Goa is a state which boasts of a rich heritage both from its Indian origin and the Portugal Colonisation. The hints of its colonial ancestry can be seen in the age-old Churches and tropical spice plantations. However, all these aspects combined with the serene and picturesque beaches, colorful local markets, ancient temples, mouth-watering seafood, and sizzling nightlife are the driving forces behind the state's flourishing tourism industry.
Every Indian has dreamed of visiting Goa at least once in their lifetime, and if you're one of them, then hop on this journey with us and dive into these top 40 places to visit in Goa, pick the ones that pique your interest, and put them in your bucket list!
Baga Beach is hands down, one of the best and the most popular places to visit in Goa! Baga is one of the if not the most lively beaches in Goa. It has a plethora of options available for tourists to have their best time, ranging from exciting water sports to yummy food and designer stores.
However, the main highlight of the beach is its late-night parties and celebrations that have everyone on their toes! Popular as 'the hometown of nightlife', Baga has some of the top nightclubs in the city and is the best beach to get the true taste of Goa's Nightclub Life.
Things to do :- Jet Skiing, Parasailing, Paddleboarding, wakeboarding, Arpora Saturday Night Flea Market
Location: North Goa, India
Calangute Beach, Goa
The next pick for the top places to visit in Goa is Calangute Beach. Titled the 'Queen of Beaches, Calangute is one of the most popular beaches in Goa, and rightfully so! Adorned with Coconut and Palm trees, the beach is a delight for tourists in every aspect.
From water sports, vibrant local markets such as the Tibetan market to happening clubs and pleasant eateries, the beach has got everything to keep you engaged all day long without getting bored. Also, if you're keen on having a happening nightlife experience, then Calangute is the Ideal place to be!
Things to do :- Jet Skiing, parasailing, exploring the Saturday bazaar, enjoying the banana ride, etc.
Location: North Goa, India
The Sunburn Festival, Goa
If you happen to be in Goa during December, then the annual Sunburn Festival is something you should look forward to! This EDM festival is packed with youngsters from across India and the world and hosts some of the most happening DJs from all around the globe.
The festival goes on for 3 days with people losing themselves in the beats of the music and enjoying their best times with an energetic crowd and the best EDM artists. Held in Vagator every year, it has become the main point of attraction and popularity of the beach!
Location: Vagator Beach, Goa
Anjuna Beach, Goa
Another popular name among the beaches in Goa is Anjuna Beach. Spanning across a distance of 2 km, the beach is a treat for the eyes as well as a fun place for vacationers.
With an array of water sports activities, restaurants, and picturesque views, the beach is great for a fun, family vacation. Especially famous is the beach's Wednesday Flea Market. For the tourists who want more than just the normal definition of 'fun activities', Anjuna has a few of the best nightclubs in Goa!
Things to do:- Snorkelling, banana riding, parasailing, exploring the flea market.
Location: North Goa, India
Deriving its name from the Portuguese word 'Agua' meaning water, the Aguada Fort is a 17th-century monument overlooking the meeting of the Mandovi river with the Arabian sea.
Built as a protective measure against the Marathas and the Dutch, the fort was of extreme significance to the Portuguese. The fort also has a history of being used as a Jail! Now a famous sightseeing place for tourists, the highlight of the fort is its four-story lighthouse and the mesmerizing view of the sunset.
Location: Candolim, Goa
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Housing the mortal remains of Sanit. Francis Xavier, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the most iconic, ancient marvels as well as a pilgrimage site for tourists from around the globe. Built in the 16th century, the Basilica is one of the oldest churches in Goa and a hugely popular one too.
Showcasing the brilliance of the Baroque architecture, the church is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site and also one among the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World.
Location: Old Goa Road, Bainguinim, Goa.
For an experience full of solitude and away from the crowd, the butterfly beach is an ideal location. The beach is mostly frequented by tourist couples and honeymooners who want to have a private vacation, the reason why it is also popularly called the 'Honeymoon Beach'.
With numerous vibrant butterflies traversing the sky and glimpses of dolphins dancing around in the sea, you'll have the time of your life at this wonderful beach surrounded by nature and its wonders from every side! So, next time you're at Palolem or Agonda, make sure to take a ferry or a ship to this serene island of solitude!
Things to do:- Canoeing, Kayaking, surfing, handicraft shopping
Location: South Goa, India
Rising high above the river Chapora, the fort was originally named Shahpura and was built by Adil Shah. Today the ruined fort has become a popular tourist attraction and is one of the popular places to visit in Goa, especially owing its popularity to the movie 'Dil Chahta Hai'.
