Places to visit in Goa: The smallest state in India, Goa will never cease to surprise you. Lying on the western coast of India, Goa is famous for its endless sandy beaches, warm sunsets, mouthwatering eclectic seafood, stellar nightlife, and architectural marvels.
Goa is the smallest state in India and has been a Portuguese territory for almost 450 years, hence the prevalence of Portuguese architecture.
Beautiful churches, ruins of forts, colorful houses, and oyster shell windows are elements of the kaleidoscope of Portuguese Goan architecture.
You can reach Goa via air. Goa has an operational International Airport providing service for both domestic and international flights.
Goa is well-connected with well-constructed roads. National Highways run through the state. Goa has well-connected railway lines, one run by Konkan Railways and the other by South Western Railways.
Goa has ports handling international trading. You can visit the state all year round because of its maritime climate.
Do not miss out on the following experiences while you are in Goa-
01. Explore The Stunning Beaches In Goa
The North Goa beaches of Baga and Calangute are the most popular choices among Indian tourists. Popularly known as the ‘Queen of Beaches, ‘ Calangute is the longest beach in North Goa, stretching from Candolim to Baga.
Baga Beach is ideal for experiencing the gleaming nightlife of Goa. It has signature places like Mambos, Britto’s, and Tito’s nearby.
The Anjuna and Arambol beaches are known to attract foreign crowds. A hippie paradise with nightclubs, flea markets, and full-moon parties, Anjuna Beach is known for its golden coastline.
The beautiful and serene Arambol Beach has a bohemian feel to it.
The Beaches in South Goa are relatively unexplored but extremely beautiful, like Palolem and Agonda. Palolem is famous for its Dolphin spotting cruise.
South of Palolem is the Butterfly Beach of Goa. Also known as the Honeymoon Beach and is surrounded by dense greenery.
The beach is shaped like a butterfly, and the dense trees attract various butterflies.
The beaches in Goa are a hub for adventure sports like scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, windsurfing, water scooters, kayaking, waterboarding and kneeboarding, water skiing, kite surfing, aqua zorbing, soccer, and a lot more.
The beaches look dreamy in shades of aquamarine and shimmering horizon. They have beautiful bars, beach shacks, and beautiful nightlife.
The closest airport to the various beaches in Goa is The Goa International Airport, 19.8 kilometers from Calangute Beach.
02. Visit The Basilica Of Bom Jesus – known as Old Goa Church
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Basilica Of Bom Jesus is known for its exemplary baroque architecture. This is over 408 years old and is visited by tourists every day.
It has an interesting art gallery which is supposed to be the largest on the continent. It houses various Italian paintings.
St. Francis Xavier died on 3rd December 1552. His uncorrupted body is a miracle and attracts millions of visitors every year. Check out the official website for more information https://www.bomjesus.org/
Timings- 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.
The closest airport to The Basilica Bom Jesus- The Goa International Airport.
03. Go Crab Catching In Goan Backwaters
Crab catching is no child’s play but one of the most adventurous things to do in Goa. Homemade nets called ‘Kobblem’ are set up in the backwaters for catching crabs.
Crab catching is a popular activity in the Goan backwaters, and there are several places where you can go for it. Some of the popular spots for crab catching in Goan backwaters are:
- Divar Island: Divar Island is a picturesque location with a scenic backwater ideal for crab catching. You can hire a local guide who will take you to the best spots for crab catching and provide you with the necessary equipment.
- Chorao Island: Chorao Island is home to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary but is also an excellent spot for crab catching. You can rent a boat and explore the backwaters or hire a local guide to take you to the best spots.
- Zuari River: Zuari River is one of the largest rivers in Goa and is an excellent location for crab catching. You can hire a local guide to take you to the best spots and provide the necessary equipment.
- Mandovi River: Mandovi River is another popular location for crab catching in Goa. You can rent a boat and explore the backwaters or hire a local guide to take you to the best spots.
- Baga Creek: Baga Creek is a serene backwater known for its abundant crab population. You can hire a local guide to take you to the best spots and provide the necessary equipment.
It is recommended to go crab catching during low tide when the crabs come out of their burrows and is easier to catch. Also, it is important to be respectful of the environment and not to disturb the natural habitat of the crabs.
