Goa – the one destination in India that features on the bucket list of all Indians and foreign travellers alike! It is the perfect party place, the perfect destination to unwind, relax, explore and to rejuvenate. One of the most visited destinations in India, Goa promises a fun-filled and entertaining holiday to every traveller.
A paradise for nature lovers, photographers and adventure enthusiasts, Goa allures tourists from across the globe. Bustling markets, ancient churches, happening parties, beautiful beaches, lip-smacking food, water sports, Goa makes you want to taste it again and again.
Upon your arrival in Panjim, the capital of Goa, check-in to a hotel and spend the rest of the day soaking in the cool waters of the Arabian sea or taking a relaxing pool dip in the evening. Go ahead and enjoy a leisurely walk at the beach and play with the rising and falling waters. Return for a scrumptious dinner and a good night’s sleep.
On day 2, post breakfast, drive to North Goa. It’s dotted with some of the most beautiful beaches of Goa. Spend the day exploring and sightseeing. Begin with a visit to Cidade de Goa, the original name given to the City of Goa which was established long back and is now called Old Goa.
Next, pay homage at the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The church houses the sacred remains of St. Francis Xavier. Also, visit other churches of North Goa including St. Cajetan, St. Francis of Assisi, Se Cathedral and Church of St. Monica. All of them feature a unique architectural style which speaks highly of the old craftsmanship and heritage.
Visit the Museum of Christian Art, which is one of a kind of museum in Asia. It’s best known to house a collection of items like gold, precious stones and rosaries.
Later, travel to Solar Souto Maior, an aristocratic mansion which dates back to AD 1585. The mansion is a treasure trove of artefacts.
Return to Panjim and as you drive through the city, enjoy its unique colonial architecture and flip the pages of the yesteryear Portuguese era.
Do visit the bustling markets and shop for gifts and souvenirs. Enjoy your lunch at Panjim. Post lunch, head to Baga Beach, which is one the most popular beaches of Goa. Enjoy water sports and then go for some shopping at the Tibetan market.
After a delicious breakfast, head towards South Goa.
Begin with a visit to Margao, the capital of Salcette taluka and headquarters of the South Goa district.
First visit the historical Largo de Igreja, a Church square of Margao, which once used to be its colonial quarter. It’s surrounded with beautiful old buildings on one side and the beautiful Church of the Holy Spirit on the other. The Church of the Holy Spirit is one of the grandest churches of Goa. It was built in the year 1564 and is one of the finest examples of Indian baroque style of architecture.
Later proceed to Ancestral Goa, which is a re-creation of the Goan rural life. The village has a number of artefact centres, art galleries and open air museums. There is a laterite sculpture of Saint Mirabai in the village, which is one of the longest laterite sculptures in India. The star attraction of the region is the big foot, a large foot-print which was discovered during excavation.
Next, visit the grand Menezes Braganza house in Chandor. This palatial structure was built back in the 17th century. One half of the house is occupied by the Pereira Braganza family, which has a small chapel with relics of St. Francis Xavier. It also houses artefacts, collected by the family over the years.
The other half belongs to the Menezes Braganza family. This portion of the house not only features exquisite furniture but also a collection of family portraits dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. There is also a library which is believed to be the first private library of Goa. It has a collection of 5,000 leather bound books personally collected by Luis de Menezes Braganza (1878-1938), a reputed journalist, well-known for playing a key role in Goa’s independence movement.
After the sightseeing tour, head back to your hotel.
Think you know Goa? Think again. On day 4, we will take you beyond the breezy beaches and party nights to show you the sunshine state through the eyes of a Goan local. Your Goa walking tour will first lead you to a local fish market, with various monuments passing along the way such as the Old Secretariat, the 15th-century summer palace of Sultan Yusuf Adil Shah and the Abbé Faria statue.
From the fish market, bursting with fishnets and a huge array of fish, you’ll proceed to the vegetable and spice markets. Smell the exotic spices and herbs grown in the marshlands of Goa and continue on to the flower market, all the while playing peekaboo with the chaotic charm of the local life.
From here, board a tuk-tuk and take off to the Fontainhas area, the city’s old Latin quarters. Head directly to a quaint little Goan/Portuguese food joint for a mug of chilled beer or cashew feni, a Goan specialty liqueur produced exclusively in the state.
Next, take a quick photo break at the beautiful, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, a stunning church that dates back to the mid-1500s. Take a lazy stroll around Fontainhas, stepping back in time to when the Portuguese were forming their colonies. The neighbourhood’s Mediterranean feel, narrow streets, overhanging balconies, and colourful buildings are an absolute delight for the eyes.
Last, go on a cultural adventure at the Gitanjali Art Gallery, which features work by both local and international artists. From there, you can call it a day or spend the rest of your afternoon exploring Goa.
Special mention: Your trip to Goa would be incomplete without a visit to the weekly Saturday night market. It’s always a good idea to make sure beforehand that you are in the state on a Saturday to get a taste of this exciting flea market. This sprawling market is located in Arpora and transpires every Saturday evening from 6 PM until late night. Here, you’ll find everything from archetypical Indian stalls selling spices, teas, Kashmiri carpets and silver jewellery to international designers who convene from all over the word to sell their unique creations, many of which you might find there only. This market also houses food stalls featuring cuisines from across the globe and live concerts featuring Rock n’ Roll to Indian Classical. Further up the hill, is The Boutique House Bar that serves delightful cocktails while DJ’s play late into the night.