Top 10 places to visit in Goa

Top 10 Must Visit Places in Goa

Goa is India’s smallest state located in the Konkan region and is one of the most popular tourist destinations of India. Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year as part of Goa trip. It also has rich flora and fauna owing to its location on the Western Ghats range which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.

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Here are the 10 top places to visit in Goa:

1. Aguada Fort

Aguda Fort, Goa

The grand Fort of Aguada was constructed to prevent the entry of ships into the River Mandovi thus protecting old Goa from the attacks of Dutch and Marathas. The Aguada Fort was built by the Portuguese colonial rulers on the beach south of Candolim at the shore of the Mandovi River in 1612. A freshwater spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that used to stop by. The heart of the fort was protected by two hundred cannons and a deep dry moat, which one still has to cross to get inside.

A central jail and a lighthouse built during the 19th century are also located near this fort. This is presently serving as the Central Jail. Aguada Fort boasts of the first ever light house in Asia and is one of the top Goa tourist places to visit as part of Goa 3 day tour. The Aguada Fort is easily accessible from Panaji and Mapusa through local buses, taxis and motorbikes.

Timings: 9:30 AM – 6 PM on all days

Distance (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus): 15 Kms

Trip Duration (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus, Including Travel): 2-3 Hours

Reference: Aguada Fort Travel Guide

2. Baga Beach

baga beach

Baga beach is located in North Goa, bordered by Calangute Beach to its south and Anjuna Beach to its north. Named after the Baga Creek that merges into the Arabian Sea on the northern part of the beach, this is one of the most popular Goa Beaches to visit as part of Goa 2 day trip. Baga Beach is famous for its beach shacks and the delicious sea food that is offered there. Baga Beach is the home to some of the hottest night clubs like Tito’s and Mambos which are always crowded with the dance freaks.

Baga Beach is entertaining from sunrise to sunset. As the sun sets down, party mode is switched-on around this beach. The sea here is not safe for swimming from May end to early October. Baga beach is famous for water sports like parasailing, water skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, kayaking and much more. This beach is also popular for its spectacular sunsets and fishing.

Best Time: October to February

Distance (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus): 15 Kms

Trip Duration (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus, Including Travel): 1-2 Hours

Reference: Baga Beach Travel Guide

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3. Calangute Beach

Calangute Beach, Goa

Calangute Beach is the largest Beach in North Goa and one of the best beaches in Goa. It is also called the ‘Queen of beaches’ in Goa. As stories go on, hippies had discovered this beach during the 60’s and it is famous since then. Calangute along with Candolim, Baga and Anjuna form part of stretch of beach extending from just outside Panaji city to Fort Aguada. Calangute Beach is a 4 mile long beach that lies between Baga and Candolim beaches.

Most suitable occasion to visit this beach is Christmas and New Year eves while it welcomes huge crowd. Unlike Baga which is popular with tourists who want to drink, dance and party, Calangute is more of a family destination. Calangute is also famous for its water sport activities. One can experience Parasailing, water surfing, banana ride and jet-ski.

Best Time to Visit: November to March

Distance (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus): 14 Kms

Trip Duration (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus, Including Travel): 2 Hours

Reference: Calangute Beach Travel Guide

4. Basilica Of Bom Jesus

Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa

The famous Bom Jesus Basilica is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site (Churches & Convents of Goa) and is a must visit places in Goa Tourism Itinerary. It is also called St. Francis Xavier’s Tomb. The Construction of the church began in 1594 and completed in May 1605. The church is called ‘Bom Jesus’ meaning Infant Jesus. The imposing facade built out of black granite in an exquisite combination of the Doric, Corinthian and composite styles, is remarkable for its simplicity. It measures 183 ft in length, 55 ft in breath and 61 ft in height. The main altar is 54 ft high and 30 ft broad.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus enshrines the sacred remains of Goa’s patron saint Francis Xavier, who died on a sea voyage to China in 1552. Once every 10 years, the body is allowed to be viewed by the people who visit this holy place. The last time it was in 2014 and the next would be in 2024. The museum on the first floor has paintings on the life of Saint Francis that can be visited with an entry fee of Rs. 5. Heavy Crowd during the Feast of St Francis Xavier held annually on 3rd December and proceeded by a nine-day devotional novena.

