Luring millions of travellers from around the world to India’s southwest coast every winter, Goa really is like nowhere in India. The palm-fringed, golden-sand beaches, the roaring Indian Ocean, the thrilling opportunities for adventure are just few of the draws of this pint-sized state that is still deeply hung-over from the rule of the Portuguese colonisers. The influence is most evident in architecture (including stunning cathedrals) and cuisine. A hippie traveller’s delight, a yoga lover’s haven and a beachcomber’s most vivid dream come true, Goa hides more than it reveals in its precious mangroves, in its fragrant spice farms, under its gushing waterfalls and its lush blanket of striking green.
Top Things to Do in Goa
Beaches definitely are the biggest draw of Goa. Some of the best known beaches in the bustling north of the state include Anjuna, Candolim, Morjim, Arambol and Vagator. The south Goa beaches such as Palolem, Agonda, Colva, Majorda, Benaulim and Butterfly Beach are a solitude seeker’s best friend. Old Goa is architecture and history lover’s delight and hosts gems like Basilica of Bom Jesus, Sé Cathedral, Archaeological Museum and Museum of Christian Art. The capital of Panjim offers an eclectic mix of culture, heritage, glamour and modernity in its narrow streets, churches, shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, casinos and more. To see the best of nature’s blessings to this tiny state, a visit to Dudhsagar Falls and Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is very rewarding.
Where to Stay in Goa
Being a tourist haven, Goa has a good mix of plush accommodation options, mid-range hotels as well as backpackers’ inns. Geographically, the toughest choice to make is between north and south Goa. Most first-time visitors prefer being surrounded by the hustle of north Goa and heading out to the quiet of south for a change. Repeat visitors like to do the reverse. Panjim also makes for a good choice if casino time and better acquaintance with the state’s history is on your mind.
Goan cuisine is heavily inspired from traditional Konkani fare as well as the Portuguese cuisine, which is why, one sees a hearty use of rice, coconut milk fish and local spices along with pork, beef, bread, vinegar and other meat. Some of the best fusion dishes to try in Goa include pork vindaloo, prawn balchao and pork feijodda.
Shopping and Nightlife
From junk jewellery and shell and bamboo work to terracotta and brassware, from feni and to cashewnuts, Goan sausages and spices, Goa markets sell several little trinkets that a tourist might find appealing. Some of the markets to check out include Mapusa, Anjuna Flea Market, Calangute Market Square and Saturday Night Bazaar at Arpora. Goa comes to life after the sun sets. Several party clubs, beach shacks, bars and pubs, night markets, party cruises, silent noise parties as well as beach raves keep things exciting here 365 days of the year.
How to Get to Goa
Jet Airways, Oman Air and Qatar Airways are some of the airlines running flights from London Heathrow to Dabolim Airport in Goa. Flights to Goa are also available from London Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham amongst other major airports in the UK. Read more ...