Our luxury Goa tour extension takes you to the beautiful, palm-fringed beaches of Goa – an idyllic place to relax and recharge your batteries after a tour of Rajasthan and north India.
Goa has a rich history and long association with the west. It was the first place in India to be colonised, by the Portuguese, in the early 16th century, and in the 60s drew the laid-back traveller in search of sun, sand and an easy-going lifestyle. The state today can be broadly divided into two regions. The north, which offers a plethora of beaches, bars, restaurants and things to do, is generally thought of as busier and more commercial. The south is quieter, more peaceful and relaxed, and home to most of Goa’s more luxurious properties. Our suggested place to stay on this luxury Goa tour extension is Ahilya by the Sea, a deliciously-boutique property in the quiet fishing village of Nerul.
This area was once a vast city, inhabited by more than 30,000 people. In the 16th century, it attracted missionaries and soldiers, merchants and horse-traders, and contemporary visitors much-praised its elegant palaces and mansions. However, by the mid-18th century, a series of epidemics and the silting up of the Mandovi river forced the Viceroy to move his residence downstream to Panaji. After that, decline set in and, by the 19th century, they abandoned the city and demolished its houses. Today, Old Goa is a mere shadow of its former self, but the few churches and cathedrals that remain are among Goa’s most significant monuments.
After lunch, you’ll continue to Panaji. Goa’s capital is situated at the mouth of the Mandovi river and is reminiscent of a provincial Mediterranean town. Earlier a port of the Adil Shahi kings of Bijapur, it became a military landing stage after the arrival of the Portuguese in 1510. Today, Panaji has a relaxed and friendly ambience, especially along the leafy avenues of the old town. The old residential quarters of Panaji has an old-world feel, characterised by a jumble of painted, tile-roofed houses. The streets lined with taverns offer authentic Goan cuisine, feni (cashew nut liqueur), and bakeries serving bebinca, the delicious local cake. Many of the residents still speak Portuguese.
The luxury Goa tour we’ve described here is merely a starting point to share a flavour of the possibilities. Every aspect is flexible, from the hotels to the destinations to the length to the sightseeing. A popular way to include Goa in a more comprehensive itinerary would be to combine it with this luxury Rajasthan tour, flying from Udaipur down to Goa. To connect the dots, we recommend a stop in Mumbai. Not only is this bustling city full of rich culture and history, but it’s also an ideal linking point from anywhere else in the country, to seamlessly add-on your visit to Goa on a wider tour of Rajasthan and north India. Here’s how we recommend you spend 72 hours in Mumbai). All our tours are private, and tailor-made to complement your taste and interests. In essence, the itinerary described above is just a starting point, and together we can refine it into your ideal Indian experience.
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