Goa at a glance
Goa is the land of sun, sand and sea. There are its world famous beaches to its cuisine.
North Goa Beaches
- Arambol Beach: Arambol beach is one of the most charming beaches of Goa, located 50 km from the capital city of Panaji. Locals and tourists flock to this beach to enjoy its breathtaking beauty and engage in beach activities. The palm trees, the golden stretch of sands along with the calmness and harmony of Arambol beach make it a must visit while touring Goa. Arambol is along the Goa border with its fresh water lagoon.
- Mandrem, Ashvem and Morjim Beaches: Ashvem beach has its own charm and is quite appealing, as it is a very quiet and clean place. Even the waters are safe for swimming, an ideal place to relax where, white sandy stretch adds to the beach`s charm.These are the beautiful beaches with nice beach shack restaurants along the beach. Morjim beach is famous for its turtle nesting grounds.
- Vagator Beach: One of the most beautiful of the soft white sand beach, that Goa is famous for. On the North West corner of the beach are the remains of the Chapora fort. Fresh water springs in Vagator are among its major tourist attractions. Located at the foot of a hill at the north Vagator beach. Vagator beach boasts of pure white sand, dotted with black rocks and swaying coconut and palm trees. This beach is less crowded giving you the ideal opportunity to slip away into a quiet reunion with yourself as the waves reach out to caress you.
- Anjuna Beach: It’s a most happening beach in Goa and is quite famous for its rave beach parties. It is known as the ' freak capital of the world', because of the moonlight parties and the Wednesday Flea market that makes it the most hip and happening beach of Goa.
- Baga Beach: Baga Beach is located in North Goa, 9 kms from Mapusa and 16 kms from Panaji, the state capital. The Attractive estuary can be waded in low tide. You'll find everything from water sports to fine dining restaurants there, along with a pulsating nightlife. Head to hip cocktails and dreams to try an astonishing variety of cocktails and shooters, and be dazzled by barmen with impressive flame juggling skills.
- Calangute Beach: Calangute beach known as ‘Queen of Beaches’, with a unique beauty.
- Candolim — Sinquerim Beach: Candolim beach is one of most frequented and popular beaches of North Goa. This beach is quite peaceful than other beaches of Goa. It is one of the best beaches in Goa with International class facilities for water-skiing, para-sailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing. Close by is the magnificent 17 th century Fort Aguada which has now been converted into a prison.
- Coco Beach: The Coco beach is situated at the mouth of the Nerul River on the Mandovi Estuary, directly opposite Panaji. There are a number of restaurants here. It’s a nice quiet beach where you can spend the time with your loved ones.
- Miramar Beach: Comprising of a massive spread of sand and is a recreational area for locals and the place is crowded every evening specially on Sundays.
- Dona Paula Beach: If you are looking at indulging in some water sports, then the best bet would be to head for Dona Paula beach. The Dona Paula beach also offers an opportunity to the tourists to have a sunbath and buy cheap seaside goods from local vendors.
South Goa Beaches
- Bogmalo Beach: Bogmalo beach was initially a very quiet fishing village. Bogmalo is clean and not very crowded like Anjuna beach or other beaches in Goa and while at Bogmalo beach, you can definitely go in for swim as the water is quite safe for swimming.
- Colva Beach: Colva beach is considerably a quiet beach. While at Colva beach you do nothing but just laze around. Though there are eating joints and restaurants around Colva, it still manages to keep its serenity intact.
- Benaulim Beach: Benaulim beach is fairly quite beach and offers tourists a chance to unwind and relax. Benaulim beach is famous for fishing, gets fairly crowded in the evenings and on weekends.
- Cavelossim Beach, Varca Beach: Cavelossim and Varca beaches come as a wonderful combination. Filled with white sands and dotted with black lava rocks at certain places. Both the beaches offer a heaven for tourists. There are numerous beach shacks offering a variety of Goan dishes and seafood at reasonable prices.
- Mobor Beach: Mobor beach is very beautiful and clean. There are beach umbrellas and chairs and tourists happily broiling themselves in the Goan sun.
