26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India. Goa, situated on the west coast of India, is one of the most delightful states of India.

Formerly a Portuguese colony, it is endowed with a variety of attractions including palm fringed beaches, miles of golden sands, lush green country-side, an incredible mosaic of cultural heritage, magnificent churches, temples, forts and monuments and a unique cultural synthesis of the east and west.

With its tropical climate, Goa is a tourist destination for all seasons. Goa is a treasure trove of culture, music, dances and art forms that can be enjoyed during local festivals and celebrations.

Animal lovers can visit the State’s wildlife sanctuaries It is often said that ‘Goa never stops partying’. The city is known for its vibrancy that attains its pinnacle in the annual Goa Carnival festival.

1| Benaulim Beach

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Benaulim Beach
Situated about 2 km. south of Colva, the Benaulim Beach is a quieter and more tranquil beach. It is also one of the places where one can glimpse handicrafts typical to the area and is known for the traditional rosewood furniture made here. The Church of St John the Baptist is situated on a hill beyond the village and worth a visit.

2| Basilica Of Bom Jesus

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Basilica Of Bom Jesus
Situated in Old Goa, the Basilica of Bom Jesus was built in 1605 AD. The Basilica is home to the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier and is a monument typical of the classic forms of architecture introduced by the Society of Jesus, otherwise known as the Jesuits. It is the only church in Old Goa that is not plastered on the outside.

The façade though un-plastered, is a magnificent example of baroque architecture combining elements of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian design, The interior of the church is a study in contrasts. The design in itself is simple, but the floor is laid with the finest marble, and was inlaid with precious stones.

The retable of the main altar exhibits a huge statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder (along with St. Francis Xavier who was a founding member) of the Society of Jesus and below it, a small image of Bom Jesus (Child Jesus), the patron of the church. On the southern side of the transept lies the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier.

This chapel has carved and gilded columns and wood-carved floral decorations. This is where the relics of the saint are kept. The Basilica also contains a modern art gallery with paintings depicting various Biblical scenes. 

3| Mapusa

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Mapusa
Goa's third largest town, situated 13 km from Panaji, it is mainly a market town for the surrounding beach areas of Calangute, Candolim, Anjuna and Baga among others. Mapusa comes alive on Friday, the traditional market day also known as Mapusa Friday Market.

People from surrounding villages and towns come to Mapusa to sell their wares. This fair has a lot of local flavour and specialises in agricultural produce, vegetables, locally-grown fruit, spices, clothes and even plants. 

4| Miramar Beach

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Miramar Beach
Located just 3 kms from Panaji, the Miramar beach lies adjoining the estuary of the river Mandovi as it opens into the Arabian Sea. It is one of the most visited beaches in the State.

There are several educational institutions in the surrounding vicinity, including the Dhempe College of Arts and Science.  A memorial to Goa's first chief minister, the late Dayanand Bandodkar is located here. 

5| Panaji

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Panaji
The capital of Goa, Panaji or Panjim is situated on the banks of the river Mandovi. This city of stepped streets and a seven kilometer long promenade was built on a planned grid system after the Portuguese relocated the capital form Velha Goa in the 17th century.

The heart of the city is the Church Square with the Portuguese Baroque Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. Other tourist attractions in Panaji include the old and rebuilt Adil Shah Palace (Secretariat), Institute Menezes Braganza, the Mahalaxmi Temple, the Chapel of St. Sebastian, the Fontainhas area considered to be the old Latin Quarter, the nearby beach of Miramar and the Hanuman Mandir at Malā on the hill top (Altinho).

6| Margao

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Margao
Often called the commercial capital of Goa, Margao serves as a service and transport hub to the areas of South Goa. Margao has an old-worldly charm about it because of its Portuguese churches, and some magnificent specimens of old Portuguese houses, complete with shady balcaos (porches) and oyster-shell windows in its Borda area.

The Largo de Igreja, or the Church of the Holy Spirit as it is also known, dominates the entrance to the city. The church area is surrounded by beautiful old residential houses still in pristine condition. The church was built by the Portuguese in 1675 and is one of the finest examples of late-Baroque architecture in Goa. The famous Colva beach is just 6 km away from Margao. 

7| Mahadev Temple At Tambdi Surla

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Mahadev Temple At Tambdi Surla
The Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla in Mollem is the most ancient temple in Goa. Built in the 12th century, the beautifully carved and perfectly proportioned black basalt temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

There is a Shiva Linga mounted on a pedestal inside the inner sanctum and a headless Nandi (bull, Shiva's vehicle) in the centre of the mandap, surrounded by four matching columns. The river Surla flows nearby and can be reached via a flight of stone steps.

The festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated with great pomp and gaiety at the temple by the locals from surrounding villages.

8| Reis Magos Church

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Reis Magos Church
Lying on the banks of the Mandovi River, the small hamlet of Reis Magos is home to two famous landmarks of Goa - the Reis Magos Fort and the Reis Magos Church.

It is also one of only three places in Goa, where the unique Feast of the Three Wise Men is held. Reis Magos lies off the main road, which passes through the fishing and boat-building villages of Betim and Verem on the way to the more famous tourist spots of Calangute and Candolim beaches.

The Church, whose whitewashed gabled facade is visible from across the river in Panaji, was built in 1555. Fransiscan friars, who were in charge of missionary work for the area, took over the church and founded a small seminary here.

The Church interiors are quite colourful and impressive, with the highlight being the multi-coloured wood relief showing the Three Wise Men (Reis Magos) bearing gifts to the baby Jesus, which is the centerpiece of the elaborately carved and painted reredos behind the high altar.

9| Church Of Our Lady Of Immaculate Conception

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Church Of Our Lady Of Immaculate Conception
Built in 1541, the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is located in the town center of Panaji, Goa’s state capital and is one of the main attractions of the town

The chapel was later rebuilt, in 1619, into the church that stands there today. The architecture of the present church is a beautiful blend of the Portuguese-Baroque and Goan styles.

The imposing façade is distinctive with its two towers and even taller belfry. It can be seen from a great distance, and is sometimes known as the ‘crown’ of Panaji. The interior of the church is comparatively simple, however, the decoration has been skillfully and gracefully executed both on the main altar and on the two sub-altars which flank it.

The church houses the ancient bell that was removed from the Augustinian ruins of the Church of Our Lady of Grace and is considered to be the second largest of its kind in Goa.

10| Se Cathedral

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Se Cathedral
The largest church in Goa, the Se Cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine. Built in Portuguese-Gothic style, Se Cathedral has a Corinthian interior and Tuscan exterior. The main highlight of the cathedral is the Cross of Miracles that attracts a large number of visitors. The bell of Se Cathedral is one of the oldest in the state and is known as the Golden Bell.

11| Arambol Beach

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Arambol Beach
Situated some 50 km away from Panaji, the Arambol Beach is strikingly beautiful and has a peaceful ambience. The Tai Chi, yoga and meditation centres here make it a popular destination for tourists. Further up near the hill is a pool with soft yellow clay, which is said to have healing properties. 

12| Baga Beach

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Baga Beach
Baga beach, named after the 'Baga creek' which flows into the Arabian sea, is one of the more prominent beaches of Goa. It is  part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast that begins at Fort Aguada. It is popular with tourists as a base for water sports and fishing in the area.

13| Anjuna Beach

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Anjuna Beach
Located about 18 kms from Panaji, the beach is known for its palms, soft sand, and the unusual rocky formation nestled over an inlay of white sand, jutting out into the sea.  A weekly Flea Market draws a large number of visitors every Wednesday and bargains can be had on apparel, footwear, jewellery, footwear, chess sets, etc.

14| Safa Masjid At Ponda

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Safa Masjid At Ponda
Built in 1560 by Ibrahim Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur, the Safa Masjid lies 2 km west of Ponda. The mosque is in a fairly extensive complex of gardens and fountains which lies in ruins today.

The rectangular prayer hall of the mosque rests above a high base and is capped with a pointed terracota tile roof. Adjacent to the mosque is a well constructed masonry tank with small chambers with ‘meharab’ designs. The two major festivals of Id-Ul-Fitr and Id-Ul-Zuha are celebrated at this mosque with great pomp.

15| Church Of Saint Francis Of Assisi

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Church Of Saint Francis Of Assisi
Built in 1665, the Church retains the portal of the older original structure which was in the Portuguese–Manueline style. In contrast to the simple outer façade the interiors of the church are lavishly decorated in the Baroque style using Corinthian influences.

The highlight is the main altar, which has fine examples of this kind of work. The altar is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi and has above it a huge statue of the saint. Flanking the altar are paintings on wood depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

16| Sinquerim Beach

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Sinquerim Beach
With a magnificent 17th century fort which has now been converted into a prison. 13 km from Panaji, it is one of the best beaches in Goa with international class facilities for water-skiing, para-sailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing.

