Goa is an exotic place where you can go with your family and friends to make unforgettable memories. There are various best places to visit in Goa. From the beaches to the national parks and hills, churches, forts, markets and the backwaters, you will find just everything in this small Indian state. There are so many alternatives that it may be tough to see them all in one visit if you don’t have a list to lead you. So, here’s a list of 10 exotic places in Goa that you should include in your itinerary.
Some of the must visit places in Goa are popular landmarks, UNESCO World Heritage sites, gorgeous churches, fascinating local markets, and old Portuguese buildings. Then there are the prime beaches, water ports, and many natural attractions that you do not want to miss.
- Agonda Beach
Agonda Beach is situated at South Goa, 39.2 kms from Margao. Agonda is a fabulous spot for sunbathing, resting and swimming, with still relatively few visitors. This is an isolated stretch of sand lined by palm groves. It is a very calm, peaceful, and pleasant beach. Agonda Beach has one long road parallel to the beach lined with rooms and bungalows for rent. In the center of the beach, there is Agonda Church. There is a turtle center in the north and rocky outcrops in the south. You will find many shops, cafes, beach shacks, bars, restaurants, yoga centres and massage parlours. Regular buses depart from the Canacona bus station for Agonda. Buses from Chaudi and Margao are available few times a day.
- Fort Aguada
Fort Aguada is a well-preserved seventeenth-century Portuguese fort, along with a lighthouse, standing on Sinquerim Beach, overlooking the Arabian Sea. It was built by Portuguese in 1612 to the guard against the Dutch and the Marathas. A freshwater spring inside the fort provided water supply to the ships. Various buildings inside the fort are still in very good condition. Crews of passing ships would often visit to replenish their fresh water stores. It has the potential of storing 2,376,000 gallons of water, one of the largest freshwater storages of the time in the whole of Asia. This fort is separated into two segments: the upper part acted as a fort and watering station, while the lower part worked as a safe berth for Portuguese ships. Whereas the upper part has a canal, underground water storage case, explosive place, lighthouse, and bastions, it also has a hidden exit tunnel to use during times of battle and danger. Fort Aguada was the most prized and crucial fort of Portuguese.
- Chapora Fort
The Chapora Fort is located in North Goa, 21.7 kilometers from Panaji and just 700 meters from the Vagator beach. It is located on a hill just above the Vagator beach, with the Chapora beach on the other side. The Chapora River meets the Arabian Sea here. It was established by Mohammed Adil Shah who ruled the Bijapur dynasty. He erected the fort here to prevent attacks by the Hindu raiders. The town was called Shahpura or “Town of the Shahs” after Adil Shah at the time. The fort was heavily fortified, but it still fell to Sambhaji, the son of Shivaji in 1683, during the rule of Sikandar, the grandson of Adil Shah. Reportedly, it was conquered without a single shot being fired. According to a legend, the fort’s captain at the time surrendered after seeing how Sambhaji’s forces easily scaled up the steep rocky walls of the fort, much like lizards, and breached its defences. Chapora fort looks very beautiful, It is the best place to visit in Goa.
- Dudhsagar Falls
Dudhsagar is India’s 5th greatest waterfall and a sight to behold. Settled on the Goa-Karnataka border, Dudhsagar is inside the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mollem National Park, at a distance of 46 kms from Margao. The hills of the Western Ghats, the encompassing deciduous forest and the rushing stream of water falling from a height of 1020 feet or 310 meters makes the sight just to behold. The falls are not particularly spectacular during the dry season but during the monsoon season, however, the falls are fed by rains and form a huge force of water. Dudhsagar literally means “sea of milk”, in reference to the milky white water of the Mandovi River that falls steeply over the cliff.
The nearest rail station accessible by road to the falls is Castle rock station. Visitors could get on a train from here and disembark at the Dudhsagar stop. There are two routes to reach there. One is starting the trek from Kulem and follow the jeep trail until the bottom of the waterfall. The second option is via the railway track. You can trek up to the Sonaulim station and join back to the Mud route. This route would save 2 km on the Mud road.
- Baga Beach
Baga beach is one of Goa’s crowded famous beaches. It is between the Baga River in the north and Calangute beach in the south. The Baga-Calangute-Candolim range is one of the longest sandy shores in Goa and attracts thousands of travellers in peak season. Baga is 17.3 kilometers from Panaji via the NH 66 and Chogm Road. There are lots of beach shacks, coffee bars, clubs, shops, street food vendors, and water sports activities to choose from. The beach is famous for its nightlife too. The Baga beach is next to Calangute. A rocky projection and a small river separate it from Anjuna, another popular beach in Goa. Baga is one of the top party spots in Goa with many nightclubs and discos. The seaside is full of restaurants, cafes, shops, and resorts. For the adventurer and water games lover, there is jet skiing, windsurfing, and parasailing.
