Goa is the smallest state of India by area. However, it is one of the most popular holiday destinations in all of Asia. Acting as a melting pot for Indian and Portuguese cultures, it is home to an incredible mixture of religions and festivals which can be seen here at their finest. Hordes of tourists descend on this small stretch of land between the months of October to April each year, but it is always worth a visit considering its rich history and wonderful landscape.
Goa, India, has a tropical climate with long hot summers from March to June and the monsoon season lasting from July to mid-October. Rainfall is heavy, averaging 1000 mm per year.
Goa has varied terrain, consisting of beaches, hills, and valleys, making it a popular spot for hiking and other outdoor activities all over the state.
Goa is a popular holiday destination. Tourists enjoy its sandy beaches, rich culture, and cuisine, distinct nightlife, and casinos. There are also many historical sites in Goa India that attract tourists from all over the world.
Some History of Goa
Goa India is a state in South-East India on the west coast of the country. It comprises two non-contiguous areas: the mainland to the south and the island of Goa to the north. Goa was colonized by Portugal in 1510, following Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route from Europe to India. The port city of Vasco da Gama is the capital of Goa. Portuguese influence in Goa has been declining since 1961 when a nationalistic government took power in Indian-administered territory. It finally ended in 1987 with the incorporation of the area to India after an armed struggle for independence by locals.
Here’s a list of the 34 Best Things to Do in Goa, India.
- 1. Calangute Beach, Goa
- 2. Fort Aguada
- 3. Anjuna Beach
- 4. Chapora Fort, North Goa
- 5. Thalassa Island
- 6. Basilica of Bom Jesus Church
- 7. Baga Beach, North Goa
- 8. Butterfly Beach, South Goa
- 9. Divar Island
- 10. Dona Paula
- 11. Arambol beach
- 12. Vagator Beach, North Goa
- 13. Sao Tome and Fontainhas
- 14. Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
- 15. Tito’s
- 16. Mambos
- 17. Club LPK
- 18. The Anjuna Flea Market
- 19. Palolem Beach
- 20. Colva Beach
- 21. Tiracol Fort
- 22. Arvalem Waterfalls
- 23. Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary
- 24. Sunburn Festival
- 25. The Goa Carnival
- 26. Church of Saint Cajetan
- 27. The Butterfly Conservatory
- 28. Sri Mahadeva Temple, Tambdi Surla
- 29. Church of St. Augustine
- 30. Savoi Spice Plantation
- 31. Iha Grande
- 32. Scuba Diving in Goa
- 33. Dudhsagar falls – Goa, India
- 34. Souvenir Shopping in Goa
Best Things To Do in Goa 1-10
1. Calangute Beach, Goa
Goa, India is one of the places that are visited by thousands of tourists all over the world. Many people come to Goa for sightseeing and some come to enjoy this place’s beautiful beaches. There are many beautiful beaches in Goa, but Calangute beach is definitely one of the most famous ones.
The white sands make the beach one of the most beautiful beaches around. The sand is so white, it almost blinds your eyes.
The crystal clear waters make it even more amazing. A lot of people come to swim in these beautiful waters every year, and they rarely regret going there. There are lifeguards watching over swimmers at all times because this place is very close to the Calangute town and there are a lot of people who wander into the water.
There is also a place where you can sunbathe and swim, or simply lay down on one of its many beach beds. There is also an attached restaurant where tourists can go and order food and drinks. It’s definitely the best place to be if you’re a tourist and want to see one of the best beaches in India.
The crowded beach is definitely something that tourists who come here should be prepared for. If you try going there during peak season (summertime), you will find it difficult to get an open space on the beach because it’s so crowded! If you don’t mind the crowd, this is definitely one of the better beaches to visit.
There are many other things to do in Calangute beach, Goa India.
How to reach Calangute beach
Visitors can go by train or bus to the town of Usgao, which is less than 20 kilometers away from Calangute beach. One can easily rent a taxi for this short trip for just 50 rupees. If you can’t speak English very well, hiring a taxi is the best idea for reaching the beach because it’s just too difficult to explain where you want to go in person. Another option would be pre-booking your room in Calangute town and staying there for the duration of your trip. If visitors do decide to live in the town, you can easily walk to the beach during your stay there.
This is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in India, so people who are looking for a nice beach with great food and atmosphere should definitely choose this one! You will not regret it.
2. Fort Aguada
Fort Aguada is a star fort on the western coast of India in Goa. The first fort was established by the Raja of Bicholim and was taken over by the Portuguese in 1609. Fort Aguada was erected to guard against the Dutch, Marathas, and pirates.
It became an important trading port at that time and was one of the main centers for the import and export of goods to Lisbon.
The construction of a new, larger fort began in 1612 on a rocky promontory overlooking the Arabian Sea south of Old Goa. It was finished around 1613 and included a chapel. In 1894 this second fort was demolished and the third smaller fort was built. The fort is square in shape with bastions at three of the corners and a tower where shots and guns were positioned.
It has a lighthouse in one corner and quarters for soldiers and officers. The walls, which in places are ten feet thick, have round towers along with them. There is an underground tunnel to link the lighthouse with the fort.
The Fort Aguada Lighthouse is one of the most important lights along India’s western coast, standing at 117 feet tall. Built in 1612, it was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1739 when they were fighting against the Marathas and rebuilt in 1864. The tower stands on a cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea.
The Fort Aguada prison building, which is now in ruins, was used by the Portuguese to house Indian freedom fighters between 1826 and 1946.
3. Anjuna Beach
Anjuna Beach is one of the world-famous beaches in Goa. It is located near Mapusa city, north of the capital Panaji. This beach is also called the party capital of India because many festivals are celebrated here throughout the year. The nightclubs and discos become crowded with young people during the summer season. Besides this, Anjuna Beach is also famous for its scenic beauty and sunset view.
The beach is very beautiful, wide and clean. It has soft white sand that invites tourists to visit this place again and again. People go there to enjoy the calmness of the sea, sunbathe on the endless sandy beach, do fishing activities at the seashore, etc.
It is a very nice place for honeymoon couples. Many beach hotels are there which provide all modern amenities, comfortable rooms, and delicious food to their guests.
