A First Timer’s Guide to Goa, India

Even though Goa is the smallest state on the Western coast of India, it is one of the most popular due to its rich heritage, warm and friendly people, tropical climate, scenic beaches and exotic handicraft.

Back in the 60’s & 70’s, the North of the island became a hippy-haven, a place to escape everyday life and quickly became somewhere for backpackers to hang out and party.

For people travelling India alone, it was the perfect introduction. Naturally, the more popular a place becomes, the more it changes and over time.

The North now seems to be associated with high-rise hotels, watersports, street markets and cultural buildings but it also still retains its party-vibe.

Goa was recommended to us by someone when we were holidaying in Morocco, so we carried out some research on which was the best resort to stay – North or South?

Boat Beginner's Guide To Goa Blog

Table of Contents

Quiet Cavelossim

Dudhsager falls & spice plantation, peaceful palolem, our final evening in goa, travel facts for goa, india, other attractions, a small selection of the best beaches:, pin it for later.

We tapped Goa onto the end of a week touring the Golden Triangle and were looking for something quieter, relaxing and less developed – with all this in mind, we were advised to head South and chose Cavelossim Beach at the Dona Sylvia Beach Resort .

To ensure the area doesn’t become monopolised with high-rise hotels in the North, the resorts around Cavelossim are not allowed to be more than two storeys high.

Resort Beginner's Guide To Goa

The grounds are in a beautifully tranquil setting, filled with trees and pretty flowers, including my favourite – frangipani!

Frangipani Beginner's Guide To Goa

The sand at Cavelossim beach was white, soft and crunchy – it felt a little like snow underfoot (only warmer!). On our first day we relished in feeling the warm refreshing Arabian sea lap against our toes. We watched crabs dart across the beach and watched locals trying to sell their wares.

They attempted to coax us into their beach shacks but after all the haggling in Rajasthan we simply wanted to relax and walk – shopping would come later.

Whilst we were in Goa, we celebrated our 2 nd wedding anniversary so we headed to the beach for sunset with a bottle of champagne. The sky turned from pastel peach to oranges then pink – it was the perfect end to our special day.

Angie Sy Beginner's Guide To Goa

The Goan’s are renowned for their fine multi-cultural cuisine and we both absolutely loved the culinary masterpieces served up at the resort every single time we dined.

They whip up everything possible with various types of veg and we piled this high onto our plates – this is unusual for us, we love our meat!!

Outside the resort was a small road with shops and a few bars. We always had fun talking and joking with the locals, they really made us feel part of the community and quickly recognised our faces.

One night we stopped for a beer and cocktail at the Jazz Inn which, bizarrely, had a big frangipani tree growing through the middle of it! We grooved to the cool tunes played by the DJ who was also a Bob Marley impersonator from Birmingham, England.

We had a great chat with him and discovered he spends 6 months a year in Goa.

On one occasion we caught an auto-rickshaw as a taster of true India, it was hilarious! We laughed the entire journey!

The night sky was pitch black and our vehicle barely lit the way with its tiny headlamps – goodness knows how he could see! It was loud, crazy and filthy dirty, my hair looked like a scarecrow when we finished! The driver was so proud at how quickly we had reached our destination!

We had to shower when we were back to our hotel as we felt so disgusting – but the journey was well worth it!

Dudhsager Falls (pronounced dud-sager) means “sea of milk” and is located in Colem, two bumpy hours on a coach from where we were staying.

To reach the falls, we were transferred into an overland jeep for the final 45 minutes of the journey and we drove through 3 lakes (very cool!) followed by a 10 minute walk over stones and boulders.

We stripped off to our bathers and gingerly inched our bodies into the freezing cold fresh water – obviously after a few minutes of swimming and we were acclimatised, it was OK but it was rather crisp for those first initial moments!

Big fish swam alongside us and people threw pieces of banana for them to eat – oh yes – fish …eating bananas!

We swam over to the cascading falls and felt its power as the spray hit our face, it was beautiful. We had some free time here, so we chilled on a rock listening to the roar of the tumbling water – music to our ears!

Waterfalls Beginner's Guide To Goa

Considered to be one of the best beaches in Goa, Palolem was an hour’s taxi drive from our resort.

It is an idyllic white crescent beach naturally blessed with palm trees lining the shore, calm turquoise sea and colourful beach huts. It definitely had a laid back vibe and we watched as fishermen gathered their nets on the beach – all very picture-postcard.

Fishermen Beginner's Guide To Goa

We had travelled here to enjoy the beach, and whilst sitting down for an hour, a few sellers asked if we wanted to buy anything, and when we declined they left us alone.

This made it such a pleasure to relax and we understood the lure of why a backpacker would spend weeks here – purely to enjoy the simple, chilled life!

After taking a peaceful stroll along the shore, we sat in a beach bar sipping a cold drink and just looking at the view, we wanted take time to soak up the ambience and really “feel” what this place was all about.

So to sum up Palolem – it really is a tranquil slice of paradise!

As the sun set on our last evening, we sat on the beach and reminisced at how magical our time had been.

Even though the sun had disappeared, there was such a nice atmosphere we chose to stay a few hours.

We listened to the music playing, danced on the sand and watched the high tide lap against the beach tables.

Sunset Beginner's Guide To Goa

People lit paper lanterns and set them adrift into the sky. We watched as they faded into the distance forming an orange dot on the skyline, noticeably different to the gleaming white of the stars.

It was the best way to end our magical trip.

  • A tourist visa is required for most nationalities but there is an e-visa scheme to apply online.
  • The International Airport is in Dabolim on the west coast roughly in the middle of the state.
  • 4 languages are spoken – Konkani, English, Marathi, Hindi
  • Seasons: November – March – dry and cooler (by Indian standards). April & May it is unbearably hot and June – Sept/October have the monsoon rains.

Other Things to Do in Goa

We were attracted to Goa purely because someone recommended it! We had already looked at the Golden Circle tour with tiger safari, so Goa was the natural place to add-on.

Incidentally, whilst staying here, tour operators do give the option for overnights trips to visit the Taj Mahal and for tiger safaris.

You can book transport to come to and from Goa ahead of time by using the popular website, Bookaway .

  • Panaji/Panjim – The capital full of historical Latin & Portuguese culture
  • Bom Jesus Basilica –(for St. Francis Xavier tomb)
  • Wildlife Sanctuaries – Bhagwan Mahvir (of which Mollem National Park is a part) or Cotigao Lamgau Caves
  • Spice plantation visit (there are many all over)
  • Casino cruise
  • If you’re hanging out in Goa, head further south and check out the cool state of Kerala. Backwaters, surf and tonnes of cool things to do!

Markets In Goa

  • Anjuna Flea Market (every Wednesday)
  • Arpora Night Flea Market
  • Mapusa Market (every Friday)

First Timer's Guide To Goa, India

About the Author - Angie Briggs

My name is Angie Briggs and I am half of a travel blog called “ Feet Do Travel ”, my husband Simon is the other foot. I have been travelling for 20 years and always kept journals of my adventures. When I met Sy, thankfully he shared my passion for travel and we have continued to see the world together whilst working full time! We are currently in the secret process of selling all our belongings to become permanent nomadic travellers! A dream come true!

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87 thoughts on “A First Timer’s Guide to Goa, India”

Nice post goa is the perfect destination for a explore beach and staying in beautiful hotels and resort with a beach view are the best combination for stay in goa.

Thank you so much. Glad you enjoyed the article 🙂

As awesome i am expecting from your blog

very informative blog!

Hey, nice thank you for this great information.

Glad you found the information helpful. 🙂

Hey Angie Briggs, Thank you for all this information and The way you explain the things was so commendable, I just went to goa it was so helpful for me and the resort where I stay was so amazing.

Happy to help. Glad you had a great time. 🙂

Goa is a stunningly beautiful city with a kind and inviting population that draws visitors from all over the world. a fantastic article! Goa appears to be a fantastic place to visit. I’ll be adding this to my long list of fantastic places to visit. Thank you for providing this information.

A delightful read. Goa is undoubtedly one of the best destinations to visit for anyone visiting India for the first time. Its laid-back charm and beach settings are quite alluring and would make you want to stay forever!

Thank you for your comment. 🙂

It is Informative and engaging at the same time. Really liked the content you included. On top of that pictures were lovely and gave a feel of Goa.

Glad you liked the article. Thank you

A very nice blog such a great place to visit. And I also share with my family.

Thank you so much

Wow!! You definitely have the art of story-telling. The way you have written and the flow in which you have written is mindblowing. A very well-written and informative blog. I really liked the Travel Facts and Other Things To Do in Goa section. Also, I would like to know if you visited any theme parks in Goa? I am looking forward to take my family to a theme park.

Thank you so much. Glad you enjoyed the article.

Thanks for sharing the article it is really informative to get knowledge about the place.Goa is the best place to relax yourself. You have posted beautiful pictures to explore goa without any hesitation.keep sharing the post.

Thank you so much 🙂

Nice blog on first-timer. Explained very well. I have visited Goa. Really, an amazing place for beaches, parties, waterfalls. Best time to visit Goa is from December to February. All the great festival happens in this time like sunburn, goa festivals, and new year celebrations.

Wonderful post ! it is very interesting and informative post, I really enjoyed to read this. Visiting for these places you can take the help of Bharat Taxi for taxi service.

Thank you so much. 🙂

Very well written blog. I have been to Goa a few times myself and I think the blog covers the essence and spirit of the lace quite well. Informative at the same time entertaining read. Please share more pictures if you have. I have written a Blog on Goa trip as well. Please check it out

Thanks for your comment Sonali.

Goa is one of my favorite travel destination, the best place to relax. Such a lovely post! So glad to see you added spice plantation, it is still not very known.

Glad you liked the article. Thanks 🙂

Goa is an interesting sea beach and it’s amazing. I love the marine drive there.

Your guide was impressive and mind-blowing photos.

Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Thanks for giving a brief description on Goa .

Last some day I thinking where to go for a mini vacation and I reached on your blog. After reading blog I decide to plan a trip to Goa for next week,

Thanks for sharing amazing goa blog.

Glad we could help. Have a great time Karan.

This is a great blog as a first impression. Am living in Goa for the last 5 months and it has been a very immersive time for me here. There are plenty of people who are choosing to leave the fast-paced city lives and move to the sunshine state 🙂

Very nice blog. You share a grateful information about travel in India. Thanks!

Heyy you guys! this was an amazing article, I am from Goa, and glad you enjoyed your trip! as a student I am doing a research study on the hospitality industry in Goa, for which i’m taking input from various people like, who traveled to Goa, from Goa and so on. I would be delighted if you share your personal experience as tourists in Goa. Please answer these questions below: 1. Did you feel your trip went out of budget? 2. Were there any problems faced by you, like in your hotel stay? 3. Would you prefer coming back to Goa?

Thank you. This would be a great help!

Hi Anushka, thank you for reading the article. This article is a guest post from Angie from Feet Do Travel. Hopefully she will be able to help. All the best


Hi i want to come There ,could you guide me

Awesome post. Last i trip to goa its is very pretty place.Its make more memorable to us!..I just remain that moment while read this blog. Thanks for sharing!

Hi Ryan, thank you for reading. Glad it bought back memories. 🙂

A very interesting post as I also familiar very little about Goa, but now I have added this to my list of places to visit.

Thank you. Glad you liked it. 🙂

I really love this place while reading your article I got excited and remembering my Goa trip Thanks for sharing Keep posting.

Would love this for our family! It looks a wonderful place to visit there.

Hope you all get there one day. Happy travels. 🙂

What a Great post! Goa likes an amazing place where I can enjoy a lot. I am adding these places on my list where I want to Goa. thanks for sharing the best information. The photos are also great.

Thank you for reading.

Nice post. it is a very useful post. I like very much. Thank you for your sharing.

Glad it was helpful. Thank you

Wow this is nice blog sites. Very interesting blogs. I reallly like your traveling images. Thanks for sharing.Really a wonderful post. Thanks for posting such an informative & useful post with us. keep posting & inspire us like this post.Amazing pictures and very interesting article….. Thanks a lot for giving proper tourist knowledge and share the different type of culture related to different places. If you are planning for your holiday and searching for the beautiful place to spend your time then you can wander around this vibrant city. Nice pictures & very helpful information to Goa. Thanks to sharing this blog…..!!!

Thank you so much. Glad you liked the article. Thanks for your comment.

Happy to know that you liked Goa. Its perhaps time for another visit. There is a lot more to see and do here. Come back soon 🙂

Thanks for your comment Jane. It definitely does sound like Angie had a great time. Jarryd and I will have to check Goa out one day. 🙂

This is quite helpful. And that picture of the waterfall is amazing 🙂 Keep sharing more.

Thank you so much. Angie wrote a great article for us. 🙂

My friends and I booked a yacht from rediscovery cruises in April.. We had the best time ever!!! The staff took really good care of us.. We were served chilled beers and light snacks. All in all it was an amazing experience. Will definitely recommend them to anyone.Thanks to sea water sports

What a trip. Sounds like you had a great time. 🙂 Thank you for your comment

Great. I like your article and I have never been there so I am planning to visit there very soon on my upcoming vacation. Thanks for sharing the information.

Thank you so much. We hope you have a great time on your next visit. 🙂

Very well explained the unknown things about goa.

I’m going this month on Feb’18 28th. join there.

Thanks for reading Arun. Angie wrote a great article for us. We can not wait to go. We hope you have a great time and happy travels.

Nice description about our own Goa. But you should come back for New year’s eve party to enjoy the real goa.

Thanks so much. We’d love to visit Goa one day. Angie wrote a great article for us. 🙂

Inspiring blog, will be visiting in this November. It would be fun if someone likes to join us.

Thank you so much. Sounds great. Have a great time Edgar, 🙂

Thanks for sharing, definitely inspires to go and explore! We will be traveling to India this year, will stop by there and stay for a bit, Looks like a graet place to hang out for a while. How as Wifi there? We will need that if we want to stay longer… Thanks!

Thank you so much Julian. Not too sure about the Wifi as Angie wrote this awesome guide for us. We do have a few friends who live there and are bloggers. They have never complained about it but then again they most likely have their own connection. I am so sorry we could be more help. Have a great trip.

I’ve met a few travellers who only have good things to say about Goa, but I’ve never been myself. I know it used to bit a hippy spot but that’s about as far as my knowledge goes, oh and it was featured one of the 2nd Bourne film at the start. Angie has given an excellent account and detailed write-up.

Hi Barry, that was our knowledge also (hippy place). Until we met someone who lived there and told us more about Goa. We have never been either and would like to one day. Angie has definitely made us want to go. Hope you get there soon mate. Happy travels.

Angie is such a great writer! What ever she writes down, it always consumes me in a good way. After reading her stories of various places in the world, I feel like I need to go to every single one of them right now! Ha! Same goes with this one and Goa. Can’t wait!

Indeed she is. She really takes you to the place and makes you feel you need to be there. We were very lucky to have her write a post for us. Happy travels Kreete. 🙂

I have been reading a lot about Goa lately. Looks like a great place to explore. Love those beautiful falls!

Thanks Lisa. It does seem a lovely place. Angie wrote a great post for and and has indeed made us want to go too. 🙂 Happy travels

Stunning photos and gave me a very good insight into a part of India I would really love to visit when I eventually make it out there. I have heard of some of the places you mention but you’ve really brought them alive with your photos! Thanks for sharing!

A great post – we have considered Goa as friends have recommended it but it’s fab to find out all this information – Palolem looks like paradise! Beautiful photographs

Thank you Tracy. Angie wrote a great post for us. Glad you found it useful. Happy travels

What a great post! Goa looks like an amazing place to spend some time. I’ll be adding this to my very, very long list of great places to go. Thanks so much for sharing – will pin this for later too!

Thanks so much Jenn. Angie wrote a great guide for us. We can’t wait to visit this area of India too.

Goa has been near the top of our list for a long time and we are thinking of making it our summer destination this year. We have heard that the monsoons make everything greener!

It looks absolutely stunning – especially Dudhsager Falls. One of my favourite things in the world is swimming in a waterfall plunge pool and listening to the water beat down.

It does, doesn’t it. We can not wait to visit India and Goa is on our list. Waterfall swim is so magical. Thanks for your comment Karianne.

A very informative post as I too know very little about Goa, but now I have added this to my list of places to visit. The photos are great !

Thank you so much. Angie wrote a great guide and she definitely can take a great shot. 🙂

As someone who knows very little about India and Goa, this was great. Palolem looks really relaxing and I like that the beach vendors aren’t too pushy. Surprisingly, I had heard of the Dudhsager Falls before somehow and they’re definitely somewhere I’d like to visit. Beautiful photos Angie!

Thanks for your message David. We have never been to India. Can’t wait. Definitely a great post by Angie and beautiful photos. 🙂

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Home » Asia » India » Goa

GOA Itinerary • MUST READ! (2023)

Gorgeous Goa is India’s smallest state stretching along the shores of the warm Arabian Sea. It has been a jewl in the crown of Indian tourism since the 1960’s attracting hippies and sun-seekers each winter.

Goa (like all of India) is a place of celebrations and you’re bound to experience a festival or parade sometime during your stay. The wonderfully festive province of Goa will remind you that there’s always a reason to celebrate (ie, you are alive)!

Its rich cultural history and lush forests make it a wonderful place to explore and there are some great guided tours on offer. If you’re looking for the perfect way to spend your time in Goa, you’ve come to the right place because we’ve put together the ultimate Goa itinerary.

Need some info about visiting Goa? Then read on!

A Little Bit About This Goa Itinerary

Where to stay in goa in 3 days, day 1 itinerary in goa – panjim & old goa, day 2 itinerary in goa – anjuna party time, day 3 itinerary in goa – arambol, what to do with more than 3 days in goa, best time to visit goa, how to get around goa, plan a trip to goa – what to prepare, faq on goa itinerary, final thoughts.

When you talk about backpacking India , you’ll quickly hear all about Goa, which is undoubtedly one of the most laidback and beautiful places in the entire country.

Whilst Goa is India’s smallest state, it is still nevertheless a state and is as big as some small countries. This itinerary covers the entire state from North to South and with several incursions inland.  Therefore, to execute this Goa itinerary in 3 days you will need to change accommodation a few times.

The good news is that finding places to stay in Goa is pretty easy wherever you are. There are loads of guest houses, party hostels , hotels and homestays all eager for foreigners to crash – it is usually as simple as turning up in town and asking around.

The itinerary does leave time for changing accommodation and moving around and has also been designed to be flexible enough to adjust to suit your own needs. In terms of traveling around Goa, the bus system is very cheap, but rides can be long and very uncomfortable. Therefore if you have the budget, we suggest taxi’s – if you book ahead and haggle you can cover even large distances for well under $30.

goa travel guide 2023

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Goa 3-Day Itinerary Overview

  • Goa Itinerary Day 1- Old Goa | Spice Garden | Panaji Tiatre
  • Goa Itinerary Day 2 – Vagator Beach | Foot Massage | Paddle Boarding | Trance Party
  • Goa itinerary Day 3 –  Querim Beach | Sweet Lake | Yoga Session | Drum Circle | Ecstatic Dance

where to stay in Goa

Let’s get this straight, Goa is a State. Whilst it is India’s smallest state it is still bigger than a lot of countries. You need to choose where to stay in Goa very carefully as it will inform your experience and will affect your Goa itinerary hugely.

Goa is roughly divided into North Goa and South Goa. North Goa has a few more famous attractions than South Goa so if you’re wanting to spend some time doing typically touristy things then North Goa is a great place to start!

Most visitors opt to stay in a beach town or village. The prime ones in the North are Anjuna & Arambol for hippies & backpackers, and Baga beach and Calangute for package tourists. In the South, Palolem Beach & Agonda and Candolim are popular. There are Airbnbs in Baga , Calangute & Candolim but very few in Arambol & Anjuna.

If you don’t want to be near the beach then there are a few nice towns and cities set further back inland, Goa Airbnb listings tend to provide a nice variety of options to choose from.

Panjim is a nice city in the Northern Goa region! It’s home to many gorgeous old Portuguese mansions and some good art galleries.

Best Hostel in Goa – Folklore Hostel

Goa itinerary

Situated in Vagator, Goa Folklore Hostel can only be described as a home away from home! With communal spaces that encourage interactions and facilities that you provide everything you need, there’s no better place to spend your stay in Goa if you’re looking for a hostel experience!

What’s more? If you don’t want to leave your furry friend at home, feel free to bring them with as the Folklore hostel is pet-friendly!

Best Airbnb in Goa – 2 Bed Lotus Villa @ Tito’s Street

2 Bed Lotus Villa Goa

This quirky and comfortable villa in Goa is located in the heart of the party district. With Bardez’s best beaches and hottest clubs within walking distance, you won’t find a better Airbnb in Goa.

