Cultural Capital: Getting To Know Goa

Once associated with yogic getaways and soul searching retreats, India is branching out to pastures new and shaking up its image. Having long attracted a boho beach crowd, Goa has been undergoing something of a renovation in recent years, and now it’s all boutique hotels and charming restaurants. Looking to lap up a little Indian culture? Goa is the place to go, offering up the very best of India and a chance or two to relax.

Where To Stay 

Goa is a multifaceted place, providing every kind of experience for every kind of traveller. Spanning the exclusive, the up and coming, and the very much hidden, Goa is practically a separate entity, shaking up the images of India you might already have in mind. If luxury is your thing, you’re particularly spoiled for choice; Goa’s southern region is dotted with fantastic five star hotels, each one offering indulgent experiences in the lap of luxury. The likes of the Park Hyatt, the Taj, and the Leela are amongst the very best, boasting private spas, luxe restaurants, and laguna-esque swimming pools. Fill up on culture in Goa’s latin quarter, and recharge your batteries in the evening. It’s all about balance, after all.

The Leela Hotel (theleela.com)

If, however, you’re on the hunt for something a little more secluded, you’d do well to set your sights on Redi House. A private beach house, Redi House has all the trappings of vintage Goa, with all the style of a slick city loft. The bathroom boasts a free-standing copper bathtub, the kitchen is permanently fully stocked, and graphic photos are dotted across the walls. Team this with a secret path leading to the sweeping sands of Shiroda beach, and you’re in for a serious treat.

Where To Eat

Food is part and parcel of Goa’s culture, and across the state, you’re bound to stumble across a great eatery or two. Bomra’s in Candolim is all about fusion food, combining the culinary styles of Southeast Asian cooking. Fresh mangoes and locally caught crabs abound on the menu, and the slow roasted pork is practically world famous. La Plage, on the other hand, is a fully French affair, bringing continental style straight to the beach. Framed by ocean views, this restaurant is the perfect place in which to try a little local seafood, and if you’re seeking something a little more private, you can slip away to a secluded beach lounger.

Private dining gets a spectacular makeover at Sunbeam in Assagao. Nestled inside a restored Portuguese mansion, the culinary experience is a delight for all of the senses, making for an unforgettable experience. Expect the unexpected when it comes to the menus; foodie themes range from the extraordinary to the eclectic. Four private suites make for the ultimate hotel hideaway, giving you all the more reason to soak up this part of the world.

What To Do

Choosing your itinerary in Goa is no simple affair, and depending on your preferences, you can have a whole range of varied experiences. While Tanshikar Spice Farm gives you a first-hand look at a working family business, Dudhsagar Falls are a natural wonder, boasting some of the most impressive waterfalls this side of anywhere. If you’re looking for a well-rounded experience, however, it’s worth heading to state capital Panaji. Relaxed to the core, Goa’s capital overlooks the broad Mandovi River, the perfect place from which to watch the world go by. While you’re there, try checking out the Goa State Museum, the impressive Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, or the picturesque Altinho Hill. Wherever you head, you’re not likely to be disappointed.

Hannah Lamarque
Hannah is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Europe. She writes about travel, art, design and culture and loves discovering hidden places in the cities that she visits.