20 Amazing Things To Do in Goa – The City of Beaches
With its golden-sand beaches, hypnotic night life and a tropical laid back vibe, Goa is fondly known as the fun capital of India. Surrounded by the mighty Arabian Sea, it is the smallest state and the biggest tourist destination. Draped in a unique history, Goa is a crockpot of Indian and Portuguese Influences. Unlike the rest of India, this tiny enclave was ruled by Portuguese for 450 years. It was annexed by India in 1961 and became the 25th state of the country. Old churches and crumbling forts are the incredible marks left by Portuguese on Goan history. Goa is much more than just night life and beaches. It is a scenic splendour where tranquil and loud exist at the same time. Take a tour to the spice fields, or explore its rich wild life, indulge in some yoga practice, or gamble at a casino, relish its spicy seafood or get high with Feni, this tiny emerald land is sure to leave you spellbound. The more you explore, the more there is to explore. Here is a list of top 20 things to do in Goa.
1. Goa Beaches
With the grandeur of Arabian Sea curling around it, Goa is a never-ending string of shimmering beaches. Visiting Goa beaches is one of the most unavoidable things to do in Goa. Each of them has a culture, personality and ambience of its own. Visit Bagha beach for fishing and some extreme thrilling water sports. Soak in the secluded ambience of Ashvem. The beach is known to be the best-kept secret of North Goa. Taste a slice of paradise at pristine Patnem offering beautiful ocean vistas and succulent seafood. Laze on the cozy white sands of Palolem beach and watch the sun melt into the vast Arabian Sea. Walk down the slope to Arambol beach for some yoga & meditation. Visit Agonda, Morjim or Galgibaga for some turtle spotting. They are the nesting grounds of the Olive Ridley turtles. Venture into the secluded stretch of sand and rocks fringed with swaying coconut palms at Bambolim beach. Click the beautiful arc of sand crowned by Chapora fort at the Vagator beach. Shop at the Anjuna flea market and indulge in a trance party on the Anjuna beach. Leave your footprints on the clean sands of alluring Varca beach. The list never ends. So, go explore and experience on your own.
2. Historical Forts
Goa has a fascinating History and exploring its alluring old forts is one of the beautiful things to do in Goa. These historical heritages are known for their intriguing architecture, fascinating history and beautiful landscapes. Mostly built by Mughals and Portuguese, some of them find their origin dating back to the 17th century. Ascent the lighthouse of Fort Aguara to get a magnificent view of the blue ocean and its waves crashing against the fort walls. Climb a hillock to venture into the ruins of Nanuz fort or check out the fascinating wall and the old chapel of Marmagoa fort. Walk through the various rooms of Corjuem fortress and spot several gun ports and murder holes telling the tales of bravery of an era passed by. The fortress is also known for its only cable suspension bridge in Goa that connects it to Aldona. If history tickles your imagination and curiosity, forts of Goa are something you simply cannot miss while visiting the place.
3. Old Churches
When it comes to things to do in Goa, your visit is incomplete without seeing the splendid churches of the city. Being a Portuguese colony for 450 years, Goa is dotted with a lot of churches, some of them the largest in Asia and some of them the major landmarks of the city. They are the majestic buildings standing proudly defying all odds of time. Whether it is the vaulted interiors of the grand ‘Se Cathedral’, rich art and architecture of ‘Basilica of Bom Jesus’, or the hidden secrets among the ruins of the ‘Church of St. Augustine’; these immortal masterpieces of history are of great religious and historical significance. Take a dip in this religious grandeur for that heady spiritual dose and be mesmerised by the stunning architectural brilliance of the past.
4. Night Clubs
Goa is a hub of never-ending fun and its intoxicating night life is simply incomparable. The ambience and the live music of Goan clubs entice huge flocks of party lovers every year. Be a party animal and spend a carefree night at any of the nearest clubs. There is a never-ending list of Goa night clubs. Here are some of the recommended ones. ‘Club Cubana’, also known as the ‘nightclub in the sky’, is a multi-level secluded club situated on a hilltop. Adorned with beach-styled cabanas, a poolside amidst coconut trees, fluorescent lights and hip hop music, it offers an ambiance like no other club. ‘Love Passion Karma’ is festooned with sculpted terracotta statues and a beautiful waterfront deck. ‘Mambo’s’ offers electronic music and a wide-ranging food and bar menu. The pulsating music and ecstatic atmosphere of ‘Tito’s’ will make you lose track of time. ‘Leopard Valley’ offers a wild party atmosphere with open air dance floor surrounded by towers that shoot out flames. So, just eat, drink, dance and make merry!