- Anjuna’s Flea Market
There are two weekly markets in Anjuna, the Saturday night market Arpora, but it is Anjuna’s Wednesday flea market, which is the most famous. The Anjuna flea market was begun by the hippies to exchange goods so that they could finance their stay. It is much more mainstream now, but you can still find many fascinating things here, including craftsmanship, handcrafted jewelry, Kashmiri and Tibetan goods, handbags, attire, tribal artefacts and much more. There are lots of stalls here, from the beach to the Anjuna Junction road. There are a few bars and restaurants too with live music. Bands play jazz, rock, and music from other styles.
During the day, Anjuna is a laid-back place with Indian and foreign tourists seen relaxing on the beach, except around the flea market area. But it comes to life in the twilight, with the party scene hotting up. At Anjuna, you will see both open-air and indoor trance parties. Between November and February, they are held almost all night. There are also full-moon parties here.
- Basilica of Bom Jesus
Basilica of Bom Jesus is a 16th century Baroque Catholic church in Old Goa. One of the earliest churches in India, it is also amongst the most popular churches and cloisters in the entire Christian world. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it houses the grave and precarious remains of St. Francis Xavier. Basilica of Bom Jesus is very close to the southern bank of the Mandovi River. A major tourist attraction of Goa, it is 12 kms from Panaji by the NH748. The church is 3 storied and has a red laterite rock facade, which seems very powerful from the outside. It has a tiled slanted rooftop, basalt pillars, and the walls are made of black granite. You will see Corinthian and Doric’s impact in the architecture. Basilica of Bom Jesus is Goa’s only church that is not plastered, having a laterite outside.
Basilica of Bom Jesus was built within 1594 and 1605, making it more than 400 years old. The church was given the status of a minor basilica in 1946. The mortal remains of Saint Francis have been kept here since 1554. It drags a lot of tourists, both Christians and others. It is believed that St. Francis Xavier had supernatural healing skills.
- Cola Beach
Cola beach in South Goa is an extraordinary escapade! The scenic drive to this hidden locality is a memorable experience in itself but nothing can quite prepare you for the beauty. Seneca Cola Beach as it is known, consists of 15 attractive hand-made tents from Rajasthan with excellent furniture fit for a Maharaja (Emperor). Here you can listen to the sound of the waves as a lullaby or sit around the bon fire while enjoying your drink. The scenic drive to this secret location is an unforgettable experience in itself but nothing can quite prepare you for the grace and the serenity that awaits you. When you catch your first impression of the beach from above the palm trees it completely stops you in your tracks; you are looking down on what most would describe as heaven.
- PANJIM the capital of Goa
Panjim is the state capital of Goa. It is the biggest city in north Goa and the third-largest city in the state after Vasco da Gama and Margoa. It is on the southern banks of the Mandovi River. The greater Panjim metropolitan area also has a beachfront area with the Arabian Sea. It is the peninsula of the Mandovi where you will see floating casinos and cruise boats. Panjim is 27.8 kms from Goa airport. Goa is best recognized for its beaches. Here you will find Miramar and some other beaches, but the city is more about heritage buildings, churches, temples, architecture, walking tours and enjoyable activities like casino gaming and river cruising. There are various English cafes and French restaurants tucked away in little nooks. You can see well-known churches and Fontainhas, the ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- The Naval Aviation Museum
The Naval Aviation Museum is a military museum located in Bogmalo, 6 km from Vasco da Gama. This museum contains exhibits that showcase the evolution of the Indian Naval Air Arm over decades. The museum is divided into two main parts, an outdoor exhibit and a two-storey indoor gallery.
The museum displays a wide number of armaments, vintage war crafts, sensors, security gears and ancient photographs that bear the testimony to the history of naval and aviation power of India. Among the museum exhibits displayed are models like Super Constellation, Sea Hawk, Hughes, Firefly, De Havilland Vampire and Alize. In the Armament Room, you will be able to see an outstanding collection of bombs and torpedoes used in naval battles. In the archives of the museum, you can have a look at the great collection of rare photographs, which step by step follow the history of naval aviation. The most attractive place in the museum, which attracts children and youngsters, is a virtual centre with video games and a simulator of the control cabin of the Sea Harrier plane.
These places are the best places to visit in Goa. If you want to explore these places you should visit Goa and make memories with your friends and family and enjoy your experience with them.