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Is Goa the best holiday destination in India?, Why visit Goa India, why holiday in Goa

Goa is a tropical paradise, offering something for everyone with its sandy beaches, lush backwaters, limpid pools, rolling waves and plenty of Goa sight seeing places. People come to Goa to enjoy the sun and the sand, to meditate, to learn and practice yoga, to guzzle the cheap alcohol, to dance the night away, or to find themselves.

Main city and towns in Goa, What is the food like in Goa

Panjim is the capital City of Goa and Vasco da Gama is the largest city in Goa. Margao is where the main Railway Station of Goa is. Goa's only airport, the Dabolim Airport, is a military base but allows civilian flights, both domestic and international.

The food can only be described as incredible. You will find fantastic food, from pizzas to local fish curry rice at very moderate prices. There are also many Fenni bars, serving the local liquor made from Cashew apples which also serve fantastic local Goan bar meals.

Safe hotels in Goa at cheap rates

There are many hotels in Goa, but to find a good safe cheap hotel in Goa, you will need to use the services of a reliable online specialist hotel reservation site like Booking.com Goa select hotels

What is there to see in Goa India

Goa, nicknamed "Pearl of the Orient" and labelled as a "Tourist Paradise" is one of India’s most popular tourist spots. Goa has a lot of old style Portuguese architecture buildings which could be described as slowly decaying. A common sight as you drive around in Goa is the hordes of tourist relaxing on the sandy beaches of Goa. The people of Goa are easy going and friendly. If you are upto it, renting a motorbike or scooter and exploring Goa is fun way to see Goa. You can also get on a small boat and cruise around the waters of Goa and watch dolphins swimming or go swimming along with them.

Google map of Goa

Please find embedded below a Google Interactive Map of Goa.

Google map of Goa

List of Places to Visit in Goa

The following are the important Sight Seeing Places in Goa with brief descriptions.

The Bom Jesus Basilica in Goa

The Bom Jesus Basilica is one of the most important tourist attractions in Goa, and people of all religions visit the Bom Jesus Basilica in Goa. Designated as a World Heritage site, the Basilica houses a silver reliquary containing the bodily remains of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa.

Old Goa or Velha Goa

Old Goa or Velha Goa (Velha=Old in Portuguese) is the old City of Goa. It was the capital of Portuguese in India from the 16th to the 18th century. Now it is a UNESCO listed World Heritage site. The Bom Jesus Basilica is in Old Goa. The other old important churches are the Se Cathedral and the Church of Assisi.

Fort Aguada in Goa

Fort Aguada in Goa was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century on the Sinquerim beach in Goa. Some parts of this imposing fort has been made into a beach resort. There is a light house in the fort and the views are unforgetable.

Chapora Fort

Chapora Fort is an ancient fort in Goa which has such great scenic beauty, that it is now a favourite location for filming movies. The Hindi movie 'Dil Chahta Hai' was the first movie to be shot on the Chapora Fort location.

Famous and popular Goa Beaches

It is the beaches of Goa that made Goa famous. Goa has at least 25 good beaches. The names of some of the more famous Goa Beaches are Baga, Calangute, Anjuna and Colva, Arambol, Palolem and Galgibaga. The Galgibaga is well known for the Olive Ridley turtles which visit this beach for laying eggs.

Flea Markets in Goa

Flea markets in Goa are a huge attraction for tourists of all ages. They started as markets for the hippies to sell their belongings as their money ran out, but now the markets are for souvenir and garage sales open to anyone. Some markets last all day, some all night, and some for a few days, depending on where you’re staying. Ask a local for flea markets in your area, and check out the most popular Anjuna market (every Wed, throughout peak season), the Mapusa Friday Market, and local markets around you.

Nightlife in Goa

As the sun sets in Goa, people begin to wake up from their sun-and-beer induced lethargy, and come out of their shacks after long afternoon naps. The lights begin to flicker on in the shacks, and the easy listening music that’s been playing all day starts to evolve into party music. Goa comes alive at night, and there is a party almost everywhere. Alcohol is available almost everywhere and cheap. The music never stops! You hear a lot of names like Titos (Baga), Temptations (Vagator), Ziggy’s (Colva) for the music. Casinos, discotheques, theme parties, trance parties, fancy dinners, buffets, or just beer and fried fish by the beach – whatever you’re in the mood for, Goa has an option!

