Goa, the smallest state of India on the West Coast. It is known for its pristine beaches, crazy nightlife, amazing food, and world-heritage listed architecture. Tourists from all over the world are found here throughout the year. Not only is it famous as one of the best honeymoon destinations, but it is also in the bucket list of many adventure enthusiasts, luxury seekers, and the young crowd. It has something in store for every person who visits. It divided between two parts, North and South Goa. While the Northern half is the party hub and attracts a lot of young tourists with its cheap beer, beach shacks, and crazy nightlife; the Southern half is defined by the luxury and calm beaches.
Culture of Goa:
Being under Portugal’s reign for 450 yrs., Goan culture is a mixed bag of both Western and Eastern styles. Goans celebrate Christmas and Easter with the same enthusiasm as they do for Dasara and Chavoth. Dance, Art, Music, and theatre have great importance in the Goan lifestyle.
Food of Goa:
Fish curry and rice is the staple food. Therefore, Goan cuisine is famous for its variety of fish dishes which are cooked in multiple ways. Influenced by the Portuguese cuisines, Coconut, coconut oil, chili peppers, spices, and vinegar is the most commonly used ingredient in Goan cuisine.
I would recommend trying Khatkhate, a vegetable stew, Chorizo, a pork sausage, and Feni, which is an alcoholic drink made from fermenting cashew nut.
The perfect term to describe the Southern part is ‘Laid-Back’. The carefree pace of life, beautiful beaches, luxury spa, and heritage villages attract travelers from all over the world. It is the perfect place to experience the rich Portuguese legacy, romantic getaways, and surreal villages. This is a place that you cannot ignore.
Places to Visit in South Goa:
- Colva – At 6Km from Margaon, Colva is the best beach here. However, due to its popularity, this beach crowded compared to other beaches in the southern part. You can enjoy Fool moon parties here on or before a full moon night. If you are a morning person you can also try spotting dolphins at this beach!
- Benaulim – It is a beach town to the south of Madgaon. This is the place to go wild on seafood. If you are exploring the southern part, you must visit Benaulim and try the scrumptious seafood at the beach.
- Vasco Da Gama – Although you need to be careful while exploring Vasco, this place adds a different aspect to the tourism in Goa. Vasco is a little gem located at the mouth of the river Zuari.
- Bogmalo – If you are bitten with the adventure bug, Bogmalo is your destination. This is a wonderful place for scuba diving and explores under the sea.
- Cavelossim – Being the last village and a beautiful place to visit, it is one of those places which a tourist cannot resist. Form a walk on the sandy stretch with a beautiful view of the sunset, Cavelossim offers a splendid view of the confluence of River Sai and the sea.
- Patnem – Although it is a bit far from Madgaon, this small pretty beach is full of life and busy beach shacks. You can spend some quality time here with a beautiful sunset.
- Chandor – This little town is filled with Portuguese architecture, located on the banks of river Kushavati. Do visit the Fernandes house and Archies art gallery when in Chandor.
The Northern part has some of the best beaches in Goa and churches of the State and you cannot miss it while visiting. The beaches with numerous shacks give a wide variety of food options that you cannot simply resist!
Places to Visit in North Goa :
- Vagator Beach – The most popular beach in Goa. A lively beach with beach shacks serving chilled beer and amazing food.
- Anjuna Beach – A palm-shaded beach for that perfect picture.
- Calangute Beach – Known as the Queen of Goa’s Beaches, offers a variety of activities. You can take part in is water activity or rest on the beach and sunbath.
- Candolim Beach – This is the best place for all water sports in the state. A serene beach with shacks offering fresh food. You must never miss this beach while in North Goa.
- Baga Beach – This is also a very popular beach, even more after evening as its famous food the food shacks. There are fire shows organize around 9 pm almost every day. It is a place one can have a romantic dinner, while the dimly lit shacks create a beautiful vibe.
- Grand Island – If you are into scuba diving. This is the best place for you. This little island offers scuba diving and a beautiful picture-perfect view.
- Aguada Fort – One of the most important Forts in the state. Currently, it used as a jail. It built by the Portuguese government in 1612 to protect Old Goa from enemy attacks.
How to reach:
- By Air: Goa International Airport connects major airports in the Country. Also, scheduled flights to a few countries in the Middle east operate.
- By Road: It is well connected to Maharashtra and Karnataka. Both Government and Privet busses are available for transport.
- By Rail: There are two railway stations, Madgaon and Vasco-da-Gama (The Capital of Goa). It connected to most cities.
Where to Stay:
- Homestays: There are multiple homestay options in Goa. If you are traveling in a group and want to feel at home, homestay is a wonderful option. If you do a good search you might find a house with privet pool too!
- Hostel: If you are a budget traveler and want to spend the minimum on stays. The hostel is the perfect option. There are hostels available even below Rs. 200 per day.
- Hotels: The go-to option for most tourists is a hotel. There is plenty of it all around the State. You can find a decent hotel near the beach at a minimum of Rs.1200 per room for 2 persons.
- Luxury resort: If you are looking for a trip to relax, get some spa treatment and sleep in the lap of luxury at the same time wake up to a fun-filled day, Goa is the perfect destination for you.
How to go around:
The best way to move around Goa is to hire a bike or car. There are state busses which run all day. The multiple city tours organized by the privet travel agents and the Government are fascinating. however, I personally recommend hiring a bike and wander at your own pace.
Thus, to conclude, the smallest state of India comes with an adventure-filled package for the adventure seeker, a laid-back pace for the laid-back travelers, luxury treatment for the luxury seeker! This is a place where you can find tourists enjoying themselves irrespective of their age. It will not be a mistake to say every Indian has a Goa tour in their bucket list!
Written By : Payel Mukherjee (Travelofina Travel Stories)
‘To know more about Portugal visit: Scannertrip travel blog‘