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Book a flight to Goa with Qatar Airways and discover beautiful beaches and colourful villages. It may be India’s smallest state, but Goa packs a big punch. Golden beaches, lush palm groves and more than 100km of pristine coastline make this destination a picture-perfect getaway. Traces of its Portuguese colonial era still linger in its culture, architecture and cuisine, giving the area a character distinct from the rest of India.
Whether you want to engage in white-knuckle escapades or Zen-inspired recreation, there’s something in Goa that will tickle your fancy. In a town where the locals are warm and the laid-back vibe is contagious, what more can you ask?
Join more than 1 million overseas visitors who make the trip to Goa each year to soak up its rich culture and exotic cuisine. For many though, the state’s crowning glory is its unspoiled beaches, some featuring golden sands, others white.
Old Goa, located around 9km from Panaji, the state’s capital, holds a significant place in Indian history. It was a thriving city in the 16th century and was the seat of power of Portuguese India, until it was abandoned in the 18th century due to a deadly epidemic. Some of the old structures still stand today, and the area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you want to see some prehistoric petroglyphs, head to the village of Usgalimal. Here, you will find over 100 distinct rock engravings dating back to the Palaeolithic or Mesolithic eras, some 30,000 years ago.
Get mesmerised by nature, when you visit Dudhsagar Waterfalls – or “sea of milk” in Hindi – on the Mandovi River. The spectacle is more than 1,000 feet, and from a distance the water appears white, like milk, giving it its name.
Goa’s beaches have long been admired by visitors from the West. Arambol Beach in North Goa draws large crowds and is accompanied by an ever-growing host of restaurants and shops. There are still plenty of quieter seaside havens though, such as Asvem Beach, Vagator Beach, Calangute Beach and Paolem Beach.
Scuba diving is a popular activity between October and May, while there are also opportunities for paragliding and jet-skiing. The end of May and the start of June are the best time for surfing in Goa.
It is also possible to see local wildlife such as cobras, pangolins and macaques at the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. Alternatively, you can rejuvenate your senses by booking a spa treatment with any of the resorts or hotels in the state.
Prepare your taste buds for an invigorating fusion of Indian and Portuguese flavours. The state’s long coastline means that seafood is a key component of many traditional dishes, while rice is also an everyday staple. If you’re a fan of curry, you may have already tasted some of Goa’s culinary creations, such as the famously hot vindaloo.
There are plenty of restaurants and traditional eateries in the state. The choices range from the high-end dining in Panaji to the multitudes of homely, yet exotic, seafood shacks along the west coast.
Travel to Goa and you’ll find a wide range of shopping experiences. In Panaji are large bookstores, craft markets and food emporiums selling spiced lamb sausages, roasted cashews and other local delicacies. Margao, Goa’s second largest city, also has an eclectic range of markets to explore.
In Old Goa you will find ample opportunity to pick up souvenirs to commemorate your travels.
Essential facts about Goa
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip