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10 Best Things to Do in Goa | India

Goa, Known as the quintessential beach destination in India, Goa is so much more than just its famous coastline. From pristine beaches with swaying palms to historic churches and Hindu temples, mouthwatering cuisine to high-energy nightlife, Goa packs in a range of experiences. No wonder it remains a top vacation spot for both domestic and international travelers.

If you’re planning a trip to Goa, here are the 10 best things to do for an unforgettable holiday in this beachy paradise.

Explore Picturesque Beaches

With over 100 kilometers of stunning coastline, Goa is synonymous with its beautiful beaches. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can take your pick from lively beaches packed with shacks and water sports to more secluded stretches of sparkling sand.

Best Things to Do in Goa

Some of the best beaches in Goa include:

Anjuna Beach – Famous for its weekly flea market and neon-painted beach shacks, Anjuna comes alive with parties and music. The rocky headlands add to the dramatic scenery.

Calangute and Baga Beach – These popular interconnected beaches offer everything from banana boat rides to jet skiing. Plenty of dining and nightlife options too.

Vagator Beach – Lined by steep red cliffs, Vagator has a more laidback vibe. The Chapora Fort nearby is great for unforgettable sunset views.

Palolem Beach – With calmer waters and a crescent shape, Palolem is Goa’s idyllic tropical beach. Lit up by lanterns at night, it’s perfect for swimming, relaxing, and trying out kayaking.

With so many amazing beaches, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Goa! Some of the best things to do include sunbathing, indulging in water sports like parasailing and jet skiing, enjoying beach shack dining, and watching magical sunsets.

Check Out Historic Churches and Temples

Beyond the beaches, Goa is rich in Portuguese heritage and history. One of the best ways to experience this is by visiting its historic churches and Hindu temples.

Some top religious sites in Goa include:

Basilica of Bom Jesus – A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. An imposing example of Baroque architecture.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi – Beautifully adorned with wall paintings, this church is famed for its exquisite interior. The marble tomb of St. Francis Xavier is also kept here occasionally.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Mangueshi Temple – Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this is one of the most prominent Hindu temples in Goa with a 400-year old history. The pristine white temple has a seven-storey deepstambha (lamp tower).

Marcedez Palace – Once the residence of the Archbishop, this 130-year-old heritage mansion has regal Indo-Portuguese architecture.

By spending time at these historic religious attractions, you can not only admire the architecture but also get a glimpse into Goa’s multicultural history under Portuguese rule.

Shop Local Markets for Souvenirs

No trip to Goa is complete without shopping for souvenirs or local delicacies to take home. Goa has bustling markets that offer everything from clothes and accessories to spices and handicrafts.

Some popular markets in Goa are:

  • Anjuna Flea Market – Held near Anjuna beach on Wednesdays, it’s a paradise for shoppers with stalls selling jewelry, hammocks, spices, artsy decor items and more. Haggling is a must!

  • Saturday Night Market – As the name suggests, it’s open on Saturdays from late afternoon till late night. Shop for cotton tops, beach dresses, shell necklaces, colorful candles and lamps.

  • Mackie’s Night Bazaar – Open from dusk till dawn, this vibrant night market has over 100 stalls selling Kashmiri carpets, pottery, apparel and handicrafts. There’s also excellent street food.

  • Mapusa Market – A traditional go-to marketplace for locals and tourists alike. Pick up everything from fresh produce to antiques and haggling is the norm.

Trying your hand at haggling and buying unique souvenirs is one of the best things to do in Goa’s markets. The shopping is a thrill!

Party the Night Away

Known for its electric party scenes, Goa comes alive after sunset. From flashy nightclubs to beachfront shacks, you can dance the night away and meet fellow party-goers from around the world.

Some of Goa’s best nightlife hotspots are:

  • Club Cubana – Located atop a hill in Arpora, this massive club with a poolside bar offers unparalleled views. Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping party vibe.

  • Tito's White House – A vibrant place to enjoy live music, delicious drinks and meet interesting people from various countries. It’s one of the first clubs put Goa on the party map.

  • Cape Town Café – The interiors have a Cape Town theme featuring graffiti art. Known for great food, music and cocktails. They often host events like karaoke nights.

  • Cohiba - On the Waterem Road in Sinquerim, it’s been rated as one of Goa’s best nightclubs. Frequent EDM festivals and ladies' nights.

  • Chronicle - Nestled on the Small Vagator hill, it hosts electronic dance music nights with renowned international DJs.

Goa’s carefree, festive nightlife is not to be missed. For the ultimate party holiday, head to the happening clubs and bars to dance the hours away!

Indulge in Goan Cuisine

While in Goa, indulge in delicious local cuisine infused with a Portuguese touch. Goan food is considered among India’s best regional cuisines, with an emphasis on seafood, coconut-based curries, and local ingredients.

Some must-try Goan delicacies include:

  • Fish Curry Rice – Goa’s signature dish made from fried kingfish simmered in a coconut-based gravy. Usually served with rice or fresh poi bread.

  • Vindaloo – A spicy curry with variations using pork, chicken or beef. The fiery red curry gets its bite from chili, black pepper, and vinegar.

  • Bebinca – A rich, layered dessert made from coconut milk and egg yolk. It’s a Portuguese-influenced specialty item not to be missed.

  • Sorpotel – A tasty meat dish that makes use of underused cuts like liver, heart and kidneys. Typically spicy and eaten with rice, bread or sannas.

