Neatly tucked into the Western coast of India, Goa is the state associated most with touristy beaches, a happening nightlife and over 300-year old Portuguese architecture.
Referred to as the city of churches by many, the culture of Goa has the lingering effect of being a Portugal colony. Visibly different from the rest of the country, Goa has characteristic colourful houses, lush green fields and a soothing languidness in the atmosphere. The charming villages of Goa are ideal for a laidback morning walk or an aimless evening stroll. North and South regions of the place are strikingly different – the former is a cultural hub with traditional eateries and markets, while the latter makes for an idyllic vacation with its 5-star hotels, private beaches and a mix of white sand and clean blue water. Under the star-laden skies, each festivity becomes more alive. Goa greens and wildlife makes for a nature lover’s ideal hotspot. If you are a food adventurer, you may want to visit the gorgeous spice gardens and try a glassful of cashew feni. Goa provides a respite, not just for the tourists on an appointment with nature, it is also the place for crazy parties and a vivacious night-life.
Goa is home to everything refreshing, zesty, exotic and colourful. And this includes Goan food. The food here is a blend of Konkani, Hindu, Portuguese and Catholic cuisines, providing wide and vibrant choices. Seafood, coconut milk, rice and local spices are the main elements of Goan cuisine and fish, curry and rice form the staple food.
Seafood like prawns, lobsters, crabs, pomfret fish, clams, ladyfish, mussels, and oysters is used to make a variety of curries, fries, soups and pickles. Fish curry, fried fish, fish cutlets are just some of the items that you must savour in Goa.
Goa also offers a variety of options to vegetarians, however, don’t expect a lot from it.
Beaches in Goa are far apart and it stretches more than 100 km from north to south. Bus connectivity is good for popular areas of Goa and fares are low and still gives you a great view of the city. But buses are not a great option if you are looking for beach hopping or going to hang around til late night. You could rent a motorcycle or a scooter if you have a valid license. The rent starts from 250 per day per bike like Honda Activa or around 400 per day for Royal Enfield bikes. This excludes petrol costs. Riding on bikes is the most popular way of commuting in Goa for young tourists, including foreigners. You can also hire a cab, with or without a chauffeur to roam around. It starts from Rs.1000 per day for a simple hatchback. However, finding parking spots close to all beaches could be a problem whereas bikes give you the flexibility of going pretty close to the beach to park.
Portuguese Culture and Architecture
The Portuguese ruled Goa for over 450 years before being colonized by the British. Thus, a lot of the Goan architecture and culture has hints of Portugal. There are many beautiful churches such as Se Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of St. Frances of Assisi and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church. The bell in the Immaculate Conception Church is the World’s Second Largest bell and this building served as a lighthouse for sailors in the past. Apart from these, there are also magnificent forts such as the Regis Magos Fort.