People can explore beautiful churches nearby also. The St Anthony’s church situated here attracts many tourists because of its unique Portuguese architecture. A large number of people visit this church during Christmas and Easter days.
Tourists can visit Anjuna Beach throughout the year, but they enjoy this place in its full bloom during the winter season (November to February). The summer season starts in March and continues till May. Fortunately, the monsoon season which lasts till September is very enjoyable too. This beach also provides many adventure sports to its visitors such as water sports, windsurfing, etc.
The nearest railway station is Thivim which is situated in Mapusa city, 14 km from Anjuna beach. Tourists can easily reach this place by hiring a taxi or auto-rickshaw. Buses also ply on the road between Mapusa and Anjuna.
4. Chapora Fort, North Goa
Chapora Fort is a Portuguese fortress in North Goa. The fort is located on the Chapora River, 40 km north of Pernem in the Indian state of Goa.
The fort was built by the Portuguese with laterite stone and lime.
Chapora Fort is notable for its semi-circular bastions and rugged outlines, built on the edge of a high cliff overlooking the Chapora river. There are half-moons at two of the angles.
This fort was a source of inspiration for the bandit queen – Virag Jani who became popularly known as ‘Chapora Queen’. The story goes that she used to lead her gang from this point and rob the rich traders going into Mumbai. One can also see a small chapel dedicated to Saint Sebastian, which is located on top of the fort. It was built by a Goud Saraswat family and dates back to the 17th century AD.
The fort is in good condition and has been restored recently. The fort can be reached from Pernem town, which lies just 2 km away.
The nearest airport is at Dabolim near Vasco da Gama, Goa.
5. Thalassa Island
The island of Thalassa is located off the coast of India in the Arabian Sea. While it can be visited using any boat, your best bet for getting to this exotic location would be one of the many cruise ships that regularly travel between India and Thailand.
Once you’ve arrived on the island itself there are plenty of things to do including snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming.
There are plenty of other activities available including dolphin cruises, fishing tours, and even a kite surfing course!
For those who want to relax there’s always the party scene as well as an exotic range of massage options to choose from.
While it is possible to visit Thalassa using your own boat, make sure you check the local tides before arriving because this can significantly change how much depth there is to the water!
So what are you waiting for? If you want to discover an exotic new beach where swimming with dolphins is merely one of many things on offer, Thalassa should be at the top of your vacation list!
6. Basilica of Bom Jesus Church
The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is one of the must-sees in Goa. Built to enshrine the remains of St. Francis Xavier, it’s arguably the most ornate church in all of India. The walls are covered with gold and intricate carvings depicting biblical scenes like the Last Supper. It attracts thousands of visitors annually and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is located in Goa, India. It was built at the behest of St. Francis Xavier’s last wish to be buried in the place where he had converted most people to Christianity. When his remains were dug out from its resting place in Salsette Island in the city of Old Goa, it was found that his body had hardly decayed. This is attributed to a chemical reaction or some kind of radiation emanating from the soil there.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is located at a distance of 10 km from Panaji in Old Goa, very close to another UNESCO World Heritage Site – The Basilica of Saint Francis Xavier. It’s said that the plot on which the church was built was procured for a meager sum and it took almost 200 years to finish its construction.
The basilica has an imposing façade built in an ornate Baroque style with Corinthian columns flanking either side. Its atrium is covered with a huge dome that towers above it. The walls are decorated with intricate gold paintings depicting biblical scenes. It’s said that the interior of the church has more than a hundred thousand such paintings done in gold lacquer to give an impression of dazzling beauty when illuminated by sunlight during daytime.
The main altar contains the tomb of St. Francis Xavier, who was canonized in 1622. Meanwhile, the casket containing his mortal remains lies below it. The tomb is enclosed with an ornate golden grill and also houses the tombs of Afonso de Albuquerque (the renowned Portuguese conqueror of Goa) and Brás de Albuquerque (his son). The side walls are decorated by paintings depicting St. Francis Xavier’s miracles and the martyrdoms of Afonso de Albuquerque and Brás de Albuquerque.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church attracts thousands of visitors each day, especially during the festival of St. Francis Xavier on 3rd December every year when they are accorded a grand celebration in his honor. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.
7. Baga Beach, North Goa
The Baga Beach is a famous beach in the North Goa of India. It is located on the border of Karnataka, from where the river Kushavati meets the Arabian Sea. The northern part of this beach belongs to Bardez Taluka, and the southern part belongs to Salcete De Goa. Many foreign tourists visit this place to spend some relaxing time.
One can reach Baga Beach by catching the local buses that run from Mapusa city. Taxis are also available, but not encouraged since they charge high during night hours. It is recommended for people to stay within their own group and hire taxis only at official rates. There are many resorts nearby which provide accommodation to the tourists.
There are lots of things one can do in Baga Beach. The calm and tranquil sea waves make a soothing sound that calms down every mind and heart. One can enjoy a nice evening by watching the sun going down near the seashore. People walk around in surprise because it looks so unique, amazing, and breathtaking.
One can also enjoy water sports like parasailing, surfing, and body-boarding. Baga Beach is a perfect place for people who love to play with water. One can do swimming in the sea which will refresh all their tiredness away after a hot day of work or sightseeing. There are huge rocks present near this beach which looks very beautiful. There are many small restaurants on the coast of Baga Beach that provide food and drinks to tourists. It is a perfect place for spending some quality time with family and friends as this beach is famous for its serenity, calmness, and peace.
There is also a huge temple called Shree Dev Bodgeshwar Temple in Baga Beach, Goa. One can contact the local people to get information about the timings and rituals of this temple. There are also many churches present near Baga Beach that attract lots of tourists. These beaches have a very rich historical background which attracts people from all across the world towards it.
People find solace in the tranquillity of Baga Beach which is not present anywhere else in Goa. It is one of the best beaches in India and is featured in many songs made by Indian music directors. People love to visit this place just for a walk on the beach, which refreshes all their tiredness away after a hard day’s work or sightseeing.
