Stay Wild, My Child
Known worldwide, for enigmatic beaches, serene waterfalls, magnificent Portuguese architecture and just the mere vibes, Goa makes for the perfect place to be for a vacation: for friends, for family and even for the solo peace-seekers.
Goa is popular as one of the most incredible party destinations in the world and people come visit this gem of a place every year in bulks!
I have just landed back home from this amazing adventure in Goa and have curated a perfect ultimate list of things to do in Goa for y’all lovely people to plan your getaway soon in the Post Covid World.
If you want to find out things you need to or shall know about Goa before visiting, here is an ultimate Goa travel guide for you!
The Most Touristy Things to Do in Goa
First and foremost, I’d like to let you read and experience Goa as you know it to be – A Land of Beaches, a City of Churches or an ultimate Party Destination of India.
– Visit the Most Famous Beaches in Goa
The most incredible and the most famous things Goa has to offer are its beaches. Every beach you might encounter in your journey through Goa is unique in its own form.
With so many options of things to do in Goa beaches, you can spend the day and night hopping through different beaches trying different things.
Some of the most interesting beaches in Goa are as follows:
1. Baga Beach & Calangute Beach are the most fan favorites in North Goa. And as you know, the most popular places anywhere, tends to attract more people. So if you decide to head to these beaches, be ready for a crowd of hundreds of travelers and a few locals spread around the entirety of the area.
Nonetheless, Baga and Calangute both are marvelous beaches which you should once pay a visit to. Once you set foot in Goa’s favorite beaches, you’ll know why people are attracted to them within seconds.
Goa is also known for its beach parties at night. People say Goa is more Alive during the night! And these two beaches in Goa are amongst the most incredible venues for Goa Nightlife experience.
2. Anjuna Beach is a beach where you can find both – peace and adventure at the same place. Anjuna offers ample amounts of water activities to indulge in ranging from – Banana Boat Rides, Jet Skiing to Parasailing and Paragliding around the serene landscape.
Also, there are many bars and cafes spread around the Beach where you can relax in and watch the magical glowing sunset.
Anjuna Beach provides a vibrant night parties with incredible trans music which attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Anjuna is one of the most amazing beaches in Goa and has everything Baga and Calangute have, minus the insane crowds.
3. Candolim Beach is another very famous beach of North Goa. And it basically is much more peaceful and cleaner than Calangute.
Visiting Candolim Beach will bring with it mostly European Tourists, especially during the peak season in December. It is much more chill, clean and less crowded amongst the other interesting beaches in Goa.
Candolim Beach is known for the amazing visuals and the relaxing vibes it offers all the people visiting it.
– Stroll Around the Famous Churches in Goa
Old Goa is filled with many architectural gems created during the Portuguese era and it consists of some of the most famous churches in Goa. Each having some incredible story related to them. Old Goa is a completely different aspect of Goa and offers a different vibe as compared to the more party-ish Northern side.
1. St. Basilica of Bom Jesus
Basilica of Bom Jesus is a pretty old and a very Roman architectural church situated in Old Goa or South Goa. “Bom Jesus” simply translates to “Holy Jesus” constructed during the time when Portuguese ruled over the region. It is one of the most fascinating baroque architecture constructed by Julia Simao and Domingos Fernandes.
One of the most famous churches in Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus has an interesting story related to it which every guide might tell you whenever you visit here. It’s kinda’ like something the locals believe in.
So the thing is that inside this church, you can find the body of Sir St. Francis Xavier who was a Roman Catholic missionary and saint who travelled through Asia and also formed the Society of Jesus.
The story goes, that even after almost 450 years of the mummification of Sir St Francis Xavier, his corpse stays intact. And surprisingly, they have even proved scientifically that no sort of chemicals or any other stuff has ever been used on the body. People believe his body to be incorruptible due to his deeds for God.
Some locals outside the church even told me something quite bizarre and interesting. They said once, years ago, while a tour went on, someone mischievously cut off one finger from the saint’s arms and kept it in their bag. As a result, within seconds their bag was dripping with blood!! Gory, right!!
