Be it a bachelor party or honeymoon for newly married couple or a chilled-out weekend to spend with family or friends, Goa doesn’t disappoint anyone, that’s what I heard, and now I have seen. For me, it was mostly about spending a stress-free weekend with my best friends and at the same time discovering the beauty of the crowded as well as virgin beaches. And trust me, I was offered more than what I expected. Starting from dancing with the crazy and yet sober strangers, taking a dip in cold water to taking a stroll on the white sand beach, I did try to experience everything Goa had in store, and yet it wasn’t enough. Goa treated me like a crazy darling, refreshing my mind and filling my brain with beautiful memories.
I would have been happy to wander for more than 1 week. But for a person like me who is bound by the external responsibilities and resources, 4 days and 3 nights were what I could afford.
So for those who are yet to visit this small yet vibrant place in India, folks, it’s not yet late.
We decided to spend more time and money on the experience and the food rather than the stay. So we booked a modest stay near Calangute beach.
We reached Goa by flight. And by the time we checked in our hotel, it was already afternoon. After freshening up, we headed towards the beach. I did my fair share of research beforehand, so we directly headed to Souza Lobo for lunch. This place is known for authentic Goan cuisine and it didn’t disappoint. We ordered different seafood items and everything turned out to be tasty. With the sea view, cool breeze, coupled with good service and slow music in the background, the place easily became my favourite. It looked perfect for anyone, couples, friends, family and even solo travellers.
There were water activity centres too on the beach which included parasailing, jet ski, banana ride, bumper ride etc. But after having sumptuous lunch, we didn’t feel like moving. As it was already late afternoon, we decided to spend there some more time and witness the Sunset. Well, this was the thing about the Calangute beach, it will be crowded all the time. When it was time for Sunset, the place became even more crowded.
After Sunset we went to Baga beach. The place seemed like a sea of people, with all sorts of music everywhere. Some playing 90’s Bollywood music, some playing latest songs of Justin Bieber. It was colourful all around. There were a lot of hawkers selling all sorts of fancy things, which was a bit annoying. We spent the rest of the evening and night shack hopping and it was fun. One can also take night stroll along the beach. But well, you won’t be even able to hear the waves over the loud music from the shacks.
Things to do at Baga beach: water sports activity, shack hopping, visit Tito’s lane
Explored extreme North Goa beaches and Chapora Fort.
After a few types of research on Zomato, we headed towards Artjuna café near Anjuna Beach for breakfast. And oh my, what a place it was. Sitting in that garden-like area, covered by tree shades, I couldn’t help but notice the peaceful vibe that it offered. With good coffee and tasty pancakes and waffles, the place was nothing but perfect for us. One can easily spend hours sitting there with refreshing coffee and nothing else. After spending almost 2 hrs there, we finally decided to ride towards the north. From Artjuna, we directly headed to Arambol beach, to the extreme north. When we reached it was already noon. There were mostly foreign tourists and overall less crowded, and hence calm and clean. We took a quick stroll and then settled down in front of one of the shacks. Soon our activities included having chilled drinks, swimming and then resting on the beach side and listening to the sound of the waves and do nothing. We had lunch at the same place.
Our next stop- Chapora fort. Yes, the famous fort of ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ movie. Our aim was to witness Sunset from above the ruins. The place is not very big, and there’s not much to explore frankly. Yet, it carried a sense of pride in it, pride in the view that it offered. From above, sitting on the ruins, one can see the Chapora river and the waves crashing on the beach. Then the Sunset and the cool breeze combined created a feeling of calmness in the landscape and it felt like that I was a part of it.
Next stop-Vagator beach, which is near the Chapora fort. The last light of the evening still lingered over the beach, and we saw some tourists doing yoga. We took an evening stroll, had some snacks and then headed to ‘Thalassa’ – a Greek taverna, also famous for the ambience and the Sunset view. And I can vouch for the ambience it carries. The open air sitting area was just awesome. The crowd was a mix of all sorts of people, the young couple, some hippies, the family with children, and some like us, a group of friends. We spent the rest of the evening there till night. Prior booking is necessary as the place always remains crowded. We booked for the evening even before arriving at Goa.
Ride to South Goa
Many people prefer to stay in South Goa while exploring the beaches over there. But we decided to start our journey in the morning towards that part of the city and explore the beaches the entire day and then come back at night.
For breakfast, we went to “Kenny’s- The breakfast place” at Calangute. It was a small cosy place run by a lady. The service was good and the food was decent if not excellent. We ordered all sorts of items from English breakfast, omelette, to pancakes. We made it a point to have our tummy full with a good healthy breakfast as we had a long way to cover. And Kenny’s didn’t disappoint us. One can also order fresh juices and spend the time leisurely. Although you cannot expect to get a good view from here.
After breakfast our journey for South Goa started. But then we took a small detour and headed towards the Japanses garden and Grandmother’s hole beach. To get to this beach, one must pass through a hole in the fort wall ruins. The quaint road leading to this beach would make you feel like some hidden treasure is out there, only a few steps ahead of your reach. And I must the say, the view of this picturesque beach from the garden above would make your jaw drop. This small strip of sand was totally untouched, devoid of commercialization, no shacks, nothing at all. So, if you are looking for some activity, then you will arrive at the wrong place. This virgin beach had only a few souls, us and just a few couples holding hands and taking strolls. Looked like a perfect place to visit in Goa for couples. If you want to take a solitary bath or want to take a stroll with your loved ones with no eyes prying, then Grandmother’s hole beach can be the perfect place.
Grandmother’s hole beach (Image belongs to the respective owener)
After taking some rest and having some fresh coconut water from outside the garden from a vendor, we started our journey again to Palolem. In between, we also stopped at Agonda beach for some fresh drinks and mid-morning meal. The beach was calm and serene, shacks were less fancy than the ones at Baga beach, and hence the place was less crowded. Benaulim is another much-recommended beach in South Goa, but we decided to skip it and headed towards Palolem.
There were many shops on the road leading to the beach, selling all sorts of handicraft items, colourful beach wears, jewelleries, souvenirs and what not, at reasonable prices. The Palolem beach with its crescent-shaped, covered in white sand and coconut trees lined on one side is very beautiful to look at. After doing Kayaking for some 20 minutes we took a boat ride to Butterfly beach. This hidden gem away from the crowd, with it’s clear blue water can easily be one of the must-visit beach in south Goa for couples. Perfect for meditation or relaxation in isolation.
Things to do at Palolem: Shopping at roadside shops, Kayaking, Visit the Monkey Island, take a boat ride for dolphin sighting and to Butterfly beach, witness the Sunset.
We decided to spend the evening at Dona Paula and witness the sunset from the jetty, which was breath-taking. We returned to our hotel from Dona Paula and this time visited Culrlies to keep the party going. The crowd was crazy and a mix of Indian as well as foreigners. Well, it’s not really suitable for family.
As this was our last day at Goa, we decided to take a morning walk along the Candolim beach. The beach was quite empty apart from some joggers and dogs. We spent quite some time there just relaxing and dipping our feet in the sea water. When it was time we headed for breakfast to Café Chocolatti. Good service, tasty food with excellent décor giving out European feel, what more could we ask for. The prices were a bit on the higher side, but it was worth it. We spent as much time as we could and then left for the hotel.
We visited so many places and yet I felt like it wasn’t enough. Not all places leave the kind of impression that Goa left on me, and many things still left to visit, to experience. But surely this was not the last time I am coming to Goa. Are you planning your trip to Goa, and looking for Best Itinerary? I can help, let me know in comment or get in touch with an email.