Timings: Mon-Sat 9 am – 6:30 pm, Sun 10 am – 6:30 pm

Distance (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus): 9 Kms

Trip Duration (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus, Including Travel): 1-2 Hours

Reference: Basilica Of Bom Jesus Travel Guide

5. Se Cathedral

Se Cathedral, Goa

Se Cathedral is considered to be one of the largest churches in Asia, situated in Old Goa, opposite to Basilica of Bom Jesus. This place is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site (Churches & Convents of Goa). The Se Cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine and is the top pilgrimage places to visit in Goa as part of Goa Packages. It is also known to be the oldest and the most celebrated religious buildings in Goa and has the prestige of being the seat of Archdiocese of Goa.

According to history, Alfonso Albuquerque in 1510 defeated the army of Bijapur Sultanate on the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria and took possession of Goa. The construction of this imposing church began in 1562 and completed by 1619. It is also called St. Catherine’s Cathedral.

The main attractions of the Cathedral are the 15 altars, which are dedicated to Our Lady of Three Needs, Our Lady of Anguish or Our Lady of Hope. The grand alter is highly ornate and is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria.Close to the main altar is placed the throne of Archbishop of Goa. On the right in the order of placing are the Chapels of St. Anthony, St. Bernard, the Miraculous Cross and The Holy Ghost. It is said that a vision of Christ had emerged on the Miraculous cross in 1919 and that the cross is growing in size. The bell in the existing tower is often referred to as the Golden Bell. The tower on the Southern side collapsed in 1776 and it was never rebuilt.

Timings: 7:30 AM – 6 PM on all days.

Distance (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus): 9 Kms

Trip Duration (From Basilica of Bom Jesus, Including Travel):30 Mins – 1 Hr

Reference: Se Cathedral Travel Guide

6. Dudhsagar Waterfalls

Dudhsagar Waterfalls, Goa

Dudhsagar Falls is the highest waterfalls in Goa and also one of the must visit places in Goa sightseeing as part of trip to Goa. It is a four tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi River in Goa. This waterfall is amongst India’s tallest waterfalls with a height of 310 m (1017 feet) and an average width of 30 m (100 feet) at its peak. This falls is located inside the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary, at the border between Karnataka and Goa states. Dudhsagar literally means a Sea of Milk in the local Konkani language and gets its name as it appears like an overflowing sea of milk. It is a four tiered waterfall with different ways to reach each level. The bottom of the waterfall is accessible through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary.

Own vehicles are not allowed into the sanctuary to reach the waterfall. The most common and easiest way to reach the waterfall is to take a forest department (or licensed private) jeep from the forest entrance (private jeeps are available near Kulem (Collem) Railway Station) and hike 1 km distance from the dropping point. This service is closed during monsoon (June – mid October).

Trekking to the waterfall is also a popular activity. The most adventurous route is to trek from Kuveshi village. It is not allowed during monsoon as it requires crossing Mandovi River. The best time to visit is during October / November.

Entry Timings: 9 AM to 3:30 PM

Cost of Jeep Ride to Waterfalls: Rs. 400 per person

Distance (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus): 71 Kms

Trip Duration (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus, Including Travel): Half Day to Full Day

Reference: Dudhsagar Waterfalls Travel Guide

7. Vagator Beach

Vagator Beach

Vagator Beach is situated in North Goa, near Chapora Fort. Vagator Beach is a part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa by the Arabian Sea that begins at Fort Aguada and ending at Chapora Beach and Fort. It is a bay between the rocky headlands. Vagator Beach is divided into Big Vagator or North Vagator, Middle Vagator (Tel Aviv beach) and Little Vagator (Ozran) by a few rocks. To reach the beach one has to climb down a hill. The Big Vagator Beach is a long white sandy beach located 1.4 km from Ozran. The nearby Chapora Fort offers beautiful views of the Vagator beach.