Best Budget Hotel in Goa – Crystal Goa

Goa itinerary

This quaint hotel offers everything you’ve come to expect from a hotel, plus an incredibly tranquil setting! The restaurant and bar on the property are also a great place to dine during your stay in Goa. But don’t worry, should you feel like lying in and having a lazy morning, breakfast will be delivered to your door! Crystal Goa is located in Palolem in South Goa so perfect for those who prefer peace to partying.

Best Luxury Hotel in Goa – Vivanta Panaji

Goa itinerary

This incredibly beautiful luxury hotel is located right in Panjim center! But convenience is not its main drawing card.

A 24-hour gym and spa might have something to do with it! As well as the fact that the hotel is pet-friendly. This is very rare to find in such a luxurious venue! Live music is provided every night so there is no shortage of entertainment at the Vivanta Panaji!

goa itinerary

For the first day of our 3 day Goa itinerary we are gonna base ourselves in Panjim or Panaji, the Goan state capital. Whist this city is inland, away from the lush beaches, it is one of India’s cleanest and most pleasant cities. It abounds with beautiful old colonial mansions and is well situated for executing day 1 of our itinerary.

10:00 – Old Goa

Visit The Body of St. Francis Xavier

Old Goa is the former Portuguese Colonial capital. It was once considered a great city of the world rivalling even Lisbon itself I’m terms of its wealth, culture and beauty.

Most of Old Goa has been lost to the ravages of time but thankfully, enough has survived to justify a visit. The Dom Jesus Basilica is perhaps the grandest Christian temple in the whole of Asia. Then there are the ruins of the old Church of St Augustine. which blend into the Goan jungle like a level from Tomb Raider.

Old Goa can easily be explored in a day or even in half a day. The issue is getting there as it is about 20km away from the beaches. You can book a private or a bus tour from any travel agent in pretty much any resort which will leave in the morning and drop you back home after dark.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Although the building is very rustic, it’s incredibly beautiful too. A church may seem like a strange place to visit while staying in Goa, India. But because Goa was colonized by the Portuguese for so long, many Hindus converted to Catholicism over this period of time. This is one of  Goa’s best places to visit  in 3 days.

A solid option, is to join an electric bike tour so you can really explore the jungles and roads!

  • Cost – Most of the sites here are free
  • How Long Should I Spend Here? Half a day
  • Getting There – Old Goa is about 30 minutes drive from Panjim. I recommend getting a taxi or joining a tour bus

 15:00 – Sahakari Spice Farm

At the Sahakari Spice Farm , you’ll get the chance to take in the incredible fragrance of the beautiful spice farm! These lush plantations are not all there is on offer at the spice farm though.

During your tour, you’ll be shown how to climb the trees and swing from palm to palm! If any guest on the tour is brave enough to give it a try, they’re encouraged with enthusiasm. This often creates a lot of laughs among the tour group!

For those interested in a more relaxing form of entertainment, you will be treated to a folk dance by some of the female laborers and children who live on the farm. These often contain lots of color and excitement!

  • How Long Should I Spend Here? 90 minus is plenty
  • Getting There – It’s a 20-minute ride from Old Goa. Get a cab.

18:00 – See a Tiatr Production

See a Tiatr Production

The Hanuman Theatre in Mapusa is home to some of the most incredible Tiatr! Just like Broadway there are many different types of Tiatr that take place, these all have different names and contain different entertainment elements (dancing, singing, etc.)

To be honest, it doesn’t really matter which you decide to go see, they’re all great and can be enjoyed whether you understand the words or not.

The word Tiatr comes from the Portuguese word ‘Teatro’ – meaning theatre. As you know by now, Goa is heavily influenced by the Portuguese because of its previous colonization by Portugal.

  • Cost – $1.45
  • How Long Should I Spend Here? 2 hours
  • Getting There – Get a taxi back to Panaji and then either walk or take a Tuk-Tuk to the theatre

goa travel guide 2023

Wanna know how to pack like a pro? Well for a start you need the right gear….

These are packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for the  real adventurers – these babies are a traveller’s best kept secret. They organise yo’ packing and minimise volume too so you can pack MORE.

Or, y’know… you can stick to just chucking it all in your backpack…

Goa Day 2 Itinerary Map

For day 2, we’re gonna head for the beaches. Pack your bag into a taxi, or jump on a bus towards Anjuna. Whether you decide to base yourself in Anjuna or Vagator is fine.

 10:00 – Relax on Little Vagator Beach

Little Vagator Beach

Once you’ve checked in to your new digs, hit the beach!

Although it’s free to relax on the beach, if you’d like to make use of the loungers that line the beach, you’ll have to buy something from the restaurant. This isn’t a bad deal at all, cause trust me, you’ll want to be there a while! You can have drinks and food brought to you.

While lying back on your lounger, it’ll be hard to miss the many cows that stroll past and sit on the beach alongside you. There’s nothing to be scared of though, they are very peaceful creatures!

Due to the Hindu culture in Goa, it’s illegal to kill or harm these beautiful creatures. This means that you’ll find them roaming the streets and congregating in open areas – such as the beach.

  • Cost – Free – but bring money for food and drink
  • How Long Should I Spend Here? A good few hours
  • Getting There – Depending on where you are staying, either walk, get a cab or hire a scooter

 14:00 – Foot Massage on The Beach

Foot Massage on The Beach

After all your gallivanting around you’ll be doing during your trip, you’ll be in need of a great foot massage! Luckily for you, they offer them right on the beach – along with a variety of other treatments. So it’s about time you put your feet up and enjoyed some good ol’ relaxation!

Be sure to ask around for the best price before settling on a masseuse, some tend to charge a lot less than $6!

  • Cost: Bater hard and it will by anywhere between $2 – $5

14:30 – Sea Rafting

Goa Sea Rafting

After all that relaxing, I’m sure you’re down to try something crazy. How about a bit of sea rafting?

After about half an hour of training on the beach, you and your team will be ready to hit the waves! Don’t worry, your guide will be with you to lead you every step of the way! The waves can be a bit daunting at first, but once you’ve caught your first wave, you won’t want to stop!

Be sure to head up the beach for some beers at one of the many beach shacks that call this beach their home.

  • Cost: $6.50
  • How Long Should I Spend Here? 60 minutes is usually enough
  • Getting There – It’s on the beach

17:00 – Dinner at Artjuna

Artjuna is one of my favourite spots in Artjuna. It is a cafe with spacious grounds where you can spend the whole day for a price of a few coffees. The food is proper decent offering a mix of Indian food, vegan grub and a few Israeli specialities.

Other excellent dinner spots include Sakana in Vagator (delicious, pricy, sushi) or you can just hit up on the beach shacks like Curries for a fish tandoori.

  • Cost: $5 – $10
  • How Long Should I Spend Here? 60 – 90 minutes. Service takes time in India
  • Getting There – Walk, ride or jump a cab

18:00 (Onwards) – Attend a Goan Trance Party

Attend a Festival/Parade

Goan Trance (latterly Psytrance) is perhaps Goa’s greatest gift to the world and you absolutely should not miss the chance to experience a Goa Trance party first-hand. The scene emerged in and around Anjuna in the early 90’s and reached worldwide fame with “Goa parties” popping up all around the world.

The music itself, is a fast, intense and utterly trippy form of electronic dance music. If you have never heard it before, it may be a bit much for you but bear in mind that it is a sound best heard in altered states . There’s a reason Goa ranks as one of the best places in the world to party !

There are trance parties most nights during high season (Nov – Mar) but the scene is curtailed a bit during election years. My personal picks are Shiva Valley (Anjuna) on Tuesday nights and the occasional, underground parties organised by The Trip Foundation in and around Arambol. The parties start after sunset (around 18:00) and go on until well after sunrise the following morning.

Another great venue is House of Chapora (Chapora is a 10 minute aside from Anjuna). I particularly recommend following Pandora Collective who are organising 2-3 great parties each week all across North Goa – there Instagram handle is @pandoracollective.

Hilltop (Anjuna) attracts the big names but is a bit over-priced and soulless but still the Sunday afternoon sessions are nice if you want to be in bed early.

  • Cost: $0 – $10
  • How Long Should I Spend Here? All night!
  • Getting There – Get a taxi. Walking at night in Anjuna can be risky

Osprey Daylite Plus

We’ve tested countless day packs over the years, and now we’ve found our absolute favourite: the traveller-approved Osprey Daylite Plus .

Want more deetz on why we love it  so damn much?  Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

Goa Day 3 Itinerary Map

For day 3, we’re heading North across the river up towards Arambol. If you stayed out all night partying, either skip over the morning section of this itinerary or sack it off altogether and spend today hanging out in Anjuna’s German Bakery.

 10:30 – Ride to Querim Beach

Braganza House

For a taste of true paradise, you must make the 30 minute scooter ride North from Arambol towards Querim (Keri) beach. Keri is a small village set in the mangrove forests and is home to one of North Goa’s quietest beaches. You can rent a sun longer, order food and drinks from the shacks or even rent a surfboard.

As well as exploring the beach, the ride itself is also worth savouring. There is little traffic in and around Keri and plenty of back roads that lead through the forest to explore. Bring a bottle of water and sun cream and simply enjoy the experience of being in the riding seat watching beautiful Goa pass by.

  • How Long Should I Spend Here? 3 hours minutes including the ride
  • Getting There –  Rent a scooter and ride. Wear a helmet as the road does pass a police checkpoint.

13:00 – Fish Thali at the Thali Shack

Just by the first, main park on Arambol beach, there is a completely unassuming looking little shack (a man selling coconuts sit’s by the door). Whilst you may be tempted to walk right past, don’t; because it offers the best and possibly cheapest Thali’s in Arambol.

A Thali is a big silver tray filled with rice, veg and a few different types of curry. The options are Veg, Chicken or Fish – the latter is particularly sublime.

 14:00 – Visit the Sweet Water Lake in Arambol

Sweet Water Lake in Arambol

The Sweet Water Lake is a freshwater lagoon with a source that originates in the Goan Jungle. The Sweet Water Lake is warmed by a natural hot spring, so going for a swim is a must in the late evening!

The Lagoon is surrounded by luscious greenery, overhanging thick jungle branches, and coconut groves. Steam rises slowly from the lagoon, making it a beautifully picturesque scene to take in, and the perfect place to snap some pics for the gram!

There is a beach just a short walk from the lagoon that is only accessible by foot. There are loads of shack’s and restaurants selling classic Goan food.

  • How Long Should I Spend Here? 60 – 90 minutes
  • Getting There – Walk here from Arambol beach – it is the only way!

15:00 – Join a Yoga Session

I once checked the notice board in Arambol and realised that there is a yoga class taking place somewhere in town, at every minute of the day. Arambol is a proper yoga Mecca and churns out newly qualified yoga teacher like Yale & Oxford churn out future venture capitalists and war-mongers.

Therefore you won’t have to try too hard to find a Yoga class. Either check the notice board, ask around or ask any slender, toned yogini you encounter.

17:30 – Sunset Drum Circle & Market

Every evening on Arambol beach, the place to be is the drum circle. It is literally a circle where anybody can come, bring a drum and bang it. Whilst the sound is (for me) a bit tedious, it is nevertheless a very pleasant gathering and attracts the Goa freaks who come to congregate.

From here, walk down to the sunset market where you can barter for hand made jewellery, post cards and other wares.

  • Cost: $4 – $8
  • Getting There – Most sessions are within walking distance from the beach

19:00 – Ecstatic Dance at The Source

Dance is a way of life in Goa. Whilst you may be exhausted from last nights trance session, I guarantee your legs will still summon the energy for one more boogie! Ecstatic Dance is a giant sober (no drugs or alcohol) party that takes place around a giant Banyan tree at the source.

You may initially need some time to get over your inhibitions (dancing sober?!) but you’ll soon get into it. Ecstatic Dance is massive fun, don’t miss it. If this is your first time in Goa, then its time to embrace your inner hippy!

  • How Long Should I Spend Here? Stay as long as your energy lasts
  • Getting There – Walk from the beach or get a taxi

21:00 – Late Dinner at Aladdin’s

Aladdin’s is one of Arambol’s best restaurants. It has massive menu ranging from bar-bq, Indian classics and some very interesting vegetarian dishes. It is quite pricy for Indian standards but worth it for a treat.

  • How Long Should I Spend Here? Until they throw you out!
  • Getting There – Walk from the Source – bring a torch though as the way is dark

Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighborhood in Goa

Tiswadi-District, Goa

Tiswadi is the best place to stay if you’re visiting Goa for the first time. Home to the capital city, Panjim, Tiswadi is where you’ll find most of Goa’s cultural sights, the vibrant Latin Quarter, and charming Old Goa.

  • Visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which contains the tomb and mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier.
  • Explore Fontainhas, Goa’s Latin Quarter full of colonial character, cobblestone streets, and vibrant, and colourful houses.
  • Be amazed at Sé Cathedral, the largest church in Asia measuring more than 76 meters long and 55 meters wide.

If you are planning a trip that is longer than 3 days in Goa, then here are a few things you need to add to your itinerary for the rest of your trip.

Arpora Night Market

The Saturday night market in Arpora is a true Goa institution. It is a weekly mega market where you can barter hard for incense, jewellery, stones, gods, clothes, sheets and wonderful things you probably don’t even know exist!

As well as being a shoppers delight, the market has plenty of food stalls and a few bars mixing Techno into the early hours.

All of the above said, the word on the street is that the sun is setting on the Arpora Night market. Apparently the conduct of management has forced a lot of boutique owners and niche designers away and they can now be found at the Hilltop Friday Night Market instead. The Night Markets are amongst the best things to do in Goa in 3 days.

Visit Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary Near Ganjem

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary contains a mini zoo so that children and adults alike can see the animals up close. Plus, it has a massive deer park, which means that the deer can roam freely in their natural habitat! It also contains a botanical garden and a rose garden, for those who love flowers!

Here you’ll be educated about the animals and the bird life, as well as the vegetation found in Goa! This is a trip that will intrigue nature-lovers, so be sure you don’t miss out!

  • It’s only 38 kilometers from Margao.
  • There is a jungle resort containing tourist cottages on the property, just in case you want to stay the night.
  • There are plenty of different attractions, so you’re bound to find something that will suit your taste.

Visit Brahma Karmali Temple

The Brahma Karmali Temple is one of the oldest temples in Goa! The temple attracts a lot of devoted worshippers from around the region. Based in Carambolim, this temple is said to have played a pivotal role in Goa’s struggle for freedom. Many sessions were held in the building by a member of Congress during the time of struggle.

Learning about the fascinating history of this temple is spiritually moving, and exploring the temple grounds is a wonderfully relaxing experience!

  • This temple is named after a nearby town – Brahma Karmali.
  • The main idol inside the temple is said to date back to the 12th century.
  • Visiting and exploring this temple is absolutely free.

Hike to Hivre Waterfall

This waterfall is a great place to visit for nature-lovers and adventure junkies alike! During the hike to the waterfall, you will walk along a narrow pathway through the forest. Along the way, you’ll see beautiful river creeks that wind their way through the forest.

The locals that visit the waterfall are always friendly and helpful, and don’t mind guiding tourists to the waterfall with them!

  • Hivre Waterfall is popular amongst locals and tourists alike so it’s often busy, especially on weekends.
  • The waterfall is located only 14 kilometers from Valpoi City.
  • You will need to travel through the Thane village to get to the Hivre falls!

Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt  except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash or a passport copy. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

when to visit Goa

Goa is definitely a seasonal destination and best experienced during the Northern hemispheres winter. The crowds flock to Goa between November and February when the weather is perfect. If you come off-season, not much may be happening. The high summer months are best avoided altogether as this is when monsoon hits.

During peak tourist season in Goa, the beaches are the place to be! The water is perfect, there are nightly parties, and it never rains. As the monsoon season in Goa approaches though, the beaches become more and more empty.

However if you’re not a beach bum, then the rainy season can be equally as beautiful! During the summer in Goa, mist rises over the plantations and fields, and rain cleans the cities, leaving them smelling fresh and new. Visiting Goa during June will also allow you to attend the Sao Joao Festival, which is one of the coolest celebrations in the region and among many festivals celebrated in India !

There are a number of Goa transport options available depending on where in Goa you are, where you are going and what you want to do. For example, beach towns and cities themselves are pretty easy to walk around. However, to get between them you will need an engine. Tuk-Tuk’s (Rickshaws) are available in some parts of Goa but are banned from a lot of the Northern tourist hubs. Taxi’s are easy to find but Goa’s are expensive by Indian standards.

Renting a scooter is the most popular transport method. They can be rented anywhere in Goa easily and cheaply.

Hiring a tour guide with a vehicle is also a good idea for tackling some of the suggestions on this itinerary.

Whether you’re a solo traveler or traveling with your posse, there’ll be plenty of activities to keep you occupied on your trip to Goa! Here’s just a few that you shouldn’t miss out on!

bus icon

Book your transport on Bookaway NOW . Get the best price for the best ride… then use those savings to buy the best feed in town!

Travel in India does carry with it a set of risks and Goa is no exception.

The biggest danger is the endless raft of scams which are played on unsuspecting foreigners and of which there are too many to list. Other than this, never leave your valuables unattended and always lock your room.

Be very careful of bad drivers whether you are riding a scooter or simply a pedestrian. If you are riding a scooter, always wear a helmet.

Be careful when swimming whether in the sea or the delta as under-currents can be deadly, especially at night. Use lots of sunscreen and drink plenty of bottled, mineral water. Food hygiene is generally pretty good in Goa but use common sense.

Women travellers sadly need to be extra careful as each year they are the victims of rape, assault and even murders in Goa. Take great care at night and try to travel in a group whenever possible. Avoid dark, unlit areas as much as possible. If you are riding your bike at night, do not stop in lonely areas ( you may be being followed ). Be very careful in or around Trance parties, be mindful of what you consume and watch your drinks like a hawk.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance for Goa

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Find out what people want to know when planning their Goa itinerary.

How many days do you need in Goa?

Despite being India’s smallest state, Goa is packed with incredible experiences and attractions. We recommend visiting for 3-5 days minimum to make the most of it.

What should you include on a Goa 5 day itinerary?

Don’t miss out on these awesome places to visit in Goa: – Old Goa – Sahakari Spice Farm – Braganza House – Sunset Drum Circle & Market

When is the best time to visit Goa?

November-February offer the best weather for exploring Goa. March and April also get warm and have smaller tourist crowds.

Is Goa worth visiting?

Absolutely. From the verdant forests and stunning shorelines to the vibrant food and buzzing festivals, Goa is a very popular destination among travellers.

Goa is the perfect place for your next holiday destination! With white sandy beaches, a rich cultural history and some great architectural beauties, there isn’t a single thing you could possibly miss out on!

Its beautiful landscapes are begging to be explored and the culture that surrounds every building in Goa is worth learning about! No matter what time of year you choose to visit, there will always be something going on in this province. From festivals and parades to cultural ceremonies, there’s never a dull moment in Goa!

It’s a great place to travel whether you’re with your crew or a solo traveler. The safety of this beautiful province adds to the appeal of Goa for solo travelers. Be sure you’re not the only one missing out on the amazing experience of visiting Goa, India! And be sure to add a few of these great activities to your Goa Itinerary!

goa travel guide 2023

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Suzanne Borders

Suzanne Borders

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goa travel guide 2023

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My ultimate goa travel guide – insider’s tips for 2023.

boats on goa beach at sunset - the ultimate insiders goa travel guide

There’s many Goa travel guides out there, but my insider’s guide to Goa has everything you need to know to plan your Goa holiday – I’ve been living here for over 10 years since 2015 , so I know my way around more than most!

Goa changes quickly, new places open and close every season, so I have updated this post for 2023 with all the latest information. India is now fully open for tourism after being closed during covid and 2023 looks to be a busy season!

My Goa Travel Guide

In this Goa guide I’ll go through everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip to Goa. From when to visit, where to stay and how to get to Goa, to insiders tips on the best beaches and places to visit, things to do, restaurants, nightlife and much more.

Why Visit Goa

Goa is India’s smallest state, famous for it’s laid back lifestyle, over 101 km of sandy tropical beaches, colourful markets and legendary nightlife all infused with a unique blend of Indian and Portuguese culture.

Goa first became popular in the days of the hippie trail and has now become India’s most popular tourist destination, Goa attracts many domestic Indian tourists as well as travellers from all over the world.

Sadly, most tourists haven’t read a Goa travel guide so they don’t explore beyond the beaches and parties. This is a huge shame because Goa offers so much more to explore, from historic churches and forts to spice plantations, waterfalls and natural beauty spots.

There really is nowhere else quite like Goa and with everything from luxury resorts to cute beach huts , wild nightclubs to mellow yoga retreats – it’s not surprising that so many people love Goa. 

Read More Goa Blog Posts: Why I Love and Live in Goa

the ultimate goa travel guide

My Insider’s Guide to Goa

Goa is a much bigger and more diverse state than most tourists realise. So for the best experience it’s really worth doing a bit of research and reading some a Goa travel guides and some Goa blogs like this when planning your trip, especially if it’s your first time in Goa.

