- Tour historic landmarks, colorful markets, and family-friendly beaches in Mumbai
- See massive carved Buddhas in the ancient caves of Elephanta Island
- Learn about India's cuisine and culture with a guided food walk in Old Goa
- Take a wild banana boat ride on the blue waters of Goa's Palolem Beach
|Arrive in Mumbai, Explore the City
|Mumbai Sightseeing Tour, Beach Day
|Elephanta Caves Excursion
|Fly to Goa, Free Afternoon
|Old Goa Tour & Food Walk
|Palolem Beach Day: Sun, Surf & Watersports
Day 1: Arrive in Mumbai, Explore the City
Welcome to India! Your flight will arrive at Mumbai airport, where you'll be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel. The capital city of the state of Maharashtra, Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), is a true melting pot and is considered to be rich in opportunities for all who come here—hence its nickname, "The City of Dreams." At its core, visitors will find a wealth of history, with colonial buildings, ancient temples, and a diverse culture. Once you've had a chance to freshen up and regroup, it's time to start exploring!
If the kids need to expend some energy, start with a visit to Kamala Nehru Park, a 4-acre (1.6 ha) recreational area that is part of Mumbai's Hanging Gardens complex. Here, you'll find lots of green space, shaded pathways, and benches for relaxing. Grab a snack from one of the many food vendors, and let the kids play in the Boot House or Old Woman's Shoe, a giant play structure with an indoor space and stairway that goes up to the top.
If you're ready to check out some of the city's cultural sites, you can tour Shree Siddhivinayak, a 200-year-old Hindu temple that is dedicated to the deity Lord Ganesh, or Mumbadevi Temple, built for the goddess Mumbadevi. Later this evening, enjoy traditional Indian cuisine at a local restaurant while taking in the vibrant lights of the city at night.
Day 2: Mumbai Sightseeing Tour, Beach Day
Get better acquainted with Mumbai on a guided city tour. Your driver will pick you up from your hotel, and you'll visit some of the city's most notable sites, including the Gateway of India, a large arch that was built to commemorate the landing of British monarch George V. Cruise along Marine Drive and see the Rajabai Clock Towers, as your driver regales the family with stories about these historic places. You'll also pass by Flora Fountain, a gorgeous sculpted monument located in south Mumbai, and Dhobi Ghat, an outdoor laundry where chaos, color, and activity create a lively atmosphere.
Stop by the Prince of Wales Museum, a beautifully-preserved mid-Victorian, Gothic-style building that houses a priceless collection of art and sculptures, then visit the Gandhi Museum, once the home of Mahatma Gandhi. Families looking for awesome shopping and souvenirs should head to the markets at Bhuleshwar or Kalbadevi, where you'll find a fun mix of antiques, flea market finds, and artisan goods, or Crawford Market, a large indoor market that sells spices, fabrics, and fresh fruits.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Elephanta Caves Excursion
Visit Elephanta Caves, a large system of cave temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tour starts with a one-hour catamaran ride across Mumbai Harbor to the picturesque greenery of Elephanta Island. Walk through the carved caves and temples, which date back to the seventh century, and see the large panels that depict episodes in the life of Lord Shiva. Older kids will appreciate the history and stories behind the caves, and the younger ones can keep an eye out for the curious monkeys that live here. Return to Mumbai in time for lunch and relaxation at your hotel.
Day 4: Fly to Goa, Free Afternoon
It's off to the beaches of Goa today! After you check out from your hotel, take a private transfer to the airport and catch your flight to this tropical beach paradise. The western state of Goa sits on the coastline of the Arabian Sea and has a long history as a Portuguese colony. Despite being India's smallest state, it's a popular destination with family-friendly beaches, 17th-century churches, and gorgeous architecture.
Once you've had a chance to settle at your hotel, the rest of the day is yours. For a relaxing and fun afternoon, take a tour of one of Goa's many famed spice plantations, some of which date back over 200 years. The kids will enjoy walking along the lush tropical pathways, and you'll all learn about the spices grown on the plantations and how they are incorporated into Goa's cuisine.
Budding scientists in the family might also enjoy a trip to the Goa Science Centre & Planetarium, part of the National Council of Science Museums and featuring interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, and a 3-D theater. And if the beaches alone aren't enticing enough, you can visit Splashdown Waterpark, where you'll find multiple slides, wave pools, and a kiddie pool.
Day 5: Old Goa Tour & Food Walk
Tour the historic streets of Old Goa today. Located in North Goa on the banks of the River Mandovi, the churches and cathedrals in this district have been collectively designated a UNESCO Heritage Site. Start at the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which houses St. Francis Xavier's remains in a casket, before walking on to the towering Baroque Se Cathedral, completed in the mid-17th century. With its vaulted ceiling, gold embossed altars, and dazzling Doric arches, it's considered the most beautiful cathedral in Goa.
Afterward, stroll to Dona Paula, a pier and picnic spot with sweeping views of Miramar Beach, and to Goa's capital, Panjim, with its tree-lined avenues, cobbled streets, and colorful buildings that showcase the Portuguese influence. And be sure to take the kids by the Church of the Immaculate Conception, where they can climb a zig-zagging, switchback staircase to some incredible views.
Later, get an introduction to Goa's renowned cuisine with a guided food tour. Meet up with your guide and dive into the street food of Old Goa, sampling regional specialties that include pork vindaloo (pork with potatoes in a spicy sauce), ras omelets (egg served in gravy), and savory samosas (puff pastry stuffed with vegetables or meat). Of course, there will also be plenty of treats to entice the kids, such as Goan coconut cookies called bolinhas, or multi-layered bebinca cakes. During the tour, your guide will also share insight into Goa's fascinating heritage, with stories about various landmarks and their history.
Day 6: Palolem Beach Day: Sun, Surf & Watersports
Head to South Goa's Palolem Beach for some surf and sun. Palolem is one of the most spectacular beaches in Goa, backed by hazy hills and shady palm trees. Take a boat cruise along the coast for views of the shoreline and city, and check out some of the watersports offered here. You can rent Jet Skis or kayaks, take a wild ride on a banana boat, or just grab a beverage and laze in the shade while the kids splash and play along the shoreline's calm and clear waters. There are also several restaurants near the beach, which makes it a great place to grab dinner this evening and watch the sunset.
Day 7: Depart Goa
Your India family adventure ends today as your driver transfers you from your hotel in Goa to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!
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