The tiny state of Goa, located halfway down India's western coast, has long been renowned for its natural beauty: golden sandy beaches, coconut groves, vibrant green paddy fields and dense forests. Venture within and you'll find an intriguing blend of East and West: 450 years of Portuguese rule is still evident in its mix of religion, cuisine and architecture, and baroque churches and grand mansions dot the landscape.
Goa has retained a laid-back feel, the people are friendly and it's relatively safe. There are some great little hideaways ranging from simple beach cabanas to stylish small hotels and Portuguese mansions. It's good value, too; eating out is cheap and seafood is abundant. Combine this with the warm sunshine, and it makes an ideal winter getaway.