I fell totally in love with Goa almost 10 years ago now and have spent many years living here, exploring every beach and corner of this beautiful state.

I’ve put together all my insider’s Goa travel tips into this Goa travel guide, from the best beaches, parties, hotels and places to visit to the best places to stay, best time to visit and much more.

I’ve tried to keep this Goa travel guide concise so if you want to know more click on the links for the full article on each topic

Anna in Vagator

The Best Time to Visit Goa

When planning a trip to Goa, one of the most important things to consider is when to visit.

The best time to visit Goa is in the main tourist season in Goa runs from November – March when the weather is sunny, dry and cool (by Indian standards) and perfect for sightseeing, enjoying the beaches and water sports and the nightlife is buzzing.

Goa is one of the best places to spend Christmas and New Year. The churches are decorated for the festive season and it’s the best time to visit Goa for nightlife as there are so many parties around New Year and festivals like Sunburn.

This is also the busiest and most expensive time to visit Goa. Don’t come to Goa around New Year without booking your accommodation well in advance as everywhere gets fully booked!

Another great time to visit Goa is for the Carnival ! Join in with Goa’s biggest party as the streets of the capital Panjim (Panaji) come alive with a riot of colour and noise in mid February before the beginning of lent.

In April and May, the tourism season starts to wind down and prices drop. Goa is still dry but is almost unbearably hot, mangoes and cashews fall from the trees and the locals eagerly await the arrival of the rain.

Monsoon in Goa

parra road monsoon

No Goa travel guide would be complete without mentioning Goa in monsoon – visiting in the rainy season is a totally different Goa expereince.

The monsoon rains arrive in June and continue until September/ October and marks the off season in Goa. Many places including open air venues, beach shacks, parties, markets and beach huts close down for the rainy season. But every year more and more facilities remain open.

In many ways Goa is at it’s most beautiful in the monsoon season, although the rough seas mean its dangerous to swim or do water sports. The Sao Joao Festival in June is a fun and unique experience. But June and July see the heaviest rain with torrential downpours that can last for days, frequent power outages and flooded roads.

The best time to visit Goa in monsoon is from August to October as the rain becomes less heavy. Enjoy the lush greenery, waterfalls, fewer crowds and lower prices. Just don’t expect everything to be open and, apart from Independence Day parties , don’t expect a wild nightlife scene in the off season.

Read more about visiting Goa in monsoon

  • Where to Stay in Goa

Dwarka Eco Resort

Deciding where to stay in Goa is really important as each beach, city and area has a different vibe and will appeal to different types of travellers.

Whether you’re looking to party the night away with friends, take a romantic couples trip or a family friendly holiday you can find the perfect place to stay in Goa.

There’s a big variety of accommodation in Goa, from luxury resorts, private villas and yoga retreats to mid range and budget hotels, backpacker hostels and beach huts.

But first you need to decide where to stay in Goa. That’s the hard part! My advice is to do read some Goa travel guides and do some research into the different places Then you can find the best hotel for you in your chosen location.

I made this map of Goa to help you see where the most popular beaches and towns are located in relation to Dabolim airport (GOI) and the new Mopa airport (GOX) and Madgaon/Margao train station.

map of places to stay in Goa

The Best Beaches and Places to Stay in Goa

The best places to stay in Goa are on the beaches and there’s no shortage of choice from busy, party beaches in North Goa to long, quiet stretches of sand in South Goa. Whether you want to stay in a Goa beach resort or a basic beach hut, staying on the beach is the best way to experience Goa and is possible whatever your budget.

No Goa trip is complete without spending a blissful day relaxing on the beach, swimming in the warm Arabian sea, enjoying the water sports, eating Goan fish curry in the beach shacks and watching a spectacular sunset.

To help you find the perfect beach in Goa for you, here’s a quick round up of the best beaches in Goa and the best hotels and places to stay there. 

Deciding where to stay is probably the most important section of my guide to Goa so check out my comprehensive blog post on where to stay in Goa if you need more info.

ashvem beach north goa travel guide

The North is the busiest area in Goa where most of the attractions, water sports, nightlife, restaurants, markets, shops and hotels are.

The long, sandy stretch of Baga Beach, Calangute Beach and Candolim Beach are the busiest and most popular beaches in Goa with plenty of activities and beach shacks. You can try all sorts of water sports like jet skiing, parasailing and banana boat rides. 

Baga and Calangute are home to the lively pubs and clubs on infamous Tito’s Lane and attractions like the Snow Park. This area is good for budget and mid range travellers and has the best range of water sports, although the beaches can get pretty crowded in the peak tourist season.

Candolim lies under the shadow of Fort Aguada and is a more upmarket choice and less crowded but still offers easy access to all the attractions which makes it one of the best places to stay in Goa.

vagator beach 5

Anjuna Beach and Vagator Beach have smaller, more rocky beaches but are good for nightlife and where you’ll find Chapora Fort, Anjuna flea market and the infamous Goa psytrance parties and raves as well as other parties to suit all musical tastes and accommodation to suit all budgets.

In the far north are quieter upcoming Morjim Beach, Ashvem Beach, Mandrem Beach and Arambol Beach. Morjim Beach and Ashvem Beach are wide, natural beaches, once a breeding spot for rare olive ridley turtles, which are now becoming increasingly popular with the influx of new techno nightclubs, trendy boutiques and luxury accommodation.

Mandrem Beach and Arambol Beach are laid back, serene long stretches of sand with mostly budget accommodation for backpackers, hippies and yoga types. Mandrem is very quiet and the nightlife on Arambol Beach is more drum circles and jams than full on parties.

Best Places to Stay in North Goa

The taj fort aguada , candolim beach.

A luxury 5 star beach resort located in the most picturesque spot on Candolim Beach underneath Fort Aguada with stunning views over the beach.

Colourful, heritage style luxury villas are nestled in tropical gardens complete with a huge swimming pool, numerous eateries and world class hospitality. 

The resort is situated on an uncrowded part of Candolim beach but still offers easy access to explore all the action in Baga and Calangute.

Cavala Seaside Resort , Baga Beach

If your budget doesn’t stretch to the Taj then consider the Cavala Seaside Resort, a great mid range resort in a lovely heritage building just 3 minutes walk from popular Baga Beach. 

The resort has spacious and clean AC rooms, a swimming pool surrounded by tropical greenery and an excellent multi cuisine restaurant which hosts live music nights.

Cavala is only 5 minutes drive from Tito’s Lane and is also close to the nightlife in Anjuna and Vagator. 

palolem beach south goa

South Goa is quieter and less developed with long, uncrowded beaches, luxury resorts and yoga retreats.

Palolem beach is one of most beautiful beaches in Goa . A white crescent beach fringed by palm trees and colourful beach huts with calm turquoise waters perfect for swimming.

The most developed beaches in South Goa are Colva beach and Varca beach. These are good places to stay with family and have plenty of budget and mid range hotels and amenities.

Majorda beach and Cavelossim beach are home to some of the finest luxury beach resorts in Goa and offer a real escape from it all. Agonda beach is also a good choice for beautiful beach front huts and is quieter than popular Palolem.

Best Places to Stay in South Goa

Alila diwa resort, majorda beach.

This elegant, Bali inspired, 5 star beach resort in Majorda has 3 excellent dining options, 2 bars, an Ayurvedic spa and luxurious contemporary rooms. 

The Alila Diwa is located right on Majorda Beach, one of the quietest and cleanest beaches in Goa, and is perfect for a peaceful stay only 30 mins drive from the airport.  

The highlight is the stunning tiered infinity pool that overlooks the green paddy fields. Stay in the Diwa Club rooms for the ultimate luxury and privacy.

Round Cube Beach Bungalows , Palolem Beach

Wooden cottages and beach huts located right on the beachfront of gorgeous Palolem Beach – the most beautiful beach in Goa. 

There’s a variety of rooms available all with AC and private attached bathrooms. The beach facing cottages, where you can soak up the ocean views and sunsets right from your room and balcony, sell out fast. 

There’s also cheaper colourful cottages just behind among the palm groves but whichever you choose, a dip in the ocean is still just a few steps from your beach hut.

Round Cube also has its own beachfront multi cuisine restaurant and bar where you can enjoy sunset cocktails and romantic candlelight dinners on the beach.

Panaji City (Panjim)

panjim church

Even though Goa is most often thought of as a beach holiday destination, no guide to Goa would be complete without mentioning Panaji city, still normally referred to by its old name of Panjim, the state capital city of Goa.

While it’s not a beach resort it does have a lovely riverside setting, where you’ll find Goa’s floating casinos and river cruises, and it’s super close to Miramar Beach so if you’re looking to stay on the beach while exploring the culture of the city, the surprisingly uncrowded Miramar beach is ideal. 

Located in the middle of Goa, Panjim is a good base for culture, history and nature lovers as there’s a handy hop on hop off tourist bus that connects Panaji with Old Goa and the spice plantations, wildlife sanctuaries and waterfalls. It’s also not far from Goa international airport.

Take a stroll around Fontainhas, the colourful, old Latin Quarter, and visit the Immaculate Conception Church then try some traditional Goan cuisine and even Portuguese food in the restaurants and cafes.

Best Places to Stay in Panjim City

Vivanta goa, panaji.

The best modern luxury hotel centrally located in the city center of Panaji. The hotel offers a stunning rooftop swimming pool and views of the Mandovi River and Altinho. 

The Vivanta is within easy walking distance to both the riverside and the old latin quarter and also boasts a spa, 24 hour gym, tour desk, several great eating options and a cocktail bar.

Welcom Heritage Panjim Inn, Fontainhas

Nestled in the heart of historic Fontainhas, staying at Panjim Inn will immerse you in history. 

This charming heritage hotel offers tastefully refurbished and comfortable rooms that retain their historic character, features and furnishings.  Many are complete with four poster beds and private balconies. 

The Verandah Restaurant serves local and European cuisine and is a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by. Also check out Panjim Pousada , another great heritage hotel. 

There’s also many budget hotels and guesthouses in Goa where you can find a basic room for 1000 – 2000 INR but many are not available to book online. If you’re visiting Goa in the peak season I’d recommend booking online in advance before you come to avoid stress and disappointment of trying to find a room when you arrive.

There’s too many beaches and hotels in Goa to mention them all in this Goa travel guide. So check out my post on where to stay in Goa for more tips.

where to stay in Goa - best beaches, areas and hotels in goa

The Best Places to Visit in Goa

From beautiful beaches and colourful markets, buzzing parties to serene yoga retreats, historic churches, temples and forts, spice plantations, waterfalls and wildlife sanctuaries.

There’s so many places to visit and so many things to do in Goa that you probably won’t be able to fit it all in to just one trip. That’s why many people, like me, fall in love with Goa and return every year.

There are simply too many places to mention in this quick Goa travel guide, so I’ll summarise the most popular places to visit in Goa for sightseeing and then you can check out this post for more.

The Best Places to Visit in Goa for History, Culture and Sightseeing

Fontainhas, panjim’s latin quarter.

panjim streets and church 1000 px

Panjim (Panaji) is not visited by as many tourists as the beaches are but no Goa travel guide would be complete without a mention of the states pretty capital city!

Panjim is a delight to explore with it’s picturesque setting on the Mandovi river, flamboyant churches and colourful Portuguese architecture. One of Goa’s most iconic and famous sights is the elaborate white Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

Don’t miss exploring the lanes of Fontainhas , the atmospheric old Latin quarter, which is full of colourful Portuguese colonial buildings, churches, cafes, bars, goan restaurants and the Gitanjali art gallery.

The best way to explore Panjim and learn about it’s unique history is with a heritage walking tour

The Churches of Old Goa

Se Cathedral in Old Goa, India

The best place to visit for sightseeing and to learn about the history of Goa are the churches of Old Goa. This was the capital of Goa when it was under Portuguese rule. It was so grand and important that it was known as ‘the Rome of the East’ and rivalled Lisbon until the city was abandoned for the new capital of Panjim in 1843.

Only the churches are left today and have been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Highlights include Se Cathedral , the largest church in Asia, and the Basilica of Bom Jesus which houses the remains of St Francis Xavier.

Old Goa is a great place to visit if it’s your first time in Goa as it will help you to understand more about the history of Goa that makes this state so unique. The picturesque churches are also very instagrammable.

The best way to learn about the history and importance of Old Goa is by taking a guided walking tour that will really help to bring this site alive.

Fort Aguada and Chapora Fort

fort aguada goa

The Portuguese also built huge forts for defence that overlooked the ocean. Nowadays there’s not that much left of many of the forts themselves, apart from the crumbling walls, but they are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Goa due to their stunning views.

Don’t miss Fort Aguada , situated above Candolim Beach, where you can admire the impressive lighthouse and the breathtaking views out to sea.

Another popular fort is the crumbling Chapora Fort. Situated above Vagator Beach at the mouth of the Chapora River, it makes a spectacular spot to watch the sunset. It’s become quite famous since it was in the movie Dil Chati Hai .

Best Places to Visit in Goa for Nature Lovers

Spice plantations and hindu temples.

spice plantation goa

The Ponda area is Goa’s Hindu Heartland and is where you’ll find Goa spice plantations and most famous Hindu temples.

There’s a number of spice farms that you can visit to be immersed in the lush tropical greenery, learn about the plants and how many illnesses and ailments they can treat. Many have elephants that you can bathe or ride but this is cruel and shouldn’t be supported. 

The family run organic Savoi Spice Plantation is one of the oldest spice farms in Goa and doesn’t abuse elephants. Most spice plantations charge an entry fee of around 500 rupees which includes an entertaining spice plantation tour, buffet lunch and a small sample of some spices. 

You can combine a visit to a spice plantation with visiting some of Goa’s most famous Hindu temples like the Shantadurga Temple. The Mangueshi Temple and the Mahalsa Temple are both distinctive temples that are dedicated to Goan deities.

The best way to see the spice plantations in with a guided tour which include transport and a local lunch.

Dudhsagar Waterfall

dudhsagar waterfall goa

Goa is home to many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, but the most famous place for nature lovers to visit is Dudhsagar Falls, situated in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary in the Mollem district of South Goa.

Journey through the jungle with an exciting jeep ride to marvel at India’s second highest waterfall, and watch the train pass overhead while swimming in the refreshing waters. Dudhsagar Waterfall is at its fullest during monsoon, but then it’s closed to tourists due to safety corners, and there is water all year round. 

The best way to visit Dudhsagar Waterfall is with this guided tour that includes pick up from your hotel, the jeep ride to the waterfalls, a tour of a spice plantation and lunch.

If you want to immerse yourself in the jungle stay at Dudhsagar Plantation. The nature resort has its own spice plantation, nature trails and a relaxing natural swimming pool. 

fishing boats on baga creek goa

Best Tours of Goa

The easiest way to explore the best places to visit in Goa is by taking a day tour. Having a local driver takes all the stress out of getting around and having a local guide really brings these places to life. The best Goa tours are:

Highlights of Goa Tour

This private full day sightseeing tour will take you to explore the highlights of Goa including the capital Panaji and the charming Latin Quarter, the UNESCO listed churches of Old Goa, an informative spice plantation visit and local lunch.

Spice Plantation and Dudhsagar Falls Tour

Get picked up from your hotel and enjoy a jeep ride through the jungle for a refreshing swim in Dudhsagar waterfall. Take a tour of the spice plantations and enjoy a delicious Goan lunch.

Check out more Goa tours on Viator and Get your Guide where you can check reviews and book online.

Best Things to do in Goa

Shop at the flea markets.

Colourful stalls at Anjuna Flea Market in Goa, India

While there are endless shopping opportunities in Goa, visiting the many quirky hippie flea markets is a fun and unique experience. Don’t forget to haggle if you want to take home a bargain.

The most famous is the Anjuna Flea Market which takes place on Wednesdays on Anjuna Beach. This colourful market sells everything from hippie clothing and jewellery to Tibetan handicrafts. The Anjuna flea market was started by the hippies back in the 1970s and is now one of the popular things to do in Goa.

Another market to check out is the Arpora Saturday Night Market. This huge market is complete with live music and food stalls and is also a really good night out. There’s also a new popular Friday Night Market at Hilltop Nightclub in Vagator.

Take a Yoga Retreat or Train to be a Yoga Teacher

Bamboo Yoga Beach Guesthouse

India is the birthplace of yoga, and Goa is one of the most popular places in the country to take a yoga class or join a week long yoga retreat. You’ll find drop in yoga classes in all styles across the state, many of which cater to beginners. 

The beaches of Palolem, Agonda and Patnem in chilled out South Goa are the best places for yoga in Goa. There are also retreats and classes in Anjuna, Assagao, Mandrem and Arambol in North Goa.

My favourite yoga retreat in Goa is Bamboo yoga retreat located right on the beach front on peaceful Patnem beach in South Goa.

Many yoga schools offer month-long intensive yoga teacher training courses. Find a full list of yoga teacher training courses in Goa here.

There are also numerous other alternative therapies and workshops to try from breathwork to tai chi to sound baths and ecstatic dance. 

You can also enjoy an Ayurvedic massage. Ayurveda is an ancient life science of plant based natural medicine that originated in Kerala but there are many ayurvedic treatments offered in Goa. Take a complete treatment course or just enjoy a nice, relaxing massage. 

Enjoy a Panjim River Cruise and Visit a Floating Casino


Panjim’s unique floating casinos on ships anchored in the Mandovi River have become popular Goa tourist attractions.

The best ones are Deltin Royale and Casino Pride . The entrance fee covers some drinks, snacks, playing chips, music and entertainment. Try your luck on the slot machines or at games like Roulette, Blackjack, Bacarrette, Stud Poker and Rummy.  Check out this article for more info on Goa’s casinos.

There’s several options for a Panjim river cruise including sunset cruises, backwater houseboat cruises, party cruises and dinner cruises with entertainment. You can book the paradise dinner cruise here. You can even book a private party boat to celebrate a special occasion.

Visit Some of Goa’s Wildlife Sanctuaries

leopard crossing chorla ghat

Goa has several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. The largest one in Mollem is home to Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary which contains Goa’s oldest temple and Dudhsagar falls.

The Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary , near Panjim, offers a unique experience of traveling through the mangroves in a canoe to reach the bird watching tower.

Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, near Palolem Beach, is where you can climb up a towering tree house for amazing views over the jungle and your chance to spot wildlife.

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is a complete jungle resort with a zoo, deer safari park, botanical gardens and nature interpretation center. It’s located near Ponda so you could combine this with a visit to a spice plantation. 

Explore the Colonial Mansions in Chandor

chandor braganza mansion goa

Chandor, in South Goa, was once the most spectacular city on the Konkan Coast . Some of the once grand colonial Portuguese mansions are now a shadow of their former glory but visiting Chandor is still an interesting place for those interested in history and architecture.

A highlight is the Menezes Braganza House which was built in the 17th century. This large house is now divided in two and you can see the contrasts between the grand and decrepit in one house and listen to the stories from the owner’s family feuds. The Figueiredo Mansion and the Palácio do Deão are also fascinating to visit.

The best way to visit the Portuguese mansions is on this South Goa Heritage Trail Tour. You’ll be picked up from your hotel and taken to explore 3 Portuguese mansions as well the interesting Goa Chitra Museum.

If you want to immerse yourself in this unique history you can even stay in the Figueiredo Mansion which has been tastefully and lovingly refurbished into a wonderful heritage homestay.

para gliding over the beach in goa

More Exciting Activities to Try in Goa

The fun doesn’t stop at the beach, as well as watersports and boat trips there’s plenty of other exciting activities to try in Goa.

You can paraglide off the cliffs down to the beach if the conditions are right. Taking an ebike tour of offbeat Divar Island  or kayaking on the backwaters is a serene way to experience a different side to Goa. 

Thrill seekers might want to do a Bungy Jump and couples can treat themselves to a romantic experience of hoovering high above the palm trees with a hot air balloon ride.

Nightlife and Parties in Goa

Nightlife in Goa. Best nightclubs, pubs, raves and parties in goa

No Goa travel guide would be complete without mentioning Goa’s nightlife scene.

Goa is famous as one of the best places to party in India and one of the hottest party spots in the whole world! Experiencing Goa’s legendary nightlife scene is a must when visiting Goa.

Goa is famous for it’s psytrance parties that started during the hippie days, but nowadays there’s something to suit everyone – from beach parties and live music jams to thumping nightclubs, trendy bars, lively pubs and fun night markets.

Some of the most lively bars, pubs and nightclubs in Goa can be found on Tito’s Lane in Baga , a lively strip of buzzing bars and nightclubs just off popular Baga Beach. There’s also LPK Waterfront and SinQ nightclub in Candolim.

