Goa is love at first sight. Rarely has a traveller returned from this magnificent holiday spot morose or disappointed. This pint-sized state has a lot more to offer other than just shacks, beaches and parties. Located in Southwest India, Goa is India’s smallest state and yet its most culturally rich one. There is so much to do and see in Goa that you will be spoilt for choice and feel like a single vacation is not enough! Equally accessible by road, flight and train within India, Goa is and will always remain one of the most sought-after travel destinations. More popularly known for solo trips or trips with friends and significant others, Goa can also be a very family-friendly travel destination.
From a plethora of beaches to sanctuaries, churches and forts, Goa has something to offer to everyone. Are you just seeking to unwind? Or is adventure and exploration your calling? There are places to visit in Goa for everyone. Once you land, smell the sea and soak in the vibrant atmosphere; all you will want to do is to head out and discover a bit of yourself in each one of the places you see. Budget trip or not, Goa will charge you up and the ever-smiling locals will make every moment of your stay worthwhile.
With no further ado, listed below are the top 30 places to visit in Goa:
Places To Visit In Goa
Butterfly Conservatory of Goa
Arambol Beach or Harmal Beach
Shri Mahalaxmi Temple, Bandora
St. Augustine Tower or the Church of St. Augustine
Shri Shantadurga Temple, Kavlem
River Cruise - Mandovi River
Cabo De Rama Fort
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary
Dona Paula Beach
Tambadi Surla Waterfalls
Reis Magos Fort
Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
Three Kings Church or the Reis Magos Church
Majorda Beach Goa
Latin Quarter and Portuguese Mansions of Fontainhas
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Mollem National Park
Naval Aviation Museum
1. Butterfly Conservatory of Goa
One of the many hidden gems in Goa–Ponda, a butterfly conservatory–is a small sanctuary with over 100 species of free-flying butterflies. This is one of the best places to visit in Goa; there are no cages or walls in this conservatory to stop these butterflies from flying out, such is the love between the butterflies and the wild plants here. This privately owned park was built and is maintained by the owner of a spice garden next door. Given the kind of crowds that Goa attracts from across the world, this little paradise is comparatively unexplored, thus adding charm to the whole experience.
If you are looking for a relaxing getaway away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded streets of Goa, be sure to plan an evening at this conservatory. At any given time of the year, you are sure to enjoy the sighting of at least 20-25 species of butterflies at any time of year. During the peak season, you will get to see many more butterflies and beautiful flowers in bloom.
2. Ashwem Beach
If it is a calm and peaceful beach that you wish to visit in Goa, then Ashwem Beach is just the place to go to. Not one of the regular tourist spots of Goa, this beach offers you the peace of mind and tranquillity you are craving for. The sound of the waves hitting the shores will have a calming effect on your nerves and mind.
Ashwem Beach is one of the best places to visit in Goa. It is a clean beach located near Panjim, the capital city of Goa. With soft white sands, overlooking the Arabian Sea in the western part of the Country, Ashwem beach is also known for its soft waves and very little to no shells and weeds in the water, making it ideal for a short swim in the sea. One of the biggest beaches of Goa, this place is ideal for families and backpackers who wish to spend quiet time with the family or on their own. You will find a number of shacks mushrooming around the beaches during peak season, and there are plenty of great food and drink options at all given times. Reviews like ‘super virgin beach’, ‘calm’, ‘peace’, ‘beautiful’, and other such symbolise Ashwem Beach on many review platforms across the internet, such is the beauty of this quiet beach hidden from prying eyes of locals and tourists.
If it is a calm and peaceful beach of Goa that you wish to visit, then Ashwem Beach is just the place to go. Not one of the regular tourist spots of Goa, this beach offers you peace of mind and tranquillity you are craving for. The sound of the waves hitting the shores has a calming effect on one’s nerves and mind.
3. Hollant Beach
There is no dearth of places to visit in Goa. About seven kilometres from Vasco City in the southern part of Goa lies Hollant Beach. It is one of the most favourite beach destinations for families visiting Goa. A shallow bay that slopes gently into the sea, this beach enjoys almost no currents, making it a haunt among tourists who love swimming or having fun in the open sea. With a very limited number of tourists visiting this beach, this place could well be an ideal spot for the next family picnic with sun, sea and sand for company. Although there aren’t any large hotels around this beach, you can easily find accommodation with families living in the area who are always welcoming to guests hoping to rent out a room or an entire guest house. Well-connected by road, this beach is easily accessible whether you rent a bike or car.
