For a holiday experience like no other, the adventurous traveller really should go to Goa. It may be the smallest province in India, but Goa offers visitors a huge variety of attractions and activities.
Here you can explore not one but two World Heritage sites, the convents and churches of old Goa and the Basilica of Bom. The latter is the final resting place of the patron saint of Goa, Francis Xavier, whose remains are unveiled to the public every 12 years. His withered body is surprisingly well preserved – with the exception of the arm that's on display in Rome and the missing toe which was bitten off in 1634 by an overenthusiastic fan.
Younger members of the family will be thrilled to have the chance to feed monkeys and ride elephants (and even bathe them) on a visit the Bondla Reserve, a mini zoo where you can see deer in their natural habitat, get up close and personal with crocodiles and wander through beautiful botanical gardens.
For more energetic types, Goa offers a huge variety of water sports, including windsurfing, sailing, parasailing, water skiing, banana boats, canoeing and scuba diving. And come nightfall you certainly won't be short of places to party, whether in the numerous pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and casinos, or at one of the many raves that take place on the beaches.
Goa is also ideal for those in search of unique souvenirs, crafts and artisan keepsakes, whether your tastes run to terracotta, brassware, shellwork or carvings. No visit here is complete without a trip to Ingo’s Night Market. Started by a German hippie, this has mushroomed into a huge enterprise with hundreds of brightly lit stalls selling everything from jewellery to delicious street food.
Finally, culture vultures will also find much to interest them. Many will venture to the popular excursion of Hampi, once believed to be the second largest city in the world. The former medieval capital of the Hindu empire Vijayanagara, it remains one of the most spectacular sights in the whole of India, home to the remains of over 500 temples, palaces and ancient markets.
If you're planning an exciting trip to Goa, Cosmos offers a range of affordable holiday package deals, with prices starting from just £245 per person. To find out more about Cosmos holidays to Goa and other fantastic destinations around the world, visit cosmos.co.uk.