Guide to Goa – Spice up your life
One of India's smallest states, both in physical size and population, Goa boasts the benefits of a wonderful coastline, beautiful beaches and a quirky culture to provide a unique and relaxing experience for intrepid holidaymakers
Although increasing in popularity since being discovered by boho travellers in the 1970s, it still remains an underappreciated holiday gem. This does mean there are plenty of cheap holidays to Goa available to take advantage of for those who may be put off by its exotic location.
The thing that really sets Goa apart as an outstanding holiday spot is its gorgeous western coastline, overlooking the beautiful Arabian Sea. Needless to say then that beach holidays provide the perfect way to relax. The best beaches can be found at the top and bottom of the state, with Palolem in the south with its palm tree-lined curved beach and dolphin-watching excursions proving a real draw for tourists. In the north Morjim and Ashvem are quiet havens away from the hippie trails.
Things You Cannot Miss
Goa is a former Portuguese colony which means holidaymakers can enjoy Goa’s unique blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures. The capital, Panaji, has stunning colonial buildings to explore. In Ponda, the Hindu Tambdi Surla Temple has survived since the 12th Century and is a popular attraction, with holidaymakers queuing up to leave coconut and flower offerings to the spiritual statue inside. Visitors to Goa in February can experience the Goan Carnival; an incredible cultural celebration of dancing, feasting and general merriment.
Things to do
Sun holidays are an amazing way to relax and get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life; and with countless yoga retreats highlighting the states hippie past there is plenty of places to stretch out on the beach!
For those who want to take to the water, North Goa has some incredible unspoilt waters which can be explored by riverboat on the Chapora River. Wildlife watchers will revel in the animals, including crocodiles, while photographers can snap some fabulous tropical landscapes from aboard
There are plenty of places to bag a holiday bargain, from Mapusa’s Friday night market to the historic Anjuna market where you can try and barter with Tibetan traders.
No trip to Goa would be complete without trying the mouth-watering cuisine. From high-end dining experiences with professional chefs to budget bites by the sea, the seafood and curry dishes are to die for. Try ordering thali – the Indian version of tapas - to try a selection of rice and curried vegetables.