If chilling at a shack, sipping on an even more chilled beverage and simply watching the world turn on its axis is what you desire, then Goa is the place for you! Goa conjures mental images of golden sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, calm yoga retreats and not so calm parties. Situated along the west coast of India, Goa is one of the smallest territories in the country. This beachside gem of India has a 100 km long coastline which stretches across the whole state, making Goa one large beach paradise.
Calangute, Candolim and Baga are some of the famous beaches. But there are beaches that lie off the beaten path, known to but a few. However, Goa isn't limited to just beaches. It is a destination that keeps surprising you with unexpected gems and the best way to find these is by taking a Goa tour with The World Gateway.
If there's one thing Goa knows, it is how to throw the ultimate party. Along with parties and nightlife, one can also enjoy adventurous activities and watersports here. Not to forget Goa's culinary heritage which is like a Goan holiday for your taste buds, that will give them a break from their regular fare and tantalise and tease them. Warm people, pleasant weather and no shortage of things to do make Goa a mecca for holiday seekers. Whether you are planning a long vacation with friends or desire a holiday with your family, Goa is the place to be.
How to Reach Goa
Reaching Goa is easy as it is accessible by air, rail, road and sea.
Reaching Goa by Air
There is only one airport in Goa that connects all domestic and international destinations and that is Dabolim airport. It is situated near Vasco da Gama and is located about 29 km from Panaji. Travelling to Goa with TheWorldGateway’s Goa tours is an easy affair as you can board a flight from all the major cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin, Kolkata and Chennai.
Reaching Goa by Rail
Travelling to Goa by rail isn't a bad choice either. There are two main railheads located in the state which are Vasco da Gama and Madgaon. Vasco da Gama railway station is located about 29 km away from Panaji while Madgaon station lies about 38 km away. From the railheads, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to get to other destinations within Goa.
Reaching Goa by Road
In addition to the previous modes of travel, you can also hire a private car or take a bus from nearby cities like Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. You can take the NH4, which is well maintained and extremely smooth, while travelling to Goa from these cities. Take NH14 if you wish to travel to Goa from the south.
Reaching Goa by Sea
Goa can also be reached by sea route. There are certain cruises that cover the route from Mumbai to Panaji.
Places to Visit in Goa
Despite being a beach hub, there’s many other things to do in Goa ranging from visiting beautiful historical churches to adventure activities, ayurvedic retreats, culinary classes and much more. Here are the different places to visit in Goa.
Panaji or Panjim
Lying on the banks of the Mandovi river, Panaji is the cultural and administrative heart of Goa. Home to some beautiful churches and quaint quarters, Panaji offers a snapshot of Goa's true culture and heritage and is an interesting addition to your Goa holiday. Its Portuguese inspired architecture makes it seem quite European while it's many fish thali restaurants bring you aromas and tastes that are uniquely Indian. Panaji’s streets are also lined with glowing gulmohars and acacias, which make walking around this planned city an absolute delight. The Basilica of Bom Jesus, Fort Aguada, Goa Archaeological Museum, Reis Magos Fort and other stunning destinations are just a stone's throw away from Panaji.
This is a must on your Goa itinerary if you happen to be an architecture aficionado. Blessed with some beautiful Portuguese-style churches, tall forts and modern museums, Velha Goa is one of the most iconic landmarks in Goa. Understand more about the rich and cultural past of Goa and interact with the locals get to know about the history of this beautiful city. With quaint and bright coloured houses, local street places to shop for some pretty souvenirs and lip-smacking Goan delicacies to eat - Velha Goa proves that Goa is not only about beaches!
Chapora Fort moved out of obscurity and onto the lists of places to visit in North Goa after being featured in the Bollywood blockbuster, Dil Chahta Hai. Built in 1717, the fort has borne witness to various historical events. Standing guard on a hill close to the Chapora River, this defensive structure, once used to deter invaders, now welcomes tourists with excellent views of the surrounding areas offering a palm-fringed panoramic view of villages and the mighty sea. The view alone puts Chapora Fort on everyone's list of places to visit in North Goa.
Vasco da Gama
This old town is an epitome of Goa's Portuguese heritage. Dotted with historical monuments, Vasco da Gama is to South Goa what Panjim is to the north. With bustling marketplaces and restaurants serving less touristy and more authentic Goan fare, Vasco da Gama is the complete package. During your Goa holiday in Vasco da Gama, you can also visit off-beat places such as Sahakari spice farms where they organically grow spices, fruits and herbs.
