What to See

Beaches

  • Baga-Calangute-Candolim – The famed North Goa belt is where Goa is at its energetic best. The stretch literally buzzes with life and is a must-visit if you are a first-timer.
  • Ashwem – A rocky, dark sanded beach, Ashwem appeals to the rustic beach bum crowd and is a great place to set up a mini picnic.
  • Morjim – This beach is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 as it is one of the few nesting sights of the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles. To witness nature in this form, is truly a life-changing event.
  • Mandrem – An unassuming gem on the northern coastline, Mandrem (just north of Ashwem) has wide expanse of sand and sea as far as the eye can sea.
  • Arambol – An off-the-beaten-track kind of beach, Arambol has retained it’s free-spirited, unconventional character.
  • Anjuna – The undisputed home of the hippies, Anjuna till today, exudes the essence of the Flower-Power revolution that brought so many here in the 60’s and 70’s.
  • Vagator – Vagator and Little Vagator are beautiful beaches that are also known for the wealth of party options around its shores.
  • Utorda – This white sand beach is a picture of perfection. With a view that could grace a postcard, this beach is the right choice for a stroll while watching the sunset.
  • Betalbatim – A quiet beach, where you can enjoy a dip in the sea, a peaceful meal and spend some quality ‘me’ time.
  • Palolem – Till very recently Palolem was completely unheard of on the tourist-circuit, but has suddenly exploded onto the scene, converting many a seasoned traveler with its immaculate beauty.
  • Varca – Forming the backdrop for popular resorts like the Radisson and Mahindra, Varca is popular with tourists who come away for some alone time.
  •  Velsao – As is the case with most beaches in South Goa, Velsao too is tailored to the wants and needs of the traveler looking to relax and rejuvenate rather than be overly adventurous and energetic. Lacking the activity of the north, Velsao is the place to go when your priority is peace.
  • Benaulim – This is one of the most picturesque beaches and villages of Goa, the reason being it’s still untouched.
  • Majorda – The beach is just a hop, skip and jump from many resorts and five star hotels. So, if you find yourself living here, this golden sands of this beach are easily accessible for you to enjoy.
  • Bogmalo – A small but bustling beach in South Goa, it has many options to enjoy a good meal and bask in the summer sun.
  • Colva – Soft white sand, blue water and miles and miles of beach makes Colva one of the nicest places to kick back and relax.
  • Miramar- This beach is the capital city of Panjim is not so much known for it’s scenic beauty as it is for the great variety of street food available here every evening.

 

Forts

  • Cabo de Rama – This fort initially built in around 1763 by Hindu rulers was named after Lord Rama, as it is believed that Lord Rama and his wife Sita took refuge here. Subsequently went to the Portuguese, who equipped with ammunition still seen today. It also has a beautiful Church of Santo Antonio, tucked away inside the Fort and still frequented today.
  • Fort Aguada – By far the most famous of all Goan forts, Fort Aguada offers scenic views from its vantage Fort Aguadapoint and well-preserved lighthouse as well. Built in the 17th century by the Portuguese, in Sinquerim, this fort protected the Portuguese from the advancing Dutch as well as the fierce Marathas. It’s name Aguada is derived from the Portuguese word for water, because of the fresh water spring inside the fort. Later it was also used as a prison.
  • Chapora Fort – Built in 1617 using red laterite stone, the Chapora Fort was erected on a previous Muslim fort. It overlooks the beautiful Chapora river and occupied a great and safe vantage point, as it was perched at the top of steep slopes. Once, the Portuguese territories grew further northward this domineering fort faded into the background.
  • Terekhol Fort – First owned by the Raja of Sawantwadi, this fort, sitting on the banks of the Terekhol river, it landed in the hands of the Portuguese and was rebuilt to include a church.
  • Corjuem Fort – Situated in modern-day Aldona, is this small fort which offers spectacular views of land and water all around.
  • Reis Magos Fort – First said to have been erected in 1515 to guard the entrance into Goa through the Mandovi river, this fort was rebuilt in 1707. Though not too big in size, its been recently renovated and is in beautiful condition. Like Fort Aguada, it too was used as a prison after outliving its military use.
  • Marmugao Fort – This fort used to be a massive structure erected to protect the city of Vasco and the harbour but is in ruins today.

