A former Portugese colony and a Portugese overseas territory till 1961, Goa is now the smallest and the richest state of India (out of 28 states and 7 union territories) located in the Konkan region in West India. Arabian Sea forms the western coast of Goa while it is bounded by Karnataka (a state of India) to the east and south and by Maharashtra (another state of India) to the north. Goa is the most sought after tourist destination in India, as it offers the best quality of life in India. Goa is a must visit place in India not only for its extraordinary and mind blowing beaches but also for its world heritage architecture, places of worship, awesome flora and fauna and wildlife sanctuaries. Though the staple foods are rice and fish, Goan Cuisine (a unique blend of Portugese and Hindu cuisines) offers a wide variety of (a) fish dishes (b) vegetable dishes (c) pork, chicken and lamb dishes, cooked in coconut oil with fresh coconut, various spices, chili pepper and vinegar. Goan cuisine with its variety and flavour caters to the need and taste of every individual. Do remember to take swigs from a bottle of feni (an alcoholic beverage), taste vindaloo (a Portugese spicy curry) and take back home a bottle of cashew feni and a bottle of coconut feni. Hotels, bars, restaurants and nightclubs are not only plentiful but also cater to the need and budget of every individual.
Getting to Goa
The best time to visit Goa is between December and February. The best option is to fly from UK to Mumbai (the capital of the state of Maharashtra, the most populated city and the richest city in India). A direct flight from London to Mumbai takes nearly 9 hours. A connecting flight from Mumbai to Goa takes nearly 1 hour. It is more convenient and comfortable to reach Goa by train from Mumbai. Mumbai is a great city with its innumerable tourist attractions. It is advised and recommended to stay in Mumbai for a couple of days either on the way to Goa or back. The train journey takes approx 12 hours from C.S.T. (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) or Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla) to Madgaon (the main railway station in Goa). Madgaon is located in South Goa. As there are some exotic beaches in North Goa too, it will be more convenient for you to get down at either Pernem or Thivion stations, if you decide to visit those beaches first.
Things to do in Goa
To enjoy at the best south Goa beaches you should start from Madgaon. Majorde beach, Palolem Beach (40 km from Madgaon), Agonda Beach (on the way to Panaji from Palolem), Versa, Cavelossim and Mobor Beaches (nearly 18 km from Madgaon and mostly uncrowded). Colva Beach (39 km from Panaji and undoubtedly the most well equipped beach in South Goa), Majorde Beach (5 km north of Colva Beach), Bogmalo Beach (famous for windsurfing and water skiing facilities, this beach is exclusively for the elite class and is situated only 4 km from the Goa Airport at Dabolim). Benaulim Beach (nearly 2 km from Colva Beach). All these lovely beaches are well equipped and provide the best amenities and wonderful landscapes.
It is best to start from Panaji (the capital of Goa) to enjoy at the best North Goa beaches. Candolim Beach (Parasailng and Water skiing), Calangute Beach (nearly 15 km from Panaji), Bage Beach, Vagator Beach (nearly 22 km from Panaji), Anjuna Beach (nearly 18 km from Panaji, Sinquerim Beach (famous for all kinds of water sports), Miramar Beach and Aguada Beach (3 km from Panaji). The amenities, hospitality and the beautiful landscapes all around have made Goa and its beaches unforgettable. Apart from the incredible beaches Basilica of Bom Jesus (Panaji), Dudhsagar Falls (Waterfalls), Old Goa (Panaji), Se Cathedral (Architectural Buildings, Panaji), Casino Carnival Goa (Casinos, Panaji) is arguably the top 5 out of 193 major tourist attractions in and around Panaji (the capital of Goa).