04. Take A Walk Through The Spice Plantations
Take a stroll through the fresh aromatic spice plantations in Goa. Sahakar spice farm and Savoi plantation are must-visit destinations in Goa.
Goa is home to several spice plantations, some of which are:
- Sahakari Spice Farm: Located in Ponda, Sahakari Spice Farm is a popular spice plantation that offers guided tours. Visitors can see a variety of spices being grown, including cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, and nutmeg, and can also enjoy a traditional Goan lunch.
- Pascoal Spice Village: Pascoal Spice Village is located in Keri, near the border of Goa and Maharashtra. The plantation offers guided tours where visitors can learn about the different spices grown on the farm, including vanilla, cloves, and turmeric.
- Tropical Spice Plantation: Located in Ponda, Tropical Spice Plantation is spread over 10 acres and offers guided tours. Visitors can see spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg being grown and can also enjoy a traditional Goan lunch.
- Savoi Plantation: Savoi Plantation is located in Ponda and offers guided tours where visitors can see a variety of spices being grown, including black pepper, vanilla, and cinnamon. The plantation also has a restaurant that serves traditional Goan food.
- Rustic Plantation: Located in Keri, Rustic Plantation offers guided tours where visitors can see a variety of spices being grown, including turmeric, ginger, and black pepper. The plantation also has a restaurant that serves traditional Goan food.
Visitors to these spice plantations can learn about the different spices grown in the region, see how they are cultivated and processed, and sample some spices and traditional Goan cuisine.
Timings of the spice plantations- The times are usually between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Here are some other places to visit in Goa.
05. Visit Cabo De Rama
Cabo De Rama is a historic fort and popular tourist destination located in the southernmost part of Goa, India. The fort is situated on a hilltop overlooking the Arabian Sea and is named after Lord Rama, who is believed to have spent time here during his exile.
The history of Cabo De Rama dates back to the 16th century when the Portuguese captured it from the local ruler. The Portuguese then used the fort as a military outpost to guard against attacks from rival powers, including the Marathas and the British.
Today, Cabo De Rama is a popular tourist destination due to its picturesque location and historical significance. Visitors can explore the ruins of the fort and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and the Arabian Sea. The fort also has a small chapel dedicated to St. Anthony, still used for religious services.
Cabo De Rama is about 25 kilometers from Margao and can be reached by car or motorbike. The best time to visit the fort is during the winter, from November to February, when the weather and the sea are calm.
The Portuguese captured this fort multiple times and used it as their military base. A small chapel at the entrance- the Church of Santo Antonio- is used for feasts.
Timings- 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.
The closest airport to Cabo De Rama- The closest airport is the Goa International Airport which is 33.5 kilometers away.
06. Visit The Flowing Cascade Of Milk
Dudhsagar Falls is a four-tiered waterfall on the Mandovi River in the Sanguem taluka of Goa, India. The falls are one of the tallest waterfalls in India, with a height of around 310 meters (1017 feet), and are a popular tourist destination.
The name “Dudhsagar” translates to “sea of milk” in Hindi, derived from the white foam the water creates as it cascades down the rock face. Lush green forests surround the waterfall and are a part of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park.
Visitors can reach the falls by taking a train or hiring a jeep or a taxi from nearby towns. The trek to the waterfall involves a 14-kilometer walk through dense forests and streams. Hiring a local guide for the trek is recommended, as the route can be challenging and slippery during the monsoon season.
During the monsoon season, the water flow at Dudhsagar Falls is at its peak, making it a spectacular sight. However, swimming and bathing in the waterfall is not recommended due to the strong currents and the presence of crocodiles in the area.
Dudhsagar Falls is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The waterfall and its surroundings offer breathtaking views and a chance to experience the natural beauty of Goa.
Best time to visit the Dudhsagar Falls- June to September.
The closest airport to Dudhsagar Falls- The Goa International Airport.
07. Go On A Full Moon River Cruise In Goa
River cruises are popular in Goa, allowing visitors to explore the scenic backwaters and enjoy the traditional Goan culture. Some of the famous river cruises in Goa are:
- Mandovi River Cruise: The Mandovi River Cruise is one of the most popular river cruises in Goa, offering visitors a chance to enjoy live music, Goan folk dances, and a traditional Goan dinner on board. The cruise offers views of the city’s skyline, including the Adil Shah Palace and the Reis Magos Fort.
