Every time I post a ‘sunshine’ shot on Instagram it garners a wave of comments along the lines of ‘TAKE ME THERE IMMEDIATELY!’ – when we’re in the depths of winter just the thought of sunshine on our faces, lighter fabrics and even looser limbs is so transporting and immediately gets us daydreaming of longer days and far-off climes.
I’ve been so lucky in my career to call exploring India, work. Throughout my travels I’ve discovered some of the most incredible beaches. From the iconic beach resorts we all recognize, to the quieter up-and-coming backwaters that I secretly adore. So, metaphorically dip your toe in the azure waters and get ready for some serious wanderlust..
Number 1 on my list is Kerala, the land of kera or coconut. It is a never-ending array of coconut palms; sun blanched beaches… enchanting backwaters cruised by kettuvallams (rice barges); magical monsoon showers; rich diversity of flora and fauna; misty mountains of the Western Ghat and the delicious tropical climate that hovers at the perfect temperature all-year-round.
I think many people have heard of the backwater tours but the beaches are blissful and one thing you may not know is that Kerala is the home of Ayurveda, another aspect of Indian culture I am obsessed with, so expect delicious nourishing foods and insane spa treatments.
If you read my ‘best Indian reads’ blog at the beginning of the month then you will have seen my recommendation to read ‘The God of Small things’ by Arudhati Roy, this blissful read is set in the backwaters of Kerala, the perfect travel read!
Though it has changed hugely over the last couple of decades, Goa still has much to offer, especially for those in need of a blast of sunshine in the depths of winter. The hippy days are over and Goa has grown up; so while Anjuna and Vagator beaches join Calangute in the file marked “overcrowded”, a heavenly relaxed beach vibe can still be found elsewhere: on the sands of Ashvem-Mandrem, for example, and in the bays and beaches of the far south.
There is a huge debate over which is best but my advice would be to do your research and go with your instinct whether you are seeking peace and quiet, a fabulous surf and yoga retreat or the bustle of shopping and eating out - there is something for everyone.
I really like this blog which will give you many suggestions on where best to stay written by an ex-pat in Goa.
Discover: Kashid Beach in Maharsahtra
Because it's so close to Mumbai (a three-hour drive, or quick hop in a helicopter) and virtually deserted on weekdays. Backed by lush vegetation, the waves here can be really good for surfing.
Put on your wanderlust adventurer back pack and try something different.
Reconnect: Gokarna Beach, Karnataka
Dubbed as the new Goa, this is where you will find the new wave of hippies. Don’t expect fancy accommodation but do expect deserted beaches and a beautiful climate all year round.
Western travellers only started coming here over the past decade, and you'll find an "Old Goa" hippie vibe alive and well (bonfires, drums, etc.). Set in lush grounds, the SwaSwara is an upscale favourite featuring an extensive menu of yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic spa treatments, and rooms in 24 Konkan-inspired villas.
Escape: Radhanagar beach, Havelock, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
For about as remote an escape you'll ever find (you'll be closer to Burma than India). Most of the 572 islands in this archipelago are strictly off-limits—inhabited by indigenous Andamese tribes who don't have contact to the outside world —so Havelock Island is the place to head. Its seven beaches are sublime; take a two (sometimes three) hour ferry, or catamaran, from the airport in Port Blair. Explore barefoot through the jungle from Radhanagar and yes, you really can snorkel with elephants.
Let me know if you have any other suggestions to add to my bucket list!
If you are off on holiday soon be sure to check our our resort collection for some lovely cover ups and beach wear.