Goa is such a happening tourist destination in India that is widely popular throughout the world. Goa is a small state situated right on the southwest coast of the country.
Goa is largely dependent on its tourism for state revenue. Goa never gets dull; it carries its charm and liveliness throughout. The beauty of the small city is different and brings uniqueness in every way possible.
Goa is a tourist destination that is fit for all ages of people. You can come here for vacation with your family, for a honeymoon, as a backpacker, solo and can bring your old parents for some respite too.
Here in this blog post, I shall be covering a complete travel guide to Goa. I will be talking about the best beaches, places, reach, cost, things to do, etc.
Goa has a rich cultural history in India. The union territory was once under the control of French and British governance, due to which one can see the European influence in the food, culture, and tradition of the Goan people.
During the rule of the Portuguese, Christianity was pre-dominant, so most people in Goa are Christian. Many churches were built during that era that has now become tourist spots.
So, this was a brief about the place though there is so much to know about Goa, but this article is about travel guide for Goa so let’s focus on that.
Complete Travel Guide to Goa
How to Reach Goa
Goa is very well connected with the rest of the country. Both domestically and internationally, there are multiple ways to reach Goa. Travelers can choose flight/car/bus/train to reach Goa.
But I will here be going to give you the detail about which will be the best way to reach Goa.
For International Travelers
If you are traveling to Goa from other country, it is known to all that you would be needed a visa that will allow you to enter India.
You will have to take a flight from your country to Mumbai. Mumbai is a metropolitan city that connects to all the major airports of the world.
If you are traveling from London or Frankfurt, you will land at the Mumbai International airport first.
From Mumbai, the connectivity to Goa is very good. You can either take the train (Konkan railways) or take the overnight bus to Goa.
These two options are if you have a tight budget.
You can also take a connecting flight from Mumbai to Dabolim Airport Goa. Almost all the domestic carriers like Spice Jet, Indigo, Vistara, and Air Asia are accessible from Mumbai to Goa regularly.
I would suggest hiring a self-drive rental car in Mumbai and drive till Goa following National Highway 66. It would be an incredible road trip to enjoy. The road construction is excellent, and once you cross Belgaun, the drive smoothens the journey so much.
If you are comfortable driving for long hours and have a valid driver’s license, you are good to go.
For Domestic travelers
If you are like me, stay in India but haven’t had the opportunity to visit Goa, you can also take the same by flight/ bus/train.
It entirely depends on which part of the country you are traveling to. If you live in the north, the easier route will be taking a flight from Delhi to Goa.
If you live in the south, almost all the major cities are well connected to Goa. People living in Bangalore prefer to have a long road drive to Goa because road construction is too good and comfortable. The same goes for the people living in Pune or Mumbai; they prefer to go by car.
Likewise, if you stay in India’s east, there is no other comfortable option than traveling via a flight.
Estimated Travel Budget for Goa
The travel budget for Goa entirely depends on your travel preferences. Like where you stay, eat, how you travel, etc.
Overall, the travel budget for Goa is very cost-efficient. You can choose to stay in the luxury resorts if your budget is high and luxury is what you are looking for.
You can choose your stay at homestays, which are cost-efficient, reliable, and allows you to explore the local lifestyle.
There are unlimited options for stay in both North and South Goa. In hotel booking sites like MakeMyTrip, Booking, Agoda, etc., you will find all the hotel details like their amenities, per night stay price, and discounts at ease.
So, I can not quote Goa’s exact travel cost as it widely varies with a travelers’ purpose of vacationing.
Goa is mainly divided into north and south Goa. It is widely popular among tourists all over the world. There are several wonderful places and beaches to visit in North Goa.
We have Chapora fort, a few renaissance architectural churches, Baga beach, Calangute beach, Vagator beach, Anjuna beach, Fort Aguada.
The north Goa is a lively, vibrant, and major touristy place. There are unlimited hotels, restaurants, night clubs, flea markets to explore. Baga and Calangute beaches are the two most popular beaches in North Goa.
So, as a traveler, if you want a place full of life, music, and people, North Goa would be the best destination for you.
Next comes South Goa, which is situated in the Konkan region. South Goa is very much different from North Goa.
If you are looking for a serene and calm beach location for vacationing, you should opt for South Goa. It takes around one and a half to 2 hours to drive from North Goa to South Goa, depending on the traffic.
There are several beautiful and pristine beaches in South Goa like Palolem beach, Colva beach, Majorda beach, Butterfly beach, and several more private beaches.
I have previously written a detailed blog on “which is better North or South Goa” to read for more information.
Which is the best time to visit Goa
Usually, Goa gets crowded with flocks of tourists from all over the world during December – January. Since it is a festive time and the famous Sunburn festival attracts a huge crowd.
