A small state on the southwest coast of India, Goa has a rich Portuguese colonial past. With its architectural heritage and sublime beaches, Goa is considered the pearl of the orient in India. It seduces with the beauty of its beaches, its nature, its vestiges of a past colonialist time and constitutes a fabulous getaway for those wishing to rest and learn. What to do in Goa? When to leave? Discovery in detail of the city of Goa in India.
Contemplate the centuries-old cathedrals
One of the main things to do when in Goa is to visit the centuries-old cathedrals, a legacy of the city’s Portuguese colonial past. Thus, the magnificent Cathedral of Sé or Saint Catherine’s Cathedral is the oldest Catholic diocese in Asia. In the Portuguese Baroque style, it is 76 meters long and 55 meters wide and its bell tower (the south tower, to the left of the facade) houses five bells. A real marvel. Do not hesitate to visit the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi as well as the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the latter is built of laterite blocks covered with lime, a pure heritage of Portuguese architecture.
> Address: Velha, Goa 403402, India
Enter the butterfly forest
For a most magical experience, head to the “Butterfly Conservatory Of Goa”, a forest that is home to over a hundred different species of butterflies. Run by a couple in love with nature and concerned about saving butterflies, this conservatory allows you to observe many caterpillars and moths roaming freely in nature.
> Address: Rajnagar, Pisgal, Priol between the Tropical Spice Farm and the Sahakari Spice farm, Ponda 403404, India
Venture to the White Waterfalls
North of Goa, on the border with Karnataka in India, is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region and surely one of the most beautiful in the country: Dudhsagar Falls. This waterfall is also called “Ocean of Milk” because of the white color of the water falling on the rocks, and its speed is dizzying. You can swim there, the water is cool and you can even spot big fish in the clear water.
> Address: Sonaulim, Goa 403410, India
To do yoga
Goa is the city of yoga in India. And nothing like the Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Village in Goa to travel differently and escape while refocusing on yourself and recharging your batteries. We immediately fall in love with its unique architecture, especially its small wooden houses and its luxury eco-lodges in the heart of lush tropical gardens, statues and fountains. They practice yoga and mantra chanting inside the shala (meditation center), with a view of the peaceful nature and the Arabian Sea of Goa.
> Address: Junas Waddo, Mandrem, Goa 403527, India
Lounge on Agonda Beach
Goa is renowned for its beautiful white sand beaches with green, transparent waters and vistas of palm trees gently swaying in the wind. A preserved gem, Agonda beach is devoid of tourists who prefer to congregate on Palolem beach. On site, you can rent deckchairs in the shape of very comfortable boats. In the evening, you have the choice between dining at H20, a fairly upscale restaurant that offers a wide variety of dishes, or at the Turtle Lounge, a very upscale hotel restaurant in Agonda that offers gourmet cuisine with a view of the sunset.
Cross the rice fields by scooter
Another way to explore Goa: rent a bicycle or scooter and ride through the rice paddies and palm groves of the region. With the coconut palms on the horizon, the rice fields of Goa are a particularly decorative and exotic element of the landscape. In December, the fields are full of water, and the rice fields become a mirror with changing reflections where the buffaloes bathe. An unparalleled spectacle.
And why not visit another city, also located on the southwest coast of the country? We advise you to head for Kerala, India’s green paradise, to take it easy on its beaches, do yoga and visit its national parks.
Goa in India: When to go?
From November to March, the temperatures are mild in Goa, the rains have stopped, the waterfalls abound and the beaches are calm. If you are there in March, you will have the opportunity to attend the Goa Carnival, a Christian festival where confetti battles and costumes are a must. Avoid the hottest months of May and June as much as possible. Temperatures can exceed 40°C!
Where to sleep in Goa?
In Goa, there is no shortage of hotels. Luxury hotels or guest houses, the choice is vast. Here are some of our favorite hotels:
In Goa, The Leela hotel stands out. This luxury hotel appears as a unique refuge, where warmth and hospitality take on their full meaning. Set on a 30-hectare estate, The Leela has 206 rooms in Portuguese colonial style and contemporary Indian design. Enjoy an Ayurvedic massage at the spa or take part in a yoga session in the hotel gardens. And don’t forget to board The Leela’s boat to venture on the Sal River and admire the sunset. Luxury at its peak.
Learn more about The Leela Hotel in Goa.
> Address: Mobor, Cavelossim, Goa 403731, India
Alila Diwa Goa
Along Gonsua Beach, Alila Diwa is the perfect place to stay in Goa. This 5-star hotel with an elegant and sober design offers rooms with panoramic views of the rice fields of South Goa. Need to recharge your batteries? Book a treatment at the Alila spa with pure, homemade oils. And in the evening, go down to the hotel bar, the Courtyard, which takes on the appearance of a speakeasy and order a signature cocktail prepared with local and seasonal ingredients.
> Address: Adao Waddo, 403713 Majorda, India
Vivanta Goa, Panaji
Located in the city center, Vivanta by Taj Panaji is a modern hotel offering views of the Mandovi River and the Altinho hills. This five star hotel is considered one of the finest hotels in Goa. Global bon vivants and business travelers feel at home in our contemporary city view rooms and suites. Courteous and impeccable service makes each stay unique. Fitness enthusiasts can get a workout in the state-of-the-art 24/7 fitness center. ‘establishment. A beautiful swimming pool awaits you there for you on sunny days. Want to let go? Book a treatment at the hotel spa and opt for Indian therapeutic massage to relieve your jet lag. Finally, have lunch or dinner at the hotel restaurant to experience the culinary wonders of Goa. With the help of the hotel’s concierge service, explore Panaji, Goa’s picturesque and colorful houses, Fontainhas – Goa’s Latin Quarter and other Old Goa heritage landmarks.
> Address: St. Anne’s JunctionOff, Dayanand Bandodkar Marg, Panaji, Goa 403001, India
How to get to Goa in India?
Getting to Goa couldn’t be simpler. By Air France or Air India, direct flights are provided every day from Paris.
Goa in India: getting around the city
How to get around the city of Goa? The best would be to rent a motorcycle or a scooter (only if you have the experience of these cars, because the highway code is not very respected in Goa and India). It’s the perfect means of transport for wandering from neighborhood to neighborhood, without wasting time in traffic jams. Local buses as well as rickshaws can help you get around the city. There are buses every fifteen minutes. Finally, you can also take taxis to get around the city, but be careful to establish the price with the driver in advance, otherwise you will be scammed. Also, be aware that at night, prices are often multiplied by two or three.