Imagine yourself sipping a cocktail on a beach, overlooking the Arabian Sea, while the cool breeze blows by you. It’s a feeling that is difficult to express. Now, imagine that feeling, but twice as intense. That’s what visiting the state of Goa, India would be like. The Goan beaches are one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. The pristine beaches and the amazing vibe that the place has makes it a great family holiday destination.
This article will take you through the top 15 things you should not miss out when visiting Goa.
List of 12 Best Places to Visit in Goa 2021
- Panaji, North Goa
- Margao, South Goa
- Vasco da Gama, South Goa
- Mapusa, North Goa
- Calangute, North Goa
- Candolim, North Goa
- Anjuna, North Goa
- Bambolim, North Goa
- Agonda, South Goa
- Old Goa
- Mandrem, North Goa
- Morjim, North Goa
1.Panaji: A relaxed state capital!
Panaji is a part of your list of places to visit in Goa, not just because it’s the capital city but also because there are so many attractive places to see. You can take a heritage walk to Fontainhas – the Latin Quarters and enjoy the day at Miramar Beach. Bird watchers have been known to spend time at Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary which is 7 kilometers away and has both migrant and indigenous species of birds as well as marsh dwelling birds.
Popular Things to See in Panaji
- Resig Magos Fort
- Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
- Adil Shahi Palace
- Miramar Beach
- Kala Academy
- Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
- Divar Island
- Shanta Durga Temple
- Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
2.Margao: Cultural capital of Goa!
Margao is not the kind of place which you’d want to miss when visiting Goa. You will realize after exploring it that it’s a tag well deserved, its reputation as the state’s cultural capital justified. As you take in the famous landmarks of Margao, namely The Municipal Garden, The Holy Spirit Church, House of Seven Gables and Damodar Temple your appreciation that each has made Goan culture an identifiable parcel of India’s diverse identity will only deepen. Special markets are also abundant in this small city, which showcase what Margao is internationally known for: seafood delicacies. Don’t forget to try out the distinctive ‘Margao Curry’ too!
Popular Things to See in Margao
- Municipal Garden
- The Holy Spirit Church
- House of Seven Gables
- Damodar Temple
- Pandava Caves
- Margao Market
- Zalor Beach
- Sri Chandranath
- Monte Hill
3.Vasco da Gama: Mostly the beaches!
The city of Vasco da Gama is named after the Portuguese explorer. If you are planning to visit India, especially the state of Goa, which is a popular tourist destination, then this is where you need to be. There are several beaches like Cansaulim which is great for watching the setting sun or swimming and Hollant, perfect for a wild ride with your friends! There are other attractions too, like the St.’s square church of Goa which was built around 400 years ago. There’s also a Naval Aviation Museum one of three such museums in India. If you visit it in March though, you can attend the Festivities held there during Shigmo.
Popular Things to See in Vasco da Gama
- Mormugao Fort
- Arossim Beach
- Bogmalo Beach
- Cansualim Beach
- Velsao Beach
- Hollant Beach
- St. Andrew’s Church
- Kesarval Waterfalls
- Sahakari Spice Farm
- Naval Aviation Museum
- Shri Ramnath Temple
- Three Kings Church
4.Mapusa: Off to the Friday Bazaar!
There are many reasons to visit Mapusa during your Goa tour, but one that mentions a special mention is the Mapusa Friday Market. Held every Friday, a visit takes you across stalls selling Goan spices, homemade sausages, fish with marsala ready to cook, vegetables, chillies and sweets. Located in the Bardez sub-district, it enjoys a close proximity to several beaches like Vagator & Chapora.
Best Things to See in Mapusa
- Bodgeshwar Temple
- Mapusa Friday Bazaar
- St. Jerome Church
- Maruti Temple
- Cansaulim Church
- Church of Our Lady of Miracles
- Municipal Building (for its architecture)
5.Calangute: A town with the Queen of Beaches!
Calangute Beach is counted among the most beautiful beaches of Goa, and that is precisely why this town in Bardez district makes it to any Goa travel guide. On any given day on the beach, your eyes will meet scores of backpackers and tourists, all having a great time! There are shacks, lots of clubs, shows being held, open-air dances being performed and people enjoying adventure sports like parasailing and water skiing.
Popular Things to See in Calangute
- Calangute Beach
- St. Alex Church
- Tibetan Market
6.Candolim: As relaxed as it gets!
