“All Goa plans are not meant to be cancelled, some become reality”
Goa may be best known for its palm-fringed beaches, Portuguese architecture, and bustling nightlife but apart from these, you’ll find some untouched landscapes and waterfalls ripe for adventures.
It may be the smallest state of India, but it certainly packs a punch when it comes to outside activities. From parasailing and water skiing to the slightly deeper snorkeling and scuba diving adventures underwater, you enjoy every bit of Goa.
Culturally, Goa Carnival, which runs in March each year attracts a lot of tourists around this year as the streets come alive and colorful with being jeweled outfits, drums, and bands that ring out through the streets accompanied by the hospitality and passion of the locals. Goa is busiest around the new year with ‘Sunburn,’ one of the most famous music festivals.
Although fear not, even if you decide to visit outside of these months, Goa can hardly disappoint.
Best places to see in Goa
Goa is a sanctuary where you can just trust your gut and pick a backpack and still find a place for yourself. It captivates with its beauty and culture, but mostly, it laid-back vibe that tourists cherish, far away from their work life. However, before you set your foot to explore, why not have an itinerary for convenience.
Dudh Sagar Waterfall
Situated on the Goa-Karnataka border in the Sanguem Taluka, this waterfall is India’s one of the tallest. The water cascades down in four tiers from a height of approximately 1017 feet and is one hell of beauty that you should witness at least once in your lifetime, especially if you are coming to Goa. You can reach this waterfall by getting into Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park that surrounds this waterfall. Trek through the national park is not open for the trek but you can find your way through Kulem. The best time to visit this waterfall is when rain is at a peak, i.e. during monsoon. There are many tours organized during monsoon where you can enjoy being part of a group and might as well get a chance to camp overnight.
The sheer beauty of nature and the noise of waterfall amidst the silent mountains will be an experience you can cherish forever.
How to reach?
- Take a train from Panaji that goes straight to Kulem which is more like a stranded spot than an actual railway station. You can begin your adventure from there.
Meant to be protecting the Portuguese against the external forces, this fort is the Goan heritage that reminds us of a struggle for power in old times. Now, it might not look as glorious as it was before but this mighty fold once could afford to keep around 79 cannons and other heavy weapons. It is was one of the esteemed assets of the Portuguese. It stands between the Sinquerim Beach and the Candolim Beach. There is a lighthouse that was built in 1864 and is the oldest lighthouse of India in this shape and size.
If you have even the slightest interest in knowing the heritage of your country, you will love this place. Also, you will get an insight into the prowess of the architectural engineers and workers of the time when technology wasn’t developed like how it is today. Nevertheless, even if you are not into building designs and techniques, you can simply visit this place to witness the sea waves hitting the rocks of the magnificent fort spilling colorsof the Sunset that looks breath-taking.
Afternoons can be a bit hot and humid but if you are in a season when the air is cool and a little drizzle is trying to make your day, you should definitely visit this place and see the day passing in tranquility.
How to reach?
- You can easily take a taxi or a bus from Panaji to reach this place.
Another of the reasons we love Goa is for its laid-back, no-fuss hospitality that locals offer. It would be a sin to visit the city and not enjoy one of the most upbeat party places in this region. Tito’s Street club that is named on the street itself is one of the most preferred places for party animals. You will find a lot of crowd because of its propinquity to Baga beach and first-class services. It’s a beautiful place surrounded by colorful houses and is known for its Parisian nightlife. A lot of tourists come here which gives this place a cosmopolitan ambiance.
The club is known for its impressive services that amend its highly-priced food and drinks. The club offers both restaurants and dance areas separately so that even if you don’t want to hit the dance floor, you can enjoy watching others and soak in the relaxed yet crazy atmosphere.
You can many of the complementary services that you get if you buy their entry vouchers if you are going to spend more than Rs 1000.
Rest assured, this place is always full of life even in the offseason.
When to go ?
- The place is all about nightlife, and this place is brimming with life between 6 pm to 3 am.
Entry Fee ?
- Couple – Rs 1000
- Stag – Rs 2000
- Free for ladies!
Bom Jesus Basilica
Goa might have a lot of churches and cathedrals but some of them are a must-visit. The large and opulent building of Bom Jesus Basilica church for Catholics bears the holy remains of St Francis Xavier. Built-in 1605, the Saint was brought here in 1622 where they laid his body in a glass mausoleum. Intense religious sentiments are attached to this Church that attracts tourists from all around the world.
Nevertheless, religion should not be the only purpose to explore this church as it houses a Modern Art gallery that satiates your creative soul. Constructed in baroque style, this church is one of the finest examples of this kind of architecture and appears unique in its own way.
The best time to visit this church would be around Christmas when you can experience celebrations with a novena and the feast.
When to Visit ?
- Weekdays – 9.00 am to 6.30 pm
- Mass – Sunday – 8.00 am and 9.15 am
- Weekdays – 7.00 am and 8.00 am
How to Reach ?
- Take a cab or hire a scooter from Panaji.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
If you want to explore another religious monument, the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception stands in a prime position of Panaji and is a fantastic example of the renaissance side of the city in the baroque architectural style. It was built in 1541 by Portuguese sailors and then replaced by a much bigger church. Later in the 18th century, a unique feature in the form of zigzag symmetrical stairs was added. Also, you will find here the second largest bell in Goa. The beautiful interior sees the main altar that is devoted to Mother Mary.
On every 8th of December, the Church offers a feast and celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary with great solemnity. The colorful illumination of the church makes it a sight to be witnessed for sure, especially if you in Goa during this fest. You can also buy something as a souvenir from the fairs that display all kinds of articles, viz. Furniture, utensils, toys, clothes, condiments, etc.