Anjuna and Vagator also have epic beach parties and raves, check out the famous Curlies beach shack on Anjuna Beach or Hilltop nightclub in Vagator for crazy psychedelic rave parties.  Ashvem and Morjim are home to classy nightclubs and party resorts like Marbella Beach Resort.

fireworks crowd goa new years parties

South Goa is much quieter at night but there are silent headphone discos in Palolem and Leopard Valley is South Goa’s most happening party spot.

New Yea r in Goa is celebrated with fireworks on the beach and some of the most epic parties. Check out my tips for partying in Goa at New Year here.

There’s too many party places in Goa to mention them all in this Goa travel guide.  See more of my nightlife tips here and download the Party Hunt App or check out What’s Up Goa to find out what’s on.

It’s difficult to keep a Goa travel guide updated with all the best party places as they change and move every season but you can keep up to date with what’s happening on Goa nightlife social media groups.

You should also be aware though that Goa’s parties often get shut down or limited to an early closing time. This happens for various reasons but especially around election times when code of conduct comes in.

Best Restaurants in Goa

curry and kingfisher on the beach in goa

Goa is home to some amazing restaurants, from cheap and cheerful beach shacks to fine dining restaurants that serve up delicious seafood, traditional Goan cuisine, Indian cuisine and food from all over the world.

There’s too many great restaurants in Goa to mention them all in this Goa travel guide so here’s just some of my favourites . Check out my blog post on the best restaurants in Goa for more recommendations.

You’ll find the best traditional and authentic Goan food in Panjim. Hotel Venite has been serving Goan cuisine since 1955 and is one of the most charming restaurants in Panjim’s latin quater. Sit on the little balconies and watch the world by while sampling Goan cuisine.

Another must try is  Mum’s Kitchen , an award winning Goan restaurant famous for it’s seafood and for preserving traditional Goan family recipes. Viva Panjim is another top choice.

For South Indian food try Gunpowder , in Assagao, regarded as the best South Indian restaurant in Goa Experience the flavours and tastes of their curries, dosas and idlis in a classy garden ambience .

Fisherman’s Wharf , in Cavelossim, South Goa and on Panjim riverside, is one of the best seafood restaurants in Goa. Located on the waterfront with stunning sea views and delicious seafood. 

sunset at thalassa goa restaurant and bar

Thalassa, situated on the banks of the Chapora River in Sioilm, is a Greek restaurant with amazing views over the water. With stunning sunsets, delicious Greek food and live performances and fire shows, it’s become one of the most famous and popular restaurants in Goa. You must book in advance in peak season to reserve your table. See their website to know more and reserve your table.

Artjuna is a super cute cafe in Anjuna that serves up great Israeli and Mediterranean dishes in a relaxed courtyard garden cafe setting.

Beach shacks are some of the best places to eat in Goa and range from cheap and cheerful to gourmet international cuisine.

Pousada by the Beach, part of the Pousada Tauma Hotel, is my top choice for upscale beach front dining in popular Calangute. Pousada serves a great selection of traditional Goan and Konkani cuisine as well as great pastas and salads in a peaceful spot right on Goa’s most popular beach.

La Plage on Ashvem Beach is a gourmet French restaurant with an amazing beach front location that is consistently regarded as one of the very best restaurants in Goa. 

Zeebop is one of the most best beach shacks in South Goa. It’s location, on the pristine, white sands of Utorda make it a great place for long lazy lunch or sunset drinks. Not surprisingly the seafood is a highlight.

How Long to Spend in Goa

goa travel guide 2023

It’s difficult to say how long you should spend in Goa. For me, a lifetime is not enough ! The laid back lifestyle and beautiful beaches have a way of making many people want to stay forever.

There’s plenty of things to do in Goa to spend 1 or 2 weeks , but I know that not everyone has so much vacation time. As a minimum I’d spend at least 3 days in Goa just to get a taste of what Goa has to offer. 4 or 5 days in Goa is better though because then you can see the highlights of both north and south.

It’s only a few hours drive between North Goa and South Goa so for the perfect holiday you could spend a few days in both. Enjoy partying in North Goa, relaxing on the beaches in South Goa and take a day trip to Panjim and Old Goa to see everything Goa has to offer in one trip.

Follow my 3 day Goa itinerary to see all of Goa’s highlights in a short trip.

How to Get to Goa

goa rickshaw pink flowers

Dabolim International Airport (GOI) is located roughly in the middle of the state and the new airport at Mopa (GOX) in the far north of Goa opened in January 2023.

Goa is well connected with most major Indian cites like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. In the season time there are direct charter flights from the UK, Europe and Russia to Goa’s international airport.

International tourists can also fly into Mumbai’s (BOM) or Delhi (DEL) and connect to a domestic flight from there. Mumbai offers the quickest, cheapest and most frequent flights to Goa with direct flights only taking about 1 hour from 2,000 INR.

Goa is also easy to reach by rail. Trains from Mumbai to Madgaon ( Margao) the main train station for Goa take between 9 – 12 hours. Just make sure to book tickets well in advance because seats sell out quickly. The easiest way to do this online is with 12Go Asia.

Madgoan or Margao is roughly in the middle of South Goa and the closest beach is Benaulim only 5km away. North Goa’s beaches are not so well connected by rail.

Other useful train stations in Goa include Vasco da Gama (closest to the airport)  Canacona (for Palolem and the far South) Thivim and Pernem (for North Goa) or Karmali (near Old Goa and the closest to the capital Panjim)

If you can’t get a train ticket there’s also buses and sleeper buses which take about 12 – 14 hours from Mumbai to Goa but the train is much more comfortable and the flight much quicker. Book at 12Go Asia.

How to Get Around Goa

scooters in goa

The best way to get from the airport to your hotel is by using the pre paid taxi stand at the airport. Uber is not permitted in Goa.

There is an app based taxi service called Goa Miles but international tourists will find it hard to use unless you have an Indian phone number and bank account. Besides out of the main cities the coverage is not good.

There are public buses in Goa but the bus and train network isn’t really convenient for getting to the beaches or attractions.  The buses connect the villages to the towns like Margao, Mapusa and Panjim but getting between beaches and attractions sometimes requires alot of changes if you wanted to get from Arambol to Palolem for example.

There’s not so many rickshaws as you find in the rest of India and still no Uber in Goa so taxis charge a ridiculous price. There is a new Hop on Hop off open air tourist bus service that connects the most popular North Goa beaches and Panjim with Old Goa and the temples and spice plantations around Ponda.

So the best way to explore Goa is to rent a car, scooter or motorbike . Most hotels and guesthouses will be able to arrange this but be careful as the narrow country roads around the beaches were not built for so much traffic.

International tourists will need to show an international driving permit as well as their normal driving license if stopped by the police.

How to Get an Indian Visa

indian visa

Nearly all nationalities (apart from citizens of Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives) must apply for an Indian tourist visa before arriving.

An E-Visa is available for most nationalities including the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries, but you do need to apply online before you travel to India. Get your e-visa on the official government website here.

Covid Entry Requirements

As of 22nd November 2022 India is fully open for international tourists and all covid-19 restrictions have been removed.

International arrivals no longer need to submit an online self declaration form or upload a vaccine certificate or negative covid test here before departure. It’s best to stay up to date and check the latest covid news and arrival guidelines here

More Goa Guides and Blog Posts

Goa beach india sunset

So that’s it for this Goa guide – I hope you found it useful! I have many more Goa blog posts and Goa travel guides to help you plan your trip to Goa:

  • 3 Day Goa Itinerary
  • Offbeat places and things to do in Goa
  • A Guide to Goa’s Nightlife and Parties
  • A Guide to Yoga in Goa.
  • Panjim (Panaji) Travel Guide

7 Tips for Eco Friendly and Sustainable Travel in Europe

The best yoga and ayurveda retreats in kerala, india .

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The downside to living in goa, do you really need travel insurance for india, storytrails walking tours: the best chennai city tour.

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Best description of Goa Goa is best in December & january Specially from 25 dec to 2 january

Actually this is the busiest time and worst time to visit Goa because of the high prices and traffic jams. There are parties at other times of the year anyway

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Thanks for the goa You included everything. Keep travelling

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Awesome post! Goa is just an amazing travel destination, I really like to this article it’s very interesting and informative. The pictures are very beautiful, thanks for your amazing travel guide. Your photos are mind-blowing.

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Also E-Visa has been restored for Uk vistiors as from Dec 2022

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goa travel guide 2023

The Best 3-Day Goa Itinerary And Mini Travel Guide for 2023

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In this post, I will share with you the best itinerary for Goa in 3 days for beginners based on my personal experience. 

A travel lover, lived in Bangalore for 4 years and never been to Goa yet? Do you even exist? Because if you do, you must know that we are with you too. At least we were till December 2018.

So finally on our third wedding anniversary, we decided to explore Goa in 3 days. We took a 2-day leave from office and embarked upon the long drive in the wee hours of the night. 

Unlike big cities, Goa is a tiny yet diverse state of India that needs to be explored slowly. But since it was our first time to Goa, I charted out a plan to see the best of Goa – the historic sites, the beaches, and the western ghats, all in just 3 days.

But the best thing is that we didn’t rush from one spot to another and had enough time to relax. That’s because I spent considerable time charting out our itinerary which I am going to share with you here (along with alternatives).

I include affiliate links for the tours, hotels and products I recommend. This means if you make any purchase through the links in the post, I may get a commission without any additional cost to you.

A Quick Outline

Goa In 3 days – Where to stay in Goa?

The first step to planning an itinerary is to decide your base location. Goa is full of surprises and attractions which would leave you spoilt for choices of what to do in Goa in 3 days.

Panaji, the capital of Goa is a good place to base yourself if you are visiting for the first time. Being centrally located it offers you the opportunity to explore the best of Goa with ease.

Check out the best places to stay in Goa for different types of holidays.

The illuminated garden of Crown Goa Hotel in the evening.

We stayed at Crown Goa , an excellent 4-star hotel located right across the river Mandovi. Being situated at an elevation makes it a visible landmark and a great place to enjoy views of the riverside.

The favorable location helped us explore a lot of places just by walking leisurely in the evening.

Quick Goa Itinerary for 3 days

It’s difficult to decide upon just one common itinerary for all, especially in a place like Goa which attracts all types of tourists.

This is the itinerary I made based on the thins we love – nature, castles, rivers, beaches and some cultural experiences.

Day 1 – Get acquainted with Goa

  • Reach Panjim by 2 pm, freshen up at your hotel and have lunch
  • Dolphin watching cruise at Miramar beach (1 –1.5 hours)
  • Explore new Panjim (1 hour)
  • Cruise party in Mandovi (1 hour)

Day 2 – Explore Goa beyond the beaches

  • Dudhsagar falls (4 hours including 1-way drive)
  • Private spice plantation and old Goa city tour (4 hours)
  • Visit the Reis Magos Fort and watch the sunset  at Miramar beach (2 hours)
  • Retire with a spa or hit the casinos at night if interested

Day 3 – Dive into Goa and her golden beaches

  • Aguada Fort, Central jail Aguada and rocky beach (3 hours)
  • Sinquerim Beach (2 hours including a couple of water sports)
  • Candolim beach
  • Sunset at Chapora fort (1.5-2 hours)
  • Foot massage at the Anjuna or Baga beach
  • Return to the hotel or dine out with live music

Day 4: Goodbye Goa – on your way back

  • Drive to Bangalore via Karwar to get a glimpse of south Goa
  • Halt for a bit at the Tagore Park in Karwar 

We didn’t visit casinos or engage in water sports as we preferred to relax on our wedding anniversary. That’s because we realized that we are going to visit Goa often from now on.

You can squeeze in a couple of those easily on this trip. If you like scuba diving, you can replace the Dudhsagar falls and plantation tour with a guided sports trip .

📲 Getting simcard is difficult in India for foreign nationals. The easiest way to stay connected is with Airalo e-sim . For multi-country trips, you can buy global e-sim valid for 130 countries. 🤳

Now that your itinerary is sorted, let’s take a look at the highlights of our 3-day Goa itinerary.

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A perfect Goa itinerary for 3 days in Goa. A short handy guide for first-timers with the best of everything in Goa- beach, forts, falls and history.

Short historical background of Goa

Goa is not just about parties and casinos. It has a history of thousands of years since the prehistoric ages. So, to fully appreciate Goa it’s good to know a little bit about its long and diverse history that helped shape the unique Goan culture.

Goa has been the melting point of several cultures from time immemorial. Before the Portuguese, Goa was ruled for 2000 years by many Hindu dynasties, followed by the conquest by Bahmani sultanate. 

In 1510 the Portuguese conquered Goa and established the first European settlements in India. Even after independence from the British rule, Goa remained under the Portuguese till 1961.

Thus, there is a strong Portuguese influence in the modern Goan culture.

I f you like historical sites, you can check out this itinerary for Hampi , the capital of the great Vijayanagara Empire. 

Best of Goa in 3 days  – In and Around Panjim

As I said earlier, Panjim is an excellent place to base yourself as you can get the best of everything in Goa. Panaji, the Goan capital that is also called Panjim is divided into two parts – Old Panjim and new Panjim. The Old part of the city is famous for the Latin quarters and the Portuguese ruins. The new Panjim city is where you find the floating casinos, Miramar Beach and  Dona Paula.

Old Goa Churches

We headed to Old Goa on the first day right after lunch at our hotel. That’s a good thing to do, but you may not have the time for a guided spice plantation tour then.

I recommended it for day 2 along with Dudhsagar falls as they are in the same direction . The   churches and convents of old Goa have been accorded with the UNESCO world heritage status .

Built in the 16th and 17th centuries they are some of the finest Portuguese architecture in the world. The churches are still active and are frequented by locals and tourists alike.

The ornamental altar of the Basillica of Bom Jesus is Goa. You must include this in your Goa itinerary

The most attractive structure here is the Basilica of Bom Jesus , also called St. Francis Xavier’s tomb which was completed in 1605.

It is regarded as one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in the subcontinent. The other two important structures which are a part of the World UNESCO group of monuments in Goa are the Se Cathedral and St Augustine’s tower both of which lie opposite to the Basilica.

This is the old town of Goa which looks like Europe because of the huge churches, the white color of buildings and wide walkways. An important part of your Goa itinerary

I highly recommend a guided tour of the heritage churches . You can also book a combo of old goa and spice plantation guided tour in Goa.


A portuguese hourse in Fountainhas, painted bright yellow

Fountainhas is the Latin quarter of Goa where the wealthy Portuguese families lived. The houses in the neighborhood are painted in pastel shades typical to 18th-century Portuguese houses.

These houses are painted every year, so they appear new. Cute little cafes that are 100-years old are dotted around the neighborhood. Walking on the narrow streets of Fountainhas will take you to 18th century Portugal.

Book this guided tour of the Latin quarter now available at an introductory price.

Mandovi River

The Mandovi river flows through Panjim before it meets the Arabian Sea. There are multiple floating casinos in the river and river cruise parties.

At just Rs. 250 you will get to sail on the river for 1 hour while watching some traditional Goan dance performances.

After the performances, the floor is open for the DJ party. Remember that the last tickets are sold at 8:30 pm.

Miramar Beach

Situated at the confluence of the Mandovi river and Arabian sea, Miramar is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa. We visited the Miramar beach first to go for a dolphin-watching cruise. The cost of the dolphin cruise is Rs. 300 for one hour guided trip.

The best time to see dolphins is in the morning and afternoon. We were surprised to spot at least 4 dolphins on the trip.

I have seen some guides introduce historic places by the name of its architect or its commissioner, or some mythological story around the place.

This was the first time I saw a guide introducing every single place in the skyline only by the name of the Hindi movies that were shot there.

Some of the movies were not even popular so he had to name the actors and songs to remind us of the scenes. It was quite amusing.

Coastline from Dolphin cruise Goa

We visited Miramar beach again in the evening the next day to bathe in the Arabian sea and watch the sunset. It was not as desolate as it was in the morning but was still calm.

The calm and clean Miramar beach is an awesome place to watch the twilight unfold.

goa travel guide 2023

This is a beautiful promenade and a former fishing village in Panjim. The viewpoint is very pretty with the hills at the backdrop.

We visited Dona Paula on the day we left Goa for Bangalore. This is different from other beaches in central and north Goa in look and feel.

It is named after Dona Paula, a Portuguese woman who did a lot of philanthropic work for the fishermen. If you have time, you can visit the Cabo Raj Bhavan and the historic British cemetery.

The grand palace turned government residence; Cabo Raj Bhavan could only be admired from the outside till 2018. From January 2019, the Raj Bhavan has opened its doors to tourists on the weekends.

Church and markets in Panjim

When in Panjim you cannot miss the beautiful church of “Our Lady of Immaculate Conception” which was built in the 16th century.

The church is whitewashed and so well-maintained that there is no way to say that it is so old. There are daily masses held here.

A short walk from the church brings you to the Panjim market where you can find all kinds of shops.

If you are looking to buy some fancy Goan dresses do not purchase anything here and rather go to Aguada, Calangute and other beaches that have to flea markets all around.

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A perfect Goa itinerary for 3 days in Goa. A short handy guide for first-timers with the best of everything in Goa- beach, forts, falls and history.#Travel #India #Goa

3- day Goa itinerary – Bustling Beaches of North Goa

North Goa is known for its vibrant beaches and amazing nightlife. Unfortunately, most of the beaches are crowded all day because of the same reason.

Good thing is that despite the crowd the beaches are mostly clean. The calm waters make it apt for bathing, swimming and water sports.

Some of the most famous beaches have a car parking charge of Rs. 100 and the car needs to be parked almost a kilometer away from the beach. The beaches are lined with pretty shacks and free loungers.

Sinquerim beach

Located near the Lower Aguada the Sinquerim beach is perfect for having a peaceful time. We enjoyed strolling at the walls of the fort overlooking the calm blue waters.

There are various activities like jet boat rides, banana rides and paragliding  at the beach.

Up for some marine adventure? Book a Malwan Scuba-diving trip online.

Rocky beach near the Aguada Central Jail

This beach is refreshingly different than the others because of the rocks and the fact that it is nicely tucked away from the tourist zones in north Goa. There is nothing much to do here except sit, watch the waves and just talk.

Baga beach is located near the Chapora fort and is a real party hub. The shacks turn into silent bars and nightclubs in the evening.

The loungers are full throughout the evening with people enjoying foot massages. On your walk from the parking area to the beach, you will find a host of shops for fashion garments and souvenirs and tattoo parlors.

Other party beaches of North Goa are the Candolim beach, Calangute, Anjuna, and Vagator beach.

Goa is where you have the freedom to explore and experiment with your fashion sense like no other place in India. So, shop freely for your Goa Trip – swimwear , bikini , stylish cover-ups , shorts , summer dresses, hats , flipflops and more.

Shop on Amazon for your Beach Holiday!

 Goa itinerary for 3 days | Explore the forts of Goa

Goa is home to some centuries-old fort which are the best examples of Portuguese military architecture in the subcontinent. The forts were raised mainly to defend against the invasion by other foreign traders.

Aguada Fort

Aguada Fort - Goa Itinerary

The biggest fort that you cannot miss on your 3-day itinerary for Goa is the Aguada fort. It’s a large fort divided into upper and lower Aguada and is one of the few intact Portuguese forts in the subcontinent.

In 1604 the Dutch troop blocked the mouth of river Mandovi with seven ships for one month. The Portuguese could not thwart them from their original forts Reis Magos and Gasper Dias.

They identified this gap in their defense and raised the huge Aguada fort at the mouth of river Mandovi and another fort Mormugao at the mouth of the river Zuari.

The Aguada fort has a lighthouse, chapel and a huge underground water storage system.

Chapora Fort

The Chapora Fort is in ruins but offers a spectacular view of the sunset at Vagator beach and the unending view of the Arabian sea.

It involved a short trek in uneven lands, so be careful of wearing comfortable shoes if you plan to visit there. The fort has a long history of defiance against the Portuguese colonizers.

The site was destroyed and recreated multiple times since 1510, the time of the Portuguese invasion in India.

The fort lost its military significance towards the end of the 18th century. The place shot to fame after the popular Hindi movie Dil Chahta Hai.

There are many other forts to explore in Goa namely the Reis Magos fort which was the oldest Portuguese fort in India, Fort Mormugao and other smaller ones.

Love forts? Check out this amazing list of best forts of India from North to South, and the East to West.

Another side of Goa in 3 days – Dudhsagar falls and the Western Ghats

Discover Goa beyond the beaches – the lush green forests of the Western Ghats , wildlife and one of the tallest cascades in India – the Dudhsagar falls. To protect the environment the tourism in the area is put under tight control.

There is now only one legal way to visit the Dudhsagar falls. You have to park your car outside the gates and book a jeep safari from there. You have to drive 68 km from Panjim to Kulem for booking the jeep safari. It is a 1.5-2 hour drive on an average day.

The jeep then takes you on an off-roading trip through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a 40-minute drive as the jeep shoots across several small streams.

