It is completely essential to take a vacation once in a while and India has way too many options in terms of the number of places one can travel to. Beaches, hills, historical places or anything, you name the kind of place you want to visit and it will be there.
Travel surely helps in rejuvenating and cutting off all the stress of daily hectic life. It helps us explore new places, the local culture and the local people. It helps us coming across new and interesting bunch of people.
Goa surely tops the list of the must visit places to visit in India. Boasting of beautiful beaches, a rich historical heritage and the best nightlife, Goa is surely a magical place.
Try mentioning Goa and everybody would jump immediately to plan a Goa trip. Goa has a certain unique charm to it. It is indeed surprising that Goa despite being one of the smallest states in terms of area in India has way too many things to offer.
This state located in the Konkan coast is bordered by Maharashtra and Karnataka. Goa attracts a huge number of foreign and domestic tourists every year and is one of the most visited places in the entire Indian subcontinent.
Goa boasts of some of the most beautiful beaches in India. Goa was once a Portuguese colony and hence has a number of heritage structures built during that era boasting of some marvelous architecture.
The presence of the Portuguese has also influenced the cuisine and the culture of the people here resulting into a unique amalgamation.
Goa is famous for its scenic beaches, nightlife, seafood and the historical heritage structures. Goa is divided into primarily two regions- North and South Goa.
North Goa is the region most popular with tourists and home to all the major beaches like Vagator, Anjuna, Baga and the nightclubs. People who want to party and have a rather happening Goa vacation always choose North Goa for their stay.
South Goa on the other hand is vastly unexplored and has come into the tourism radar only recently. South Goa has the maximum number of unexplored beaches, waterfalls,tropical rainforests and rivers. Goa is located in the Western ghats and the forests here are home to a number of rare flora and fauna.
Parts of Goa also have beautiful spice and cashew plantations. For people who are avid birdwatchers, there are also a number of bird sanctuaries. There are breathtaking waterfalls that you can visit. There are a number of hikes and treks through the jungles of the Western Ghats that you can also participate in. There are also a number of islands that can be reached by ferries and have a certain charm and beauty.
Therefore Goa is much beyond the beaches and nightlife and offers much more. It is difficult to find such diverse things and experiences at a single place. Goa therefore surely deserves a visit and will charm you every way.
Best Time to Visit Goa
Goa has distinct character and charm in every season. The best time to visit Goa is from October to February when the weather is at its best. The weather is just perfect, neither too hot nor too cold. However December and November are peak tourist seasons.
The months between June to August are when there are rains here all over because of the monsoons. There is lush greenery all around because of this. Some people prefer visiting Goa in monsoons just for relaxing and not for going around the place much.There are also lesser number of tourists during this time. The rains make it difficult to venture outside. Hence it is not recommended to visit Goa in monsoons if you want to explore and visit different places.
The summer months are not recommended for a Goa visit as the temperatures are high and there is a high level of humidity in the air making it very uncomfortable to venture outside.
Famous Beaches in Goa
There is a large number of famous beaches in Goa that attract a large number of people. Other than the scenic views of the sea, they also have a number of beach shacks selling some of the most delicious seafood. Since a number of foreign tourists visit this place, it is very common to find international dishes on the menu of these shacks as well.
These beaches are popular because of their easy accessibility from the railway station, airport and other places. A number of good hotels and resorts also lie in the vicinity of these famous beaches. The beaches are close to the markets, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs as well.
Some of the famous beaches in Goa are as follows-
Unexplored Beaches in Goa
Goa has a part of it which is still vastly unexplored and has a number of unexplored beaches which not many people know about and only a few number of people visit them. The beaches are still not commercialized and have intact and unspoilt natural beauty all around. Here are some of these unexplored beaches as surely deserve a visit-
The Mandrem Beach is situated at a location in between the Ashwem and the Arambol Beaches. Mandrem Beach is picturesque and clean and is visited by only a handful of people.
The water is clear here, making it favorable for bathing.The beach is lined with palm and casuarina trees. Mandrem also houses a fishing community and village.
Most people heading to Arambol often tend to miss this beach that falls on the way. Since most of the crowds head to Arambol, this place has lesser crowds of tourists making it a perfect place to relax and unwind.
A small river meets the sea here at Mandrem. Mandrem also serves as nesting grounds for the Olive Ridley turtles which can be seen here from time to time.
There are no major hotels or resorts in Mandrem however but there are ample options nearby at Arambol.
The Ashwem Beach lies between the Morjim and the Mandrem beaches in North Goa. There are again very less crowds here giving total privacy to the people visiting it. The beach is extremely clean and the waters are shallow.
Ashwem is especially preferred by people to want privacy and want to avoid the crowds. There are a number of cafes, restaurants and small resorts in and around this area. Food at La Plage, which is a beach shack cum restaurant serving some authentic French seafood is highly recommended.
Ashwem has also emerged as an important hub for yoga and meditation retreats and see a number of foreigners visiting them.
The Cola Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in South Goa and is located 15 kilometres away from the Palolem beach. A person has to walk a certain distance through a village before reaching this beautiful place.
The most significant feature of this place is the lagoon that has been formed as a result of the river flowing into the sea. The lagoon and the sea are separated by a small piece of land.
The Cola beach is also surrounded by small hills and coconut groves all around. The Cabo De Rama Fort is located nearby which provides stunning panoramic views of the entire place.
The Agonda Beach is located 15 kilometres away from the Palolem Beach in South Goa. The beach here has white sand and rocks. Agonda is vastly isolated surrounded by hills and jungles with relatively less tourists visiting this place. Although there are a number of resorts and hotels around place, it is still not very overcrowded with tourists.
