The Portuguese part of India and one of the most popular tourist destinations of India is the small coastal state of Goa. Filled with tourists from other countries and from within, Goa is a paradise, a retreat from the hectic and monotonous lives that we lead. A world away from the world where everyone can unwind and set themselves free on the beaches, the wild night parties, exploring the impressive architecture of the colonial times with the churches and the old houses, the forts of the local kings, and experiencing the beauty of nature and one’s self- a getaway to Goa

A perfect getaway to Goa for a long weekend at any time of the year could only be enhanced with a budget trip that does not leave a hole in the wallet! The love and passion for traveling and exploring is all it takes to get around the nooks and corners of the world. The rest is only a matter of making smart choices. 

How to reach?

Goa is accessible by road, railways and airways (waterways too if you like!). 

By road:

One of the cheapest and best options is to travel by bus. A journey of around 11-12 hours from nearby cities like Mumbai and Bangalore which is affordable and comfortable can be covered overnight. For those who love and enjoy long drives can simply hit the road in their vehicles.

By rail:

Madgaon and Vasco Da Gama are the two major railway stations in Goa. There are several trains available from cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, etc. which are also affordable and require a reservation at the right time for better prices.

By air:

The Goa international airport is located at Dabolim which is 30 km away from Panjim. Direct flights are available for Goa from several cities. Comparatively an expensive option but a time saving and a pleasant one.

Where to stay?

Catering to the varied needs of the diverse groups of tourists, there are several options that one can choose from to suit their accommodation criteria. 

Hostels

For people traveling alone, students, as a group of friends or just anyone with eager to meet new and exciting people hostels are the best option. It is cheap, cozy and leaves one with crazy new experiences.

Cost- Ranging from Rs 300 to 1000 for a single bed per day.

Homestays

Goa has several apartments, bungalows, beachside homes that are let out as homestays for the tourists. It is economical and comfortable with the facilities and amenities of a home. 

Cost- Starting prices from Rs 1000 per night.

Hotels

Families and people with a taste for indulgence can always opt for hotels, which range from budget hotels to five-star hotels like Taj.

Best Places to Explore in Goa!

Beaches

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The most obvious places to go are the multitude of beaches in Goa like Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Morjim, Anjuna, Vagator and so on. Baga, Calangute, Anjuna are the more popular and touristy beaches with fun water sports, beachside shacks and so on.

Churches

  1. The Basilica of Bom Jesus 

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A World Heritage Site of UNESCO, Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the oldest churches in Goa. Located in Old Goa around 10kms from Panjim, the state capital, this church holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The architecture of the church stands out as compared to other churches as it has not been plastered from outside and has a red tint due to the visible bricks. The interior of the church has marble, mosaic and precious stones inlaid its layout. The 408- year old church is an example of Portuguese architecture and colonization and is one of the most popular tourist sites in Goa.

Timing: 9:00 AM- 6:30 PM

Entry: Free

2. Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

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Another example of Portuguese architecture specifically Baroque style, the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is located in Panjim, the capital of Goa. This church was first built in 1541 as a chapel and was later built as a church in 1609. It is also known for the ancient bell which is the second largest in Goa and was retrieved from the Augustinian ruins and placed here.

Timing: 8:00 AM- 5:30 PM

Entry: Free

3. Se Cathedral

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Built-in the Portuguese Manueline style this cathedral is of the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Cathedral Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. The cathedral was built as a symbol of victory against an army of Muslim invaders in the 16th century. It is where the largest bell in Goa is situated and is famous for its loud and strong ring. It is located in Old Goa.

Timing: 7:00 AM- 6:30 PM

Entry: Free

Panjim

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The capital of the state and a hub for markets and traces of the colonial heritage Panjim is a must-visit place. This where the architecture and the blend of Portuguese colonial rule meets the local culture. Most of the churches, museums, the famous Latin quarters, Fontainhas are located here. It is also a great place to do shopping with a variety of shops and markets offering local and colonial trinkets and souvenirs.

Forts

The forts are some of the long-standing structures, proof of the strong architecture from the times of Indian kings. They are also great viewpoints for the blue, and beautiful sea.

  1. Chapora fort

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Located in Bardez, Chapora Fort was built by Adil Shah a Muslim ruler in 1617. It later went into the possession of the Portuguese, the Marathas and back to the Portuguese during the course of which the fort also underwent several changes. The current structure that remains standing is the ruins of the fort.

Timing- 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Entry- Free

2. Aguada Fort

Image Source: flickr

Built by the Portuguese in 1612 Aguada fort is located near the Sinquerim beach. It has a lighthouse within the fortification which is one of the oldest of its kind. The fort was built to defend the Portuguese from the Dutch and the Marathas.

Timing-  8:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Entry- Free

Things to do in Goa!

Water Sports

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The beaches of Goa not only offer an expanse of golden sand and blue sea with sheltered, cool shacks to relax in but also exciting and thrilling water sports like parasailing, jet-skiing, banana ride, bumpy ride, waterboarding and much more. From the crowds of the beach to the vast, serene sea getaway to Goa!

Cost- Rs 500 average for each sport but bargainable

Nightlife

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Famous for its parties, clubs, cafes, and bars, nightlife in Goa is worth an experience. It is the ultimate time when everyone lets go of their worries and go crazy. The getaway to Goa would be incomplete without this!

Cuisine

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Goan style seafood is a must-try for seafood lovers. The Goan fish curry, prawns, crabs are exquisite and are a burst of flavors.

Shopping

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Flea markets, night markets, weekly markets are the best places to look for souvenirs, local handicrafts, clothes, antiques, and trinkets. Anjuna, Calangute, Baga, and Mapusa are the most famous.

How to travel around?

The best and most reasonable mode of transport within Goa are two -wheelers that are available for rent. Charged on a daily basis, it is the most convenient if one knows how to drive scooters and bikes. Cars can also be booked and rented but are on the more expensive side.

Cost- Rs 400 average price for two-wheelers per day (bargainable)

Rs 1500 for cab per day (bargainable)

Well, what more? Pack your bags, pick the spots and dive headlong into a never before experienced adventure in your getaway to Goa