8. Butterfly Beach, South Goa
Butterfly Beach is a secluded beach located in the south of Goa, India. This truly remote beach can only be reached by a 40-minute motorboat ride from New Year’s Creek or a 3-hour walk down a jungle trail from Arambol. Rocky outcrops and crocodile-filled mangroves line the shoreline, giving Butterfly Beach a very wild and natural feel.
To reach the beach, follow the directions for Arambol. Once you turn off NH17 into New Year’s Creek village, just before the bridge look for a dirt road to your left (if you are facing the sea). This will take you down to the creek where there is always a small boat waiting to take you to the island.
An alternative route is via a 3-hour jungle walk from Arambol beach. It’s also possible to walk down, but this involves crossing two rivers and taking a path so overgrown it’s barely discernible at times. And you need to be able to find your way back too.
The route to the beach is also affected by water levels, and at times of high tide, it’s almost always better to take the boat. So before setting out you should ask around in Arambol or New Year’s Creek for current conditions.
As you approach Butterfly Beach you pass through dense mangrove forests with lots of crocodiles. It’s an amazing sight and well worth the climb out of the boat.
The island is uninhabited and surrounded by pure white sand beaches with crystal clear waters. This is a haven for all types of water sports and can get quite busy in peak season. At the far end of the beach, there are some secluded cottages on the hillside.
Butterfly Beach is a great alternative to Arambol, but it’s an even better idea to spend at least 3 days on this island ticking off some of the other beaches around here. New Year’s Creek village has lots of simple beach huts available and is only 10 minutes by boat from Arambol Beach for when you want a change of scene.
Butterfly Beach truly is a tropical paradise on earth and makes for the perfect getaway from India’s mainstream tourist spots.
9. Divar Island
Divar Island is an island off the coast of Goa, India. Divar Island should not to be confused with its sister island Chorao which lies about 1km away at low tide. Chorao is part of the Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar hill station in Maharashtra.
Divar has a population of around 1500 people. The main source of income for these people is fishing and agriculture. However, recently tourism has started to play a role in the daily lives of Divar’s inhabitants.
Divar Island can be reached by road or by boat. Visitors usually come here on day trips. There are several beaches on Divar Island, most notably Patto Beach.
The main mode of transport on the island is a three-wheeler auto-rickshaw which is shared between two people. As it only takes about 15 minutes to get from one end of the island to another it is an ideal destination for a day trip.
Divar has become a popular destination because of its beautiful beaches and the freshwater lake on the western end of the island called “Pattach Lake” or “Varada Lake”.
Divar Island, Goa is surrounded by the Arabian Sea in the west and the Indian Ocean in the east. The nearest city to Divar Island is Vasco da Gama, which lies about 12 kilometers away. There are no airports nearby, but the nearest airport is Dabolim Airport in Goa which is about 50 kilometers away. The closest town to Divar Island is Chicalim, which lies about 9 kilometers away.
10. Dona Paula
Dona Paula is a quiet coastal town in Goa. The town is famous for its serene beauty and the lush green hills that surround it. Dona Paula lies on the banks of River Kushavati, a tributary of the river Zuari. It has a well-developed tourism industry with many options for travelers to stay, eat, and relax.
Dona Paula has a lot of things that are interesting for tourists. The beaches in Dona Paula are clean and quiet places to relax with friends or family. Strolling along the shore is particularly nice on evenings when the sun sets over the Arabian Sea leaving a blaze of orange light in its wake. There are a number of water sports available in the waters off Dona Paula’s beaches, including parasailing and jet skiing. Nearby, there is a wildlife sanctuary with many species of birds that can be seen in their natural habitat. For hikers and naturalists, there is a national park filled with dense forests that have been known to harbor leopards, tigers, and other wildlife. (There are conflicting articles on whether the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary has leopards and/or tigers.)
Dona Paula truly is among the best tourist destinations in Goa. It’s a quiet beach town well-suited for people who want to relax, enjoy nature or partake in water sports. While it is less famous than other areas of Goa, Dona Paula has its own unique beauty that makes it worth visiting.
Best Things To Do in Goa 11-20
11. Arambol beach
Arambol beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa. It’s located at a distance of 30 km from Mapusa City and 14 km from Arambol Town.
This place attracts tourists mainly because of its scenic natural beauty and white sand. You can also enjoy some amazing water sports here along with nice food, fresh seafood, and resorts.
People visiting this place can enjoy surfing, paragliding, trekking, or just strolling on the beach. It is also a great place for Yoga and Meditation retreats in India.
Sightseeing spots in Arambol are Mandrem beach, Chinchollem fort, Dudhsagar falls among others.
12. Vagator Beach, North Goa
Vagator Beach is a small village which lies between Chapora and Anjuna beach, in North Goa. It is a sheltered bay on the west coast of India. The sands of this secluded haven are protected by high, wooded headlands at either end. It is located 10KM from Anjuna beach.
Vagator Beach is less crowded than other popular beaches like Calangute and Baga. The route to Vagator Beach is quite easy as it lies between Chapora fort – another famous fort of Goa – and Anjuna beach. It can be reached by road easily.
The other route to Vagator Beach is by boat or speed boat. Vagator Beach is a very popular destination for surfers as the waves of the sea are high and surfing is easy here.
The hill at Vagator beach has some decent food joints that serve Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisines. These places are pretty crowded during the tourist season. People just walk up to the hill and grab a seat at the first available place.
Vagator beach has got some party places too which are visited by international DJs during the tourist season here.
The best time to visit Vagator Beach is from December to March when Goa comes alive with parties, joyous people-gatherings, and some of the best beaches in India.
13. Sao Tome and Fontainhas
Sao Tome is part of the city of Panjim, Goa. It should be noted that Fontainhas and Sao Tome are two different areas- although it is possible to get lost if directions include the term ‘Fontainhas’. So it is recommended to use Sao Tome when in this area.
There are plenty of taxis in Fontainhas which can be hailed in the street or taken from taxi ranks. A local bus service, known as the ‘Baga-Panjim Bus’ runs between Baga and Panjim into Fontainhas until late evening. The service is regular and cheap. At weekends the frequency decreases and at night bus services to this area are very limited- so it is best to make alternative plans or catch a taxi from Baga.
