As you start your descent into Dabolim International Airport, Goa’s just a tiny sliver of coastline on the south-western extremity of India. But this postage-stamp state is overflowing with enough world-class attractions to rival its much bigger neighbours. The Portuguese influence in this former province singles it out from the rest of the subcontinent, not only for its glorious basilicas but also for its fanatical passion for soccer! Fabulous beaches and thriving nightlife have put flights to Goa firmly on the map for travellers in the know.
Many international visitors fly to Goa via Mumbai and catch a domestic flight to Dabolim, so it’s possible to shop around for competitive deals. Direct flights naturally tend to be more expensive as they’re quite limited, although the convenience of non-stop travel may outweigh the extra cost. The tropical climate is at its most sizzling in May, accompanied by the extreme humidity that precedes the monsoons of summer. European visitors will find the temperatures more comfortable between mid-December and February. Prices tend to jump around local festivals such as Diwali and Christmas, while the Goan Carnival held at New Year brings an influx of revellers.
You’ll need to do a bit of digging to find cheap tickets to Goa, but perseverance will pay dividends. Air India runs a through-ticketed service via Mumbai or Delhi from London Heathrow with a flight time of somewhere between 14 and 22 hours, depending on transfer times. Jet Airways operates the Mumbai route at slightly keener prices, while Oman Air flies to Goa via Muscat and Qatar Airways via Doha, all from Heathrow. Qatar also offers a Manchester departure, while Etihad Airways goes from Edinburgh via Abu Dhabi and Mumbai. Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways run seasonal charters from London Gatwick and Manchester.
Dabolim is around 8 miles from the state capital Panjim on the outskirts of Goa’s largest city, Vasco da Gama. Most hotels provide free airport transfers or can arrange private transport for guests in advance. The taxi rank outside the international terminal caters for independent journeys, or if you’re travelling light and feeling adventurous why not test your navigation skills on the local bus network. For destinations further afield, the Konkan Railway runs from Dabolim station to Margao in South Goa and Tivim in North Goa.
The majority of Goa’s tourism is focused on its sparkling coastline, with beach resorts supplying the last word in luxury. It might be hard to tear yourself away from this palm-fringed paradise, but you’ll be richly rewarded. The jewel in Goa’s crown is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, awarded UNESCO World Heritage status as one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in India. Climb to Pilar monastery, an important site of pilgrimage with stunning panoramas over the Arabian sea, be dazzled by traditional Goan theatre, or hit the street market in Mapusa for local crafts and spices to enjoy back home.
Fare, taxes & fees: Fares were found on ebookers.com and are updated daily. They include all taxes and fees, except baggage fees.
Refunds/changes/cancellations: Itinerary changes, if permitted for the fare, will have a £25.00 / 45.00 Euro service fee charged by ebookers, plus any airline fare and tax increase that may be applicable.
Other conditions: Schedules, fares and rules are subject to change without notice. Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights/dates or in all markets. Fares will not be honored retroactively or in exchange for any wholly/partially unused ticket. Tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. Fare rules are provided for the selected itinerary before booking.