Top 17 places to visit in Goa
The list of best places to visit in Goa is never-ending but I have tried shortlisting the top places. Goa is located in western India and is most famous for its beaches. Coastlines of Goa stretch across the Arabian Ocean and this benefits the tourists as they can enjoy 50 different beaches, each offering a unique experience.
Goa has a long Portuguese history and apparently, this is in favour of the travellers too. History lovers can visit the 17th-century churches and know about the cultural tropical spice plantations. Moreover, there are several villages, Portuguese mansions, Latin quarters and Forts that add on to the historical appeal of the city. Old Goa is home to most of these UNESCO world heritage sites, making it a must-visit place in Goa. Along with this Goa is an amazing destination for adrenaline junkies too. I’ll talk about that in my next blog: top things to do in Goa.
If you are looking for a perfect trip to go with friends?
Or a honeymoon destination to celebrate your love?
Trying to find the perfect destination for a family vacation?
Goa is the answer to all!
Despite Goa being small in geography, it has a lot to offer. The state of Goa is home to one of the craziest parties, beautiful resorts, trekking routes, waterfalls, wildlife sanctuaries and obviously the 50 world-famous beaches. Places to visit in Goa cannot be counted in numbers. Goa has so much to offer that I can bet it can quench the wanderlust of every traveller.
I can certainly say that Goa is one-of-a-kind place in India and that’s why it experiences so many international and domestic tourists. I’d say, a tour in India is incomplete if you don’t visit Goa. If you are planning a trip and you haven’t visited Goa, don’t think much GO GOA. Here is a list of the top 17 best places to visit in Goa:
TOP BEACHES TO VISIT IN NORTH GOA
1. CALANGUTE BEACH: QUEEN OF BEACHES
If you are looking for the perfect beach-vibe visit Calangute beach in North Goa. Calangute Beach ranks as one of the most recommended beaches in Goa and is also the largest beach in Goa. You will find many stalls lined on the sides, selling everything from beers to souvenirs. Moreover, you can get a perfect tan here. Calangute beach is also ranked in the top ten bathing beaches around the world. However, due to its sheer popularity, this beach is usually crowded with tourists from all over the world. So, go early, find a perfect spot under the sun, grab your favourite drink and enjoy sunbathing in Goa.
2. BAGA BEACH
This beach is located in North Goa and is one of the most popular beaches. The Baga Beach in the north stretches towards the Calangute Beach. This makes it one of the longest sandy shores in Goa. Just like Calangute beach, commercialization has taken over this beach too. At this stretch, you can literally find anything you are looking for. Be it beach shacks, pubs, restaurants, shops, nightclubs, water adventure sports, Baga Beach has it all. Moreover, Baga is the home to the two most famous Goa nightclubs: Tito’s and Cafe Mambo. Read my blog nightlife in Goa for more information regarding these night clubs.
Moreover, there are several amazing places to visit near Baga Beach:
- Baga River
- Medicinal Spring
- The Sea Curve
- Kesarval Springs
3. ASHWEN BEACH
Unlike the other beaches in the north, Ashwem Beach is an exception. Located about from Anjuna Beach, this is one of the cleanest and least crowded beaches of Goa. When you are at this beach you will automatically be at peace. Moreover, you can enjoy eating at restaurants scattered near the beach. If you are looking for a peaceful beach in Goa, this is the right option for you.
4. ANJUNA BEACH
Visit the freak capital of the world- Anjuna Beach. This beach is one of the most popular tourist places in Goa. It’s famous for its full moon (acid house) parties, trance music, hippie culture, the music of the west and the craziest parties in the whole of Goa.
Best time to visit: Anjuna Beach blows out into a riot of colours each Wednesday at 11 am!
TOP BEACHES TO VISIT IN SOUTH GOA
5. AROSSIM BEACH
Looking for a good travel destination in South Goa? Visit Arossim Beach!
Relax under the swaying palm trees and enjoy in this peaceful paradise. You will witness very few tourists at this white sand beach. Meaning you can have an undisturbed feeling of solitude. Located at a distance 12 kilometres from Margao, this beach is also home to two very popular beach shacks: ‘The StarFish’ and ‘The Venus’. Spend an evening while dining at one of these shacks and enjoy the view of the setting sun.
6. AGONDA BEACH
Located in the South Goa, Agonda Beach is famous for serenity and peace. When you visit you will find a long stretch of palm trees facing the rocky outcrops in the south. The place is isolated and I’d say it is a perfect picturesque beach in South Goa. Despite being so separated from the beach world of Goa, Agonda Beach has developed infrastructure! You can enjoy all the facilities like bars, restaurants, cafes, yoga centres, massage parlours etc. Do visit the Fort Agonda, it’s a highlight for the beach. You can also book a stay in the Agonda Resorts and enjoy the beauty of the Arabian Sea and richness of the history of the Agonda fort.
FORTS IN GOA
7. FORT AGUADA
It is located on the Sinquerim Beach in North Goa. When built-in 17 century, Fort Aguada acted as the chief defence of Portuguese against the Dutch and Marathas. In 1864, a deep dry moat and a 13-meter high lighthouse were constructed in the Fort. After this, the fort was also used for loading fresh water to the ships that stopped here. Interestingly when you visit the fort, you are also visiting the largest jail in Goa. Some buildings of the Fort remained in good condition and were later converted into a jail.