Even if you are in Panaji any other time of the year, you should still visit this place and enjoy the muffled sounds of the rosary or novenas echoing within the walls of the church.
When to Visit ?
- Monday – Saturday : 10 am – 12.30 pm & 3 pm to 5.30 pm
- Sunday – 12.30 pm & 3.30 pm – 5 pm
- Mass timings (English) – 8 am daily
How to Reach ?
- The church is located on Emilio Gracia and Jose Falcao Road in Panaji. You can reach there by bus or cab.
Anjuna Flea Market
Anjuna is another place in Goa that is known for its thrilling nightlife and dazed atmosphere. But that’s not it. You cannot miss the weekly Wednesday flea market that is the attraction of this place and if you are in Goa on Wednesday, this is the must-see place that you have to visit. However, this market is only in operation from mid-November to April.
It was during the 80s when this market first came into existence. People from different countries used to get together here to sell their personal items so that they can fund their stay.
The scene has changed since then and what used to be a small congregation of people has expanded to a big market with all the goods and articles brought from all over India. Both Indians and westerners put life in this market by buying and selling. You can even get some articles at dirt prices.
Apart from buying clothes or other things, you will also find tea and snack stalls that allow you to enjoy your shopping spree without getting exhausted or hungry.
If you want to enjoy Anjuna, this flea market can be a totally different experience from the fancy nightlife.
The market opens at 8. Am on Wednesday and remains open for late in the evening.
How to Reach ?
- The You can reach Anjuna by taking a taxi or bus or even a scooter.
This fort has witnessed many battles in old times and still stands tall and proud at the coast as the remembrance of the Portuguese rule in this part of India. It has been a constant place of battle between Portuguese and Indians and has been known to changing flags depending on who wins the battle. It was constructed in 1717 and stands on the banks of river Chapora, and offers beautiful scenic surroundings. This was probably one of the main reasons, the rulers were always fighting for the possession of this fort.
The surrounding area is a valley that ends in a sea. The view from the fort is worth at least a visit. You can spend hours in the arms of nature and explore this fort soaking in the sheer beauty of this place. Soothing wind swaying through the fort allows you to bear even the hot and humid temperature of Goa, which means you can visit this place in any season.
Make sure you bring eatables with you if you plan to spend more than an hour because there are no food vendors around this area and you might feel hungry after all the exploration and walk around the area.
Fort Open and Visit Time ?
- The fort is open to visitors from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm on all days of the week.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
If you are a nature enthusiast and are looking for unconventional places to visit in Goa far from the crowd of tourists, Bondla wildlife sanctuary can the spot you are looking for. This place is popular amongst the environmentalist and can serve an inspirational and educational purpose for children.
It can be a great picnic spot if you are with the family. It is the smallest wildlife sanctuary of this state and encompasses a number of species of flora and fauna. You will also find some of the rarest species found in India. Professional photographers from all over the country come here to capture these beautiful species in their cameras.
The 8 square kilometer area of the sanctuary is not too big, and you can take a walk through an entire sanctuary without exhausting yourself. It will hardly take a day to cover the entire area.
If you are interested in exploring something different in Goa, you have to visit this place. It is located in Usgao-Ganjam village and the entry time starts around 9 in the morning.
How to Reach ?
- The Bondla wildlife sanctuary is about 47 km away from the capital Panaji and you can take a bus to reach here.
Entry Fees ?
- Entry fee is quite nominal. You have to pay only 5 Rs for an adult and 2 Rs for a child.
Unlike most of the other beaches in Goa, Divar island offers recluse from crowded and rushed beaches. It holds one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa. You can enjoy your silence and seawater sparkling through the sunshine. If you want to experience something out of the way and different then you must visit this island at least once.
This island gives you the solace of soul and mind that you were probably looking for away from your work life. It is definitely for you if you prefer to enjoy nature more than crazy party life. Even if you do like to party, you can visit this place the next morning you are done with partying. After all that hullabaloo, this place will feel like heaven.
Most of the area is covered with green lush forests which encompasses a village with a very small population. The locals give you a very homely vibe that feels raw and amazing. The view from the hilltop is amazingly beautiful. The place does not have any tourist attractions but the beauty of the island is an attraction in itself. There are some local churches that do not have much architectural value but if you are here, you might as well soak in the silence of these buildings.
How to Reach ?
- You can easily reach this beautiful island by ferries that leave for this island every 15 minutes from 7’oclock in the morning till 8’o o’clock in the evening from Panaji.
- If you want, you can stay at Divar Island Retreat which is located in a Portuguese mansion.
Known more popularly as Kesarval springs, it is situated near the Verna Cliffs. The name Kesarval comes from the reference to Eagles (Kesar – Val) that nests around this region, especially near the springs. Unfortunately, the Eagles are not here anymore but you can still witness the springs which burst out from between the rocks and trees with loud yet mesmerizing noise.
However, the place is getting too crowded with tourists not only because of its beauty but also the hearsay healing effects of its water. It is said to heal skin, eyes and internal problems of the body, which has attracted a lot of people from around the country in the hope of healing themselves
Nevertheless, the springs are extensive enough to inhabit the crowd. The thrust of the water is also strong enough to take away all the dirt and making this place clean and beautiful.
The beauty of these springs is at its peak in monsoon when water flows with full vigour. We suggest taking a couple of extra clothes with you if you want to take a plunge into the water.
The best time to visit this place is from 9 in the morning till 7 in the evening.
How to Reach ?
- Verna springs are located near Cortalim village of South Goa, ideally, you can take a bus or train to this village, and from there, take the local transportation to reach the springs.
- You can even rent a can or scooter to go there. Even better if you have your own vehicle.