Airport guide

Airports in Goa

Goa - a tiny state on the west coast of India - is best described as the Ibiza of the east. Hedonists, hippies and naturalists have all flocked to this mellow beach resort since the 1960s, but in the last eight years it’s become one of the hottest destinations, prompting visits from jet-setters and celebrities who travel there to enjoy Christmas or New Year's on the beach. One unique characteristic that differentiates it from other parts of India is the alluring mix of Indian and Portuguese and its laid back ethos of "Sossegade", Portuguese for "Take it easy."

Although the Portuguese left in 1961, Goa had been colonised by them for nearly 500 years leaving behind a strong influence. Most of the locals still speak the language, but it doesn’t stop there. Many Goans are Catholic with last names such as D'Souza and Miranda; the food has distinct Portuguese flavours and the homes are enriched with European features.

If you’re booking a flight to Goa with a view to hitting the beach then you’ll be spoilt for choice once you get there. Most visitors head to the Baga-to-Calangute area which is packed with beach shacks and tourists. But for a taste of the more serene sandy stretches, Agonda and Galgibaga are both breathtaking.

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Goa climate

Near the Arabian Sea, Goa’s climate is humid for most of the year.May tends to be the hottest month with temperatures reaching the mid-30s (Celsius), and the humidity builds until the start of the monsoon season in June. Running through September, the monsoon season brings both rain and cooler temperatures. October to February, Goa’s temperatures can drop to the 20s.

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When to fly to Goa

Peak Season:
The best time to book a flight to Goa is October to February, and the busiest months are December and January.  

Off Season:
The monsoons and summer heat make June through September the low season.

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Getting around Goa

Motorbikes are the most popular mode of transport in Goa, and the state is small enough that a motorbike may be all you need. If you prefer a larger vehicle, you can rent a Jeep.

Driving in cities in India is not recommended. Many visitors hire a car and driver by the day to get around. Taxis and auto-rickshaws are also available, and auto-rickshaws are considerably cheaper. In either case, remember to either make sure the driver will use the meter or negotiate the fare before you get in. If you make a one-way trip to a remote area, you are expected to pay for the return trip.

Taking a local bus provides a tour for the cost of the fare. These buses stop whenever someone needs to get on or off; if you are in a hurry, take an express bus.

If you like being on the water there are several boat cruises including sea-going excursions, backwater cruises, island cruises, dolphin cruises, and snorkelling trips.

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Goa insider information

  • The most famous things about Goa are its beaches and hippie vibe. The smallest state in India has much to offer a sun-lover: most of the coastline is a long string of idyllic beaches. The South has traditionally been the most popular, but the North has lots to offer, especially as the beaches are less busy.
  • If you want to travel from one beach to another, getting a train is the easiest means of transport. Schedules are not frequent though – often only a daily service is available – and most depart early in the morning. Whenever you arrive in a new town, therefore, it is worth checking what time the trains depart for your next destination.
  • Old Goa, known as Velha Goa in Portuguese, was the capital of the state until 1961. A Unesco World Heritage site, it contains a wealth of historic buildings. Don’t miss the Basilica of Bom Jesus, built in 1695 and said to hold the remains of St Francis Xavier, the Jesuit missionary.
  • In the more popular beach resorts, such as Anjuna, be prepared for lots of attention from hawkers on the beach. You’ll be offered everything from massages and hair braiding to drugs. Make your lack of interest clear straight away; even the smallest encouragement makes it hard to escape.
  • Panaji is the current capital of the state, and usually the arrival point for most travellers. Spend a few days here, if you have time, to enjoy a relaxed pace of life and some impressive architecture dating from the Portuguese heritage.
  • There are many festivals and events taking place throughout the year in Goa. One of the biggest is the feast day of St Francis Xavier, held on December 3 every year. Thousands of people flock to the Basilica Bom Jesus to kiss the relics.

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Goa airports

The main airport for travellers taking flights to Goa is:

Goa International Airport (GOI). The airport is located two and a halfmiles from Vasco da Gama to the northwest and three miles from Dabolim to the east.

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Oonagh Shiel
Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!
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    In-flight reading

    The Essential Goa Cookbook

    Maria Teresa MenezesOne of the big draws of Goa is its excellent food. Use the cookbook to recreate some of the best recipes when you get back home, and imagine you’re still by the beach…

    Goa: Paradise-on-Sea

    Annabel LopezA history of the state, its people and the food, by an admirer.