Fort Aguada is one of the best places to visit in Goa. When you visit the fort you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the shoreline, the Arabian Sea, Mandovi River, and even the city of Panaji!
8. CHAPORA FORT
If you are looking for places to visit in goa apart from beaches, Chapora Fort definitely tops the list. Located in North Goa, this fort is very close to Vagator Beach. The Fort is almost in ruins now but is still well known for the amazing views of the river and the coastline. Moreover, Chapora fort housed the shooting of the Bollywood blockbuster ‘Dil Chahta Hai’.
The views are so beautiful that I can say Chapora Fort is one of the best places for photos in Goa!
HOLY PLACES TO VISIT IN GOA
9. BASILICA OF BOM JESUS
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site where the body of St. Francis Xavier was laid in 1622. This Church was constructed in baroque style in 1605 and holds a lot of sacred value for Catholics.
- Timings: 9.00 am — 6.30 pm
- Distance from Panaji – 12 kilometres by the NH748
Bom Jesus Basilica is one of the most important tourist attraction in Goa. Catholics from all over the world visit this ancient church in Goa. When you enter the church you will find the Saint’s body in a glass mausoleum. Do visit the gallery of Modern Art in Basilica.
10. CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Also known as the ‘Immaculate Conception Church’, is located in Goa’s capital Panaji. The history of this church is quite symbolic for the old Portuguese sailors. In 1541, it used to be a Chapel but later in 1619 the church building was established. Since then, the church has undergone several revisions and improvements but the authenticity of the original building remains. Every year on 8th December, there is a massive feast. Many locals and almost all the tourists attend it if they are in Goa on that date.
- Timings: 10 am — 12.30 pm and 3:00 pm — 5.30 pm
If you are visiting the ‘Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception’, do visit the Mandovi Bridge too. It’s located near the church.
11. SHRI MANGESHI TEMPLE
Witness the 450-year-old Mangeshi Temple, situated in Mangeshi Village in Priol. The main deity in the temple is God Mangesh. Devotees from all over the country come to visit the temple. The temple is made of several domes, balustrades, assembly hall and a sculpture of ‘Nandi’ (the divine cow) also resides here. When you enter the temple you will find a majestic seven-story ‘deepstambh’ and an ancient water tank. Chandeliers of the nineteenth century add on to magnificent beauty of the temple. Mangeshi Shrine is reckoned to be one of the largest temples in Goa.
Best time to visit: There are several festivals during the year. The temple is beautifully lit and festivals are celebrated with pop and show.
ISLAND IN GOA
12. DIVAR ISLAND
Experience the true essence of originality by visiting the uncommercialised Divar Island. When you enter this island you will feel like you are visiting the countryside of Goa. Moreover, this is a party island too. Bonderam is one famous festival that inhibits a lot of tourist footfalls.
How to reach the Divar Island? Located across the Mandovi River, the island can easily be accessed via ferry from Viceroy’s Arch in Old Goa.
BEST LOCAL MARKETS IN GOA
13. SATURDAY NIGHT MARKET
Visit the trail of shops in the Arpora Night Market. You can literally find everything in this so-called ‘world’s local market’- from unique handcrafted goodies to international designers, vintage items to latest jewellery and a lot more. This market attracts a lot of hippies because of its artisan atmosphere and live concerts. You should definitely plan a visit to this local market in North Goa. I’d recommend you to visit this is after spending a day at either Baga Beach or Anjuna Beach, it’s approx 4 km from both the beaches. Moreover, this market is also featured in a lot of Bollywood movies too.
Opening Timings: 4 pm to 11 pm
BEST PLACES TO SEE WILDLIFE IN GOA
14. COTIGAO WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
It is located 60kms south of Panaji and is Goa’s Second Largest Wildlife Reserve. This will be one of the most unique wildlife reserveS you would have ever visited. You can find Sloth Bears, Laughing Hyenas, Indian Bison and a lot more amazing wildlife. Walk in the woods and enjoy the silence descending in the sanctuary.
15. SALIM ALI BIRD SANCTUARY
Explore the presence of species like mudskipper and black drongo in the mangrove forests of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. It is located on the extreme western end of Chorao Island. This sanctuary is a good reason to escape into the wilderness!
PANAJI: THE CAPITAL OF GOA
Panaji is one of the best locations for local sightseeing in Goa. Overlooking the Mandovi River, Panaji is one of the best places to enjoy solitude in Goa. You can find a mixture of culture and traditions of Goa. Panaji is the perfect spot to settle down on the last night of your trip and reflect on the amazing memories. Unlike other capitals of India, Panaji is free from the maddening rush, pollution and hustle and bustle of the city.
16. LATIN QUARTERS
Enter a new world by visiting the old Latin Quarters of Goa. Walk down the narrow streets and witness the coloUrful houses with red-tiled roofs on both sides. Latin Quarters form a very important part of the history of Goa and it’s also one of the best photo spots in Goa. You will feel a Mediterranean vibe when you enter the place.
17. DUDHSAGAR FALLS (MEANING: SEA OF MILK)
Visit one of India’s tallest and most powerful waterfalls located on the Goa-Karnataka Border. Dudhsagar Falls can be seen from the train journey to and from Margao. You can also trek to the base of the falls. I would personally recommend trekking as you can enjoy various viewpoints along the way. It is compulsory to take the trek through Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park.
Best time to visit: Monsoon
To know about the top things to do in Goa read my next blog!