Located in central Goa, Bardez is a popular Goa holiday destination and has some of the state's finest beaches. There are pristine sands, watersports and international cuisine at Calengute, and bustling markets, trance music and hippies at Anjuna. Bardez also boasts the majestic Portuguese Aguada Fort and the small town of Mapusa, famed for its vibrant local market which is held every Friday.
Panaji is the capital of the state of Goa. It is dotted by temples, museums and some beautiful colonial architecture - relics of time when Goa was occupied by the Portuguese. The city's topography is defined by the Mandovi Estuary which presents opportunities for boat rides and scuba diving as well providing the perfect eco system for bird life - The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a popular tourist destination. The city also boasts a couple of top beaches; the Miramar is popular amongst locals as well as tourists and the Dona Paula beach is renowned for having been the setting for a number of Bollywood films. Nine km east of Panaji is the colonial Old Goa which boasts numerous monasteries and churches, examples of the Portuguese baroque style.
Ponda lies in the heart of the state of Goa and is a tranquil rural region dotted by scenic villages which strike a sharp contrast with the busier towns of the coast. The status of the area as a Hindu safe haven during the colonial period means that Ponda is full of beautiful temples. Amongst these are the Mahalasa Narayani at Mardot and Shantu Durga at Kalem. The Safa Masjid mosque is also a significant landmark in Ponda. The area is close to the key wildlife sanctuaries of Goa including Bandla. Over the past few years this part of Goa has also become popular for 'spice tourism' with a number of spice farms offering guided tours of their estates.