Goa has many casinos on land as well as onboard luxury liners. Deltin Royale, Deltin Jaqk, Casino Carnival, Casino Pride and Casino Pearl are some of the recommended ones. Try your luck on rolling the dice, spinning the wheel or shuffling the cards over a glass of your favourite drink. Blinding lights, thunderous music and sumptuous food of the casinos add icing to the cake. Experiment with playing different games like Rummy, Stud Poker, Black Jack and Flash Roulette. So one of the most important things to do in Goa is Eat, Drink, Gamble and Enjoy!
6. DudhSagar Waterfalls
Dudhsagar waterfalls in Goa is magnificence personified and a must visit place in your list of things to do in Goa. It is a four-tiered waterfall situated on the Mandovi river. Perched in the lofty peaks of Western Ghats, it is the fourth highest waterfall in India. ‘Dudhsagar’ means ‘Sea of Milk’ and the name is derived from the white foam it creates as it falls vertically from a spectacular height of 1017ft. The view is simply breathtaking. Although it is a year-round tourist destination, the best time to visit the falls is after monsoon when its furious flow is in full glory. Hire a jeep or take a trek to the waterfalls and enjoy its scenic beauty and enthralling flow. Make sure you carry food and water along with you as there are no restaurants or shops around this place.
7. Water Sports
The city of beaches offer innumerable opportunities to indulge in water sports. Go for windsurfing in the calm morning breeze of Dona Paula bay and balance your strength to the movements of wind and water. Test your rafting skills at the white water rafting on Mandovi river. Explore the beautiful aquatic life of Goa by going for snorkeling, scuba diving or underwater walk at the Grande Island. Enjoy the sight of the vast blue sea from above the sky high by going for parasailing. Enjoy the banana boat ride, learn surfing or ride a water scooter. Go for backwater kayaking to get close to the flora and fauna of the city and spot some rare river birds. Go for the enthralling catamaran sailing with your group and enjoy the innovative experience of sailing. If you are looking for an extreme adventure, go for canyoning that involves jumping into a gushing waterfall and allowing yourself to be carried downstream with the flow of the water. Indulge in these water sports and pump up your adrenaline.
Paragliding is an exhilarating experience that should be on your list of things to do in Goa. Soar like a free bird on the alluring blue waters of the vast Arabian Sea and enjoy stunning views of Goa’s scenic landscapes. Feel your heart thumping against your chest as you witness the enthralling charm of the Goan coastline from a height of around 500 ft. Experience the uplifting sensation as you fly high leaving behind all your worldly worries and cares. This 20-minute Paragliding experience is offered at most of the beaches in Goa. The recommended spots are Arambol, Baga, Calangute, Candolim, Vagator, Majorda, Anjuna and Sinquerim.
9. Goa Wildlife
Goa is also a hotspot for wildlife lovers. There are many wildlife sanctuaries in the city protecting its ecological wealth. Walk in the wilderness of these unspoiled pieces of nature to explore Goa’s rich wildlife. ‘Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary’ is a home to Indian Bison, Sambar Deer, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Golden Backed Woodpecker and a variety of deer and snakes. ‘Molem Wildlife Sanctuary’ shelters Bengal Tiger, Black Panther, Barking Deer, Leopard, Civet, Wild Boar and 120 different bird species including Three-Toed Kingfisher, Wagtails and Fairy Bluebird. ‘Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary’ is covered by thick deciduous trees and houses Flying Lizard, White-Bellied Woodpecker and Golden-Back Gliding Snake. ‘Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary’ is known for its spectacular waterfalls and Royal Bengal Tigers. You can also get a glimpse of Sloth Bear, Jungle Cat, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Crimson-backed Sunbird and Grey-headed Bulbul. ‘Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary’ is a bird lover’s paradise and is a home to a variety of rare, exotic and migratory birds. There are many more that offer a treat to the eyes of wildlife lovers.
10. Salaulim Dam
Salaulim Dam in Goa is an engineering marvel and another place to add to your list of things to do in Goa. It is the most famous dam and is one of the best places to visit in Goa. This huge overflowing dam is amidst the green and densely forested area with a botanical garden on one side. Visitors are allowed to go near the dam to get a close view. Enjoy the captivating view and sound of water gushing down the dam and then rising to around 20 feet in the air. Take a 2 km walk along the length of the dam with a view of the river on one side and greenery on the other. The best time to visit this place is in September and October when the dam is overflowing with monsoon water.
11. Hot Air Ballooning
After you are done with exploring the coastal beauty of Goa, here’s another adventurous experience to adorn your list of things to do in Goa. Embark on this 30-minute exhilarating journey of hot air ballooning to pump up your adrenaline. Sit in a hand-crafted basket and enjoy the uplifting sensation of soaring at an altitude of upto 2500 ft with the sway of the balloon borne upon the winds. Get a bird’s eye view of the city as you glide through the sparkling azure sea and its golden shores. Flying in the open sky with a weightless sensation and a magical view beneath is one of a kind experience.