2. Catholic Church of St. Francis of Assisi
Catholic Church of St Francis of Assisi is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Old Goa (Churches & Convents of Goa). This church is another architectural gem situated in the Old Goa region created as a blend of Portuguese-Manueline style structure.
You can also visit the neighboring Museum of Archaeological History of Goa containing many important and fascinating artefacts from the Portuguese rule in India. You can visit here to learn more and more about the History of Goa by exploring the Museum.
Other places you can explore in the World Heritage Site are – Se Cathedral, St Augustin Tower, Museum of Christian Art, Church of Our Lady of Rosary, and so many others.
An amazing day can be spent exploring Old Goa Churches for the architecture and history enthusiasts if you plan your trip anytime soon.
Special Tours and Things to do in Goa
When we set foot in Goa and reached our Hotel, we asked about the various tours and places to visit in Goa on the Helpdesk. BTW, every hotel or resort or hostel in Goa you might stay in, you will find very helpful people to guide you all the way from telling about places to visit in Goa or things to do in Goa and even about some of the best offbeat locations you can visit while in the State.
Goa is very safe and helpful for all kinds of travellers be it solo or a group. Some special tours in Goa which you can indulge in are listed below –
1. Dudhsagar Falls Trek
Dudhsagar Falls is one of the most majestic looking and wonderous waterfalls to exist not only in India, but the whole world.
It is basically a four tiered waterfall falling from a height of approximately 300 meters. The name “Dudhsagar” meaning “Sea of Milk” is given to the falls since if you look from a distance, it seems as if huge amounts of milk is being poured over from the hills. White Water gushes forming large streams from the mountains of Eastern Ghats of India.
It comes under a special tour from North Goa as it takes one full day to take part in. But the day indeed is majestic if you head to this marvelous place amongst the many places to visit in Goa.
The Waterfalls brings with it one of the most incredible trekking experience in Goa as you need to trek through the incredible hills to reach the point from where the incantation happens.
Many tour operators can be found who can take you to the place and you can indulge in this lifetime memorable experience while in Goa.
Important Note – If you really want to explore this heavenly waterfall in all its glory, you shall visit Goa in the Monsoons. Goan Monsoons are the most beautiful season to be here and roam around all over in the Majestic Land.
Legend Associated with Dudhsagar Falls in Goa
So as you know, I am a story seeker from all places that I go to. I have brought to you another interesting story of modesty all the way from this masterpiece of nature in Goa. It’s about a Princess, a beautiful one. Almost as beautiful as a Disney Princess. (which one is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below. :P)
Aight, so according to the legend, this Princess of Ghats was known for her belief in purity of heart, mind and body. She used to go bathe in the lake near her beautiful castle every day. This castle was situated above the hill from where the waterfall seems to emerge from.
Everyday, post bathe, she and her maidens would come together on the shores of the lake and consume a jug of milk. The jug is said to be made up of pure gold and inlaid with sparkling diamonds.
One day, as the princess sat near the shore going to have her milk of the day, a quite handsome prince was walking by near the woods at the moment and he saw the princess. The maidens of the princess stood to cover up the princess as she was in her bathing attire. They created a cascade of milk floating down in front of the princess so she could change her clothes within.
This cascade of milk, which saved the modesty of the princess, is the namesake for the magical Dudhsagar Waterfalls.
2. Southernmost Goa | Palolem Beach, Colva Beach, Butterfly Beach
Most hidden gems which most of the domestic tourists in India are still finding out about, that means these would be the less crowded and more cleaner beaches situated in the South parts of Goa. Many tours can be found from North Goa, which take you straight on an excursion to Palolem and other incredible and beautiful places in the world for a day or two while in Goa. These are one of the most peaceful experiences among the various things to do in Goa.
