One of India’s most picturesque states is Goa, which situated on the west coast. It was formerly a Portuguese colony and is today one of India’s biggest, most stunning, and most well-liked tourist destinations. In addition to its beaches, it is also well-known for its active nightlife, delectable seafood, and thrilling water sports. As the adage goes, Goa never stops partying. The city is renowned for its energy, which peaks during the annual Goa Carnival.
A Global Community
Along with foreigners from other countries, Goa also attracts tourists from Russia, Israel, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, the United States, Spain, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. Here, you might come across a unique mix of persons who are free spirits, creative, and cultural, and you might learn about diverse cultures.
Three parts of Goa
The busiest area in Goa is North Goa, which also has the best dining, entertainment, shopping, and tourist attractions. Popular areas to stay include Baga, Calangute, Candolim, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim, and Mandrem.
Long, deserted beaches, opulent resorts, and yoga retreats may be found in South Goa, which is less developed and tranquil. Popular spots to stay include Majorda, Colva, Cavelossim, Agonda, and Palolem.
Anyone interested in culture, history, or the environment should visit Central Goa and Panjim (Panaji). Goa’s capital is ideally situated next to the Old Goa UNESCO churches, as well as temples, spice farms, waterfalls, and wildlife reserves. It also has a thriving Old Latin neighbourhood.
Goa offers the best beaches in India
The ideal beach vacation destination in India is Goa, where you can unwind without being under any pressure. The beaches are as follows:
Baga beach: In addition to being a terrific place to relax and soak up some sun while listening to the waves, Baga Beach is well known for its luxury nightlife. Baga Beach’s nightlife is among the greatest in the state because to the several eateries, bars, and clubs along Goa’s well-known Tito’s Lane, including Club Tito, Cafe Mambo, Capetown Cafe, Cocktails and Dreams, and Cavala.
Morjim beach: Morjim Beach is unique from the other beaches in Goa and is situated in the Pernem district. This calm beach is peaceful because it is surrounded by dense vegetation. One of Goa’s cleanest beaches, Morjim is well-known for being an Olive Ridley turtle hatching area.
Candolim and Calangute: European tourists are more likely to travel to Candolim than domestic tourists, who are more likely to travel to Calangute, especially on weekends. Therefore, it’s perfect for those who want to observe people and the commotion of city life. The beaches in Candolim are prettier, cleaner, and less crowded if you enjoy coming to the beach. These beaches have a really welcoming atmosphere.
Sinquerim: Sinquerim, a little beach, was North Goa’s first tourist destination. Enjoy hours of leisurely beach time, ocean swimming, windsurfing, scuba diving, fishing, water skiing, and parasailing. Sinquerim Beach is an excellent place to start if this is your first trip to Goa.
Arrosim: Vasco do Gama’s neighbourhood beach Arossim attracts visitors with its lovely sand and lush, palm-tree-covered environment. A distinctive allure is provided by the colourful fishing boats that are scattered all over the beach. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to enjoy the beach.
Majorda: Majorda Beach in South Goa, which is regarded as one of the most picturesque beaches in the area and symbolises significant pomp and splendour, is well-known for holding the Goa Carnival Festival. The beach also provides a variety of water sports, such as parasailing, surfing, snorkelling, and skiing. It’s usually busy during the season between October and March.
Mobor: At Mobor Beach, which is constantly bustling with festivities and other events, tourists are in abundance. The most popular activities at Mobor Beach are watersports, dolphin-spotting cruises, deep-sea fishing, oyster-catching, bird-spotting, and River Sal cruising.
Benaulim: Visitors can enjoy a lovely hideaway for relaxation at Benaulim Beach, as well as a wide range of activities in and near the area. Its lengthy stretch of fine white sand and thick palm trees provide a stunning setting for beachgoers who are keen to participate in water sports and observe dolphins.
Palolem: One of Goa’s best beaches, with a gorgeous crescent shape that makes it possible to see both ends from the middle and safe swimming areas. It is popular with tourists as well. This beach is always filled with tourists from many parts of the world.
