On the Mormugao Peninsula is housed Goa’s largest city, even bigger than Panjim, Vasco da Gama; and arguably, Goa’s shopping economy thrives off this city! As opposed to most of South Goa, Vasco da Gama, locally known Vasco, is fast and bustling.
One of the key aspects that makes it such a great destination is its proximity to the airport, which is a luxury every other Goa locality has craved, given the state’s linear pattern growth along the coast. Vasco da Gama has played host to a bunch of Bollywood movies; followers will instantly recall and connect to the various sights and sounds.
Baina, Hansa, Bogmalo and the very tacky named Grandmother’s Hole are all famous beaches and see tourists coming in from all over the place! Let’s clear the haze on Grandmother’s Hole shall we? Contrary to continuous mocking, Grandmother’s Hole Beach derives its name from the fact that tourists have to squeeze through a tiny opening in the Fortaleza Santa Catarina Fort ruins to access this beach.
The beach is actually pretty small, but it’s completely natural, not commercialised by shacks and is one of the prettiest little parts of Goa and Vasco. Legend has it that Grandma used to wait in this opening for her kids to come back from their fishing excursions, hence, the name Grandmother’s Hole Beach.
The Naval Aviation Museum, close to the Bogmalo Beach, makes for an amazing afternoon visit away from the heat and beaches and offers insightful displays of Goa’s naval history right from Portuguese times. It beautifully showcases the evolution of Indian Naval aircrafts over the years.
Close to Varca Beach, the Mormugao Fort, built in 1624, stands tall at the entrance to the Margao Port. It’s a historically important place with some well-preserved inscriptions and an afternoon tour of the fort is a welcome change from the sun and sand. Guides are readily available to take you around the place. A fort dedicated to the great Maratha leader, Shivaji Fort, is another highlight of Vasco and offers some great views of the city.
Close to Grandmother’s Hole Beach, one can avail the ferry facility to Dona Paula Beach; and Dona Paula in general, is one of Goa’s vibrant townships with loads of shopping and other activities. Dona Paula is very proximate to Panjim, in fact, it’s considered a suburb of Panjim.
Getting to Vasco da Gama is easy. Vasco is served by several railway stations like Vasco da Gama station and Dabolim station. Furthermore, Dabolim airport is just 4 kilometres from the city centre and regular connections to Mumbai and Delhi are available. Cabs are available from Panjim to Dabolim non-stop and regular Volvo bus services are available from cities like Mumbai and Pune.