Goa Guide - Brought to you by TUI

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Discover Your Smile!

As part of the buzz around the new name, TopCashback and TUI have teamed up to provide you with an exclusive series of travel guides written by travel blogger Matthew Hirtes for some of TUI’s most popular destinations – so whether you’re looking for a seaside excursion or a city break, our guides will point you in the right direction.

Our latest guide covers Goa, where India meets Portugal. And don’t forget, you can earn earn exclusive cashback  when you book your holiday in Goa with TUI.

Attractions: There’s more to Goa than beaches and clubs, you know. Like the Western Ghats’ Dudhsagar Falls, a waterfall which from afar looks like cascading milk and one which creates pools which are a great way to beat the heat. And the often overlooked capital Panaji, dominated by the pearly-white church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

Beaches: Around the same size as Devon, Goa boasts more than 100km of shoreline. Go off grid at Ancona Beach in south Goa where you’ll see cows grazing by day and turtles nesting by night. In the north of the state, appreciate the ebony of the lava rocks and the ivory of the sand at Chapora Beach.

Drinks: Just like popcorn, you can choose to sup your kokum juice, squeezed from the purply-red fruit of the same name, salty or sweet. Frothy feni, a potent brew unique to Goa, is available in cashew and coconut varieties. On the lager front, beers don’t come much crisper than locally-produced King’s Pilsner.

Eats: You’ve probably sampled carrot cake but how about cucumber cake, a steamed speciality of Goa more commonly known as tavsali? Offering a hybrid of Indian and Portuguese cuisine, samosas, for example, are called chamuças in Goa. And dare you try the less sweet-and-sour/more sour-and-spicy shark ambot tik?

Events: Visit Goa in late December or early January and you’ll be in time to watch the colourful pilgrimage of Fatorpa Zatra, complete with four days of chariot processions. Portugal’s influence on the Goa party scene can be witnessed in February/March when a Rio-style Carnival takes place on the streets of capital Panjim. And in the Catholic Sao Joao Festival on the 24th June which despite, or maybe even because of, taking place in the rainy season sees locals pay homage to St. John the Baptist by jumping into wells.

Hikes: It’s during this monsoon period that Goa most rewards trekkers who can enjoy the state at its most verdant and refreshing. Goa’s version of the Peak District is in the north. Visit Sattari to enjoy the views from the vantage point of the Vaghera Mountains.

Souvenir: Tattoos are not for life in Goa if you opt for the traditional black henna designs. Seashells, meanwhile, are used for a wide selection of gifts including jewellery and paperweights. And to bring a bit of colour to your home, how about investing in some azulejos (painted tiles)?

Sport: Goans love their sport. Their favourite team games are football and hockey. Then there are more traditional sports such as biyanni, with two variants involving cashew nuts which test competitors’ dexterity and throwing ability.

Hotels: If you’re looking for a poolside spot, the Novotel Resort Donna Sylvia is a great choice, located next to one of Goa’s biggest pools. That’s not it’s only plus point – you also get an amazing view of Cavelossim’s white sandy beach. The Alila Diwa Goa is another great choice with two top restaurants and an infinity pool, plus it’s near one of Goa’s most untouched beaches. And if you’re looking for a spot with plenty of activities, the Heritage Village Club is another great choice – and it’s located in a peaceful spot near one of Goa’s biggest beaches.

Your Say:

Lynn Deere


Go to Goa where the people are fab and the views speak for themselves.

Amanda Quinn


Visit Goa for the perfect holiday. You will get to meet the friendliest people in the most relaxing of destinations. The food is fantastic, so take clothes with plenty of lycra.

Claire Lomas


Just explore and don’t be scared of travelling on different forms of transport. We did Tuk Tuks and river boats. They were all amazing and helped us to see a lot of Goa.

Matthew Hirtes has been based in the Canary Islands since 2004. He uses it at a base to cover Spain and beyond for the likes of Condé Nast Traveller, Telegraph Travel, and The Huffington Post. Matthew's favourite cities worldwide are his metropolis of birth, London, San Francisco (keg parties on Ocean Beach), and Seville (love those free oranges).
Posted on 22 Dec 2017  |  Posted in  Travel
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