The fort is a good 10-minute climb away and can be challenging to reach. However, the main attraction of the fort lies in the spectacular view it offers of the nearby Vagator Beach as well as the Arabian sea, especially at dusk.
Location: Bardez, North Goa
Adorned with Palm trees and beautiful wooden cabins, Palolem beach is a beautiful and serene beach and one of the worthy places to visit in South Goa.
Facing Canacona Island, Palolem is known for its mesmerizing views, stretches of white sand, gentle waves, and unique nightlife, owing to the one-of-a-kind 'Silent Discos', where people party with headphones on. You can also take yoga lessons or take a relaxing ayurvedic massage here.
Things to do:- Dolphin-spotting, enjoy Silent Discos, get an ayurvedic massage
Location: Canacona, South Goa.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
Once just a small chapel, the church has undergone numerous modifications in the period between its birth in 1541 and its glorious present-day self. Today, this beautiful structure in the capital city of Panaji, with a white exterior and a colorful interior is a symbol of peace and worship for natives and tourists from around the globe.
This popular sightseeing location is especially a treat to be around during December with the feast of Our lady of immaculate conception commencing on the 8th followed by Christmas and New Year's celebrations every year!
Location: Emilio Gracia & Jose Falcao Road, Panaji, Goa
A fun addition to the list of top places to visit in Goa is Candolim, another popular beachfront area to get the authentic Goan experience.
One of the popular trios of beaches in north Goa, Candolim offers everything that Baga and Calangute have to offer including adventurous water sports, dynamic nightlife, local shopping stops, and more. Around 12 km from the capital city, Candolim is a frequently visited beach by tourists especially because it is less crowded than its counterparts in the area.
Things to do:- Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Bumpy Banana Ride, Jet Skiing, Parasailing
Location: North Goa, India
One of the largest and finest churches in the world, Se Cathedral also known as St. Catherine's Cathedral is a 16th-century creation that was completed after 80 years of hard work.
Built to glorify and commemorate the Portuguese rule in India, the church is today a part of the World Heritage Site Churches and Convents of Goa. The church is also known for having the world-famous 'Golden Bell' which is a part of the church's major attractions.
Location: Old Goa, India
Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple
A spiritual addition to our list of places to visit in Goa is Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple. It is one of the most ancient and sacred Hindu temples in Goa. The temple derives its name from one of Lord Shiva's incarnations, Saptakoteshwar meaning Lord of Seven Crores.
The temple attracts special attention during Gokulashtami, a festival celebrated to mark the day Lord Shiva incarnated as Saptkoteshwar. It is the most important festival for the devotees from across Goa and other states of India.
Location: Maem, North Goa.
Sinquerim Beach is another popular name among tourists from around the globe owing to the famous Sunburn Festival which is an annual celebration taking place on the beach in December. Another popular attraction is the Aguada Fort.
Enjoying a refreshing swim/ water sports activity with your friends and family or going on an eating spree at the delicious seafood restaurants are other fun things that are worth trying, while on the beach!
Things to do:- paragliding, visiting Love Passion Karma, Crocodile spotting
Location: North Goa, India
Anjuna Flea Market
Open every Wednesday, the Anjuna Flea market is a place worth exploring, for anyone who wants to enjoy the true Goan experience and especially for shopping lovers. You can find anything in the market ranging from hippie clothing, handicrafts to trendy jewelry, footwear, and whatnot.
Hosting specialties from every state of India along with live music and performances, yummy seafood, and innumerable small stalls, the market is the perfect place to feel the warmth and energy of human interactions and to shop your heart away.
Location: Anjuna Beach, North Goa, India
Located on top of Altinho Hill and overlooking the Fontainhas district, the Maruti Temple in Goa is an ancient pilgrimage site that sees hordes of devotees especially during a special festival in February. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
There is also a long and interesting tale behind the construction of this temple, and if you're a history enthusiast, then you should make sure to visit the Maruti Temple at least once during your trip to go!
Location: Altinho, Panaji, Goa.
Betalbatim Beach is popularly known as the 'glowing beach of Goa' thanks to the bioluminescent algae present in the water, which impart the shoreline a natural glow at night. Among the quieter lot, Betalbatim beach is a wonderful place to be if you don't like the crowded ones.
