Ask most Indians which is their ideal destination to ring in the New Year, and a majority will shout out Goa with an excited jump with a fist bump (especially if the demographic for the survey falls in the 20-40 age group). Yes, the sandy beaches of Goa and parties that go on all through the night are stuff that make for a New Year’s Eve that you never write home about, but forever cherish.
But to say that the former Portuguese colony is only for the young party-hopping crowd would be unfair, because there’s lots to do otherwise as well. From spice trails to a trek up to the Dudhsagar falls, spend your days exploring the old city of south Goa – or best yet, simply grab yourself a beach chair in the early hours of the morning, and lounge around all day, soaking in the sun and stuffing yourself with the most delicious seafood.
The most famous beaches are, of course, Baga, Calangute, Candolim, Anjuna and Arambole, but as hard as it sounds, the 101km Goan coastline still does have some lesser-known sections that one can explore this year. So, if you’re headed to Goa and want to try out some options, let us help out a little.
Mobor Beach, south Goa
While much of the partying is up north, if you’re the kind who would like some time away from the helter-skelter, and get your adrenaline rush more from adventure sports, then head over to south Goa and to Mobor Beach. This special place doesn’t make it to most of your popular New Year’s Eve in Goa list precisely because it’s a secret hideaway that the locals cherish. Spend the day doing a whole bunch of water sports like parasailing, wake boarding, ringo ride and even go and see the dolphins. In the evening, watch a romantic sunset and then have a quiet dinner listening to the rhythm of the waves washing ashore.
Ashwem beach, north Goa
Though the northern part of Goa’s beach stretch is more of a party zone, Ashwem provides a wonderful breather for those who would like to step away for some quietude and serenity. It’s a hot favourite with couples who like to spend the night star-gazing and strolling down the white sandy beach, hand-in-hand.
Calangute/Baga Beach, north Goa
It’s all very good to test out new places, but if certain places have made a name for themselves over the decades as the ‘it’ spots, then there’s a very good reason for that. Tito’s Lane is where the hottest New Year’s Eve action is in Goa, and you better get in early because with every passing hour you’d barely get space to plant your feet. With a special DJ mashup all night long, the atmosphere will be pulsating, it’ll smell of beer and smoke, and you’d wish the night would never end!
Palolem beach, south Goa
Palolem, or butterfly beach as it’s also called, is famous for its silent parties – which is great, because you can party the night away but without the deafening noise. There are also fireworks to be enjoyed at midnight, counting down to the New Year. It’s the best of all Goan worlds.
Benaulim beach, south Goa
Shhhh… Benaulim is one of Goa’s yet-to-be commercialised beaches and we’d like it to stay that way. A little south of Margao, Benaulim beach has a fascinating legend associated with it and its exclusivity is part of the reason why it draws a lot of foreign tourists. It has a couple of shacks and offers some great seafood options. This is one for those who want to sit back, relax and welcome the new year in an intimate fashion.