Goa’s sparkling seas and golden beaches fringed with swaying palms have provided an increasingly mainstream holiday destination since the hippies first discovered its charms in the 60’s.
This tiny slice of India offers a dream setting for a relaxing break. Once a Portuguese colony, Goa today offers an exotic destination that is full of European charm. Whether its pampered luxury, a holistic yoga retreat, a hedonistic rave or the chance to soak up the sun from a simple beach hut, Goa can cater for all travellers, and is increasingly popular with families.
Browse colourful bazaars by day and dance the night away, but don’t forget to also hike into lush green jungles, explore gushing waterfalls, be amused by the antics of monkeys and walk the ancient cobbled streets of colonial towns.
Blessed with 10 hours of sunshine every day, Goa’s average temperatures varies between 25 and 30o C. May is the hottest month of the year and a popular time to visit, but Goa is pretty popular all year round.
Cheap flights to Goa aren't common, but the price of your flight tickets should be cheaper between October and April, although around Christmas and New Year things get busy and prices rise.
The off-season for Goa is between June and September, when the monsoon hits. July is by far the wettest month but you are likely to be caught in tropical downpours throughout this period.
Your best bet to secure the cheapest flight to Goa is to make sure you book your flights early. The earlier you book the more choice there is – and it’s this choice that helps to keep the airfares low.
However, there are a number of other options you can explore when you search with Expedia.
One of these is to consider booking a flight to Delhi or Mumbai and then organising a connecting flight down to Goa. This can sometimes throw up a number of options for your flights and significantly reduce the costs.
If you use our ‘Show flexible dates’ feature when you search for flights you can quickly reveal if booking your flights on a different day will offer significant savings.
You can also check if ‘Nearby airports’ offer more convenient flight times or a cheaper airfare. If you are flying from a London airport it’s always worth selecting ‘All London airports’, rather than just one, to see if carriers using an alternative London airport offer lower-priced fares.
Finally, it is often the case that booking a package holiday to Goa is cheaper than arranging flight and accommodation separately, and sometimes cheaper than flight alone, so this is another avenue to explore.
Here are some sample flight times from UK airports to Goa:
Goa International Airport is often referred to as Dabolim Airport, as it is located in this city. It is the only international airport in Goa, although a new airport is currently under construction and scheduled to take flights from 2020.
Goa Airport is just two miles from the city of Vasco da Gama, 15 miles from the popular resort of Margao and about 20 miles from the state capital Panjim.
Most tourists arriving in Goa will have a shuttle bus arranged by their hotel. If you do not have this your best bet is to use the prepaid taxi booth outside of the airport to arrange a fixed-fee transfer.
There are bus services available to certain parts of Goa, but the buses can often be unreliable and are nearly always very crowded. Similarly, there is a train station under a mile from the airport but, unless you have experience of using India’s railways this is probably not advisable.
The carriers offering cheap flights direct to Goa include:
There are many more often connecting flights via Delhi or Mumbai – so check to see if a connecting rather than direct flight is more convenient and offers better value for money.
Undoubtedly the quintessential way of getting around in Goa is by rickshaw. These three-wheeled marvels can be flagged down just about anywhere and are powered by a noisy two-stroke motorcycle engine. Ideal for short hops, but not comfy for longer trips, you’ll come to know and love the sight of these yellow and black vehicles with a high-pitched horn.
Taxis are widely available for town-hopping and can also be hired for a full-day’s sightseeing. Make sure you firmly agree on a price beforehand, though.
If you’re travelling out of state the Indian railway service is remarkably efficient, but make sure you have booked tickets in advance.
Old Goa is a Unesco World Heritage Site, also known as the Old Capital of Goa during the Portuguese Regime. One of the churches known as the Basilica is famous for holding the remains of St. Francis Xavier, who is the Protector of Goa. Step back in time to the colonial era with a visit here.
Head south for Palolem’s scenic beach where rocks and islands jut out of its surrounding waters. The water is calm here so there are many watersports on offer.
To get a feel for the Hindu religion visit Shri Mangeshi Temple in Ponda. It’s one of the most beautiful temples, and one of the most revered in the state. Dedicated to Lord Siva the temple is designed with typical Goan flourishes.
UK visitors to India need to apply for a tourist visa in advance of their visit. This can be achieved online. Tourist visas are valid for 60 days and cost approximately £45 per person.
You may also need to show officials your return tickets and evidence of sufficient funds for your holiday.