Cola: Cola Beach is well known for its serene atmosphere. One of Goa’s finest beaches, it is surrounded by coconut palms, which enhance the natural beauty of the coastline. Additionally, it is one of Goa’s cleanest beaches.
The Top Festivals of Goa
Even though Goa is the smallest state in India, it hosts the majority of the country’s celebrations, traditions, and festivals. These include the following:
Goa Carnival: One of Goa’s most well-liked festivities, the carnival lasts for three days and three nights. Since the 18th century, when the former Portuguese lords of Goa instituted it, it has been held. People parade and dance in celebration of this joyous event, and revellers party all night long in the streets. This is a time for unity and fun.
Christmas: The best place to celebrate Christmas in India is Goa. Churches and homes decorated with sparkling lights, stars, and poinsettia flowers host gatherings of friends and family for a lovely supper. Late into the night, children sing Christmas carols as people assemble in churches for a midnight mass. It’s a time when people gather together for some quality family time.
New Year’s Eve: The best destination to ring in the New Year is Goa. The entire state of Goa is illuminated as the New Year draws near, making every church and beach look as stunning as ever. The best part, of course, is New Year’s Eve, when the entire party state stops their pounding Bass and Trance-filled music to count down to midnight. At precisely 12 a.m., fireworks, champagne, and music are released into the sky, and the crowd starts dancing to the music. People from all over the world celebrate the New Year in style and among friends.
Three Kings fest: On January 6, the communities of Verem in North Goa and Cansaulim, Chandor in South Goa celebrate the Three Kings Feast. This festival is devoted to The Lady of Mount Carmel, the virgin mother Mary holding the infant Jesus in her lap. The Lady of Mount Carmel is the fertility goddess and is revered as the protector of mankind. Nine days of celebrations are observed, and a sizable throng ascends the incline to recite the rosary and take part in the mass music dance party for the Lady with the Blue Mantle.
Feast of Saint Francis Xavier: This nine-day Goan religious festival gets underway on December 3rd. During the festivities, hundreds of followers travel to Goa to pray to St. Francis from all throughout the state, the nation, and the world. Huge food and beverage options are made accessible to the general public, and the park adjacent to the church is transformed into a picnic area where people may gather and engage in a variety of enjoyable activities.
Goa food and cultural festival: The Goa Food and Cultural Festival honours both the local cuisine and the vibrant folklore and traditions of the region. With over 70 vendors offering vegetarian and non-vegetarian specialties, classic and contemporary sweets, and diverse delicacies, the festival celebrates traditional Goan cuisine. Live performances by well-known bands like Indus Creed and Parikrama will be featured, in addition to DJ evenings and fireworks for the audience.
Sao Jao festival: A significant Catholic holiday known as Sao Joao is observed on June 24 to honour Saint John the Baptist, a fiery prophet who baptised Jesus in the Jordan River. A Mass is held at St. John’s Church in Benaulim to start the celebration (north Goa). Young people in Goa sing Viva San Joao while getting wasted and jumping into streams and wells. Typically, while groups march and sing Mandos, young men go door to door collecting fruits and booze. It’s a fun time.
Grape escapade: Every year, Goa organises the biggest wine festival in India in January. This festival is a must-see for all wine and food fans with live music, grape stomping, wine tasting sessions, the eagerly awaited Grape Escapade queen pageant with food booths, and other exciting events.
Shigmo Festival: Similar to the Holi festival, the Shigmo festival is a Hindu event that takes place in Goa. Massive celebrations and a flood of colour have enveloped the entire state. Shigmo is renowned for its traditional dances, street performances, and intricately designed floats that feature themes from both local and Hindu mythology. People perform using a variety of musical instruments, including trumpets, dhols, drums, and flutes.
Bonderam festival: The Festival of Flags is referred to as Bonderam. Divar Island hosts it on the fourth Saturday in August, and during that time, the tiny island comes alive with revellers, music, dancing, and feasts. A particularly exciting activity during this festival is the reenactment of conflicts between rival groups that resemble the taking down of flags.
