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The only travel guide you need to visit Goa

Goa paints the most stunning picture, with picturesque landscapes, lush vegetation and the most delicious cuisine. The party capital of India, the state is often teeming with tourists – both international and Indian. That’s not all. The roads that lead to Goa are magnificent, as are the train journeys to reach the state. Here is your travel guide to visiting Goa – by air, road and rail. By Anouchka Goel

About Goa

Goa is undoubtedly one of the best party places in India. With vast beaches, bars, beachside shacks, casinos and more, Goa also enjoys the most perfect climate – especially during the winter months – which makes the destination so lucrative for travelers.

However, in case you haven’t had someone to guide you properly, Goa is also a state steeped in history and culture. With a strong Portuguese influence, the state is an amalgamation of colors, flavors and cultures that makes it as vibrant and rich as its party personality. There are plenty of festivals, forts, spice gardens and parks to explore in case you don’t want to spend all your time at the beach, as well as water sports adventures and more.

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That’s not all – Goa also boasts of abundant nature, with several forests, lush tropical vegetation, national parks and more. It is home to some of the most amazing waterfalls – such as Dudhsagar Falls – and usually every village or unexplored niche has its own water bodies to amaze you.

The state is also blessed with delicious cuisine – something worth the trip to Goa, even if you don’t have a food guide handy. Goans love their food and some of their dishes such as Vindaloo, Xacuti and Poi breads promise a range of flavors. The food is heavy with Konkani and Portuguese influences, and is sure to pack a punch!

Your guide to traveling in Goa

By plane

Goa is well connected to most major cities by air. From Vasco da Gama Airport, you can book taxis to take you to your hotels or hostels, as Ola and Uber do not operate in the state.

By the road

The roads to Goa, especially from Mumbai, are some of the most scenic journeys you will ever take. The highways are filled with coconut and palm trees and offer views of the coast and the sea like no other. The Mumbai-Goa route via Pune is the easiest and quickest, and takes around 10.5 hours to complete – however, we’re sure it will take you much longer than that, given that you’ll be constantly stopping to soak up the beauty of the hills, valleys and seas you encounter en route!

Distance from Mumbai: 590 kilometers

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By train

While Goa is connected to most major cities by train, the route we recommend is Mumbai-Goa – that too in a Vistadome coach! The train journey offers some of the best views in India, including one of Dudhsagar Falls – and you will fall in love with train travel all over again!

What to see as it is

Beaches

Anjuna, Calangute and Morjem are just a few of the many popular beaches in Goa. With beachside shacks, hotels and hostels, the state ensures that your trip to Goa is stress-free and a lot of fun wherever you are. Go for a swim in the water or enjoy the nightlife as the beaches take on a whole new vibe at night, and we promise your experience will be one to remember!

Forts

Goa is home to several forts – Aguada, Chapora (the one where Dil Chahta Hai was shot) and many others. Some of them are in complete ruins while others are in much better condition, but if you are a history buff a trip to these will only enrich you and add to your experience.

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Churches

Goa has superb churches. These include the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Mae De Deu Church and more, which will draw you in with their stunning architecture and the sense of calm they give you.

Waterfalls

Much of Goa has hilly terrain, and it is no wonder that the state is home to several bodies of water. Apart from Dudhsagar Falls, Goa is home to several waterfalls that you can stumble upon while traveling or when asking the locals to guide you on your journey through the state.

Spice gardens

Given its climate, Goa is home to plenty of foliage – and spice gardens make up a big part of it. Take a walk in one (or more) of these gardens to learn more about the cultivation of local spices. Be sure to bring back some of your favorites, and we promise your dining experiences will change forever!

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National parks

There are as many as six national parks and bird sanctuaries in Goa – home to a plethora of wildlife, flora and natural beauty. From rare birds to common animals, you can see them all here.

Best time to visit Goa

Definitely the monsoon and winter months – August to February. Besides the good weather, you can also enjoy exciting activities, nature hikes, end-of-year parties, music concerts and much more!

Hero and featured image: Courtesy of Sarang Pande/Unsplash

Related: These hostels in Goa offer affordable comfort for the perfect holiday