A popular way of getting around Fontainhas is by bicycle. These can be rented from many shops in the area for nominal prices, although many shops will negotiate a good deal for long term rentals.
Where to Stay
Many budget hotels and guesthouses are situated in Fontainhas. It is worth noting that accommodation prices increase steeply during the weekend and holiday periods when tourism booms, so it is best to plan ahead if you want to take advantage of cheaper rates. The upper budget band is around Rs1500 per night for a double room.
What to See
Fontainhas has many prominent churches including the impressive Basilica of Bom Jesus, where the remains of St Francis Xavier are preserved. There are also several museums in this area, an art school, and galleries. The Indian consulate is based here and this is where the annual book fair is held.
Fontainhas also contains Panjim’s main market. It is regarded as one of India’s best markets for fresh seafood, fruit, and vegetables. There are also many great restaurants in Fontainhas that offer traditional Goan food at reasonable prices.
The area has plenty of cafes, bars, nightclubs, and shops. The more adventurous can try their hand at some of the many water sports offered- including surfing, kite surfing, and windsurfing. There are also plenty of yoga classes on offer.
Baga Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand within walking distance of Fontainhas. The most popular time to visit is the weekend when it can become quite crowded. There are many bars and restaurants along Baga’s promenade which offer drinks, food, and music late into the night.
14. Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is a Catholic church in Goa, India, which was built by the Portuguese in 1541. It is located at Conceicao Velha and it is one of the oldest churches in South Asia. The statue of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception was brought to Old Goa from Lisbon in 1541. A new chapel with the same name was built in 1835 to hold this statue. The feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is celebrated here every year on 8 December.
A new Church has replaced the old one, built at the same location, in early 1900 is still standing tall amidst modern buildings which are taller than it. The Church has got numerous paintings on its walls, the altarpiece is adorned with statues which are quite attractive to visitors.
A lamp called “Lamp of Brotherhood” burns day and night in memory of the Goan freedom fighters who were imprisoned and tortured at the Fort Aguada prison, just behind this church. Now a museum, this fort was built by the Portuguese to keep an eye on the Mandovi River, which at that time was used by trading ships.
The church is located close to St. Cajetan College of Commerce and Don Bosco High School, Miramar.
Tito’s nightclub is a unique place in Goa, India. The club offers everything from talent shows and parties to beautiful people and great drinks. Tito’s nightclub is known as one of the most popular nightclubs in Goa.
The club provides a sort of home-away-from-home for party-goers and travelers from all over the world. This is a place where you can meet people from different backgrounds and experience their culture first-hand. Also, this is a place where you can enjoy some of the most delicious cuisines on any of the beaches in Goa. At Titos nightclub, they offer Indian and international food and drinks that you will not be able to find anywhere else. They also offer a number of bars, dance floors, and outdoor areas which give party-goers plenty of space to dance the night away. Those who love sports can enjoy watching games on one or more of the televisions around the club. And of course, Titos nightclub is a safe place to party and have fun at.
Mambos nightclub is located in Goa, India. Mambos nightclub opens on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 pm to 4 am.
It serves Indian, Italian, Mexican, Asian & American food. There are two bars at Mambos where you can enjoy your favorite drink or beverage before you dance the night away. They also have a fully stocked bar with all your favorite shots and cocktails.
There is a huge dance floor with great lights, a sound system, and DJ that spins the best hits from across the globe. They have private booths where you can have a drink in peace or just go crazy on the dance floor.
It gets very crowded on Friday & Saturday night so it might be best to get there before 11 pm for dinner, drinks, and dancing.
If you’re into Hip Hop and House music then this is the place to be. The DJ here plays a lot of old-school Hip Hop, RnB, and House music that will keep you on the dance floor all night long.
There is a dress code at Mambos so dress to impress or you won’t get in.
They have special nights with Dj from Dubai and Indian celebrity appearances. Just stay updated on their Facebook page for daily specials and events.
Mambos nightclub is a great nightlife hotspot in Goa, India for students, backpackers, and locals. It has a great atmosphere with top music, lights & a sound system to dance the night away. With cheap drinks prices and good food all under one roof, it is well worth checking out if you are in Goa.
17. Club LPK
Club LPK is the most exciting place in the whole of India, according to Lonely Planet. The club is situated on Arpora Hill overlooking Baga Beach with spectacular views across the Arabian sea.
Club LPK offers partygoers a fun-filled experience like no other, drawing inspiration from Ibiza and Rio de Janeiro with its unique favela-style club perched up on a hill and supported by two massive open-air dancefloors, roof decks, a poolside bar, and an international restaurant.
The club has been voted “India’s Best Beach Club” for four consecutive years since opening in 2011. However, this accolade is fully deserved as the club provides a truly unforgettable experience to its partygoers.
Not only does the club offer one of the highest capacities in Goa with over 3,000 partygoers at full capacity, but it also plays host to some of the world’s biggest and best electronic dance music DJs. Such names include DJ Snake, Afrojack, and Axwell, while Tiësto held his 60th birthday here earlier this year.
Club LPK has become the new Ibiza for partygoers in India and is set to continue growing its international reputation as one of Asia’s most exciting clubs.
18. The Anjuna Flea Market
The Anjuna Flea Market is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Goa, India. With more than 500 vendors selling everything from clothing to jewelry, home goods to handicrafts, and food stalls that feature Indian delicacies along with burgers and fries, there’s something for everyone at this weekly market.
The market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday, with the majority of vendors arriving on Wednesday and setting up their tents starting in the afternoon. Most vendors are open to negotiation, so feel free to haggle for a better price if you see multiple stalls selling similar items.
You can easily reach the Anjuna Flea Market by hiring an auto-rickshaw or taxi from the closest major city, which is North Goa’s Mapusa.
It is also possible to take a bus from the state capital of Panjim or even catch a ride on one of India’s famous trains
19. Palolem Beach
Palolem beach is a favorite among the tourists that arrive in Goa for their holiday. This lovely stretch of sand located at the end of Canacona Taluka in South Goa borders the fishing village of Palolem with its rustic charm and natural beauty.