Dudhsagar, which means ‘sea of milk’, is a gorgeous waterfall located on the Goa-Karnataka border. Surrounded by lush green forests, the waterfall emerges from the top of a crescent shaped valley, making the view of this place magical and mesmerizing. The whole scene presents itself as a beautiful canvas that will be firmly rooted in your memories forever. The sound of birds chirping, rustling trees and the rushing sound of water only enhance the beauty of this place.
Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the eastern part of South Goa, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is another must-visit on your South Goa itinerary. A paradise for naturalists and those looking for something different from the beaches and regular tourist spots in South Goa, this sanctuary is home to a wide range of flora and fauna, including Giant Squirrel, Great Pied Hornbills, Grey Headed Bulbul, Slender Loris, and an exciting range of mammals, butterflies, and birds.
The Top 5 Beaches in Goa
Arambol beach is a beach stuck in time. A throwback to the 'Generation of Love', this beach has a distinct Bohemian vibe that puts it on the list of places to visit in North Goa. It is ideal for those who prefer spending a quiet night in, listening to the waves or taking a moonlit stroll on the beach. This rocky beach is sparsely populated by locals and tourists alike, making it ideal for those wishing to spend some romantic moments with their significant other. You can even shop for knick-knacks and junk jewellery from the small shops lining the beach or have a delicious healthy meal at one of the many quaint, organic cafes around Arambol.
Do you wish to relax and chill during your Goa Holiday? Calangute is just the place for you! The ‘Queen of Beaches’, as it is famously known, welcomes you with its pristine beaches, vibrant nightlife and exciting culture. With a plethora of water sports offered by this beautiful destination, all your adventure cravings will be fed. And oh, how can you forget to try the famous Goan delicacies and freshly brewed beer? With quaint shacks, towering palm trees swaying by the wind and the sea breeze, Calangute is the perfect place to relax and chill.
Wish to swim along beautiful fishes and explore the underwater life? Make your wish come true at this beautiful beach. For the adventure junkie in you, there is a list of water sports you can indulge in at this alluring beach. Goan delicacies, ayurvedic spas, small food stalls, shacks and a great shopping experience are just a few things that make Baga beach worth visiting.
Home to vibrant resorts and a glorious beach, Candolim packs in a lot of surprises. Soothe and relax your body, mind, and soul with Ayurvedic massages from the experts. Thrilling water sport activities, soft sandy beaches and a chance to spot some alluring dolphins are some things this place will surprise you with!
With its bewitching shoreline and shimmering white sands strewn with sea shells, Benaulim oozes the Goan ideal of 'sussegado'. From a quiet dip in the ocean, a picnic on the beach or a beverage at a beach bar, you can do it all here. Compared to other beaches in South Goa,Benaulim and its neighbouring beach, Colva, have a buzzing nightlife scene; so this beach needs to be on your Goa itinerary if you wish to let your hair down and dance all night in South Goa.
Food in Goa
Goa is basically a blend of culture, colour, zest and heritage. Goancuisine plays a very important role in depicting that. Goan food is one of the major crowd pullers in the state. Due to the Portuguese colonialism in the past and the existing communities of Konkani, Hindus and Catholics, Goan food is basically an influence from all these communities. Goa has an assorted platter and some of the cuisne that one should try are mentioned below.
Goan Fish Curry
Goa is blessed with a long coastline, which brings in an opportunity for fishing and an abundant supply of fish. This means fish curry features prominently on most menus in Goa. Fish curry isn't a blanket term or a one size fits all solution to cooking. With ample seafood like prawns, sharks, lobsters, crabs, pomfret, snapper, barramundi, clams, mackerels, mussels, and oysters come ample curries that are just as lip-smacking as the next. The common thread tying them all together is their use of fiery chilli, soothing creamy coconut, piquant spices like triphala and souring agents like kokum. The combination of fish curry and rice essentially forms the staple food of Goa and can be called the traditional Goan meal. This tangy and spicy curry gives the perfect experience of Goa’s food traditions and culture. Add on a side of fried fish and prepare to be transported to culinary heaven.
Goa loves its pork and beef. Chicken isn't always the first choice of meat unless its Chicken Cafreal. Originating from Africa, this dish has been brought to Goa by the Portuguese. This is spicy chicken made from coriander, lime, green chillies, peppercorns and mint. Cooking this in the traditional Goan way gives it an additional smoky taste which provides a completely out-of-the-world experience.
Traditionally served during Christmas, Bebinca is one of the most enjoyed desserts of Goa. It is a multi-layered cake made with eggs, fresh coconut milk, sugar and pure ghee. Eaten hot or cold, this confection is laden with calories and love, as making it is no easy feat.
Things to do in Goa
While the run of the mill sightseeing included in most Goa tour packages will introduce you to the most popular places in Goa, you can add a few experiences to your Goa holiday package to maximize its value. Here’re a few activities you can partake in to see a different side of Goa.
