Swaying palms, white sands and sparkling waters: the three essential elements that attract 2 million visitors annually to Goa’s balmy shores are plentiful in this tiny, glorious slice of India hugging the country’s western coastline and bounded by the Arabian Sea.
A solitary Portuguese outpost in India for almost 500 years, the influence of colonial rule can still be seen everywhere: in the exquisite, crumbling architecture; in the East-meets-West cuisine which combines coconut milk, palm vinegar and chillies with the refined flavours of Lisbon; in the melancholy strains of fado that still waft occasionally on the bougainvillea-scented breeze; and in the siesta-saturated joie de vivre that Goans themselves call susegad.
Nowhere else in India will you find the laid-back languidness of a Goan lunchtime, the easy charms of its people or the soothing serenity of a day on its beaches. Here in Goa, a herd of water buffalo will greet you at breakfast; a lily-covered lake might provide the scenery for your morning walk; a sea eagle will be your afternoon companion along a deserted stretch of pristine beach; a gorgeously spice-laden vindalho (vindaloo) might make your evening repast and a fiery glass of cashew-palm feni liquor your bedtime tonic.
But there's far more to discover here than the exquisite pleasure of warm sand between your toes. Pep up your stay with a wander around a vanilla-scented spice plantation, stroll the bird-filled banks of the state's gentle rivers, poke around centuries-old cathedrals, and venture out to white-water waterfalls.
All is not perfect in paradise, however, and Goa has problems aplenty – the state's environment, in particular, is sorely taxed. Nevertheless, with a slowly growing group of environmentalists and ecofriendly individuals on the scene, the picture remains relatively rosy for this most magical of miniature states. So, come, minimise your impact as much as possible, and unwind to the swaying palms and Portuguese rhythms of Goa's still-irresistible charms.
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These tours & activities make it easy:
Best places to stay in Goa
Goa & Mumbai travel guide
Colourful and colliding, spiritual and soothing, crammed with deserted beaches, yogic bliss and heady nightlife. Goa is many things to many people, but everyone agrees there’s nowhere on earth quite like it.
Goa's hidden gems
A week or two spent revelling in the languid luxury of Goa’s sunny sosegado, or susegad, two Portuguese colonial-era terms roughly translated as ‘laid-backness,’ is one not to be missed on any hectic visit to mammoth, fascinating, often impossibly frenetic India...
Shopping in Goa
Wildlife watching in Goa
South India & Kerala travel guide
South India’s long coastline frames fertile plains and curvaceous hills: thick coconut groves, luminescent rice paddies, fragrant spice gardens and picturesque tea plantations all kept glisteningly green by the double-barrelled monsoon.
Goa & Around
Uncovering the best beaches of Goa
In a diminutive state seemingly so tightly packed with beachfront development, it’s astoundingly easy to escape the tourist crowds and find your own patch of sand-based paradise...
Best places to drink in Goa
Goa & Mumbai - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Goa & Mumbai starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus indepth info on Goa’s beache
Real Food Adventure - India
Spend two fabulous weeks discovering the sights, sounds and flavours of India.
2-Day Private Tour from Goa: Jungle Adventure in Mollem National Park Including Dudhsagar Falls and Jeep Safari
This 2-day trip to Mollem National Park from Goa combines relaxation, adventure and incredible natural scenery. In the morning, immerse yourself in nature as you journey through Mollem National Park on a Jeep safari to discover the area’s abundant wildlife, flora and fauna.
Goa & Mumbai - Palolem & South Goa (Chapter)
South Goa is the quieter sister of her party-friendly North Goa sibling. Though resorts have made it here too, the pace never reaches the frenetic levels of Calangute or Candolim further north, and resorts still peter out quickly into palm...
Goa's Portuguese architecture
Best places to eat in Goa
Goa's best beaches
Churches and temples in Goa
Yoga & Ayurveda in Goa
Sights in Goa
Activities in Goa
Tours in Goa
Restaurants in Goa
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Anjuna & North Goa
In North Goa, Panaji, also know as Panjim, is a quiet achiever offering a glimpse into small town life for those who decide to hang their hat here for a spell. From here you can explore the still-Portuguese flavoured town of Old Goa, with its World Heritage listed churches and convents.