During the 1960s, the Hippy Trail made this state the country’s most popular tourist destination. The beaches in Goa are spectacular, the bars are inviting, the lifestyle is laidback, and there is one thing that you won’t find anywhere else in India:
- Traffic and crowds are manageable.
- Pollution is minimal.
- Spicy cuisine is dominated by meat and seafood.
- Water sports are plentiful.
- Nightclubs are loosely regulated.
- Alcohol is cheap.
- Casino hotels in goa are enjoyable.
Portuguese colonial remnants, as well as food, religion, and forts from the British Raj, are evident.
When the monsoon hits (June to September), Goa is comparatively deserted, but during peak seasons (December and January), its population more than doubles with tourists. Indians rather than foreigners. It’s still possible to find empty beaches and untouched fishing villages in most of Goa’s fifteen or so major beach regions. Despite the best hotels, trendy boutiques, and chic yoga retreats throughout the region.
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Even though the coastline is 100 km long, it can be conveniently divided into three parts (but unofficially): North Goa, a more developed area with a party vibe; South Goa, a more peaceful place with empty beaches yet easy access; and Central Goa, dominated by the airport and capital, Panaji (Panjim). It is also essential to consider the distance from the airport (transfers take between one and two hours) . And the regional bus and train centres of Panaji (for all of Goa), Margao (for the south), and Mapusa (for the north).
Margao is linked by a public bus to Majorda and Betalbatim in South Goa. Several sections of these beaches are remarkably undeveloped, and the roads are excellent for cycling. In Colva and Benaulim, midrange resorts dominate the landscape; however, meandering roads have slowed development and limited traffic. With a compact area of facilities and an attractive beach, Cavelossim offers a tight space of facilities, whereas nearby Mobor remains untouched. A river runs through both rooms, flat roads are ideal for cycling, and public buses connect them.
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Although Margao (Madgaon) does not have a beach, it has some colonial charm and decent amenities.
Cola/Khola is an excellent place to escape the crowds and high prices in the south. Agonda (more developed, but with a village vibe and good surfing), Palolem (very scenic and popular for yoga/meditation), and Patnem (small, laidback, and packed with long-stayers) are other options.
In Palolem, one of the most idyllic beaches in the world. This incredible stretch of sand and protected swimming area is close to the Helias Retreat and Art Resort Goa.
Among North Goa’s beaches, Calangute and Candolim are the most popular because they are located closest to the airport and offer excellent facilities. The local bus runs along this road, a few minutes from these two beaches. Despite being more crowded and less accessible from the main road, Baga remains extremely popular among Indians than foreigners. Anjuna and Vagator are popular with the younger and budget-conscious. The rugged coastline on both retains a village-like atmosphere despite nightly rave parties.
The northern beaches of Morjim (partly protected with grey sand) and Ashwem (particularly wide and appealing) have less development due to their distance from the airport. Mandrem is comparatively isolated but famous for yoga and meditation. Arambol/Harmal has a fantastic lagoon and excellent surfing and paragliding.
Central Goa needs to be addressed by most visitors. The place offers a genuine colonial charm, a riverside setting not found elsewhere in Goa, and centuries-old guesthouses. One of India’s most attractive state capitals, Panaji (Panjim), is home to its bus station and offers several reminders of its Portuguese heritage. A UNESCO-listed area called Old Goa, abandoned centuries ago as the capital, is an enjoyable day trip, but accommodation options are limited.