– Palolem Beach
At almost a 40 minute drive from Margao, is situated this untouched masterpiece of a beach called Palolem. People refer it to be one of the few “unspoilt” beaches in Goa with incredible sandy shores. Palolem is said to be a very couple friendly beach and you can take your better half along if you decide Goa to be your honeymoon destination.
Another reason for the popularity of this beach is because in a Hollywood Movie called the Bourne Supremacy, the protagonist (Matt Damon)’s home was shown to be located here.
One can go and indulge in fishing with the local fishermen or head on for a Dolphin sighting tour while here. Yes, Goa offers some amazing Dolphin Sightings – given that you travel at a time when there are not a lot of boats around which might scare the Dolphins off.
– Colva Beach
The Colva Beach is situated around 6 kilometers in the west from Margao. This beach is known to be one of the oldest and most celebrated beaches in South Goa.
You can find glowing white sand on this beach and can relax around as not many people or tourists visit here in comparing to the Northern counterparts. Water sports lovers will have ample amount of activities to choose from while here, ranging from paragliding, water skiing, swimming, etc.
The Menino Jesus statue is a must see at the Colva Beach as it is a very famous landmark structure over there.
– Butterfly Beach
While you are visiting Palolem Beach, you can opt to go find this hidden gem of a beach existing just a little south of Palolem. This beach is called the Butterfly Beach or the Honeymoon Beach.
Known to be one of the most secluded and beautiful beaches in Goa, the Butterfly Beach is a must-experience sight to capture in your memories if you’re a first time traveler looking for unique things to do in Goa.
One can reach this beautiful little beach by hopping on a ferry from Palolem Beach.
As life tells us, “all beautiful things are hard to get” and that implies to the Butterfly Beach as well. There’s a challenging, but adventurous forest hike which you need to take to get to this secret wonder of South Goa.
The name given to this secluded beach is due to the reason that it attracts different variety of butterflies flapping through the amazing landscape of the entire area. Also, the beach itself is in quite a shape like a butterfly. Which is another magical thing about the place and about Goa as well.
– Visit the Sahakari Spice Farm in Goa
A quiet different aspect of Goa can be found in its Spice Farms tours. The Sahakari Spice Farms is a lush green plantation where one can head on to learn more about the basic masalas we use in our kitchens to prepare any basic meal. Ranging from spices, fruits, medicinal trees and herbs this 130 acre farm is amazing to explore and spend some time in with the natural habitats of these spices.
There is basically a tour which happens here that you need to buy tickets for. The tour includes a free buffet lunch. But to be honest, you shall not expect it to be a very delicious buffet waiting for you. It’s a decent lunch which has the various spices collected from the farm induced into the preparations.
Life Lesson#- “Nothing Free will ever be truly Great.“
So keep that in mind that it’s free, that’s all.
You can find so many known spices which you use almost daily while cooking, but don’t actually know where they come from. Spices like turmeric, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. and fruits like jackfruit and papaya.
Also, they provide you with the infamous drink of Goa called “Feni“. It is said that if you came to Goa and didn’t try Feni, your Goa trip ain’t complete.
Feni is basically an alcoholic drink or spirit from Goa which is made up by fermented seeds of Cashew Apples. It contains about 43 to 45 % of alcohol amount and can be smelly and strong. It is said that when you try its shots, you shall not keep it in your mouth and take it like any other shots you might take – straight up!
Locals explain that they mostly use Feni instead of normal syrups for curing Cold and Cough. And that it has very strong medicinal values.
Alright, so there goes the Ultimate List of Things to Do in Goa for First Time Travellers for you lovely people. Goa is a small state, but hides within a vast opportunity for all kinds of travel enthusiasts for all ages. It can be as calm and warm as a sunrise and as loud and thrilling as an adventure – both at the same time. And the best thing about Goa is that it balances the two aspects perfectly!
I have recently completed my first ever trip to this Magical Land of Beaches and have prepared a few series of blog posts for y’all so you can prepare for your Adventure in Goa further- with friends, with family, or with yourself.
“Goa is Calling.. Pick Up!“