Looking for a fun-filled destination for holiday, Honeymoon or just a long break?
Consider Goa – the smallest Indian state on the shores of the Arabian Sea. Other than mere sun-sea-sand tourism, Goa has a lot to offer for everyone.
There are several advantages of Goa tourism: the state is well connected to rest of India and the world.
Dabolim, one of the top International Airports in India which is located in Goa receives scheduled and chartered flights from foreign countries and various cities of India.
Defence with its hub at Margao and South Western Railway at Vasco Da Gama cities. Additionally, bus services also connect Goa with other Indian states.
The article presents the complete list of 10 best places to visit in Goa without fail.
List of Top 10 Best Places To Visit In Goa
1. Marcella (Marcel/ Mashel)
The tourist spot which tops the list of 10 best places to visit in Goa is Marcella.
Located nearly 18km away from state capital Panaji, the small town of Marcella is famous as a goa tourist place for its temples.
There are whopping 26 temples dedicated to almost every Hindu deity in this small township.
The most famous shrine of Marcella is indubitably the Devaki-Krishna Temple. It is the only temple in India where Lord Krishna is depicted as an infant and carried by his earthly mother, Devaki.
The temple has a fascinating history. Idols at the Devaki-Krishna temple are said to date back to the BC era.
Thanks to the high number of temples, fairs (jatras) and other celebrations are held very frequently at Marcella.
You can also visit the picturesque village of St. Estevem located around 5km away from Marcella, where a 17th Century AD church built by erstwhile Portuguese rulers is located.
2. Old Goa (Goa Velha)
The state of Goa derives its name from this popular tourist spot, which is located about 10km from capital Panaji.
In ancient days, Old Goa was called Gopakapatan.
It was a port city- connected to the Arabian Sea through River Mandovi. Gopakapatan flourished under various Indian rulers, especially Sultan Mohammad Adel Shah Bahman Shah or Bijapur.
His summer palace in Old Goa is now a protected, heritage site.
Old Goa has several tourist attractions, all located nearby. There are 11 churches in Old Goa, each with a unique history or surrounded by mystery.
Bom Jesus Basilica in Old Goa houses mummified remains of St.Francis Xavier called the Patron Saint of Goa.
The Tower of St. Augustine is believed to have been a Jewish synagogue before it was razed and converted into a Catholic monastery by Portuguese Inquisitions.
In fact, the Hindi horror-thriller movie ‘Gumnaan’ has been set in the ruins of St. Augustine’s Tower.
Other shrines include Church of St. Francis D’Assisi, Chapel of St.Catherine, Church of God of St.John.
You can also ride a free ferry to the nearby Diwar island to view ancient ruins of Hindu temples.
Kadamba dynasty built these famous temples but razed by Portuguese invaders.
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3. Colva Beach
The Goa tourist place which rank 3rd on our list of 10 best places to visit in Goa is Colva Beach.
Colva is the most famous beach in Goa. Majority of the tourists visit goa for its Beaches and you too must explore these popular beaches of Goa.
Located about 7km from the state’s financial hub, the city of Margao, this beach and its picturesque town features in several Indian movies including ‘Singham’ and ‘Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa’ among others.
Colva beach is easily accessible from Margao: dozens of private buses ply from the Kadamba Bus Stand of Margao to the township.
You can also get motorcycle taxis (pilots) or auto-rickshaws to reach Colva beach.
If you are interested in watersports, Colva beach is the ideal destination.
You can indulge in para-sailing, water skiing and other watersport activities at the beach. Professionals in the field will supervise you in order to prevent accidents and injuries.
4. Pequeno Island (Bat Island)
Bat Island is a fantastic place to visit in Goa especially for adventure lovers.
It is a rocky island with a small sandy beach located off Vasco D’Gama city. In fact, it is just outside the defence perimeter of the Dabolim International Airport.
You can access Pequeno Island (Bat Island) by joining a daylong trip conducted by boat operators plying out of the Dona Paula jetty.
On the way to Bat Island, you can view Dolphins performing stunts in mid-sea. Tour operators also offer fishing rods and bait for tourist.
If lucky, you might catch a good sized Tuna, Snapper or even Kingfish during the nearly hour-long voyage in these small boats.
This tourist attraction of Goa is also famous for snorkelling and shallow water diving.
Legend has that gold smugglers dumped ingots and gold bars into the shallow waters off Bat Island. Some tourists indulge in scuba diving in the hope of finding this mythical treasure.
5. Fort Aguada, Sinquerim
Another famous tourist place to visit in Goa is Fort Aguada.
Built in the 1600s by Portuguese invaders of Goa, Fort Aguada overlooks the beautiful Sinquerim beach in North Goa. Fort Aguada was home to Portuguese navy for more than a century.
Its primary purpose was to defend Goa against British, French and other European colonial powers.
The fort also witnessed several sieges between Maratha naval forces led by Darya Sarang Kanhoji Angre- the father of Indian Navy and Portuguese troops. Grand Admiral Angre’s forces almost overran the fort on several occasions.
Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar is said to have imprisoned several of his political opponents at Fort Aguada.