 

Museums

  • The Archaeological MuseumArchaeological Survey of India, Old Goa-403402 Phone: 0832-2285302Showcasing portrait paintings of viceroys and governors, postage stamps, wooden sculptures and pillars from the Portuguese period, this museum is quite fascinating. It also has objects of pre-historic, historic and medieval eras and is situated in the convent section of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. It charges Rs. 5 per person and allows children up to the age of 15 in for free.
  • Museum of Christian Art Annexe, Convent of Santa Monica, Old Goa, 403402 Phone: 0832 2285299. This museum showcases the Indo-Portuguese Christian art from Goa. After collecting pieces from all the churches around Goa and some from prestigious Goan families, this museum has quite an extensive collection of artefacts. It aims to reflect the richness of the Churches of Goa.
  • Goa State MuseumEDC Complex, Patto Plaza, Panjim Goa
    The state museum has displays of sculpture, contemporary art, Christian art, Banerji art, furniture, a freedom struggle gallery, Hindu and Jain scriptures and many more.
  • Houses of Goa MuseumH. No. 674, Near Nisha’s Play School, Torda, Salvador do Mundo, Bardez, Goa- 403101 Phone:0832-2410711/15/16
    Started by famous Goan architect Gerard D’Cunha, this museum showcases the beauty and diversity of Goan houses.  This east-west collision resulted in a very unique style that encapsulates Goa.
  • Insitute de Menezes-BraganzaAbove Central Library, Dr. Pissurlenkar Road, Next to Police Station Campal, Panjim – 403001 North Goa, India Phone: 0832-2224143, 0832-2230263
    Decorated with azulejos, a Portuguese and Spanish craft of painting tiles, this structure houses the Panjm Library as well as an impressive collection of art both European and Goan. Designer Jorge Colaco, in 1935 decorated the tiles with an intricate pictorial depiction of the Portuguese conquest of Goa. Opened in 1871 to encourage art and literature, this museum of sorts has an enviable collection of stone sculptures, drawings, coins and stamps.
  • Ancestral Goa  - Loutolim Raia, GA, India Phone: 0832-2377034
    Located in the village of Loutolim, this miniature model village showcases life as it was a hundred years ago in Goa. Owned and run by artist Maendra Jocelino Araujo Alvares, this place has a lot to see. You can visit the art gallery where works of famous artists sit side by side with works by local children. You can also buy local handicrafts and get something at the Big Foot restaurant. Msut-see are the rubber plantation, spice plantation, and spring. The mini village shows different people including farmers, markets and fishermen.

 

Churches

Old Goa

Housed in Old Goa are some of the most famous churches in all of Goa. This was the old capital, but now not much remains but these historical relics.

  • Basilica of Bom Jesus – This is the most widely recognized of all churches in Goa. It has the tomb of St. Francis Xavier who came to Goa in 1541 on a mission to promote and preach Christianity. After he died, miraculously his body didn’t decompose even though it wasn’t embalmed. For this reason, pilgrims from all over visit here on January 3 to glimpse his remains that reside in a silver casket.
  • Church and Covent of St. Monica
    Built in 1627, this Church is now a convent. It burnt down once in it’s past, but has stood strong ever since it was rebuilt.
  • Tower of St. Augustine
    Years ago, this was a church run by the Augustine Friars, but after they abandoned it in the 19th century it crumbled out of neglect and now only a lone tower is left standing.
  • Church of St. Cajetan
    This church was modeled on the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It was built by the Theatines who were sent away from Golconda and settled here instead.
  • The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
    This picturesque church stands high atop a hill in the centre of Panjim and is also colloquially called Panjim Church. It’s beautiful façade and seemingly never ending steps make it postcard perfect.
  • Church of St. Francis of Assisi
    This interesting structure was built in 1661 and is filled with artistic history. There are murals that depict the life of St. Francis and intricate wood carvings.
  • Church of Our Lady of the Monte
    Called Capela the Monte in Portuguese, this commanding structure is situated high up on a hill in Old Goa. You once had to walk a long flight of steps to reach the top. The last part of the staircase is untouched from the time it was first built. The church has three altars. It also affords a spectacular vie of Old Goa and all its churches below.
  • Reis Magos Church
    This church was used as a place to house dignitaries before as it adjacent to another site, the Reis Magos fort. It is dedicated to the three kings or Magi.
  • Church of Mae de Deus
    Everyone who passes through Saligao can marvel at this beautiful Gothic church that stands right in the middle of expansive paddy fields.
  • Se Cathedral
    Oppposite the Basilica of Bom Jesus, is this formidable structure. It is one of the biggest churches in Goa. At the time of erection, it had two towers, but one collapsed in 1776. It was dedicated to St. Catherine after the Portuguese deafeated a Muslim army.
  • Chapel of the Three Kings
    This Chapel in Velsao is very famous for the feast it celebrates in January to honour the three kings. Every year there is a huge procession and a fair held in the church’s compound.

