Lying on India’s west coast, Goa is the country’s premier beach destination and a popular year-round holiday hot spot for both international and domestic vacationers. Renowned for its exquisite beaches, great weather, mouth-watering cuisine and a fascinating fusion of cultures, Goa is more than your standard sea-and-sand resorts.
As part of colonial Portugal for 400 years, Goa bears a distinctly European flair. Its architecture, in particular, showcases the Portuguese influence, in tandem with more traditional Indian and Islamic styles. Colonial homes, grand places of worship and monuments make Goa’s cities distinctive and unique.
Goa is India’s unofficial ‘beach capital’ and they certainly don’t disappoint. If you like your beaches golden, palm-fringed and stretching out to as far as the eye can see, you’re in luck, and you’ve got plenty to choose from. Lapped by the warm waters of the Arabian Sea, even on the busiest of beaches you’ll find plenty of turf to stake as your own, so be ready to settle down with a good book and a cold beer from one of the beach-side bars.
While they’re the jewel in Goa’s crown, the region’s beaches are not the only draw: move inland and you’ll find lush jungles and lazy rivers. For the intrepid explorer, a world of discovery awaits just off the beaten track and sets Goa apart from many other holiday destinations.
Its beaches are really the gem of Goa’s tourism, and are equally scenic, laid-back and fun-filled. Agonda Beach is pristine and serene; quieter than many other beaches in the region Agonda is the ideal choice for first-footsteps solitude and ultimate rest and relaxation. On the other hand, Baga Beach is the perfect choice for those looking for a bit more action throughout their day and into the night. Beach parties are a mainstay on Baga and its lines of beach-side cafes and restaurants will keep you fed and watered throughout the day. Anjuna and Arambol beaches are both happening spots when the sun goes down, and people pitch a tent or hop in a hammock and let the balmy breeze and live music take them to sleep.
Watersports are a popular pastime and when they water is this calm and the weather is this good, what better time to indulge in some high-octane thrills! Try your hand at parasailing, windsurfing, scuba diving and jet skiing, or throw caution to the wind and hop aboard the perennial favourite, the banana boat!
Take a walk on the wild side and visit Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. Just outside of the capital Panaji, the sanctuary is home to an abundance of wildlife, as well as a host of attractions, both natural and man-made. The Dudhsagar Falls are a spectacular must-see, cascading down the mountainside. They can be reached either by car or trekking on foot, and you can take a dip in the lower half of the falls.
India is a shopper’s delight and is best experienced in the hustle and bustle of one of its many bazaars. Try out your bargaining skills and pick up some souvenirs that are out of the ordinary: ethnic wears, intricate jewellery and leather goods are just some things you can expect to find.
As the UK’s adopted national food, Brits are no strangers to the delights of Indian food. Goa’s culinary options are delicious and vast, and the region is famed for its exotic cuisine.
Fish curry is a staple diet in Goa, which is little wonder since fresh seafood is in abundance on the coast. Coconut, chili peppers and a variety of spices are popular fixtures in most dishes, and you haven’t had a curry unless you’ve had it in India!