After Indian Armed Forces overran goa in 1961, the fort served as a penitentiary for Indian criminals.
Nowadays, it has become a must visit tourist place in Goa and has an eponymous resort nearby.
6. Dudhsagar Waterfalls
One of the mesmerising tourist attractions in Goa is the Dudhsagar Waterfalls.
Located nearly 50km south of Margao, the Dudhsagar Waterfalls ranks among India’s tallest waterfalls.
It draws water from an estuary of River Mandovi. This scenic waterfall is billed among the most beautiful in the world.
As the name suggests, Dudhsagar means ‘Ocean of Milk’. The gushing water and its resultant spume lend a milky white appearance to the otherwise pure, crystal clear waterfall.
It is one of the most popular picnic spots in Goa and is located near the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary.
Access to Dudhsagar Waterfalls is effortless. Visitors to the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary can hitch a paid ride to this nearby attraction.
Additionally, private tour operators and Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) conduct day-long trips to Dudhsagar Waterfalls daily.
7. Calangute Beach
Calangute Beach is also one of the best places to visit for honeymoon couples in Goa and has featured in several Bollywood and other movies.
The eponymous township has several attractions for visitors of all age groups and budgets.
You can try a hand at watersports at Calangute beach. Traditional restaurants in Calangute offer excellent Goan seafood made with the freshest catch.
Nightclubs and bars make Calangute an excellent destination for tourists that seek activities all through the day.
Reaching Calangute beach is straightforward. Frequent bus services are available from Panaji and Mapusa cities.
You can also reach Calangute beach by arriving at Tivim station of Konkan Railway and riding a bus or taxi to Mapusa and onwards.
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8. Molem Wildlife Sanctuary, Sanguem
Molem Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the biggest national parks in Goa and also one of the most significant Goa points of Interests.
This wildlife sanctuary is located close to Goa’s borders with Karnataka and is located near the town of Sanguem. It forms part of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary.
Molem Wildlife Sanctuary is home to some of the deadliest endangered species of Indian flora and fauna.
Here you can view the King Cobra, Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Wild Boar and other animals. This wildlife sanctuary is a favourite among reptile lovers because it is home to several species of snakes.
The deadly Indian Viper, which is one of the few snakes in the world to possess both Neurotoxin and Hemotoxin that leads to the painful death of humans and animals also flourishes in Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary.
CAUTION: Never venture into Molem Wildlife Sanctuary on your own. It is advisable to visit the sanctuary during daytime and in tours which are organised by several tour companies in India.
Hunting is strictly prohibited. Tour guides are trained to take visitors to safer areas- which is recommended given the number of snakes that flourish in the dense rainforest sanctuary.
9. Sanatan Ashram (Ramnathi, Ponda)
One of the famous tourist places to visit in Goa is Sanatan Ashram.
Entry to Sanatan Ashram can be restricted. It is located in a small village called Ramnathi near the city of Ponda.
However, visitors are allowed to see certain attractions at the Sanatan Ashram such as the prayer hall and meditation chamber.
You can also buy handcrafted incense sticks and other prayer essentials at Sanatan Ashram.
The main feature of this Indian tourist attraction is the museum operated by Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF).
Here you will see unshakeable proof that ghosts, angels and omens indeed exist and their impact on human life.
The best way to ensure a full-day visit to the Sanatan Ashram is to fix an appointment through their website. Sanatan Sanstha welcomes visitors who take prior appointment.
You can also gain lots of insights into the Sanatan (Hindu) religion, ancient texts and spirituality from SSRP during a planned visit.
Also Read: Best Places to Visit in Karnataka
10. Three Kings Church (Cansaulim)
The last tourist spot to showcase on our list of top 10 best places to visit in Goa is Three King Church.
Stories of ghosts and hauntings are rife in this small Indian state. If you want to experience the unbelievable, visit the Three Kings Church in Cansaulim, about 10km from Margao.
Though this is a religious shrine, locals gave it a wide berth who claim it is haunted.
According to legend, the three local kings fought with one another about who should have the honour of praying first at the shrine. Two of these rulers (believed to be Portuguese noblemen) killed the third one.
Fearing punishment, one of these rulers decided to destroy all evidence and hence, poisoned his accomplice who died at the church. Consumed by guilt, the surviving ruler committed suicide on its premises.
Residents of Cansaulim and nearby areas do not venture near the church after dark. Though the shrine has been well maintained, there is an eerie aura around the complex.
Some people claim to have seen apparitions of the three rulers. Shrieks and sounds of men are said to emanate from the building on certain days.
The Final Thought
Here the list of Top 10 most Amazing places to visit in Goa ends.
The best time to visit Goa is between the months of October and March. The state has rather mild winters. However, high humidity prevails after the month of March.
During these months, Goa also celebrates various festivals of India– with Diwali, Christmas and New Year being the main ones. The Feast of St. Francis Xavier is held at Bom Jesus church from December 3 every year.
Goa ranks among the top 10 sun-and-sand destinations of the world. Hence, accommodation and local transport can be slightly pricey. But a visit to Goa provides excellent value for your money.