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Goa

Go once and keep returning forever

Sizzling Beaches, Cafes, Nightclubs, Fishing boats, Heritage, Bars, Great Views

Everything they say is true: With every year, Goa is getting more crowded. Add to that, the beaches are overrun with sellers and hawkers, selling an assortment of sarongs, anklets, foot massages and more potent stress relievers. And yes, a lot of the food served might not be the best, although there is always some delicious food that await those who are ready to experiment and go the distance. But truth be told, a holiday in Goa is about staying immobile, unless it is to take a dip in the ocean, or order another tall glass of beer or juice. Post sun-set, shower off the sand, and spend the night dancing till the dawn of next day or at at a beach shack, with your toes in the sand. It’s like they say, Goa is a state of mind—and a quintessentially Indian travel experience.

VIEW POINT

Go on a Beach Tour

Beach Exploration Never Ends Here

All cities have a soul, a quiet site or a unique phenomenon that leaves visitors awestruck and for Goa that place is but obviously its beaches. Home to more than 30 beaches, they cater to every tropical whim; from backpacker Arambol or palm fringed Palolem to laid back Mandrem or market bliss at Anjuna and adventure crazy Calangute, there is something here for everyone.

Here are 4 beaches that warrant a visit from everyone. 

1. Querim Beach: Also known as the Kerim Beach, the Querim Beach is located near the Tiracol fort. An old Portuguese fort and a 17th century church overlooks a peaceful and unexplored slice of the shore. It also has the options for paragliding and other sports. Be careful about going swimming in the water (especially near the Tiracol estuary that is formed by the Tiracol river meeting the Arabian sea) as that prove to be risky.

2. Arambol Beach: Surrounded by cliffs on two sides, the Arambol Beach is easily one of the best beaches in Goa. With a distinct bohemian feel, the beach attracts both local and international tourists in equal numbers. At a little distance to the north, there are number of scenic bays, the most famous among which is the sweet water lake at Paliem Beach (also referred to as Kalacha). It is believed that the lake has healing properties and many people also take mud baths here. The beach also hosts night parties and the Glastonbury street that leads to the beach is filled with shops and boutiques that sells a wide range of impressive items. You can also do some kite surfing and paragliding here as well.

3. Vagator Beach: Set picturesquely in the middle of cliffs and white sand, the Vagator beach is perfect for relaxing and unwinding. Lined with coconuts trees and Chapora fort for company, this is a great place to unwind and soak in the culture of the state. Don’t forget to bring along some sunscreen and a good book.

4. Calangute Beach: Close to Baga beach, Calangute beach has a lot of markets, restaurants, and accommodation options. Famous for its pubs and nightlife, make sure you stop here for a night of drinks and dance. Some things are best experienced, right?

And most importantly, don't forget to catch a sunset at any of these beach. Because if you choose correctly and plan in advance, you will be lucky to match your footprints with that of scuttling crabs' or if you are lucky, a friendly dog.

Discover the monuments of Goa

A Rich Heritage awaits you

The Portuguese came to India in 1510, after being lured by the lucrative spice routes and exotic East, but their influence is still evident in the state’s baroque architecture,  dilapidating forts, whitewashed churches and stunning cathedrals of Old Goa.

Fort Aguada: Made popular by Dil Chahta Hai, the Fort Aguada was built in the 17th century and provides some spectacular views of the Arabian Sea. Take a walk through the fort to the lighthouse, which till date is one of the best example of Portuguese architecture. 

Basilica of Bom Jesus: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is another excellent example of Baroque architecture. It houses the mortal remains of Saint Francis Xavier and is visited by Christian pilgrims, all through the year. 

Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine: Near the Nunnery of Santa Monica, there is a lofty tower that has managed to defy the vagaries of weather and time. Right now, only one tower of the church has managed to survive, however there is a lot left for those willing to dig deep enough. If that is not enough, in 1986, the UNESCO declared the ruins to be a World Heritage Site, so this is definitely one place that is well worth the visit.

The Reis Magos Fort: One of the first bastions of the Portuguese rulers, the Reis Magos Fort stands tall and overseas the taluka of Bardez. Although it is not the biggest fort in Goa, it does not fail to impress and awe visitors. With its skilful construction and strategic placement, this fort is older than than Fort Aguada and is in no way any less impressive. Almost impregnable, with its reddish stone walls, this fort was one of the most important asset to the Portuguese colonists.   

Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary: The largest wildlife preserve in the state of Goa, the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary boasts of impressive flora and fauna. Here you can enjoy hiking and nature trails, visit this park between October and March, when the monsoons make this park come alive in all its grandeur.

Other places that merit a visit in Goa includes The Church of St. Francis of Assisi,  Shri Mangeshi Tem­ple, Dona Paula, Chapora Fort, Shantadurga Temple, ruins of St. Augustine’s Church,  Reis Magos Fort among others.

 

activities

Go On An Adventure Trail in Goa

Thrill seekers, unite here

Want to burn all those calories? There are a host of adventure activities that you can experience here, including water sports (like water-skiing, windsurfing, parasailing,snorkeling, sports fishing, water-scooter, motorboat rides, yachting, harpoon fishing and kayaking), trekking, hiking, camping to name just a few. And while water sports are the actually soul of the state, don't underestimate the good old treks and trails that are scattered around the state. Here are top 3 picks of adventure activties that can do, while you are in Goa next. 

