Best Goa Beaches and Places to Visit – Gem For Travellers And Beach Lovers!

Know the best beaches and places to visit in GOA.

best beaches places to visit goa


Soused in the Konkan region and sandwiched between Maharashtra & Karnataka, the tiny state of GOA sops up the Arabian sea on its western coast, and always boasts of an exclusive mélange of touristy hotspots that are still muffled up in the charms of the Portuguese reign, of which it was once a part of!

Although, Goa seamlessly draws visitors to its land of sunkissed beaches, ancient churches, ruined forts, carnivals, casinos and jamborees throughout the year, the winters between November and February is the peak timing during which it plays host to huge swarms of people at its tolerable range of temperatures between 21-30 °C in the otherwise sultry tropical state. It has become a matchless holiday terminus for solo travellers, groups of friends, couples and families alike, be it from India or overseas.

Here, are some of the ideal ‘Goan’ offerings that are distinctively unique in its own way.



Panaji Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Goa

Panaji – The capital city of Panaji/Panjim can indubitably be marked as Goa’s prime urbanized municipalities. Located on the banks of river Mandovi’s estuary in North Goa, it first came into prominence in the year 1843, as the seat of administration of the Portuguese settlement in India.

It is known to be the most happy-go-lucky of all capital cities in the country. Besides being naturally scenic, it has been designed with tree-lined avenues, Baroque style heritage constructions with red-tiled roofs, gardens, terraced hills and a river promenade.

It has many outlets selling exquisite Goan handicrafts and also famous for a variety of cashewnuts, ‘feni’, and the choicest of international cuisines.


The unmissable points of interest in Panjim are:

  • Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, which truly stands out for its location in Church Square in the heart of the city.
  • Adil Shahi’s Palace, built in the 1500s during the Bijapur Sultanate that has now become the Goa State Museum, housing fourteen thematic galleries, each with a splendid display of arts, artifects and sculptures.
  • Latin Square/Fountainhas Heritage Walk, at the Altinho foothills that helps to understand the Portuguese infused cultural past, through the colourful by-lanes of olden architectural homes with balconies.
  • Se Cathedral, noted for its Tuscan style exteriors and Corinthian interiors; has a grand ‘golden bell’, the biggest in Goa.
  • Mahalakshmi Temple, the first Hindu temple to be built in 1818.
  • Reis Magos Fort, the oldest fort in Goa with an admirable structure built in 1551 by Portuguese rulers to guard River Mandovi from enemies’ invasion; the fort’s altitude ensures pleasing views of the surroundings.
  • Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, named after the honoured Indian ornithologist; is located in the Chorao island which is home to valuable bird species in its marshy mangrove habitat, accessible by a ferry service.
  • Mandovi River Cruise, an entertaining hour-long sail on the river, to enjoy the sights of the city skyline whilst identifying important buildings on the banks; it is inclusive of folk dance performances and a live DJ.



Best Beaches to Visit in Goa Calangute beach

Goa has rightfully won the status of possessing the most (more than 50) incredible beaches in India, and why not? Surely, the beauty and energy of these beaches are nonpareil; where Goan ‘beach life’ can be equated with ecstatic parties, irresistible seafood, stunning water sports and excellent seaside resorts!

Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Candolim & Sinquerim beaches in North Goa, very close to Panaji (about 15 km), form a long sandy beach trail; considered to be the most popular chain of beaches owing to the extent of commercialization and publicization that tempts the maximum number of beach lovers to this area.

Correspondingly, the South Goa beaches that are top-notch crowd pullers include Palolem, Butterfly & Agonda.

1. Calangute beach

Calangute beach goa sightseeing

Consistently competing with the leading beaches of the world, this “Queen of Beaches” never fails to impress!

This is the largest and liveliest beach at any given time as it treats thousands of tourists to a joyful jumble of:

i) Water sport activities like motor-boat rides, banana rides, parasailing, jet skiing;

ii) Antique & junk jewelry exhibits;

iii) Authentic Goan cuisine restaurants & bars;

iv) Tibetan & Kashmiri handicraft showrooms;

v) Relaxed sunbathing;

vi) Beach apparel shopping;

vii) Beach volleyball… and much more…

The ‘steep-n-sandy’ slopes of this beach that run down into the sparkling blue sea bubbling with foamy white waves; speckled with ‘buzz-n-bustle’, under the ‘sky-n-sunshine’, make it an incredibly beautiful setting!


2. Baga beach

Baga Beach Goa Sightseeing

A continuum of the Calangute beach, but heavily loaded with ‘merryment’!

