1. Visit Goa’s Fort
Before the Portuguese invaded Goa in the 16th century, Goa was under the rule of the Muslim ruler Adil Shah. Adil Shah built many forts for himself, but after Portuguese rule, they remodeled some forts as needed. As such, each fort in Goa has rich cultural and architectural significance. Chapora Fort, Aguada Fort, Tiracol Fort and Reis Magos Fort are the forts of North Goa. On the other hand, Cabo de Rama Fort is a famous fort in the n South Goa district. Each of these fortresses offers stunning views of the sea. The forts of Chapora and Cabo de Lama do not have opening hours as they are on ruined cliffs, while the forts of Aguada and Reis Magos are open from morning until 5:30 in the evening. Meanwhile, Tiracol Fort has been transformed into the Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel. Book your stay here to live in a palace, dine with insane sea views and escape the hustle and bustle of the crowds.
2. Take a ferry to the Islands
Most tourists who come to Goa think of Goa as a beach destination. That may be true, but there are many things to do in Goa besides the beach. Goa mainly has two islands Divar and Chorao. Both islands can be reached by ferry from Livandal on Panaji Old Goa Road. Chorao Island is famous for the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. You can rent a small boat to see the mangroves, go birdwatching, or take a leisurely boat ride on Goa’s rivers.
3. Discover The Falls
Located on the border of Goa and Karnataka, Dudhsagar Falls is a 320m high waterfall with four tiers and three streams. Not only is the waterfall surrounded by lush forests, but it also has a natural pool that you can walk into. You can hike to the base of the ramparts or board a government-approved jeep departing from Morem to reach the spectacular Dudhsagar Waterfall. Named for its milky appearance, the waterfall is worth a day trip from Panjim, 60 km away. Apart from that, there are countless smaller, albeit beautiful, waterfalls scattered throughout Goa.
4. See The Church Goa
CHURCH Goa was under Portuguese rule for over 450 years, from 1500 to December 19, 1961. For this reason, there are notable churches scattered throughout Goa. The Panjim Church and the Old Goa Church are two of his famous churches in Goa, but it is the unconventional church that captures the heart. The Mae De Deus church and the Siolim riverside chapel are both beautiful and worth a visit.
5. Visit Old Goa
Old Goa may be known for its Old Goa churches, but there is a lot to do in Old Goa that only locals know about. From hilltop chapels overlooking the river and islands to hauntingly beautiful abandoned churches and riverside restaurants, Old Goa has much to offer. Old Goa can be reached in half a day from the nearest town of Panjim. Check out my post on all things to do in Old Goa to discover the hidden gems of Old Goa!
6. Sightseeing in Panaji
Panjim or Panaji is the capital of Goa. You might think that there is little to do in Panjim, but there is a lot to do in Panjim. The famous Panjim Church, Dona Paula Pier, Miramar Beach, Miramar’s Chart Street and the colorful Fontaineas area are just some of the popular quirks of Panjim. Read this Panjim City Travel Guide that includes all of Panjim’s top attractions, events, festivals, and more.
7. Salaulim Dam
Did you know that Goa hides a very beautiful dam called Salaulim Dam? Perfection of the Duckbill Floodway. A prime example, the dam is surrounded by botanical gardens for picnics and faces the Salaulim River, a tributary of the Zuari River. Salaurim Dam is 61 km from Panjim and Salaurim Dam is 26 km from Margao. If you have explored Goa many times and want to see a different side of Goa, visit this causeway and enjoy a scenic drive along the way.
8. Discover OffBeat Goa
These days more and more people want to explore Goa beyond the beach. As a result, people are driven to explore Goa’s offbeat sites, including temples, lesser-known churches, islands, and lakes. If you too are interested in discovering a different side of Goa, check out this blog post on 17 Best Bohemian Spots in Goa.
9. South Goa Beach
South Goa Beach is Goa’s laid-back beach. Having lived in Goa for over 13 years, I prefer South Goa beaches over North Goa beaches due to the less crowded and pristine nature of the beaches. Read my South Goa beach guide to explore Goa’s secluded beaches.
10. Beaches of North Goa
South Goa’s beaches are peaceful, but North Goa’s beaches are always hip spots. A taste of hippie culture, the best beach shacks, karaoke bars and beach clubs, North Goa’s beaches have it all. Let’s take a look at my personal favorites and most popular beaches in North Goa:
A. Arambol Beach
Did you know that Goa was a wild hippie’s paradise in the 70s? hippies came to Goa in the 1970s and settled on the beaches of Arambol, Vagator and Anjuna in North Goa. Vagator and Anjuna are commercialized tourist beaches, while Arambol still retains its hippie spirit. With vegan cafes, yoga centers and hippies (you know what I mean), Arambol still proves to be the perfect hippie paradise. While in Arambol, don’t miss other great beaches near Ashwem, Mandrem and Morjim.
B. Vagator Beach
If you’re looking for a beach that has a hippie edge but is commercialized enough that it’s a great place to stay and has good restaurants and cafes nearby, Vagator Beach is for you. must be determined. Vagator is a bustling area known for the very famous Fort Chapora, also known as Fort Dil Chatta High.
C. Anjuna Beach
Anjuna Beach is another North Goa beach that has become more commercialized. Anjuna has some of the best restaurants and cafes in all of Goa. In Anjuna, he could easily spend a day just eating at beachfront restaurants or exploring cafes in Anjuna’s little lanes.