4. Arambol Beach or Harmal Beach
The northernmost beach of Goa–Arambol–is located in an eponymous traditional fishing village about 90 KM from Bambolim Airport and about 43 KM from Goa’s capital, Panjim. Home to both national and international musicians alike, Arambol is where you will find rich live music. Do not miss out on visiting the freshwater lake very close to the sea here; it is one of the biggest pulls for tourists. Given the strong winds around this sea during the tourist season, this beach is also home to some of the best sporting adventures including paragliding and kite surfing. The tourist season also sees a lot of sunset parties on Arambol beach with live music and dance. With the calm waters, the sea here is great for swimming and rowing in open sea. Be here to just soak up some sun in Arambol, easily one of the best places to visit in Goa.
Another beach to not miss is the Chapora Beach. It is located close to the remains of a historic Portuguese fort in Goa and continues to be a major tourist spot. It is definitely one of the best places to see in Goa. It is about 10 kilometres away from Mapusa, in case you need to figure out its location better. Owing to its black lava rocks, sandy white stretches and range of palms, it lures thousands of visitors all through the year. The ambience is tranquil though the influx of tourist sometimes affects its serenity. Encircled by green hilly terrains, the beach is also ideal for nature lovers. Those into water sports and beach activities will find this beach a great place to hang out.
A lot of tourists indulge in windsurfing, jet skiing, parasailing and other adventure sports at Chapora beach. The beach is also thronged by angling lovers who bring their fishing gear and set out to fish. The nearby Chapora Village is the perfect destination for shopaholic tourists who can find eclectic souvenirs made by local artisans.
5. Agonda Beach
Agonda Beach not only offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea but is also a perfect place for swimming and sunbathing. Leafy palm trees, sparkling water and comfortable sun beds environ the long stretch of the pristine coast making it one of the most relaxing places to see in Goa. Located down south, just 10 minutes from Palolem Beach, Agonda is also known for sheltering the Cabo de Rama Fort. Margao is the closest railway station at 43 kilometres in case you want to take trains to other parts of India. The local railway station is Canacona about 20 minutes’ drive from Agonda. Alternatively, if you are taking a flight, you can take a prepaid taxi to Agonda Beach from Goa's Dabolim airport which is around one and a half hours away.
A popular destination for angling, you will find a large variety of salmon, soormai and mullet fishes. Get ready to unwind from the hustles of the city and soak up some sun, as your time here will come to a standstill! One of the best places to visit in Goa, this small paradise in Goa has mouth-watering food at the shacks lined up on the coast. Fatima’s Corner, Simrose, and Roadhouse Bar and Grill are some of the recommendations for delicious seafood and well-stocked bar and drinks.
The tourist season kicking off in late October till March is a great time to enjoy Agonda Beach. However, it is best to avoid the monsoon season between June to August, when the markets and beach huts are deserted and there is not much activity on the beach.
6. Velsao Beach
One of the closest beaches to Goa’s Dabolim Airport is the Velsao beach in Vasco De Gama. This is hands down of the best places to visit in Goa. Yet another beach of Goa that is away from the maddening tourist crowds thronging the state, Velsao beach is an ideal beach for families who would like some quality time together. The early mornings on this beach are nothing short of magical, while the evenings are mesmerising. The day in between offers great sun, sand and sea. Replete with choices of food and drinks, Velsao Beach is ideal for you to unwind and have some fun. With a number of trees around, there is plenty of shade for the kids to play under, and to build as many sand castles as they please. If privacy is your priority, Velsao offers that and how! A hot spot for fishermen, you can join these men in bringing in their catch. The beach and the sunset at Velsao is something you simply must not miss!
7. Mormugao Fort
Mormugao Fort, the ancient behemoth that still stands proud, is one of the oldest preserved coastal forts in the country. One of the best places to visit in Goa, this fort was built to guard the harbour and was considered one of the most critical port posts for the Portuguese. Located just a few kilometres north of Vasco, this fort is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations of Goa. This structure, however, also exudes some elements of Maratha architecture in addition to its Portuguese influences. Overlooking the Varca beach, this fort offers wonderful views for people who love photography. Mormugao is also a must-visit for history and architecture lovers. The sight from the fort, of the dozens of fishing boats lined at the harbour, is nothing short of unforgettable.
8. Shri Mahalaxmi Temple, Bandora
This is one of the many places to see in Goa. Home to numerous temples, the village of Bandode also houses this large and beautiful temple of Goddess Mahalakshmi–the Shri Mahalakshmi Temple. Information about the ancient rituals performed in this temple can be found on stone plaques. According to historians, this temple’s existence dates back to 1413. Folk tales passed down from generations say that fearing the persecution of the goddess’ idol, two devotees–Safto and Fato–smuggled the deity’s idol at midnight from the temple. In doing so they, however, left behind the footprints of the goddess and hence, to this date, the locals worship these footprints. The deity’s statue from Colva was shifted here years later along with the original idol. Today, the temple houses two idols of the same goddess and both are worshipped with great fervour and devotion. The goddesses are taken out on a procession every year on a chariot, a spectacle worth witnessing. Do make it a point to catch this procession if you are in Goa during this grand festival.
