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Goa is incredible India in miniature. Not just because it is the country’s smallest state but also because it spent almost half a millennium ruled by the Portuguese, resulting in a spectacular fusion of Western influences and local traditions. It is here that you find kaleidoscopic culture, architecture and food combining to produce a rich, sensual experience. Add to this a sensational string of stunning beaches, and you have a perfectly formed paradise for pleasure seeking Yonderers. All the more inviting, after a fascinating but perhaps a little frenetic tour elsewhere in India.

Goa has come a long way since the heady hippy days of the 1960s. We’ve done our homework in Goa to discover countless coves, beautiful beaches and unsullied seascapes away from the scourge of mass market tourism. The north has been heavily developed and is generally busier, whilst the south still retains its sleepy charm and laid-back vibes. No wonder then that we generally spend our time in the south in keeping with our affinity with the fabled Goan concept of ‘susegad’, which literally translates as ‘a contented form of life existent in the state’.

That said, Panjim or old Goa is a mesmerising place, overflowing with Latin character, from its baroque architecture and whitewashed churches to dilapidated forts and soaring cathedrals. But it isn’t just bricks and mortar that provide a constant reminder of the European settlers. The Indo-Portuguese food in Goa, with its spices, smells and sensations, is like no other cuisine in India or in the world at large, for that matter.

When it comes to luxury hotels in Goa, our top tip is to head south. The more popular beaches of Candolim and Calangute in the north are densely packed with large impersonal resort style hotels, whilst the south generally has a feeling of space and tranquility, while, most importantly, remaining true to the Goan susegad philosophy.

Out and about

Most Yonderers come to Goa to kick back and relax at the end of a gloriously fulfilling but action-packed tour of India. Getting back on the sightseeing trail may not top everyone’s priority list but Goa has a lot to offer other than sand, sea, sun and spirituality. It would be remiss not to visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Panjim for a few hours to soak up the atmosphere. Grand colonial era buildings stand shoulder to shoulder with contemporary shopping malls and the maze of alleyways in the Latin Quarter are the impressive cultural legacy  left behind by the Portuguese.

The fact that Goa remained an important outpost of the Europeans for nearly 500 years is testament to its rich bounty of spice and fragrances. Today, Goa’s interior is just as rich as it was then, with verdant paddy fields and plentiful spice plantations producing vanilla, nutmeg, chili and pepper. It’s also blessed with hidden churches, roaring rivers and beautiful landscapes.

Eating and drinking

Goa is a foodie’s heaven. Could there be anything more enticing than the promise of fragrant spices, fresh seafood and a sensational blend of Indo-Portuguese cuisine? Goan specialities include xacuti (spicy chicken cooked in a rich red coconut broth) and vindalho (a fiery sauce made from garlic and vinegar), along with the traditional staple, usually eaten at lunch, of Goan fish curry and rice. The beach shacks are some of the best places to eat local fare, with many focusing on seafood and vegetarian dishes. Owing to Goa’s international popularity, there are plenty of restaurants that serve international cuisine, although the reliability of Western food outside our suggested hotels can be hit and miss.

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Tailor-Made goa Holidays


Off-the-shelf is off the menu at Yonder: from the moment you first get in touch you'll be in the hands of a senior executive who has spent years getting to know your destination first-hand. Other travel companies might talk a big game about expertise and customisation but, to blow our own trumpet for a minute, we're in a league of our own.

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Whether you are looking for the perfect hotel stay or to create an exciting itinerary tailored just for you, every last detail of your trip with Yonder is carefully crafted, including hand-picked hotels that we adore ourselves

Kerala & Goa Beach Escape

Kerala & Goa Beach Escape

18 Days | From £3,590 PP (Inc. Flights)

Visiting: Kerala, Goa, Munnar, Cochin, Mumbai

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Golden Triangle & Goa

Golden Triangle & Goa

13 Days | From £3,800pp (Inc. Flights)

Visiting: Agra, Goa, Jaipur, Delhi

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Ganges to Goa

Ganges to Goa

15 Days | From £4,985 (Inc. Flights)

Visiting: Varanasi, Agra, Goa, Jaipur, Delhi

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Postcards from our previous clients

David Edwards

We booked our India holiday through Yonder and they delivered from start to finish. From their choice of hotels (all great,...

Dan Lawrence

Used Yonder recently for a holiday to Sri Lanka for my girlfriend and I and I have nothing but positive feedback for them.<...


From the time we first contacted them to when we arrived back from our holiday, Yonder delivered everything and more they p...

Harriet Partridge

Yonder exceeded all our expectations and sorted such an incredible honeymoon for us. Efficient, organised and personable wi...

Our Recommended Accommodation In Goa

Taj Exotica Goa

The Taj Exotica in southern Goa is the kind of hotel that will slow your heart beat to a tranquil tempo. Nestled into 56 acres of manicured gardens, with 800 meters of uninterrupted sandy beach facing the Arabian Sea and more f... View this hotel

The Leela Goa

Sandwiched between a turquoise lagoon and the azure ocean, The Leela Goa is a slice of paradise that very few hotels can match. Add in Leela’s trademark service, beautiful rooms and a private golf course, and you’ll quickly... View this hotel

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