Goa is India's smallest state, and is located in the west of the country. It has an incredibly long history and is arguably one of the most interesting places in India, given that it was under Portuguese dominion for over four centuries (until 1961), which has created a blended Portuguese-Indian culture in the region. Old Goa was the Portuguese heart of the state, and its cultural impact can be seen today, with many churches (such as Basilica of Bom Jesus with the relics of St Francis Xavier, the church of St Francis of Assisi and the Cathedral) still standing today: this historical city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely worth a Goa flight. No city in the state is particularly large (over 100,000 people) and the main attraction for tourists are the 350+ small villages. This state is particularly famous for its beaches, such as Anjuna Beach, Palolem Beach, Morjim Beach and Chapora, though there are many more. The state only has one international airport serving all flights to Goa, linking the city with domestic and international destinations, such as: Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, London, Doha, Moscow and Dubai. If you're looking for a cheap flight from Gatwick or any other UK city, use our online flight comparison tool to find the best air tickets to Goa.
The airport is connected to various cities (Margao, Vasco da Gama, Panaji) by bus, rail and taxi, with varying travel times. Although there are many travel guides available with information about this state, the official state tourism board's website (http://www.goa-tourism.com/) provides plenty of information about the locations, what to do, what to see, where to sleep and gives links to easily book your holidays.The highlights of the year area arguably the festivals of Carnival (just before Lent in the Catholic calendar) and Ganesh Chaturthi: this is when most tourists visit the state. There are also many Hindu temples, and the most notable is probably the Shree Manguesh Shantadurgai Prasanna Temple, dedicated to Shiva. The Goan cuisine, mainly based on seafood, could not escape the blend of the Indian and Portuguese culture, with many local dishes mixing ingredients from these diametrically different countries. You will find typically Hindu dishes like fish curry, fish cutlets, khatkhate and many vegetarian dishes. The Portuguese-Catholic influence has brought, for example, canja de galinha (a chicken soup with rice) and balchão, curry with ingredients from Macao, another Portuguese colony in China.