9. St. Augustine Tower or the Church of St. Augustine
The ruined church complex of Church of St. Augustine is a true example of how even the mightiest can fall. One of the richest churches of its times (if you go by local folklore), it stands today as a humble ruin, caused partly due to neglect and partly due to nature’s fury. Declared as a World Heritage Site, this church was originally completed in 1602 on top of Monte Santo (translates to Holy Hill) by Augustine Friers. Once considered as one of the three great Augustine churches in the Iberian world, it took five years to build. It was around 1835 when the then Portuguese government in Goa, under its repressive policies, forced the abandonment of the church by 1837. The church collapsed by 1842. Built with laterite at an impressive height of 46 metres, the once grand four-storied church with four towers has just one tower standing tall, today. This is one of the best places to visit in Goa and must visit attraction in Goa on your next visit to the beautiful city!
This is simply scratching the surface when it comes to beautiful chapels and cathedrals in Goa. The historical and glorious ruins of the church, like the 46 metres high Bell Tower, the four-storied arched laterite tower, richly adorned chapels, four altars and a convent with numerous cells, are tourist attractions. Once deemed as the greatest of the three Augustinian churches, today, only the ruins remain. These are maintained by the Archeological Survey of India. One can also attend the church services here which are conducted by the Archdiocese of Goa. One of the most spectacular monuments in Goa, this tourist attraction has no entry fee and is open from 8 AM to 6 PM.
The Se Cathedral de Santa Catarina, commonly known as the Se Cathedral is a historic edifice in Goa and is also one of the places you can consider visiting on your trip. The church is a must visit even for those who are not religiously inclined. The cathedral is a major landmark now and stands tall with its impressive Portuguese Manueline style. Dedicated to the memory of Catherine of Alexandria, it is located on the Mandovi river banks and is one of the many places to see in Goa. The grandiose nature of the edifice has earned it a UNESCO world heritage site tag. The interior of the church is influenced by Corinthian architectural style. There is a golden bell in the church tower and the main attraction is an altar inside the edifice. This bell is said to be the biggest one in Goa. The ambience is soothing, and the church welcomes people of all religions to stop by and admire the beauty of the cathedral.
10. Shri Shantadurga Temple, Kavlem
A place of holy religious worship, the beautiful temple of Shree Shantadurga is the most respected deity of the Hindu Goud Saraswat Brahmin community in Ponda, North Goa. Dedicated to Goddess Shantadurga, the deity is depicted as holding two serpents one in each hand representing Vishnu and Shiva. Believed to be the avatar of Goddess Jagdamba Devi who had come for reconciliation between Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, she was named as Shree Shantadurga Devi or the Goddess of Peace.
If you are looking for places to see in Goa, plan a visit to Kavlem. Located around 30 kilometres from Panjim in the foothills of Kavalem village in Ponda is this beautiful private Hindu temple complex called Shri Shantadurga Temple. Recently in the news for banning the entry of foreigners into this temple for objectionable dressing, this grand temple comprises a collection of a pyramidal roof with domes, with one main temple and three smaller temples for other deities, floors and pillars made from Kashmir stone, a water tank, a deepastambha and guesthouses. Originally built by Naroram Rege Mantri, a Minister in Chatrapati Sahu Maharaj’s court, this temple’s construction started around 1730 and was completed by 1738. Together with the pyramids, the stained-glass windowpanes in multi colours, the soft and serene colour of the temple itself, the chandelier and impressive gate posts, give this temple its character.
There are no entry fees for visiting the temple and its timings are from 5:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Photography is prohibited inside the temple. This place is usually visited with Shri Mahalaxmi Temple, Bandoda, which is about two kilometres from here. Shri Nageshi Temple, Kapileshwari Temple, St. Roque Chapel, Bandoda are some places to see in Goa around this area. 11. Hivre Waterfall There are many great places to visit in Goa. Nestled in the heart of nature, the Hivre Waterfall is a sight not to be missed by any nature lover. Showcasing the uncomplicated life of Goan Villages, one will need to reach Valpoi Village by road and then trek a distance of 14 kilometres to reach this serene beauty. Go back to a life where vehicles will not be needed and where there is no pollution, no honking. It is just the sounds of nature all the way. With the locals more than happy to direct you towards the falls, start your trek through the midst of nature to reach Hivre Village. On your way enjoy the many bounties and beauties Mother Nature has to offer, cross a forest, enjoy the sights of beautiful creeks with birds chirping and giving you company all along. Stop by for a photograph or two as well. Once you reach the majestic waterfalls, simply unwind and surrender to nature.
