Goa is probably the most famous vacation destination in India for westerners. And there is a good reason why. Not only Goa is the best beach vacation environment in entire India, but its culture is distinct from the rest of the country as well, probably because Goa had been a Portuguese colony for over four centuries. With its rich beauty and stunning beaches, there is quite a lot to see and do here.
For starters, Goa is not a city, but a state with several villages. And with a coastline 70 km long and a lot of sunshine, you know you are headed for a perfect beach holiday. Sunset Palolem Beach, Baga Beach, Arambol Beach and Morjim offer paragliding and kite surfing opportunities. Other prominent beaches include Palolem, Dona Paula, Miramar, Polem, Colva, Candolim, Calangute, Agonda or the Turtle Beach and Anjuna and Vagator.
Goa has a rich marine life but not many diving sites. Go to Grand Islande and Pigeon Island for a taste of the diving there and not in May to October due to the Monsoons.
Architecture & Literary Treasures
One of the highlights of Goa is its unique and distinct Portuguese colonial architecture. Among the finest attractions in the state are the Se Cathedral at Old Goa, Our Lady of the Immacualte Conception Church, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Kala Academy and the Shanta Durga Temple at Kavlem. There are a plenty of libraries in Goa as well such as the Institute Menezes Braganza and Athaide Library, where you can learn more about this unique cultural marriage of East and West.
Festivals & Culture
Goa is known for its vibrant culture and a vacation lacking in this aspect would surely be incomplete. Panjim is the capital of Goa and is one of your main destinations when it comes to culture, featuring attractions such as the Goa State Museum and the Christian art and architecture in the Old Goa district.
Goa is known for its colorful Carnival “Intruz” which is a rich tradition from its Portuguese days. The festival takes place every year right after, so you could plan your trip to catch it. Religious festivals such as Christmas, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Dussehra and Diwali are also observed with great fervor.
Goa features a number of natural attractions such as Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Dudh Sagar Waterfall. Bird watchers would particularly enjoy a trip to one of these locations.
Shopping & Souvenirs
You would not have to go far to collect some Goan souvenirs, as the Panajim Market offers you a good stop for shopping. Anjuna Flea Market is another place you would want to check to find some unique local goods.
Food & Drink
Seafood is the ultimate culinary specialty in Goa. You would find a number of exciting places to eat where you could try delicacies such as the Kingfish or Vison, Xacuti and Cafreal. Locals have fish and rice as their staple diet with a flavor of Portuguese cuisine pervasive in their cooking. Feni is the local Goan wine and is considered an important souvenir by tourists.