LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 17, 2012) - Whether you're in search of winter sun, planning ahead for next year's family holiday or simply need a short city break to recharge your batteries, there's a great selection of holidays available to book online with Monarch, including stress-free all-inclusive package deals offering great value for money.
There's a whole host of popular destinations from around the world to choose from, including Mediterranean favourites like Portugal, the Canaries and the Balearics, but if you're looking for something a bit more exotic, why not consider a place where Portuguese and Indian cultures merge: Goa.
Goa was the first Portuguese colony in Asia, and - in contrast to the rest of India, which used to be dominated by the British - it retains a unique easy-going feel, which has drawn millions of visitors over the years. It has also become increasingly popular with families, with plenty to keep the kids occupied, including a number of wildlife sanctuaries where little ones can enjoy elephant rides - and perhaps even bathe a baby elephant!
Goa's beaches are world-renowned, and most visitors base their holidays around a beach resort, choosing to stay in south, north or central Goa. In the north, popular destinations include Calangute and Baga, whilst Vainguinim Beach is an essential stop in central Goa, and Benaulim and Arambol are beach hotspots in the south.
However, Goa isn't simply defined by its beaches - culture vultures will also find plenty to pique their interest, and tourists from around the world, including many pilgrims, flock to Old Goa, where you'll see cream-coloured Baroque churches and the tomb of St Francis Xavier, a 16th century missionary, in the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The importance and beauty of this site has earned the town UNESCO World Heritage Status.
The famous flea market of Anjuna is also a must-visit, where you'll find crafts and produce from all different parts of India. Similarly, you won't want to miss the grand fort of Aguada, constructed in 1632, which boasts the first lighthouse built in Asia, or the Sri Mangueshi Temple - an architectural representation of Goa's mixed Mughal, Hindi and Portuguese influences.
Although the average temperature in Goa is just above 30°C all year round, the best time to visit is during the dry season (November to April), making it an ideal destination for a spot of winter sun.
If you're planning on jetting off to India, Monarch offers a wide range of holidays to Goa to suit any budget, starting from just £484 per person. Choose from a variety of high-quality resorts, hotels, villas and apartments to create your perfect holiday package.