- Agonda Beach: A long and lonely beach fringed with palm trees. Agonda beach comes as an ideal place to unwind. You will find few souvenir stalls and restaurants.
- Palolem Beach: Palolem is probably Goa’s most beautiful and idyllic beach and it has a 1.5km crescent shaped beach. The beach lies on the southern coastline of Goa amidst outstanding natural beauty. Palolem village is nestled in the palms back from the beach. It’s not crowded and right place for tourists.
Exploring Forts of Goa
- Aquada Fort: This is the largest and the best- preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa. The area around the fort housed a large well and a number of springs that provided fresh drinking water to the voyagers that arrived by ship. The other unusual feature of the fort is a four-storey Portuguese lighthouse.
- Cabo da Rama: In Canacona Cape Rama, takes its name from Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana. The western side of the fortress, where the cliffs drops sharply to the sea, provides a great view both to the north and south.
- Corjuem Fort: This fort is situated 4km north of Pomburpa, alongside the Mapusa river near the village of Aldona. It was built by Portuguese.
- Terekhol Fort: This fort lies on the northern tip of Goa. The remains of the fort have now been converted into a hotel. In its courtyard is the century old church of St.Anthony. But it is not open to the general public except on certain occasions such as the annual feast that is held in May.
- Reis Magos Fort: Reis magos fort, surrounded by sturdy laterite walls studded with typically Portugueseb turrets.Towards the east, at a little distance from it, flows a spring with abundance of excellent water, while at its base rises the church of the Reis Magos, ascended by a beautiful flight of stairs. This fort stands on the north bank of the Mandovi at Reis Magos, and is very much visible from the Panaji side of the Mandovi river.
- Bhagwan Mahavir wild life Sanctuary: 60kms from Panajim on the Belgaum National Highway is this wildlife sanctuary comprising of thick forest clad slopes of the Western Ghats and rich in flora and fauna. The Dhudhsagar waterfalls is located here. Jeeps are available on hire.
- Bondla Forest: About 50kms from Margao, this is a fairly small sanctuary and a major attraction for tourists and school kids. Goa’s only Zoo is located here and tourists can have elephant rides at nominal rates.
- Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: It is located at the western tip of the Chorao Island along river Mandovi near Panjim. A variety of local as well as migratory birds frequent its thick mangrove forests.
Churches & Temples of Goa
- Basilica of Bom Jesus Old Goa: Dedicated to the Infant (Bom) Jesus, the basilica, a stunning piece of architecture, is famous because it houses the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier, the Jesuit priest who came to Goa. The feast of St. Francis Xavier is held every year on December 3 rd. Once in every 10 years, the relics are displayed for public viewing.
- Se Cathedral Old Goa: Across the road from the basilica, this is Asia’s largest church. It’s also the home of the Golden Bell.
- St. Francis of Assisi Old Goa: The grand tabernacle bang in the middle of the Church is richly decorated in an ornate style. Look above the tabernacle and you’ll see two statues, one of the St. Francis of Assisi and the other of Jesus on the cross. The entire church floor is embedded with tombstones of Portuguese noblemen.
- Our Lady of Immaculate Conception-Panaji: This hill top church, built in 1541, was where Portuguese sailor’s enroute to Lisbon used to halt and pray for a safe journey.
- Safa Masjid Ponda: Goa’s oldest mosque, the Safa Masjid, was built by Adil Shah. On the south side is a tank for ritual cleansing with designs. The large Gardens and fountains were destroyed during the Portuguese rule.
- Shri Mangueshi Temple: Goa’s best known temple is dedicated to Manguesh, an incarnation of Shiva. The temple was shifted from its original location from the south of the Zuari River to priol after the Portuguese takeover of Old Goa.
- Shri Shantadurga Temple – Kavlem: This temple is Goa’s largest and built by the Maratha king. The diety worshipped in this temple is Durga or Parvati. The interior of the temple is in marble and is dominated by an exquisite silver screen.
- Shri Mahadev Temple – Tambdi Surla: Built in the 13 th century, this is the only temple representative of the Kadamba architectural style. Built with black basalt, which was brought from across the border.The temple has intricate carvings on the pillars and walls.