Top Interesting Places to visit in Goa
What makes Goa a perfect holiday destination is not only sand and sun but a host of interesting places to visit and see right from its rich history and cultural heritage to the vibrant beaches and its tourist attractions. Visit Goa’s alluring beaches for a lazy day at the beach or a swim or indulge in some exciting water sports. Goa’s attractions are not just confined to the coast. They extend way beyond to wildlife, shopping, history, adventure and much more. For those who are clueless where to go in goa, check out our selection of places to visit and things to do for that contended feeling of a perfect and complete holiday in Goa.
The Beaches Of Goa
An idyllic Holiday destination, Goa is most visited for its beautiful beaches. Goa boasts of a wide range of beaches from the quiet, unspoilt pristine beaches to the more crowded and happening beaches. The famous and happening beaches include Vagator, Calangute, Colva, Majorda and Palolem. There are still other beaches not known by many tourists where visitor can have the beach almost all to themselves. The beaches in Goa offer tourists loads of sunshine, watersports and beauty. Check out the links below to view our selection of Goa's beaches.
- Complete List Of Beaches In Goa
- List Of Beaches In North Goa
- List Of Beaches In South Goa
- Virgin Beaches In Goa
The Forts Of Goa
Goa has several imposing forts. Most of these lie along the coast of Goa while a few lie in the hinterland. These historic monuments built to protect from the enemy today stand as specimens to marvel at. Most of these forts were rebuilt, strengthened and enlarged during the portuguese rule in Goa. Some of the most famous forts in Goa include the Aguada Fort, Reis Magos Fort and Chapora Fort. Our section on the Forts in Goa lists all the forts that are found in Goa
The Temples Of Ponda
Goa having a predominantly Hindu population has many temples. The Goan Temple architecture comprised of building temples out of black stone and were basically built in Kadamba and Hemadpanti style. A distinctive feature of the Temples is the Lamp Tower or the "Deepa Stambha" rising anywhere from two to six storied high, which is lit on festive days. Another distinctive feature of a traditional Goan temple is the Dome that covers the main shrine.Check our compiled list of Temples in Goa.
Churches Of Old Goa
Goa's famous and magnificent churches are largely a legacy of Portuguese colonization. The architectural display of wood, stone, gold, granite and ancient workmanship is what makes it truly exquisite. The churches in Goa reflect European architectural styles owing to the Portuguese influence of that era. Old Goa is goa's hub for churches witha lot of famous old churches located witihin close proximaity to each other at old Goa. Some of these churches have been listed below...
Church of St Francis of Assisi
The church of St Francis of Assisi was built in 1661 A.D. by the Portuguese. The three-tier exterior facade has two distinct octagonal towers, one on each side, and a small niche that houses a statue of Mary. The convent, adjacent to the church, houses a museum that was set up by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1964 and contains artifacts, paintings, and sculptures bearing testimony to Goa’s rich and vibrant history.
Se Cathedral (Se Catedral de Santa Catarina)
Located in Old Goa, the Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina also known as the Se cathedral is the largest church in India. It is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria. The Se cathedral was built after the victory of the Portuguese over a Muslim army of Adil Shah leading to the conquer of Goa. The Church was dedicated to St Catherine since the day of the victory happened to be the feast of St Catherine. The Se cathedral tower houses a large bell known as the golden bell. On the right there is a chapel of the cross of miracles.
St Cajetan’s Church
The beautiful Church of St.Cajetan lies about half a kilometer away to the north east of the Se Cathedral. The Church building is built of laterite blocks which are lime plastered. There are three altars on the left side dedicated to the Holy family; Our Lady of Piety and St. Clare, while to the right are those of St. John, St. Cajetan and St. Agnes. The largest of the altars on the right hand side of the church are dedicated to St Cajetan.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is in Old Goa and houses the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier. This church is the most famous church in Goa and has been declared as a world heritage monument.
Anjuna is a very popular village in north Goa and plays host to the Anjuna flea market every Wednesday attracting a large number of tourists to frequent this place. The Anjuna flea market is a busy one bustling with vendors selling a wide range of articles from food stuff to souvenirs. You can find trinkets, handicrafts, ornaments, Tibetan, Kashmiri and Gujarati, t-shirts, Goan music, Indian clothing, get your hair braided or get a henna tattoo. It started a couple of decades ago when hippies sold their wares when they ran out of money and it formed a popular hangout for the hippies. This market is open during the tourist season i.e. from October to May.
Arvalem caves are located 9 kms. to the south of Bicholim town along the route leading to the Arvalem waterfalls. The cave complex is divided into compartments and the 'linga' is enshrined in it which is held in great reverence by devotees. The Shivalinga in the second cave is engraved with an inscription written in Sanskrit and Brahmi characters of the 7th century. Also known as the Pandava caves, these rock cut caves can be traced back to the 6th and 7th century B.C. Legend has it that the Pandavas, heroes of the epic Mahabharata, sought refuge in the Arvalem caves during their exile.
Another attraction close to the Arvalem Caves is the Arvalem or Harvalem waterfalls, and situated at a distance of about 2 km from the town of Sanquelim and 8 km from Bicholim.
This beautiful waterfall flows down from the mountains, from a height of about 50 metres, and makes it truly picturesque . The best time to visit this waterfall is soon after the monsoon, when it revels in lush greenery all around. Close to the waterfall,is the Rudreshwar Temple from where one can observe natures beauty.There used to be a small scale hydro power generation facility with a single small turbine at the base of the falls but has now fallen into ruin after its use has discontinued.
