Located in the western region of India, the state of Goa is surrounded by Maharashtra on the north and Karnataka to the east and south. Despite being the smallest state (by area) in the country, Goa is one of India’s top tourist destinations for both domestic and international travelers. With its rich coastline and some of India’s most famous beaches, its rich cultural heritage (including Portuguese cultural influence and a UNESCO World Heritage site) and bohemian lifestyle, Goa continues to attract visitors from across the world.
Goa is divided into two districts- North Goa and South Goa. Goa is best known for the serene beaches and its buzzing night life, the laid back attitude of Goans combined with the best partying locations as compared to the whole nation.
Goa is the smallest state in the country and has small towns blessed with architectural heritage and scenic beaches.
Panaji is the capital of the district and the state as well. The best beaches in the district of North Goa are Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim and Arambol.
The beaches in North Goa are famous for:
Margao is the capital of the district of South Goa. It is not as commercially oriented as North Goa and has comparatively serene beaches that offer a tourist a much needed solace from the busy city life. The famous beaches in South Goa are Velsao, Majardo, Colva, Palolem and Bogmalo.
These beaches are best known for:
Attracting tourists from all parts of the world, Goa is well connected by air, railway and road.
Regular flights connect Goa to rest of the country and the world. Flight Services like Air India, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, and Jet Lite & Indigo have flights carrying passengers and cargo in and out of Goa.
The airport is located 30 km away from the city of Panaji. There are a number of chartered flights flying from UK and other European countries to Goa daily, besides this Air India, Air Arabia and Qatar airways also operate international flights to Goa.
More details about flight schedules and tariff can be found here.
Goa has two major railway stations — Margao and Vasco-da-Gama, both located in the southern area of the state. The South Central Railway terminus is at Vasco-da-Gama and the Konkan Railway terminus is at Margao. Besides the two main stations, the trains usually halt for a few minutes at a number of other smaller stations in Goa.
Konkan railway plies trains from Mumbai to Goa on a daily basis, the total time taken from Mumbai to reach Goa is 8-9 hours.
There are bus services operating from Goa to rest of the neighboring towns in the state of Maharashtra and Karnataka.
These buses go to and fro on a daily basis at a considerably good frequency. The fares for these bus services range from INR 250 to INR 650.
For both white-colored tourist taxis as well as yellow tops:
A flat rate of INR 8 per km. For one-way journey outside the municipal limits, there is a 50 percent extra charge.
The rate is INR 5 for the first kilometer and INR 2.50 thereafter.
Spending three days in Goa you get the best of both worlds - crazy nightlife and solace from the city’s hustle bustle.
Goa is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the country as well as a rich cultural and architectural heritage, all thanks to the Portuguese settlers who inhabited Goa in the pre-independence era.
Travelling for three days in and around Goa can be done as per the following suggested itinerary:
Day 1: Relaxing beaches of South Goa
Day 2: Explore wildlife in Goa
Day 3: Shopping in Goa
The staple diet of Goans consists of pickles and fried fish. Most famous dishes to try are Goan vindaloo and xacoti. Vindaloo is a spicy goan curry, which is available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian variants (potatoes for the vegetarian option and any meat or fish for the non-vegetarian option), whereas xacoti is a special form of spicy goan brown curry unlike the usual red curry found all over Goa.
Many dishes such as prawn balchao and Kingfish in Garlic have a distinct Portuguese flavour.
Dishes such as Sorpotel, Vindaloo and Xacuti (pronounced Cha'cuti), Cafreal will be familiar from Indian restaurant menus, and are originally Goan dishes. For those with a sweet-tooth, Bebinca is a must. A traditional goan pudding, Bebinca is made of flour, egg-yolk, and, coconut milk. It is certainly a great way to finish that sumptuous meal.
Most beaches have shacks that serve surprisingly delicious meals, especially sea-food and they'll usually consult you to see how you like your food. Don't miss the shack eating experience. It is best to eat at local places, ask a taxi driver where these would be.
Some of the local cuisine you should sample:
This blend of various cooking styles and influences is what makes Goan food so unique among the cuisines of India.
Some local restaurants are:
Most of the restaurants around Goa serve vegetarian food. The dishes one has to look out for are:
Feni is a liquor produced exclusively in Goa. There are two types of Feni - Cashew Feni and Coconut Feni depending on the original ingredient. The Feni consumed in South Goa has a slightly higher alcohol content than the Feni consumed in North Goa. Feni can be served neat, or over ice, or mixed in classic cocktails or with juices.
Some notable bars: