Unwind on Goa’s golden sands
Spending a holiday in Goa without going to the beach is a sin. The majority of hotels place you a stone's throw away from a sandy surface meaning you can roll out of bed and into the sunshine on a beached lounger.
Varca Beach is centred across a 10km spread of sand and Baga Beach, Calangute and Candolim all share a spacious and vibrant 8km of golden sand so there is space to fit everyone.
Arpora is one of the only resorts that isn't beach focused but a short 10 minute walk along the Baga Creek estuary will take you out to Baga Beach.
Refreshing drinks and delicious foods are easily available at the numerous beach shacks in Goa. They present great opportunities to get comfortable and the west facing coastline presents the daily spectacle of the sun setting into the Arabian Sea.
Former Portuguese colony
Goa was annexed by India from Portugal in 1961 becoming the countries smallest region. Though now owned by India, there are plenty of remnants from the European rule with Portuguese churches and temples found across Goa.
Bogmalo is home to the famous Indian Naval Aviation Museum which features massive displays and exhibits of planes and weaponry.
Through the day you'll find that the beach is the most active area of most resorts. Boat trips, watersports or diving opportunities are offered by several companies by the coast and the warm Arabian Sea is a perfect pool to play in.
Monsoon season starts in June and lasts until September. Visit between October and May to experience optimum holiday weather.
After dark some resorts choose to take it slow with comfortable cocktail bars while others turn the volume up with late night clubs.
Baga Beach and Calangute are Goa's main party animals with a number of lively nightspots that blend Bollywood and western music. Club Tito is Calengute's late night spot while those who party in Baga Beach will want to take a taxi into Arpora where Club Cabana is hidden by the hills.
Larger towns like Vasco Da Gama, Panjim and even Margao offer a fantastic selection of shopping opportunities that mix established stores with Indian marketplaces. Many of the markets are worth visiting for the experience alone as they are a sensory overload of sights, smells and sounds.
One of the most popular is Arpora's Saturday night market where there is a central music stage surrounded by hundreds of stalls. Handmade goods of Indian and Chinese origin are sold in some parts while other areas present brand named clothing and high-end jewellery too.
While some of the beach venues may look like makeshift shacks, they're home to some of the most authentic and delicious Indian cuisine available. They utilise the local fishing trade by serving seafood while others serve Asian food from all over the continent, not just India.
Konkani is a popular dish with locals in Goa. Rice with fish curry encompasses the coastal and mainland Indian aspects of the culture. Portuguese influence is noticeable within curry dishes that include potatoes and tomatoes while there are many more chilli dishes in Goa thanks to the former rulers.
Accompanying drinks should include India's favourite beer Kingfisher and some sumptuous, but often pricey, Indian wine.
Direct flights from the UK will take around 10 hours to reach Goa but it is possible you will have a layover at another airport to break up the trip. Once you arrive, transfers to your resort will take up to an hour if you're heading north and 45 minutes if you're heading south. Bogmalo is based right by the airport and will take just 10 minutes to reach.
You can get around to the beaches, hotels and restaurants of each resort on foot. Getting out of town is a little harder if you don't hire a car but there are taxis and buses available.
Tour operators offer long trips to out to famous Indian locations like Mumbai and Bangalore, both of which can take up to 10 hours to reach.