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We spent two years travelling around India and stayed at over a hundred hotels. The Tripzuki collection represents the best of the best. We met the owners and the staff, took our own photos, and tried the breakfast in the morning. We know EVERYTHING about these hotels. We also negotiated some incredible deals!

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What to do


  1. Eat & Drink
  2. See & Do
  3. Shop

Sun, Sand, Sea – From shoestring budget to five-star luxury, Goa is first and foremost about the beaches, but the atmosphere and experience one can expect varies from beach to beach, region-to-region, so it’s a good idea to pick the area carefully.

Health – From the humble roots of old hippies teaching for free in the jungle, yoga and wellness has become big business over the last decade, with North Goa in particular having one the highest concentration of yoga teachers per square kilometre in the world (in season at least). The good go with the bad, the qualified with the quacks, but there’s every style under the sun.

Eat – It’s taken for granted that local seafood and other Goan dishes are out of this world, but the decades of international travellers lapping on the shore have also given the state a restaurant scene that rivals anywhere else in the country. While India’s big cities tend to have domestic owners recreating foreign cuisine haphazardly, Goa actually has the foreigners, cooking with knowledge, passion and experience.

Gamble – Goa’s casinos are a huge draw for many. In recent years the number of casinos has risen dramatically, attached to five star hotels, floating in the Mandovi River off Panjim and dotted around the capital itself. Expect to rub shoulders with rich Aunties, cigar-chomping Uncles, international businessmen and curious, inebriated tourists.

Heritage – Goa is a state rich with a diverse history, and the Portuguese heritage homes and churches in the Catholic heartland of Quepem and Salcete are well worth exploring. Old Goa too, east of Panjim, is an incredibly well-preserved ancient city that rewards a visit (ideally early in the morning before the crowds).

Drive or ride – Nothing beats the heat and clears the cobwebs like a bike ride through paddy fields and coconut groves. Goa has so many unspoilt areas, especially away from the beaches, that you can spend days and weeks exploring and never get bored.

Eat & Drink

Baba Au Rhum
In a semi-jungle setting overlooking the paddy fields of south Anjuna, this French-owned café combines an old-school Goa hippie vibe with Parisian working-class charm. The coffee and croissants are, naturally, excellent, but the real surprise is the more adventurous menu that rolls out later in the day, with glorious eggplant caviar and parmesan crostini, sesame prawn tempura, and fillet mignon. Add a smart playlist of electronic music and excellent cocktails and you’ve got one of Goa’s best hangouts.
House no. 1054, Anjuna, Sim Vaddo, Anjuna, Near Bamboo Forest
+91 (0)98228 66366
Meal for two: 300 INR (breakfast & snacks) – 1,500 INR (evening meal & drinks)
9am-5pm; 7pm-late, closed Tuesday; OPEN SEPTEMBER TO JUNE

Fresh local ingredients, international technique and remarkable flavours come together at Bawmra Jap’s Burmese-influenced global cuisine restaurant, which regularly tops best-of lists. The Chopped Rockfish in Banana leaf with Wakami & Black Fungus and Aldona Pork with Pumpkin Wasabi Mash and Spinach are sensational. Open for lunch, best enjoyed at dinner.
247 Fort Aguada Road, Candolim
+91 9767591056
Meal for two: 1,000 – 2,000 INR
12:00 – 14:00; 19:00 – 23:00; OPEN OCTOBER-MAY 

Lila Café
The first foreign owned café to open in the state, this German establishment on Baga creek has pleasant, white wicker tables and wonderful efficient service to match the great food, best of all the goulash, smoked fish, buffalo ham and iced coffees. Still a favourite with the old-timers despite the rapid increase of similar cafés in the north.
Baga creek

La Plage
Near the top of every list, La Plage’s rugged French cuisine with a local twist wins hearts and stomachs every season. Set in a chic but joyful location on hip Asvem beach, the steak is outstanding and the chocolate thali the stuff of calorific legend.
Ashwem beach
+91 9822121712

Now in its third season in Morjim, Sublime remains one of Goa’s best restaurants. Chef Christopher Saleem brings his international experience to a delicate, playful and flavourful menu in a real fusion of global ingredients and technique. Beef, pork and fish dominate, often in surprising ways. Booking for dinner essential.
central Morjim beach
+91 9822484051

