Goa may be India’s smallest state, but it has a big reputation for diverse attractions. Discover 30,000-year-old rock art, temples preserved since the fifth century, waterfalls and forests, rivers to cruise down, wildlife sanctuaries and plenty of beaches to relax on.
Stay in a beach hut right on the sand, laze in hammocks and enjoy the sunshine before joining one of Goa’s well-known all-night parties beneath the stars. Beach huts are plentiful but it’s best to do your research first as some huts have very basic facilities.
Arambol Beach is considered one of Goa’s most beautiful. Spend Wednesday exploring the bustling flea markets at Anjuna Beach. Visit the Sweet Water Lagoon near the shore at Kalacha Beach. Scenic Vagator Beach has curving headland and views of Chapora Fortress. Seek solitude at Benaulim Beach and take a dolphin-watching tour.
Explore more of the region’s natural beauty at national parks, which incorporate areas of the Western Ghats, a mountain range well known as a wildlife hot spot. Venture into the jungle and see the temples at Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary. Watch for Bengal tigers, panthers, barking deer, leopards and macaques. Get a close look at injured panthers and bears brought for rehabilitation to Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary’s zoo. Safari with the deer, or take a ride on an elephant’s back.
Goa’s history is just as well preserved as its wilderness. Visit a fifth-century temple devoted to the god Brahma, and note the influence of the Portuguese in the architecture of the Shanta Durga Temple complex. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Goa, the capital of Portuguese Goa for two centuries. In south Goa, prehistoric rock art depicting humans and animals give you a perspective on just how long human life has inhabited the area.
Fly into Goa’s Dabolim Airport and then rent a car to get around with ease. Most travellers visit Goa from October to January but consider coming in the monsoon season, from June to September, to see the countryside at its most lush.