Goa Holidays 2019
The colonial Portugese influence is evident in Goan culture and combines with the hot and tropical climate to make for an amazing holiday destination.
We have a range of cheap holidays available for your trip to Goa. Choose from top resorts like Candolim and Calangute in North Goa known for its hippy heritage and busy markets. Or head to Varca Beach in South Goa for a quiet, laid-back holiday.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 9h 5m
When to go
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Things to do in Goa
The state’s laid-back capital Panaji, which sits on the banks of the broad Mandovi River is scattered with handsome colonial buildings and 17th-century churches. But there is plenty to get you out of your all inclusive resort including loads of natural sights!
Famous sights in Goa:
- Dudhsagar Falls – One of the tallest waterfalls in India, it includes three streams and pools which are great for a swim, making them a highlight to any Goa holiday.
- Fort Aguada – Providing a fascinating insight into Goan history, this fort provides amazing views.
- Basilica of Bom Jesus – This UNESCO-listed church gives you a dose of Goa’s history. It also features the tomb of Saint Francis Xavier.
- Chapora Fort – Climb to the top of this 17th-century fort for wonderful sea views.
Things to do for youngsters:
- Trek to Tambdi Surla Waterfall – This is quite a long trek but a worthwhile one! Not only will you get to experience the waterfall, but a bunch of other activities too like zip lining and wall climbing.
- Kite surfing – Consider yourself a thrill-seeker? Why not try some water sports whilst in Goa. Head to Morjim where you can get some lessons or if you’re an expert already, showoff your technique!
- Party in Baga – One of Goa’s top nightlife spots, it’s worth going there for a party vibe. Try Cape Town Café or Mambo’s for a drink, good music and to let down your hair.
Goa family holidays
Goa is a fabulous destination for a family holiday. The beaches are breathtakingly beautiful and ideal for children of all ages. Older kids will enjoy the opportunities for trying out some of the water sports, such as windsurfing and parasailing. They will also enjoy rummaging through the hippy market at Anjuna Beach.
The charming cities of Panaji and Old Goa are a delight to wander around, and kids will enjoy the street food stalls and craft markets. The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is Goa’s biggest nature reserve, home to the vast and impressive Dudhasagar Falls among many other natural and historic sites. The park is home to rare creatures such as black panthers, tigers and leopards, as well as more commonly sighted animals such as deer, wild boar and all kinds of snakes.
Plus, you’ll find a selection of cheap accommodation and luxury hotels in Goa.
Top family-friendly hotels in Goa:
Goa religion and culture:
Hinduism was main religion before the Portuguese invaded Goa. However, their presence imposed Roman Catholicism among the locals. Now, there are three main religions in Goa which are Hinduism, Christianity and Islam.
Goa’s past has resulted in a number of diverse influences throughout the years. For hundreds of years, Hindu dynasties had power over the state of Goa, however Muslims tooks over in 1312, although their reign was short. Then, in 1524 the first European to ever reach India was the Portuguese captain Vasco da Gama. Later on between 1812 – 1815 Goa was occupied by the British. However at the end of 1961 India liberated Goa and officially became part of the country.
Portuguese influence in Goa:
The Portuguese controlled Goa for four and half centuries, and their influence is nowhere more evident than in Old Goa. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this was the capital until the 19th century and is full of splendid monasteries and churches. Among them is the Sé Cathedral, the largest church in India and home to a supposedly miraculous cross that grants miracles.
The beach parties and the music scene in Goa have been a magnet for travellers since the 1960s.
Baga - Much of the nightlife is concentrated in Baga, where you’ll find plenty of clubs, bars and open-air beach shacks. Whether you fancy a beer on the beach or want cocktails and dancing till dawn, there are plenty of options in Baga.
Anjuna Beach – This beach may be mellow by day, but by night the beach bars turn into psychedelic raves. There are quieter places close by to enjoy a cocktail or two, or you could head to the celebrated Club Cubana, regularly voted one of the best nightclubs in the world. Nearby Vagator Beach is also a popular choice for beach raves.
Goa beach holidays
Goa’s beaches are fabulous and they’re perfect for a range of fun activities. If you’re looking for a swim, water sports or nice little spot you can just lay back and relax, Goa has something for you. There are a number of beach holiday resorts in Goa including Morjim, Vagator, Calangute, Candolim and Arossim.
Top beaches in Goa:
- Anjuna Beach – There is a large hippie influence here which is reflected in the Anjuna Beach flea market every Wednesday. You’ll experience a care-free vibe here as it’s a popular spot for travellers.
- Calangute Beach – Perhaps one of the most popular beaches in the Indian state, this beach can get a little busy. It’s next door neighbour of Baga Beach might be worth a visit for water sport fun and lively bars.
- Candolim Beach – You’ll find restaurants and bars which line the shores here. As well as a laid-back and peaceful vibe.
- Cola – This beach is totally unique as it also has a lagoon as well as a stretch of coastline. If you’re really looking for privacy and some quiet time, this is the place to go.
- Benaulim – Well-known for watersports and dolphin spotting, you’ll also find restaurants and shops nearby too.
Couples holidays in Goa
Beautiful, relaxed and welcoming, Goa is a blissfully romantic holiday destination. You could simply bask on the golden sand and soak up the sun, then enjoy a cocktail in a boho-chic beach shack and follow it with a delicious supper of fish curry.
Perhaps go snorkelling or try your hand at parasailing or windsurfing. If you’re in the mood to dance, there are trance parties on the beach, and scores of clubs in popular resorts that will keep you partying all night long.
You could climb up to Fort Aguada to enjoy fabulous views, take a sunset cruise, or stroll through the romantically crumbling city of Old Goa, or the colourful capital of Panaji. When on a couples holiday, we know you’ll love a 5-star holiday to Goa!
Top luxury hotels for couples in Goa:
The mouth-watering cuisine in Goa is a delicious fusion of Indian and Portuguese flavours. Seafood is a staple, although you’ll also find chicken and lamb (reflecting the prohibition of beef and pork in Hinduism and Islam respectively). Chicken xacuti is a zesty curry, and chicken cafreal is cooked with rum and plenty of chilli. For breakfast, try a bhali-pau (a roll dipped in curry). Plus, vegetarians will find plenty of restaurants and local dishes to choose from.
Goa beach food:
One of Goa’s most popular beach foods is the classic Goan dish of fish curry, which is flavoured with coconut milk and served with rice. Plus, alcohol is tolerated more widely in Goa than in other parts of the country, and the Goans produce their own fiery liqueur, called feni. It's made either from cashew or palm plants and is most palatable mixed with plenty of soda water.
You can expect prices to be quite cheap in Goa, a bottle of their local Kingfisher beer can be bought for anything between 50p-£1. A quick bite to eat might set you back a couple of pounds and a three-course meal can be enjoyed for around £20. There are also plenty of market stalls in Goa where you can haggle the prices down to anything near a 25-50% discount.
People also ask
What is the best time of year to visit Goa?
The best time to visit is between November and March as the weather is warm and pleasant.
Do I need a visa to visit Goa?
Yes. UK citizens require a visa to visit India as well as a valid passport. You can apply for a visa online. For more information about visa and passport requirements, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india/entry-requirements.
How long is the flight from the UK to Goa?
The flight is approximately 9 hours 30 minutes.
What airport do you fly into when visiting Goa?
Dabolim Airport is the only international airport that serves Goa.
Do I need any injections to visit Goa?
Your GP may recommend diphtheria, polio and tetanus jabs (which can be combined into one!) as well as hepatitis A and typhoid jabs. It is best to talk to your GP to see if there’re any other recommended jabs to be taken for a visit to Goa.