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India is an exotic holiday destination that many dream of but if you fancy combining an interesting trip with a relaxing beach break, a Goa holiday could be just what you need. With gorgeous sandy beaches, a fascinating culture, great cuisine and plenty to do, there is lots here to satisfy every visitor.

Goa holiday

The lure of a Goa holiday

Part of Goa’s immense charm lies in its unusual heritage. As a former Portuguese colony, every aspect of life from architecture to cuisine is the ultimate in cultural fusion. Panaji, or Panjim, is the state capital and the place to explore Goa’s rich history, with the church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception being one of the most famous landmarks there. Just a few miles upstream is Old Goa, which was the original Portuguese capital. The stunning ruins of the city have largely been reclaimed by nature, making for a truly memorable excursion. These cultural influences extend to the cuisine, too. Goan food is well known for being a delicious mix of Portuguese and Indian flavours, redolent with spice, vinegar and soothing coconut. Unlike much of India, drinking alcohol here is not particularly frowned upon, though it can be harder to obtain during State occasions such as elections.

Beautiful beaches

One of the big draws of a discount holiday to Goa is that you can combine exploration of this fascinating country with a relaxing beach break. In part due to its Portuguese heritage, Goa has a far more laid back attitude than the rest of India to sunbathing. Consequently you will find plenty of travellers making the most of the spectacular beaches. Baga and Calangute are two of the most popular hotspots and have the best facilities. But if you really want to get away from it all there are almost thirty others to choose from along the coast, including Palolem and Mandrem. Anjuna has come a long since the 1960s, when it garnered a reputation as something of a hippy stomping ground but is still well worth a look, not least for the truly amazing Wednesday market where you can pick up all manner of bargains.

Plenty to do

Many come to Goa in search of inner tranquillity and there are certainly plenty of yoga retreats to try. Take some time out with a relaxing body massage or simply soak up Goa’s charms. There’s a livelier side to Goa too in the form of a thriving dance and music scene. Several popular trance festivals are held here, including Sunburn and Supersonic. Head down to one of the beach raves at New Year for dancing, fireworks and plenty of fun. If lounging in the sunshine seems too relaxing then you can also try one of the many outdoor activities on offer, such as para-sailing or white-water rafting. There are also numerous pretty scuba diving sites.

Whether you want a beach vacation that offers a little more, or a trip to one of the world’s most fascinating countries, a Goa holiday fits the bill.

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