  • Feni – Made from fermented cashews or coconut palm sap, feni is a popular local alcoholic drink. It’s best sampled from beach shacks.

There are also excellent restaurants and beach shacks serving authentic Goan fare and fresh seafood. Some recommended options are Mum's Kitchen, Eddie's Shack, Fish Ka, and Miguel's. The delicious Goan food alone makes the trip to Goa worthwhile!

Try Out Adventure Sports

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Goa offers a plethora of adventure sports from paragliding to jet skiing. Many of the most popular activities take place around the beaches, though there are inland options too.

Some thrilling adventure sport options in Goa are:

  • Parasailing – Get strapped to a parachute and experience an aerial view of the pristine beaches as you parasail above the sea. Operates at Calangute, Baga and other beaches.

  • Hot Air Balloon Rides – For stunning 360 degree views of Goa's landscapes, take a scenic hot air balloon ride, especially at sunrise or sunset.

  • Scuba Diving – Explore the marine world by scuba diving in the Arabian Sea. Malvan and Grande Island are top spots with rich marine life.

  • White River Rafting – Ride the rapids at the bases of the Western Ghats on swift moving rivers like Mhadei river. Organizers offer guided tours.

  • Jet Skiing – Zoom across the waters of beaches like Calangute on an adrenaline-pumping jet ski ride. Trained instructors provide guidance.

  • Cruise to Grand Island – Take a ferry cruise from Panjim jetty to Grand Island for water sports like bumper rides, snorkeling, parasailing, and diving.

With so many adventure activities, your Goa trip is guaranteed to get your heart racing and adrenaline pumping!

Unwind at Spas and Ayurvedic Centres

After so much activity, your mind and body need some pampering. Goa has fabulous wellness retreats and Ayurvedic centers that allow you to relax and rejuvenate completely.

Some recommended picks:

  • Purple Valley Yoga Retreat – Rustic bungalows in a jungle setting with daily yoga, massage therapies and vegetarian food.

  • Bamboo Yoga Retreat – Right on Patnem Beach, it offers yoga classes, Ayurveda treatments, meditation, and tropical living.

  • Cliff Ayurveda – Luxury cottages and suites combined with ancient Ayurvedic and naturopathic treatments. Overlooking the Mandovi river.

  • The Beach House – Renowned wellness resort with Ayurvedic packages, spa therapies, yoga classes and a vegetarian-vegan restaurant.

  • Braganza House – Set in a 17th-century house, they offer therapeutic massages and Ayurvedic treatments based on ancient medicinal techniques.

Spending a few days focused on healing therapies can make you feel refreshed in mind and body, ready to enjoy Goa further. The wellness culture here is worth experiencing.

Explore Wildlife at Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

Nature lovers shouldn’t miss the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary southeast of Goa. Spanning over 85 square kilometers with dense forests and grasslands, it’s home to diverse flora and fauna.

Some star wildlife attractions are:

  • Leopards – Cotigao is one of the few places with an indigenous population of leopards. Spot them during early morning safari tours.

  • Deer and Antelopes – Keep an eye out for barking deer, sambar deer, blackbuck antelope among other species.

  • Monkeys – The sanctuary has common langurs, bonnet macaques and other monkey species.

  • Reptiles – Look for pythons, cobras, monitor lizards and Goa’s vibrantly colored King Cobra.

  • Birds – Over 200 bird species from hornbills to paradise flycatchers can be spotted here.

Cotigao is an easy day trip from Palolem or Canacona, but also has cottages for overnight stays. With prior permission, you can hike or go birdwatching within the core areas.

Check out Dudhsagar Waterfalls

No trip to Goa is complete without visiting Dudhsagar, meaning 'Sea of Milk' in Hindi. These majestic tiered waterfalls plummet 310 meters down a rocky cliff into the Mandovi River.

To reach here, take a scenic train ride on the Vasco route till Castle Rock station, then trek for about 1.5 km. Since the falls are inside Bhagwan Mahavir National Park, a Forest Department pass is required.

Dudhsagar Waterfalls

The best time to visit Dudhsagar is during the monsoon when the water is voluminous. The misty spray and thunderous roar of the falls is an unforgettable experience. Carry your camera as there are awesome photo ops.

Picnics are popular here so you can bring a packed lunch. And make sure you don’t miss the enthralling train ride itself winding past lush forests, tunnels and valleys.

Take a Cruise on the Mandovi River

No trip to Goa is complete without a relaxing Mandovi river cruise. This mighty river flows through the heart of Goa into the Arabian Sea.

The most popular option is a sunset dinner cruise where you glide along the Mandovi sipping on drinks and enjoying a live music show. Many cruises also offer dance performances showcasing Goa’s vibrant culture.

Some also offer dolphin sighting cruises allowing you to spot Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins and Finless porpoise from the boat deck.

Popular cruise operators are Santa Monica Jetty, Grandeur Cruise, and Paradise Cruise among others. Cruise duration ranges from 1-2 hours with pick-up/drop-off from Panjim city.

A laid-back river cruise is the perfect way to soak in Goa's natural scenic beauty.


From spectacular beaches and historic attractions to mouthwatering cuisine and high-octane adventures, Goa truly offers an unforgettable tropical vacation. By including the best experiences this beach destination has to offer, you’re guaranteed a trip filled with great memories.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or non-stop entertainment, Goa has something for every kind of traveler. So get ready to have the time of your life on your next visit to this beachy paradise!


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