If you’re looking for a holiday in 2018 with a difference, let Goa woo you with its sense of mystery and the exotic. The most popular resort destination iconic India has to offer, a trip to Goa can be geared to whatever holiday experience you want; whether you’re after some tranquil vibes in a picturesque surrounding, or something a bit more fast-paced, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do. Known as a haven for those that enjoy the finer things in life, you could explore vibrant colourful landscapes, try your hand at some high octane water sports, or partake in some rowdy revelry at a full moon party. Whether you’re travelling through India and looking to check out the highlights, or find yourself tempted by the draw of the glittering Arabian Sea and the hedonistic pleasures that lie in wait, Goa is a destination you won’t soon forget.
To experience some of the best that Goa has to offer in the shortest space of time, book onto one of the many boat trips available. Take in some dolphin spotting while getting off the beaten track and exploring some of Goa’s gorgeous hidden beaches and coves. Find your own personal slice of heaven and kick back, safe in the knowledge that you’ll have gotten away from it all...if only for a while. Elsewhere, in Old Goa you’ll find a UNESCO World Heritage Site and many wonders that lay there including; 16th Century churches and monuments, ancient forts and other architectural delights; or head for Arpora, Anjuna or Baga to brush shoulders with the locals and haggle your way through the famous night markets. For a heady mixture of sun, sea and sand, and vibrant nightlife you’ll want to make Northern Goa your first port of call; with plenty of water sports also on offer to keep you busy.
Wine and Dine
As Goa has steadily become one of the world’s most popular and premier tourist hotspots, it’s no surprise that the modest state has adapted to offer some of the most mouth watering cuisine in India. Nestled on the west coast of India, it’s no wonder that seafood features prominently on the menus you’ll find here. Wherever you decide to dine, you’re sure to sample some of the local seafood delicacies including gigantic succulent crabs and exotic special dishes only found in the Arabian Sea. The ethos in Goa is always one of content and wellness in life, which is reflected in many of the top-grade eateries you’ll find here including our favourite, the Ritz Classic. Located in an unremarkable building on the bustling backstreets of 18th June Road, it’s easy to miss; but be sure to stop by on your travels for a memorable night. Simple decor and basic seating arrangements, means that this restaurant is all about the food; and boy does it deliver. Grilled Kingfish, Xitt-Kodi (jumbo prawn curry) as well as a range of Indian, Tandoor and Goan pleasures; we’re salivating just thinking about them.
As a veritable sun-blessed paradise renowned for its lavish nightlife and lifestyle, Goa is incredibly popular with globetrotters and romantic types alike; but don’t write it off as a destination the kids will enjoy, as there are plenty of activities on hand to keep them entertained. Whether you want to treat them to an unforgettable family day out on the back of an elephant or keep it low key by the sea side, they’ll be smitten with gorgeous Goa. For an explosion of sound and colour, take them on a visit to Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, easily accessible by boat and with an island setting that creates an air of mystery. Exploring the diverse terrain (which ranges from endless mangrove patches to murky swampland) you’ll find plenty of opportunity for creature spotting; towering herons, red knots, jack snipes, crabs and mudskippers all common. Elsewhere, an elephant ride in the jungles of Molem in search of spotted deer, weird reptiles and rare jungle cats will delight young minds to no end.
Action and Adventure
While Goa is famous for its Western-style party lifestyle and stunning sandy beaches, there’s plenty of action-packed adventures to take part in if you want to get your pulse racing a bit. As mentioned, you’ll find aquatic adventures abound on any of this state’s pristine beaches including paragliding, kite surfing and jet skiing; but to truly experience the best outdoor activities Goa has, pack your gear and set off for a trek, hike or wildlife safari. The Sahyadhri or the ‘benevolent mountains’ is definitely one of the most notable hiking destinations in Goa. Beginning from the border of South Gujarat, this mountain range passes through many scenic destinations and is the ideal hiking retreat. On a hiking expedition to the Sahyadhri Range, you’ll likely view waterfalls, lush and vibrant forest ranges and other natural wonders. Elsewhere, the rugged terrains of Dudhsagar falls and Vagheriare Peak will provide an exhausting but rewarding trek for experienced hikers, and are often counted among the most exhilarating trails the massive country of India has to offer.
Despite being the smallest state in the vast country of India, and the fourth smallest population wise, Goa has only grown in stature and popularity with visitors each year. With something to offer to all kinds of holidaymakers, partygoers and the beach-obsessed will be particularly well looked after. Renowned for its top notch beaches, you’ll have a number to choose from including the quaint and cosy bays of Patnem, or the bustling stretches of sand at Calangute and Baga, where all the usual amenities are on hand to keep you comfortable. If you’d fancy getting your pulse racing a bit, then why not explore the exotic deeps of the Arabian Sea with a spot of scuba diving? With diving schools catering to all experience levels, it’s a great way to inject some adrenaline into your holiday. If that hasn’t increased you heart rate enough, most of the beaches in Goa also sport a wide range of high-octane activities like paragliding, kite surfing and jet skiing.
Ever popular with younger crowds that want nothing more than to throw on their gladrags and dance the night away; if you came to Goa to party, you won’t be disappointed. Delivering distinctly Western-style club nights with a unique local flavour, Goa’s nightlife is the best India has to offer. If you’re in the mood for scenic views accompanied by slowly-sipped cocktails, some cozy local vibes for a catch up or a unique club experience you won’t find anywhere else, Goa will surely deliver the goods. Located in the enviable location of Anjuna Beach, Cafe Liliput is well known with visitors as a lively hotspot; with International DJs often spinning tunes well into the wee hours; but the bar also excels for its impressive collection of internationally sought-after spirits and wines, and diverse menu. With metallic and wood structures designed to make you feel instantly at home, and a laid back yet classy vibe, it’ll be little wonder if you end up back here every night.
Goa has been India’s premier holiday destination since colonial times; when British officials would come from all over the country to vacation on its prime beaches... So you could say that this small state has centuries of experience in catering for holidaymakers! It’s also the ideal location for loved up couples seeking something different, with no shortage of private islands, quaint and charming villages, and top-class restaurants, you’re sure to rekindle and reignite that spark. First stop for travelling couples should be a day-trip to Butterfly Beach, just north of Palolem; with a name like that, and the fact that actual exquisitely beautiful butterflies flock here, means that this sandy stretch is simply made for couples. For some reason, it’s not as well known with tourists as it should be, so it’s be no hassle finding a secluded spot for you and your beau. Not accessible by road, you’ll need to trek through vast forests to get here... You could also take a romantic boat cruise from Palolem, if you’d rather not get back to nature. When you finally make it, you’ll be rewarded with dolphin watching, romantic strolls and a breath-taking sunset.
If you can pull yourself away from the beach for just a moment, Goa has plenty of cultural highlights on display just itching to be explored; local Indian architecture blends seamless with remarkable baroque structures such as the soul-stirring Se Cathedral and the brilliantly designed Bom Jesus Basilica. Art enthusiasts will want to check out the numerous religious, secular and fine art pieces displayed in Old Goa, while the Anjuna flea markets offer a taste of the burgeoning local art scene; representative of Goan culture at its proudest. Art lovers are not the only culture vultures that will be impressed with what Goa has in store; with many remarkable museums bearing witness to Goa’s rich heritage, and also its dark colonial past. No matter what aspect of history you’re into, Goa’s museums will enrich and educate you. For our money, a standout is the Museum of Christian Art; depicting the remains of Christianity in this unique state, it also features a staggering collection of Indo-Portuguese Christian art and culturally significant exhibitions.