You can enjoy delicious food here from an array of local fast-food chains restaurants. Other highlights of the beach include the easy dolphin spotting and the pine trees adorning it instead of the usual palm trees. So, if you're looking for some unique places to visit in Goa, then this glowing beach of Goa is a must-visit location!
Things to do :- Parasailing, waterskiing, Windsurfing, dolphin spotting.
Location: Madgaon, Goa
The Arvalem/ Pandava Caves
Popularly known as the Pandava Caves due to the belief that the five Pandava brothers took refuge in them when they were in their exile period. However, cur into laterite rock, the cave resembles a lot of Buddhist architecture styles making their origin a mystery to this day.
The unique design of the caves along with a waterfall and the Rudreshwar temple nearby make it a frequently visited place by tourists. The cave complex comprises two primary caves and a residential area. The cave has five compartments, with the middle one sheltering the 'Linga'. People with a keen interest and knowledge of history should come and visit this historical marvel cum mystery!
Location: Sanquelim, North Goa
Among the many sacred temples situated in Bandivade, one of the most important ones and most frequented by devotees from across India is the temple of goddess Mahalaxmi. The Temple has been in existence since at least 1413.
There's a beautiful story of devotion behind the temple's history and how and why it has two idols of the goddess Mahalaxmi. Other deities honored in the temple are Shri Ravalnath, Shri Narayan Purush, Shri Baleshwar, and many more. Also, the temple has idols of Safto and Fato, two devotees who saved the Idol of the Goddess from Clova. The Temple holds a very special place among the temples of Goa and is one of the must-visit places in Goa.
Location: Bandivade, North Goa, India
Naval Aviation Museum
Situated in Bogmalo, Vasco Da Gama, the Naval Aviation Museum is a military museum inaugurated in October 1998 that showcases the decades-long history, evolution, and advancements of the Indian Naval Air Arm. The Museum has two parts, a two-storied indoor gallery, and an outdoor exhibition.
It is a unique treat to witness and is a one-of-a-kind museum in the whole of Asia. One of the most unique places to visit in Goa, the Naval Aviation Museum is a wonderful experience for anyone who takes pride in India's armed forces!
Location: Vasco Da Gama, South Goa.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Owning the title of being one of the smallest protected areas in Goa, the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 7.98 square km and is a haven for both nature lovers and the flora and fauna of the area.
The sanctuary comprises a zoological park, a variety of formal gardens, a botanical garden, Natural trails, a nature education center, and an archeological exhibition. With a wide range of indigenous flora and fauna, the wildlife sanctuary is a perfect way to spend your day educating yourself on the marvels of mother nature.
Location: Ponda Taluka, Goa
Morjim is one of the most soothing beaches around North Goa and is among the best places to visit in Goa. Home to the Olive Ridley Turtles, the beach is also called the 'turtle Beach' because of them. With a quiet atmosphere, the beach provides you with an ideal place for laying around or going on long walks.
Another fun fact about the beach is that it attracts a lot of Russian tourists who spend more than a month here. This is the reason why the beach has got a variety of restaurants selling Russian cuisine, has Russian signboards, and has even been named 'little Prussian by the locals!
Things to do:- Dolphin spotting, Kite flying, Freediving, trying Russian cuisine.
Location: North Goa, India.
Shree Shantadurga Temple
Shree Shantadurga Chamundeshwari Temple is another serene and must-visit place of devotion among the top places to visit in Goa. Established in 1560, the temple was initially constructed in Salcete Taluka, Kudtari.
However, due to the threat of conversion, the founders of the temple fled with the deities to Shevlon, Chandrawadi, which became the new home of the deities during the 16th century. Today, the temple lies in the village Avedem due to another such movement and is worshipped by both Hindus and Christians alike.
Location: Avedem, Quepem Taluka, South Goa.
Reis Magos Fort
First brought to existence in 1551 by Alfonso De Noronha, the Reis Magos Fort was modified and reconstructed in 1707. Serving as an essential defensive shield, the fort has served the Portuguese well through their war with the Martha empire in 1739.
Said to have been occupied by the British post-1798 and later abandoned to be used as a prison, the fort has undergone multiple changes. Having undergone numerous repairs, the fort still stands and speaks of its age-old history and is a loved destination among the various places to visit in Goa.
Location: Bardez, Verem, Goa.