Café Nu
Tucked away in nearby Mandrem village, Chris Sublime’s uncle, Neem, runs this hard to find (but worth finding) café and restaurant. The robust, tasty menu (and earthier version of the one at Sublime) and charming atmosphere make it a great place to eat and relax. It’s small and often packed so booking is advised. The warm beef salad and tuna with wasabi mash are highlights.
Junos Waddo, Mandrem, opposite O Saiba Guesthouse
+91 9011277281 or +91 9822484051

Authentic Japanese home food with sushi, sake and Asahi beer on the side. A favourite with the local expat crowd, Sakana has a tuna teriyaki that is simply out of this world. The owners are meticulous about the quality of ingredients, meaning the small but filling menu is always top notch. The service and décor are really very good too. Knock back a few drinks afterwards at the cool Bubble Brunch bar next door.
Vagator/Chapora petrol pump road
+91 9890135502 (closed one day, call to check)

Go With The Flow
Brazilian chef Guto Souza’s lively restaurant was last season’s big hit. There are decent seafood options and quality sushi, but meat is where the heart of this restaurant lies: with delicious pork belly and a champion steak waiting for the carnivores out there. All profits go to the Samarpan Foundation charity.
House No. 614, | Baga, (end of Baga River Road, after the bridge)
+91 7507771556 / +91 7507771557; www.gowiththeflowgoa.com/
Meal for two: 1,000 – 2,000 rupees.
18:00 – 00:00

Bhatti Village
This cosy and traditional Goan Catholic taverna also happens to be the go-to joint for some of the state’s best chefs. There’s no menu; Patrick informs you of the variety of dishes his wife Merciana is cooking on the day, which may include fried whitebait, beef roast, chicken cafreal, pork vindalho and fish curry. Trust his judgement, enjoy the atmosphere, and definitely try the local liquor, Caju Feni. Reservation recommended.
Bhatti Waddo, Bardez, Nerul, North Goa Bhatti Waddo, Panjim, Goa.
+91 9822184103

This widely acclaimed Delhi restaurant, specialising in the owner/chef’s fiery home-style Keralan cuisine, opened in Assagao last year and was an instant success with locals, tourists and expats. Go for the incredible, spicy meat and seafood dishes of a kind rarely seen elsewhere. The beef pepper Kerala style, Malabar parathas, appams, pork spare ribs and Andhra prawn masala are all highlights. There’s enough quality veg options too.
Cursino Villa, House No. 6, Saunto Vaddo, Assagao
+91 (0)832-2268083

Ciao Bella
You’ve come to Goa for Goan food, sure… But to ignore Ciao Bella would be a mistake. Run by long time Goa residents from Italy, Ciao Bella is charming, intimate, open all year and building a reputation as one of the best Italian restaurants in India. There’s handmade pasta, ravioli and gnocchi, knockout pizza (Wednesday and Saturday), fantastic daily specials (porcini tagliatelle with truffle oil, sardine rucola salad) and seriously good desserts. It’s also the perfect comfort-food restaurant after a heavy night before. The squid ink salmon pasta is a personal favourite.
569, Assagao Badem Road, Assagao
+91 (0)97675 57673
Meal for two: 1,500-3,000 INR
7pm-12pm closed Monday; OPEN ALL YEAR (closed June 25th-August 10th)

Matsya Freestyle Kitchen
Young Israeli chef Gome Galily is a rising star. He’s worked at Noma, trained with David Thompson at Bangkok’s famous Nahm, and in the monsoons works as a private chef in Monaco. But he’s a Goa boy at heart, and the food he delivers to the table here is the kind savoured long after, with the pleasure only heightened because you don’t know what’s coming. There’s no menu: you call, make your reservation, choose between four courses or seven, state your dietary preferences/restrictions, then turn up and enjoy. Standouts from our last visit included beef tataki with Jerusalem artichokes and mushroom ragout, picked zucchini and goats cheese mousse, miso aubergine caviar with mussels, and red snapper ceviche with yuzu. The outdoor setting is gorgeous too.
4 km inland from Arambol, past the Bhumika temple, at the Samata Holistic Retreat Center
+91 8390 918385; www.samatagoa.com

