Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants, and conquered it soon thereafter. The Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years, until it was annexed by India in 1961.
Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
Goa is famous for its beaches, churches, nightlife, festival, shopping, casinos etc.
How to Reach Goa
By Road: Goa's public transport largely consists of privately operated buses linking the major towns to rural areas. Government-run buses, maintained by the Kadamba Transport Corporation, links both major routes (like the Panjim–Margao route) and some remote parts of the state. In large towns such as Panjim and Margao, intra-city buses ply. However, public transport in Goa is less developed, and residents depend heavily on their own transport, usually motorised two-wheelers. Goa has two National Highways passing through it. NH-17 runs along India's west coast and links Goa to Mumbai in the north and Mangalore to the south. NH-4A running across the state connects the capital Panjim to Belgaum in east, linking Goa to cities in the Deccan. The NH-17A connects NH-17 to Mormugao Harbour from Cortalim, and the new NH-17B, is a four lane highway connecting Mormugao Harbour to NH-17 at another location, Verna, via Dabolim airport. Goa has a total of 224 km (139 mi) of National highway, 232 km (144 mi) of state highway and 815 km of district highway. Hired forms of transport include unmetered taxis, and, in urban areas, auto rickshaws. A unique form of transport in Goa is the Motorcycle taxi, operated by drivers who are locally called "pilots". These vehicles transport a single pillion rider, at fares that are usually negotiated. River crossings in Goa are serviced by flat-bottomed ferry boats, operated by the river navigation departments.
By Rail: Goa has two rail lines—one run by the South Western Railway and the other by the Konkan Railway. The line run by the South Western Railway was built during the colonial era linking the port town of Vasco da Gama, Goa with Hubli, Karnataka via Margao. The Konkan Railway line, which was built during the 1990s, runs parallel to the coast connecting major cities on the western coast.
By Air: Goa's sole airport, the Dabolim Airport, is both a military and civilian airport catering to domestic and international airlines that stop en route to other Indian destinations. The airport also handles a large number of chartered flights. Goa receives international flights from Qatar, Dubai, Sharjah and Kuwait in the Middle East and from Britain, Germany, Netherlands and Russia during the charter flight tourist season. Dabolim Airport is serviced by the following carriers – Air Arabia, Indian Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways, besides charter flights from the UK, Netherlands, Russia, Germany operated by Thomas Cook, Condor, Arkefly, Monarch Airlines etc.
By Sea: The Mormugao harbour near the city of Vasco handles mineral ore, petroleum, coal and international containers. Much of the shipments consist of minerals and ores from Goa's hinterland. Panjim, which is situated on the banks of the Mandovi, also has a minor port, which used to handle passenger steamers between Goa and Mumbai till the late 1980s. There was also a short-lived catamaran service linking Mumbai and Panaji operated by Damania Shipping in the 1990s.
Beaches in Goa
Beaches in North Goa
Currently no major hotels exist in this area due to local pressure. Room rates are available at reasonable rates when compared to tourist laden beaches such as Baga and Candolim. Arambol beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa, amongst many other popular locations including Vagator, Anjuna and Palolem.
A short walk north off the main beach is a smaller beach with a "fresh water lake" close to the sea. The water here is a mixture of fresh water and sea water. The jungle valley, enclosed between low hills hide a spectacular Banyan tree. Adjoining the banyan tree there is a stone sculpture created by an American Conceptual and Land art artist Jacek Tylicki Give if you can - Take if you have to also called The Money Stone. It has become a pilgrimage destination.
Vagator Beach has dramatic red cliffs looking down on the shore and two fresh water springs within a stone's throw of the sea. But Vagator has little by way of seaside accommodation.
Vagator Beach is split into two main beaches by a seaside headland which holds the car park and lots of stalls selling trinkets, clothes, soft drinks and snacks. As you face the sea, on your right is North Vagator Beach (Big Vagator)and on your left Ozran Beach, more commonly known as Little Vagator Beach.
There are a number of places playing to a dance & trance crowd during the tourist season. These include: Nine Bar located just above Little Vagator, Hilltop (a little back from Little Vagator) and Primrose back towards Big Vagator beach, they play different types of trance and psychedelic music from different DJ's from around the world.
Also there are a number of Mediterranean and Indian Cafes/Hotels serving a variety of food and drink. The tourist traffic is predominantly Western backpackers, however it has also become popular with Indian tourists, who particularly come to watch the sunset from the rocks.
The captivating Candolim beach is well connected with the rest of the places. The Dabolim airport provides the connectivity through air. For road transport there are plenty of buses that ply between Panaji, Calangute via Sinquerim.
Baga is also famous for its water sports and Dolphin cruises.
Beaches in South Goa
The beach is located about 4 kilometres from Dabolim airport and 9 kilometres from the port town of Vasco da Gama. Thanks to its location almost exactly half way along Goa's coast, Bogmalo is an ideal base for exploring the whole state.
Location: South Goa, 8 kilometers (5 miles) from Marago and 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Panaji. The closest railway station is in Margao.
The beach is featured as the Indian residence of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in the film The Bourne Supremacy (2004). The initial footage in the movie gives a good idea of the natural beauty of the beach - the distinctive tree covered rocks at one end (known locally as Monkey Island - to which tours are run) and beach shacks.
At the top of the island adjoining Palolem beach there is a stone sculpture created by an American Conceptual and Land art artist Jacek Tylicki called "Give if you can - Take if you have to" also called "the Money stone".
It became a pilgrimage destination. At the low tide it is a tough jungle walk. People can leave or take money at will at the Monkey stone.
Churches in Goa
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim, Goa is one of the oldest churches in Goa, which existed from the year 1540.
Church of St. Anne, TalaulimThe Church of St. Anne is a religious monument located in Santana, Goa, India. It is an example of baroque architecture.
Majestically nestled in the verdant hills of Santana, Talaulim, the Church of Anne was declared a "national monument" during the Portuguese era per Government Portario No. 1360 of 31/3/31. In that Portario – studded like priceless diamonds – were also the Bom Jesus Basilica, the Se Cathedral, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the Convent of Santa Monica and the Church of St. Cajetan. Each of these, monumental in their architectural splendor, and all of them huddled in the former Portuguese capital of Old Goa, Goa.
St. Michael's Church, AnjunaSt. Michael's Church, Anjuna, in Goa, is one of the oldest churches in Goa, built in 1613.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
'Bom Jesus' (literally, 'Good (or Holy) Jesus') is the name used for the infant Jesus. The Jesuit church is India’s first minor basilica, and is considered to be one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India.
Adventure Sports in Goa
Popular adventure sports in Goa are Fishing, Jet Skiing, Wind Surfing, Scuba Diving, Parasailing & Water Skiing.
Casinos in Goa
Some popular casinos in Goa are:
Las Vegas at the Leela
Chances at Vainguinim Valley Resort
Winners at the Goa Marriot Resort
Mint Club Casino - Rivera De Goa Resort
Hotels in Goa
5 Star Hotels in Goa
Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa
The Crown Goa
Riviera De Goa Resort
The Crown Goa
3 Star Hotels in Goa
Hotel Cambay Beach Resort
Marina Bay Beach Resort
Silver Sands Beach Resort
Budget Hotels in Goa
Anup Holiday Homes - II
Sun Park Resort