Holidays to Anjuna, the epicentre of the Sixties hippie trail, are still a mellow blend, even if these days they’re as popular with well-heeled holidaymakers as they are with barefoot travellers.
The hippie trail
Anjuna has seen it all. In the Sixties, travellers came in droves for its virgin beach and laid-back way of life. Then in the Eighties it became the centre for the Goan trance scene, with full-moon parties that went on for days. And though it’s lost much of its alternative edge – you’re more likely to see people studying their iPads than their I Ching – the infectious energy is still unlike anywhere else in North Goa.
Anjuna’s 2-kilometre swathe of soft golden sand, punctuated by a few rocky outcrops, is a lot quieter than the beaches at Calangute and Baga further south. It’s home to some of Goa’s most famous beach shacks, where you’ll find delicious Goan seafood dishes, a cast of interesting people to talk to, and everything from free sunloungers to book swaps up for grabs. Running above the beach is a clifftop strip brimming with restaurants and hostels overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Mind, body and spirit
True to its hippie roots, there are tonnes of spiritual activities in Anjuna, from yoga courses to ayurvedic treatments to take care of your mind, body and spirit. But what this place is really famous for is its Wednesday market. Founded by travellers in the Sixties, it’s evolved into a mass of eclectic stalls and eccentric characters, and is one of Goa’s biggest attractions.
A touch of history
History goes much further back than the Sixties in Anjuna. There’s St Michael’s Church, built by the Portuguese in 1613, and the Grand Mansion, an exact replica of the Sultan of Zanzibar’s palace in East Africa. Most striking of all is Chapora Fort in the north of the resort. From its stony battlement, the views of the Arabian Sea are exceptional.
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