Travel guide to Diu: The underrated coastal paradise of India
January 1, 1970
by Pratik Sinha
Are you looking for some time away from the chaotic city life and buzzing traffics? Are you looking for some time away from the noise-filled streets and stressed Monday mornings? Are you looking for a short trip away from your routine life relaxing on the beaches under the sun and wandering on the streets beside the shores? If yes, then just keep on reading!
Yes, a trip to Diu can be the answer to all you are looking for.
Diu is a town in Diu district located in the union territory of Daman and Diu. The town lies at the eastern end of the Diu island connected to the mainland by a bridge. The island features empty streets and relaxing warm & humid climate. It feels lucky to be at such a place in a country of 1.1 billion people where there is no chaos, the streets are not crowded and the sound of sea waves striking the shores can be heard. From wandering on the traffic-free roads on rented bikes to visiting the remains of Portuguese forts, from relaxing on the beach under the sun while the sea waves kiss your feet to watching the sunset from a completely lonely part of the town, Diu has it all.
Diu does not have a railway station. The nearest railway station is Delwada (about 8kms from Diu), but only two trains come to Delwada daily from Junagadh and Veraval. To reach Delawada, one needs to catch a train from Veraval which is the nearest railway junction to Diu (about 90kms). And to reach Veraval one need to catch a train from Ahmedabad. You can also stay a day or two at Ahmedabad and explore the city and its cultural heritage.
Here is the simplified route to Diu by train:
Ahmedabad — Veraval — Delwada. From Delwada to Diu through auto or taxi.
Air India runs a flight from Mumbai to Diu every alternate day. It is a one-hour flight and costs about INR 5000 for a one-way trip.
Flying to Diu is a time-saving option and also more convenient if you are travelling from cities nearby Mumbai and don’t intend to travel to Ahmedabad or Gujarat.
State buses, as well as private buses, run from Ahmedabad to Diu. It usually takes 10 hours. Both Seater and sleeper services are available with tickets ranging from INR 250 to INR 600. You might not find many buses directly to Diu, in that case, you make take the bus to Una (which is the nearest town to Diu) and from there you can easily find autos, taxis or buses to Diu.
Getting around the island
Stepping out in an unknown town and exploring the localities is a complete bliss. The calm atmosphere and the crowd-free localities call for you to step out into the streets of the town and explore the island as the locals.
To get friendly with the town, autos can be helpful and are also easily available.
Taxis are also available for rent from near the bus stand. Most hotels have the contact number of taxis which may pick you up directly from the place you are staying at.
But the best way to get around is to rent a bike. The empty roads beside the seashore urge one to drive along one of India most untouched coastlines as the roads sing to you. The cost of the bike varies from INR 150 to INR 300 depending upon the type of bike you choose. You need to be carrying your licence along to get a bike on rent.(International licence is also acceptable.)
With beautiful beaches, vintage Portuguese houses, old churches and forts, caves and cheap alcohol, Diu has it all. The best thing about Diu is most of the tourist spots are very near to each other except Nagoa beach and Vanak bara-the fishing village and almost every tourist spot has free entry.
I would recommend starting the journey from the Old city gate and then exploring the places that follow.
The Old city gate and the Heritage walk
Old city gate is worth seeing. It is nothing more than a vintage fort like structure but it has a walkway along the restored walls. As you walk down the walkway you explore the less seen side of Diu. The walkway extends to the Jalandhar beach passing through the residents of Diu.
The heritage walkway ends at the Jalandhar beach. The waves here are aggressive and the sea appears to be captivating.There are a few places where you can sit and enjoy the view, but the beach is not safe to go into the waters.
The next place to visit after the Old city gate is this, The Naida caves. This place is a combination of beauty and mystery. The light and shade makes it a great place for photography. Once you enter the caves you would just want to keep exploring till the other end of the cave. The place is usually calm with very few humans, thus it seems scary and beautiful at the same time.
Fort Diu is a 16th-century Portuguese architecture by the sea. The skyline of Diu is visible from the top. The sound of sea waves constantly striking the boundary of the fort is quite audible.
The fort has three bastions looking over the sea with three-bronze canons. At the end of the fort is a lighthouse, it is allowed climb to the top of it and the view from there is just spectacular.
Another magnificent structure called the Pani Kotha situated in the middle of the sea can be seen from the galleries of the fort.
St. Paul’s Church
A well maintained European structure with beautiful and mesmerising interiors. The silence, the sculptures, the scented candles make you fall in love with the place.
This place used to a church but now it has been turned into a museum displaying all the spectacular works from the Portuguese era. I recommend this place if you have enough time and you are interested in seeing the history of the island or else, this place can be skipped.
If you are following this route to travel the island, the next spot after the Diu museum would be Chakratirth Bridge. The place is lovely and quiet with almost no humans around. You would find yourself away from all the human activities as in a barren place of land just in the company of sea and the wind. Though people choose to watch the sunset from the Fort Diu, I would personally recommend watching the sunset from this beach. As the evening would fall you would see the sun as a small ball of fire sinking into the sea, the surrounding would be quiet and the only noise heard would be of the waves and the birds while the winds would flow through your hairs. The sunset would be one to remember.
The most famous and talked about beach of Diu. Nagoa beach offers a variety of water sports and is lined with restaurants offering various seafood and drinks. But the beach is quite crowded.
This village is at quite a distance from the town where you would find the fishermen doing their daily chores and many ships lined at the harbour. One can see the daily life routine of the fishermen at this place.
Note: The place stinks.
If you have some time and find yourself near the airport do visit the Sea-Shell Museum (Entry INR 10). It has sea shells from all over the world.
From cheap accommodations to medium ranged hotels and Beachside resorts, Diu offers it all.
Hotels are available all around the bus stand. During peak seasons i.e Diwali the hotels get prebooked and also the cost for rooms rises. It is better to plan and pre-book the hotels to avoid high expenses.
These medium budget hotels are best when you are looking for a pocket-friendly option and plan to spend most of the time outdoors exploring the beautiful Island.
Quite a few resorts are available near the Nagoa beach. They are a bit expensive but they are worth every penny. While staying in these resorts you wake up to the view of the sun rising from the sea that extends beyond sight. Resorts offer you a luxurious stay and a personal space to get in touch with the sea and the sand.
Food and Drinks
Fresh seafood stands out of all the cuisine available at Diu. Majority of restaurants offers you non-veg food. Diu also features a few special restaurants serving the Indian-Portuguese cuisine. The restaurants are open up until late night and the food is easily available on most of the streets.
The restaurants on the road that runs beside the coastline offer you a table at evening (for dinner) right in front of the beach where you can enjoy your food with an exceptional view of the sunset and the cold breeze at the seashore.
However, if you are looking for vegetarian food you don’t need to worry. Quite a few restaurants near the Tourism office and bus stand offer the vegetarian food that includes the delicious Gujarati food, along with the standard North and south Indian food.
The typical Gujarati thali is definitely worth trying.
Talking about drinks, Alcohol is legal in Diu, unlike its neighbouring state Gujarat. Wine shops can be found easily all over the town.It feels an immense pleasure to enjoy alcohol sitting by the seashore at night watching the night sky.
Diu reflects all the sides of the sea and coastal life at once. Get ready for a love affair with this virgin island.