Anjuna is a small beach village in North Goa. Despite its fame and popularity with the tourists, it still remains a village minus the usual quaintness we associate with villages. It is as cosmopolitan as it gets with a flea market that sees sellers and buyers from around the world. I always visit Anjuna during the season time which is October to March. It gives me a vibe of being in a distant land despite being in my backyard.
Anjuna – the Hippie Village of Goa
History would remember Anjuna for being at the heart of Hippie Trail. This is what some of the Hippies who landed in the village had to say about it:
This had to be the best place on the planet… What a life in Anjuna Beach! Warm, salty, sandy, swimming, sunning, dancing, lazy and stoned. Weeks went by like one long day. No one possessed a clock. The only schedule was that of the moon… No day had a name, though once I accidentally discovered it was a Sunday.
Anjuna beach briefly became the world’s largest international nudist colony.
Recommended Read – The Hippie Trail – A history by Sharif Gemie & Brian Ireland
Goa was special to Hippies as this is the only place, they thought of making home after traveling through many lands. You can still find traces of that in the village though it is more of a family destination where everyone comes to the party.
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Anjuna village is in the Bardez Taluka of North Goa district. Bardez Taluka has the Mandovi River on the southern side and the Chapora River on the northern side, and the Arabian Sea on the west demarcating the boundary. This area is further separated by the Baga river on the south separating the equally popular Calangute, Candolim and Sinquerim beaches which fall on the southern side. Thus the village area has Chapora river estuary to the north and Baga river estuary to the south and the sea on the west, a popular tourist destination.
Things to See in and Around Anjuna
Anjuna Flea market
From October to April or so, every Wednesday next to the village beach, you have a colorful market come up. From morning to evening you can find people selling all kinds of clothes, jewelry, tea, spices, old Saris and handmade items. If bargaining is new to you, Anjuna Flea market is a great place to hone your skills.
Read More – Shopping Guide for Anjuna Flea Market
Do remember that Anjuna Flea Market is a market only in name. There is hardly any Flea part left in it. It did start way back in Hippie days as a Flea market when travelers used to sell anything they had before leaving the state or country. The tradition of the market though was started by them and still carries a bohemian vibe to it.
Not too far from the village is Chapora Fort – one of the many forts that exist on the Konkan coast or west coast of India. There is nothing much that is left of the fort except its photogenic entry gate. However, being surrounded by water on almost all sides, Chapora Fort gives you the vantage point to admire the true wealth of the state – its waterbodies.
Before you enter the fort, on your right you see the backwater that looks more like a mountain lake, surrounded by greenery on all sides. You step inside and see the ruins all around, with the crumbling walls still defining its boundaries. We saw the people sitting on these walls all around and started moving towards the periphery.
We moved from left to right. At first, we saw the beach below and a fancy new hotel without which it would be all natural. Moving along as the sun we moved downwards.
We came on the right side of the fort and the view from there took our breath away. The river Chapora flows with an abandon towards the sea. The sea comes forward with all its enthusiasm to receive it. Nested between a hill and a beach, one can never get tired looking at this confluence. No wonder our ancient scriptures say so much about these places.
The small hike to Chapora fort is not very friendly. Avoid it if it is raining.
If you look at the northern side from atop the Chapora Fort you can see the Morjim Beach, a protected nesting site for the Olive Ridley Sea turtles. Further north to the Morjim beach is the Ashvem Beach and the Mandrem Beach, again among the popular North Goa Beaches.
It is quite a popular beach in Goa. It is lined with shacks that Goan beaches are so well known for. You can do all the beachy things here like sunbathing, swimming in the sea, sitting on the beach, enjoy seafood and water sports. My favorite activity though is walking on the beach listening to the waves as they passionately meet the shore.
Popular water sports include Parasailing, Banana Ride and Jet Ski.
Be aware that the beach is rocky and that makes it very pretty to photograph. Take care not to venture onto slippery rocks and heed the advice of the beach lifeguards. During the day, it is like any other beach but come evening, it gets into a party mode.
You can also visit the other beaches close by like Vagator beach, Baga Beach and Calangute beach.
Read More – Assagao – the Flower Village of Goa
As most people know, Anjuna is home to many popular clubs, but we have not visited any of them. For me, it is always the village life that makes the Goan villages special for me.
Vagator Beach is about 3 KMs from the village.
To the north is the Vagator beach. It is right below the Chapora Fort and hill. Vagator Beach is also a popular tourist destination.
Popular Goa Beaches like Vagator Beach is unique with the Chapora hill and fort on one side and the Sea on the other side.
And the Chapora river estuary nearby Vagator beach has its own charm and opportunities to explore.
Daytimes particularly around the noon it is hot and humid around this region. It is better to either rest, head for restaurants, swimming pools in the resorts or explore indoor activities like visiting the museums.
Museum of Goa
A modern art Museum located at Pilerne, about 13 KMs from the village. If you are an art/museum lover, visit the museum.
House of Goa Museum
Museum on the architecture and heritage houses of Goa, it is located about 16 KMs from the village. You may read more on my blog post An Ode to the Houses of Goa Museum.
View the Sunset
Anjuna village and the nearby beach sides are over a cliff compared to the near sea level beaches of Calangute, Candolim, Miramar and the south Goa beaches. This area, therefore, gives you an opportunity to watch the sunset sitting in a restaurant or resort enjoying food and watch the beautiful sunsets from a different angle/perspective. Try if you are visiting the village. Of course, the best of sunset sky colors are during the winters and summers.
Eat at Anjuna Village
While the Goan Fish Curry Rice Thali and the Punjabi Food restaurants are popular, you can also get to taste authentic Mediterranean Food, Continental Food in the village. Being a vegetarian recommend you read my post on Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Goa.
The Artjuna is an Experience Café in an old Goan house. It has a Yoga studio, a curated gift or souvenir shop, and a lovely open-air restaurant. The hippie style yoga posters juxtapose with the giant Nataraja in brass. The recycled tyres make a good decoration next to the copper vessel for drinking water.
Lined up books create an inviting library and then there are interesting bookshelves at the Artjuna store. We love eating Mediterranean food here as much as we love chatting with the Israeli turned Goan owner of the café.
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You can also visit the Rose Garden – the oldest Café in the village. If the history of the village intrigues you, visit the oldest café in the village – Rose Garden. It is an old-style restaurant perfect for tourists. It is located close to the football ground that is at the heart of the village.
There is a German bakery for those who find comfort in familiar food.
The village is also home to many old styled as well as new age hostels, villa properties, heritage properties, and usual hotels. You can choose your kind of property to stay in.