12. River Cruise - Mandovi River
The River Cruise–or the Sunset cruise as it is commonly known as–is truly the signature event that represents Goa at its very best. This is a group event that generally starts from the jetty in the evenings just before sunset. One of the best ways to relax after an eventful tour around Goa by road throughout the day is this cruise that allows you to just sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of Panjim, the capital city of Goa. The boat will cruise along the Mandovi River from dusk to late night. All this while listening to Mandos and experiencing the Dekhni and the Fugdi, the folk dance of Goa. Relive how the ancient travellers would have felt seeing Aadil Shah’s grand summer palace while sailing towards Goa. Sail on the Mandovi all the way to Miramar Beach, from where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the sun setting against the horizon. The cruises last for a few hours and on a lucky day, you may even be greeted by some dolphins while you are sailing in the waters. So, what are you waiting for? Sail away!
13. Cabo De Rama Fort
Looking for places to visit in Goa? An ancient fort that has changed hands from the Hindus to the Mughals and finally to the Portuguese, the Cabo De Rama is one of the many places you must visit on a trip to Goa. This fort has a long history and has seen itself being abandoned by the Portuguese. At one time the fort which was the pride of the Portuguese, housed over 21 guns and military barracks. The fort of today houses a church within and is still in very good condition. Located in the southern part of Goa, this ancient yet majestic fort offers great views of the entire stretch of Colva beach and Canacona beach. The white painted Santo Antonio Church within the deep dark walls of the fort makes it a sought-after destination among photography enthusiasts. With cliffs on the western side of the fort dropping steeply to the sea, one can’t help but feel like being at the top of the world at this fort. At one time the fort also functioned as a government prison.
14. Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Located on the western tip of Chorao on an island along the Mandovi river sits Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. This place is named after the eminent ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali. Home to a number of varieties of birds and other animals, this sanctuary spans over a 440-acre area enveloped by thick and lush mangrove forests. It is definitely one of the places to see in Goa. The preferred habitat for many beautiful bird species such as the striated heron and western reef heron, the sanctuary is also known to have mangrove specific species like the mudskippers and the mighty fiddler crabs, besides a variety of other birds and snakes as well. Being a protected reserve, the only way to access this reserve is by the ferry service that starts from Ribander. Once on the island, you can walk across the sanctuary on the paved walk that runs across it. Be sure to carry your camera and your photogenic self! This is a trip you will never forget.
15. Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary
Along the eastern border of Goa is located yet another protected forest sanctuary nestled in the Western Ghats. Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary and Molem National Park span over 240 sq. km of land in Molem and is home to myriad species of flora and fauna. This nature-kissed paradise is just 57 kilometres from Panjim. Enveloped by tropical evergreen forest on all sides, this reserve also is home to the mighty Dudhsagar Waterfall. Located very deep in the forest, this is the largest reserve of Goa which is home to many species of mammals, birds, reptiles and butterflies you may have never seen in your life before. At this sanctuary, you will get to see birds such as the state bird of Goa–the ruby-throated yellow bulbul–besides the other species endemic to the southern part of India. The forest reserve is a paradise for bird photographers and animal and nature lovers alike. Besides being a haven for nature lovers, this park also has a number of attractions such as the Tambdi Surla Temple, Devil’s canyon and Tambdi falls that you must visit after a tryst with the many birds in the sanctuary. Do not forget to stop by at the sunset point to enjoy mesmerising views of the sun setting into the skies! This is hands down one of the best places to see in Goa.
16. Arvalem Waterfalls
Looking for places to visit in Goa with your family? Another monsoon season attraction hidden in Goa along the Western Ghats is the Arvalem Waterfall. It is not as tall as the Dudhsagar. It is at its best around October when it cascades down into the woods with a thunderous sound. The waterfall is just a 10-minute drive from the Arvalem Caves, yet another attraction you must not miss.
Set amongst charming surroundings and a stone’s throw away from the falls is the famous Rudreshwar Temple, a shrine where some Hindu communities believe that the souls of the dead get released on the 12th day after their passing. With nature in abundance around the falls, you are sure to feel completely cut away from the world when you are at this picturesque attraction. A beautiful park has been built here to facilitate tourists a place to view the falls from. As you stand back and watch, these falls cascade down from a height of over 50 feet, you are sure to be spellbound and awestruck. Reaching these falls requires you to reach Sanquelim via road. From here, you will need to trek a short while to take a motorbike to reach the caves or the falls.