Candolim, just like Calangute, attracts tourists in Goa for its prime attraction, Candolim Beach. However, if you like your beaches crowded & noisy with a party-like atmosphere, you won’t find much to do here! It is for you though, if all you are looking forward to is a sunbath, admiring the sunset, maybe a dip & enjoying parasailing. One other reason that you should visit the beach is the “River Princess”, a bulk carrier which ran aground 100 meters ashore. Pick a sunbed, watch the waves kiss the shore while they are tinged with red & yellow during sunrise and sunset.
Best Things to See in Candolim
- Candolim Beach
- Our Lady of Hope Church
7.Anjuna: Still a bit hippy after all these years!
If you visited Anjuna in the 60’s, you would have found yourself in the middle of trance parties, hippies in psychedelic colors & free spirited backpackers. Today, you find that scene has somewhat dropped off thanks to an influx of domestic & international tourists who are interested in experiencing some part of that hippie era. One way to feel the remnants of that scene is by visiting the Anjuna Flea Market which happens on Wednesdays – where one can lay your hands on really cool sarongs, sandalwood & leather goods amongst other things. The other top place to visit is the Anjuna Beach – comparatively less crowded among all beaches in Goa. Curlies Restaurant or Shiva Valley is a great place for experiencing the trance scene each evening!
Popular Things to See in Anjuna
- Wednesday Flea Market
- Anjuna Beach
8.Bambolim: So quiet, so lively!
Bambolim will always find a mention among the top 10 places to visit in Goa for its beach. It is a long white sandy stretch of sand, rocks and happily swaying coconut palms which serves both aesthetical & functional purposes (such as, offering shade from the midday sun). On some days, you might see groups of young boys & girls chilling out, but what you will often see are fishermen getting ready to go fishing. It is also a great picnic spot in Goa for a family, as it is pretty secluded and free from vendors and shacks. There is a Bambolim Beach Resort though, where you can try out a variety of cuisines, from Goan to Continental delights.
Popular Things to See in Bambolim
- Bambolim Beach
9.Agonda: Time and tide wait for Agonda!
Agonda is a beach destination situated in South Goa, and it’s very known for its “silent beach.” It gets that name because of the lack of noise produced by humans and animals. You can observe turtles even starting their nests on this beach. The village surrounding the beach is among those places where you sometimes forget about words like “time” and “hurry.” Instead, you might prefer to observe the waves washing on shore as well as cows walking around. Dogs are always having a time of their life as they run after one another on the beach!
Things to See
- Agonda Beach
10.Old Goa: Sweeping splendour & grandeur!
There was a time in the history of the state of Goa when its capital was not in Panaji, but Velha Goa. Today it is known as Old Goa and many splendid monuments have been preserved for us to see by our forefathers in this city. The popular tourist attractions that attract tourists today turn out to be nothing less than World Heritage sites like the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral, both built back in the 16th Century (and for that reason alone, they deserve their full attention). This is the side of Goa that many more people need to see; a side which represents its rich history and heritage and should be taught to future generations.
Popular Things to See in Old Goa
- Basilica of Bom Jesus (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Se Cathedral (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Church of Our Lady of the Rosary (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Church of St. Francis of Assisi (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Chapel of Santa Catarina (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Church of Divine Providence (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
11.Mandrem: A sleepy coastal village!
How about visiting a beach in Goa that offers the opportunity to enjoy an Ayurvedic massage? Mandrem, a sleepy coastal village makes it to this list of top tourist places in Goa for its beach, which is perhaps the quietest beach in North Goa. The best part about the beach is that there are sun beds available throughout it so you can just relax or spend some time tanning. You can also order a food from your chosen restaurant and then end your day with a good massage at a small center where they give out massages.
Things to see
- Mandrem Beach
12.Morjim: Nesting site of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles!
Don’t bother visiting Morjim if you`re looking to enjoy a quiet day away from the normal hustle and bustle of city life. This seaside hamlet , located on the banks of River Chapora, is a great place to unwind because you simply have no choice but to do so. There are plenty of tourist-friendly eateries and inexpensive tents and huts spread along the beachfront where you can take up residence and kick back . If pampering yourself with spa treatments is your aim, consider making this tranquil village your destination – staying at one of its idyllic resorts or exploring its quieter side will cater to both your physical and emotional needs equally well.
Things to see
- Morjim Beach
- Olive Ridley Sea Turtles
From the rich stalactite like structures of water falling fountains, to the wonderfully aged churches, historic beaches and beautifully landscaped spice plantations; Goa has all the right ingredients to make you fall in love with this state. What parts of Goa tourism appeal to you? Share your experiences with us!