8 minutes reading time India
Immersed amidst the languid luxuries of the sun, sea, and sand, Goa is one of the most famous places in India to visit. And, while all aspects of this state lure you in with its irresistible charm, it’s the openness of this getaway, both literally and figuratively that I love the most. From the warmly hospitable locals and mouth-watering cuisine to being a go-to travel destination, there’s something in store to revel for all, young and old.
Whilst several family-friendly activities will help rejuvenate your young ones, let’s not forget that Goa boasts of one of the most happening nightlife scenes in the country. So, whether, you’re a lone traveler yearning for some soul-searching solitude or life experiences; a young couple, head over heels in love, or someone who’s at the cusp of adulthood, Goa truly is a paradise for you.
Discovering this beach haven: Fun facts about this coastal state
A state boasting of a bucket list of exciting things to do in Goa for all age groups, did you know that it is the smallest state of this multicultural nation that we proudly love-India? Situated in the west Konkan region, it has multiple coastlines stretching throughout. Rich in flora and fauna, and dense forest cover, Goa truly is more than just the quintessential party destination that it is promoted as.
In the 1500s the Portuguese invaded the state and ruled until the early 19th century, which brought along many changes. Therefore, it is no surprise that even today, you will find several cultural influences of this erstwhile reign. From the colorful houses to quaint churches and intricate architecture, this state is aptly deemed as picture-perfect.
What’s more, is that this beach haven has also been a trailblazing land of sorts. From housing the first printing press and medical college in the country, this siesta-loving territory has continuously transgressed several barriers, and how! Thriving in several business sectors, tourism and entertainment industry amongst others, Goa is considered as one of the most famous places in India, due to the unique cultural ethos it puts forward. Three main languages are being spoken in the state, namely, Konkani, Marathi, and English. Furthermore, due to its integral historical influences, it has nurtured itself as an abode to several ethnicities including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity.
If it weren’t a marvel already, trust this next fact to leave you awe-struck: a few of the cathedrals were declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, India due to its abounding beauty. Flabbergasting, right? Isn’t this a classic example of a land of hedonistic persona?
A local’s perspective: Top tourist places in Goa
Are you looking to engulf yourself with laidback, rejuvenating time-off from your daily hustle? Or are you enthralled to set off on well-researched travel excursions involving a mix of known or off-beat tourist attractions and local life? Or, are you simply longing to be a beach bum and water baby? Whatever may be your idea of an ideal vacation, trust Goa to have it all.
Before I deep dive into advising you on the best activities to do in Goa, I’d recommend you to ask yourself the purpose of your trip. While I’ve reiterated this before, Goa is a versatile destination. So, if you’re hoping to spend some relaxed time with your family, then South Goa is the perfect place to stay at. Contrary to the same, if this is ‘your right of passage’ trip, and you want to thoroughly live it up and party in Goa, then you should stay in the northern region.
Now, now! Without further ado, these are some of the eminent tourist attractions in Goa, which will make you fall in love with this ‘sunny side up’ land.
- Beach life, please
Let’s get real, folks! As much as you’d tell yourself that as a foreigner, you’re exhilarated to explore the Goan life, who wouldn’t love some tanning on a sandy beach in Goa? While it is extremely refreshing, you can get ready to build some sandcastles, get a foot massage or enjoy some beer or coconut water in a shack nearby.
Another thrilling experience to have is to enjoy water sports in Goa. From simply seeking pleasure off a boat ride and watching dolphins to being a daredevil and indulging in parasailing or jet-skiing, I promise it’s a moment you shall never forget. Some of the beaches that I’d recommend across both, North and South Goa are Baga, Anjuna, Calangute, Vagator, Palolem, Colva, Benaulim, and Butterfly.
- Dudhsagar Falls
This place is meant for all nature lovers, who find joy amidst the scenic greens. Living up to its name, Dudhsagar, which means “sea of milk” forms Goa’s tallest waterfall with a height of 310 meters.
Set against the backdrop of dense forests, and numerous, exquisite species of flora and fauna, this destination is perfect for all the ecstatic trekkers. Check tours & things for Dudhsagar Falls
- Explore the rugged Forts
A picturesque depiction of limitless magnificence, Goa has numerous forts, which bewitchingly display this beach land’s brilliant architecture and glorious past.
Promising you spectacular views, some forts that you must visit are Fort Aguada, Chapora Fort, and Cabo de Rama Fort. Imagine waking up early in the morning, and seeing the sunrise from any of these views. Unsurprisingly, even whilst writing this piece all I can croon to is Nora Jones’ hit number ‘Sunrise’! That’s the long-lasting magic of these citadels!
- Admiring Cathedrals
If there’s one place that does justice to the ancient architecture that is raved about then it is the majestic churches of Goa. A place to find peace and perspective, their innate beauty will leave you in rapture. One of the churches on your ‘must-visit’ list should be the Basilica of Bom Jesus which is heralded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While its positive vibe will deeply strike a chord with you, it is the luxuriant grandiosity of this structure that will seep you in. From its ornately designed altar to the splendidly carved doors, this cathedral is an artist’s delight.
Other such majestic cathedrals that you can check out include Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina, Saint Catherine’s Chapel, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, and Church of Saint Augustine. And, who knows, while you may be submerging yourself in the splendor of it all, you may have an intriguing spiritual awakening?
- Food, Fun, and Revel
Twitching it up a bit, how goes the saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beer holder”. The idea seems ravishing, doesn’t it? From being the quintessential experience for every young adult, thousands of people throng to experience the ‘high’ (pun intended). And, what’s more, if you’re a sea-food lover, then you’ll never leave this paradise. While the Fish curry is to die for, you will experience a mouth-watering ‘nirvana’ after trying the popular local dessert, Bebinca.
If just by reading this, you’re going in a food coma of sorts, then we’d advise you to immerse in the local flavor and get a ‘taste’ of Goa.
Known for several alcohol concessions, Goa has also become one of the most happening places in the country. Offering a variety of exciting activities such as live music, karaoke bars, pubs, and even silent parties, there is more than one fun party in Goa that you can live it up at. Whether it’s enjoying the sunset at the Greek-inspired club, Thalassa or the cutesy Antares or Gunpowder, North Goa is abuzz with activity at any hour. Speaking of music scenes, while the local serenaders will enthrall you with their melodious numbers, it is electronic dance music that is emerging as a sensation. Lastly, if you’re in the mood for gambling, then there are numerous casinos, floating off the coast in Panjim that you can enjoy. A unique experience, Big Daddy is a great casino, where you ascend through your betting skills.
- Flea Markets
If you’re someone who seeks pleasure in the little things in life, then flea markets are surely your jam. Boasting an enviable stock of knick-knacks and souvenirs, the Anjuna Flea Market is a lively place to be at. Selling handicrafts, garments and even jewelry and hammocks, you can trust to connect with your inner hippie or bohemian side alluringly. Their live music and food stalls add to its charm.
PRO TIP: Before you go shopping, make sure you work on your haggling skills to get the best deals on products.
Tempted to visit one of the most diversely popular places in India, but worried about the stay and commute. While you can easily travel across Goa by local cabs or rent a bike, this tourism-thriving state is known for its excellent hospitality. Its local hostels, resorts, five and seven-star hotel chains come highly recommended.
So, what are you waiting for? All you’ve got to do is take the plunge and book your ticket, at the earliest!