12. Butterfly Conservatory
Butterfly conservatory in Ponda is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Goa. Your list of things to do in Goa is not complete without visiting this place. Relive your childhood memories and witness the countless colourful butterflies fluttering around you in a small park. Maintained single handedly by a couple, the conservatory houses around 133 species of butterflies including some rare and exotic ones. Walk through the garden to have a close look at these tiny masterpieces of nature and click your favourite memories. The best time to visit this place is early morning when you will be able to spot more species. This is a natural conservatory where butterflies fly freely and follow their own feeding schedule. Check out the unique garden-on-roof house and the rainwater harvesting experiment. Learn how water is utilised to create a patch with widespread plants that attract birds and butterflies.
14. Ancient Caves
Goa is steeped in rich and mysterious history that extends way back than the arrival of Portuguese invaders. Another fascinating experience in the list of things to do in Goa are the city’s natural and manmade caves that are a perfect example of such historically significant sites. If you are fascinated by the bygone eras, the caves of Goa are something you simply cannot miss. ‘Arvalem Caves’ are the beautiful rock cut caves of the 6th century. Also known as the ‘Pandava Caves’, they are believed to be the refuge of the five Pandavas mentioned in Mahabharata. ‘Lamgau Caves’ are incomplete caves surrounded by areca palms. These caves are formed of decomposed laterite. Then, there are 10th century ‘Khandepar Caves’ which are man-made and carved from a single block with exquisitely designed doors and sockets. ‘Rivona Caves’ are tranquil Buddhist caves situated far from the humdrums of urban life. They are believed to be the abode of Buddhist monks for meditation.
14. Naval Aviation Museum
Visit India’s one and only Naval Aviation Museum located near Bogmala, 6km from the port town of Vasco da Gama. Inaugurated in 1998, the museum proudly exhibits thirteen aircrafts used by Indian Navy over the years. Collection includes, HAL Chetak, HAL-HT-2, Sea Harrier and Westland Sea King. Walk through the indoor galleries of the museum to learn more about the evolution of Indian Navy over the years. You will find information about the key battles involving Indian Navy, weapons used in the war, old photographs and mammoth replicas of the INS Vikrant and INS Viraat. So, do take out time to visit the pride of India.
15. Spice Plantations
Goa is famous for its tantalising aromatic spices and a visit to its spice plantations is one of the most refreshing experience. There are several spice villages and plantations in Goa that give you an insight into the spice business. Walk through the aromatic farms and learn how coconuts, cashews, betel nuts, fruits, different spices and medicinal herbs are grown. You can also opt for the elephant safari tour and enjoy your ride while visiting the spice farms.
16. Sunset Cruise
Sail down the Mandovi river on a one-hour long leisurely sunset cruise. Enjoy one of Goa’s spectacular sunsets as you sail past the Adil Shah Palace, the old colonial buildings of Panjim, Miramar beach with its lovely tree lined avenues and Fort Aguada. The live performances of Goa’s best folk dances and sing mandos keep you entertained throughout the trip. Cruise is meant for people of all ages and is a must experience trip in Goa.
17. Houseboat tour
Go for an overnight houseboat tour and explore the offbeat side of Goa. Spend some quality time with your family and friends on the tranquil and serene backwaters of Goa. Equipped with luxurious amenities, these houseboats are spacious and no less than a five-star hotel. Enjoy the rich environment, lovely sights of dusk, elegant night sky and beautiful sunrise. Witness the fishermen spreading their nets, crocodiles lazing on the banks, birds twittering, and fisher folks jumping into the water for shellfish. Relish the lip smacking flavours of Goan dishes along with fine wine and encompassing music. The entire experience is very refreshing and simply unforgettable.
18. Feni Farms
Feni is the liquor produced exclusively in Goa. Classified as a ‘Country Liquor’, it is not allowed to be sold outside the state of Goa. Apart from tasting Feni, do pay a visit to the Feni farms and learn how this authentic liquor is made. Witness how Feni is fermented from cashew apples and coconut sap. Get to know the juice extraction and the distillation process involved. Visit the cashew factory where you can purchase some organic cashews.
19. Crocodile Spotting
Go on a 3-hour crocodile spotting cruise in a luxury shikara and get close with one of the deadliest predators in the animal kingdom. Capture the sly movements of these massive beings as they glide slowly in their natural habitat. Sail through the mangrove lined water ways and rivulets of Goa and explore its rich aquatic life including various fishes, prawns and mollusks. The experience is a splendid one!
20. Get a Hippy Makeover
Feel the laid back tropical vibe of Goa and get a fresh look with hippie makeover. Get your hair braided and decorated with colourful beads. Be draped in tie-dye shirts and colourful dresses. Wear statement tees with powerful messages. Accessorise with wooden jewellery and flower crowns. Get inked with temporary or permanent tattoo. Eat, drink, relax and make merry! 🙂