Each jeep has a capacity of seven people and costs Rs. 3500. On contrary to what we had heard before, the people at the counter assisted in the formation of groups.

Despite such controls in place the Dudhsagar falls are brimming with tourists all the time, so be prepared to stand in the queue for at least 30 minutes.

goa travel guide 2023

The natural pool at the foot of Dudhsagar falls is so clear that you can easily see the fish inside. Here are some travel tips for the Dudhsagar falls to visit. There are many lifeguards in the area for additional safety.  Here are some important travel tips to visit the Dudhsagar falls.

  • Plan to visit Dudhsagar falls the first thing in the morning as it keeps getting crowded with time. We had our breakfast and started at 9 am.
  • It’s a plastic-free zone so please do not carry any plastic bottles as they will be taken away from you at the gate.
  • Carry a change of clothes for swimming but do not carry any soap or detergent. Respect the purity of the environment here
  • As soon as a jeep is allotted to you, you need to board it. The jeeps are not allowed to wait for any passengers because of the rush.
  • You are given 1.5 hours to reach the waterfalls and swim in the pool. After the jeep drops you they will give you a cut-off time by which you need to return. Be on time.
  • One of the reasons for the scarcity of jeeps in the afternoon is that the tourists do not care about the rules and they spend more time than they are allowed to. It’s important to respect the rules and other people’s time, more so when you form a group with unknown people.

You can book a package tour for a complete guided tour of the forests, falls and spice plantation including pick up and drop.

How to reach Goa?

Bangalore and Mumbai are the nearest metropolitan cities to Goa. The shortest driving distance from Bangalore via NH48 is 556 km. From Mumbai, the shortest distance is 587 km by AH 47 and NH48.

Goa by self-drive

However, there are several other routes that you can follow for a scenic drive from Bangalore to Goa. The most popular route from Bangalore to Goa is through the Konkan coast via Karwar.

🚙 🚗 Rent a  Zoomcar  for self-driving all the way in Goa 🚔

That is the route that most of the overnight buses connecting the two cities take. NH48 is the best road to drive on and on an average day, you can reach Goa within 10 hours with usual breaks if you start before 4 am. 

Bangalore to Goa itinerary

Goa by public transport

There is no dearth of buses leaving from Bangalore to Goa every day. Trains are the most preferred mode of transport not only because of the comfort but also because of the spectacular views of the Western Ghats, not to forget the mesmerizing Dudhsagar Falls.

The most preferred trains are Kcg Yesvantpur Junction Express (17603) which passes through Yesvantpur station at midnight and Vasco Da Gama Superfast Express (02683) which starts from the same station at 10:30 PM.

After reaching Goa you can hire a taxi or rent bikes for exploring the city.

Related: Best one-day trips from Bangalore

3 days in Goa – FAQs

What is the best time to visit goa.

Goa has a hot and humid climate for a larger part of the year. So the best time to visit Goa is in winter between November to February . To avoid the peak-season crowd you should visit between November to 2nd week of December. Christmas and new year are celebrated with great pomp in Goa. So you can visit for these events if you don’t mind the crowd.

Where and what to eat in Goa?

You must try the variety of seafood in Goa. Fresh prawns and pomfret cooked in different styles from grilled to fried are a foodies delight.

Fenny is a popular and cheap alcoholic drink in Goa which I honestly hated. But I hardly drink, so don’t take my word for it and try it yourself. Discussion about food in Goa will take another post altogether but all I can say is that it’s one of my favorite food destinations now.

One tip will be to not eat at the beach shacks and instead eat in the hotels outside the beach. The food is cheaper and of better quality off the beach.

What are the recommended tours in Goa?

It’s a great idea to go for guided tours if you only have 3 days in Goa. I highly recommend it to foreign tourists and Indians who don’t plan to visit Goa often.

While hop-on-hop-off buses are available, they are not very popular here. The most highly rated guided tour of Goa is the Get Your Guide full-day private tour of 8-hours.

What are the best books about Goa?

Goa is a beautiful tiny state that has inspired thousands of travelogues and stories. Here are some of the best books of Goa I can recommend for you.

Goa Travel: Being the Accounts of Travellers from the 16th to the 21st Century

Goa – A Daughter’s Story

  • Lonely Planet Travel Guide – India

If you have any more questions be sure to write to me in the comments. Or better, join the new Facebook Community where I and other travellers will answer all your questions. You can also share photos and experiences from your own trips there!

Before going, I’ll leave you with my Top travel sites for trips in India.

Did you like the post? Share the post to help them plan their Goan vacation. Here are some other places you will love, if you like Goa.

  • Kerala Travel Guide
  • Pondicherry Travel Guide
  • Dhanushkhodi Travel Guide
  • Andamans Travelogue

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Sinjana Ghosh is a full-time business professional with a penchant for writing and travel planning. Backpack & Explore is a journal of her travel stories and tips she collected from her experience. She is the author of the travel book “Postcards from India” which is available on Amazon, Flipkart and Notionpress.com


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We went there 26 years ago – blimey was it really that long ago? Rekindled some lovely memories of our two weeks. Thank you. kx

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I visited Goa a few years ago now and found it so pretty and relaxing. I loved the fact that we saw cows wandering along the beaches and the people there were friendly and chilled out. I would definitely go back to check out more of what you’ve mentioned in this post!

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That’s a very detailed post! I have been to Goa several years but with my parents and can’t recall much besides the church and the location of that iconic Dil Chahta Hai scene. Keeping this bookmarked for a handy guide if we plan on doing a long weekend getaway from Delhi

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I have yet to travel to India but I continue to read so many people talking about their travels there. Now I need to add Goa to the list of places to visit when I finally make it to India! Great read!

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Decent itinerary you’ve put together! Glad you mentioned that off-peak times were during the winter season as Goa seems like a great place to go to escape the cold and snow. Pictures of the rivers and beach are really beautiful too!

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Such a thorough and interesting guide to Goa and your photographs are great too. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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Goa is on our list but we hadn’t considered a drive tour. thanks for all the in-depth info and ideas.

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That illuminated garden is stunning! And that view of Vagator beach is something else! 🙂

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I visited Goa many years ago and wasn’t impressed but my friend had booked it and we stayed in a town that was popular with Brits and I came away feeling very disappointed. But this itinerary makes me want to give it another go. I love your mix of forts, falls and beaches. This is the Goa I was hoping to see 🙂

I hope you get to see that next time. The forts are very beautiful.

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So interesting to learn that Goa has a history that stretches waaaayyyy back to prehistoric times! So amazing that there is history from the Paleolithic age. Good to know that the best time to visit here is from November to February and I will be sure to do it before Christmas to avoid the crowd. I am like you and am not a big partier, but great to know that there’s still plenty to do for the non party type. The natural side of Goa looks incredibly beautiful and visiting via car I think would be the best option for me because of the flexibility of getting around and exploring.

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I’d love to visit Goa one day! India is a country I’ve still yet to see, but there’s something special about Goa. The churches sound amazing, and it’d be interesting to see the Portuguese influences there too. Miramar Beach sounds like a dream right about now, it’s so cold where I am.

You would love Goa, it’s a perfect place for tourists from all over the world

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Thanks for bringing back memories of our time in Goa. We loved Panjim, great accommodation and food and sightseeing was excellent. We enjoyed the beaches. This is a great 3 day itinerary that you have provided. Thanks.

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I haven’t yet been to India, but it’s very high up on my list. I’d love to visit all these picturesque cities, like Bangalore, Mumbai, or Goa. However, 10 hours on the road to reach Goa from Bangalore seems like a very long time. Trains would probably be better. Do they have any flights there from any of the big cities around? I would rather fly there.

Ofcourse Anda. There are many flights to Goa from all the major cities. But the roadtrip is beautiful, especially the one through the Konkan coast.

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Goa is an amazing place for some awesome food and culture. We have been to Goa several times and every time it feels like a new place. We love the beaches in South Goa as compared to North Goa as they are a little less crowded and are clean.

Yes, I have heard that a lot. We loved our drive through South Goa and Karwar. Will definitely plan a visit next time.

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I totally identify with your first statement on the post. I have lived in Mumbai for so long and I travel on every possible weekend. Yet, I have never been to Goa. And yes! I do exist. I am so glad you have put together such a wonderful itinerary of the state. I am not party-goer either. So, I like the inclusion of everything natural and historical in your itinerary. I am planning a trip there very soon. So, this will come in handy.

Wow! same pinch.. haha.. Yes I really loved Goa because there is so much more to do than parties. I don’t mind parties either, just that I find it overpriced for non-drinkers.

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Goa looks so lovely! I would love to go and see the fort and the beaches!

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Wow so many places to explore in Goa. I am amazed to see that cathedrals, the beautiful river and famous forts. It seems India have the majority of cultures in their country. I wish to visit it someday.

Thanks Blair. Yes India will surprise you at every junction.

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I visited Goa for a week to do some photography for a holiday company a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I’d dearly love to go back on holiday. My favourite memory was sitting with my feet in the sand one evening with a cool beer outside a beach shack. We then had the best Indian meal I’ve ever tasted at The Garden Restaurant in Colva. We also spent a night on a rice boat which was fabulous and visited the Dudhsagar Falls. Much better than a week in the office any day!

Thank you so much. Yes, we loved the chilled out life in Goa too.

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Hahaha! Sometimes the destinations close to home are the least visited because we’re so busy going so far away. This is true for me. Living in Australia, I have yet to explore New Zealand properly! Love the beaches and that waterfall but had no idea the churches were so beautiful too. I have heard amazing things about Goan cuisine, especially their curries. One day, I shall explore this region!

Yes you will surely enjoy Goa. I found Goan cuisine a bit tangy for my tastebuds, but I loved the fresh seafood.

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The more I read about Goa, the more I would like to go! Great itinerary- you included so many great tips and details. I would especially like to visit those old churches. I love history, and this beautiful area seems to be full of it. Great photos!

This would be a dream destination to reach Goa, and India itself one day. I’ve watched several documentaries about the trains there, and I’d like to take your suggestion and see those views of the falls on the way to Goa. The old churches, resembling the Portuguese rule are so stunning too. I hope to see it one day!

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Great informative post! Glad you finally made it to Goa. We visited Goa last year and really loved it so many great restaurants to choose from. We spent most of our time on the beach so I’d love to go back again to see the old churches and whale watching.

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The old Goa churches are so impressive! Seems the details are still looked like when they built it. Walking around the Fountainhas sounds wonderful, too! Just like you, if I get a chance to visit Goa, Old Panjim will be my first choice.

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There was a time when I used to visit Goa every year. Pretty much-covered everything you wrote about. I love South Goa more than North. Find it more peaceful and beautiful. Love the Mondovi river.

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Great details. I am also a travel blogger, a Goan, who writes about Goa.

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Goa is an interesting sea beach and it’s amazing. I love the marine drive there.

Your guide was impressive and mind-blowing photos.

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Wow very nice intenerary. I have been to Goa so many times but haven’t visited all these places. Next time will catch up on the remaining. Thanks for sharing

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Seems really beautiful! But do you think 3 days in Goa is enough?

Thanks Ann. Ofcourse not. People come to Goa and stay here forever. But 3-days is a realistic minimum number of days needed to see the highlights and enjoy your trip.

Thanks for all the live links in this blog its a great help for planning. I have wanted to go to Goa forever! I think it might happen in 2020. I got a lot of great ideas from your blog and I am saving to help with my itinerary.

Thank you so much. Hope you have an awesome holiday in Goa soon.

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Goa is an amazing place for some awesome food and culture. We have been to Goa several times and every time it feels like a new place. We love the beaches in South Goa as compared to North Goa as they are a little less crowded and are clean.Thanks for sharing the blog with information of different ways and things.

Thanks Shweta. I also loved what i saw of the south Goa beaches. Will make sure that I visit it next time.

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Thank you for sharing this information your post is amazing. I was huge like Goa I love this place.

Thanks Ordan. Hope it is helpful.

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I visited Goa for a week 25 years ago and stayed for 2 months Back then it was a very different place, with empty beaches and dolphins swimming off the shore. You’ve made me want to return, thank you for rekindling fond memories.

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I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..

Thanks Jackqueline. Yes it’s a paid theme but just one time payment

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Loved your blog. Goa being the most attractive place where all love to visit to have a peacfull vacation.

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Wow! That sounds like a busy 3 days but a fab itinerary, thank you for sharing. I went to Goa years ago & have to admit I didn’t venture far from the beaches so clearly missed a lot! But I always like a reason to return 😉

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Great detailed blog. Perfect

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This was helpful to get so much info and knowledge that could help in planning a short trip to goa. I liked that many important aspects were included and talked about to present maximum details for readers. Thank You

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I have been to Goa about 5 times, and I totally agree when you say that it is not only about beaches and nightlife. There is so much more to the beautiful state.

Thanks for your comment Anukriti. Hope you enjoy reading our travel stories.

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The beaches of Goa are incredible but I also do love the backwaters and hinterlands. The villages are so quaint and laidback! And the pace of life is so refreshing. I love the food and the sunshine, and thanks for including Panjim. It is one of my favorite cities!

Thanks Mohana and Aninda. Panjim is such a lovely city – modern and rooted and laidback at the same time.

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GOA seems to offer everything: history, literature, nature & architecture, I want to visit!

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Goa looks beautiful and I’d love to visit one day. This seems like a great itinerary for 3 days and has made me want to visit even more!

Thanks for your comment Natali.I’ll be happy to help you with local tips if you decide to visit.

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I have always wanted to go to Goa and always only saw images of the party scene so love how you described it with the beautiful architecture and culture.

Thanks Amina for your comment. I’m glad you liked my style of writing.

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Best Time To Go — The rainy season lasts from July until September, with monsoon-level downpours, and is not the best time for tourism. The high season, which is Easter week and New Year, generally has higher hotel and villa rates. The best time to find deals for Goa travel is between October and December and February — May, and the best time to visit is during the dry season, October through June.

Transportation — Public transportation in Goa is hard to come by, but it is possible to travel by taxi or to rent a motorbike.

Weather — Goa, being in the tropical zone and near the Arabian Sea, provide benefits from a tropical climate, with an average year-round temperature of 28°C — 30°C.

Language — Hindi, Konkani, English

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The former Portuguese enclave of Goa, midway down India ’s southwest coast, has been a holiday destination since colonial times, when British troops used to travel here from across the country for a spot of “R&R”. Back then, the three Bs – bars, brothels and booze – were the big attractions. Now it’s the golden, palm-fringed beaches spread along the state’s 105 km coastline that pull in the tourists – around two million of them each winter. Cheap air travel has made it a major package tour destination for Europeans, and there has been a dramatic rise in domestic visitors in recent years.

The best travel tips for visiting Goa

Best things to do in goa, safety in goa.

  • Goa's party scene

Best places to stay in Goa

How to get around, how many days do you need in goa, what is the best time to visit, how to get here, tailor-made travel itineraries for india, created by local experts.

A Trek Through Ladakh's Markha Valley

13 days  / from 1800 USD

A Trek Through Ladakh's Markha Valley

Trek through the Markha Valley, taking in the jaw-dropping Himalayan landscape, camp in traditional mountain villages, and discover hilltop monasteries. This unique journey combines the culture of the Buddhist faith with the natural beauty of the mountains and the hustle and bustle of Delhi.

Rajasthan: The Land of Kings

15 days  / from 2745 USD

Rajasthan: The Land of Kings

Experience the Land of Kings in luxury.This trip around Rajasthan takes you to Jaipur's palaces, sacred pilgrimage sites and deep into the desert hills. Breathe in the excitement of Dehli and visit the Taj Mahal. Then come nightfall, lay your head to rest in former royal palaces and magical forts.

The Holy City of Varanasi

6 days  / from 785 USD

The Holy City of Varanasi

The flat, sunburnt plains of the Ganges River are India's breadbasket: a densely populated area, it is home to many of the country's greatest sights. See Delhi and all its treasures, then fly to Varanasi, the most sacred stretch of the Ganges and one of India's most intense and atmospheric places.

Indian Wildlife Safari

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Indian Wildlife Safari

Meet Bengals, birds, monkeys, leopards and more on an amazing wildlife extravaganza visiting India's famous national parks. Experience the countryside by rail, soak up some culture at the Taj Mahal and Rantahnbore Fort and finish with some shopping and sightseeing in the bustling capital, Dehli.

India: from the Ganges to the Golden Triangle

10 days  / from 1900 USD

India: from the Ganges to the Golden Triangle

From Dehli's bustling dusty streets to 'the pink city' of Jaipur and Agra's Taj Mahal, this trip ensures you experience all of India's Golden Triangle highlights. You'll visit sacred Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges and Khajuraho's famous temples too.

Magical Kerala

7 days  / from 880 USD

Magical Kerala

The intense greens of the Kerala backwaters, overhung by innumerable coconut palms, encapsulate tropical India like nowehere else. Enjoy a lazy cruise on a converted rice barge; visit fragrant spice plantations, explore Cochi and spot local wildlife.

Kerala – God’s Own Country

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Kerala – God’s Own Country

Southern India is a feast for the senses. The lush greenery of tea plantations, the colourful spice markets and plantations - this itinerary is nothing short of highlights. Take a houseboat trip on the Kerala backwaters before finishing your trip with some leisure beach days.

North India Explored: From Delhi to Shimla

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North India Explored: From Delhi to Shimla

Experience the striking contrasts of Old and New Delhi; visit the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the holiest of Sikh sites. Head up into the cool green Himalayan Foothills, and to Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama, and then to the old British hill station of Shimla, famous for its 'Toy Railway'.

Gems of India & Taj Mahal

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Gems of India & Taj Mahal

Stay in the most beautiful hotels, have a knowledgeable private tour guide by your side all throughout on this unique trip to India. Visit highlights like the Taj Mahal but also unknown areas like the villages in Rajasthan for nature, wildlife and cultural encounters unique to India.

The Essential Golden Triangle

5 days  / from 503 USD

The Essential Golden Triangle

Explore India’s dusty capital Delhi, taking in the Qutab Minar, crowded bazaars and opulent temples before venturing forth to Agra to see the venerable Taj Mahal. Then decamp to the pink city, Jaipur, for an intoxicating introduction to Rajasthan.

India's Monuments and Tigers

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India's Monuments and Tigers

India’s Golden Triangle is a must-see on any visit to the country. Throw in a game drive around one of the excellent national parks and you’ve got the perfect balance between Indian culture and heritage and an exhilarating wildlife adventure.

Unmissable India

12 days  / from 1590 USD

Unmissable India

A visit to India lives long in the memory. Experience the country’s exquisite forts and temples, fabulous food and dusty atmospheric cities as you journey through the Golden Triangle and onwards to the lush southern backwaters of lovely Kerala.

Treasures of India - South and North

17 days  / from 3284 USD

Treasures of India - South and North

Begin in the coastal charm of Cochin. Travel to the lush tea plantations of Munnar and experience the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. Explore the palaces of Udaipur, the vibrant streets of Jaipur, and the wildlife of Ranthambore. Marvel at the iconic Taj Mahal and conclude your adventure in Delhi.

Luckily, in spite of the increasing chaos of Goa’s main resorts, it’s still possible to find the odd quiet corner if you’re prepared to explore.

The linchpin for a vast trade network for more than 450 years, Goa was Portugal’s first toehold in Asia. The first hippie travellers came to the region on the old overland trail shortly after its “Liberation” in 1961.

They found a way of life little changed in centuries: the coastal settlements were little more than fishing- and coconut-cultivation villages.

Relieved to have found somewhere culturally undemanding to party, the travellers got stoned, watched the mesmeric sunsets over the Arabian Sea and danced like lunatics on full-moon nights. The rave scene reached its peak in the 1990s, with “Goa trance” becoming a fully-fledged musical genre.

Since then, the state has been at pains to shake off its reputation as a druggy drop-out zone, and its beaches have grown in popularity year after year.

Around two dozen stretches of soft white sand indent the region’s coast, from spectacular 25km sweeps to secluded palm-backed coves. The level of development behind them varies a great deal; while some are lined by swanky Western-style resorts, others only have palm-leaf shacks.

Planning a trip to India? Perhaps our local experts in India can help you!

Scenic yard and old houses in historical town of Old Goa in India © Shutterstock

Scenic yard and old houses in historical town of Old Goa in India © Shutterstock

From the Saturday Night Market in Arpora to glorious golden beaches, here are the best things to do in Goa.

#1 Explore the former colonial city of Old Goa

Just 10 km from Panjim, and at one time a byword for oriental splendour, Portugal’s former capital in India, Old Goa, was virtually abandoned following malaria and cholera epidemics from the seventeenth century onwards.

Today, despite its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, you need considerable imagination to picture the once great city at its zenith, when it boasted a population of several hundred thousand.

The maze of twisting streets, piazzas and ochre-washed villas has vanished, and all that remains is a score of cream-painted churches and convents.