Palacio de Deao
For those interested in a truly unique – and truly Goan –experience, this is the place. Palacio is a restored 18th century Portuguese Mansion, now home to Reuben and Celia Vasco de Gama and their two children. After a tour of the property, which is worth a visit in its own right, the extraordinary five-course Indo-Portuguese feast laid on by Celia tends to become a highlight for all who make the trip. Expect dishes like pumpkin pie, rissóis de camarão (prawn croquettes), spicy chorizo, exquisite prawn curry with local red rice, various fish, beef or veg mains, plus dessert, wine or cocktails, all served on the gorgeous verandah. Booking is essential; it’s preferable to arrive with an empty stomach.
Opposite Holy Cross Church, Quepem
www.palaciododeao.com; +91 (0)832 266 4029 or +91 98 2317 5639; E-mail: [email protected]
1,000 INR per person

Café Real
For an authentic Goan breakfast and, later on, a tea-time break (it shuts for lunch), you can’t get much better than Panaji city’s Café Real. Opened in the late 1940s, this is bhaji heaven – and bhaji, by the way, is a small plate of veg curry to be eaten with bread or piping hot puris, not the fried thing it’s become known as in England. There’s a wide variety on offer, including dry potato, tomato, cauliflower, mushroom, mix and special bhaji, as well as samosas, pakodas, tea, coffee and cold drinks. Seating is canteen style, service is quick. As is the way with such places, engage with the waiter, ask what’s good, and you’ll be happy.
Mahatma Gandhi Road, Ozari, Panaji,+91 (0)832 242 2264
Meal for two: 100-500 INR
7.30am – 1pm; 3pm – 8.30pm


Also recommended:

Zeebop – Majorda   Goan seafood
Coffee Heaven – Arpora, Arambol & Anjuna   European
Brittos – Baga   seafood
Travel Bar – Candolim   multi-cuisine
Bean Me Up – Vagator   vegan
I95 – Saligao   European
Florentine – Saligao   Goan (chicken cafreal speciality)
Cantare – Saligao   chic bar and restaurant
Double Dutch – Arambol   European backpacker joint




See & Do

Beach life
Calangute, Candolim and Baga are the most developed (some would say overdeveloped) areas in the state and the beaches tend to reflect this fact, being crowded, full of water sports, tour groups, extended families of domestic tourists and older package tourists from abroad. Noisy, hectic, full of deck chairs and often dirty, they still remain intensely popular due to the sheer amount of life and alcohol swimming around. If you’re not a fan of sexual harassment however, it’s probably better to avoid.

To the north, Anjuna and Vagator were until recently the preserve of the hippies and party people, but these days you’re just as likely to rub shoulders with independent, more affluent groups of young domestic tourists and foreign backpackers. The cooler, more in-the-know crowd of global travellers and neo-hippies have migrated north to Pernem’s beaches of Morjim, Asvem and Mandrem. Here the vibe is relaxed and low-key in the day, with more exclusive boutique resorts to hang out in, and cool clubs to party in during the night. Arambol is its own little world; the beach might not be much to look at but the beach-life is varied and retains traces of the hippy days of old.

To the south, the long stretches of Salcete sand that host the five star hotels are less hectic, with a smattering of restaurants and bars giving a family atmosphere and the villages behind having a more rustic charm. The beaches around Palolem are a microcosm of the partying north, with a large British and European contingent as well as a growing influx of cool domestic travellers. In Galgibag, a protected turtle nesting ground, you have arguably the most unspoilt beach in the state.