17. Dona Paula Beach
Dona Paula beach is located in Dona Paula Village and is named after an affluent Portuguese lady Da. Paula Amaral Antonia de Souto-Maior. Da. Paula set foot into India with her family in 1744. She was known to be extremely charitable. Until her death in 1782, she left no stone unturned in helping the local farmers and villagers for their betterment. Upon her death, the village was renamed, Dona Paula. She was entombed in the current Governer’s house in Goa. She is believed to still visit the place with the sea waves, wearing her famous pearl necklace. Home to many wonders of the sea, the Dona Paula beach also houses the National Institute of Oceanography, the Goa University and the International Centre Goa. A must visit for a calm evening, the locals recommend this beach among the many places to see in Goa.
18. Tiger’s Beach
There are many beautiful places to visit in Goa. It is home to several beaches, but if you truly wish to see Goa at its very best, you must pay the Kakolem Beach a visit. Also called the Tiger Beach, this is an ideal getaway for those looking for a truly secluded beach minus the chaos and clutter you see at Colva and the likes. Kakolem beach is known for a rock formation from which a stream flows and heads to the sea. Owing to its remote location, it is hard to reach the beach and public transport is scarce. There is only one accommodation facility here, but there are several air BnB accommodations that you can consider. If you are looking for something adventurous to do, be sure to hop onto one of the many speed boats you can hire and ride the mighty waves. This beach is mostly visited by nature lovers, the newlyweds and those with a penchant for adventure!
19. Tambadi Surla Waterfalls
Those who think the natural splendour of Goa is limited just to its beaches will be pleasantly surprised when they pay a visit to the Tambdi Surla Waterfall. The beautiful site is surrounded on all sides by lush greenery and is soothing to the eyes. This is one of the best places to see in Goa and the location is just perfect for water sports and treks. Despite the popularity of Tambdi Surla Waterfall Trek, you have to remember it can be somewhat risky too, so do exercise caution.
The waterfall is located close to the border of Goa and Karnataka. The first two hours of the journey to Tambadi Surla can be covered by a bike after which you will have to commence a 45-minute trek through a stony path. The flora and fauna of the region are diverse and enchanting, to say the least. While engaging in exploration and trekking, you have to be careful about leeches. The stones on the river bed are slippery, so be careful while trekking along the route. Make sure you stop by at the Mahadev Temple to seek the blessings of the deity while you are here!
20. Anjuna Beach
Once a destination for hippies and trance music parties, Anjuna Beach still remains one of the most happening and popular attractions in all of Goa. Under the Portuguese rule until 1950, Anjuna Beach is housed in the Anjuna Village on the coast of North Goa. Local folklore has mixed stories on how the name originated; some claim the name originates from the Arabic word for change. Some historians, however, believe the name is derived from the Arabic word ‘Hanjuman’ (Translates to Merchant Guild). Home to some of the most famous trance parties, Anjuna today is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations among Indians and foreigners alike. While paying a visit here, do go to St. Michael’s Church for some peace and serenity. In peak tourist season October to April, Anjuna opens up the midnight market also known as the flea market. You can find yourself many local souvenirs here for your family and friends back home!
21. Reis Magos Fort
Goa has a number of ancient edifices that stand as a testimony to its long Portuguese colonial heritage. The massive Reis Magos fort, which was built in the 16th century, continues to be a major tourist attraction in Goa. Located on the northern bank of the pretty Mandovi river, it is encircled by sturdy laterite walls. You can find traces of history at every nook and corner of the massive fort! Also pay a visit to the Reis Magos Church that is close by. It is where the famous feast of three wise men is celebrated every year with much pomp and enthusiasm.
The oldest fort and historic relic in Goa, Reis Magos was built by the Portuguese Viceroy in 1551 by Alfonso de Noronha and was rebuilt again in 1707. Initially used as the shelter for the viceroy’s residence and dignitaries who visited from Lisbon, it later was converted to a fortress. Between 1798-1813, it was occupied by the British Army and was subsequently abandoned by the military to be used as a prison. With the restoration by the Archeological Survey of India, it has been a monument of national and historic heritage. It is best known for its sturdy and distinctive reddish laterite walls against a blue sky. It offers some breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and River Mandovi.
The fort is open to everyone from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM on all days except Monday. Entry fee for adults is INR 50 per person and children (below 8 years) are allowed free entry. Students have to shell out an entry fee of INR 25 each. However, on public holidays the entry fee is INR 10 per person for adults and students. Other tourist attractions nearby include Reis Magos Church at 0.3 kilometres, the Beach at 2.5 kilometres, Candolim Beach at 6.4 kilometres and Shree Shantadurga Temple at 2.3 kilometres.