Foremost among the surviving monuments is the tomb of St Francis Xavier, the legendary sixteenth-century missionary, whose desiccated remains are enshrined in the Basilica of Bom Jesus – the object of veneration for Catholics from across Asia and beyond.

#2 Browse the Saturday Night Market at Arpora

One of the few genuinely positive improvements to the north Goa resort strip over the last fifteen years has been the Saturday Night Market, held on a plot inland at Arpora, midway between Baga and Anjuna.

Originally the brainchild of an expat German called Ingo, it’s run with great efficiency and a sense of fun.

Although far more commercial than its predecessor in Anjuna, many old Goa hands regard this as far truer to the original spirit of the flea market.

A significant proportion of the stalls are taken up by foreigners selling their own stuff, from reproduction of Indian pop art to antique photos, the latest trance party gear, stunning antique and coconut-shell jewellery and techno DJ demos.

There’s also a mouth-watering array of ethnic food and a stage featuring live music from around 7pm until 3am, when the market winds up, as well as a couple of trendy bars with live music or DJs.

#3 Find bargains at Anjuna flea market

Goa’s famous tourist bazaar is the place to pick up the latest party gear, shop for souvenirs and watch the crowds go by. The biggest crowds gather on Wednesdays after Anjuna’s flea market, held in the coconut plantation behind the southern end of the beach, just north of Curlie’s.

This is the place to indulge in a spot of souvenir shopping. Pitches are rented out by the metre, drugs are banned and the approach roads to the village are choked all day with air-conditioned buses and Maruti taxis ferrying in tourists from resorts further down the coast.

If you make it down to Anjuna, make sure to explore it's beautiful beach too.


Anjuna Beach in Goa © Shutterstock

#4 Chill at Aswem, the hippest spot on the north Goan coast

Pretty Aswem, the next settlement north of Morjim, could hardly be described as a proper resort. Officially inside the Coastal Protection Zone, its beachfront holds few permanent buildings and most of the accommodation is in temporary structures.

Yet, over the past few seasons, the strip of soft white sand nestled beneath its mand of slender palms has become the place to see and be seen by India’s hip set – Mumbai millionaires, Bollywood A-listers and international celebs are regularly spotted in the swanky resorts and clubs in the dunes.

A more down-to-earth scene holds sway around the headland to the south, which is family-friendly, with lots of children playing on the beach. How long this stretch can hold out against the rising tide of bling, however, is anyone’s guess.

For now, it's the hippest spot in North Goa to swim, fine-dine and dance under the stars, with the stars.

#5 Tour the beautiful Palacio do Deão

This superb colonial-era palacio stands at Quepem, a thirty-minute drive southeast of Margao on the fringes of the state’s iron-ore belt.

In 1787, a high-ranking member of the Portuguese clergy, Father José Paulo de Almeida, built a country house in the town.

Known as the Palacio do Deão, it grew to become one of the grandest in the colony, and later served as a retreat for its viceroys. The palacio was recently restored to its former glory, and what you see today is a faithful approximation of how the house would have looked in José Paulo’s day.

The engaging guided tour lasts around half an hour.

Palacio do Deao near Quepem. Goa. India © Shutterstock

Palacio do Deao near Quepem. Goa. India © Shutterstock

#6 Eat at the beach shacks

Tuck into a fresh kingfish, lobster or tandoori pomfret, washed down with an ice-cold beer. Benaulim’s proximity to Margao market, along with the presence of a large Christian fishing community, means its restaurants serve some of the tastiest, most competitively priced seafood in Goa.

The largest and busiest shacks flank the beachfront area, where Johncy’s catches most of the passing custom. However, you’ll find better food at lower prices at places further along the beach, which seem to change chefs annually; wander by and see who has the most customers

#7 Go for a sunset stroll at Palolem

Nowhere else in peninsular India conforms so obediently to the archetypal image of a paradise beach as Palolem, 35km south of Margao.

Lined with a swaying curtain of coconut palms, the bay forms a perfect curve of golden sand, arcing north from a giant pile of boulders to a spur of the Sahyadri Hills, which tapers into the sea draped in thick forest.

However, it has become something of a paradise lost over the past decade. It’s now the most popular resort in Goa among independent foreign travellers, and is deluged from late November. Visitor numbers become positively overwhelming in peak season.

Basically, Palolem in full swing is the kind of place you’ll either love at first sight or want to flee from as quickly as possible. If you’re in the latter category, try smaller, less frequented Patnem beach, a short walk south around the headland.

Rough Guides Tip: looking for more beaches? Make sure to read our article about the best beaches in Goa .

Colorful bungalows on the tropical beach of Palolem, South Goa, India  © Dan Baciu/Shutterstock

Colorful bungalows on the tropical beach of Palolem, South Goa, India © Dan Baciu/Shutterstock

#8 Admire The Sé (St Catherine’s Cathedral) in Old Goa

The Portuguese viceroy Redondo (1561–64) commissioned the Sé, or St Catherine’s Cathedral, southwest of St Cajetan’s, to be “a grandiose church worthy of the wealth, power and fame of the Portuguese who dominated the seas from the Atlantic to the Pacific”.

Today it stands larger than any church in Portugal, although it was beset by problems, not least a lack of funds and the motherland’s temporary loss of independence to Spain. It took eighty years to build and was not consecrated until 1640.

On the Tuscan-style exterior, the one surviving tower houses the Golden Bell, cast in Cuncolim (south Goa) in the seventeenth century.

The scale and opulence of the Corinthian-style interior are overwhelming; no fewer than fifteen altars are arranged around the walls, among them one featuring a Miraculous Cross, said to heal the sick.

#9 Head to the Dudhsagar waterfalls

Measuring a mighty 600m from head to foot, the famous Dudhsagar waterfalls, on the Goa–Karnataka border, are some of the highest in India, and a spectacular enough sight to entice a steady stream of visitors from the coast into the rugged Western Ghats.

The Konkani name for the falls, which literally translated means “sea of milk”, derives from clouds of foam kicked up at the bottom when the water levels are at their highest.

Overlooking a steep, crescent-shaped head of a valley carpeted with pristine tropical forest, Dudhsagar is set amid impressive scenery that is only accessible on foot or by jeep.

The best time to visit is immediately after the monsoons, from October until mid-December, when water levels are highest, although the falls flow well into April.

#10 Relax at Mandrem, the last unspoiled stretch of the north Goan coast

From the far side of the creek bounding the edge of Aswem, a magnificent and largely empty beach stretches north towards Arambol – the last unspoiled stretch of the north Goan coast.

Whether or not Mandrem can continue to hold out against the developers remains to be seen, but for the time being, nature still has the upper hand here.

Olive ridley marine turtles nest on the quietest patches, and you’re more than likely to catch a glimpse of one of the white-bellied fish eagles that live in the casuarina trees – their last stronghold in the north of Goa.

Resort huts on Mandrem beach in north Goa, India © saiko3p/Shutterstock

Resort huts on Mandrem beach in north Goa, India © saiko3p/Shutterstock

When embarking on an adventurous journey through the vibrant beaches and captivating landscapes of Goa, it's essential to prioritize your safety. Some tips.

Swimming in Goa: a warning

Be very careful where you swim in Goa. Many places are subject to vicious currents (even in relatively shallow water) and during the season at least one tourist a week drowns here – often after they have consumed drugs or alcohol. It’s safest to stick to the beaches with lifeguards and flags indicating the safe areas to swim. Swimming anywhere during the monsoon would be suicidal.

Sexual harassment in Goa

While the vast majority of harassment of female tourists in Goa is relatively harmless (though unacceptable) – the surreptitious use of cellphones to take photos of scantily clad women on beaches, for example (report them to the beach police and they’ll be forced to delete the pictures), or unwanted attempts at conversation by large groups of men – there have been more serious cases of sexual crimes.

Women should avoid walking alone in remote places (or on the beach), especially after dark, and never accept drinks from strangers. Read more about traveller safety in Goa and the rest of India.

Goa's party scene

Lots of visitors come to Goa expecting to be able to party on the beach every night, and are dismayed when most places to dance turn out to be mainstream clubs they probably wouldn’t look twice at back home. The truth is that the full-on, elbows-in-the-air beach party of old, when tens of thousands of people would space out to huge techno sound systems under neon-painted palm trees, is – for now – pretty much a thing of the past in Goa.

Goa’s coastal villages saw their first big parties back in the 1960s with the influx of hippies to Calangute and Baga. Much to the amazement of the locals, the preferred pastime of these wannabe sadhus was to cavort naked on the sands together on full-moon nights, amid a haze of chillum smoke and loud rock music.

At first the villagers took little notice of these bizarre gatherings, but with each season the scene became better established, and by the late 1970s the Christmas and New Year parties, in particular, had become huge events, attracting travellers from all over the country.

St. Catherine Cathedral (1640) in Goa © Shutterstock

St. Catherine Cathedral (1640) in Goa © Shutterstock

Whether you're seeking pristine beaches, bustling nightlife, or a serene retreat, this guide will highlight the best places to stay in Goa to make your experience unforgettable.

Panjim, Central Goa

Fontainhas are the best places to stay , while more modern and expensive hotels cluster in the area around 18th of June Rd. F

Candolim, North Goa

Candolim is charter-holiday land, so accommodation tends to be expensive for most of the season. That said, if bookings are down you can find some great bargains here.

Sinquerim, North Goa

East of the fort is a genuinely nice place to stay .

Calangute, North Goa

In spite of the encroaching mayhem, plenty of travellers get hooked on Calangute’s mix of the market town and beach resort, returning year after year to stay in little family guesthouses in the fishing waddo. Nowhere is far from the shore, but sea views are a rarity.

Baga, North Goa

Accommodation is harder to find in Baga, as even rooms in smaller guesthouses tend to be booked up well before the season gets underway. The majority of family-run places lie around the north end of the beach, where nights have been a lot more peaceful since Goa’s premier club, Tito’s, acquired soundproofing.

Chapora, North Goa

Chapora specializes in long-term rentals of rooms and houses (by the week or month) to repeat visitors; these economical options can be found by asking around the village.

Morjim, North Goa

Because of the unwelcoming vibe, the hotels and guesthouses immediately behind the beach, in the dunes and along the beachfront road, are best avoided. One really nice option, however, is Jardin d’Ulysse . It stands on the riverfront south of the village.

The Saturday Night Market in Arpora © Shutterstock

The Saturday Night Market in Arpora © Shutterstock

Aswem, North Goa

With accommodation either ultrabasic or staggeringly expensive, most visitors ride up to Aswem for the day on scooters and decamp after sunset. A handful of places, however, offer reasonable value.

Madrem, North Goa

Most of the village’s accommodation is tucked away inland at Junasa Waddo, where a growing number of small guesthouses, hotels and yoga retreats cater to a mixed, peace-and-quiet-loving crowd – costs are generally higher than at Arambol, however.

Arambol, North Goa

The cost of accommodation in Arambol has risen sharply over the past few seasons, reflecting the village’s popularity with more affluent hippies, but it’s still nearly all pitched at budget travellers: no-frills, Goan-run guesthouses and expat-inspired hippie-chic predominate here.

Benaulim, South Goa

Aside from the unsightly time-share complexes and fi ve-stars that loom in the fields around the village, most of Benaulim’s accommodation consists of small budget guesthouses, scattered around the lanes 1km or so back from the beach.

Agonda, South Goa

Agonda gets packed in peak season, and over Christmas and New Year you’ll be lucky to find a bed anywhere on spec. Tariffs rocket by fifty percent or more at this time, but after Jan 15 settle back down again and remain on a par with those in Patnem and Palolem.

Except for the upscale camps (which require payment in advance online) few places accept advance bookings so you’ll probably have to plod around to find somewhere that suits, or else phone ahead from the comfort of a café table (though note that mobile coverage tends to be patchy hereabouts).

Palolem, South Goa

The local municipality’s strict enforcement of a rule banning new concrete construction in Palolem (it went so far as to bulldoze without warning the entire resort a few years back) has ensured that most of the village’s accommodation consists of simple palm-leaf huts.

South Goa bungalows, Palolem © Dan Baciu/Shutterstock

Navigating the beautiful region of Goa is a breeze with its well-connected transportation system. Whether you prefer exploring by road, water, or air, this guide will provide you with valuable information on how to get around Goa,

By local bus

Although often crowded, local buses can get you most places in Goa.

Most foreign visitors travel around Goa in white or yellow-and-black Maruti van taxis or the slightly cheaper auto-rickshaw. Fares are often posted at ranks – you should always clearly settle the fare before you start your journey.

By motorcycle taxi

If you’re not weighed down with luggage, motorcycle taxis – known throughout Goa as “pilots” – offer a faster alternative and generally cost less than half the taxi rate.

Just remember that with motorcycle taxis there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots – it’s always best to choose a more mature driver (as well as haggle hard on the rate).

A cheaper alternative is to rent a bicycle (gearless, Indian-madecycles) which are on offer in all the resorts.

For a well-rounded trip, it is recommended to spend a minimum of 4-5 days in Goa. This timeframe allows you to explore different areas of the region, relax on the beaches, engage in water activities, visit popular landmarks like Fort Aguada and Old Goa, and immerse yourself in the unique blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures that Goa is known for.

However, if you have specific interests, such as partying and enjoying the nightlife scene, you might consider extending your stay to fully experience Goa's vibrant clubs and beach parties. On the other hand, if you prefer a more relaxed and tranquil vacation, a shorter duration may be sufficient to unwind on the beaches and indulge in leisurely activities.

Dudhsagar waterfall in Goa, India © Shutterstock

Dudhsagar waterfall in Goa, India © Shutterstock

The best time to come to Goa is during the dry, relatively cool winter months between late November and mid-March. At other times, either the sun is too hot for comfort, or the humidity, clouds and rain make life miserable.

During peak season, from mid-December to the end of January, the weather is perfect, with temperatures rarely nudging above 32°C. Finding a room or a house to rent at that time, however – particularly over Christmas and New Year when tariffs double, or triple – can be a real hassle.

Find out more about the best time to visit India .

Whether you're a backpacker seeking adventure or a beach lover longing for relaxation, this guide will provide you with valuable insights on various transportation options to help you embark on your journey to Goa.

A couple of dozen flights shuttle between Mumbai and Goa’s Dabolim Airport daily.

The fastest and most convenient way to travel along the coast between Goa and Gokarna is on the Konkan Railway. Seven or so more trains run daily on the Konkan Railway from Mumbai.

For travellers, the most stress-free and economical way to travel between Goa and Hosapete, the jumping-off place for Hampi, is the Vasco–Howrah Express.

A fleet of night buses covers the 500 km between Goa and Mumbai – a terrible 16hr journey, best avoided.

The bus journey to/from Hampi is no cheaper than the train (sleeper class) and is far more gruelling. Two or three clapped-out government services leave Panjim’s Kadamba stand (platform #9) each morning for Hosapete.

Find out the best ways to get to India .

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Discover the Hidden Gems: A Comprehensive Goa Travel Guid 2023"

  exploring goa: a comprehensive travel guide.

Goa travel guide

Located on the western coast of India, Goa is a popular destination that attracts millions of tourists every year. Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage, this small state offers a unique blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural experiences. Whether you're a beach lover, history enthusiast, or foodie, this comprehensive travel guide will help you make the most of your trip to Goa.

1. Beaches of Goa:

Goa is renowned for its pristine beaches that stretch along its coastline. From the popular Baga and Calangute beaches in North Goa to the serene and secluded Palolem and Agonda beaches in the South, each beach has its own distinct charm. Discover the best beach activities, water sports, beach shacks, and relaxation spots for a rejuvenating time by the Arabian Sea.

2. Historical and Cultural Delights:

Beyond its beaches, Goa is steeped in history and culture. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Se Cathedral, which showcase the state's colonial past. Visit the historic forts like Aguada Fort and Chapora Fort for panoramic views and a glimpse into Goa's strategic importance. Don't miss the vibrant local markets and villages that offer an authentic taste of Goan life and traditions.

3. Adventurous Pursuits:

For adventure seekers, Goa provides ample opportunities to get your adrenaline pumping. Try your hand at water sports like jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boat rides. Embark on a thrilling dolphin-watching tour or go snorkeling and scuba diving to explore the underwater world. You can also opt for trekking in the Western Ghats or embark on a thrilling river cruise along the Mandovi River.

4. Cuisines and Culinary Experiences:

Goan cuisine is a delightful fusion of Indian, Portuguese, and Southeast Asian flavors. Indulge in a gastronomic adventure as you savor spicy seafood curries, traditional fish thalis, and delectable desserts like bebinca and serradura. Experience the vibrant nightlife of Goa as you dine at beachside shacks, explore the local pubs and clubs, or attend lively music festivals and beach parties.

5. Festivals and Celebrations:

Goa is known for its vibrant festivals and celebrations. Witness the spectacular Goa Carnival, a four-day extravaganza of music, dance, and colorful parades. Immerse yourself in the joyous atmosphere of the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Christmas, and New Year's celebrations, where the streets come alive with lights, music, and merriment.

Things to see in goa

When visiting Goa, there are several captivating attractions and sights to explore. Here are some of the must-see things in Goa:

1. Beaches: Goa is renowned for its stunning beaches that offer something for everyone. Visit popular beaches like Baga, Calangute, Anjuna, and Vagator in North Goa for a vibrant atmosphere, water sports, and beachside shacks. In South Goa, explore serene beaches like Palolem, Agonda, and Colva for a more relaxed and tranquil experience.

2. Old Goa: Step back in time and visit the historic town of Old Goa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore magnificent churches like the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which houses the remains of St. Francis Xavier, and the Se Cathedral, one of the largest churches in Asia. Marvel at the intricate architecture and religious significance of these colonial-era structures.

3. Fort Aguada: Situated on the Sinquerim Beach in North Goa, Fort Aguada offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea. Built in the 17th century, this well-preserved fort served as a defense against Dutch and Maratha invasions. Explore the fort complex, visit the lighthouse, and enjoy panoramic vistas of the coastline.

4. Dudhsagar Falls: Located on the border of Goa and Karnataka, Dudhsagar Falls is a majestic waterfall nestled amidst lush greenery. Cascading from a height of approximately 310 meters, the falls create a mesmerizing sight. You can take a train ride through the picturesque route or opt for a jeep safari to witness the beauty of Dudhsagar Falls up close.

5. Spice Plantations: Embark on a journey through Goa's aromatic spice plantations, where you can learn about the region's rich agricultural heritage. Take a guided tour, stroll through the plantations, and engage in activities like spice picking and traditional Goan lunch. It's an opportunity to immerse yourself in the scents and flavors of Goa's spices.

6. Fontainhas: Explore the charming Latin Quarter of Panaji, known as Fontainhas. This colorful neighborhood showcases Portuguese influence with its narrow streets, vibrant houses, and architectural beauty. Take a leisurely walk, admire the vibrant murals, visit art galleries, and stop by local bakeries and cafés for a taste of Goan delights.

7. Wildlife Sanctuaries: Goa is not only about beaches; it also boasts rich biodiversity. Visit wildlife sanctuaries like Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, where you can spot various species of birds, butterflies, and animals like deer, monkeys, and gaur. Enjoy nature trails, birdwatching, and jeep safaris to explore the natural treasures of Goa.

8. Naval Aviation Museum: Located in Bogmalo, the Naval Aviation Museum provides a glimpse into the history and evolution of the Indian Navy's aviation arm. Discover vintage aircraft, engines, uniforms, and artifacts that showcase the country's naval aviation heritage.

These are just a few of the many captivating things to see and explore in Goa. From beaches and historical landmarks to waterfalls and wildlife, Goa offers a diverse range of attractions that cater to different interests and preferences.

Where to go in goa

When planning your visit to Goa, there are several destinations worth exploring. Here are some top places to go in Goa:

1. North Goa: North Goa is known for its lively atmosphere, bustling beaches, and vibrant nightlife. Visit popular beaches like Baga, Calangute, Anjuna, and Vagator, where you can soak up the sun, enjoy water sports, and experience beachside shacks offering delicious food and drinks. Explore the bustling markets of Anjuna and Mapusa, known for their handicrafts, clothing, and spices.

2. South Goa: If you're seeking a more serene and laid-back experience, head to South Goa. Here, you'll find pristine beaches like Palolem, Agonda, and Colva, where you can unwind, enjoy peaceful walks, and indulge in yoga and meditation sessions. Visit the Cabo de Rama Fort for panoramic views of the coastline and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the butterfly beach.

3. Panaji (Panjim): Goa's capital city, Panaji, offers a mix of Portuguese and Indian influences. Explore the charming streets of Fontainhas, the Latin Quarter, known for its colorful houses and heritage architecture. Visit the Immaculate Conception Church, take a stroll along the Mandovi River promenade, and indulge in local cuisine at popular restaurants and cafés.

