Whenever we take the name of Goa, the first thing we notice is the endless sandy sea, tall palm trees swaying in the air, and flea markets full of tourists.
Goa is a kaleidoscope of old and new, heaven for backpackers and wealthy men alike. Tourism plays a major role in the economy of the small state. So, Goa is the best place for those who are beach lovers in India.
The uninterrupted coastline extending to more than 100 km offers the most amazing views and a variety of water sports to pursue. A visit to Goa does not end here. Its exciting nightlife, mount watering cuisine, and no dearth of tourist hubs attract all from nurture lovers to honeymoon couples and even family vacationers.
Also Read: If you are going Goa, You must visit Pune.
Goan Carnival is renowned throughout the world. There is a mad rush to visit India during this time. Still hesitation! Perhaps a quick reading of this article will convince you to take a trip to this magical kingdom.
Best Places to Visit in Goa with Friends
Here are some Goa tourist places that might interest you.
Panaji or Panjim holds a special place in the history of Goa. A century back, it used to be a fishing settlement with an abundance of coconut groves and creeks.
Today, however, it is a crowded city and the State capital of Goa. Located beside the river Mandavi, the entire town is flanked by rolling hills.
Also Read: After Goa, Go on Meghalaya Trip
Our land of the Immaculate conception church occupies a pivotal position. Panaji showcases the beauty of the past and the present architectural style. Panaji is evident in its numerous Portuguese buildings coexisting with modern-day commercial houses.
Panjim can best be discovered by renting local bikes or taking a stroll through the lances and lanes of this ancient city. This city is famous for its floating casinos and magical night cruises on the Mandavi river.
Also Read: Visit Mizoram with your friends in Monsoon
Goa is best noted as a city that comes alike at night, and Panaji is no exception. This party capital rocks at night, with innumerable visitors flocking the nightclubs and casinos. The well-known casino chains like Casino pride and Deltin casino remain open 24x 7 days a week.
Panaji holds a special treat for food lovers. Some of the iconic restraints include the Fisherman Wharf and Ritz Classic. Ornithologists can visit the Salim Ali bird sanctuary.
This city shot to fame after the release of “The SeaWolves,” which features the idyllic port town of Goa. This city witnessed several uprisings in the hands of the Dutch, Portuguese, and even the Sultans of Bijapur, who all wanted to establish their stronghold here.
Ultimately, the Portuguese held onto the city and made it their administrative capital. The major attraction of Marmagao is undoubtedly the coastal fort. This fort built by the Portuguese draws a huge influx of tourists every year.
Overlooking the Varca beach, the fort’s entrance pays homage to several stalwarts amongst the Portuguese who governed this place from time to time.
Apart from the fort, Bat island is worth visiting. The small rocky beach is ideal for snorkeling. Tourists can also head to Hansa beach, maintained by the Indian Navy.
Vasco Da Gama
Goa has essentially been a beach lovers’ paradise, and Vasco Da Gama fits the bill perfectly. At first glance, it appears nothing more than a quaint coastal town. But traversing the length and breadth of the city will leave you spellbound by its slender simplicity.
As the name suggests, this city was named after the historical Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama. Vasco Da Gama lures travelers by promises of pristine beaches for those looking for solitude amidst the laps of nature. The Zuari river that flows nearby lends a magical appeal to the city. Several centuries of Portuguese rule have left their imprint on the monuments that still adorn the city. The most notable among them are St. Andrews Church and Vasco Clock Tower.
Besides, a trip to the nearby Kasarval waterfalls is a great way to unwind yourself while marveling at the serenity of nature.
The town famous for its Friday market attracts hundreds of tourists who flock to the market to feast on various spices, dried fish, cashew nuts, and small items made by local people.
Mapusa is also the perfect place to savor local delicacies like spicy sausages—the Church of Our Lady of Miracles, located a short distance from the market, warrants a visit.
One of the oldest churches in Goa was razed by fire and rebuilt again. Hindus make an annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Shree Dev Bodgeshwar Sansthan. In the city’s heart lies the temple Maruti dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
Visitors en route to Calangute, Baga, and Candolim beach can make a brief stopover here. Mapusa is a laid-back town that has still retained its unique cultural identity. Seemingly distancing itself from the hustle and bustle of vibrant city life, Mapusa is the ideal weekend getaway.
Basilica de Bom Jesus
Wile Goa may be known worldwide for its splendid beaches; no one can undermine its religious importance. The most famous among them is Basilica de Bom Jesus. UNESCO has taken over this unassuming church, and it is regarded as a world heritage site.
