With its beautiful beaches and charming Portuguese buildings, Goa is undoubtedly the holiday capital of South Asia. Its European-Asian mix, beaches and culture attract over 400,000 foreign tourists annually and many more from the other regions in India. Goa is also famous for its temples and other important monuments.
India’s smallest state in term of area, Goa is located on the west coast of India and is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west. The state’s capital is Panaji.
The most important cities in the region, besides the capital, include: Margao, Vasco da Gama, Old Goa, Mapusa and Ponda.
How to get to Goa
Goa can be reached by plane, car/bus or train.
Some airlines fly directly into Dabolim Airport (Goa) but most travelers arrive via Mumbai
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Goa is located in a tropical zone and is also close to the sea. Its climate is hot and humid most of the year. The hottest month is May when temperatures easily reach 35 C / 95 F and the humidity is high. The monsoon lasts between June and September. The cool season lasts between mid-December and February when the night temperatures average 20 C / 68 F and the day temperatures average 29 C / 84 F and the humidity is moderate.
What to do
The main attractions in Goa are the beaches, followed by the temples and churches.
The most important beaches in Goa include:
- Anjuna Beach — located close to Chapora Fort. Close by there’s a flea market each Wednesday and in the nearby village of Arpora there are two night bazaars every Saturday night
- Palolem Beach — located in south Goa. It’s getting really popular, which means it’s crowded and rather pricey
- Patnem Beach — small and quiet, ideal if you want to escape the crowds
- Colva and Benaulim — both are known for their scenic views
- Calangute Beach — very crowded and possibly the most popular beach in Goa
- Baga Beach — perfect for the families, filled with foreign tourists though
Goa is also an important diving center. The diving season lasts from mid-October to mid-May. The dive sites are all around Grande Island just off the coast of Vasco da Gama.
Numerous museums, temples and churches are also important landmarks in the region. Visit the cathedrals in Old Goa.
Need to know
Unfortunately Goa lacks good maps and the locals get confused if you ask about longer distances. So just ask about the closest village on the road.
Part of the region lacks sign-boards which only adds to the confusion and is pretty much impossible to find your way after dusk. The easiest way is to ask the locals.
The beaches might be known under different names by the locals, while some have been given different names by the foreigners.