Goa is a great destination for a holiday in India. Located on the West Coast of India, it has stunning beaches and a unique history that includes a strong Portuguese influence. This colorful past, along with its beautiful beaches and tropical climate, has made Goa one of the most popular places in India for vacationers. While on holiday, tourists can choose to stay in cheap guesthouses with basic amenities, in standard beach resorts or in private villas for rent in Goa that occupy some of the choicest stretches of coastline in the region.

Daytime attractions in Goa

Palolem Beach

Photo: Christian Haugen / Flickr

Goa is, first and foremost, a beach destination. Many tourists simply spend their time on the beach and in the water. With such idyllic stretches of seaside, who could blame them? Goa also has some lively and colorful markets, charming old town streets, historic forts and churches, unique Portuguese-flavored architecture, and interesting museums. All of these attractions are exciting enough to lure tourists away from the sea for an afternoon or two.

Evening attractions in Goa

View from Laguna Bar

Photo: Cosimo Roams / Flickr

Aside from being known for its beaches, Goa is known for its nightlife. Most people enjoy some after-dark fun during their Goa vacation. Bars are found throughout the territory, with many drinking and socializing spots sitting in popular beach towns like Palolem.

Where to stay while in Goa

Park Hyatt Goa Entrance

Photo: Ankur P / Flickr

Goa accommodations cater to different types of travelers. Though budget accommodations are more expensive here than in many other places on the Subcontinent, it is still possible to find guesthouses that offer pretty reasonable rates. Visitors can find something a little more luxurious if they choose a villa to rent in Calangute or in another popular beachside location in Goa.

Shopping while on Holiday in Goa

Vasco's Market

Photo: AaronC’s Photos / Flickr

Goa is, in many respects, a shopper’s paradise. No, you won’t find huge glitzy shopping malls or boutique-lined shopping streets, but you will find markets and you to bargain, so they will often quote higher prices at first). The Mapusa Market is a good place to find clothing and souvenirs (such as antiques). More modern retail stores, and a number of good bookstores are found in beach towns and in larger cities in Goa, so it is possible to simply go sightseeing at the traditional markets and buy your souvenirs at regular shops.

Other tips for a holiday in Goa

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

Photo: ptwo / Flickr

Most museums are located in Panaji (sometimes called Panjim in English) or in Vasco de Gama, two main towns in Goa. If you are planning to have an afternoon of cultural sight-seeing, heading to one of these population centers is a good idea. The beaches and towns are attractive, but Goa also has natural areas that offer a glimpse of the wildlife and landscapes of this part of India. Places like the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary are great itinerary additions for nature-lovers.

Have you been to Goa? Share your pointers with other tourists by using our comments section below.

Josh Lew
Josh Lew
Josh Lew has traveled widely in Asia and the Americas. He has contributed to popular travel sites like Gadling and Brave New Traveler and currently writes a weekly travel column for MNN. His work has also appeared on the websites of CNN and Forbes Magazine.

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