Goa became a haven for hippies in the 1960s, as they flocked to form alternative communities on the stunning golden beaches. Nowadays Goa is much more of a mainstream destination, but if you head far enough north, it’s still possible to find isolated beaches where alternative-types tie dye like its 1969. Visit Arambol and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to join a drum circle on the beach, and Anjuna flea markets can provide you with all your jewellery and handicraft needs.
Discover another side of Goa with a dramatic shift in landscape. Goa transforms from palm-fringed, golden-sand beaches to lush green paddy fields, effusive rivers and the air is punctuated with a heady scent of petrichor. Discover scenic islands, explore the culinary landscape and rejuvenate amidst nature.
Travellers can begin their journey in North Goa and join the ‘Godfather of Goan Cuisine’, Chef Urbano Rego on a culinary adventure; touring the colourful Mapusa Spice Market, hand-picking the ingredients for the perfect Goan meal. Trek along the ramparts of the 16th century Fort Aguada, overlooking the Arabian Sea or get an introduction to Fado music, with its origins dating back to the 1820s in Portugal.
A former Portuguese territory, Goa became a well-known stop on the hippy trail in the 1970s. Nowadays it’s been inundated with British and Russian tourists – but if you head far enough north, you’ll still find the odd hippy enclave next to a perfect, palm-fringed beach. With 54 beaches stretching along its 63 mile coastline, Goa is a fantastic destination for lovers of all things sea, sand and surf. Once a Portuguese colony, and a must-stop spot on the 1960s hippie trail, today Goa has a laid-back vibe that’s at odds with the bustle of northern cities like New Delhi.
When you’re not lounging on the beach, tucking into coconutty fish curries and crispy samosas, take a trip inland to the spice plantation. See everyday spices like pepper growing naturally, rather than the plastic-packaged supermarket version. If you don’t want to move far from your sun-lounger, you can always pick up your souvenirs from the famous flea market which takes place every Wednesday on Anjuna Beach.
Next on the itinerary, travellers can explore a UNESCO Heritage Zone – Fontainhas, the Latin Quarters of Goa. This neighbourhood takes you back in time as you walk through narrow lanes and stumble across charming cafes, art galleries and colourful colonial buildings. For a truly off-beat experience, take a ferry ride to Divar Island, situated in the Mandovi River and get a sense of rural Goa, where life seems to remain unchanged for hundreds of years.
Down South, thrill-seeking travellers can embark on a kayaking expedition, exploring mangroves and passing local fishing villages along the way. For the ultimate relaxation, indulge in spa treatments that are rooted in the timeless healing traditions of India at Jiva Spa.