Vacations

Our 3 Favourite Places in India


We have visited over 50 countries, and India is one of our favourites. It is one of our top ten countries in the world. Mostly, because India has all the things we love, such as beaches, ruins, temples, architecture and food. Our favourite places in India offer these things, and also something unique to anywhere else in the world.

Our travels in India have taken us overland from Mumbai to South India. We are slow travellers, so we try to spend a few weeks in every region we visit. It’s a vast country, and we hope to go back in the next couple of years to travel to more regions in the North. This post is to expose our three favourites places in India, so far, as well as take you on a photographic journey of what you can expect to see.

Our 3 Favourite Places in India

Goa

Sunset at Arambol Beach, Goa, India

Beach life is the No. 1 reason we love Goa! We love travelling to places that we can live on the beach. For this reason, Goa tops our list.

With 100 km of coastline and over 40 beaches, there is a beach for everyone’s tastes. Each beach has something unique to offer whether it is the sea vista, rugged landscape, party scene, watersports, or the view surrounding the sunset over the ocean.

Arambol Beach during sunset beach jam

Additionally, we embrace the laid-back lifestyle that has evolved for long-term travellers. Goa has a large expat community, and many travellers call Goa home!

Our favourite beaches are Arambol and Palolem, where we cherish staying in a beachfront shack. We also love dining with a sea view in the restaurants on the beach. 

Beach huts in Goa

Also, in Arambol, there are nightly jam sessions and markets at sunset time on the beach. And there’s live music in many restaurants.

We also love Anjuna, which has a lively beach resort atmosphere. As well as, there is the historic Anjuna Flea market, which is held every Wednesday along with live music.

Further, if you are travelling in the mid to high seasons, you can find events, dance parties or festivals during most days of the week. 

Oli at Anjuna flea market inGoa,India

However, not only does Goa have spectacular beaches and lively entertainment, but it is the mix of churches, temples and historic buildings that excites us.

Among our favourite things to do when we travel is visit temples and churches, and we were especially delighted and surprised that Goa has so many grand churches. Old Goa, the 16th century historic city is touristy, but with good reason. Old Goa was the capital of Portuguese India, and the European architectural style churches and convents are a UNESCO world heritage site.

Unesco listed church at Old Goa, India

Additionally, the cities of Margao and Panaji in the state of Goa are fun to explore. There are many attractions to discover, including markets, museums, holy places, historic buildings and old quarters. Further, there are opportunities to meet locals and to see how Goans live.

Finally, yet importantly, we love that you can find cuisines from all over the world in Goa. Though when we travel, we mostly like eating the cuisine of the country we are visiting. We find in Goa there is a smorgasbord of Indian delights to eat, and it is a melting pot of cultures from all over India. 

Lunch with a seaview

But wait, there’s more. For those travellers who love to keep busy during their holidays, Goa has tours to wildlife sanctuaries, spice farms or waterfalls. You can indulge in river cruises, yoga classes, or ayurvedic massage. And you can rent a motorbike. 

We love cruising on a motorbike through the back streets and visiting rural villages or remote beaches. But beware, the main roads are busy, and many roads have potholes. If coming from a western country, you may find the driving in India chaotic. We only recommend you rent a motorbike if you are very experienced.

Having said that, we also love to jump on a bus for an unplanned journey and see where it takes us. It is another way to see how Goans live.

Kerala

Kerala backwaters, India

Like Goa, Kerala offers a laid-back lifestyle. In Kerala, nature is prominent. We love the coastline, the backwaters and the wildlife.

A highlight for us is cruising the Kerala backwaters. The local people have used the backwaters for cooking, washing and bathing for centuries. The network of lakes, rivers and lagoons provides a livelihood for the fishermen and the boat operators, who take out tourists on their traditional style houseboats.

Houseboat on Kerala backwaters

Many compare Kerala backwaters to places like Venice or Amsterdam, but Kerala is like no place on earth. We love exploring the backwaters and the opportunity to see how locals live. And whether cruising the backwaters by luxury houseboat, government ferry or canoe, it is a life-changing journey. 

We recently reflected on our journey in Kerala backwaters in our post Human By Nature in Kerala Backwaters.
Read it to find out more about this amazing region they call “God’s own country”.