Eating Out in Goa

Goa’s staple food is fish-curry and rice, and this is generally a safe option. Turmeric, ginger, chilies, coconut milk and cardamom are the major spices here and can turn a simple fried Pomfret fish into a spicy delight! The best Goan dishes are Vindaloo, Xacuti, and Cafreal. Some good eating places are German Bakery (Anjuna), Britto’s (Baga), Infantaria (Calangute), Stone House (Sinquerim), and Quarterdeck (Panjim). Goa has some wonderful tiny bakeries and dessert places tucked away in corners, so keep your eyes peeled!

Tourist places nearby Goa

There are some important tourist places to visit near Goa like Hampi, Gokarna, and the Jog Falls, India’s highest waterfalls.

Hampi Vijayanagr Kingdom near Goa

The Hampi Vijayanagr Kingdom is in Karnataka and is about 300 Km. (185 Miles) from Goa. Hampi has spectacular ruins of old temples and palaces from the medieval Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Gokarna Beach near Goa

Gokarna Beach near Goa is just becoming famous and many would be at a loss for answer if asked where is Gokarna. Gokarna is about 100 Km south of Goa, along the coast of India, and has great Beaches very similar to Goa, but much quieter and less crowded. Hotel and food are much cheaper in Gokarna. This beach is getting more popular as the days go by. Gokarna has many temples and is a Hindu pilgrimage destination. There are four main beaches in Gokarna called Gokarna Half Moon Beach, Gokarna Kudle Beach, Gokarna Om Beach and Gokarna Paradise Beach.

Jog Falls near Goa

Jog Falls is about 250 Km (155 Miles) from Goa. Jog falls Waterfall is at a height of 253 Meters and is the highest in India. Best time to visit Jog Falls is during the rainy season, because during the summer months there is hardly any water falling but during the rainy season Jog Falls is a sight not to be missed.

Agents also offer tour packages leaving from Goa to other cities and tourist destinations in India. Travel to Jaipur, Rajasthan, Kerala, Darjeeling, Delhi and Agra and plenty more.

International flights from Goa airport

Goa has direct international flights from Goa Airport to and from Dubai, Sharjah, Kuwait, Muscat, Doha and other Middle Eastern countries. Since the airlines of the middle East like Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways has direct flights from Dubai and Doha to all European destinations as well as to all major cities of USA and Canada, these airlines are a convenient way to get to Goa from Europe, America and Canada. Goa Airport also gets a large number of international chartered flights every year during the holiday season from United Kingdom, Germany and Russia. Domestic airlines like Air India, Indian Airlines, Go Air, SpiceJet and Jet Airways have regular flights to Goa from the major cities of India.

Cheap and best accommodation in Goa

Your choice of accommodation depends entirely on your budget and requirements. Plenty of people stay in bamboo shacks right on the beach, so they can get to their sun-chairs and hit the waves in a few steps. The simplest, non-air-conditioned shacks are the cheapest, but be prepared to live the simple life with only a basic washroom, a bed, a table, a fan and mosquito net in the rooms. During peak season, prices range from about $30 onwards per night. For those who want a bit more luxury, the cheaper hotels on the beach provide comfortable and reasonably-priced rooms with all the amenities. Prices for these hotels are usually $50 plus during the season. Many 3, 4 and 5 star hotels are available, but you pay international rates for these, from $100 up. Home-stays, dormitories and hostels provide alternate accommodation, and prices here depend on the owners. Prices also depend on the beach you pick; the more popular beaches are also the highest-priced.

Both five-star hotels and beach shacks are available. Old Goa is steeped in old-world charm, with Portuguese-style buildings. Rivers run through it, offering chances for peaceful fishing or catamaran-rides, and the backwaters allow sun-burned tourists to daydream or watch for birds in their boats.

How to travel around in Goa

Goa has plenty of options for traveling around. The most liberating, and most tempting, are the scooters-for-hire. Ask any shopkeeper and he’will either have a scooter to rent, or direct you to another local who will let you have one. Prices are about $6-10 per day in peak season, and you pay for your own fuel. The roads of Goa are filled with bare-chested tattooed men flying about on their scooters, and women in shorts and bikini-tops careening around corners with their beach bags strapped to the bike! For longer distances, vans and SUVs on hire are available, or local ‘Tempo’ vans. For a quick trip somewhere, motorcycle taxis are a convenient choice. A ‘pilot’ rider will take a single tourist on the pillion to their destination. Ferries, auto rickshaws, taxis with no meters, and rental cycles, cars, and motorbikes are all available.