It is the go-to destination for a frenzic nightlife, 24/7 watering holes, peppy shacks, and mouth-watering barbequed food – what more of an escapade for party revellers?!

Other than that, there is an exciting range of water sport stunts here too… like:

  • Speed boating
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba diving
  • Paddle boarding
  • Wake boarding
  • Surfing

Interestingly, this beach is peppered with very many parlours catering to tattooing, tarot reading, palmistry, ayurvedic spas and designer stores.

So go well prepared, else you could burn a hole in your pockets!


3. Anjuna beach

Anjuna Beach Goa Places to Visit

Placed just above the Calangute-Baga beach line, this is where you get to closely rub shoulders with fervent foreign tourists from all over the world; though they are found scattered everywhere in Goa, Anjuna beach is undeniably their most favoured hangout joint.

A golden coastline…

‘Hippie’ culture vibes…

Full-moon trance parties & warm campfires…

Dazed music & dance all night until dawn…

Wednesday flea markets…

are all that define the hep Anjuna beach!!

The beach has an alluring landscape due to the presence of red laterite rock formations, tall palm trees, shore hugging waves and a hilly backdrop – that looks breathtaking especially at sunsets!

ALSO READ: Most Essential Things Travellers Must Carry For Their Goa Trip


4. Candolim beach

Candolim beach Goa points of interest

Lying just below the Calangute beach, this one is far less crowded than its counterparts, and hence suited for those kind of people who appreciate a calmer and quieter environment, particularly the honeymooners and families.

A string of beach huts…

Decks of sunloungers with parasols…

Soft white sands…

Percussion of salty waves…

A moist seabreeze…

are all what makes a ‘thalassophile’ fall in love with this place!

The pleasant environ allows for some rejuvenating yoga and therapeutic meditation sessions. If lucky enough, one can even go out fishing to earn their own prized catch!


5. Sinquerim beach

Sinquerim beach goa places to visit nightlife

Another one of those lesser crammed beaches, immensely preferred by families, lies below the Calangute beach. Folks love going for a pleasurable dip in the tame Sinquerim waters which is ideal for swimming.

Apart from the usual water rides that are conducted here like in every other beach, this particular stretch is wonderful for going a little further into the sea to spot dolphins leap out from underwater, that literally makes your heart go racing with excitement as you watch them!

For those looking to stay on, this place has the cream of luxurious beachfront resorts, and dazzling nightclubs with karaoke.


6. Palolem beach

Palolem beach goa sightseeing

A pretty crescent-shaped beach, just a mile long…

Dressed in thick plantations of sky high coconut palms on one side…

Rocky cliffs protruding into the sea at the ends…

Gentle water currents…

Bamboo beach-houses…

Noiseless discotheques…

and overall tidiness, make it an attractive beach in the southern part of Goa.

It is often visited by locals as much as foreigners, who are fond of simple activities like building sand-castles, and walking along the curvy edge where the turquoise-blue sea hits the shorefront while encircling their feet and recedes so that deep foot impressions are left behind on the wet sand!


7. Butterfly beach

Butterfly beach goa places to visit

An amazingly photogenic semicircular bay found above the Palolem beach, which is not easily accessible by land routes and hence quite secluded; yet a serene beach far away from the boisterousness of other beaches, is the perfect getaway to unwind peacefully and fully immerse oneself in this mini paradise-like islet!

Butterfly beach can either be reached by boat or by a short adventurous hike through brooks and dense jungles, from Palolem beach.

The beach cove is bound by vegetation covered hillocks at the back, and thrown open to the shallow translucent sea in the front, making it possible to catch glimpses of some amusing aquatic life like crabs, goldfishes, sea urchins and cucumbers on the verge.

The whole area appears to be captivating, magical and romantic when the trees glow in full bloom thereby attracting a kaleidoscope of fluttering butterflies hovering above!!


8. Agonda beach

Agonda beach goa top tourist spots

One where you can absolutely laze out! Put on a beach hat, sip tender coconut water or lime juice, chill in a hammock with a book in hand, and leisurely spend your time – that’s how laid back Agonda beach is!

This is one of the few turtle nesting beaches in Goa, where ‘Turtle rehabilitation & conservation’ is a serious affair as it is important to protect these species from intense tourism disturbing or destroying their delicate ecosystem. The turtles lay hundreds of eggs inside sand pits for incubation, after which curious onlookers like to watch the process of baby turtles hatching out of their eggs and going back to the seas!