Keralites on traditional boat

Not far from Kerala backwaters is another place we delight in. The touristy but relaxed Varkala is a palm tree-lined, hilltop beach resort town that attracts visitors from all over the world. We love eating out in a sea view cafe, watching the sunset, and walking along the hilltop exploring the area.

Varkala Beach, India

On top of that, Kerala boasts over 600 km of coastline, and if touristy beaches are not your scene, there are palm tree-lined sandy beaches to explore all over Kerala. Two of the favourites of many travellers are the less-developed Kovalam and Poovar beaches.

Sunset at Varkala Beach, India

And even though we love the beach the most, Kerala offers visits to coffee, tea and spice plantations. Also, there are tours to national parks, where there’s a chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Additionally, you can visit a hill station to get away from the crowds and heat and escape into cooler temperatures and peaceful nature.

Further, one of the extraordinary things about Kerala is how friendly the people are. We find the people and our interactions with them are authentic. We love that we have opportunities to talk to local people and find out about their lives.

Meeting locals adds an extra element to travelling and allows us to learn about the culture. And together with the beachside resorts, the backwaters, the vibrant cities, the mountain retreats, Kerala is a place that remains in your heart long after the journey is over.

Hampi

Ancient Indian temple

Wow! Hampi is thrilling. We love exploring ancient sites, and in the ancient village of Hampi, there is a lot to explore. From the ruined temples to the epic monuments to the wondrous landscape, Hampi is a magical place. 

UNESCO listed ruins in Hamp India

This UNESCO World Heritage site boasts over 1,600 monuments from the 14th century on over 4,100 hectares. The ancient buildings scattered on an otherworldly landscape feel surreal. The fascinating landscape has huge boulders strewn all over.

Rock landscape Hampi India

We like spending the day touring the ruins by moped or with a guided auto-rickshaw and the evenings watching the sunsets. The sunsets and sunrises in Hampi are exceptionally breathtaking, with views across the temples and desert landscape.

Besides enjoying the ruins in Hampi, we equally appreciate the opportunity to sit in a riverside cafe and overlook the banana plantations. Further, the views across the Tungabhadra River from Virupapur Gaddi observing the landscape with Virupaksha Temple prominent in the picture, are astounding.

temple in India

The grand Virupaksha Temple, which is a working temple, is a highlight. Strolling to the temple to watch both locals and pilgrims from all over India attend to worship, is a daily highlight for us.

Other highlights in Hampi are Hampi Bazaar. It is full of colour and beauty. Restaurants, vendors, guesthouses offer the possibility to create memories, as well as to buy crafts or souvenirs.

Though note, ongoing issues surround the thriving marketplace and living heritage of Hampi Bazaar and Virupapur Gaddi. Both these villages, which add character to the area, have an uncertain future.

View over fields and river Hampi India

Further, we love that we can have a room with a view overlooking the river, the geologic wonders of Hampi and the ruins. 

For us, soaking in the natural landscape and ruins of Hampi is more than enough. But for those who like a bit more action on their holidays, there are countless other things to do. There are many hills to climb, most of them close to the town, lakes and swimming holes to explore, cruising around the countryside by moped or auto-rickshaw, and boat or coracle rides on the river.

Auto-rickshaw tour in Hampi,India

Besides that, there are monkeys, elephants, cows, goats roaming the streets of Hampi.

If that’s not enough to add Hampi to your travel bucket list, The New York Times ranked Hampi 2nd in its 52 Places to go in 2019.

Until We Return Again

sunseo over Hampi
Sunset in Hampi

These are our favourite places in India. We love them as they offer so much for travellers who love historic sites, holy places and stunning landscapes. 

As well as, we find the laid-back lifestyle in these places, as compared to the hustle and bustle of other areas of India, what we love the most. 

Huts and cafes on Anjuna Beach, India
Anjuna Beach, Goa

For this reason, we recommend these three areas as excellent places to visit for first-time visitors and repeat visitors alike. 

We love these three favourite places in India so much that on our next trip we intend to go back to all these three places before exploring other regions.

View of coast in Varkala India
Varkala Beach, Kerala

We hope you enjoyed this post about our favourite places in India. If you have been to India, what are your favourite places? If you haven’t been to India, did this post inspire you to visit one day?

Please leave a comment!
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