- Santa Monica Cruise: The Santa Monica Cruise is a daytime cruise that offers visitors a chance to explore the scenic backwaters of Goa. The cruise includes a guided tour of the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and offers views of the churches and temples along the banks of the river.
- Sunset Cruise: The Sunset Cruise is a romantic cruise that takes visitors along the Mandovi River during the sunset. The cruise includes live music, Goan dances, and a dinner buffet.
- Casino Cruise: The Casino Cruise is a popular river cruise that offers visitors a chance to enjoy gambling, live music, and a dinner buffet. The cruise provides views of the Mandovi River and the city’s skyline.
- Backwater Thrills Cruise: The Backwater Thrills Cruise is a popular river cruise that takes visitors through the narrow backwaters of Goa. The cruise offers views of the mangroves, the birdlife, and the fishing villages along the banks of the river.
River cruises in Goa are usually available throughout the year and can be booked online or through local tour operators. The best time to take a river cruise is during the winter, from November to February when the weather and the sea are calm.
Experience the stunning and gleaming natural beauty of the beautiful river waters in Goa on a moonlit night. Sip wine and experience a mystical experience.
Perfect for couples, the full moon river cruise is ideal for a romantic dinner.
08. Explore The Vibrant Markets In Goa
Goa is known for its vibrant markets, where visitors can shop for souvenirs, handicrafts, clothing, and other items. Some of the famous marketplaces in Goa are:
- Anjuna Flea Market: The Anjuna Flea Market is one of the most popular markets in Goa, held every Wednesday in the Anjuna Beach area. The market offers a variety of products, including clothing, jewelry, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
- Mapusa Market: The Mapusa Market is a daily market held in Mapusa, offering a variety of fresh produce, spices, clothing, and household items.
- Calangute Market Square: The Calangute Market Square is a bustling area near Calangute Beach, offering various products, including clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, and beachwear.
- Panjim Market: The Panjim Market is famous in Panaji, offering various products, including spices, clothing, jewelry, and handicrafts.
- Margao Municipal Market: The Margao Municipal Market is a daily market held in the town of Margao, offering a variety of fresh produce, seafood, spices, and handicrafts.
- Mackie’s Night Bazaar: The Mackie’s Night Bazaar is a famous market held every Saturday night in Arpora. The market offers a variety of products, including clothing, jewelry, handicrafts, and food.
These are just a few of the many marketplaces in Goa. Each market has its unique character and offerings, and exploring them can be a fun and memorable experience for visitors.
The market also hosts live music performances. You can also relish some fantastic seafood and beer on the beach.
Timings of Anjuna Flea Market- 8 am to 9 pm.
09. Walk Through The Goan Caves
A walk through the surreal Goan caves is a must for your visit. These caves have their own natural and historical significance. Arvalem Caves, the Rivona Caves, and the Lamgau Caves are known for their striking beauty.
Goa is home to several ancient and historical caves, and popular tourist attractions. Some of the famous caves in Goa are:
- Arvalem Caves: The Arvalem Caves, also known as the Pandava Caves, are located in the village of Sanquelim in North Goa. These six rock-cut caves date back to the 6th century and are believed to have been used by the Pandavas during their exile.
- Rivona Caves: The Rivona Caves are located in the village of Rivona in South Goa. These seven rock-cut caves are believed to have been used by Buddhist monks for meditation.
- Lamgau Caves: The Lamgau Caves are located in the village of Bicholim in North Goa. These caves date back to the 10th century and are believed to have been used as a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- Khandepar Caves: The Khandepar Caves are located in the village of Khandepar in North Goa. These rock-cut caves are believed to have been used by the followers of the Nath sect for meditation.
- Netravali Caves: The Netravali Caves are in the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary in South Goa. These rock-cut caves are believed to have been used by Jain monks for meditation.
- Surla Caves: The Surla Caves are located in the village of Surla in North Goa. These rock-cut caves date back to the 6th century and are believed to have been used by the followers of the Shaiva sect for meditation.
Visiting these caves can be a unique and exciting experience for visitors to Goa, as they offer a glimpse into the state’s rich history and culture.
From exploring the mystical beaches and caves to quenching your adrenaline rush with adventure sports, Goa is a perfect destination to escape into a world of adventure and beauty. Don’t miss out on these experiences in Goa.