22. Cansaulim Beach
When deciding on the places to visit in Goa, be sure to visit the beautiful Cansaulim Beach. This one is loved by visitors of all age groups thanks to its amazing scenic beauty and calm ambience. It is also a favourite spot among locals who enjoy picnic parties at the beach. The beach sits right between Colva and Bogmallo beaches. It is an ideal getaway for those who want to enjoy the seaside beauty of Goa while skipping the clutter of crowd and bustle of urban life. Cansaulim Beach is just a few miles away from Arossim Beach, where you can enjoy a number of water sports! From windsurfing to parasailing, from jet-skiing to fishing there is plenty to do at this beach. If you are looking for something more mellow to do, take an evening stroll on its lovely sands. Cansaulim Beach is also one of the most family-friendly beaches in all of Goa. If you are visiting Goa during January, be sure to partake in the Three King’s Fest held here–a fun event for the entire family. You may also explore other attractions like the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. Be sure to enjoy the sunset along with some delicious seafood offered at the many shacks at this beach!
23. Butterfly Beach This may not be among the most popular beaches in Goa, but the Butterfly Beach definitely has its own charm! A lesser-known paradise laden with exotic butterfly species and amazing marine wildlife, this is a must visit place in Goa. The semi-circle shaped landscape gives it an island-like appearance, but in reality, it is a beach. Located to the north of the popular Palolem beach, Butterfly is a beautiful beach in South Goa although only a few are aware of its existence. Apart from being home to many exotic butterfly species, the beach also has a great collection of crabs and goldfishes. Some tourists have also spotted dolphins in the waters near the beach at times. It is also ideal for enjoying sunsets in a tranquil seaside setting. Owing to its limited accessibility, private parties are held on the beach from time to time. Be sure to set out on a canoe ride to enjoy this hidden gem which is also heaven for shutterbugs!
24. Betalbatim Beach Located to the north of the popular Colva Beach, Betalbatim beach is among the lesser-known but very enticing beaches in Goa. While most Goan beaches have rows of palm trees, this one is lined up with a lot of pine trees. Betalbatim is a sought-after destination due to its serene atmosphere and cleanliness. It is about five kilometres from Margao. The beach is nearly deserted barring a few shacks but has a sea that is ideal for swimming. You can also rent sunbeds and umbrellas if you want to soak in some sun. There are actually two beaches here–the Sunset Beach and the larger Betalbatim Beach. Lucky visitors can spot dolphins in the nearby sea and the local fisherman can arrange for tours too. You can also buy fresh fish from the fishermen and cook it in your hotel if you so please! There are a few pretty churches such as the Church of the Holy Spirit located in Margao, that you must visit after a fun dip in the waters of Betalbatim Beach.
25. Colva Beach
Miles of perfect white sand and coconut palms stretching from Bogmalo in the north to Cabo de Rama in the south make Colva Beach a great family spot. Surrounded by the Arabian Sea, it makes for a delightful respite from the urban madness. Located in South Goa and 33 kilometres from Panjim, the closest railway station is Margao. Colva Beach is one of the favourite places to visit in Goa among domestic Indian tourists and is particularly crowded on the weekends.
Reputed as one of the largest and oldest beaches, this beach was used as a retreat for Margao's aristocrats during the colonial era and is one of the best places to visit in Goa. Known for its architectural beauty, the village still paints a beautiful picture of the old-style villas and luxurious houses that was once owned by the patrician class. With constant vigilance by lifeguards, Colva Beach offers great scope for safe water sports like jet skiing and speed boat rides. Tourists also make it a point to stop by the 1630 church of Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Piedade (Our Lady of Mercy) in the village near Colva beach.
The beach has swarms of colourful shops, affordable hotels, an astounding number of shacks and restaurants and bars to keep the tourist busy. Although Colva boasts of a vibrant nightlife, on the downside, the rave parties’ scenario is minimal as compared to the North Goa beaches. The best time to visit this lively beach is between November to March.
26. Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is an icon in Goa that is at 1.5 kilometres from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand and 29 kilometres from Vasco Da Gama Railway Station. Sitting on the hillside site above the Idalco Palace that was built by the 16th century ruler - Adil Shah, this historic building was built in 1541 in a classic style. It is a national historic site and one of the oldest churches in Goa. It is home to the great bell, which is the second largest bell in Goa, brought from the ruins of the St. Augustine Church in Old Goa. It was shifted to the Mary Immaculate Church in 1871 after Panjim became the capital of Goa. Praca de Flores–meaning the 'Square of Flowers'–was added in 1843 taking the church’s sheer beauty a notch higher. The main altar in the church has been dedicated to Mary Immaculate; the altar towards the left is features the crucifixion of Jesus and the altar on the right is devoted to Our Lady of the Rosary. Apart from the St. Xavier’s Chapel, beautiful statues of St. Paul and St. Peter are major attractions of the church.
