On India's west coast, you will find the small state of Goa India, heavily influenced by its Portuguese past and known worldwide to be one of the best tropical beach destinations available. Perhaps the best location to base your Goa travel is in its capital city of Panaji India, also called Panjim in English, resting slightly inland on the banks of the Mandovi Estuary. Known for luxurious beaches, winding highways, and spicy Vindaloo, Panaji is a favorite among travelers.
In the center of Panaji India, you will find Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, which was built in 1541 and is a beautiful example of Portuguese baroque architecture. The grand white structure overlooks Church Square and the Municipal Gardens, a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The eastern end of town boasts the Latin Quarter, with the Chapel of St. Sebastian and neighborhoods such as Fontainhas that still retain their colorful Portuguese flavor.
Step back into the sixteenth century as you visit Adil Shah's former summer home, the Adil Shahi Palace. Another historic building, which was constructed in 1832, is Panaji's Central Library, the oldest public library in India. Art and architecture aficionados should head to Kala Academy, which displays pieces by local artists and beyond, including a structure built by the famous architect Charles Correa. 18th June Road offers shopping for local Goan items, and the floating Casino Caravela yacht is the only legal casino in all of India.
Many of the best attractions in Goa India lie just outside of the city of Panaji. Miramar Beach and Dona Paula Beach are two of the most popular India beaches. They draw sunseekers, including many Bollywood stars, from all over the world with their soft sand and palm trees. Old Goa, the former capital of colonial Goa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is only five miles outside Panaji and shouldn't be missed.
Another must-see on Panaji Goa vacations is Se Cathedral, the oldest church in all of Goa, which is best explored on foot. Sunset cruises along the river are very popular among visitors to India who put Panaji travel on their list of things to do. You can also take the Ribandar ferry across the river to the islands that offer a quiet break with sweeping views of the city.
Indian festivals are popular in Goa and inspire many Panaji Goa vacations. Among the most popular are Carnival in February, Shigmotsav in March, and the Fontainhas Festival at the beginning of each year. During these times, colorful parades fill the streets and thousands of people flock to join in the festivities.
The state of Goa India is also known for its high-quality cuisine. Many Goan chefs have gone on to royal European kitchens or grand cruise ships to share their skills with the rest of the world. Anyone on Panaji Goa vacations should take advantage of the local fare, including native fish or chicken Vindaloo curries, as well as choricao, a spicy sausage made of pickled dried pork.
A Goan summer, between March and May, is quite warm, with temperatures reaching well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter months between December and February can be more manageable, with temperatures remaining between 68 and 90 degrees. It is advisable to avoid Goa travel between June and September, as monsoon season brings heavy rain and gusting winds to the area.
Getting to Panaji India by air is relatively simple, as the Dabolim airport is just a little over a mile away in neighboring Vasco Da Gama. The nearest you'll be able to get to Panaji by Indian trains is Madgaon Junction, 21 miles to the east of the city, and then you will have to complete your journey to Panaji by taxi, rickshaw, or bus.