Tourist Attractions in Goa, The capital of Goa, Panaji, is one of the most important cities in Goa situated on the Goa Cities banks of river Mandovi. Besides being the getaway for the rest of the places in Goa, Panaji also houses a few tourist attractions like the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Dona Paula Beach,the Idalcao or Adilshahi Palace and Mahalaxmi Temple. The houses of Panaji with red roofs are hugely attractive. However, what is most important attraction in Panaji is its inherent simplicity which makes itself visible to the tourists almost immediately.
The second most important city of Goa is Vasco-da-Gama which is situated 29 kms southwest of Panjim. Though this city has not much to in terms of tourist attractions, it is nevertheless important because it is a key shipping centre, and as such, has a bearing on the economy of the state. The few tourist attractions of the city includes the Bogmalo beach and the Naval Aviation Museum.
Mapusa is yet another important city of Goa, which is important in the sense that it houses the most popular beach of the region - the Anjuna Beach. There are other beaches as well in this small place that have gained acceptance and love of the tourists like the Baga and the Vagator beach. The place is also famous for the weekly Friday market it hosts, from where tourists can pick up a variety of items like souvenirs.
A quiet, small fishing village, Arambol is situated in the Pernem taluka and lies 50km north of Panaji and 32km northwest of Mapusa. It has two relatively unexploited beaches, Harmal beach, which is Goa's northernmost beach, and Paliem or "Lakeside" beach which is quiet and scenic and safe for swimming. You can avail of either a bus or a taxi from Mapusa and Chopdem to reach Arambol Village.
It is a small village at the mouth of the Chapora River. The Morjim Beach is best known for the rare Olive Ridley turtles that nest here. It is also the southernmost beach of Pernem, just north of Vagator in Bardez.
Chapora Village, located in North Goa near Vagator and just 10km from Mapusa, has a serene atmosphere. An ancient Portuguese fort adds to the offbeat charm of Chapora. The tourism potential of this village has still not been tapped because of the inaccessibility of the place and lack of quality beaches. Another slight downside is that the accommodation options are rather limited. From Mapusa, you can get a number of buses to reach Chapora. Familiarize yourself with the bus timings to avoid being stranded. For better mobility and to get a firsthand experience of rural life, you can rent a motorcycle or a scooter and venture forth.
Like Chapora, Vagator Village is also spread out. You need to hire motorcycles or scooters to roam around the village. Hiring a motorcycle or a scooter is not a daunting task. You can get the information about it either from the main street in Chapora or near the Vagator Beach.
Sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the Anjuna Hill, overlooking the Anjuna Beach, Anjuna village is 8km west of Mapusa and 18km from Panaji. The Wednesday Flea Market, open only during tourist season, sprawls on Anjuna Beach and is a big favourite with visitors. Bargaining is a must in this market. One really needs to hone one's bargaining skills to get a fair deal. Amidst the fun and the frolic, you have to be cautious as theft is a big problem during market days and party nights.
Betim Village, reputed for fishing and building boats, is located on the north of Panaji. You can take a regular ferry across the Mandovi.
7Reis Magos Village
The Reis Magos Church and a Portuguese fort are the two main places to visit in Reis Magos Village. They are located on the banks of the Mandovi. If you visit Goa in January, you can attend the colourful festival of Reis Magos celebrated every year on January 6. You can reach Reis Magos by buses that ply between Betim and Calangute/Candolim villages.
Siolim, one of the largest Goan villages, is on the south bank of the Chapora River and is a mere 20-minute drive from Anjuna. Sangodd and Zagor are the main festivals of Siolim. History buffs should not miss St. Anthony's Church, built by the Francescans in 1568 and located in the middle of the village.
This village is in Bardez taluka and is located east of Mapusa along the Mandovi. It is a good place to go for long walks in the mornings and evenings to enjoy its scenic beauty.
A quiet and peaceful village, Benaulim is 2km south of Colva. This clean village offers a wide range of accommodation to suit all pockets and is suitable for a long-term stay. You can re-alive the past glory of the Portuguese royals by visiting Manthan, the heritage gallery converted from an Old Portuguese home.
Chandor is about 15km east of Margao on the border between Salcette and Quepem talukas. Also known as Chandrapur, the village was Goa's capital in the 3rd and 4th centuries during the rule of the Bhojas. It became Goa's capital in the 11th and 13th centuries during the rule of Kadambas of Banarasipura. It is one of the three Goan villages that host the Feast of Three Kings. While here, you could visit its colonial mansions, like the Menezes House, the Braganza House and Fernandes House.
Colva village is located in Salcette taluka, South Goa. It's easily accessible by road and it takes 20 minutes from Margao and about 1 hour from Panaji to reach it. Colva is the main package-holiday resort of South Goa; earlier, it was a sleepy fishing village. Despite the bustling market, restaurants and souvenir stalls along the Colva Beach, it still retains its quaint charm.
About 8km north of Palolem is the small Agonda village. Its beach, a 2-km stretch of white sand, is unspoilt and uncluttered. The sand and the surf made the beach a great place to chill out.
Gokarna is about 50km south of Karwar. Although politically beyond the borders of Goa, it is immensely popular among Hindus as it contains Pranalingam, reputed to be a powerful Shivlinga, in the Shri Mahabaleshwar Temple. Gokarna is a quiet, sleepy village, ideal for tourists looking for a peaceful holiday. Jog Falls, about 50km southeast of Gokarna and the highest in India, area a must-see. This place is also very popular with foreign tourists.
More great destinations can be found in the Explore India page.