It is just 16 kilometers south of Chaudi, 3 kilometers north of Bogmalo beach, approx. 7 kilometers east of Mobor and 5 kilometers west of Reis Magos Fort which is now in ruins.
The confluence of rivers Zuari and Sal at this point adds to the beauty of Palolem Beach making it an ideal location for water sports activities. Several prominent resorts with restaurants, bars are located on the beach to satiate the appetite of hungry souls. The seafood restaurants serve up some lip-smacking delicacies at rates that are quite reasonable when compared to other areas in Goa. It is also home to several budget hotels, guest houses, and cottages ideal for backpackers.
As it is located on the fringe of South Goa, it is easily accessible from the capital Panaji as well as Margao. One can take a bus or taxi from either of these cities to reach Palolem Beach. The best way to plan a trip to Goa is via online portals which have all the information on deals and offers by various resorts and hotels.
20. Colva Beach
The most preferred beach in Goa, Colva is located in Salcete. It is about 7 kilometers away from Margao and at least 33 kilometers away from Panaji or Panjim. The place which was earlier known as Arrosim is now called I siolo de Silveira. Lage, a Portuguese citizen gave this place its name. Before the era of hotels and resorts, this place used to serve as a fishing town.
The beach is sandwiched between two hills which are also known as Colvale de Leste and Colvale de Oeste. The famous ‘Colva Beach’ is a majestic stretch of land with coconut trees on both sides of the road. The famous ‘Lighthouse’ is built at the end of the beach which attracts tourists during nighttime.
Colva was once a very simple place, but because of its serene beauty and nearness to capital city Panjim, it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Goa. This coastal town has everything you need – right from hotels, resorts to chai-shacks. The market offers different kinds of clothes, food items, and accessories that are made by local Goan artisans.
Colva is an ideal stay for those who want to relax in the lap of nature because it offers little shops selling clothes at good prices which you wouldn’t get in the capital city of Panjim.
Best Things To Do in Goa 21-30
21. Tiracol Fort
This fort is located right on the northernmost tip of Goa on the border with Maharashtra. Positioned on an isolated hilltop, it commands fantastic views of the surrounding coast from its ramparts, and from within looks down on a small fishing village that has grown up around it. This area is also known as Talpona, named after a Maratha chief who once controlled the region.
The fort was built in 1617 by a local Chieftain called Tiracol, however, this was later captured by Shivaji in 1665 when he invaded the region. He, however later returned it back to its original rulers in return for their help in subduing other local chieftains.
The fort was then taken over again in 1746 when the Marathas tried to invade Goa once more but were ultimately defeated at Assolna by the Portuguese. They then held onto it until 1961 when Goa became a part of India, where they used it at first as a prison before eventually abandoning it.
Today, its condition has deteriorated somewhat due to lack of care, however, it is possible to climb up the hill at certain times by your own steam using only the old stone stairway. Once at the summit you can explore the creaking ramparts which offer great views of Goa and its neighboring states, as well as over to the Isle of Divar just off the coast.
To get to Tiracol Fort from Panjim is a fairly easy task, taking either a bus or taxi from the city. You can also hire a scooter or a bicycle to get around, which is certainly the best way to experience Goa for yourself.
Traveling by bus from Panjim you have two options: either take an express bus that only stops at Tiracol Fort then returns straight away, or a local bus that continues down the coast to Taleigao before going back, which takes a little longer. I used an online journey planner in order to find out when these buses were running and how much they cost, so it is certainly worth checking this out yourself before traveling
The route from here will depend on your final destination in Goa, but it is possible to visit all of the main sites by using local buses. Tiracol Fort is situated close to both Ascoli and Terekhol, so if you are planning on traveling up there then this will be the easiest option. If instead, you are heading somewhere in South Goa such as Agonda or Palolem then you will have to change at the Margao bus station.
22. Arvalem Waterfalls
The Arvalem Caves and Waterfalls near the village of Banastarim in Goa, India make it a popular tourist destination. The first written reference to this waterfall is found in the Skanda Puran (eastern Hindu religious text) where it is described as having been created by Lord Shiva for his wife Parvati.
The way to the waterfall is quite easy, as there are two routes leading to the destination. One is through a forest path and another one is on foot via stone steps.
The first route leads through the forested region of Dagubhat, before turning into a narrow lane leading you to your destination. The path runs parallel to a small river. Most of the journey by this route is uphill, making it harder for people who are not fit or suffering from any medical condition or disability.
At the end, you will be welcomed by a splendid view of one hundred and fifty feet high waterfalls. On a clear sunny day, this place presents an extraordinary view, as the waterfalls and emerald green pool of water below will be seen reflecting the sun’s rays.
The foot route is popularly known as “Khind Path”. The entrance to this path is at a stone bridge that spans across an arm of the Zuari River. There are numerous hundred feet high Arvalem Waterfalls steeply cascading down the hill.
If you are brave enough, you can try to take a bath under the waters of the waterfall. The water is clean and clear, but the bottom is slippery, so make sure that you do not go too close to it or even venture to swim in it.
After having enjoyed your time at the waterfalls, you can head back to your place of stay or accommodation.
The Arvalem Waterfalls and Caves are one of the most visited waterfalls in Goa. Its main attraction is its large cascading waterfall which forms a spectacular scene especially when it’s raining heavily!
23. Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary
Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary in the Indian state of Goa. It was established in 1975 to conserve nesting birds like pelicans, cormorants, and migratory ducks. The inhabitants include spotted deer, jackals, otters, wild boars, leopards, etc. The climate is good throughout the year. There are other wild animals around like monkeys, pythons, and various species of water snakes. The vicinity of the source of River Sal is also a part of this sanctuary. It houses many rare birds like grey pelicans, cormorants, etc., which visit here in thousands during the nesting season. Thus the water birds and coastal ecosystem also help to protect this wildlife sanctuary.
Bhagwan mahavir is a popular tourist destination in Goa located near Monti village (Taluka Ponda, Goa). It lies on the foothills of the Western Ghats that is an ancient place with historical significance as this place is associated with the great legend of Tirthankar Bhagwan Mahavir.