3. MARKETS in Goa

Best Markets in Goa - Places for shopping in Goa

If you’re shopaholic and want to shop around the markets in Goa, these could be some great options:

1. Gandhi market, Margao

Goa Gandhi Market Places to Visit Margao

It’s a SALE!!!

There is no dearth of shopping in Goa, but still the market at Margao/Madgaon city is hyped to be every shopaholics delight! Jump into a bargaining spree and buy just about anything… dry fruits, spices, beer, crafts, pottery, straw hats, scarves, footwear, bags, wrist watches, beaded necklaces, shells, trinkets, keychains, sarongs, skirts, t-shirts, fresh fish,  etc.  


2. Saturday night market, Arpora

Saturday night market Arpora Goa Places to Visit

A sprawling, sophisticated flea market 4 km away from the Anjuna beach that happens only on Saturdays, starting from November until March!

Open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., Arpora’s brightly lit market is an amazing experience in itself with live music, international sellers, fire dancers, clothes’ boutiques, and wine-n-dine.

For the convenience of shoppers, it is divided into 3 sections – first for Indian merchants, second for the concert stage, food & drinks, and third for foreign kiosks.



1. Bom Jesus Basilica

Bom Jesus Basilica Sightseeing in Goa

The oldest church of Goa completed in 1605, is situated in Velha Goa (Old Goa) about 10 km from Panaji, which is greatly adored for its ‘grandeur in simplicity’!

Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an exemplary form of Baroque architecture, made out of black granite.

The main altar holds a dignified statue of St. Ignatius Loyola protecting ‘Bom Jesus’ or ‘Baby Jesus’ or ‘Good Jesus’.

The Basilica is highly revered worldwide for having preserved the embalmed body of the sacred Saint Francis Xavier in an airtight glass coffin that is safely placed in a silver casket. Once in a decade, those who visit this holy shrine are allowed to look at the body, for the strong belief that it has remained intact even after 400 years and therefore has miraculous healing powers!

The first floor of the church has been turned into a museum of paintings depicting his life story.

Unofficially, this monument is also called as St. Francis Xavier’s Tomb.


2. Aguada Fort

Aguada Fort Places to Visit in Goa

A must see attraction in Goa!

It is said that a freshwater spring within this 17th century Portuguese fort, served as a water supply and so named as ‘Aguada’.

Built in an Italian model in 1612, on the Bardez peninsula (the mouth of river Mandovi), to the south of Candolim beach, not many know that one of the first ever lighthouses in Asia was built right here! Needless to mention, anyone who goes up the four-storeyed tower, is blessed with spectacular views of the massive ocean from the top.

This fort is square in shape surrounded by three bastions with parapets, which were once used for firing cannons. A part of this ASI (Archeological Survey of India) protected fortress is used as a Central Prison, which is among the largest in Goa.

Also to be noted: the Sinquerim fort is an extended bastion of the Aguada fort, which bisects the Sinquerim shoreline.


3. Dudhsagar waterfalls

Dudhsagar waterfalls sightseeing in goa

How thrilling would it be, to be able to feast your eyes upon a ‘Sea of Milk’ pouring down from the Heavens onto Earth?! Well, that’s exactly how Dudhsagar Falls seems to be, to the ardent traveller!

Set in the rich woodlands of the Western Ghats, acting as a ‘milky veil’ at the border between Karnataka and Goa, the ebullient cascades tumble down into a mossy green pool, in four elegant tiers, from a gasping mountainous height of 300 m!!! During the monsoons… torrents of gliding water create a thin lamination of glassy mist that imparts a dramatic effect over the sublime scenery; which in turn will knock your five senses in a mindboggling manner!

Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park Goa Tourist Places

About 60 km in distance from Panaji, the spellbinding site within the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, can be reached by a ‘jeep safari’ or by foot. A railway track that runs through the Sanctuary in front of the Falls has become a vantage point to enjoy the view; thus the forested route from Castle Rock railway station up to these tracks would definitely prove to be an unforgettable trekkers’ journey!

For those who thought Goa is only about basking in the beaches, Dudhsagar comes as a welcome respite to ‘beat the heat’! Other good places nearby that do not deserve to be sidestepped are:

  • Tambdi Surla temple – a graceful 12th century Shaivite temple belonging to the Kadamba period.
  • Devil’s Canyon – an eerie river gorge amidst a picturesque ambience sought by those who are hungry for more trekking adventures!