4. Old Goa: Step back in time and visit the historic town of Old Goa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at magnificent churches like the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which houses the remains of St. Francis Xavier, and the Se Cathedral, one of the largest churches in Asia. Explore the Archaeological Museum of Goa to learn about the region's rich history.

5. Dudhsagar Falls: Located on the border of Goa and Karnataka, Dudhsagar Falls is a must-visit natural wonder. Trek through lush forests or take a jeep safari to witness the majestic waterfall cascading down from a height of approximately 310 meters. Enjoy swimming in the natural pools and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the surroundings.

6. Spice Plantations: Discover the aromatic spice plantations of Goa, located in Ponda and other areas. Take guided tours and learn about various spices like cardamom, black pepper, and cinnamon. Engage in activities like spice picking, elephant rides, and enjoy a traditional Goan lunch amidst the lush greenery.

7. Wildlife Sanctuaries: Explore the diverse flora and fauna of Goa by visiting wildlife sanctuaries like Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. Embark on nature trails, birdwatching expeditions, and jeep safaris to spot animals like deer, monkeys, and a variety of bird species in their natural habitat.

8. Divar Island and Chorao Island: Take a ferry ride to Divar Island and Chorao Island, located in the Mandovi River. These serene islands offer a glimpse into traditional Goan village life, with their picturesque landscapes, old churches, and scenic beauty. Explore the Divar Island's quaint villages and Chorao Island's Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, home to numerous bird species.

These are just a few highlights of where to go in Goa. The state has much more to offer, including waterfalls, forts, museums, and local markets. Whether you prefer vibrant beaches, historical landmarks, or serene nature spots, Goa has something to cater to every traveler's preferences.


A trip to Goa promises a memorable and diverse experience for every traveler. From relaxing on beautiful beaches to immersing yourself in rich history and culture, indulging in adventure sports, and savoring the delectable cuisine, Goa has something to offer to everyone. This comprehensive travel guide will serve as your perfect companion, ensuring you make the most of your journey to this enchanting destination.

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goa travel guide 2023

Goa travel guide

Where to stay, food & drink.

goa travel guide 2023

Prachi Joshi

Destination Expert

Wednesday August 16 2023, 11:00am

Why you’ll love it

This article contains links from which we may earn revenue. These links are signposted with an asterisk. More information  here .

Susegad — derived from the Portuguese word sossegado, meaning quiet or tranquil — is a word you’ll often hear in Goa. But Goan susegad is much more than that – it’s the laid-back attitude, the quiet contentment, and the joie de vivre that it’s known for. Sure, the beautiful beaches, chilled-out shacks and buzzy bars attract the tourists. But it’s the susegad vibe that keeps them coming back.

Goa may be the smallest state in India , but it is one of the most popular destinations, even with domestic travellers. The Portuguese ruled Goa for more than 450 years and left their indelible mark, which can be seen in its crumbling forts, baroque architecture, whitewashed churches and cuisine. Goa absorbed it all, especially the cuisine, and made it its own — such as vindaloo, which takes the Portuguese dish carne de vinha d’alhos (meat with wine and garlic) and turns it into a fiery, slightly tangy dish by replacing wine with palm vinegar and adding Kashmiri chillies.

From the hippy days of the 1960s, Goa has evolved into an exciting global village, driven by resourceful entrepreneurs — locals, Indians who flock to it from other states to escape the city rut and immigrants from all over — experimenting with offbeat businesses and creative concepts; there’s a lot happening under the Goan sun.

Main photo: Palolem Beach in South Goa (Alamy)

Of course, the sun-kissed golden beaches in Goa are still the top draw for tourists. Stretched along the Arabian Sea, each has its own personality, so choose wisely — touristy North Goa has Anjuna for the party animals; Mandrem or Morjim for water sports; interconnected Calangute and Baga for food and nightlife; Assagao and Arambol for beach yoga; and the northernmost Querim (Keri) to escape the crowds.

South Goa is much quieter — Colva and Benaulim are the popular beaches; crescent-shaped Palolem is great for swimming and kayaking; Agonda is family-friendly (you can go dolphin-spotting from here); and pristine Galgibaga is a nesting place for olive ridley sea turtles (November-April).

Don’t skip a day trip to Dudhsagar Falls, India’s second highest waterfall

But it’s not all sun and sand. A quarter of Goans are Christian so churches and cathedrals abound across the state — don’t miss the imposing baroque Basilica of Bom Jesus, which contains the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier; the elegant 17th century Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panjim; and the cavernous Sé Cathedral, which is among the largest churches in Asia. Goa’s capital city of Panaji* is filled with local markets, arty boutiques and backstreet bars, while its Mandovi River hums with cruise boats and floating casinos. But you will find old Goa in its Latin Quarter of Fontainhas, where narrow streets are lined with colourful houses, cafés and restaurants, art galleries, and shops; drop in at Velha Goa Galeria to pick up azulejos (glazed coloured tiles) as souvenirs.

Another must-visit in Goa are the restored Portuguese-era mansions — Figueiredo Mansion in Loutolim and Palácio do Deão in Quepem (both in South Goa) are particularly noteworthy and offer guided tours followed by a home-cooked Indo-Portuguese meal. And finally, don’t skip a day trip to Dudhsagar Falls* , India’s second highest waterfall that cascades down 320m, living up to its name (translates as ‘sea of milk’).

Accommodation in Goa runs the whole gamut — basic, budget stays, villa rentals, sea-facing luxury chain hotels, restored Portuguese-era mansions converted into charming boutique stays, party hotels and more. Built on the ramparts of a 16th-century Portuguese fort, Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa* was the first luxury hotel in Goa. Other popular luxury hotels include ITC Grand Goa, The Leela Goa* , the Hilton Goa Resort* , party-friendly W Goa and family-friendly Alila Diwa* .

For boutique stays, consider Ahilya by the Sea* with beach views and a gorgeous infinity pool, the hilltop Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel* , and WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn set in a colonial mansion in Fontainhas. To get away from the crowds, try The Postcard’s intimate luxury hotels, like the Postcard Hideaway Netravali* , set amid a forest in the Western Ghats.

Goan cuisine is generally divided into two parts — Portuguese-influenced Catholic cuisine and Goan Hindu Saraswat cuisine. Both are seafood-heavy; fish curry and rice are staple, as is fried fish. Wash it all down with sol kadhi, a spicy drink made with coconut milk and kokum (a type of mangosteen). Choriz (spicy pork sausage) is Goa’s pride and joy, best eaten with pao (soft bread) or in the form of a curry. The Portuguese influence is evident in dishes like vindaloo, xacuti, cafreal and sorpotel. Bebinca (a layered cake) is a favourite dessert, as is serradura (biscuit and cream pudding). Martin’s Corner in Betalbatim, Chef Fernando’s Nostalgia in Raia, Viva Panjim in Panaji, Bhatti Village in Nerul, and Souza Lobo in Calangute are some of the best restaurants for authentic Goan dishes (£5-15 for two). The grungy Joseph’s Bar is a favourite for beers and cocktails, as is Taverna Panjim (both in Panaji).

Of course, food in Goa goes beyond traditional cuisine — eclectic bars and restaurants have been popping up steadily, serving everything from upscale and reimagined Goan to international fare. To experience the sheer breadth of Goa’s culinary landscape, try restaurants such as Gunpowder in Assagao; Bomras, Mahé, and Baba au Rhum in Anjuna; Pousada By The Beach at Calangute; Fisherman’s Wharf in Cavelossim; The Black Sheep Bistro in Panaji; Thalassa in Siolim; and Sakana in Vagator.

Over the past few years, Goa has become a hub for craft beverages – high-quality gins, rums, whiskies, beers and even agave spirits are being distilled by enthusiastic entrepreneurs, many of which are making a mark on the international stage.

Want to go really local? Try the Goan feni, an aromatic spirit distilled from cashew nuts or toddy palm

While there are plenty of homegrown gin brands, Tamras is the only one that currently offers tours at its distillery located in Colvale, North Goa. Learn about the distillation process, check out the gleaming copper stills, and enjoy refreshing G&Ts and cocktails in the lounge. For top-notch whisky, head to Paul John distillery in Cuncolim for a tour and tasting.

If you want to go really local, you must try the Goan feni, an aromatic spirit distilled from cashew nuts or toddy palm. Cashew feni has in fact been awarded the geographical indication tag. While many nondescript street-side taverns sell it, your best bet would be Cazulo Premium Feni’s tasting room in Cansaulim. This is the world’s first feni cellar where you can gawk at hundreds of garrafões (round-bellied glass bottles used to age and store the spirit) and sample a varieties and inventive cocktails.

Continue your exploration of Indian alcohol with a visit to All About Alcohol, Goa’s first museum dedicated to alcohol. Located in Candolim, this 13,000 sq ft space houses manufacturing and distilling equipment, bottles and glasses (some dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries), and a cellar where you can sign up for a feni tasting and pairing session.

Know before you go

The currency is Indian rupee. Mid-November to mid-February is the best time to visit Goa, although it’s peak tourist season. But if you’re after beach parties and music festivals (such as the popular techno-house Sunburn Festival in December), this is the time to go. Monsoon (June-October) is a great time to go trekking and chasing waterfalls. The festival of São João, dedicated to St John the Baptist, is celebrated with much pomp every June.

The best way to get around Goa is to rent a bicycle, scooter, or motorcycle; rental rates are not regulated and can range from £2-10 per day. Or hire taxis, which rarely run by meter so negotiate the fare in advance.

Overall, Goa is safe for tourists although solo female travellers should avoid lonely areas, especially at night. Taxi scams and petty theft are common; don’t carry too much cash and keep your passport and valuables safe. There have been reports of drink spiking, so watch your cocktail as you would in the UK.

Take me there

Inspired to visit Goa but yet to book your trip? Here are the best packages from Tropical Warehouse* and Tui * .

  • Discover holidays to North Goa*
  • Discover holidays to South Goa*
  • Discover tours in Goa*

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goa travel guide 2023

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Goa Travel Guide: Your Ultimate Handbook to Explore India’s Tropical Paradise 2023

Zeeshan makhtoor.

  • Last Update: September 30, 2023


The Goa travel guide offers visitors a chance to experience the vibrant culture and stunning beauty of this coastal Indian state. Goa caters to all tastes with its beautiful beaches, quaint villages, and exciting nightlife.

Visitors can explore historic landmarks like the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Fort Aguada or soak up the sun on the famous beaches of Calangute and Baga.

Table of Contents

Food lovers can indulge in delicious Goan cuisine, which blends Indian and Portuguese flavors to create unique dishes like vindaloo and xacuti.

To maximize your Goa vacation, plan your itinerary. There are water activities, hiking, and sightseeing for a relaxed or action-packed vacation.

In conclusion, the Goa travel guide is essential reading for anybody thinking about visiting this beautiful state. You may make the most of your stay in Goa and develop memories that will last a lifetime with the aid of its extensive advice and insider insights.

Must read: Romantic Winter Getaways For Couples

Getting There:

Goa train

Goa is India’s most visited tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches, architecture, and culture. You may visit Goa in several ways based on your interests and budget.

Goa has well-maintained highways and is well-connected to important Indian cities by road. You can drive yourself, take the bus, or take a taxi if you’re adventurous.

The Konkan Railway connects Goa to key cities in India. There are various trains, including the Rajdhani Express, which is an excellent and fast alternative.

Goa is connected to significant Indian and foreign cities through the international airport Dabolim Airport. Several airlines fly to Goa, and depending on your budget, you can select between economy and business class.

Best Time To Visit:

Goa’s best weather is November–February, making it ideal for sightseeing, water sports, and beach activities.

This time has low 20s to upper 30s temperatures and little humidity.

A trustworthy Goa travel guide is essential for your visit.

Travelers like seeing the beaches and trying the local food in Goa, making it a popular vacation spot.

Sunscreen, bug repellent, and loose, comfortable clothes are all must for a trip to Goa. When renting a car or bike, it is simple to visit the city and its surroundings.

Also, avoid traveling to Goa from June to September if possible because of the high rainfall of the monsoon season.

Places To Visit In Goa:

India’s coastal state of Goa is stunning and well-liked. It’s renowned for its nightlife, seafood, beaches, and architecture. Here are some sites in Goa to visit:

Old Goa

Located in the North Goa region of the Indian state of Goa, Old Goa, sometimes called Velha Goa, is a small town.

From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, it was Portuguese India’s capital, but wars and illnesses forced its abandonment.

For its colonial architecture, antebellum churches, and museums, it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Many major churches are in Old Goa, including the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, and the Church of St. Francis of Assisi.

Thousands of people visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus each year because it is well known for containing the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, a celebrated Christian missionary.

The Museum of Christian Art, the Archaeological Museum of Goa, and the Viceroy’s Arch are all crucial sites in Old Goa.

There is also a bustling local market in Old Goa. The market is a beautiful site to visit and provides a window into the local way of life.

Beaches : 

Baga Beach Goa

Goa’s roughly 50 beaches are known for their beauty. Popular Goa beaches include Baga, Calangute, Anjuna, and Palolem.

These beaches are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports with stunning Arabian Sea views.

Nightlife on the beaches includes beach parties, clubs, and shacks providing delicious seafood and beverages.

Relaxed Goa beaches are great for unwinding. Visitors seeking a tropical beach holiday will find Goa’s beaches unique.

Must Read: Valentine’s Day In Goa | A Romantic Guide 

Fort Aguada:

Fort Aguada

In Goa, next to Sinquerim Beach , there is a Portuguese fort from the 17th century called Fort Aguada . Built to stave off Dutch and Maratha incursions, the fort has a lovely sea view.

It is now a significant tourist attraction and a must-see destination in Goa for history and architecture buffs. Most Goa travel guides list it as a popular tourist destination.

Dudhsagar Waterfalls:

One of India’s tallest waterfalls, Dudhsagar Waterfalls , is situated on the Mandovi River in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa.

It is a well-known tourist destination and a must-see location for outdoor enthusiasts. The waterfalls are reached either a scenic train trip or a bumpy car ride through the bush.

Spice Plantations:

Spice Plantations

Spice plantations are a must-see site in Goa. These plantations in the countryside provide a glimpse into traditional farming methods and the many spices grown in the region.

Visitors can visit the plantation, learn about the various spices, enjoy local cuisine cooked with the spices, and even purchase some to take home.

Since spice plantations are easily reachable by vehicle or bicycle, they are a fantastic choice for a day trip when traveling to Goa.

Reis Magos Fort:

Reis Magos Fort

Reis Magos Fort is a 16th-century fort on the northern bank of Goa’s Mandovi River. It was constructed to withstand attacks by the Dutch and the Marathas.

The fort offers a great perspective of the river and surroundings. The fort has been reconstructed as a cultural center and museum to honor the region’s heritage.

A great day excursion from Goa is Reis Magos Fort, which is accessible by car or bike.

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary:

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

On Chorao Island near Goa’s westernmost point is Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary , a wildlife sanctuary. Salim Ali, a well-known Indian ornithologist, inspired the name.

The sanctuary is home to various migratory and resident bird species. The mangrove forest offers boat tours where tourists can see the birds in their natural habitat.

Since the sanctuary is easily reachable by boat from Panaji, it’s a fantastic choice for a day excursion while traveling to Goa.

Museum of Christian Art:

Museum of Christian Art

The Museum of Christian Art is in the Santa Monica Convent in Old Goa, Goa. The museum displays a collection of Portuguese colonial-era Christian art and antiquities, including paintings, sculptures, ivory, and textiles.

The exhibits provide a unique look into the region’s Christian art and cultural past. The museum is a fantastic choice for a day excursion when visiting Goa because it is easily reachable by car or bike.

Divar Island:

Divar Island is a small island in Goa’s Mandovi River. It is only a short ferry ride away from Old Goa or Panaji.

The island is ideal for a day trip and provides a calm retreat from the rush and bustle of the metropolis.

It boasts a rich cultural legacy with several traditional Hindu temples, Portuguese-style residences, and churches.

Goa travel guide recommend Divar Island as an unusual and off-the-beaten-path trip.

Goa Chitra Museum:

Goa Chitra Museum

The Goa Chitra Museum is in Benaulim, Goa. It houses a collection of nearly 4,000 objects associated with Goa’s old rural way of life.

Farming tools, utensils, and other things linked to traditional Goan agriculture are displayed. The museum provides a unique view into Goa’s traditional way of life and is a must-see for those interested in Goa’s cultural history.

It is featured in most Goa travel guide s as a tremendous offbeat attraction to explore.

Local Cuisine in Goa:

Local Cuisine in Goa

Goa is famous for its diverse and delicious cuisine, influenced by its history and location on the western coast of India.

Goan cuisine is known for its spicy and flavorful dishes, including seafood specialties such as fish curry and prawn balchão.

Vegetarian options include xacuti and sorpotel. Goa has a thriving street food scene, with options like pao bhaji, beef samosas, and pork vindaloo available at local stalls.

Food tours and cooking classes are popular activities for tourists looking to experience the flavors of Goa. Goa travel guides often feature food as a key aspect of the local culture to explore while traveling to Goa.


Goa is a prominent Indian tourist destination noted for its beautiful beaches, rich history, eclectic culture, and delectable food.

Goa has something for everyone, with attractions ranging from forts and museums to spice plantations and bird sanctuaries.

A Goa travel guide is essential for anybody considering a visit to this stunning coastal state.

Checkout GoaTour Packages: Grab Exciting Deals 

I hope you liked this blog, do share with your family and friends. Comment down if you have any queries or suggestions.

1. Is Goa safe for tourists?

Yes, Goa is generally safe for tourists. However, visitors are advised to take basic precautions, such as avoiding isolated areas at night and not leaving their belongings unattended on the beaches.

2. Can I rent a scooter or bike in Goa?

Yes, scooter and bike rentals are widely available in Goa. However, visitors should ensure a valid driving license and insurance before renting a vehicle.

3. What is the nightlife like in Goa?

Goa has a vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars, clubs, and beach parties. The nightlife scene is centered around the beaches of Baga, Calangute, and Anjuna.

4. What are the famous shopping destinations in Goa?

The famous shopping destinations in Goa include Anjuna Flea Market, Mapusa Market, and Panaji Market. Visitors can purchase various items such as clothes, accessories, souvenirs, and handicrafts.

5. How can I travel within Goa?

Visitors can travel within Goa by taxi, bus, or rented scooter or bike. Private taxis are available at most tourist destinations, and public buses are affordable for those on a budget. Rented scooters or bikes are a popular way to explore Goa at one’s own pace.

Zeeshan Makhtoor

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zeeshan makhtoor

Hey there welcome,zeeshan makhtoor here, the guy behind this travel blog website, I am a travel enthusiast who wants to mark footsteps on the beautiful places of this planet,Meanwhile, let’s know the world together by reading my blogs

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Goa Weather And Best Time To Visit Goa

India 's favourite party destination has been blessed with some beautifully well-defined seasons. There are 4 distinct phases to the Goa weather - summer, monsoons, post-monsoon summer, and then finally, winter. Tourist season is generally during winter, because most westerners find the famous Goan sun a tad too heavy duty for their comfort in summer! The best time to visit Goa is between November and March when the Goa weather is beautifully balmy & clear with a cool sea breeze blowing through.

Summer (March, April, May & October)

Summer (March, April, May & October):  Goa Weather And Best Time To Visit Goa

Summers in Goa are extremely hot with temperatures touching 40 Degrees C (104 Degrees F). Being a coastal state, the humidity levels remain sky high. This may be uncomfortable and take some time to adjust to for tourists from colder countries. The sea remains nice and tepid, and the beaches always have a nice balmy breeze flowing through them. Mornings and evenings are pleasant, but noon to evening can get pretty unbearable, and it's best to remain indoors to avoid the risk of sunburn and heat stroke. Goa is not as crowded during summers and prices tend to be relatively low. If you don't mind the heat, this may be the best time to visit Goa as you can explore this sunny state on a rather economical budget during summer.

Monsoons (June, July, August, September)

Monsoons (June, July, August, September):  Goa Weather And Best Time To Visit Goa

The monsoons in Goa typically last from June to September. This is the season during which people avoid Goa, simply because people associate Goa with beaches, sun and sand, and therefore, a rainy day is a huge letdown for beach bums. Unfortunately for them, they don't know what they're missing out on, for Goa is beautiful during the rains! The rainy season in Goa is a magical experience. After the harsh heat of May, the smell of wet earth is incomparable. Paddy fields are at their peak as the scorched, dry land gets infused with a new breath of life. If you're interested in a beautiful and relaxed holiday, with no noise, no crowds and lots of soul searching time, choose Goa in the rains. The entire state is sparkling clean, emerald green, and above all, devoid of hordes of tourists! During the monsoons, Goa receives an average of three to five hours of sunshine during the day. We advise against venturing out into the sea at this time. Not only is the water freezing cold, it is also extremely dangerous during the rains. Explore the many spice plantations, Mollem National Park and Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary to make most of the magic of the monsoons.

