Holiday Information for Goa, India
Goa is a small state situated on the west coast of India. It used to be a Portugese colony and the influence of Portugese culture makes the area unique from the rest of the country.
TYPES OF HOLIDAYS
Goa is best suited for those looking for a long, relaxing getaway.
Cheaper flights to Goa require a stopover en route so travelling time can be up to 14 hours. However, fortunately more and more airlines now fly direct from the UK â" so flight times are usually around 10 hours.
This is still a long time to be travelling and, allowing time to get used to a different time zone and climate, it is advisable you go for at least two weeks or more.
Although apartments are available in Goa, most people opt to stay in a resort. Amenities can be far and few between in the area meaning that going out and about may not be easy. Many all inclusive resorts have access to private beaches and arrange excursions for you.
BEST TIME TO GO
Goa has a tropical monsoon climate and as such experiences heavy monsoon rains during what we would call the summer months.
The best time to visit to experience the best warm, dry weather is November to April. However, Goa can be visited all year round, with prices being much cheaper from May to October â" though you will have to brace yourself for very heavy rainfall.
SIGHTS TO SEE
Nature lovers will be in their element when visiting Goa.
The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is 52km (32 miles) from Panaji. Animals to be found here include deer, wild boar, ant eaters, gaurs, jungle cats and leopard cats. You can also visit the botanical gardens or take a ride on an elephant!
You can also do-it-yourself by simply hiring a jeep and driving through the countryside, stopping at the various villages dotted around.
Old Goa is certainly worth a visit to learn more about the rich history of the area. This was the historical capital of Goa! Visit the beautiful Basilica of Bom Jesus, which dates from 1594, as well as the Archaeological Museum and Museum of Christian Art.
Goa is a very spiritual place and as such there are many amazing religious sites to be seen.
The Shahouri Masjid in Ponda dates from 1560 and is part of a larger network of mosques in the Ponda taluka. The Jama Masjid near Margao features an impressive dome, two towers and four minarets.
Goa is famous for its variety of hippy markets, which are open all year round. In places such as Anjuna you can pick up many bargains on clothing and jewellery to take home with you. Handmade local crafts also make great souvenirs, and the markets are great for spending an afternoon wandering round to hear live music and eat delicious local food.
Being located by the coast, water sports are extremely popular with holiday makers in Goa.
While there are no coral reefs in Goa, there is still a huge amount of marine life to be seen, so why not rent some scuba diving equipment and check it out for yourself?
Goa boasts many beautiful beaches catering to every need. As Goa is a fairly small area, all beaches are within easy access by car or public transport.
Anjuna Beach, 18km (11 miles) from Panaji is an extremely popular beach, first colonised in the 1960s by hippies.
To this day it maintains its eclectic, inclusive reputation, with an array of weird and wonderful characters flocking here all year round. There is usually lots of live music to be found here, going on late into the night.
Miramar Beach is just 3km from Panaji and is excellent for families as it is fairly developed and close to many amenities such as shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The beach can become fairly crowded but is ideal for those staying nearby.
Paloem Beach is around 37km (22 miles) west of Marago and is an idyllic 1.5km long beach situated in a beautiful bay. Head here for ultimate seclusion as there are not many amenities nearby and the beach is never too busy.
Goa is famed for its range of bars and nightclubs, and there is something to please everybody. Due to the transient nature of these establishments, some may appear and disappear from one year to the next.
However, if you visit the centre of the main resorts such as Bogmalo, Margaon and Anjuna then you will find a huge range to choose from.
Of course, Goa is also famed for its full moon parties that take place all night on the beaches â" head to Anjuna for the most flamboyant celebrations.
Accommodation in Goa ranges from basic to luxurious, so there is something to suit every budget!
The Santana Beach Resort in Candolim offers bed and breakfast accommodation with its own private beach shack â" the Calamari. The restaurant serves a variety of food and is set in among sand dunes and mango groves.
The Nazri Resort is also right next to the beach and very close to shops, restaurants and bars. On site there is a restaurant as well a swimming pool and separate kidsâ pool.
The Peravel Hotel in Candolim offers peaceful accommodation just 150m from the nearest beach. The main shops, bars and restaurants are also within walking distance.
And the Astoria is a family run hotel roughly 3 miles from the popular Anjuna Beach and offers a peaceful, secluded getaway. On-site there is a pub and a restaurant serving traditional Goan food, and the main part of the hotel is housed in a 200 year old Portugese colonial mansion.
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