Best time to go to Goa on holiday, best time of year to go to Goa

A best time of the year to go to Goa for a holiday is during the winter months in Europe. Goa is warm to hot most of the year, and has a humid tropical climate. The monsoon season in Goa is between June and September and is the lean season in Goa, because the beaches cannot be used due to the monsoon rains and rough seas. Tourists mainly come to Goa during the festive Christmas and New Year holiday season and often spend all day and night in swimsuits and shorts. Now there is a growing trend of tourists visiting Goa during the rainy monsoon season in Goa, because it is less crowded in Goa and all the fun places in Goa are open, except for the beaches.

Goa or Kerala which is better for beaches

Many are not sure about the beaches in Goa or Kerala which is better. Popular beaches in Goa are Baga, Calangute, Colva and Anjuna. These are also the most crowded beaches during peak season, with music blaring out of every shack and parties happening everywhere. For those who prefer a little more peace, the quieter beaches in Goa are Agonda, Aguada, Candolim, Morjim and Asvem (limited facilities here), and Palolem are ideal. Recently two remote islands off Canacona and Anjediv, are getting popular with the tourists. Goa beaches are often compared to the beaches in Kerala, because the beaches in Kerala are much quieter and has no hippy traditions. So to answer to the question 'Kerala or Goa beaches which is better?' totally depends on the type of tourist. Goa beaches are more attractive for the younger unmarried people, whereas the married couples usually prefer the quieter, wonderful beaches of Kerala.

Goa is a mix of history and modernity, of energy and of ‘Sosegado’, the Spanish-origin Goan word for ‘relaxation’, or ‘serenity’. Goa best places to visit are its famous Churches and heritage buildings.

When did Goa became a part of India

The Portuguese first landed in Goa as merchants, in the early 16th century, and it soon became a colony of Portugal. The Portuguese ruled for about 450 years, until it was annexed by India in 1961. For Indian's the annexation of Goa was seen as the liberation of Goa from colonialism and return to India of territory that was historically an integral part of India. Portugal considered the action as an invasion of their territory and was prepared to go to war with India in 1961, but did not. During the 450 years of Portuguese rule in Goa a large proportion of the population of Goa was converted to Christianity.

Golden Chariot Train from Bangalore to Goa

The Golden Chariot luxury Train tour from Bangalore to Goa and back, is a great way to see the important tourist spots of Goa and Karnataka States. The coaches of the train are coloured purple and gold, and has the logo of a mythological animal with the head of an elephant and a body of a lion. The Golden Chariot operates weekly.

The train has on board accommodations, spa treatments and dining. It has two restaurants, a lounge bar, and conference area, gym and spa facilities. It has onboard Wi-Fi connectivity, and satellite antennae providing live television service in the cabins.

The train sells a 7-day/8-night tour of Bangalore, Kabini, Mysore, Hassan, Hospet (for Hampi - Vijayanagara), Badami and Goa, before returning to Bangalore or Goa. Passengers have the option to start their trips from either Bangalore or Goa. The tourist attractions seen during the trip include the Nagarhole National Park, Mysore Palace, Srirangapatna forts, Hampi / Vijayanagr ruins, Hoysaleswara Temple, Gomateshwara and the Badami Cave Temples. A route map is shown on the right.

Now there are plans to extend the Golden Chariot tours to Coimbatore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Trivandrum, and Kochi.

Deccan Odyssey luxury train tour Goa India

The Deccan Odyssey is a luxury train like the Golden Chariot or The Palace on Wheels to boost tourism on the Konkan route of the Indian Railways. The journey starts in Mumbai (Bombay) and in the seven days you spend on the train, it travels to Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Goa, Belgaum, Kolhapur, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Ajanta-Ellora and then back to Mumbai. These luxury trains are as comfortable as a 5-star hotel and for the time you spend on these trains you are not paying any hotel bills. This train has two restaurants, a bar, a sauna, business centre and other facilities on board.

Good hotels in Goa at cheap rates

There are many hotels in Goa, but to find a good safe cheap hotel in Goa, you will need to use the services of a reliable online specialist hotel reservation site like Booking.com Goa select hotels

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