You can reach Goa by air, by train, and by the many buses connecting the state with its neighbouring states.
Getting to Goa
Goa’s only domestic and international airport is in Dabolim, just outside Vasco da Gama. It is known as Dabolim Airport or Goa Airport. The airport is about 30 km from the capital city of Panaji and is owned by the Indian Navy.
Major domestic airline operators such as Air India/Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet, IndiGo and Go Air have flights carrying passengers and cargo in and out of Goa. Besides these, a number of chartered flights land in Goa from UK and other European countries. Air India also lands a few international flights, especially from the Gulf countries.
Most major international airlines usually have agreements with one or more of their domestic counterparts in India, so if you are arriving from abroad it is possible to book your onward domestic flight at the same time as you pay for your international ticket. Most domestic airlines allow online booking 6 to 9 months in advance. You can find more information for airlines operating in Goa by clicking here.
Goa has two major railway stations - Margao and Vasco da Gama, both located in the southern part of the state. The South Central Railway terminus is at Vasco da Gama and the Konkan Railway terminus is at Margao. Besides the two main stations, the trains usually halt for a few minutes at a number of other smaller stations in Goa.
The Konkan Railway offers the quickest and cheapest route to Goa from Mumbai and Mangalore. The 760-kilometre line connects the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. The main stations in Goa include Pernem (for Arambol/Harmal), Thivim/Mapusa Rd station (for Anjuna, Baga and Calangute), Karmali/Old Goa station (for Old Goa and Panaji), Margao (for Benaulim, Colva and Varca), and Canacona (for Palolem). If coming from Mumbai or Mangalore you can book your ticket to these intermediate stations, but even if you book through to Margao you can get off at any station en route.
It is highly advisable to reserve the tickets well in advance of your actual journey to Goa since the trains are usually fully booked. If your travel plans have been finalized at the last minute, you may want to check availability of tickets under the Tatkal scheme – wherein some tickets are released 2 days prior to the journey date.
If you want to travel to Goa but all trains and flights are full, or if you want to save on airfare, your next-best option is an overnight bus from Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, or Mangalore. You can book an air-conditioned bus sleeper for Rs. 800 to 1000 or a semi-sleeper (a 135-degree reclining seat) for Rs 500 to Rs 800, depending on the season and quality of the bus. The buses usually stop along the way for dinner and breakfast at roadside restaurants.
Aside from private operators, Goa's State owned Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC) as well as the transport corporations of the neighbouring states of Maharashtra (MSRTC) and Karnataka (KSRTC) operate inter-state bus services.
The tickets can be obtained through recognised travel agents or the offices of the state transport corporations. If you are booking through an agent, make sure you ask for a Volvo bus (better suspension, more spacious seating) and that you get a confirmed ticket with your seat number.
For the north Goa beaches, get off at Mapusa; for the south, at Panaji or Margao.
Tip: If you are travelling alone in a sleeper, you will sleep beside a stranger. A single woman can request to have another woman seated beside her, though this may not always happen. Seats in the first few rows have more legroom.
- Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) – for online reservation and cancellation of railway tickets including tickets under the Tatkal scheme
- Indian Railways
- Konkan Railway
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