As a former Portuguese colony and India’s richest state, Goa is a unique holiday hotspot. A booming tourist destination, Goa’s popularity lies in its unusual mix of Indian and Portuguese cultures, traditions and architectural styles. Visit Goa and you’ll be completely transported from the rest of mainland India – you’ll find loads of expats and foreigners, 70km of beautiful beaches, and a collection of both ancient Christian churches and Hindu temples.
Goa is a truly cosmopolitan city, with all the makings of a picture-postcard holiday. The beaches of Baga and Calangute are world-famous, while the charming towns of Candolim and Old Goa are worth a stop to experience Goa’s colourful culture and village life.
Top Resorts and Hotels
Goa is famous for its beaches and there is no shortage to choose from. Calangute Beach is by far the busiest resort, although the neighbouring Baga Beach is almost as popular. Hugging the coast in the north of Goa, Calangute is known as the Queen of Beaches with the sand full of sunbeds, and the sea teaming with watersports enthusiasts. It’s a pumping, bustling beach where something is always happening. Baga Beach is more family orientated and slightly less crowded.
Similarly, Candolim is just south of Calangute and is decidedly slower paced. Once a tiny fishing village, Candolim has retained its charm and is a great spot if you’re looking for something a little quieter.
Away from the beaches, the capital of Panaji is a bubbling hub of international cultures, with many museums, temples, and churches to take up your time. A visit to the historic Old Town and the islands across the river are also two must-see attractions.
Attractions and Things To Do
The weekly flea markets at Anjuna Beach have become one of Goa’s biggest tourist draws over the years. Goa was once a hippie haven and the markets are a modern day reminder with over 500 stalls selling an assortment of goods. After you’ve bought some traditional trinkets, head to one of the beach shacks to listen to some hippie tunes and enjoy a drink on the sand.
Old Goa in Panaji is also a popular destination. It’s now a UNESCO-listed town full of crumbling churches, cathedrals and museums. The Basilica of Bom Jesus Goa is the most well-known in town – built in 1605, it now holds the remains of St Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa. Across the road is the Church and Convent of St Francis of Assisi, a stunning example of Portuguese architecture which has since been turned into a museum.
If you love Indian food and cooking then you can’t go to Goa without stopping at the spice plantations in Ponda. The Savoi Plantation is one of the oldest and farms coconuts, betel nuts, pineapples and other fruit. Drive through the tropical jungle, take a guided tour around the farms and then enjoy a deliciously fresh and spicy lunch.
Annual Temperature and Rainfall
Goa has a hot and humid climate – May is the hottest month with temperatures over 35C and monsoon season runs from early June to late September. Expect steamy days, sudden downpours and tropical storms. During monsoon season, average rainfall is around 300cm. Winter is from December until February and extremely mild – around 28C!. The ideal time to visit Goa would be anywhere from October until February.