India’s popularity as a solo holiday destination has been steadily growing over the years, and one of its main hotspots is Goa, a state out on India’s western coast. This former Portuguese colony has lots to offer the solo traveler, thanks to its long and storied past, which is sure to be of interest to culture vultures and history buffs, and its cuisine, packed with flavor, will hit the spot with foodies. Then there are the beaches and the natural beauty of Goa itself: it’s all sure to impress.
Outdoors and in the sunshine
The temperatures in Goa make it perfect for lazing around on the beach, with an average of 29 to 30°C throughout the year and little rainfall, so pack plenty of sun cream. Some beaches are rocky, others are sandy, and these features and others give each of Goa’s many beaches its own personality.
Calangute is one of the most popular beaches in Goa, so if you’re a solo traveler looking to make a few friends while you’re on your travels, this is a good place to start. While you’re at this seven-kilometer-long stretch of beach, you can try your hand at water skiing, parasailing or surfing, and then refuel with some delicious fried prawns and a nice, cold beer.
Candolim beach, on the other hand, is the beach to visit when you’re looking for a little serenity on your trip. Tranquil and beautiful, this beach is situated 18 kilometers from Panaji and lends itself generously to a spot of meditation or yoga. Of course, water skiing, parasailing and surfing are viable, too, if you do feel like a burst of adventure on the shores.
Soaking up not just the sun, but also the culture
Goa is home to several excellent museums, art galleries and libraries. Two of the best, arguably, are the Goa State Museum and, located in Old Goa, the Archaeological Museum. The State Museum introduces visitors to collections covering a range of themes, such as geology, the environment and cultural anthropology, to name a few, and if you can’t tear yourself away from the West in spirit, there’s the Instituto Menezes gallery, which showcases Western art and bronze sculptures.
The Archaeological Museum covers the past of Goa as a Portuguese colony and displays pieces of art and objects from this period in the state’s history. These include portraits of the explorer Vasco da Gama, plus Portuguese swords and rifles. The museum doesn’t focus exclusively on this period, though, and you’ll also see statues of John the Baptist and of the Crucifixion, as well as objects with Persian or Arabic inscriptions on them.
Charismatic, evocative, dynamic, wistful, mysterious and romantic – Goa is a vivid combination of some of the most vibrant and stark contrasts on the planet, and part of a thrilling country that dazzles travelers with the its colors, scents and sounds. Most definitely, you should pack that bag and check it out.