Depending on the season, lodging in Goa may be very expensive, so staying in a hostel or Airbnb is a great way for individuals on a budget to have an affordable vacation, plus it’s the perfect place for meeting new people.
Wonderland Hostel, Red Door Hostel, and Roadhouse Hostel are a few of the top hostels in North Goa.
Check out Wave on Waves, Cupid’s Heaven Guest House, Palolem Tree House, and Summer by The Hostel Crowd in South Goa.
Taj Holiday Village, W Goa, and Taj Fort Aguada are a few of the top 5-star resorts or luxury hotels in Goa for those seeking an opulent getaway (North Goa).
The Taj Exotica, Benaulim, The LaLit Golf and Spa Resort, The Leela, Cavelossim, Alila Diwa, Majorda, ITC Grand Goa, Arossim, Planet Hollywood Goa, Utorda, and Rajbaga near Palolem (South Goa).
5 Best tips for first-time visitors to Goa
The ideal time to visit Goa is from mid-October to mid-March because it’s the season time for Gaons when shacks are opened and are thriving post the arrival of the foreigners. Rest of the months, it is less crowded, has good prices, has warmer or wet weathers because of the summer followed by the monsoon. During thistime, most shacks remain closed.
Goa offers some of the greatest and most dynamic cuisines in the world, including Arab, Portuguese, French, Brazilian, African, Chinese, Konkan, and Malabar. It is best enjoyed in the shacks while you are watching the sea.
Goa is one of those ideal destinations for experiencing adventurous sports such as jet skiing, scuba diving, windsurfing, kayaking, and parasailing.
When in Goa, riding a bike or scooter is the greatest way to explore all of the sites. This will not only help you save money, but it will also allow you to go at your leisure. Try renting a bike or scooter
Don’t limit yourself to famous beaches like Vagator, Baga, Calangute, and Candolim. You can go to a variety of unknown beaches, including Butterfly Beach, Kakolem Beach, Mobar Beach, and Hollant Beach, to spend some time alone.
Things to do in Goa beyond the beaches and parties
Go Dolphin Spotting
While on the beach, go dolphin spotting in a small boat and allow the ferryman to take you straight into the centre of the ocean to observe the dolphins bouncing with elegance. Mobor beach, Cavelossim beach, and Palolem beach are some of the best places to see dolphins.
Visit Old Temples in South Goa
South Goa is loaded with ancient temples. Temples with elaborate architecture combining European, Mughal, Portuguese, European, and Jain styles may be found. In South Goa, the Konkani culture retains various family temples where head priests still perform holy ceremonies. You can visit temples such as Mahalasa Narayani Temple, Shanta Durga Temple, and Mangeshi Temple.
Hot Air Ballooning
Hot air ballooning is undoubtedly one of the greatest eccentric activities in the beach destination. Located in Chandor in South Goa, board a hot air balloon with your loved ones or friends, and float up into the sky to see the entire state of Goa from above.
Take a Tour on a Tropical Spice Plantation
Spice plantations, one of the best places to visit in Goa, are ideal for nature lovers who want to wander through plantations and learn about different spices. Two of the most popular spice plantations to visit are Savoi Plantations and Sahakar Spice Farm. Observe spices such as cardamom, black pepper, vanilla, and nutmeg blooming in the wild. Also, you may see gorgeous elephants and birds.
Observe the Glow in the Dark Phenomenon
The flow in the dark phenomena may be seen at two major locations in Goa. One in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary where you can spot the bioluminescent mushrooms, which light in the dark. The glowing mushrooms grow on rotting logs, twigs, and stumps and provide a wonderful light over the thickets. Aside from that, South Goa’s Betalbatim beach has glow-in-the-dark waves because of bioluminescence, and the waters on this tranquil and pristine beach glow vivid blue at night.
As it’s October, pack your bags and head to Goa for a relaxing and refreshing vacation along with your family and friends.