About Dona Paula
A highly sought-after globetrotter destination, Dona Paula is a secluded bay located just 7km away from Panaji, the capital city of Goa. There are a number of hotels and resorts in the area, so travellers are well taken care of. While in the town, there are captivating places to witness and a variety of fascinating activities to indulge in. Also, the picturesque location and beauty of the place is undoubtedly a major attraction. Initially known as Oddavell, Dona Paula derived its current name much later. Situated on a breathtakingly beautiful sea stretch, Dona Paula is now a popular tourist destination. It holds the renowned National Institute of Oceanography, which is a must visit. It is serene and alluring during the monsoon season, and numerous movies have been filmed here. While in Dona Paula, Cabo Fort and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary are the two must visit spots. The spectacular views and prepossessing beaches give Dona Paula the status of the ideal place to relax and sunbathe.
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285 Kms from Dona Paula
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Before the tropical air hits you here, an uncanny sense of time travel does, as you scan the historic Vijayanagar's devastatingly beautiful ruins and temples spread across the boulder-strewn landscape. The ancient capital of the Vijayanagara Empire (1343-1565), which has now become a favourite hipster holiday destination, is best explored on foot or bicycle. It has a lot of famous attractions such as the Hemakuta Hill, home to the ancient scattered ruins and a monolithic sculpture of Hindu God Vishnu, along with Hampi Bazaar, once an ancient trading spot for horses, silk, cows, precious stones and now a hub of handicraft shops and little restaurants, with the 15th century Virupaksha temple at its western end and the 16th century Vittala temple at its eastern end. Sule Bazaar and the Achyutaraya temple is also a must visit. This historic expedition can get tiresome and overwhelming for many, and the village in contrast maintains a very laid back atmosphere, with innumerable guest houses spread around, some even with a fascinating spartan setting, costing no more than 300 rupees. Just like its ruins, an ancient festival called the Hampi Utsav has also been kept alive since the Vijayanagar reign and is celebrated annually in November, with light and sound shows, music and dance performances, all boasting of the Kannadigas' rich culture, set against the backdrop of Hampi's ruins. The Mango Tree restaurant is a quaint place reached via passing through a banana plantation. Other good places to eat include Prince Restaurant, Goan Corner Restaurant and Laughing Buddha, popular for South Indian, Chinese, Israeli, Tibetan, and usual vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, enjoyed by the riverside.
273 Kms from Dona Paula
Best time to visit - January,February,September,October,November,December
Deriving its name from the five hills surrounding it, Panchgani is a nature lover's delight. Popular for its stunning beauty, peace and serenity, Panchgani is a favourite weekend spot. A small trek to Sydney Point will offer you picturesque views of the Dhom Dam with the river flowing along the valley. Besides this, Table Land, situated here is the second longest mountain plateau of Asia. For everyone who is interested in history, Devil's Kitchen is a must visit. Located close to Table Land, Devil's Kitchen is said to have been home to the Pandavas of the Mahabharata epic for a while. The Pāndavgad Caves (near Wāi) are also said to be built by them then. Parsi Point is another interesting touristy spot. It is the windiest part of Panchghani and is a part of the road which leads to Mahabaleshwar. The other attractions here include Bhim Chula, Harrison's Valley, Lingmala Point and Rajauri Caves.
274 Kms from Dona Paula
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,October,November,December
Of panoramic views, perennial waterfalls and picturesque landscapes, Mahabaleshwar stands out as the largest and most popular hill station in the Western Ghats. Owing to comfortable temperatures, Mahabaleshwar is thronged by tourists throughout the year, except during the four months of heavy monsoons from June to September. Being the erstwhile summer capital of the Bombay presidency during the British Raj, this place has a lot to offer — spectacular sunrise and sunset viewpoints, popular one-day treks to go on, and boating at the Venna Lake. Additionally, tourists can retrospect history at the centuries-old Pratapgad Fort and savour some toothsome jams and marmalades at the Mapro Garden. One must not miss out on the famous corn patties and strawberry cream when in Mahabaleshwar. Should you visit in March, you will be lucky to witness the gastronomically delightful Strawberry Festival that takes place every year. Plan a weekend getaway to this hill station and you will be impressed.
57 Kms from Dona Paula
Famously known for temples, Canacona is a small village an hour before the Goa-Karnataka border
79 Kms from Dona Paula
Best time to visit - N/A
This is a Coastal Town at the point where the River Kali meets the Arabian Sea. The beautiful beach here is a natural port where ships and come and go from. This is also an important trade point. The place is calm and beautiful with the light blue sea waters here. The main activities you can do here are boating and paragliding or you can just sit on the beach and enjoy a small picnic.
76 Kms from Dona Paula
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,October,November,December
If you love mangoes, you will love Malvan! Now before you get confused, Malvan, in Maharashtra is home to India's favourite food, the Alphonso variety of mangoes. It also has stunning beaches, a variety of water sports and places of historical importance. The stunning Tarkarli Beach is one of the most popular and the most visited, though surprisingly the rush of people will not bother you and you will end up having a great time anyway. To make things better, scuba diving is offered here and it is one of the better places in India to try this much loved activity. There is also a fantastic resort in Tarkarli and a small wildlife sanctuary close by. If adventure sports is on your mind, head to Tsunami Island. All kinds of water sports, from banana boat rides to parasailing take place here. Do also head to the gorgeous Malvan Marine Sanctuary. It is an unforgettable experience and you may get a glimpse of some sea creatures, such as anemones, mollusks, oysters, corals and seaweed. Tarkarli is home to a number of resorts and if you are coming from Pune, driving down would be the best option. Not only is it the quickest way to reach, it's also the most gorgeous. The resorts here range from luxurious to budget, so pick one that suits you.
132 Kms from Dona Paula
Best time to visit - January,October,November,December
A coastal town, Kumta is wonderfully close to Gokarna. The lovely beach town is centrally located and is at a convenient distance from lovely touristy places, including Om Beach and Gokarna Temple. Though there is nothing much to do here besides enjoying the scenery, the beach town makes for an ideal holiday. From lazing at the beach to enjoying the stunning views, there is much to explore here. The Aghanashani River along which Kumta is located, enhances the beauty of the town. Take a book along or indulge in a high action afternoon of rock climbing for a perfect day at Kumta. For foodies, there are tons of small restaurants here that serve wonderful seafood and local delicacies. There are also many small homestays here that offer yoga sessions and meditation workshops that will complete your experience.
115 Kms from Dona Paula
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,September,October,November,December
A small town in the state of Karnataka, Gokarna is about 5 hours away from Goa. The town is considered holy for Hindus as there are some very revered temples here, especially those dedicated to Lord Shiva. The main temples are the Mahabaleshwar and the Ganpati Temple. A mini-Goa or rather Goa's hipster counterpart, Gokarna is a blessing for travellers. Its four main beaches, Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach are all you need after the chaos of the cities. Spend time relaxing on the beach, indulging in one of their luxurious Ayurvedic messages or join a yoga course – everything here is an experience to remember. The shacks near the beach offer delicious continental and Indian food, and have a very relaxed environment. Though there are many wonderful places to visit around Gokarna, space out your days to enjoy the pristine sunsets and radiant sunrises the beach town offers!