Every year on 8th December, the feast of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is celebrated where the church is gorgeously decorated with lights. Venue of numerous film shootings, the timings for the church is open between 9 AM to 12:30 PM and 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM on all days. The entry fee is INR 10 per person.
27. Sinquerim Beach
If it is a calm and peaceful beach of Goa that you wish to visit, then Sinquerim Beach is just the place to go. Not one of the regular tourist spots of Goa, this beach offers you peace of mind and tranquillity you are craving for. The sound of the waves hitting the shores will have a calming effect on your nerves and mind. Located in the eponymous village, this beach also offers scenic views of the famous Fort Aguada. There are a number of shacks dotting the beach line, where you can just relax sipping on a cold bottle of beer or any beverage of your choice. The sand is soft and clean, making this beach ideal to just lounge around the shore or set out on a stroll. For adventure enthusiasts, there are a couple of water sports available here during the tourist season. With its swaying palms, white sands and mesmerising views, one cannot help but feel welcome in this paradise.
28. Three Kings Church or the Reis Magos Church
Usually visited from Reis Magos Fort which is 300 metres away, this beautiful church in North Goa is at a distance of seven kilometres from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand, 15 kilometres from Mapusa and about 34 kilometres away from Vasco Da Gama Railway Station. One of the amazing places to visit in Goa, this church was constructed by the Franciscan friars in dedication to Saint Jerome. According to history, the two Viceroys of Goa were once buried within this church’s premises. Also called the Three Kings of Magi Church, this dazzling white structure has a historical significance with Goa with its multi-coloured wood relief interiors depicting scenes of the Three Wise Men presenting their gifts to the baby Jesus. It has a gorgeous interior. With construction starting in 1555, it was renovated in 1771 and the pillars were created in 1764. With bright and splendid designs, and exquisite prayer hall, and the intricately painted canopy behind the altar, bask in the magnificence of the lavish interiors. The burial place of one of Portugal’s greatest Viceroys – Dom Luis de Ataide – is marked with an impressive slab near the altar in the church.
The Reis Magos Church is known to host an annual feast held on the 6th of January dedicated to Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, the Three Wise Men of the Christmas story. Also called the Fiesta de Los Tres Reyes Magos, it is a time for great festivity and fun in the village where the local youth play the role of the Three Kings of Magi. The villages partake in musical procession from the church around the village. With lots of dancing, procession, entertaining skits, this festival in Goa is one of a kind.
29. Majorda Beach Goa
Majorda Beach is at a distance of 17 kilometres from Goa International Airport (Dabolim) and 12 kilometres away from Margaon Railway Station. It is well-connected to other parts of the state. Laid back and charming, you can put up your umbrella on this spectacular beach lined with swaying palm trees or take a stroll along the famous South Goa coastline and watch the soothing waves of the Arabian Sea. Mae De Deus Church founded in 1588 A.D and rebuilt in 1739 is one of the highlights of this beach. Also the enchanting venue for Goa’s Christmas Carnival, it is no surprise that Majorda Beach is one of the most popular places to see in Goa.
Among many coastal enticements for everyone, the lures of streetside shopping cannot be missed. With a huge number of churches, it is a treat to explore the beautiful Portuguese architecture at Majorda. Besides shopping and sunbathing, visitors can enjoy paintball and go-karting here. With pleasant weather all around the year, parasailing, waterskiing, jet skiing etc are also fun activities you can partake in. Visitors will get wide-eyed at the collection at Ashvek Vintage Car Museum that houses cars and related paraphernalia dating back to 1886. For those who prefer to just enjoy the azure seas, strolling along the coast or just lazing on the golden beach, the soothing atmosphere of this beach will calm their jumpy nerves in no time.
Shacks and restaurants like Mish-Mar, Sam's Shack and Camron's Beach Shack dot the beach with delectable Goan cuisines. Don’t miss the trendy Martin's Corner, a favourite among Goan tourists. Also, visit Masterchef Victoria Bakery or Anjona Bakery to grab some of the best European bread such as croquettes and patties.
