Things to do in Goa

‘Every Goan knows that hospitality is not a trend in their city, it’s a tradition that they follow without any remark’ – Unknown

Goa has a very laid back vibe that will have you slip into your relaxation mode from the minute you set foot into this town. Since Goa is known for its calm beaches, picturesque sunsets, and delicious food. It is the perfect place to unwind before you fly home or to your next adventure.

Goa is divided into two parts – North Goa that is known for its hippie vibe and South Goa that has a chilled vibe and serene beaches.

The beaches, sand, nightlife, culture and food are part of the vibe that attracts tourists to goa. However, the hospitality of the locals add a certain charm to the town and will surely make your trip to Goa memorable.

To ensure you make the best of your time here, we have curated a list of things you must do during your stay.

A typical Goan house, Places to visit in Goa A typical Goan house

Must See/do’s in Goa

A Day Trip o Panjim

Panjim is also known as Panaji which means the land that never floods is the capital of Goa. Panjim gives you the view of the mighty Arabian sea with the docked casino ships.

Once you are here, you will feel like you have been transported to Portugal. This is because of the structure, architecture, colours and everything has a touch of Portuguese influence!

The highlight of Panjim is Fontainhas, an old Latin quarter that has heavy Portuguese influence and comprises old villas and buildings with balconies painted in the traditional tones of pale yellow, green, or blue, and roofs made of red coloured tiles.

The colourful buildings, streets and cool winds will not only make you walk through the city joyous but also fill your gallery with beautiful pictures.

VISITING HOURS: 10:00 to 18:00 hours

ESTIMATED TIME: 2 -3 hour

COST: Free 

Fontainhas in Panjim, Why visit Goa A building in Fontainhas with Portuguese influence (Photo Credit – urbz)

Goa’s Oldest Church – Bom Jesus Basilica

Located in Old Goa, the Basilica of Bom Jesus was Built-in 1594 and is Goa’s oldest church. This UNESCO world heritage site is of great importance to the locals and Catholics. It is home to the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier who is known for his healing powers.

The body was shipped back to Goa in the 16th century and was buried under the main altar but exhumed around six years later and never buried again. The body is now placed in a mausoleum that is on the right-hand side of the church. It is brought down every ten years for public veneration. 

Even if you are not too interested in spirituality, we would still highly recommend visiting this church, for its architecture. The marble mosaic that is decorated with precious stones, the carved columns and wood-carved floral decorations will leave you in awe.

VISITING HOURS: 10:00 to 18:00 hours

ESTIMATED TIME: 2 -3 hour

COST: Free 

Bom Jesus Basilica. Goa's oldest Church Bom Jesus Basilica – Goa’s oldest church (Photo Credit – nImAdestiny)

Church hopping 

Known for its stunning churches painted in white, a must-do when you are in Goa is Church hopping! The ancient churches here display the spiritual wealth and past glory.

The churches attract visitors who are not only intrigued by the brilliant architecture and charm but also because the interiors are adorned with stunning wooden carvings and high ceilings.

Each church is unique in its way and each one tells a tale of its own. The list of churches is endless but here are recommendation you must visit –

    • Immaculate Conception – is in Panjim is known for its iconic stairways that lead to the church.
    • Se Cathedral – is one of the biggest churches in Goa and is home to the great golden bell.
    • St. Cajetan – is one of the stunning churches in Goa and is not only inspired by St Peter’s Basilica.
    • Holy Cross Shrine has one of the most stunning interiors and a beautiful altar that will captivate you.

VISITING HOURS: 07:00 to 12:00 hours, 16:00 to 18:00 hours

ESTIMATED TIME: 4 – 5 hours

COST: Free

Immaculate Conception church in Panjim, Churches in Goa Immaculate Conception church

Chapora Fort

Besides the majestic Aguada fort that is popular among the tourists, Goa also has a few other forts. They are equally stunning and less touristy like the Chapora Fort.

The fort became very popular among the locals and college kids after the Bollywood movie Dil Chahta Hai was shot here and is popularly known as the Dil Chahta hai fort. The fort was built by a Muslim ruler and was later reconstructed by the Portuguese in 1717, who changed the name from Shahpurs to Chapora.

The emergency escape tunnels built by the Portuguese and the stunning view of Vagator beach are the highlights of this fort. Part of the fort stands tall as a witness to its past events and thus has a great historical value. 

VISITING HOURS: 09:30 to 17:30 hours

ESTIMATED TIME: 1 – 2 hours

COST: Free 

Chapora Fort, Goa Forts Chapora Fort

Explore The Beaches of Goa

When you are in Goa the best way to spend your day is to soak in the sun and get your beach tan! From stunning white sand crowded beaches with a crazy nightlife, to calm quiet beaches, Goa caters to every kind of traveller.

