When it’s time for a minibreak, Goa’s charms are one of India’s best-known secrets; however, many people worry a weekend is not enough time to enjoy all this seaside playground has to offer. While you won’t be able to see and do everything, even a short stay in Goa will have you relaxed and ready for the following workweek. For you weekend warriors, here’s an itinerary for 48 sun-and-fun-filled hours in the Konkan.
Visit the Beach
Why wait? If you want to visit Goa but only have a short time, hit the best things first, and the beach is definitely the area’s main attraction. Whether you’re staying in North or South Goa, on your first morning, head for the sand before the day gets hot, and enjoy the sea breezes and the way the sunlight reflects off the water. If you like, find a group practicing dawn yoga on the sands, or whet your appetite for breakfast with a slow jog on the shore.
Spice It Up
Goa’s cuisine is known for its seafood and chili, so relish those ingredients with a breakfast (or brunch, if you’ve slept in) of fish curry. Nose around one or two of the beachside food stalls and restaurants to see which has the best-looking menu. In addition to fish curry, if your diet allows, look out for balchão, a shrimp curry that came to Goa from Macao via the Portuguese and feijoada.
Visit Fort Aguada
It may be that following your first trip to the beach in the morning, you’ll want to return and hang out for the rest of the day. That’s permissible in Goa, but if you’ve got too much energy to stay in one place, a visit to Fort Aguada may be a highlight of your trip. This Portuguese fort overlooking the Arabian Sea is well-maintained and offers a glimpse into history. While much of the fort has been converted to a prison, visitors can still wander on the top of the five-metre-tall walls, take pictures and enjoy the views.
Take a Cruise
In the afternoon, take advantage of one of the river cruises available. While local representatives may try to convince you that an all-day trip tomorrow or an overnight cruise is the way to go, you probably don’t want to spend all of your time left in Goa on the water. So, opt for a sunset cruise on the Mandovi River. Along the way, not only will you see the colours of the setting sun, but you might glimpse a crocodile or river dolphin.
Have Drinks on the Sand
Wind down your evening by sipping cocktails or lime sodas on the beach. Again, the primary reason for visiting Goa is to relax. If you skip the cruise to do just that, well, no one will blame you.
Go to Old Goa
In the morning, you have time for another cultural excursion before your 48-hour trip is over. The markets in Old Goa will have all of your souvenir-shopping needs covered, plus you can visit St. Catejan Parish, Basilica Bom Jesus and other relics from the Portuguese era. The basilica holds the body of St. Francis Xavier, Goa’s patron saint.
Explore the Countryside
You now have three choices: First, you can go back to the beach you saw yesterday and spend more quality time with the sand. Or, you can pick a new stretch of beach and spend the afternoon there. Alternatively, rent some transportation and explore the Goan countryside. Temples, caves and picturesque villages are all in easy reach.
About the Author: Aditi D’Souza’s father is from Goa and she loves visiting his childhood home. She lives in Mumbai and manages a bookshop.