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Goa is often the final stop on a traveller's tour of India, thanks to its incredible sandy beaches and year-round hot weather. It's the perfect place to relax, swim, soak up the sun and experience warm Indian hospitality. If you look at any top attractions list for Goa, you'll see that beaches dominate, so here are some of the best.
There isn't such a thing as a bad beach in Goa. They all boast white sands, clear blue seas and the same hot Indian sun. Agonda Beach is particularly popular as it's very calm and, unlike some other places, it's unlikely you'll get accosted by beach sellers. However, if you do want to pick up some souvenirs, there are a few little shops dotted about. The waters aren't too rough either, which means it's great for families travelling with kids.
If you'd prefer to lounge on a bed rather than a towel on the sand, you can rent one for a whole day for very little at Mandrem Beach. There are also huts selling drinks and snacks so you don't have to venture too far when you're in need of refreshments.
Cola Beach is very quiet and you'll often have it almost to yourself. Stay in a tent with bed, chairs, bathroom, etc., and look out on the beach, calm sea and the little lake – it's a really exclusive, unspoilt paradise that's well worth the journey through Canacona.
Another quiet retreat away from the crowds of tourists that flock to one or two beaches in Goa, Palolem Beach is clean and welcoming, and boasts great refreshments at the shacks and in the local hotels. Get your camera ready for the stunning sunset.
Panaji is the place to go in Goa if you want a day or two away from the beach to explore the art, architecture and history of this coastal Indian resort. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a beautiful, late-Renaissance religious building and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Old Goa. It's very famous within the Roman Catholic community across the world as it is home to St Francis Xavier's tomb. Find out all about this fascinating man and founder of the Jesuits.
Aside from the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa is home to a handful of churches left over from a time when the place was the main city of the Portuguese eastern empire in the 16th century. It's less than 10km from Panaji in northern Goa and a lovely, peaceful, historic place to wander around for a few hours.
In Panaji itself, head to the Shantadurga Temple, the Reis Magos Fort, and the incredible colours of the buildings in Fontainhas, with its relaxed garden town feel. Goa is mainly a haven for beach holidays, but it boasts a fascinating history too. Take a trip there for less with direct flights from London with lastminute.com.
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|Food and drinks||Prices average|
|Beer (0.5 litre)||£1.00|
|Meal at McDonald's||£4.00|
|Taxi starting price (normal tariff)||£1.00|
|1 summer dress in a chain store (Zara, H&M,...)||£31.00|
|1 pair of jeans (Levi's 501 or similar)||£27.00|
|Average monthly disposable salary (net)||£314.00|