At the helm of the azure Arabian sea dotted with fishing boats, barges and casino boats, basking in the warmth of glorious sunsets, is Panjim’s beloved Miramar Beach. The scene for so much activity, right from city folks taking leisurely walks to out-of-towners enjoying the soft silky sands, to the college kids simply ‘hanging out’ – Miramar, which means ‘sea-view’ in Spanish, has something for everyone.
Originally named Gasper-de-dias because of the Portuguese influence, the name was later changed to Miramar. And if Goa is known for its beaches then Miramar can easily qualify as the unofficial ambassador. It lies in the heart of the capital, Panjim, a city that is surrounded by water on three sides, the gentle Mandovi river flows to the north, the tumultuous Zuari river to the south, while the Arabian sea hugs the city tight in the west. A short drive from the riverfront to Dona Paula skirts along the length of the Miramar Beach which is a 2 kilometer stretch of coast and silvery sand bed. Legend has it that the silver sand beds of the beach sparkle in the moonlight. An ideal setting for a romantic stroll, Miramar beach is fringed with palms swaying to the breeze with the sea glistening in the background and a kaleidoscopic view of the Aguada fort.
Evenings at Miramar are bustling with activity. The ‘I Love Panjim’ mobile food stalls line up religiously each evening dishing out some of the very best street food in Goa. From Shawarma, to Maggi, to the good ‘ol chaat stands, the ever unfailing chowmien, and the very colorful ‘Golas’, – each stall has a story to tell of a cuisine it adapted to suit the street palate. A hop across Miramar beach is the hangout of the hip Dhempe college crowd, literally an extension of their canteen- Cafe Coffee Day. Clube Gaspar Dias is a member’s only institution and the venue for elegant balls for the elite of the city. For the budget travellers there is also the Panjim Residency Hotel that lies just at the beginning of Miramar and has pretty wallet friendly dining options.
Miramar beach has unique feel-good factor, just ask the stressed out executive or the busy soccer mom, a trip here at the end of a hard day is an almost therapeutic experience. There is a crowd but it’s never packed, no menacing water sports, no clamour for beach beds and certainly no lack of peace and quiet. Just find a corner under a palm tree or besides a sand dune for yourself and relax. Miramar is fairly safe to hang around any time of the day however swimming here is precarious, so unless you’re a Micheal Phelps, it would be best to just splash around rather than really try your hand at swimming far into the sea because though it has consistently good (though crowded) waves it can be a bit of a rough and tumble swim.
The best time to visit Miramar Beach is between the months of November and March. Not only is it ‘season’ time in Goa but also when a large number of migratory birds such as gulls and plovers come to the beach. Also since it is a city beach it tends to get super crowded on the weekends when the city literally puts on the flips flops and heads towards the sea. Miramar Beach is also a popular haunt for movie makers and is often bustling with film crews and stars and during the International Film Festival (IFFI), the beach holds screenings in the open for film buffs from all over the world.