Looking for a long break, a fun-filled vacation destination, or even a romantic getaway?
Then look no further than Goa – off the shores of the Arabian Sea, it is the smallest state. Besides the perfect combination of sun, sea, and sand, Goa has much more to offer than you would expect – there’s something for everyone!
There are many advantages of traveling to Goa, for one; it is a well-connected state to India as well as the rest of the world.
Goa itself is in a prime location for visitors with the International Airport, Dabolim, and its South Western Railway connecting Goa with the other Indian States.
In this article, we will outline all the best places to visit in Goa. Without further ado, let’s get straight into it!
Marcella (Marcel/ Mashel)
The number one place to visit when you’re traveling around Goa is Marcella.
Not only is it approximately 18km away from the capital city, Panaji, but the small town of Marcella is a favorite destination for its magnificent temples.
In the town, there are an impressive 26 temples dedicated to most of the Hindu deities. The most notable shrine would be the Devaki-Krishna Temple. In the whole of India, it is the only temple where Lord Krishna is depicted as a child who is carried by his earthly mother, Devaki.
As a result of Marcella’s various temples, fairs (jatras) and other celebrations are held often.
Likewise, only 5kms away, you can visit the picturesque village of St. Estevam where a 17th Century AD church is located, built by Portuguese rulers.
Old Goa (Goa Velha)
Goa’s state name was derived from the next destination, located only 10km away from Panaji, the capital.
During ancient times, Old Goa was known as Gopakapatan.
Old Goa is home to various tourist attractions, all within close proximity. In the town, there are 11 churches, all containing their own unique history and mysteries.
Bom Jesus Basilica in Old Goa is believed to have the mummified reminder of St. Francis Xavier, also known as the Patron Saint of Goa.
Before being converted and razed into a Catholic monastery due to Portuguese Inquisitions, the Tower of St. Augustine was thought to be a Jewish synagogue.
Other shrines in the area include Chapel of St. Catherine, Church of St. Francis D’Assisi, and Church of God of St. John.
To view the ancient ruins of Hindu temples, you can also take a quick free ferry to Divar Island.
The next tourist attraction on this list to visit is Colva Beach, a popular destination among visitors.
In fact, it is the most popular beach in the whole of Goa. Situated approximately 7km from the state’s financial district, the city of Margao.
If you’re an adventure enthusiast, then you’ll love the watersports activities offered at Colva beach.
Whether you choose to indulge in water skiing, parasailing, or any other water sport activity on this beach, there are professionals within these fields that ensure you have a good time.
Pequeno Islands (Bat Island)
For all those adventure lovers, why not take a visit to Bat Island?
The island itself is rocky and features a small sandy beach residing just off Vasco Da Gama city.
Pequeno Island (Bat Island) can be accessed through a daylong trip conducted by boat operators assailing from the Dona Paula jetty.
On your journey to Bat Island, you will experience spectacular sights of dolphins jumping in and out of the water. Operators also provide you with bait and fishing rods to try your luck at fishing!
You can also experience the famous Goa shallow water diving and snorkeling here.
Fort Aguada, Sinquerim
Another popular destination in Goa is Fort Aguada.
Constructed in the 1600s by Portuguese invaders, the town overlooks the impressive Sinquerim beach in the Northmost parts of Goa. For more than a century, Fort Aguada was inhabited by the Portuguese navy.
Initially, its purpose was to protect Goa from French, British, and other European colonial forces.
Nowadays, the area has become a go-to destination for many visitors in Goa. There is also an eponymous resort close by.
One unforgettable place to visit in Goa is the Dudhsagar Waterfalls.
Situated approximately 50km southwards of Margao, these waterfalls rank as the tallest waterfalls in the whole of India.
Water is drawn from the River Mandovi estuary to create some incredible scenes. Among travel enthusiasts, it is considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.
When translated, the name Dudhsager means ‘Ocean of Milk’. Due to the water’s gushing stream and resultant spume, it creates a milky white appearance which is contrasted against the otherwise crystal clear waterfall.
If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a picnic, then it would be the perfect location, located close to the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary.
Access to the waterfalls couldn’t be easier. Simply hitch a ride from the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary to the nearby falls.
Likewise, you can also purchase privately operated tours through the Goa Tourism Development Corporation for day-long trips.
If you’re looking for the ultimate honeymoon destination, then look no further than Calangute Beach.
Its eponymous township is home to various attractions for tourists of all ages and budgets.
Whether you’re looking to try your hand at watersports or wine and dine in a traditional restaurant – Calangute offers it all and more!
Moreover, various nightclubs and bars make Calangute an ideal location for those looking to extend their vacation into the night.
Plus, getting to Calangute is a piece of cake. From Mapusa and Panaji cities, there are regular bus services that drop you straight off at the beach.
Molem Wildlife Sanctuary, Sanguem
Molem Wildlife Sanctuary is a major point of interest to tourists in Goa since it is the biggest national park in the state.
The sanctuary itself is situated near the border of Goa by both Karnataka and Sanguem – forming a sector of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary.
Inside the Sanctuary, you’ll find some of the deadliest endangered species of both Indian fauna and flora.
As a result, you should never venture into the Sanctuary unattended. When visiting, it is advisable to stick to daylight times and organized tours.
On the grounds, hunting is strictly prohibited. Professional guides will take you around the parks, visiting the safer areas. This is recommended as they know where to avoid the deadly snakes residing in the denser rainforest areas.
Sanatan Ashram (Ramnathi, Ponda)
One of the most popular destinations is Sanatan Ashram.
Accessibility into the Sanatan Ashram is restricted, situated in a small village of Ramnathi, which is close to Ponda, the city.
Tourists can visit certain attractions within the Sanatan Ashram including the meditation chamber and prayer hall.
Here, you can purchase handmade incense sticks and other prayer essentials.
The principal tourist attraction is the museum manned by the Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF).
Here, you will be exposed to unshakeable evidence of angels, omens, and ghosts impacting human life.
You will also learn about the Sanatan (Hindu) religion, spirituality, and ancient texts.
Three Kings Church (Cansaulim)
The last spot to visit on our top 10 tourist attractions is the Three King Church.
In this small Indian state, tales of hauntings and ghosts are prominent. If you’re looking to experience the unthinkable, then this is the place for you, just 10 km from Margao, too.
While this may be a religious shrine, locals are noted to provide it a wide berth since there is talk claiming the shrine is haunted.
According to the legend, three local kings fought against one another to determine who would have the honor of having the first prayer before the shrine. Although, two of the rulers (who were thought to be Portuguese rulers) ganged together to kill the third man.
Dreading punishment, one of the two rules resolved to destroy any evidence of the crime, and thus, poisoned his partner to death on the grounds of the church. Filled with guilt, the last surviving ruler killed himself as well.
After dark, residents of Cansaulim and nearby villages avoid the church at all costs. While the shrine is extremely well-maintained, there remains a creepy aura surrounding the premise.
Some have claimed to see apparitions of the deceased three rules, hearing shrieks and sounds of the men emanating from the church on specific days.
So, if you’re brave enough, the Three Kings Church is definitely an unforgettable experience!
Goa should be on everyone’s bucket list of destinations to visit. It provides everything you need for a memorable experience: a beautiful beach, culture, and amazing attractions. So, what are you waiting for?!
From Colva Beach to Bat Island, hopefully, this guide has provided you with some amazing places to visit in Goa.
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