edge of the road. Among all the three roads, it definitely is the most scenic route and a bikers paradise.
Which route to take to my destination ?
Each of the three roads mentioned above run parallel to each other. Mumbai-Bangalore (NH-48) highway lies innermost from the coast but is the fastest route. Mumbai-Goa (NH-66) highway lies in the middle between NH-48 and SH-4, and it’s a quicker option than the coastal route. Finally, the Konkan coastal road (SH-4) runs right along the Arabian Sea but one crawls at a snail’s pace on this route.
The best option is to take the Mumbai-Bangalore Highway or Mumbai-Goa Highway as applicable and then take the exits on the towns/cities along the way to reach your destination in Konkan. Exploring the SH-4 once in Konkan is easier and fun option, rather than using it as your main highway to reach from Mumbai or Pune.
If traveling from Mumbai or Pune, one can take the below exits to reach the main tourist destinations in Konkan.
To get an overview in Google Maps on all the three highways, see below:
We hope the above information helps you plan that perfect trip to Konkan. If you have any other queries regarding the routes or places, then do let us know in comments and we will be glad to help.