Goa is the ideal destination for a beach holiday with a difference. Yes, there’s the a multitude of incredible beaches, each with its own unique vibe and personality, but there is also a rich culture here too; and it’s all topped off with the wonderful colour and charm that makes India such an amazing place to visit.

Breathtaking views are the norm here. Juicy tiger prawns are par for the course. Colonial architecture is everywhere. It’s red hot all year round. To sum it up, this place has the lot.

So if you’ve had enough of the Balearics and want to explore somewhere completely different without straying too far from golden sands – it is a holiday, after all! – then Goa is the place you should go to.

1. The beaches

Well, what else would you expect to come in at number one? The beaches in Goa are known for their beauty, but it’s the sheer choice in offer that really sets this destination apart from your average sun, sea and sand resort.

There’s a stretch of sand here for all kinds of beach bums, whether you like to party barefoot, want to curl up in a secluded cove with a book or need to be pampered as you bask in the sun.

Agonda in South Goa is three km of peace and quiet – there’s nothing to do here but relax, and that’s just the way we like it. There are no hawkers allowed so you won’t be bothered. You can rent a hut a stay right on the beach if you want to!

If you’re keen to re-live your nomadic backpacker days, then Palolem is the beach for you. The chilled-out atmosphere of the north end and the rowdy nightlife of the south end combine perfectly to make this a great place to party, drink and forget about any worries you have – they are not welcome in Goa!

For luxury, Varca, Cavelossim and Morbor are the beaches you want to head to. These sands are close to all the upmarket areas of Goa where you will find the best shopping, fanciest accommodation and most exclusive beaches. Get yourself a massage, you deserve it.

2. The food

The level of seafood dishes that are available in Goa are truly incredible. Lobster, tuna steak, tiger prawns; you name it, you can find it here, and it’s fresh out of the sea. Fish is a mainstay of most Goan dishes, and it is often offset perfectly with creamy coconut milk and intense local spices.

So many beachside restaurants are starting to emerge in Goa due to its blossoming foodie scene; it’s not too difficult to find a top place to eat, whether you’re after a light snack or an evening meal.

Fish vindaloo and kingfish are two must-trys in Goa, and they are a staple part of the Indian diet here. For veggies and those who go a little green around the gills at the sight of a freshly caught crab, Goa’s Hindu heritage means that there are plenty of dishes available sans meat.

3. The scenery

Goa isn’t just about the beaches. In fact, the stunning scenery that surrounds the coastline here is equally impressive, and a great reason to visit this part of India in itself.

From the lush mountains that stretch back from Palolem beach to the inland treats like the  Dudh Sagar waterfall near Panaji, there’s so much to see and explore in Goa that spending a little time away from the sand is highly recommended.

The river that cut through Goa’s interior have helped create a verdant region, especially around the Sahyadri mountain range, which is an area worth exploring as well.

4. History and culture

Goa has a unique culture that stems from its Portuguese occupancy in the 16th century. As a result of this, you will find wonderful Colonial architecture in the cities as well as many ornate churches and Indian temples.

The region is a fascinating mix of Indian, Portuguese and Islamic styles, all of which add to the fascinating charm of Goa. Some of the best architecture can be found in Old Goa, which stood at the Portuguese capital of India until the 18th century.

The Se Cathedral and the Basilica of Bom Jesus are two buildings of note that you should visit, and when you see them you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to western Europe – it truly is a fascinating place to visit.

5. It’s cheap

Although you may have to spend a little more on your flights, you can actually be very frugal in Goa while still making the most of the finer things the state has to offer.

To really make the most of the long distance, why not combine a visit to Goa with other parts of India on a multi-centre holiday? India is quickly becoming the new place to travel to, and there’s good reason for it. Experience the magic of this wonderful country today.

Nadine Brown Company Director

Nadine is one of the directors of eShores. She left school at 16 and went straight in to a travel agency. Over the 30+ years she has worked in various sectors of the industry and has also worked as an overseas representative in both summer and ski resorts. She has also travelled to many countries from Europe to the Far East and USA.