Experiencing Portuguese Goa
Visit old Portuguese-era mansions in Salcete and end your day with a meal at Palacio Do Deao, a restored priest’s house in Quepem that offers some of the best Portuguese-Goan cuisine in the state. For a real sense of the grandeur that accompanied Portuguese life in Goa, visit the Menezes-Braganza House and the Figueiredo Mansion (where the food is also excellent). Fernandes House in Chandor is curious for having Hindu foundations and Catholic extensions, and is filled with artefacts, porcelain from Macau, and a secret passageway from more dangerous times. Old Goa, the capital of Portuguese India from the 16th to 18th century, and home at one point to 200,000 people, has an impressive array of churches to explore, including the Se Cathedral, Church of St Francis of Assisi and the Basilica of Bom Jesus, where the remains of St Francis Xavier are held, and displayed once every ten years. Back in Panjim, the Latin Quarter of Fontainhas is a living relic of that bygone age and one of the most delightful areas to stroll in Goa.

Yoga and meditation retreats and detox holidays
With the plethora of yoga centres and shalas that have grown over the last decade, there is now every style on offer during season time. For the casual visitor, many resorts on the beach now provide drop-in classes with various levels of ability and teaching quality. The best way to find the right one for you is to ask fellow travellers. If you have a more abiding interest, check out the schedule and courses at various centres in both north and south Goa. The famous and more established ones are Purple Valley in Assagao (for ashtanga yoga, superstar teachers and vegan food), Satsanga in Parra (for all kinds of yoga styles, ayurvedic food, relaxing pool), Brahmani Yoga @ Tito’s Whitehouse just outside Anjuna (for drop in yoga classes ranging from dynamic to relaxed), Sushumna on the Morjim-Asvem road (for Vinyasa flow, teacher trainings, good food and Russian teachers) and in the south, Lotus Yoga Retreat on Patnem beach (for tailored retreats and holidays and a relaxed beach vibe).

Beyond yoga, Pilates, chakra healing, cleansing, meditation, massage and further “spiritual” services can be found all across the beach belt, often alongside a strong emphasis on veg and vegan food. Plan this part of your holiday well and you’ll be rewarded, but watch out for charlatans, for there are many.

LIQUID SKY PARTIES: Held in different locations around north Goa, these mostly outdoor parties feature some of Goa’s finest DJs, mixing classic Goa trance with new electronic beats. Often carrying on into the early hours of the morning, go if you want to experience a smidgen of the old rave magic that dominated Goa’s partying scene in the 80s and 90s.

THE PERNEM PARTY STRETCH: The Morjim, Asvem and Mandrem strip of long, unbroken beach on the northern shores has lately become the area for an Ibiza-style makeover. It is here that big money from Russia and India has invested into “proper” clubs and lounge areas. You could spend an evening (or more) hopping from Marbela on the south end of Morjim to the all-white interiors of Club Fresh. Following the crackdown on raves and underground parties, these kinds of places are the future of Goa’s clubbing scene. Further along toward Mandrem, Shanti Bar offers high-class cocktails in a cool Russian setting.


Not the most attractive city, and possibly one of the smallest, but Panjim still has some great shopping and is host to a couple of small boutiques and designer shops. Our picks are Wendell Rodricks (Althino) for resort wear, Sacha’s Shop (SV Road) for dresses and bags and Velha Goa (Panjim Inn, Fontainhas) for azulejos and souvenirs.

Wednesday Flea Market – Anjuna
The original flea market that Goa was famed for, it’s now seen better days and is a shadow of its former glory, with most of the original hippies either reformed into capitalists, dead or in Cambodia. Now expect a simulacra populated by traders from neighbouring states repeating the mantra “Come see my shop”. Can still be fun, at a push.

Saturday Night Market – Arpora
Held every season between late December and early May (since they can never get the license in time for a decent start-of-season opening), the Saturday night market is a bigger, bolder, better and more organised version of the day market, with hundreds of stalls selling everything from Kashmiri pashminas to hippie jewellery and raving gear. Many traders don’t even bother with the Wednesday market and only sell here. With a variety of food stalls, including wonderful rotisserie chicken and pizza, several bars, live entertainment, and even TVs showing Premier League football, it’s a great venue for Saturday night.

Arambol strip
The long road that leads to the beach in north Goa’s northernmost outpost is lined with ramshackle shops that sell inventive Goa clothes, Tibetan shawls, bongs, pipes and all sorts of ethnic jewellery. Bargain hard if you’re looking for good deals, though the same stuff in the Saturday market is often priced three times higher so it’s still cheap. With some good restaurants and cafes it’s great for people watching.