Also, from November – January, the hotel cost touches the sky since Goa’s peak season.
I have been to Goa thrice in different seasons summer, monsoon and winter.
In my opinion, I enjoyed the most during the monsoon. I went to Goa along with my husband on a long drive from Pune towards the end of August, and it is the monsoon season in India. Since it isn’t the peak season, we got a great deal on a luxury hotel stay.
The beaches remain empty, huts, beach shacks remain close, and very few tourists usually visit Goa during the year. But to my astonishment, I felt Goa looks beautiful, especially during monsoon.
If you aren’t much of a beach person and enjoy the lushful green nature, you will definitely love spending your time in Goa.
Yes, your legs and shoes might get all muddier, but no one will judge you as there won’t be many people around.
I wouldn’t recommend summer is the best time to visit Goa. Definitely not, the coastal region gets hotter, and the only respite is to sit in the cafes and have chilled beverages. If you get a vacant table as people don’t wander around on the beach, rather sit for hours in the restaurants and bars.
Indeed, winter is the best time to visit Goa. The pleasant weather, festive mood, and live music lift everyone on to the happiest moment.
So, if you want to visit Goa during November – February, make sure you book your hotel stayed at least three months ago.
Where to Stay in Goa
Where to stay in Goa largely depends on which side of Goa you are planning to stay. Is it Panaji, North Goa, or South Goa?
If it is North Goa, you will get a wide option for good resorts and hotels to stay near Baga and Calangute beach.
If you are someone who loves offbeat and antique stays, you can choose Panaji. Panaji is Goa’s capital, and there are plenty of hotels that will give you an antique experience.
If you are on your honeymoon, I would say nothing is better than South Goa. The serenity of the place is absolutely romantic for a newlywed couple.
There are a ton of incredible things one can do in Goa. Goa is a very lively and happening place; the place will give you several amazing memories and experiences.
You can check out the link above as I have already written a detailed article on things to do in Goa. One will never get bore out of Goa. It can give you the experience of luxury; there are several adventurous activities that one can try.
If you are an explorer, you can go to places that will explain how beautiful this tiny state is.
Do not miss out on trying the local cuisine.
Best beaches in Goa
My top 3 favorite beaches in Goa that I would recommend to all my readers are Baga beach in North Goa because of its liveliness.
I feel Palolem beach is one of the best beaches in the entire Goa. It is not that crowded; there is calmness in the beach life; you can take a long stroll watching the fishermen’s boat lying at one side of the beach. There are a few beach hut restaurants where you will get a good fish dish.
The third best beach in Goa, in my opinion, is the Colva beach. Since I am a photography enthusiast, I found the beach quite scenic, and I loved watching the local fishermen spreading their big and heavy nets into the ocean and catching fishes. Since I went early in the morning to the Colva beach, it was all empty and serene.
Top 5 unmissable places in Goa that you should visit
Dudhsagar falls, one of the tallest falls in India and indeed an amazing one. It is around 60 km from Panaji by road. Monsoon is definitely not the best time to visit Dudhsagar falls as one will have to trek a bit through the forest trail road. It has a magnificent view, and one shouldn’t miss it.
Fontainhas walking tour in Panjim
Fontainhas is located in Panjim, right in the middle of the city. These are Latin quarters of old Goa with magnificent colorful buildings and houses designed in Portuguese architecture.
You can enjoy taking a walking tour exploring the local shops, cafes and take photographs. These are narrow roads, so walking is the ideal way to explore the neighborhood.
Portuguese architectural style churches
Goa is filled with rich heritage and culture that cannot be ignored. If you think Goa is famous only for its stunning beaches, then you are wrong. Few exceptional churches have historical and cultural significance.
Bom Jesus Basilica
Se Cathedral de Santa Catarina
Church of St Francis of Assisi
Chapel of St Catherine
Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
These are some that you should visit
If you are looking for a respite from the crowd and want to have a romantic vacation, you should skip North Goa and spend your days in South Goa, Palolem beach
Coastal road drive
Usually, people rent a two-wheeler or a car once they land in Goa. You will get plenty of vehicle options. If you don’t want to just stick to one place rather want to explore Goa. I would suggest you hire a car and give a drive through the Konkon region that is well connected to Goa.
Best places to stay for Backpackers
Goa is a great place for all backpackers. Apart from luxury resorts and hotels, Goa has several backpacker hostels that are budget-friendly and provide decent accommodation.
There are several hostels across Goa, but they can mostly be found in and around Vagator Beach, Anjuna Beach, Arambol Beach, and Palolem Beach.
Thus, this is my complete guidance and travel guide for Goa. If anyone has any question, please feel free to drop a mail at Paulomidutta89@gmail.com.