A kaleidoscopic blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, sweetened with sun, sea, sand, seafood, susegad and spirituality, Goa is India's pocket-sized paradise.
Goa’s biggest draw is undoubtedly its virtually uninterrupted string of golden-sand beaches. This coastline stretches along the Arabian Sea from the tip to the toe of the state, and each beach community has developed its own personality and reputation since the hippie days of the '60s. They cater to every tropical whim: choose from backpacker Arambol or bolder, brasher Baga; the palm-fringed sands of Palolem, hippie market bliss at Anjuna or lovely, laid-back Mandrem; expansive groomed sands in front of fancy five-star resorts or hidden crescent coves, where the only footprints will be the scuttling crabs' and your own.
Want to top up your Zen as well as your tan? Welcome to winter in Goa where yoga is king and the crop of spiritual activities grows more bountiful each year: sunrise yoga sessions on the beach, reiki healing courses, meditation, and just about every other form of spiritual exploration, are all practised freely. Many travelers come here for a serious yoga experience and you'll find everything from drop-in classes to teaching training courses and spiritual retreats.
The Spice of Life
Food is enjoyed fully in Goa, as it is throughout India. The scents, spices and flavours of Goa’s cuisine will surprise and tantalise even seasoned travelers: whether it's a classic fish curry rice, a morning bhali-pau (bread roll dipped in curry), a piquant vindalho, with its infusions of wine vinegar and garlic, or a spicy xacuti sauce, the Indo-Portuguese influence is a treat for the taste buds. While you're here, visit a back-country spice farm to learn why the Portuguese colonizers were so keen to invade about Goa.
Goa stands out in India for its Portuguese colonial architecture and heritage. The Portuguese invaded Goa in 1510, lured by the exotic East and the promise of lucrative spice routes, before being booted out in 1961. Their indelible mark is still evident in the state’s baroque architecture, whitewashed churches, crumbling forts, colorful Catholic ceremonies, mournful fado music and the stunning cathedrals of Old Goa.