TemplesMardolTemple

  • Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla
    This intricately beautiful stone temple built in 1271 by the minister of a Yadava King. The artistic detailing is amazing and grey-black basalt makes the temple stand out in contrast to the green grass that surrounds it.
  • Shantadurga Temple
    As the name suggests this temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, and is said to be the largest temple complex in Goa. Made from laterite mud, this bright red temple is a sight to see.
  • Mangueshi Temple
    This is another striking temple in South Goa that is dedicated to Lord Mangueshi, who is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. It has a fascinating history tied to conversion and the Portuguese.

 

Sanctuaries and Reserves

  • Cotigao – Cotigao is located in South Goa and is rich of flora and fauna.
  • Molem – The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary situated in Molem covers 240 kilometres of western ghat forest land. It is rich in wildlife and has many sights like the Dudhsagar waterfalls and Devil’s Canyon.
  • Bondla – Bondla is the smallest but most well equipped sanctuaries in Goa. There are places to stay and stretches of forest where you can spot deer, birds and other wildlife. It also has a zoo and a botanical garden.
  • Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary- This bird sanctuary is famous for quite a few migratory birds and is located in the island of Chorao on the Mandovi River.

 

Arvalem Caves

The Arvalem Caves are located close to Sanquelim in Goa. Dating back to the 6th century, the origins are disputed. Some say they are of Buddhist origins while others say Hindu. Irrespective, they are simply fascinating.

 

Fontainhas

The Portuguese quarter of Panjim, namely Fontainhas and the adjoining Hindu area of Mala are a lovely place to spend a day when in Goa. The houses in Mala are distinctly Indian and very different and from the European inspired ones in Fontainhas. Fontainhas gets its name from Fonte meaning fountain, which is present at the base of the Maruti Temple in Mala. This fountain also used to connect to another heritage fountain site, Boca de Vaca in Panjim. The quaint houses, and quiet lanes can be admired by taking an organized heritage walk through the area.Fontainhas

Cooking Demos

Some tour operators also organise cooking demonstrations with local experts of Goan cuisine to educate people on goan recipes and tips on how to cook the same delicious food when you’re back home.

Boat cruises and Boat rides

  • You can take a boat ride through the river backwaters and spot alligators in the murky waters.
  • You can also take a boat ride and to sea if you fancy a day of fishing.
  • Kayaking is another boating option for the adventurous, outdoorsy type. It is a great way to take in the beauty of the rivers and get in a little workout.
  • For a fun experience, go for a boat cruise along the Mandovi River. This ride includes entertainment in the form of music and traditional dance performances.

Water sports

The North Goa beaches as well the South Goa beaches both have facilities to go jet skiing, on a banana boat ride, paragliding and much more.

Dona Paula Jetty

The Dona Paula Jetty is a great place to go for an evening stroll so that you can enjoy the lovely sea breeze and enchanting view.

Grande Island

Grande Island is an ecological marvel off the coast of Goa. There are group trips that are organized to take tourists to Grande Island by boat. Once there, they can snorkel and swim and explore the wonders of this beautiful island.

Savoi Spice Plantation

The Savoi Spice Plantation in Ponda is a serene, beautiful space that it filled with plants and trees of different kinds. A guide will take you around and give you details about the different spices that are grown here. This languid afternoon will end with a delicious feast of Goan Hindu preparations made from all the ingredients from their backyard.

Kala Academy

The Kala Academy Goa located in Panjim is a music, art and cultural academy that puts of shows of local musicans, Konkani tiatrs and is the main center for the International Film Festival of India (IFFI)

Kerkar Art Gallery

The Kerkar Art Gallery showcases works of renowned artist Subodh Kerkar as well as works by other artists from around India. It also organises workshops with artists and sculptors from all over India.