Goa, where to start? Well, let’s just say, if you’re ready for an adventure, go-a to Goa. You won’t be disappointed. Myself and one of my best friends, Jo, found ourselves on this side of the world to celebrate one of our closest friend’s weddings, more of which I’ll share very soon. It was my second visit to India, following a short trip to Delhi two years ago, but being India’s playground for the rich and fabulous, I didn’t know what to expect.
Our holiday started with a 4:30am arrival at Goa airport (none of the flights seem to arrive at great times, unless you’re flying in from Mumbai). Following a 45-min white-knuckle taxi ride that definitely snapped us awake, we made it to watch the sun rise over the calm goan riverside from our hotel near Baga beach, the Acron Waterfront resort. We managed to drag ourselves out of bed after a short post-sunrise nap and really start the holiday (which mostly involved lying by the inviting infinity pool or on the beach). We swam, sunbathed, relaxed, discovered, and of course, danced, to our hearts content. In a nutshell, we had the time of our lives!
Bedtime was approximately 5am almost every night of the holiday (ravers!) and it was just an incredible feeling being so far from home, on the other side of the world with not a care in sight. And when you live a crazy life like we do in London, Goa was exactly the kind of break we needed… We stayed in the north region, where we were told the best spots were Morgim, Ashvem, Baga and Candolim (with Morgim being the most popular area). We collated all our recommendations and found some of the best spots that I’d like to share with you today…
S T A Y
Knowing where to book in a place a big as Goa is not always easy. We reserved this hotel predominantly on location, price and of course, reviews. The Acron Waterfront is a beautiful boutique hotel, right off Baga beach where you can find lots of restaurants, bars and general beachside buzz. What stood out though, were the staff. They were more friendly than I have ever experienced before, and by the end of it had learned our names, breakfast orders and even our coffee preferences. It was just wonderful and a place I highly recommend!
Further down Baga beach towards Candolim is the Novotel Goa Shrem, which we stumbled upon one evening and looked absolutely beautiful. It’s right off Candolim beach and very close to the Anjuna Saturday night market, the biggest market in Goa.
If the Acron Waterfront or Novotel are more than you were looking to spend, then friends of ours stayed in Morgim which is the trendy area to be at present. They stayed at the Treebo Turtle Resort which they said was a perfect spot, only a stone’s throw away from the top beach clubs, bars and restaurants.
B E A C H
Prime beach spots are of course a huge part of your Goan adventure. We personally tried out Marbella Beach which was just pure white-washed fabulousness. You can rent a cabana for the whole day and just chill out to the lapping waves and tropical house music.
We’ve also heard La Plage is one of the best places in North Goa. Ashvem beach where both clubs are located is the place to be, so we spent an afternoon checking out that area.
E A T
Despite having some of the best fish curry around (goan fish curry is amazing) you can find some fantastic restaurants of all cuisines dotted along the coast. These are some of our favourites:
Britto’s, Baga Beach – It’s known to have excellent Indian food, which it does. It’s right at the tip of Baga beach, next to St Anthony’s, a fun karaoke bar. Start your night with a curry and finish with a little bit of the Spice Girls!
Thalassa – Up for a wild night out, Greek style? Well look no further than Thalassa. We spent a whole night here dancing until 4am, following a pretty great Indo-Greek meal. They’ve decorated it so well, you feel like you’re in Mykonos! A must do.
A Reverie – This restaurant feels like you’ve walked into a spot in Seminyak, Bali, but has some of the best and most interesting food I’ve had in a while. We were all really impressed and said we could imagine a place as cool as this in the heart of London.
P A R T Y
Most of our party evenings seemed to take place in restaurants as we hit the end of the high season for Goa, but places we have been recommended were:
Curlies – If you fancy a night dancing on the beach, this is the spot for you. Just get ready to watch the sun rise!
Club Cubana – A bit of Ibiza, but on the other side of the world, you can find this crazy club set in the heart of the the Goan jungle.
Mackie’s Market – We were lucky enough to catch the last evening of this market before it shut down for the monsoon season. It happens every Saturday and you can find the most amazing throws, jewellery, spices, you name it (I bought a beautiful handmade bed throw for £15). It also had a pretty awesome live band.
Anjuna Market – We didn’t get chance to visit this market but it is supposedly one of the biggest in North Goa and happens every Wednesday morning.
Fort Aguada – Built in 1612 this is a sight to see, especially on a beautifully clear day. You the most incredible view of the sea and coastline, whilst also having the chance to discover a little more of Goa’s history. If you can get there for sunset, do so. The view is unreal.
Go Discovering – An obvious suggestion for a place as beautiful as Goa, but even if you’re there for the beach do spend an afternoon walking the streets from village to village. It’s much easier to discover if you have a moped but if not just get a cab, pick and town and get lost, you’ll come across the most amazing hidden gems.
I think one of the most important parts to enjoying Goa is knowing exactly where the best spots are. I know that applies to pretty much every holiday you go on, however, in Goa, you won’t just “stumble” upon the hot-spots. Places aren’t necessarily within walking distance, so you definitely need to be aware of the fashionable hideouts, which thanks to numerous recommendations, we were! If you want to relax, you can, if you want to party you can, if you want to go off trekking in the jungle and eat red ants you can (we met people who had done a jungle trek in the south of Goa and were made to try some!!) In other words, get your bags packed and your adventure hats on and get Goa-ing!!