- If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney
Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea. Its long history as a Portuguese colony prior to 1961 is evident in its preserved 17th-century churches and the area’s tropical spice plantations.
India's smallest state – slightly bigger than Devon – is tucked into the south-west coast of the sub-continent. It makes up for its diminutive size through the diversity of its 1.4 million-strong population and the wealth of experiences on offer in the region.
Although small, the state is among India's richest, largely thanks to tourism. The big attraction is more than 80 miles of coastline, and India's most sophisticated mass-market tourist industry: Indian culture is given a Goan twist, and strange foreign practices are tolerated more readily in Goa than in the rest of India. But if you delve deeper you will find plenty of culture and history, and some seductively accessible nature.
Conquered by the Portuguese in the early 16th century and returned to Indian rule only in 1961, the state has a Lusitanian air in everything from the architectural relics to the names of businesses. The resumption of Indian rule coincided with the development of the image of Goa as a hippy haven in the 1960s, and its allure has continued.