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary derives its name from the ancient site that houses the relics of Lord Mahavir, who attained Nirvana here in around 500 BC. The religious importance of this place derives not only from the presence of these relics but also from a shrine dedicated to a Pandava prince, who is said to have accompanied Lord Krishna during the incarnation of Mahavir. The sanctuary lies in a small valley that comprises many springs and waterfalls amidst thick woods and grassy lawns. The lush green forest environs offer not only an ideal location for meditation, but also for adventure sports like trekking, rock climbing, and paragliding. Yatra is a well-known visit done by tourists.
Besides the religious significance of the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, it has great ecological importance too because it helps in conserving the fragile ecosystem surrounding the Western Ghats. The various waterfalls and springs within the sanctuary also add to its picturesque beauty and serve as an ideal location for picnics and adventure sports.
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is near Meskwaki village, which is 36 km from Panaji city in Goa, India. The place holds great religious significance with several Tirthas (religious centers) housing the relics of Lord Mahavir. The place is also popular for adventure activities like trekking, rock climbing, and paragliding.
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary has several waterfalls and springs within its vicinity adding to its picturesque beauty. The lush green forest environs offer not only an ideal location for meditation but also for adventure sports like trekking, rock climbing, and paragliding.
24. Sunburn Festival
Sunburn is an annual music festival. The first edition of the festival was held at Vagator Beach, Goa, in December 2007. Sunburn has since become one of Asia’s largest music festivals. It features different genres of music across multiple stages. As per MTV Iggy, it is noted for hosting consistently high-profile acts every year.
Artists to have performed over the years are Akon, Asher Roth, Bassnectar, Carl Cox, Daughtry, Deadmau5, DJ Snake, Ed Sheeran, Faithless, Fatboy Slim, Florence & The Machine, Flume, Guy Gerber, Hardwell, Krewella, Laidback Luke, New World Punx, Nicky Romero, Pete Tong, Robin Schulz.
25. The Goa Carnival
The Goa Carnival is an annual festival celebrated in Goa, India.
The carnival takes place four days before the Christian observance of Easter Sunday and is known locally by its Portuguese name ‘Carnaval’. The festival has become one of the most important tourist attractions in Goa. It attracts crowds from all over the world for four days of non-stop partying.
- 1st Day – Coral tree decorated in the streets of Panjim City
- 2nd day – Bamboo Tree Decorated Street Party around Panjim City
- 3rd day – Petromax Decorated Street Party around Goa
- 4th day – Golden Night of Carnival & Grand Parade through Panjim City
The Carnival has its origins in the European observance of Lent. Around 1564, the new Archbishop Dom Gasper Jorge Pinto transferred the old Vudi or pre-Lenten carnival celebrations from the streets into homes, forbidding dancing on steps and courtyards. Although this was not met with opposition, the Indianisation of the Portuguese Carnival was resented by some and led to a gradual “de-Europeanization” of this festival.
Modern Goa’s biggest Carnaval is held in Panjim City – the state capital. The parade takes place on Saturday night and features floats, majorettes, and dancers. On Sunday morning, the streets of Panjim swarm with costumed revelers and tourists. The houseboats on the Mandovi River become particularly lively.
Although all-night parties are commonplace, people generally observe Carnival proper by wearing costumes and masks and parading through the streets beginning after midnight on “Shrove Tuesday” (Ravivaḷi/Māṭavaḷa Padyami).
Costume parties are held each night of the four-day festival. The venues change every year but usually, there is the main venue in Panjim City and several others elsewhere around Goa. Popular spots to catch these events include Vivanta by Taj in Panjim, Holiday Inn (Margao), Ramada (Vasco da Gama), and The Goa Marriott Resort.
The golden age of the Carnival was probably the mid-1970s. At this time it consisted of four days of music, dancing, and drinking, with no restrictions whatsoever; people would dance all night in costumes that included gold-painted women, half-naked men, and others with their faces painted to look like animals.
The procession starts from D.D.O. and winds its way past Fontainhas and down to the Ribandar market area, where floats compete for cash prizes. On the final evening, the parade starts at Ribandar and continues through to Panjim City, where trophies are distributed.
In the past few years, the Carnival has been celebrated by family events in addition to all-night massive parties. In addition to following the traditional Corso (parade), the Carnival is also celebrated with themed Carnaval balls, beauty pageants, and concerts.
In Panjim City, there is a Carnival of Cultures in the Ribandar market area which features food from all over the world. Until recently, it was limited to this single area but now the carnival is celebrated right through the streets of Margao city too.
26. Church of Saint Cajetan
The Church of Saint Cajetan is one of the finest churches that has the relics of St. Cajetan. It is located on the beautiful Basilica Road, between St. Alex and St. Cruz church, Panaji (Panjim).
The Church of Saint Cajetan is also known as the ‘Cafe’ church. That’s because it has a small cafe on its premises where you can enjoy good coffee and snacks during your visits.
The Church of Saint Cajetan was completed in 1661, making it one of the oldest churches in Goa. Its original design was completed by an Italian Jesuit priest and it is believed that the church itself was based on Rome’s Santa Maria Della Vittoria church.
The Church of Saint Cajetan has a special place in the history of Goa as well as India. It has been witness to many great historical events. The church also has a museum that can be visited where you can see several artifacts from the past, including old paintings and furniture.
27. The Butterfly Conservatory
The Butterfly Conservatory is located in the village of Chandor, about 4km from Margao in South Goa. This butterfly conservatory is spread across two acres with several walkways to explore the various displays. There are hundreds of different species of butterflies that are maintained here. These include varieties like Blue Mormon, Common Jezebel, Indian Crow, and many more. This conservatory also has several local birds along with other forms of wildlife like peacocks, rabbits, and turtles.
• The Butterfly Conservatory is open daily for visitors between 10 am to 5 pm on all days except Fridays.
• This conservatory is open year-round and does not shut down due to monsoons or harsh weather conditions.
• The Butterfly Conservatory has a very well-maintained toilet facility that is kept clean at all times and can be used by all visitors.