1. Goa Carnival

Goa Carnival Things to Do

A razzmatazz ‘parade’ tradition that thrives with the motto, “Eat, drink and enjoy” as left behind by the Portuguese, is the only carnival of its kind in India, also referred to as Mardi Gras or Viva Carnival.

A four day joie de vivre that kicks off in February every year; was introduced about 500 years ago, on the same lines as the Rio Carnival of South America, to mark the beginning of the month of ‘Lent’. The celebrations usually proceed in the cities of Panjim, Margao, Mapusa & Vasco da Gama, filled with excessive ‘fun-n-frolic’!

The carnival is a dandy ‘procession’ led by ‘King Lomo’, which is a jolly composition of…

  • Entertaining troupes {dancers, clowns & acrobats} wearing masks and gaudy costumes
  • Ornamental and elaborate ‘floats’
  • Decorated horse-drawn carriages and bullock-carts
  • Street plays
  • Sports competitions
  • Sumptuous food spread
  • Wine festival
  • Balloons and ribbons shot up in the air

This typical Goan gala is simply a magnificent riot of colours whose underlying significance is to bring domestic and international people of different communities together in harmony.


2. Sunburn Goa

Sunburn Festival Goa

Mark the last week of December!

Asia’s most awaited, expensive, and grand scale EDM (Electronic Dance Music) Festival is held nowhere, but in Vagator Beach in Goa.

Hundreds of high-profile musicians and celebs from different countries fly down to Goa, to perform LIVE and entertain the audience with their ‘electrifying’ notes.

Lakhs of ‘fans’ from across the entire nation and the whole world congregate as well, to ‘groove’ and ‘drool’ to the magnetizing tunes, of their favorite band artists.

The high-tech rocking musical extravaganza that lasts over three days is set up with an enormous stage, laser lightings and reverberating sound systems. It is deliberately planned to coincide with the year end vacational season (Christmas & New Year) annually.


3. Christmas

Christmas in Goa Things to Do

Try spending this Christmas in Goa!!!

“The more the merrier” and therefore at its charming best, Christmas festivities in Goa dissolve all religious barriers, to invite all in an open embrace.

The streets are fancied up in tinsel, buntings, glittering Christmas trees and shining stars, to usher in the celebratory moods of cheer and gaiety. There are several things to do specifically during a Christmas, to indulge in the finest of experiences in Goa:

  • Attend a midnight mass {Missa de Galo} on Christmas Eve in any of the bedecked churches, and join in the melodies of carol singing.
  • Feel lost in a myriad of brilliant fireworks show in the night sky from any of the party-ready beaches.
  • Burn the ‘Old Man’- a dummy effigy made of old clothes to bid goodbye to the worries of the current year and gear up for a brand New Year.
  • Participate in cake mixing ceremonies, and crib making competitions.
  • Savour Christmas special dinners – stuffed roasted chicken, pork vindaloo, mackerel croquetas, sausage pulao, beef rolls, soroptel
  • Get a taste of Goan homemade chocolates waffles, sweet plum cakes, and delicious desserts like Bebinka, Baath, Serradura, Marzipan & Dobol!



Goa Casino Things to Do

What is Goa without checking a casino in your bucket list?? No tour to the Indian “Pearl of Orient” is fulfilled without rolling a dice or shuffling the cards to try your luck! Recreating a Las Vegas kind of atmosphere, Goa is the legal epicenter of casinos in our country, wherein ‘offshore’ casino cruises are docked in the rivers, while onshore ones can be found inside high-end hotels.

‘Casino Culture’ finds a flourishing ground in Goa, because of the heavy influx of foreigners to this state, who do not mind investing a considerable amount of their time inside such gambling dens, and so the mania has gripped Indians as well!

Cruises that cost a bomb are a ‘rage’, for each of these floatels are made with multiple decks of super swanky suites and state-of-the-art rooms with a good deal of gaming tables, digital playstations and coin slot machines for games in vogue like:

  • Card Poker
  • Baccarat
  • Mini Flush
  • Roulette
  • Black Jack and so on.

Gamblers are pampered to the hilt with add-on services like unlimited buffet, alcoholic drinks, cigars, comedy shows, live bands, Spa & Jacuzzi.

To name a few, Deltin Royale, Deltin Jaqk, Casino Pride, and Big Daddy top the charts among the best floating casinos in Goa. All said, the play of reflections of neon lights from these mega vessels in the dark river channels, after dusk seem thoroughly eye-catchy!

In all, a fair share of something for everyone – that’s GOA!!!