Goa’s greatest attraction is undoubtedly its virtually unbroken chain of golden sandy beaches. This coastline stretches along the Arabian Sea from the tip to the foot of the state, and each beach community has developed its own personality and reputation since the hippie days of the 1960s. They cater to every tropical whim – choose from the Arambol or Baga backpackers bolder and bolder, the palm-fringed sands of Palolem, the bliss of the hippie market in Anjuna or the charming and relaxed Mandrem; Expansive prepared sands in front of elegant five-star resorts or hidden crescent coves, where the only footprints will be the crabs and yours.

By train to Goa

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The Konkan Railway, which connects Mumbai to Mangalore and passes through Goa, is one of the great train journeys in India. It may be faster to fly, but the romance of the rails is still alive here. Today the rails cross rivers and valleys, with some 2,000 bridges and more than 90 tunnels. Whether you’re traveling in a second-class bed or in a luxurious air-conditioned car, on the 12-hour Konkan Kanya Express or nine-hour Jan Shatabdi Express, be sure to sit near the window to see the best show of the day. city…

Spiritual sanctuary

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Do you want to recharge your Zen and your tan? Welcome to winter in Goa, where yoga is king and the harvest of spiritual activities grows more abundant every year. Sunrise yoga sessions on the beach, reiki healing courses, meditation, and almost any other form of spiritual exploration, they are practiced freely. Many travelers come here for a serious yoga experience and you will find everything from direct classes to training courses and spiritual retreats.

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The spice of life

Food is fully enjoyed in Goa, as it is throughout India. The aromas, spices, and flavors of Goan cuisine will amaze and torment even seasoned travelers: be it a classic fish curry rice, a morning Bhali-pau (a curry-dipped bun), a spicy vindaloo, with its infusions of wine vinegar and garlic. , or a xacuti hot sauce, the Indo-Portuguese influence is a delight to the palate. While here, visit a spice farm in the interior of the country to learn why the Portuguese were so excited about Goa.

Cultural Crockpot

Goa stands out in India for its architecture and Portuguese colonial heritage. The Portuguese arrived in Goa in 1510, lured by the exotic Orient and the promise of lucrative spice routes, before being expelled in 1961. Their indelible mark is still evident in the state’s baroque architecture, whitewashed churches, forts ruins, the colorful Catholic ceremonies, sad fado music, and the impressive cathedrals of Old Goa.

Panaji (Panaji)

Perched along the banks of the wide Mandovi River, Panaji is a quiet city with the charming and old Portuguese districts of Fontainhas and Sao Tomé, the perfect setting for a quiet afternoon of wandering.

Drink fire water feni with the locals at a wall bar, play the night away in a floating luxury casino, climb the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, white as a wedding cake, or poke around the boutiques and book stores You will probably find that you are not missing the beach a bit.

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Spice farms

South Indian spices (black pepper, clove, cardamom, tamarind) were a big draw for Portuguese sailors, and today a fun day trip off the beach is to one of several commercial spice plantations They orbit around Ponda or south at Tanshikar Spice Farm. They can be a bit touristy, especially on weekends, but the plantation tours are fascinating and aromatic. Most offer a delicious thali lunch buffet served on a banana leaf and sell spices and other plantation products.

Anjuna Market

Whether you’re looking for some serious souvenirs or just looking for a shot at local life, Goa’s numerous markets are a must. The most famous one is the Anjuna flea market, which has been held every Wednesday in one season since the 1970s. It is a curious combination of merchants and stalls from all over India, backpackers, hikers, and the strange hippie dreadlocks, but not you can miss it. For more local flavor, head to Mapusa for its gigantic Friday market day, where you’ll find fresh produce, spices, and textiles.

Soft mandrem

Spend the day at Mandrem, quiet and relaxed, where an early morning yoga class, followed by a refreshing swim, an afternoon in a sunroom with a good book, and perhaps an Ayurvedic massage is perfect for your spirit soul. This is one of Goa’s most attractive stretches of beach and an ideal base for accessing Aswem and Morjim to the south and backpacker-friendly Arambol to the north, all with its own impressive beach huts and activities from surfing to paragliding.

Historic Goa

The 17th-century Portuguese capital Old Goa once rivaled Lisbon and London in size and importance and was widely known as “Rome of the East”. Today, all that remains of what was once a great city is a handful of incredibly well-preserved churches and cathedrals, but what a sight! The Basilica of Bom Jesus contains the “ incorrupt ” body of Saint Francis Xavier, while the Cathedral of Se is the largest in Asia. Stop by Mass on Sunday morning, admire the intricately carved altars, and imagine religious life here four centuries ago.

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Palolem beach

A wonderful golden sand crescent, warm seas, gently swaying palm trees, good food, abundant beach cabanas, and a colorful backpacker-oriented beach bar scene makes Palolem a favorite among travelers around the world. Although some say there are a lot of people in season, there are few better beaches in Goa to practice yoga, kayak, swim, or just rest in your beachfront hammock, and the quieter beaches of Patnem and Agonda are just a short walk away. Palolem’s distance from the northern beaches keeps it off the radar of many travelers.

Fabulous festivals

Goans love a good festival and the calendar here is full of cultural events, religious festivals, street parades, and music festivals. Among the largest Catholic festivals are the Carnival of Panaji, the Feast of Saint Francis Xavier in Old Goa, and the Feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panaji. The major Hindu festivals include Shantadurga in January and Diwali in October / November. India’s largest international film festival is held in Panaji in November. Christmas, New Years and Easter are also great celebrations.

Dudhsagar Falls

Frothy Dudhsagar, the name translates as “Sea of ​​Milk”, is the second tallest waterfall in India (after Jog Falls in Karnataka) and is a great day trip adventure. Located in the depths of the Western Ghats on Goa’s central border with Karnataka, the 300m-high staggered waterfall can be reached from Colem on a rugged 4×4 ride through stunning jungle landscapes. Take a dip in the relaxing pool or climb the rocky trail to the top of the falls for great views. Start early and reserve your jeep in advance.

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Partying in Goa

Goa has long been a party place, from Portuguese sailors to hippie fans of the 1960s and trendy trance clubs and techno scene. These days it seems like the rest of India has discovered Goa’s beachside charms and cheap drink, which is why neighborhood resorts, clubs, and even bars are packed in the high season from December to February. Finding the right party is a matter of luck and talking to locals, travelers, and taxi drivers. Head to Curlies in Anjuna, Hilltop in Vagator, and almost anywhere in Morjim for a party.

Observing wildlife

Goa’s forests and wildlife reserves offer a lot for nature lovers, although most large animals are elusive. Avid bird watchers will enjoy the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, or the many other prime locations in Goa. Goa’s most accessible wildlife observation is at Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, about 9 km southeast of Palolem, where you can spend the night and get up early to see various species of monkeys, deer and if you’re lucky, a leopard. Goa’s rivers provide another highlight: spotting dolphins that play on the high seas or raiding crocodiles that delight in estuaries.

Cycling on the roads

Traveling the back lanes of Goa and the beach villages on two wheels are standard practice in Goa. For just a few dollars a day, you can rent a Royal Enfield motorcycle at any of Goa’s beach resorts and head indoors to experience a slower pace of pastoral life in the country. Cruise through towns like Chandor and Quepem, protected forest areas like Netravali, and cross rivers on old flat-bottom vehicle ferries to see how rural Goans really live.