ROL Cruise recommends...
1. Soak up Goa’s incredible beach culture
With a 70km coastline, the lure of Goa’s beaches is undeniable and there are around 50 of them in total. Most popular is Calangute, also known as the ‘Queen of Beaches’, where restaurants, bars, music concerts and market stalls jostle for space on the sand. Yoga lovers and Ayurvedic obsessives will love Anjuna, while southern Goa's three favourites of Palolem, Patnem and Agonda beaches are all popular relaxation spots too.
2. Visit the capital, Panaji
Goa’s capital city, Panaji, is a laid-back riverside spot filled with classically Portuguese architectural wonders. Don’t miss the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, the oldest church in the city, and the magnificent Se Cathedral, one of the largest churches in Asia, which holds the remains of Francis Xavier, patron saint of Goa, in a silver casket. While in Panaji, you can visit Old Goa – the former capital under Portuguese rule until the mid-nineteenth century. The city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its stunning churches, chapels and crumbling cathedrals.
3. Let your hippy side free in Anjuna
Of all the market opportunities in India, Anjuna’s famous flea market is one of the most well-known. It’s held every Wednesday by the beach and dates back to the sixties, when Goa was the favoured haunt of hippies from all over the world. Nowadays you can shop for handicrafts and souvenirs sourced throughout India and nearby countries, from saris and spices to Tibetan jewellery and hand-carved sculptures. Wandering through Anjuna’s clustered market stalls and haggling for a decent price is a truly Goan experience.
4. Explore the spice plantations
India is often called ‘the land of spices’, and there are many plantations in Goa which grow all types of spices. Wander through the plantations amongst nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves, while learning from local farmers about the harvest process and how each spice's properties allow it to be used in Indian culture and further afield.