Vagator Beach situated 3 km north of Anjuna, attained one of the top Goa Beaches because of its seclusion and the nearby Chapora Fort. Big Vagator Beach is considered safer for swimming than the Ozran Beach. Lifeguards are available at big Vagator Beach but not at Ozran Beach. There are several adventure activities at Vagator including speed boat & water scooters. There is a local handicrafts market where you can shop for local handicrafts like earthen pot and cane baskets as well as clothes.

Best Time to Visit: November – February.

Distance (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus): 19 Kms

Trip Duration (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus, Including Travel): 1-2 Hours

Reference: Vagator Beach Travel Guide

8. Chapora Fort

Chapora Fort, Goa

Chapora Fort is situated in North Goa near Vagator Beach and it is one of the most popular Goa tourist places. Built in red laterite stones, the fort has steep slopes on all the sides and stands on an area which has irregular outer plan. This massive fort was constructed by the king of Bijapur, Adil Shah. This is one reason why it has been named Shahpura, which means the ‘town of Shah’. It is visited by great number of tourists

The fort was destroyed after the rule of Adil Shah and was rebuilt by the Portuguese in 1617, on the same site. The Portuguese troops surrendered to the Maratha ruler Sambhaji in 1684 but Portuguese took over it again and rebuilt the fort until they finally abandoned it in 1892. The fort gives a spectacular view of the Vagator and the Anjuna beaches. There are no particular visiting hours to visit this fort, however early morning and evening are preferred as you can get some great views during these hours.

Distance (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus): 19 Kms

Trip Duration (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus, Including Travel): 1-2 Hours

Reference: Chapora Fort Travel Guide

9. Colva Beach

Colva Beach, Goa

Colva Beach, located in South Goa is the largest and the most spectacular beaches of South Goa. The stretch consists of about 25 km of the fine white sand and is bounded along its coast by coconut palms that stretch from Bogmalo in the north to Cabo de Rama in the south along south Goa’s coastline. In the colonial days it used to be the retreat for Margao’s high society. Colva Beach is one of the best beaches in Goa.

Apart from the beach itself the other main attraction for the tourists are the ”Menino Jesus” statue at the church of Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Piedade (Our Lady of Mercy) founded in 1630. The church lies in the village square. The church in Colva is famous for its annual religious event ‘Fama of Menino Jesus (Child Jesus)’ since the 17th century held on 3rd Monday of October every year. It is one of Goa’s most popular feasts and a big fair is held on the occasion at Colva. Although the Colva Beach has never been a hilarious destination for rave parties, Colva’s nightlife is livelier and vibrant. You can witness a bullfight from early October to late May. These fights usually take place in old rice fields with no barricades.

Best Time to Visit: November to March.

Distance (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus): 33 Kms

Trip Duration (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus, Including Travel): 2-3 Hours

Reference: Colva Beach Travel Guide

1o. Shri Mangueshi Temple

Mangeshi Temple, Goa

Shri Mangueshi Temple is located on a hillock at Mangeshi Village in Priol, Ponda Taluka of North Goa. Shri Mangeshi Temple is one of the largest and wealthiest Hindu shrines in Goa and also one of the popular Things to do in Goa. When Salcete was captured by the Portuguese in 1543, the devotees shifted the deity from Cortalim to a nearby village that came to be known as Mangeshi. The temple which is believed to be built around 1744 has been rebuilt and has undergone several renovations.

In the temple of Mangesh is a prominent Nandi Bull which is the Vahana (Vehicle) of Shiva. The Deepastambha is an eye catching structure, it is a seven storey octagonal lamp tower. A golden Shesha, the Linga and an image of Shiva constitute the main altar. It has shrines of Parvati and Ganesha. Magha Pournima is the main annual festival which is held in February. The main event during the annual festival is the Ratha Yatra or the pulling of the chariots.

Timings: 6 AM – 10 PM

Distance (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus): 21 Kms

Trip Duration (From Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus, Including Travel): 2-3 Hours

Reference: Shri Mangueshi Temple Travel Info