Church Of St. Cajetan
Another fascinating Roman Catholic Church adorning the city of Old Goa is the Church of Saint. Cajetan. Also popular as the Church of Devine Providence, the church came into existence in 1661, the church is a proud member of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Churches and Convents of Goa list and is an integral part of goa's tourism. Standing proudly, showcasing the Latin inscriptions and design of the Greek cross, the church is an architectural spectacle that is hard to miss. If you want to witness this beauty up close, then make sure to add it to your list of places to visit in Goa!
Location: Old Goa Road, Bainguinim, Goa
Literal for 'sea of milk', the Dudhsagar waterfalls is another one of the wonderful places to visit in Goa, especially for nature lovers. Situated at the Goa-Karnataka border, the waterfall is one of the tallest waterfalls in India, measuring around 310 meters in height, and is divided into four layers, finally merging into the Mandovi River.
Monsoon is the ideal time to witness this place in its lush green glory. However, care must be taken as it can get quite difficult to reach the falls during the rainy season.
Location: Sonaulim, Goa
Stretching over a distance of 2.4 km, the Clova beach is a magnificent vacation spot, one that is loved by tourists from all walks of life. Holding the title of the oldest and the largest beach, Clova was a favorite vacation spot even for the Portuguese and the British back in the day.
The ruins of old Portugal houses and villas can still be spotted here. The beach just like all the vacation-friendly beaches in Goa has a wide variety of shops and activities to cater to your needs and interests.
Things to do:- enjoy the nightclub life, swimming, water scooter, parasailing.
Location:- Clova, South Goa, India
Shree Mangueshi Temple
Dedicated to Lord Mangueshi who is another form of Lord Shiva, the 400 years old temple is well-known among tourists from across India. Its beautiful yet simplistic architecture has been a point of fascination among devotees.
The temple also houses the statue of Nandi Bull and a beautiful seven-storied Deepstambha. A water tank believed to be the oldest part of the temple is also a point of interest. If you are a devotee too then make sure to add this beautiful, serene temple to your list of places to visit in Goa!
Location: Mangeshi Village, Mardol, Goa.
Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary
Part of the rich Western Ghats terrain, the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is flowing with a diverse array of flora and fauna and hence is considered a global biodiversity hotspot. Anyone who loves animals or is a keen wildlife enthusiast can plan a trip to this wonderful sanctuary.
The Indian Black Panther, Gaur, Sambar Deer, Giant Squirrel, Asian Palm Civet, are a few of the many species found here. However, the main attraction of the Sanctuary is the Royal Bengal Tiger! It also harbors several bird species and is an International bird area.
Location: Sattari Taluka, North Goa, India
One of the recent developments in Goa, the Arambol Beach is a beauty that attracts Indian and international tourists alike. Its bohemian feel, lively nightlife, live music acts, and numerous beach huts make the beach a wholesome place to enjoy your holiday.
The beach also hosts two of the most happening festivals namely the Indian Juggling Convention and the Tribal Dance Festival. Another unique feature is the drum circles which allow people with musical talent to come together and enjoy some self-made melody.
Things to do:- banana boat ride, bumper ride, Jet Skiing, Parasailing, Surfing.
Location: Arambol, North Goa
Saturday Night Market
As the name suggests, this is a vibrant market that is set up every Saturday at 6 in the evening. Located in Arpora, the market hosts a variety of things to bring to you an authentic Goa experience that you will forever cherish.
The place displays a diverse collection of shops/stalls dealing in all kinds of goods ranging from spices, jewelry, to garments, handicrafts, and more. What adds to the charm are the numerous musicians listening to the mood with live music! Last but not least are the numerous stalls with an array of cuisines to salvage your quest for good food! This Saturday night market offers the liveliest shopping experience should surely be a part of your list of important places to visit in Goa.
Location: Arpora, Goa
Lakshmi Narsimha Temple
Located in Vellinga, the beautiful Shree Laxmi Narasimha Temple is an 18th-century temple dedicated to Narsimha, the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. The hallway of the temple depicts images of all the different avatars of Lord Vishnu.
Visitors can also find a water tank and a musician's gallery nearby. Restricted to only the devotees, the temple celebrates a variety of major festivals including Manguirish Yatra, Ramnavami, Navratri, etc.
Location: Veling, Mardol, Goa
Savoi Spice Plantation
Among our chosen diverse variety of places to visit in Goa, Savoi Spice Plantation is a unique and very interesting addition, especially for keen minds.