17| Shri Naguesh At Bandode

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Shri Naguesh At Bandode
The temple of Lord Naguesh is another shrine in Bandode. The area surrounding the temple is known as Nagueshi and lies just 800 metres from Farmagudi on the way to Ponda.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Naguesh, who was known as Nagnath in ancient times. Lord Naguesh is another incarnation of Lord Shiva. Worth noting at the temple, are the colourful images of gods and goddesses around the base of the deepstambha (lamp tower).

18| Vagator Beach

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Vagator Beach
One of the most photographed beach of Goa, Vagator Beach forms a bay that curves from the headland to the hillock crowned by the Chapora Fort. It is located about 22 kms from Panaji and is part of the 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa.

19| Calangute Beach

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Calangute Beach
This seven km. long sweep of sand located 15 km from Panaji, is called the 'Queen of Beaches'. It is the most popular beach in Goa with large numbers thronging it in both the peak and off-season. The village of Calangute has all basic facilities like post office, banks, foreign exchange offices, internet cafes, resort companies, all kind of eateries & restaurants and medical facilities. 

20| Palolem Beach

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Palolem Beach
Just 3 km away from Canacona Railway station, now on the Konkan Railway, Palolem is situated at the West of Chaudi in South Goa. About 1.61 km long, Palolem Beach is endowed with crystal-clear azure waters of the Arabian Sea.

21| Mahalaxmi Temple

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Mahalaxmi Temple
The village of Bandode or Bandivade is the location of a number of temples, among which is the large and beautiful temple of Goddess Mahalaxmi.

Bandode is approximately 22 kms from the capital city of Panaji, off the main road to Ponda, at Farmagudi. The temple has been in existence since at least the year 1413, when information about the rituals of the temple is found on stone plaques carved during the reign of Nanjan Gosavi Pratihast over Goa.

22| Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple At Narve

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple At Narve
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Saptakoteshwar temple is an old shrine located at Narve 35 km from Panaji. The most important festival celebrated at the temple, attended by thousands of devotees is Gokulashtami, which is considered to be the day on which Lord Shiva appeared in this incarnation to grant the wishes of seven holy sages.

23| Saint Cajetan Church

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Saint Cajetan Church
One of the most beautiful churches in Goa, this gracious building stands in Old Goa, northeast of the Se Cathedral. Although the Church was originally dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence, it is more commonly known as the Church of St. Cajetan, who was a contemporary of St. Francis Xavier and the founder of the Order of monks called the Theatines.

It was built with architectural similarities with St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The facade exhibits superb examples of Corinthian architecture and has four statues of St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John the evangelist and St. Matthew niched within it.

The interior of the church, whilst also Corinthian, shows Baroque, Rococo and Goan influences in the intricately carved and gilded work. The main altar is dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence, the patroness of the church.

24| Aguada Fort

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Aguada Fort
The largest and the best-preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa was built in 1609-12, to control the entry into the river Mandovi and to protect Old Goa against invasions from the Dutch and the Marathas. Ringed by thick battlements, the heart of the fort was protected by two hundred cannons and a deep dry moat, which one still has to cross to get inside.

An interesting feature of the fort is a four-storey Portuguese lighthouse, erected in 1864 and later renovated and modernised in 1976. Though the entire fort is no longer intact, some buildings that are still in good shape have been converted into a prison. En-oute to the fort, is the church of St. Lawrence, the Saint of the sailors.

25| Shri Shantadurga Temple

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Shri Shantadurga Temple
Shri Shantadurga Temple is situated at the foothill of  Kavalem village in  Ponda, Goa. The temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, the goddess who mediates between the Lords Vishnu and Shiva. The temple has a huge tank, a Deepastambha and agrashalas (guest houses).

26| Goa Carnival

26 Best Places To Travel In Goa, India
Goa Carnival
Elaborate and brilliantly coloured floats, music, dancing form part of the four day Carnival extravaganza in Goa. Like in the many of the Latino Carnivals, the Goa Carnival also crowns a King Momo. The court of King Momo in Goa is usually made up of fire eaters, jesters, dancers, a brass band and other revellers who make their way down the streets of Panaji whilst the King encourages people to “Eat, drink and make merry”.

There are celebrations in villages and cities all across Goa. The parade with its floats, entertainers and dancers moves through the major cities. The celebrations culminate with the famous Red and Black Ball held on the evening of the last day.

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