The primary attraction of this church, built in the 16th century, is that it still retains the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. He was regarded as the “apostle of the indies.”
This imposing structure is the interplay of Doric, Corinthian, and Baroque styles. Local tour guides can give you a guided tour of the precinct. This compiling place will test your devotion as you are shipped off to the distant past. The Feast of St. Francis Xavier is celebrated with great pomp every year.
Tanshikar’s Spice Garden
Tanshikar’s Spice farm is located in Netravali village in Sanguem taluka. Tucked away amidst the rain forest of the western ghats, this garden is frequented by the tourists expressing a desire to gain a fast hand working knowledge of how spices are cultivated. The specialty of this firm is that it employs organic farming methods.
Apart from spices, the other products cultivated here are betel nuts, coffee beans, and bananas. There is also an apiary as the farm produces its brand of honey.
The owners arrange customized tours of the plantations and the nearby surroundings. A trek to the nearby Mainapi waterfall is a must for the more adventurous.
Goa is the land of the hippies and home to a dozen flea markets donating its shorelines. But none can match the loneliness and the variety of displays of that Anjuna market.
Hundreds of vendors set up stalls every Wednesday to cater to the throngs of tourists who flock to this market. It is a treasure trove of the local handicrafts, trinkets, souvenirs, and tee shirts with sassy prints in bold letters at dirt cheap rates.
Initially, this free market operated on a small scale with a handful of vendors. Of late, its popularity has increased tremendously so has its size. Shopaholics will be spoiled for a choice with the vast array of goods on display.
When in Goa, you must visit Anjuna Market. The place is vibrant with music and dance and even late-night parties. There are also numerous food stalls to cater to your gastronomic delights.
These majestic Dodhsagar falls can best be appreciated during the monsoons. The gushing waters resemble an unturned canister of milk flowing down the mountains. Hence the name Dodhsagar. The picture-perfect scenery resonates with the magnificence of nature in its full glory. Powerful yet stunning.! The mist spray from the falls will drench your face and mellow your heart simultaneously.
It is a three-streamed, four-tiered waterfall, the 5th largest in India. Panaji can also arrange a jeep safari to take you this fall. The journey is quite exhilarating as you pass through the dense forest of the Bhagwan Mahavir wildlife sanctuary. The jeep will drop you near the fall. En route, you can also visit the spice plantation.
A word of caution, though. Only 300 jeeps are allowed to visit the falls daily. So book your trip in advance to avoid long waiting periods.
Mollem National Park
Although Goa is better known for its endless beaches, palm-lined shores, and Yoga retreats, this beach paradise offers much more to diehard nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The best of which is reflected in the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary.
This wildlife sanctuary is the largest in the state covering approximately 240 sq km. It houses a rare collection of birds and animal life. Apart from the divergent bio life, it is close to the Dudhsagar waterfall, the devil’s canyon, and the Tambdi Surla temple.
The core area of the sanctuary is better known as Mollem national park. It is densely forested. So dense is the canopy of trees that sunlight cannot penetrate the interiors. Apart from the wide variety of trees and birds, visitors, if lucky, can spot deer, sambar, and even tigers and Hyenas.
For the more adventurous, there are numerous trekking trails traversing the lengths and breaths of the park. Jangal Safari is the main attraction of this park. Vehicles are permitted to enter the core area. This heightens the excitement of seeing the wildlife in its natural habitat.
Menezes Braganza Pereira house
Goa has a lot on its plate apart from its endless beaches. For offbeat travelers, the Menezes Braganza House gives them the chance to witness the rich cultural heritage of Goa’s glorious past.
This Portuguese style manor dating back to the 17th century is filled with relics of the ancient past, including ornate pieces of furniture, art, and decor items. The enormous mansion in the entire state is bifurcated into two sections. Both, however, are equally resplendent. The ballroom attracts the maximum attention. Equally alluring is the extensive library of the late Dr. Luis De Menezes Braganca, which houses a rare collection of books.
So if you are an ardent admirer of the bygone era, include this historical site in your travel itinerary while exploring South Goa.
There is no place like Goa, and there never will be. Although Goa seems to be the first drop destination for travelers lured by its glorious beaches and wild parties, Goa cannot be restricted to just that. The leading beauty of Goa lies in its waylaid villages, historic forts, and monuments, which speak volumes of its rich history.
This article covered some of the best places to visit in Goa to ease your travel plans.