North Goa

Calangute, Baga, and Anjuna were important stops on the hippie trails of the 1960s and 1970s, and continue to be at the beating heart of Goa’s party scene. This coastal stretch is increasingly built up, but there are still some quiet areas around Mandrem beach (north of the Chapora River). Nearby, atop the hills, are a few beautiful old forts built of laterite, the local pitted red stone; they offer beautiful vistas of the curvaceous coastline. The villages that sit a few miles inland have charming bed-and-breakfasts and inns with rustic flavor.

You may also want to take an excursion to one of the popular markets. On Wednesday the bustling market in Anjuna, not far from the beach, is filled with inexpensive jewelry, cotton sarongs, colorful shoulder bags, handicrafts marketed by vendors from Goa, Karnataka, and other Indian states, and food stalls selling everything from bean burritos and brownies to Middle Eastern platters with hummus and falafel. There’s also the Saturday night bazaar in nearby Arpora that is similar, and with even more food on offer, including whole roast chickens and Italian gelato. Goa’s famed all-night beach parties are now history, but once the shacks close, follow the music (or the crowd) to the after-party, usually not publicized.

Goa's restaurant scene continues to refine and reinvent itself, with excellent restaurants serving both Goan and international cuisines. Stop by A Reverie in Calangute for its global fusion menu, Thalassa in Vagator for delicious Greek food, Ciao Bella in Assagao for a wonderful Italian meal, or Lila Café in Baga for a hearty morning-after recovery meal.

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