The plantation is spread over an area of around 100 acres and has been maintained and managed by the Shetye family for around 2 centuries. 15 km from the cultural capital, Ponda, the Savoi plantation is wonderfully maintained and has gained recognition for its well-guided, interaction plantation tours.
Location: Panaji, Goa, India.
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife sanctuary
Spanning an area of around 240 square km, the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, set on the base of the western ghats, is the largest in Goa. Home to an enormous variety of animals, birds, and plants, it is a perfect destination for nature cum wildlife enthusiasts as well as hikers. In 1978, around 107 Square km of the sanctuary's core area was labeled as a National Park, known today as the Mollem National Park.
The Devil's Canyon, Dudhsagar Waterfall, the Tambi Falls, and the Tambi Surla Temple are a few of the famous tourist attractions of the place. So, if you are looking for places to visit in South Goa, then Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife sanctuary is a must-visit!
Location: Mollem, South Goa, India
Harvalem Falls, better known as Arvalem Falls is a 50 meters tall waterfall located in Sanquelim, North Goa. The waterfall is a scenic location and a wonderful area for a family picnic, making it a popular tourist destination.
A new park has also been developed recently with protective fences near the waterfall, allowing the tourists to appreciate the waterfall in its all-natural glory, even better. Monsoon is the best time to visit the waterfall as there's hardly any water during other seasons. You can also go and pay your visit to the Rudreshwar Temple situated nearby.
Location: Sanquelim, Goa.
Church of St. Francis of Assisi
The Church of Saint Francis of Assisi is a Portugal catholic church built by the Portuguese in 1661. Though not among the popularly visited churches of the city, it is a sight to behold as it highlights a vivid mixture of intricacy and remarkable architectural skills.
There's also an adjoining archeological museum present. The church offers a calm and serene atmosphere and is a wonderful place to explore.
Location: Velha, Goa, Índia.
One of the less popular yet worth-visiting beaches in north Goa is Vainguinim Beach. Valued for its clear green-blue waters and silver sparkling sand, the beach offers solitude wrapped in nature.
The beach is also known for harboring around 500 different bird species and is a wonderful destination for a trip away from the busy city. You can go for an energizing swim, opt for any water sport activity, or just sit and bask in the scenic view in front of you, as per your preference.
Things to do: Windsurfing, Water Skiing, Parasailing, Wakeboarding, etc.
Location: Panaji, Goa
Cabo De Rama Beach
A secluded and underrated destination among the well-known places to visit in South Goa is Cabo De Rama Beach situated in Margao in the southern part of Goa.
Also known as Cab De Ram among the locals, the beach is considered to be one of the most stunning places in India. Surrounded by natural beauty all around and overlooking a Portugal Fort, the beach is especially loved for the mesmerizing views especially of the sunset. Perfect for a peaceful outing with friends or family away from the crowd.
Location: South Goa, India
Sri Mahadeva Temple
Claimed to be the most ancient temple in the entirety of Goa, the Sri Mahadeva Temple of Tambi Surla has been present since the 12th century. Though it was built by Hemadri, a minister of the King of the Yadava Dynasty, however, some part of its architecture has influences from the Kadamba Dynasty, making its real origin a mystery to this date.
Brought to life using basalt rocks, this intricately carved temple is a marvel to witness. Inside it has a Shivlinga and a headless statue of Nandi. The temple also witnesses a joyous celebration of mahashivratri every year by the locals from the surrounding villages!
Location- Tambi Surla, Goa
Last on our list of places to visit in go is a place that contrasts the popular belief of the coastal state of goa while simultaneously showcasing the raw Goan beauty.
Like any other part of Goa, the island still has signs of Portugal colonization but with the brahminical culture combined, it is still a pleasing sight. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Chapel of St. Jerome, and Shree Devki Krishna Temple are a few must-visit attractions on the island. This island is what we can call, food for the soul.
Things to do: Feni tasting, visiting the bird sanctuary, boat riding.
Location: Panaji, Goa
From popular beaches to secluded marvels, the places to visit in Goa are numerous but touring each one of them isn't a possible reason why we curated a list of 40 must-see destinations! All these locations have their own value and contribute in their own unique way to the state's richness and popularity.
So, if nothing is stopping you from basking in the Goa history and Climate and getting a taste of the real Goan goodness, then get your gang ready, pack your bags, book your tickets, book a hotel in Goa, and last but not least don't forget to take your covid vaccination certificate with you. If you have any doubts or want additional information regarding the same, then head over to our Covid Vaccination Certificate guide to clarify all your doubts!