The beaches of Goa are very popular and many come here to jog, unwind, spend a day with their family or have a cosy picnic! The soft sand, the tiny shacks, calm water and stunning views are best enjoyed with a beer and a plate of french fries or calamari (deep-fried squids).

Almost every beach in Goa is swimmable so do carry your swimwear. However, please be prepared to get a few stares when you visit crowded beaches. 

VISITING HOURS: 07:30 to 22:00 hours

ESTIMATED TIME: Depends on you

COST: Free 

Sunset at Goa beach, things to do in India Stunning view of the sunset at Goa beach

Day Trip To Mapusa 

One of the best ways to explore the culture and its people is by exploring the local market. Mapusa is one of the popular markets in Goa where locals come to buy their groceries and are famous for dry fruits, cashew and goan sweets!

As you stroll in the bustling market lanes you will not only explore the local culture but also the delicious local food! A must-try is the Goan Poi stuffed with Goan Masala Sausages. This dish is not only a speciality but also a staple in every Goan home! 

VISITING HOURS: 11:00 to 13:00 hours, 16:00 to 19:00 hours.

ESTIMATED TIME: 1 – 2 hours

COST: Free

Maupsa Market, Local markets in India Fruit vendor in Mapusa Market (Photo Credit – Nicolas Vollmer)

Goa’s Clubs for a wild night

Besides being known for its beaches Goa is known for its crazy nightlife and cheap booze that attracts a large number of partygoers. So if you are looking at experiencing the nightlife and want to let go and have fun head over to Goa’s most popular pubs/clubsClub –

Cabana, Shiva Valley, Cafe la Musica, Leopard Valley or SinQ. End the night feeling like you’re on cloud nine, literally!

VISITING HOURS: 20:30 to 1:30 hours

ESTIMATED TIME: Depends on you 🙂

COST: Free 

Party goers in a Club, Best night clubs in Goa Partygoers in a nightclub (Photo Credit – Jerome Govender)

Visit the casinos of Goa

If you are not a party person but would still like to experience the nightlife, you could visit one of Goa’s most popular floating casinos. Goa is not only India’s largest gambling city but also has the most number of licenced casinos in the country.

It’s not Las Vegas but once you step foot into one of the casinos, you will not be able to resist yourself from playing a game or two of poker or trying your luck at the slot machines.

Each casino is unique and includes drinks, a lavish spread of cuisines and live performances to keep you entertained throughout.

Some of the most popular casinos that sail on the river Mandovi that you should visit are Big Daddy aka Maharajah Casino and Casino Pride. However, if you are looking for the Las Vegas experience the Deltin Caravela Casino and Deltin Royale Casino is a must-visit,

VISITING HOURS: 24 hours 

ESTIMATED TIME: Depends on you 🙂

COST: Entry fee – INR 1500 – 2000 per person

Poker table, Casinos in India Poker Table

Reis Magos Fort 

If you still have time you could visit the Reis Magos Fort. The fort is built on a hill slope that gives a stunning view of the Mandovi river and its surroundings!

This 400-year-old fort was built in 1515 and is one of the oldest forts in Goa. The Hindu-Portuguese architecture and the museum that give us a peek into the history of this place is very intriguing.

The stunning architecture and serene atmosphere make it the perfect spot to get away. It is s also a paradise for photo fanatics.

VISITING HOURS: 09:30 to 17:30 hours

ESTIMATED TIME: 1 – 2 hours

COST: Free 

Getting around in Goa

 Goa is a small state, getting around will depend on which part of Goa or beach you are staying at. You would use a combination of foot, taxis and a motorbike. The latter being one of the best ways to explore.

Cars

If you wish to book a car, you would have to do the same from your accommodation or a car rental service in advance to avoid scams and travel in comfort.  

Bikes/Scooters

One of the best and most efficient ways to explore the town is by bike. You can hire a bike for a day for INR 1500 – INR 3000 per day. Avoid the highways, unless you are experienced motorbike rider.

On Foot

While you can explore this town using a rented car, we would also recommend just walking around, to truly get a  sense of what the town has to offer.

Hope our recommendations help you enjoy exploring Goa and if you need any assistance, simply get hit the Plan Your Trip button.

If you are wondering where to head next on your Indian escapade, you can head further down south. Kerala is ideal for some great hiking trails, relaxing amidst the lush green plantations and even spotting some wildlife. You can read our blog for more information!

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