1. Scuba diving at Grande Island in Goa - If you think our planet terrestrial wildlife is awe-inspiring, hold your breath and duck under waters, because you might just change your opinion. And a scuba diving at session at Grande Island is your chance to witness the vast wilderness, of the under waters where fantastic beasts swim, crawl and shuffle through ever changing landscapes. Trust us, there might be a good chance that you might come back believing that mankind got an exceptionally raw deal being born on land.

2. Trekking at Dudhsagar Falls - There are several routes that you can take, while trekking up to Dudhsagar falls. However, the most recommended route is the one that originates in the Devil’s Canyon as it provides you stunning vistas of the region. Another route that you can take is the path that runs parallel to the South Western railway line. In this route, the trek starts at Collem railway station and will take you through rugged terrains and dense forests. The best part? You can complete the trek in 3-4 hours.  A word of caution; avoid monsoons as the terrain might get wet and slippery, causing injuries. On a general note, October-November is considered as the best time to do a trekking trip here. There are also options for hiking and camping in the state, if that is something that interests you more.

3. Water sports at the Beaches- Goa is known for its water sports and it would be remiss to miss those while on a trip to the state. And while almost all the beaches have some sort of activity or the other, popular ones include Palolem, Anjuna, Vagator, Calangute, Mober, Baga and Miramar. Further, some of the water sports that you can enjoy here, irrespective of whether you are an expert or amateur, are water skiing, wind surfing, yachting, kayaking, and windsurfing. Many of these activities require you to know swimming and be medically fit, so make sure you are fully qualified for the same.  

 

Go Partying

Dance the night away!

As the sun sets, Goa comes alive with dizzy neon lights, great music and of course delectable food and drinks. Clubs like Club Tito’s at Baga Beach, Temptations, The Alcove at Vagator Beach, Ziggy’s and Johnny Cool’s near Colva beach are among the popular ones, that make both locals and tourist want to dance the night away.

Take A Tour Of The Spice Gardens

Goa's hidden secret

A well-kept secret from most, Goa boasts of some breathtaking spice-gardens which source their produce to much of the local cuisine, which have in turn helped it gained global recognition. Some of the spice gardens that you can visit in the state include the following: 

Savoi Plantations:  Spice of Life: Here you can watch the process of how spices, coconuts, fruits and betel nuts are grown in the state. Take a guided tour, forge on a delicious Goan meal, visit a cashew nut factory and a partially submerged Ananta temple, all in a day.

Tropical Spice Plantation: Located in Keri in Ponda Taluka, the Tropical Spice Plantation is also a great place to witness the process of spice making. You can take a guided tour and enjoy a local meal served on banana leaf to end your journey.

Pascoal Spice Village: Bounded by a tributary of the Mandovi river, this village is home to a number of cash crops and spice plants. You can also enjoy some boating and dining at the restaurant located on its premises.

Rustic Plantations: An ideal getaway for a rejuvenating experience, this is another option for people keen to know more about the process of spice making. Located in the North-east of Goa at Dongruli village, stop by for an authentic experience.

That being said, there are many plantations in and around Goa that must be on your list when you visit the state.

how to get there

  • By Air: Nearest airport is Goa International Airport
  • By Rail: Nearest railway station is Thivim Railway Station, Goa
  • By Road: Pune (440 Km); Mysore (619 km); Mumbai (570 km)

when to visit

  • Summers (March - June): 25°C- 45°C
  • Monsoon (July- September): 24°C- 32°C
  • Winter (November - February): 11°C- 3°C
  • Best time to Visit: October to March

Local cuisine

Goan Food

Seafood, served on the beach with a glass of beer!

The divine promise of platefuls of fresh seafood is what set Goan cuisine apart from the rest of the country. Influenced by various elements of its history, including its Hindu origins and four hundred years of Portuguese colonialism, the cuisine of the state is a mixed bag of flavours, dishes and techniques. In fact, no other cuisine in the country can claim to have so many contrasting influence as the state of Goa.  

Some of the main ingredients used in Goan cuisine include coconut milk, rice, local spices and sometimes even kokum which adds another distinct flavour to the dishes that use this ingredients. Among seafood, fish is one of the main dishes and no trip to Goa is complete without it. From pomfret, to tuna and mackerel the choices here endless. Don’t forget that bottle of beer though.

Local Shopping

Shopping in Goa

Spices, feni and more!

From bottles of feni (liquor distilled from coconut milk or cashews) and packets of locally grown spices. you can find almost anything in the state of Goa. The state offers equally good bargains in flea markets and designer boutiques and Goa markets, unsurprisingly, are thronged by foreigners and locals shopping for brassware, shell work, terracotta, carved furniture, bamboo work, crochet, among other items. Souvenirs are another item on the hitlist of shopaholics. For tourist markets, Anjuna’s Wednesday Flea Market, though somewhat commercialised, is still quite fun to stroll, while two Saturday night markets – Mackie’s and Ingo’s – operate throughout high season just outside Calangute and Baga.

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