Agonda is also an ideal place for partying compared to Palolem or North Goa beaches as partying at the pubs and nightclubs here can be done in a very decent budget. The Agonda Church is located nearby to the beach.
Agonda is dotted with a number of small cafes, restaurants and pubs. It is wonderful to have a candle light dinner by the beach at night. Indeed one of the most pristine and serene beaches.
You can also go hiking in the nearby hillocks and forests. The Palolem and Cola beaches are located nearby.
This beach is located at the extreme end of North Goa and is vastly secluded. The beach empty with only a few shops only. Therefore the perfect place to go for beach walks or sunbathing. The Maharashtra border located just a few kilometres away.
The Ajoba temple is located nearby which attracts a number of pilgrims. A 17th century fort called Tiracol Fort is also located in the vicinity which has now been turned into a heritage hotel. Tiracol Fort overlooks an estuary that is also located here.
Querim Beach can be reached by a bus from Mapusa, however, the frequency is very much limited with only a few number of bus trips everyday. Querim does have high end hotels or resorts nearby but a number of homestays have started in the recent years by the local people.
This is one of the hidden gems. Butterfly beach is located very close to the Palolem beach and is an isolated stretch of coast where people can witness crabs, dolphins and a huge variety of butterflies.
The best part about Butterfly beach is that it can be only reached with the help of boat ride from Agonda or Palolem. Another option is to also hike through the tropical jungles and reach this place. It is indeed one of the best kept secrets of South India.
Butterfly Beach is also a nice place to spot dolphins and a number of boat trips are arranged for the same from this place.
People can also undertake trekking and hiking through the jungles passing through rocky patches, streams and fields to reach this place which can be an adventurous activity.
It is home to some of the most beautiful sunsets in the entire region. The remote location and limited accessibility makes Butterfly Beach a favourite spot for nature lovers who love being in nature’s tranquility and seclusion.
The Varca Beach is the best place to enjoy being amidst nature, away from the crowded areas of North Goa which are thronged by tourists. The Varca Beach is surrounded by palm trees and lush green forests.
The spice plantations and the Mollem National park can be visited from this place. Dolphins are spotted in the river Sal nearby and boat trips are arranged from this place.
A perfect place for beach walks in the evening.The beach is located nearby to a fishing village which houses a large fishing community and therefore you can find a number of wooden boats.
Varca Beach also has small beach shacks where you can find fresh seafood. Mussels, fishes and crabs are easily available in the menu.
The Club Mahindra beach resort is located nearby to this Varca Beach and has rooms with interiors akin to Goan households.
Morjim is again one of the less crowded and peaceful beaches which not many people know about.
It is surrounded by lush greenery and small hills. Morjim is also called as “Little Russia” with a huge of Russian immigrant population that have come and settled here for the years.
The shops also have Russian fare in their menu. Morjim Beach is not crowded like the other North Goa beaches like Baga, Anjuna and Calangute. Morjim is also a place where olive ridley turtles lay their eggs.
This is an unexplored and remote beach located two kilometres away from the crowded Colva beach. The Betalbatim Beach is surrounded by a line of palm trees and has azure blue waters.
Betalbatim beach is the perfect place for people who want privacy and seclusion on a holiday. This is surely a place to relax and is much away from the pressures of the tourism industry.
The beauty of nature here is still unspoilt. The waters in and around Betalbatim are where you can spot dolphins. The local fishermen arranged boat trips for dolphin spotting. There are a few restaurants and shops that serve delicious Goan fare.
The Betul Beach is located in the Salcete Taluk of Goa and is hugely unexplored. Betul also houses a fishing village and community. The river Sal is located just by the side of it.
It is this river that separates the beach from the village. There is also a small lagoon which is surrounded by coconut groves. Betul falls on the way of the ferry heading towards Cavelossim. Betul is also close to the Mobor beach. There are a number of places to stay in and around Betul.
There are luxurious resorts at Mobor. A number of homestays have also come up in the recent years where locals offer their houses on rent. You can get a closer look at the everyday life and traditions of local people.
Being a fishing village, it is one of the best places to try seafood. The Blue Whale restaurant on the premises of the Bamboo House Goa hotel at Betul beach serves delicious and fresh seafood.
Things to do in Goa
The list of things to do in Goa is surely huge. Other than beaches where you can swim and or just relax, there are a number of water sports and activities that you can take part in. Options in water activities include water skiing, banana boat rides, paragliding, parasailing and many more.
The nightlife here is also very popular here. There are a number of good pubs and nightclubs.
If you are a foodie, then Goa surely the place to be. Goa has some of the best seafood. With the influx of so many international tourists, you can also easily get to taste any form of international cuisine here. The local Goan cuisine is equally delicious and is a must try.
If you are history buff and loves knowing about a place’s culture and history then you have a lot of churches and buildings of historical importance depicting the rich cultural heritage of the place.
You can also choose to visit the various forests and spice plantations. Goa has a number of markets and shops from where you can shop.
Being situated in the Western Ghats, it is a great biodiversity hub. A number of national parks and sanctuaries like the Mollem National Park and the Cottigao Sanctuary are home to some of the rarest and unique flora and fauna. Goa also has beautiful waterfalls like the Dudhsagar and Harvalem waterfalls.
The number of things to do and the activities to indulge in while on visit to Goa are surely innumerable.
Goa is a charming place which you would like to visit again and again. Blessed with beautiful beaches, forests, hills, architectural wonders and natural wonders, it surely provides many compelling reasons required for a visit. There are a vast number of unexplored spots which house some of the best kept secrets of this place along with the popular tourist haunts.
There is much more to Goa than just beaches and a vibrant nightlife. Goa is indeed special in so many ways. So ditch all other plans and plan a trip to Goa as soon as possible.
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