• There are no food or drinks available at the Butterfly Conservatory, however, there is a canteen that serves snacks and items like tea, coffee, and soft drinks on the premises of this conservatory.
• The Butterfly Conservatory has a few guides who know all about the butterflies and can help you explore them more easily along with answering any questions you may have.
• There are many tour operators in Goa who organize daily trips to the conservatory, these can be taken as half-day or full-day trips depending on your preference.
• The best time to visit this place is between October and March when it is less humid and there are lots of butterflies walking around.
• This conservatory is very safe for children and the elderly. There are no dangerous animals or insects found here. However, it can get a bit crowded during weekends and might not be a suitable place if you want some quiet time.
The Butterfly Conservatory deserves a visit from all those who love nature and wildlife.
28. Sri Mahadeva Temple, Tambdi Surla
The Sri Mahadeva Temple, Tambdi Surla is a Shivalaya of Havyaka Brahmin tradition situated near the village Tambdi Surla of Goa district of North Canara region in the state of Karnataka. It lies on Mangalore-Honnavar National highway NH-17 and can be reached from Honnavar, Bhatkal, or Dharmasthala.
The temple is built in the Hemadpanthi style of Hindu temples by Nagara, Dravida, and Chalukya architectural influences. The building material used is Soapstone. There are many inscriptions found on the walls of this shrine that date back to different periods of Indian history, from the 10th century to the 16th century. The main deity is Shri Mahadeva (Shiva), called locally Sri Ugranarasimha. His consort Parvathi is called Sri Vidyavalli Thayar.
The wall paintings are in three different techniques; Fresco, tempera, and oil paint, which are found in two different layers. People can enjoy trekking to the top of this temple.
The Sri Mahadeva Temple, Tambdi Surla is one of the Panchalinga Darshana pilgrimage circuits in Karnataka. The other four temples in the line include Palimar, Kaniyuru, Kukke Subramanya, and Srikantheswara, or Kshetra.
29. Church of St. Augustine
The Church of St. Augustine was built in 1594 AD by the Portuguese as a part of their conquest and colonization of Goa from 1510 AD to 1640 AD, which is considered as one of the first European colonies in Asia. The church is believed to have been used as a chapel for Christian soldiers who were members of the Portuguese military stationed in Goa.
The Church of St. Augustine is around 14 meters tall, with the bell tower belonging to it rising up to 38.5 meters (127 feet). St. Augustine was built in Gothic style architecture and has its façade divided into three horizontal bands; the top part or frieze consists of seven openings, the second band consists of seven niches for statues, and the lowest part is plain.
St. Augustine Church has three altars with beautiful paintings depicting St. Augustine’s life on one side of the altar, whilst on another side of the altar are notable paintings dedicated to Our Lady Of Fátima also known as “Our Lady Of The Rosary”.
There is a small and rather plain shrine of St. Catherine de Ricci inside the church, as well as a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe in the place where she is said to have appeared on the wall of one of the chapels.
Although there are no written records remaining today to tell us about the original altar in this place, visitors can find a little niche where it is believed that an older image of Our Lady Of Fátima once stood.
The Church of St. Augustine is also known to have possessed relics of the True Cross, which are now preserved in another church.
It is believed that the original main altar was destroyed during an earthquake in 1619 and a replica of it was later made.
Today, the Church of St. Augustine’s main attraction is its beautiful ruins and sculptures, including carvings of musicians and animals such as elephants and birds on its pillars.
The church also has a fortress surrounded by a wall, which was built in 1717. There are many cannons on display to the public.
The Church of St. Augustine is known as one of the oldest churches in South India, and its façade has ornate carvings made from Portuguese stone sculptures. It exhibits unique examples of the art of the baroque in India.
The church interiors are simple and is painted with vivid colors, giving it a cheerful look.
One is able to see many wonderful old paintings inside this historic church, which portray its history. Visitors can also explore the verdant grounds of this church and wander around the church’s fortress.
There is a small museum that displays fascinating artifacts of Goa and Portuguese history, including some items dating back to as far as the 14th century AD.
The Church Of St. Augustine is located around 10 km from the Margao bus stand and 5 km from the Margao railway station. You can also take a taxi or an auto-rickshaw to reach this lovely old church.
After visiting the Church of St. Augustine, visitors may want to browse through some interesting shops that sell exquisite handicrafts, traditional Indian clothing, and many other items which are sold in colorful bazaars just outside the Church.
There are a number of restaurants, bars, and cafes within the vicinity that offer good food and drinks.
30. Savoi Spice Plantation
Savoi Spice Plantation is located in the Eastern part of Salcete. It was known to be one of the most famous plantations in Goa. The Spice Plantation was set up in the year 1790.
The plantation gives the feeling of taking a step back in time and experiencing an older culture. It has its own charm and people should visit the plantation once in their lifetime. It gives visitors an opportunity to witness how spices are grown and how it is exported out of the country.
The plantation has also two restaurants where visitors can eat, play games or take part in activities like yoga. The plantation is open to the public on all days except Tuesdays from 10 AM to 5 PM. It is closed for lunch between 1 pm to 2 pm.
There is a nominal entrance fee for visiting. They may charge extra fees to take part in some of the activities like horse riding or cycling. It could be a good idea to visit the place with family and kids.
There are also many shops, showrooms, and stalls outside the Plantation where visitors may buy gums, spices, and souvenirs as a memory of their visit.
There is a parking space within the precincts of the Plantation for visitors to park their vehicles.
Best Things To Do in Goa 31 and beyond
31. Iha Grande
Iha Grande was originally formed in the Tertiary period.
Iha Grande is located on a small island, with a very narrow beach and rocky cliffs. There are only two houses on the island itself. The rest of the land belongs to farmers who live down south, near São Pedro da Aldeia.
French immigrants settled in Iha Grande around 1880. They brought with them their culture, language, architecture, and even domesticated animals, such as the goat.
The name “Iha” comes from its resemblance to an igloo or ice house in the period when it was formed. The word for ice in Portuguese is “Gelosia”, which evolved into “Iha”.
