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Tourist Places To Visit In Goa
Goa is the quintessential beach and party destination of India. Turning 18 or celebrating your bachelor party, new years eve or just a getaway with friends and family, this place never fails to amaze. With its collection of stunning beaches, shacks and cafes, water sports and street shopping, you are going to have the time of your life visiting all the tourist places in Goa. Starting from Panaji to Margao to Old Goa, here is our list, one that we believe is a must-visit when in Goa.
Panaji (aka Panjim) is the capital city of Goa. A melting pot of cultures from around India and the world, you won't find any shortage of entertainment in this city. The Fontainhas Festival brings Panjim to life at the start of every New Year. Musicians, singers, artists and dancers from all over the country gather in Panjim to participate. As for the rest of the year, you always have the yacht casinos, ferry rides, and pork rolls you can't say no to.
Margao (pronounced 'mud-ga-o') is the cultural and commercial capital of Goa. It lies somewhat in the middle of a long white-sand beach which spans almost 30 kilometres. Margao is located close to the South Goan, white sand beaches of Palolem (38 kilometers), Colva and Benaulim (about 6-8 kilometers). Margao is known for its huge Indo-Portuguese style mansions.
Old Goa Few tourists look beyond Goa's sun kissed beaches, but with some good planning and a resourceful tour manager, you will be able to discover a side of the 'sun-kissed state' that you wouldn't see otherwise. Visit Old Goa if you're in the mood to go back in time and wander through quaint Christian and Portuguese villages nestled among lush paddy fields and magnificent cathedrals and churches bursting at the seams with history.
Calangute and Baga
Calangute and Baga (pronounced 'Cull-ung-goot' and 'Bah-Gah') in North Goa are the two most popular beach destinations in Goa. Busy and forever bustling with people, the beaches are dotted with vendors hawking everything from water sports to henna tattoos. The shacks on these two adjacent beaches are very popular and serve lip-smacking food. Simply unwind here and watch the world go by!
Fort Aguada and Candolim Beach
Fort Aguada and Candolim Beach are not very crowded and better if you're looking for a romantic stroll or some quiet sunbathing time. They are popular with tourists who choose to live on the more expensive, quieter part of North Goa. Don't miss the historic 4-story lighthouse at the Fort...it's the largest of its kind in Asia!
There is no documented lover's tragedy behind the statue of Dona Paula but the legend is enough to bring scores of visitors to this place every year. Dona Paula is a fun beach, popular for its water sports facilities like windsurfing, parasailing, water-skiing, harpoon fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, and yachting. A colorful water sports festival is hosted on the beach in November every year.
Palolem Beach is largely virgin and is inhabited by fishermen and tourists who live in shacks along the shore or in the main village itself. It is a mile long, crescent-shaped beach and you can view the whole beach from either end. There are a significant number of rocks here making this more of a sun-tan beach than a sandcastle building experience. The sea shelf is gradual and the currents gentle, making it safe for swimming. Incidentally, this was the beach where the Indian segment of The Bourne Supremacy with Matt Damon was shot.
Vasco da Gama
Named after the Portuguese explorer who was the first to reach India by water, this city of Goa is perfect for sunsets on beaches. Cansaulim Beach is the best for a nice sunset, while Hollant is the haunt you would target if you are out for a wild night with friends. Other places to visit here include the Naval Aviation Museum, 400 year-old St. Andrews’s Church, Mormugao Fort, Kesarval Waterfalls, Shri Ramnath Temple and the Sahakari Spice Farm.
The Mapusa region of Goa is famous for many things, but the topmost among them is the Mapusa Friday Market. As the name suggests, it is held every Friday, and stalls and shops are setup to sell local produce from spices to sweets to cashews and chillies and homemade fish fry and sausages. There are of course beaches to be visited here too — Chapora and Vagator to start with. Churches like St. Jerome Church, Church of Our Lady of Miracles and Cansaulim Church must also be on your list.
The quaint town of Sanquelim is famous in Goa for its Harvalem Caves. Nearby are also Harvalem Waterfalls that attract tourists. So if you want to visit some offbeat locations then Sanquelim is the place to go to. Rudreshwar Temple is also one of the most coveted tourist attractions around. The Harvalem Caves were self-excavated in Laterite Hill and include one residential chamber as well. The Pandavas have said to be lived here. Monsoons is a good time to visit as everything here is lush and green.
Bambolim is, if not the best, then one of the best beach destinations in Goa. With its sandy shore, rocks and palm and coconut trees swaying with the wind, Bambolim welcomes you with open arms. It is also a fishermen’s town, so you will see young tourists co-exist with fisher groups going to sea all the time on beaches. The Bambolim beach area here is free from shacks and noisy vendors so this one is perfect if you want peace.
One of the most famous names taken in the same breath as Goa, Anjuna is a beach town that has been the hub of hippy, trance party scenes ever since the early 60s. With tourist backpackers and psychedelics crashing here, Anjuna is for those who want to have crazy fun and come with the mantra —What happens in Goa stays in Goa! Shopping here is fun too, you can buy stuff like sarongs and swim suits as well as crystals and sandalwood and stones from the flea markets here. Visit Anjuna Beach, Wednesday Flea market, Shiva Valley and Curlies restaurant for some amazing food.
Mandrem is a sleepy little village in Goa that is coveted for its Ayurvedic massages. The quietest beach destination in North Goa, it is lined with great hotels, great food, and greater beach shacks. Hire a sunbed and lounge, or visit a massage centre and get pampered into a trance of relaxation.
If tranquil waves, secluded beaches and a solitude of soul is your thing then choose Morjim as your residence when in Goa. The beaches here are quiet, small families scattered here and there. Sunsets are not just clicked for stories here but enjoyed with the eyes, sands are not just for the glitter it adds to your photos but to lay back and relax. You will also find that Morjim is the nesting site of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. So you may get to see their eggs hatch and little cute baby turtles hurtle towards the sea.
Home to ancient temples, Ponda is famous for its farms of spices. You can visit the temples here on a day-tour, from Shri Mahalasa Temple to Laxmi Narasimha Temple, Shri Ramnath Temple to Vijaya Durga and Shri Naresh Temples. If you are interested in exploring or picking up exotic Indian spices like pepper, lavender and red mirchi then visit the tropical gardens like Sahakari Spice Farm, Savoi Spice Plantation and Tropical Spice Plantation. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is also good for a quick winter afternoon drive.