Winter (November, December, January, February)

Winter (November, December, January, February):  Goa Weather And Best Time To Visit Goa

Winter in Goa is a time of great celebration and by far the best time to visit Goa! When the monsoons end, Goa looks like it's just back from the laundry - every tree and building looks spanking clean. The Goa weather at this time is just perfect and the streets begin to fill up with thousands of holidaymakers, out for their fix of fun, sun and sand. People can pick from a host of watersports as the water is just right at this time of the year. Winter in Goa is a fun season with fairs, parades, festivals and parties that wind up late in the night on the beaches. It is a festive couple of months and all hotels, restaurants and shops are decorated with lights, stars, tinsel and Christmas trees. Also this is the period when maximum weddings and engagements are held in Goa. Hotels are packed to capacity so be sure to book in advance. January is a bit chilly but it is never too cold here. It's good to have a sweater with you if you plan to bike around at night or early in the morning. Don't forget to watch out for the beautiful mists that swirl around the paddy fields and all surrounding streets in the mornings and at night...its gorgeous!

Goa Tourism And Travel Guide

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goa travel guide 2023

goa travel guide 2023

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South Goa: The Ultimate Travel Guide For 2023

Table of Contents

Introduction to South Goa

Kayaking at Cola Beach in South Goa

South Goa, with its serene beaches, lush greenery, and laid-back vibe, is a perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.

This South Goa travel guide by Nomads of India provides a comprehensive overview of the region’s attractions, activities, and accommodations.

From the popular beaches of Palolem and Agonda to the hidden gems of Galgibaga and Patnem, the article covers the best spots to soak up the sun, swim in the sea, and enjoy water sports.

The guide also includes recommendations for local cuisine, cultural experiences, and nature walks. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple on a romantic escape, or a family looking for some fun in the sun, this guide has something for everyone.

How to Reach South Goa?

Colourful sunsets at Palolem Beach in South Goa

While exploring South Goa, you should make Agonda or Palolem your base and then travel to nearby places.

To reach Palolem or Agonda, you have multiple options:

Via Public Transport

  • If you are coming via train, you should ideally arrive at Margao railway station. You can take local cabs from the station, charging around INR 500 – INR 600 for a one-way trip to Palolem or Agonda.
  • Another option is to take a bus from the  Madgaon Bus Stand  to Palolem or Agonda. You can hire a rickshaw from the Madgaon railway station, and they will charge you around INR 70-80. The bus fare is INR 80 to Palolem.
  • If you are lucky, you can find shared cabs between Madgaon and Palolem; the charges are INR 100 per person. 
  • If you are coming from the airport, you can take the express bus to Margao bus stand and follow the instructions mentioned in pt. 2. 

Via Private Vehicle

  • Palolem is connected via road to all the major cities in Maharashtra & Karnataka. The distance from Mumbai to Palolem is around 630 kms via NH48 through Karnataka. This is the fastest way to reach South Goa, as the roads are far better than NH 66.

The Best Places to Stay in South Goa

Galgibaga Beach

There are 100s of options available at Agonda & Palolem and for all types of travellers. 

Here’s a specially curated list of stays by the Nomads of India team. All these places have a rating of 8.0+ on Booking.com. You cannot go wrong with any of these stay options.

Palolem Beach

  • Charming Nights
  • The Lost Hostel
  • O3 Beach Resort
  • Oxygen Palolem
  • The Ark Comforts

10 Off-beat Things To Do & Places To See

Kakolem Beach

  • Sadolxem Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in South Goa, especially on Instagram. However, most people come here, take photos & leave. But you can also take a unique private boat ride on the Talpona River with the local fishermen. An hour’s ride will cost you around an hour. You can also take food and alcohol with you on the boat, sit on the riverbank and have good lunch in the middle of nowhere. It is one of the most unique experiences that one has to experience when in South Goa. The river is calm, and you can even dive & swim. 
  • Galgibaga Beach is one the most secluded and cleanest beaches in South Goa, without a doubt. We recommend you go here early, around 7-8 AM, take a morning dip, and soak in the Vitamin D while basking on the beach. Galgibag Beach is about an hour’s scooter ride from Palolem.
  • Cola Beach for its famous lagoon. It is one of the most picturesque beaches in South Goa. You can kayak in the lagoon for half an hour for INR 200. The lagoon isn’t big and not deep, either. Be early so you can avoid the crowds. The sea here is rough, so we don’t recommend swimming here. However, you can have lunch or breakfast in the many sea-facing shacks.
  • To reach here, you need to walk down from the parking area. The last 1-2 kms of the road that leads to the parking is more of a mud trail and gets very difficult to control the bike; hence you should be careful while riding here.
  • Kakolem Beach is the best beach in South Goa, without a doubt. Like Cola, you must ride on a scooter to the  Kakolem viewpoint  and walk down the stairs for 15-20 mins. 
  • You rarely find anyone on this beach; there’s only a shack, and the same place offers beach huts. The beach is an ideal place to chill, read a book, have some pints of beer, and sunbathe.
  • Palolem Beach is one of the most happening beaches of South Goa, and also many water activities are conducted here. However, the most common one is kayaking. You can rent a kayak for an hour for around INR 300-350, and if you are lucky, you can even spot dolphins on the beach.
  • Patnem Beach is very close to Palolem Beach; you can reach here in 15 mins on a scooter. The beach is the best to have romantic sunset walks and a good dinner with friends and family. 
  • Butterfly Beach is the most famous beach; you can reach it here via boat or on a scooter; for the last 1-2 kms, you must walk to the beach through the forest; the trail is laid-out properly.
  • Note: The shared boats start only after 9:00 AM. The best way is to come here alone and early in the morning. If you are lucky, you may get the whole place and take a dip if you like.
  • Cabo de Rama in South Goa is a beautiful place for its scenic views and serene surroundings. The Cabo de Rama Fort is the main attraction, which offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea and the surrounding landscape. The beach nearby is also pristine and relatively secluded, offering a peaceful escape from the crowds. 
  • Overall, Cabo de Rama is a must-visit for those looking to experience the natural beauty and history of South Goa.
  • Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by living organisms. Betalbatim Beach is known for its bioluminescent plankton, which you can see glowing in the water during the night from November to February.

Are you enjoying this guide on South Goa?

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The Best Season To Visit South Goa

Kayaking at Palolem beach in South Goa

South Goa, being a tropical destination, has a warm and humid climate all year round. However, the best time to visit South Goa depends on the traveller’s preference and their activities of interest. Here is a season-wise guide to help you plan your trip to South Goa:

  • Winter Season (November to February):  Winter is considered the best time to visit. The weather is pleasant and dry, with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 33°C. This is the perfect time to indulge in water sports activities, sunbathing, and sightseeing. Moreover, South Goa’s famous Christmas and New Year celebrations draw many tourists. Because it is the high season, the prices for activities & accommodation are the highest during these months.
  • Summer Season (March to May):  The summer season in South Goa can be hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 35°C. This is the off-season, and you can expect lower prices on accommodation and activities. However, if you can withstand the heat, you can explore the beaches and participate in water sports.
  • Monsoon Season (June to September):  The monsoon season is from June to September. This period experiences heavy rainfall, and the humidity levels can be very high. The sea can also be rough, making it unsafe for water sports activities. However, you enjoy the rain and want to experience a peaceful and serene vacation. In that case, this is the best time to visit South Goa. The lush greenery and waterfalls are a sight during the monsoon season.
  • Post-monsoon Season (October to November):  The post-monsoon season is when the monsoon starts to recede, and the weather begins to clear up. This is a great time to visit South Goa as the rainfall reduces, and the landscape is lush green. The temperature during this time ranges from 23°C to 33°C, making it perfect for outdoor activities like trekking, sightseeing, and beach hopping.

In conclusion, the best time to visit South Goa depends on your preference and what you want to do during your vacation. However, the winter (November to February) is the peak tourist season when the weather is pleasant, and there are plenty of activities to indulge in.

A 5-day Itinerary for South Goa

Boating at Talpona River

Day 1: Reach Palolem. Check-in & Relax. Go for a sunset kayaking ride on Palolem beach.

Day 2: Early morning go for a swim at the  Galigbaga Beach. Have breakfast & head to Sadolxem & Talpona River boat ride. Come back and go for a walk at Patnem Beach during the sunset.

Day 3: Early morning kayak and swim at Cola Beach. Breakfast & head to Kakolem for lunch and relax.

Day 4: Early morning hike & swim at Butterfly Beach. In the evening, go to Cabo de Rama. Have an early dinner.

Day 5: Relax and chill on Palolem beach and check out of your accommodation.

Butterfly Beach

  • Accommodation:  If you stay at a mid-range or a budget option, you can expect to pay around INR 2000 – INR 2500 on average for a room night for 2 people. 
  • Food:  One meal at cafes and shacks will cost anywhere between INR 400 and INR 700. (excluding drinks)
  • Boat ride at Talpona River: INR 700 (for an hour)
  • Kayaking at Palolem Beach: INR 200 – INR 300 (for an hour)
  • Kayaking at Cola Beach: INR 150 – INR 250 (for half an hour)
  • Parking Charges at Kakolem Beach: INR 100
  • A cab from Margao railway station to Palolem will be around INR 700.
  • Bus from Margao Bus stand to Palolem: INR 80.
  • Local Scooter Hire: INR 300 – INR 400 per day. (this changes from season to season)
Overall, you can expect to spend anywhere between INR 25,000 to INR 30,000 for two people for 5 days.

Final Notes

In conclusion, South Goa offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and tranquility. From the serene beaches and lush green landscapes to the fascinating historical sites and vibrant local markets, South Goa has something for everyone.

The article covers the major attractions, activities, and accommodations in the region, making it a comprehensive guide for travelers planning a trip to South Goa.

The guide emphasizes the importance of respecting the local culture and environment, and encourages responsible and sustainable tourism practices. With its laid-back charm, warm hospitality, and diverse offerings, South Goa is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a peaceful and enriching travel experience in India.

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  • An Absolute Post-Covid Travel Guide To Goa: Updated Goa Tourism Guidelines In 2023

Post Covid Travel Guide To Goa

23 Mar 2023

If the most dreamed-of holiday in India had a name, it would probably sound a lot like Goa. From clear water beaches with exotic activities and themed events, and a vibrant mix of modern and traditional culture, Goa is as close to a dream paradise as you get. An ancient Portuguese colony, it boasts a historic charm, and offers many adventure sports, unwinding, and a dose of delicious Goan food. Since the declaration of a national lockdown in March, Goa has been one of the most anticipated destinations that travelers couldn’t wait to visit, a feeling most of us share. Goa tourism guidelines has been released by the state tourism ministry to ensure the safety of travelers as well as local residents. 

Read the detailed post-Covid travel guide to Goa below for your post-pandemic travel planning.

Goa Travel Advisory During Covid-19

best place to visit

Are you looking for quarantine rules in Goa ? The state of Goa is inviting more travelers by opening up its tourism industry slowly but the key priority is the safety and wellbeing of both the travelers and the residents. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced that as a part of Unlock 4.0, they have removed the mandate to carry a negative Covid-19 test but all the other restrictions such as compulsory face mask, social distancing, and sanitization of public places are still in place. Here’s a list of some of the other important Covid-19 guidelines issued by the state of Goa that travelers must follow:

  • The passenger must have completed both the dosages of vaccination.
  • All the visitors must have the Aarogya Setu App downloaded with an updated status of ‘Safe’.
  • All domestic and incoming travellers must undergo thermal screening.
  • Symptomic travellers will need to take a PCR test and stay in isolation if needed.
  • Casinos, cinema halls, schools, colleges, weekly markets, as well as shops are now open and running.
  • Beach shacks are open for serving customers with full capacity.
  • The Baga-Calangute beach belt is open for travelers.
  • Air transportation remains open for domestic flights to and from Goa.
  • Domestic buses are operating on normal routes but with a full capacity.

Must Read: 18 Things To do In Goa In December For A Happening Vacation

Best Time to Visit

this is the best place

The best time to visit Goa is from November to April when the weather is ideal for relaxing on the popular beaches and the temperature averages between 20 to 30 degrees celsius.

How to Reach

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The Goa state government has removed all travel restrictions to allow the influx of tourists from all parts of India. The authorities have also introduced rules for travelling to Goa and also charge a fine for those who are not wearing their mask during commute/entering the border. The passengers will be photographed and fined for their actions.

  • Travelers can take a flight from the closest airport to The Dabolim Airport or Goa International Airport to reach Goa.
  • Trains are operating regularly to Goa and you must check the availability on the IRCTC website before booking.
  • If you are planning to travel by road, you can hire a car or drive yourself from the state border to your accommodation.

Suggested Read: 9 Best Islands Of Goa For An Offbeat Trip To India’s Favorite Beach Town

Getting Around

Old Goa to Divar Island

There are multiple modes of transportation available for travelers who want to go around Goa. You can rent a bike from travel dealers for an affordable price, hire auto-rickshaws, take private cabs for a more comfortable journey and also travel by ferry. Make sure that you follow all the Goa tourism rules carefully for a safer travel experience.

The following are the locations where ferry services are available. Please note that some of them may not be functional yet due to the pandemic.

  • Betim to Panaji
  • Old Goa to Divar Island
  • Querim to Tiracolor
  • Cavelossim to Assolna

Places To Visit In Goa During Covid-19

Places To Visit In Goa During Covid-19

With countless beaches, seamless crystal blue waters, and mesmerizing local suburbs that exudes culture, Goa offers many delights to those willing to explore. Ever heard that “big things come in small packages?” This axiom certainly fits best to Goa, a land of limitless possibilities and a soothing escape for travelers.

As Goa has reopened, the way we approach travel might have changed but the beauty of the places remains the same. If you are planning to make a trip, make sure you don’t miss out on Palolem Beach, Baga Beach, Panaji, Goa Velha, and Calangute.

Suggested Read: 9 Hotels In Goa That Offer World-Class Facilities To The Guests And Travelers!

Things To Do In Goa During Covid-19

Things To Do In Goa During Covid-19

With soft sand, clear water, and enjoying beachside conversations with your friends and family, Goa is an absolute favorite destination for autumn and winter travelers. If you are looking for reasons to trade snow with sand, there are many things to do in Goa like Cafe hopping, water sports, Goan food tour, night bazaars, and more.

While participating in organized events like water sports or food tours, safety is the most important factor to keep in mind. As businesses are opening, the state is taking all the precautions to make sure that the travelers are safe when they experience Goa. As a traveler, you can check with your concerned facility and ask for Goa tourism rules , safety gear, and more before your departure.



The state of Goa has removed all the travel restrictions imposed during the lockdown and travelers no longer need to book a stay in advance. From short stays to week-long vacations, you can enjoy your time in Goa by choosing to stay at some of the most amazing hotels and Airbnbs. All hotels are now following the Goa travel rules mentioned by the authorities after reopening which includes a deep sanitization process during and after every guest, limited capacity of beds, closure of community areas like pools and gyms, and contact tracing.

Here is a list of measures that the state of Goa has for the hotel industry:

  • Temperature screening at hotels
  • Sanitizer availability at the hotel and inside all the rooms
  • Disposable gloves mandatory for hotel staff at bar and restaurant
  • Contact tracing forms at every hotel

Suggested Read: Canyoning In Goa: Experience An Adrenaline Rush Like Never Before!


Delicious food

The hospitality industry in Goa is reopening but the safety of the travelers and staff remains a key priority. While some of the most popular street food outlets and restaurants in Goa are back to normal functioning with a limited capacity, many of the food outlets have moved to delivery-only or takeaway facilities. Food franchises are also operational and open for customers with social distance seating and disposable cutlery to avoid any transmission.

What To Pack

Clothing for moderate weather

A post-Covid trip to Goa calls for a smart packing list that would accommodate all your belongings and save space for safety essentials like an extra bottle of sanitizer or a PPE kit. Here’s Travel Triangle’s comprehensive list of things to pack:

  • Clothing for moderate weather and two beach-friendly outfits
  • A pack of disposable face masks or 2-3 reusable face masks
  • Sanitizer for personal use
  • Sanitizing solution for outdoor/surface use
  • A personal PPE kit that will include a face shield, sanitizer sachets, and a pair of disposable glove for flight, train, or any kind of commute
  • Slippers, hats, sunscreen, and other beach essentials that you may need

Suggested Read: 13 Excellent Places To Visit In Goa In July For A Soothing Vacay

Travel Checklist

Book your travel and accommodation in advance

  • Book your travel and accommodation in advance.
  • Talk with your hotel/Airbnb about their sanitizing facilities and the Covid-19 related precautions they are taking.
  • Download the Arogya Setu app on your mobile phone.
  • Try to get tested before your travel and keep the Covid-19 negative certificate handy during your commute.

Further Travel Tips

undertake non-essential travel

  • When at the beach or visiting an attraction, make sure you follow the safety marks on the floor or walls of the place for social distancing.
  • If you are using the ferry services, make sure they are not overcrowded.
  • People over the age of 65 or children under the age of 10 are advised not to undertake non-essential travel.

Further Read: 6 Picnic Spots Near Goa That Are Epitome Of Art And Culture!

As we slowly recover from this pandemic, safety must remain our primary concern while traveling. This post-Covid travel guide to Goa is your one-stop solution for trip planning and itinerary. If you are looking for something more than a post-Covid travel guide to Goa , let us help you put together your dream Goan trip with our customized packages.

Disclaimer: TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images and do not wish them to appear on TravelTriangle, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist, or photographer.

Please Note: Any information published by TravelTriangle in any form of content is not intended to be a substitute for any kind of medical advice, and one must not take any action before consulting a professional medical expert of their own choice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Goa open for tourists?

Yes, the state of Goa is currently open for domestic tourists and travelers from all parts of the country. As per the Unlock 5 guidelines announced by the government, travelers no longer need to show a Covid-19 test or book accommodation in advance. You can easily travel from your home state by just undergoing a temperature check at entry points.

Is it safe to travel to Goa during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Yes, it is safe to travel to Goa only if you are traveling in a small group while following the state-issued advisory. As experts are warning to be cautious against the spread of the virus in cold weather, here are some precautions you must follow if you travel: When going outside, in public transport, or visiting tourist attractions, wear a suitable and fitted face mask that covers your nose and mouth. Always carry hand sanitizer with you and check with your hotel if they are providing you with regular sanitation facilities. Avoid touching any unsanitary surfaces and keep a pack of disposable gloves handy if needed. Avoid going to crowded places and if you are planning to visit any temples or marketplaces, make sure you maintain social distancing.

Are the casinos in Goa open for tourists?

Yes, you can try your luck in some of the most popular casinos in Goa from November 1st, 2020. All the establishments are ordered to operate at 50% capacity and follow the state government protocol thoroughly to ensure the safety of the visitors and staff.

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Trip.Best: Goa

Top 2 Luxury Hotels in Goa

Top 2 Luxury Hotels in Goa

Top 20 Best Things to Do in Goa

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Goa travel guide, popular destinations.

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Experience Goa

Archaeological Survey of India

Archaeological Survey of India

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

Infantaria Restaurant & Bar

Infantaria Restaurant & Bar

Mollem National Park & Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary

Mollem National Park & Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary

Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium

Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium

Goa Beaches

Goa Beaches

Aga Khan Children's Park

Aga Khan Children's Park

Make It Happen

Make It Happen

Basilica of Bom Jesus

Basilica of Bom Jesus

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Cabo De Rama Viewpoint

What to eat.

Cafe Coffee Day

Cafe Coffee Day

Simply Grills

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Bean Me Up Soya Station

Bean Me Up Soya Station

Hospedaria Venite

Hospedaria Venite


The Lazy Dog

Mehek Tandoor Works

Mehek Tandoor Works

The Fisherman's Wharf

The Fisherman's Wharf

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AJ's Goa

LE PETIT Palolem

LE PETIT Palolem

Black Vanilla

Black Vanilla

Discover the real goa with a local expert.


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    How to Reach The Goa state government has removed all travel restrictions to allow the influx of tourists from all parts of India. The authorities have also introduced rules for travelling to Goa and also charge a fine for those who are not wearing their mask during commute/entering the border.

  23. Goa Travel Guide 2023

    Asia India Goa Show all 11 photos Goa View Activity Map Attractions Hotels 󰿰 NEW Rankings Trip Planner Restaurants Shopping 󰪱 More Goa Travel Guide Goa is a state/province in India. Home to cities such as Calangute, North Goa, and Candolim, there's no shortage of things to do and see here. Show Less Goa Travel Guide Travel Guide

  24. Privately owned vehicle (POV) mileage reimbursement rates

    GSA has adjusted all POV mileage reimbursement rates effective January 1, 2023. Modes of transportation. Effective/Applicability date. Rate per mile. Airplane*. January 1, 2023. $1.74. If use of privately owned automobile is authorized or if no Government-furnished automobile is available. January 1, 2023.