Goa is a hotspot for tourist from all over India and the globe. So many great beaches, awesome foods, shopping and much, much more are why it has become a destination of choice. Divided between the North and South of the state, you are sure to find that Goa is not only a great beach destination but also has many fun activities to offer. Here we take a look at some of the things to do in Goa, in both the North and South.
Top Things to do in North Goa
1. For sunbathing and nightlife, visit Baga
Located in the North of Goa, Baga has got to be the most famous and busiest beach in the state; but do not let that discourage you from visiting this iconic tourist destination.
Rent out a shack on the beach, check out the flea market and be sure to enjoy some fresh and delicious seafood in one of the many great restaurants here. Nightlife around the beach area is also exciting with numerous clubs, bars and pubs all catering to the thousands of tourists and locals that flock here.
- Top Tip: Check out the seafood at St. Anthony’s and the nightlife in the area
2. Learn about Goan history at Goa State Museum
With over eight thousand historic items on display, the Goa State Museum is a must visit for not only history buffs but for anyone that wants an insight to Goa’s past.
The state-run museum of archaeology is well maintained and has a vast collection of statues in stone, wood, and bronze along with numerous artifacts, precious coins, religious texts and a lot more you do not want to miss.
- Top Tip: Go early and beat the crowds
3. Explore history at Chapora Fort
Over 400 years old, the Chapora Fort was a watch post for the Portuguese who ruled over Goa for more than a century. Though in ruins, the basic structure is still awe-inspiring and a perfect vantage point, overlooking the beautiful Vagator and Anjuna beaches.
Explore the fort and surrounding areas if you are in the mood for some trekking and a little history; the escape tunnels are especially exciting.
- Top Tip: Don’t forget your camera
4. Visit Dona Paula Jetty
A popular tourist location, Dona Paula is situated near the capital of the state, Panjim. Apart from the area being a hub for accommodation with visitors, it is also the home of the National Institute of Oceanography in India.
With some great restaurants and beautifully maintained heritage sites, the place can be crowded but monsoons here are less so, more relaxed and romantic.
- Top Tip: Visit the Dona Paula monument on the islet connected to the mainland by a small bridge
5. Check out Mangueshi Temple, an ancient marvel
One of the largest temples in all of Goa is the magnificent Mangueshi Temple, dedicated to the god Mangesh, a reincarnation of Shiva. The almost 500-year-old structure stands well maintained and is home to several ancient artifacts.
The water tank, assembly hall, lamp tower, chandeliers among many other relics make this temple not only a place of religion and worship but also an amazing point of history and archeology.
- Top Tip: Dozens of religious festivals are celebrated here annually
6. Stay on a houseboat on the Chapora River
What could be more relaxing than spending a day or two on a houseboat, drifting along the backwaters of Goa? Watch traditional fishing done by local fishermen and enjoy the catch of the day right from the water to your dining table on board one of these quaint vessels.
The scenery is spectacular and there is probably no better way to take in the beauty of the surroundings.
- Top Tip: Boats do not operate during the monsoon
7. Do some shopping at the Anjuna Beach Flea Market
Every Wednesday, Anjuna Beach plays host to the local flea market. Visited by hundreds of tourists and locals every week, you can find almost anything here and at a bargain too.
Be on the lookout for souvenirs, clothes, artifacts, handicrafts, and gifts to take back with you but do not miss out on the food here; stalls run by locals selling traditional and delicious Goan food as well as the many foreigners from all over the world trying to make a few extra holiday bucks selling authentic international foods all in one place.
- Top Tip: Hone your haggling skills here
8. Water sports at Calangute
Close to all the action, Calangute is where it’s all happening in North Goa. A hub for tourists, this place is famous for the clutch of restaurants (such as Infantaria and Souza Lobo).
Then there are the watersports. You can go parasailing, dolphin spotting, on a banana boat ride and much more at Calangute.
- Top Tip: Do eat some Choris Pao at one of the beach shacks
9. Get spiritual at The Basilica of Bom Jesus
Also known as Borea Jezuchi Bajilika, this beautiful basilica located in Old Goa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is famous for holding the remains of St. Francis Xavier. Go here to marvel at the gorgeous baroque architecture and experience the peace and tranquillity inside the structure.
