Close enough to Goa for us to include it in this section, but a world away from the package holiday crowds, the Konkan Coast - centred around Malvan - is one of western India’s best-kept secrets. A tropical backwater of empty gold-sand beaches fringed with casuarina trees and dotted with traditional fishing villages, the pace of life in coastal Maharashtra remains distinctly laid-back. Yet the state’s magnificent ruined forts bear testimony to its vibrant trading history and fierce resistance to invasion.
Geographically isolated between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, the Konkan Coast has developed a strong cultural identity. Konkani cuisine is notorious for its fiery seafood dishes – the ubiquitous coconut is used in every form – while abundant fresh fruits such as mango and starfruit feature heavily on the menu. With just a handful of resorts along this picturesque stretch of coast, you’ll have the sand all to yourself but you won’t be bored: watersports, diving and nature activities make this the perfect getaway for the intrepid traveler.