Goa Vacations Guide

Where to Stay & What to See on India's Stunning Coastline. Goa's relaxed attitude and tropical beach setting make it a popular holiday destination, with something to offer everyone.

The hedonistic legend of Goa lives on in the minds of many foreigners who come seeking sun, sand, sea, and of course the psychedelic party scene. Many are surprised to discover that Goa India is not a place, but is infact India's smallest and most liberated state. It was actually a colony of Portugal up until 1961, and a strong Portuguese influence still remains.

Goa's coastline stretches for around 100 kilometres and offers everything from isolated beaches with stunning cliff tops, to beaches crowded with hotels, shops, and restaurants. The further north or south you go, the more chilled the scene becomes. Choosing the best place to stay will depend on the kind of experience you want to have.

Goa Beaches

The very developed Baga and Calangute beaches, situated close to the middle of Goa but on the northern side, are the most commercial. These beaches attract alot of package tourists and water sport enthusiasts. If lazing on a sunbed all day while waiters bring you cocktails or cold Kings beer is your idea of bliss, you need look no further than Baga and Calangute. The only trouble you'll have is deciding which beach shack to locate yourself at, as these beaches are literally wall to wall with options. Try them all or find a favourite! If you feel like indulging yourself with some fine food and wine, Baga and Calangute also offer enticing upmarket restaurants.

Arambol in the far north, and Palolem in the far south, are Goa's most bewitching beaches. These beaches have rapidly grown in popularity in recent years, and are the current favourites of backpackers who've sought peace and quiet away from the crowds. Anjuna, the past home of Goa's hippies and host to the famous Wednesday flea market, offers a good blend of action and relaxation. While it's seen significant development as well, it's managed to retain a much more laid back atmosphere. Vagator and Chapora, a little further up the coast from Anjuna, also provide relatively relaxed but lively scenes.

Goa Nightlife, Markets and More

There's no doubt that the best nightlife is in north Goa Tourism. The big clubs are all located in the vicinity around Calangute. Club Cubana is in Arpora, Club West End is in Saliago, Titos and Mambo are in Baga, Anjuna is home to Paridiso, and Vagator has the Nine Bar.

However, the infamous bohemian days of the 1970’s are long gone and the introduction of laws over late night noise has restricted the party scene. Goa trance has refused to die however, with most bars now starting their parties late in the afternoon and closing before the sound restrictions come into force between 10.30 pm and midnight.

The Anjuna beach flea market has exploded in size and attracts people from all over the state. It's now got over 500 stalls and is still growing. After a day of browsing, make your way over to Curlies beach shack, at the southern end of the beach, and take in the sunset scene there.

If one market isn't enough for you, the Saturday Night Bazaar in Arpora is also worth a visit. This is not just a market, but somewhere that offers entertainment as well. An average of 15,000 people come during the night, not just to shop but to have a good time. Here you can sample eclectic food, enjoy a drink, and listen to live international music.

If you can manage to drag yourself away from the beach and the warm moist sea air, Goa also has some beautiful scenery worth seeing. Waterfalls, tranquil lakes, rice paddies, historic churches, and white-washed villas add to its charm. Hire a motor bike or rent a car and driver and explore at leisure.

How to Get to Goa

Goa is well connected to the rest of India Tour by air, bus, and train. However, the bus can be slow and uncomfortable so it's recommended to take the train where possible. Trains on the Konkan Railway can cover the distance from Mumbai to Goa in less than 10 hours, with the best train being the Konkankanya Express. Most trains will stop at Margao (Madgaon), which is Goa's main train station. Some, such as the Konkankanya Express, will stop at other stations as well.

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