What is Diu? For better or worse, this tiny ex-Portuguese island is the reason most travellers come to Gujarat. And while it might not quite be the tropical paradise they imagined, it has a quirky charm that will tame you from asking too many questions.
Diu also has fine beaches, whitewashed churches, an imposing fort, colourful Lisboa streets, a gorgeous climate, lush seafood and giggly Gujarati weekenders who flock for the cheap booze and sunshine. Plus it’s the safest place to ride a scooter in all of India, with minimum traffic and excellent roads.
Like Daman and Goa, Diu was a Portuguese colony until taken over by India in 1961. With Daman, it is still governed from Delhi as a Union Territory. It includes Diu island, about 11km by 3km, separated from the coast by a narrow channel, and two tiny mainland enclaves. One of these, housing the village of Ghoghla, is the entry point to Diu from Una.
The northern side of the island, facing Gujarat, is tidal marsh and salt pans, while the southern coast alternates between limestone cliffs, rocky coves and sandy beaches.
The island’s main industries are fishing, tourism, booze and salt. Kalpana Distillery at Malala produces rum from sugar cane.