Chill at a shack at Anjuna beach
While on your Goa holiday, indulge in some scrumptious seafood and sip on a chilled beverage as you rub shoulders with people from all over the world, at the shacks at Anjuna beach. Take a stroll through the streets of Anjuna and Chapora and shop for some pretty souvenirs at the night markets or go to a beach party and dance until dawn at Anjuna beach. Take a walk on the white sandy beach and unwind during your Goa holidays.
Live the Aquatic Life at Baga Beach
Learn the art of scuba diving and swim alongside the beautiful creatures of the sea. Indulge in water sports like jet skiing, motorboat ride, banana boat ride, river cruise and dolphin rides to feed the adrenaline junkie in you. Calm your body and soul by taking an ayurvedic spa. Laze around at the beach, soak up the sun at Baga beach. This is the perfect activity for every Goa holiday.
Visit some amazing churches
Your vacation to Goa doesn't have to be just about fun in the sun.Seek some blessings at St. Cajetan Church in Velha Goa. Walk down the lane of Goa’s history at this beautiful monument. Know more about the old tales and stories by interacting with the locals. Check out some awe-inspired Italian paintings and the Corinthian columns at this domed church during your Goa trip.
Feel Blessed at Shri Bhagvati temple
Visit this ancient peaceful Shri Bhagvati temple in Goa during your Goa holiday to seek blessings. Hire a boat and take in the serene views around the temple. You will be surprised to listen to different birds chirping around this locality. Go on a retail therapy and shop for some fancy handicrafts and souvenirs during your Goa holiday.
Shopping in Goa
Anjuna Flea Market
Every Wednesday, Anjuna plays host to the most famous Anjuna flea market in Goa. Here, you will find everything from clothes and home décor to a range of Indian spices and even musical instruments. What started off as a way to let hippies sell their stuff and earn some money to sustain themselves has now become a platform for cool, chic brands to peddle their wares. There is also a lot of food and entertainment on offer, too. This is the quintessential Goa experience that will be the highlight of your Goa holiday.
Arpora Night Market
This bustling Arpora night market sees a lot of tourists every weekend. It’s filled with a number of food stalls, clothes and knickknack vendors, and entertainment options from across the world. Shop for all kinds of souvenirs here to take home from your Goa holiday.
Baga Tibetan Market
This market is open from October to May and here, you will find some really great jewellery and other curios and even furniture. If you want to test your bargaining skills during your Goa holiday, this would be the place to start.
Mapusa market is a big hit with locals as well as tourists who want fresh produce ranging from vibrant vegetables and fruits to fresh seafood like lobster and prawns. It also has many vendors selling everything from spices and condiments to clothes and flip flops. Definitely a must visit on your Goa holiday.
Mapusa market's elder sister, Panjim market, is a city of its own and a shopper’s paradise. Visit this market at the end of your Goa holiday to carry back Goa’s famous cashew nuts, port wine and spices. It also has some pretty great restaurants and is decorated with murals by Mario Miranda.
Best Time To Visit:
Mid-November to Mid-February: These are the best months to visit the party capital since the weather is pleasantly cool and comfortable. It’s the perfect time to relax on the beaches amidst other tourists who make the most of these three months in Goa. December is the time when Goa witnesses one of its most popular festivals, Sunburn, besides extensive Christmas and New Year celebrations and is home to lakhs of visitors from across the world. You might want to book your hotels in advance since this is the peak season and prices of accommodation go way higher than you would imagine.
March to May: This is the season when the temperature rises, the sea becomes rougher and the weather turns hot and humid. Not many people visit Goa between the months of March and May since there are not many activities to indulge in. However, the prices of hotels and home stays become way too reasonable in case you want to visit Goa for a three-to-four day break with your beloved, looking for peace and calm.
Mid-June to October: This is the time when the rains hit the beautiful Goa. There are parties across the length and breadth of Goa to welcome the rains. If you love the monsoon and the lush green countryside that the rain Gods turn Goa into, July to September is a great time to visit. One of the reasons to visit Goa during monsoons is also due to the festival of Sao-Joao (the fertility feast of Saint John the Baptist) that is held during late June. It’s an interesting event where men jump into wells that are overflowing to fetch bottles of the local alcohol called feni. You might get a good bargain at the hotels during this season.
Goa's balmy tropical weather means that temperatures don't fluctuate much, hovering between 24°C to 29°C all the year-round.
But at the peak of summer in the month of May, noon temperatures often cross 33°C. The Goan monsoon which lasts from June to September adorns Goa with greenery all around and tourists are now coming in to see Goa at her beautiful best while taking advantage of monsoon discounts from the hotels and resorts.