- Top Tip: Enjoy the festivities by going on the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, on December 3 every year
10. Take in the view at Fort Aguada
A visit to Goa is incomplete without seeing this iconic fort and its lighthouse. The Portuguese Fort is beautifully-preserved, built in the seventeenth century and overlooking the vast Arabian Sea.
Situated on Sinquerim Beach, take a walk around and get lost in the history and architecture as you explore the area.
- Top Tip: Don’t forget to carry water and a hat as it can get very sunny.
11. Take a mini safari at Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Ponda Taluka, this nature park stretches across an area of 8 square kilometers and is a popular picnic spot visited by school children and tourists alike. Look out for Indian Bison, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Sambar Deer and more.
- Top Tip: The park is closed on Monday but opens all other weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm
Best Things to Do in South Goa
12. Check out the Dudhsagar Falls
Dudhsagar Falls translates in English to “Sea of Milk” and that’s what you will see in the stunning four-tiered waterfall that is located on the border of Goa and Karnataka on the Mandovi River. Surrounded by lush forests, this spot showcases nature at its finest.
Top Tip: Visit during the monsoon to see the water in full force
13. Dolphin Watching at Palolem
If you want to escape the crowds of North Goa and enjoy some peace and tranquility on the beach, then Palolem is the place for you. A short auto rickshaw ride from Canacona station, this unspoiled and secluded beach is not only laid back and lazy but offers some great local cuisine in the surrounding restaurants and shacks for a complete experience.
A must do here is dolphin watching; you will be left awestruck!
- Top Tip: Local operators offer boat rides for dolphin watching
14. Water sports at Vasco Da Gama
The town of Vasco Da Gama is a hub connecting many great beaches in Goa. Simply a must-visit place while you are there, the town is bustling with tourists looking for good food, some shopping and of course fun things to do.
This particular beach is famous for snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing and many more water adventure sports, available throughout the year except for the monsoon.
- Top Tip: Also visit the Naval Aviation Museum in the area
15. Join the Silent Party
Throughout the day with beachgoers, and all through the night with moonlit parties, this beach never sleeps. Silent Noise is one huge party, at the far south end of the beach, that you do not want to miss. Starting at 9 pm and going on till the early morning, the concept is daring and innovative. Wireless headphones connect you and everyone there to the music so the party can stay as loud as and as long as you like without making a sound!
- Top Tip: November to March are the best months to head here
16. Trekking to Butterfly Beach
A two-hour trek from Palolem Beach will lead you to Butterfly Beach; named because of the hundreds of butterflies you can discover there. Alternatively, you can skip the trek and take a short boat ride to this secluded spot. Other activities here include rock climbing, canoeing, dolphin watching and. of course, sunbathing.
- Top Tip: Trek to Butterfly beach and take a boat ride back
17. Scuba Diving at Bogmalo Beach
Close to Dabolim airport in the South of Goa, is Bogmalo beach. The tiny waterfront is a great place to relax and unwind or at one of the many shacks and of course, you have to try some great local seafood here too.
You can enroll yourself for some scuba diving; whether you are a beginner or expert, you will be able to hire some gear and even take a few lessons to get certified.
- Top Tip: November to March is the best time to go diving and snorkeling
18. Hit the tables at the Dunes Casino in Varca
One of the more spectacular beaches in Goa, Varca is known for its white sand shore, clear blue waters and shady palms; the breathtaking view will help you relax and unwind. While here, try your luck at the Dunes Casino. Located within the Zuri White Sands Resort, this is the only one on land in the state. Blackjack, Roulette, slot machines and many more games of chance are all there for you to try your luck.
- Top Tip: Great food at the resort’s restaurant
19. Cocktails and Dancing at Gatsby’s Pub
Sitting around and relaxing can get boring. A great way to unwind is dancing the night away to the music of some of Goa’s best DJs. At Gatsby’s Pub, not only the music is great but it has one of the most happening vibes amongst all the party places not to mention an awesome and extensive cocktail menu. Open late and buzzing till the wee hours of the morning be sure to get a good days rest before heading here.
- Top Tip: December and January can get pretty crowded here
So if you’re wondering what to do in Goa, our list of top things to do in Goa will be your guide to a great time. If you have any suggestions or queries on what you should do when in Goa, let us know in the comments below.