30. Latin Quarter and Portuguese Mansions of Fontainhas
Freshly painted colourful houses with artistic balconies and red slanted roofs at every winding narrow street and the bright red well just around the well will make you fall in love with this Portuguese neighbourhood. Among all the other places to visit in Goa is Fontainhas in Panjim. In 1984, this building was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone that depicts a 450-year-old heritage of the Portuguese culture that still lives on. Located below Altinho, a hilltop area, this beautiful structure will take you back in time to a world of charming, old Portuguese homes that are now quaint bakeries, café and art galleries with the beautiful street art, all of which belong to Portuguese families that still exist in Goa. It gets its name meaning ‘fountain’ from Fonte Phoenix or the Fountain of Phoenix, a water reservoir constructed during the Portuguese rule at the foot of the hill. Undeniably charming, you can also opt for a Heritage walk in Fontainhas, visit the St. Sebastian Chapel which houses a number of artefacts and hike to the Altinho hill to visit the Maruti temple for picturesque views and soak in the tranquillity of the Latin Quarter. If you happen to visit during February, don’t miss the art and musical Fontainhas festival when the Portuguese cottages are transformed into art galleries exhibiting creations symbolising the Goan legacy.
31. Fort Aguada
Besides the world-famous beaches, Goa has numerous attractions that take you back in time. Fort Aguada is one of the best places to visit in Goa. It is a top tourist attraction because of its historical significance. The structure has an impenetrable fortification and a moat, though it is currently dry. A lighthouse within the fort gives a stunning view of the surrounding ocean and land. A specific area of the fort is converted into a jail while the rest is open to tourists. It remains open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm every day.
32. Calangute Beach
Calangute is located in North Goa and is one of the largest beaches. It remains busy throughout the year and has a coastline that is filled with clubs, markets, and restaurants. It is one of the popular places to visit in Goa. There are many activities you can indulge in on the beach. It remains one of the top Goa sightseeing spots for tourists.
33. Basilica of Bom Jesus
There are numerous churches in Goa, but the best of them is arguably the Basilica of Bom Jesus. It has historical importance because it is the final resting place for St Francis Xavier’s mortal remains. The church is very popular in the region and is also a world heritage site. It remains open from 9 am to 6:30 pm from Monday to Thursday. On Sunday it remains open from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm. It is one of the essential places to see in Goa. There are various other churches in Goa, which you can visit with your family.
34. Chapora Fort
Another of the popular places to visit in Goa is Chapora Fort, located at the mouth of the River Chapora. Although the fort is now in ruins, it is visited by many tourists who want to get a good view of the coastline from the top. It is the perfect spot for photography enthusiasts and one of the best places to visit in Goa. It remains open from 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Sunday. There are various other forts in Goa which you can visit with your family.
35. Dudhsagar Falls
The literal meaning of Dudhsagar is ‘sea of milk’. It is a waterfall in Goa and is a beautiful sight, especially in the rainy season. Dudhsagar has a four-level drop from a height of 320 metres. It is the largest in the country and the best time to visit it is during the late monsoon or winter. You can take a train that passes through a bridge facing the falls, giving you one of the best views.
36. Pandava Caves
The Pandavas are very important in Hindu culture. According to the Mahabharata, the Pandavas remained in exile for many years, and it is said that they lived in Goa in the sixth century. You can find caves that were supposed to have been built by them. These caves have five divisions with an idol of a Hindu God in the centre. They are a significant part of Goa sightseeing for tourists. There is a park located close to the caves, and the Arvalem waterfall is also nearby. The caves are open throughout the day.
37. Mangesh Temple
One of the most visited Hindu temples in the region is Mangesh Temple, located on the top of a hill. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is over 450 years old, which is why it is an important destination in the Goa sightseeing itinerary. It has an ancient water tank, a seven-storeyed lamp tower, and a large statue of the Nandi bull.
38. Mollem National Park
The eastern border of Karnataka has the famous Mollem National Park that covers an area of 240 sq. km and is known for wildcats, butterflies, and birds. It is renowned for the dhangar, a local nomadic buffalo. The park also has trekking trails and a waterfall. Adventure enthusiasts should include it in their list of places to visit in Goa. There is a temple within the park that dates to the 12th century.
39. Naval Aviation Museum
One of the best places to visit in Goa, this is a unique structure with indoor and outdoor sections. It has seven types of exhibits, including rockets, protective gear, old aircraft, bombs, parachutes, pilot outfits, and armaments. This museum is a must-visit if you are travelling to Goa with kids. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 5 pm, and is closed on Mondays. Entry is free.
After a busy day of checking off your bucket list of places to see in Goa, you can come to unwind at our stunning resort and relax by the soothing view of the beaches from your room in Club Mahindra Varca Beach resort in Goa. With unparalleled comfort, the resort has to offer, you can also enjoy modern amenities in the exquisitely decorated rooms and in-house restaurants serving delectable Konkan cuisines. To make your dream holiday a reality, indulge in the spa or get yourself a relaxing drink at the resort bar. To know more about the memorable experiences of the guests, check out some membership details and the Club Mahindra reviews of the resorts. Also, have a look at this detailed tourism guide of Goa to make the most of your family vacation in Goa.