Situated in the village of Loutolim, which lies between Margao and Ponda,Ancestral Goa is a mock up of early Goan rural village life.Big Foot can be reached by either taking the road to Loutolim from the Panaji Margao highway after crossing the Zuari river at Agassaim. Another alternate route is to take the road to Loutolim just before the Borim bridge along the Margoa Ponda road.
This place takes you back in time with life size statues and mock buildings.
There are mannequins depicting mythological and scenes from the goan village lifestyle during the early 19th century such as the Goan Market place, Goan liquor shop, and Barber shop, Landlords House, Cowshed, Cobbler and Music School.
The place also has ducks, geese, turkey, pigs and a small spice garden.
Gain a deeper insight and experience Goan lifestyle and cultural heritage at Ancestral Goa Loutolim, a center for preserving art, culture and the environment.This place is truly nostalgic!
while in Loutolim you can visit theSaviour of the world Church
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is situated near Usgao, a small town that lies at the junction of Ponda, Sanguem and Sattari talukas. The wildlife sanctuaries are a popular tourist attraction for tourists visiting the state and school children visit it for school picnics and study tours. Encounter a variety of animal life including: sambar deer, Indian bison, peacocks , Wild Boar, Gaur, Porcupines, Jackals, Leopards, Sloth Bear and many species of snake.
You can, watch the crocodiles as they clamber themselves out of the water and rest over the rocks in the sun. Bondla is good a good spot for bird-watching where you can spot birds like the Brown fish owl, Ruby throated yellow bulbul, Indian scimitar babbler and Oriental dwarf kingfisher A nature lovers' paradise, Bondla will tempt you with its lush forest, botanical garden, rose garden, fenced deer park, mini zoo and Elephant rides. Rangado River flows on the east and Mandovi River is on the north of the forest. You can enjoy elephant rides which are a major attraction for children and adults alike. One can find bamboo plantations along with trees like Terninalia Crenulata also known as Matti, Rosewood, Lagerstroemia, Kindall, Jamba and Mimusops, etc besides the orchids and medicinal herbs and roots.
Dudhsagar which means "sea of milk" derives its name from the white foam created from the force of the water as it gushes. It is perched in the high peaks of the Western Ghats and is a sight to behold. Measuring a mighty 600m from head to foot, this waterfall is on the Goa-Karnataka border. It is a short hike down the hill through lush plants and trees. Worth the climb down the rocks is an amazing marvel of nature. One can bathe in the cool water or just sit by it listening to the sounds of the gushing waterfall but the water truly looks inviting for a dip. The dudhsagar waterfall wears its best look during monsoon with lush greenery all around.
The Kesarval Spring is located at Verna about 22 kms from the city of Panaji. Surrounded amidst lush greenery, this spring is widely known for its medicinal and curative properties.
The Pomburpa Spring is located in the village of Pomburpa about 6 kms from Panaji. This spring is also believed to have medicinal properties.
This is the most famous lake in Goa and also one of the most popular tourist spots on the itinerary of all the conducted sight-seeing tours. The Mayem Lake is a freshwater lake in the town of Bicholim, about 35 kms from the City of Panaji. A great spot for bird watching, boating or a picnic by the lakeside. The lake itself sits on wooded shores in a landscape of low hills and is considered another great spot for bird watching. Small pedal boats are available for a boat ride on these placid waters. There is a shady park surrounding this lake which makes for an excellent picnic spot.
The museum of Christian art is a unique repository of the exquisite Indo Portuguese church art, one of its kind and is located at Old Goa. It houses preserved art objects, rosaries, crosses, statues, paintings, and other items made of gold and precious stone. The Museum is now relocated within the Convent of Santa Monica, Old Goa, in the vicinity of the ruins of St. Augustine's Tower. The central theme in the selection of objects for this Museum, apart from their antiquity is the Indian contribution to Christian Art. It is this that has made the Museum unique. The aim in setting up this Museum is to conserve and exhibit valuable objects for public viewing, and cooperate in efforts for preservation of objects of Sacred Art. The Museum which has enriched the cultural heritage and history of Goa is a project of the Archdiocese.
Visit India's second largest Aviation museum along the Vasco Bogmalo road and see the vintage aircrafts, engines, avionics, photo gallery, weapons and armaments. This museum exhibits India’s naval aviation history over the decades.
Visitors can walk through the outdoor exhibit and see decommissioned aircraft that saw service with the Navy. Some of them date back to before the 1940s. There are about 13 aircraft engines which are displayed in a small shed. In the indoor gallery one can read about the various battles the Indian air force and the navy participated in. This gallery also displays the armaments, attire, a variety of bombs, cannons, torpedoes, sensors used by the Indian Navy. Also there are huge replicas of the INS vikraant and INS Viraat, besides exhibiting rare vintage photographs and documents that showcase periods of naval history over the years.
The spice gardens in Goa is a must visit place for tourist touring the state. These gardens are a place which connects you to nature. On arriving here, the guests are greeted warmly with a traditional aarti and a welcome drink. The guide then will take you on a tour of the garden, explaining about the spices, its uses and the medicinal value of each. They also serve a traditional goan meal in earthen pots and on banana leaves, the meal comprising of rice, fish curry and locally grown vegetables. Guests are given a demonstration on the art of climbing and swinging the Betel nut palms.
Also traditional folk dances are performed. These farms practice organic farming. The Sahakari Spice Plantation in Curti (Ponda), Abyss Spice Farms in Verem , Rustic Plantation in Dongurli village(Valpoi-Sattari), Savoi Plantation in Savoi-Verem, Tropical Spice Plantation in Keri (Ponda),Pascoal Spice Village on the banks of river Khandepar.
Check out some more Tourist Attractions on Goa Holiday Guide!!