The French settlers were fishermen. After the construction of the bridge over the canal de Una, in 1982, more people started to settle there and tourists began arriving. *
32. Scuba Diving in Goa
Scuba diving in Goa is a popular activity for tourists and residents alike.
Goa’s geographic location provides the perfect conditions for year-round scuba diving. There are beaches all along the coastline that offer easy access to both novice and experienced divers, even snorkelers can join tours with experienced guides to see what colorful marine life inhabits the shallow reefs in the area. Scuba diving is not currently regulated by legislation, so anyone can practice this activity without paying any fees or fulfilling any training requirements.
The best time to go scuba diving in Goa is between November and May when there are no major storms that could create dangerous conditions. More importantly, it is during this time of year that the water is warm enough to swim in without a wetsuit.
33. Dudhsagar falls – Goa, India
Dudhsagar falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in India
The Dudhsagar Waterfalls are located in South Goa. The highest point of the Dudhsagar Falls is more than 1,000 feet (500 m) high, making it larger than Vrindavan. The term ‘Doodhsagar’ literally means ocean of milk or “ocean of sweet water”. Dudhsagar waterfall is the highest fall in South India and the second-highest in India after Nohkalikai Falls (333m) in Meghalaya.
Location: Dudhsagar Waterfalls are located around 72 kilometers away from the state of Goa, in the Indian state of Karnataka.
Getting there: The closest airport is Dabolim Airport which is approximately 72 kilometers from the Dudhsagar waterfall. There are a number of buses that travel to Canacona from Panaji bus station or Margao bus station. Visitors can also hire a taxi from either of these places.
There are a number of small temples in the area, which is believed to be a place where Lord Ram and Sita spent some time during their exile period. Dudhsagar waterfalls make for a great picnic spot. The best way to get there is to hire a vehicle from Canacona or to take a short walk from the main road.
There are a number of popular temples in the area like Dudhsagar, Kavlem, and Agasteeshwar Temple (Bodyguards), which makes it an important religious site to visit. Apart from these, there is also a waterfall named Jog Falls around 20 km away. It’s a good idea to make a day trip and visit Dudhsagar waterfall, Kavle beach and Jog falls.
Mud bath: The best time to enjoy the Dudhsagar Falls is during the monsoon months (June-August). During this period, visitors can take a dip in any of the streams that originate from the falls. During this time you can also enjoy the water as it cascades down which is why many people choose to take a mud bath. However, taking a mud bath at Dudhsagar during the monsoon months will make you more susceptible to leptospirosis and other infections, so visitors should exercise caution and discretion before entering the water.
34. Souvenir Shopping in Goa
If you decide that vacationing in Goa is just what you need, then do not forget that you will have some shopping to do.
When you go to Goa, make sure that you do some shopping because there are many places to find typical Indian souvenirs and things for your personal use. Also, keep in mind that most shops close around 6 pm after which the artisans who make the objects work on their crafts at home.
To give you an idea of the main places for souvenirs, here are some examples. The first thing that comes to mind is the handicraft store at Goa Chitra where they sell many things made by locals, such as paper mâché boxes with religious images, sandalwood models of temples, or boats made out of coconut shells.
Casa Goa is another good place to look for souvenirs, especially handicrafts from all over India. The store displays a wide variety of objects from Kashmiri embroidery to mirror work paintings from Rajasthan. There are also many pieces that combine traditional Indian art with contemporary styles.
Another interesting place is The Gomantak which specializes in handicrafts from the state of Goa, such as coconut shell carvings and hand-painted figures made out of wood.
One last suggestion for a souvenir store is Kerkar Art Complex where you can find paintings inspired by the Hindu mythological epics and religious beliefs.
If you do not find what you are looking for at these stores, there is also a chance that it can be found somewhere else along your travels. Keep your eyes open and inquire about where to get specific objects such as wood carvings from temples or statues of deities like Ganesha.
In addition to shopping for souvenirs, you can also buy things for your daily use. One good place to find Indian-style clothes is the Anokhi store where they sell hand-printed garments that are made from natural materials such as cotton and silk. For a more modern approach, there is the Fabindia store which displays a variety of clothes made with Indian textiles.
Now you know what to expect when it comes time to do some souvenir shopping in Goa.
A generic list of things to do in Goa has been listed here:
- Explore the Churches and Fortresses of Old Goa
- Get pampered at an Ayurvedic Spa
- Enjoy Sunset on a White Sand Beach
- Eat tasty seafood
- Shop for Handicrafts & Souvenirs
- Party All Night at Goa’s Beach Stands
- Get a Massage at a Traditional Spa
- Discover Local Culture and Traditions
- Enjoy a Game of Golf on the Glorious Greens of Goa
- Shop the Night Markets of Arpora
- Wander Up and Down Calangute Beach Street
- Explore Goa’s Beaches – Baga Beach, Anjuna Beach
- Discover Churches and Monasteries – Basilica of Bom Jesus, St. Cajetan Church
- Indulge in some serious Shopping at the Saturday Night Bazaar
Beaches in Goa
Goa India has various beaches around the state of Goa which are one of its main attractions. Some of them are:
- Calangute Beach
- Baga Beach
- Anjuna Beach
- Vagator Beach
Casinos in Goa
Goa India has some of the top casinos in India that attract international as well as local visitors. They are:
- Casino Pride at the Holiday Inn Resort, North Goa
- The Royal Vegas at the Holiday Inn Resort, South Goa
- Casino Pride at the Radisson Blu Resort, Baga
Goa India is a great place to enjoy some quality time with your loved ones. There are many things to do in Goa where one can relax on the beaches of Goa and get pampered at an Ayurvedic Spa.
Out of the list of the Best Things To Do in Goa, you can pick and choose which ones you want to cover depending on your preferences and how much time you have available on hand. We’d recommend doing all of them!
Goa provides almost everything a traveler can hope for, from beaches to forts to waterfalls to temples and churches. Make sure you include these places in Goa on your bucket list.
Read more: Croatia: 28 Best Things To Do For The Ultimate Croatian Experience
Note: The hours of operation, ticket prices, and admission criteria of museums, parks, etc. may change from time to time. For the most updated information, we recommend checking the official website of the attraction directly prior to your planned visit.
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