Goa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India due to its spectacular beaches and churches. The splendid beaches are famous for lively parties and night outs and the experience in a cruise would be the most enjoyable and relaxing. The tiny state also known as “Pearl of the Orient” and a “Tourist Paradise” lies on the western coast along the Arabian Sea and is a heaven for the nature lovers. Goa has some of the prettiest natural scenery that India has to offer. However, it is much more than just sea and beaches. It has a great historical value. Since Goa was a grand epicenter of the Portuguese dominions, a good amount of magnificent Portuguese structures can be seen here.
Moreover, the large variety of flora and fauna is marvelous and attracts the visitors here. A lot of wildlife sanctuaries and bird watching points are a delight to the eyes of nature loving people. You can enjoy spotting dolphins and other sea life or even can indulge in fishing if you enjoy the activity.
So if you want to thoroughly enjoy your life in the lap of nature, Goa is the place for you. Here is a short list of places you can head to in Goa that offer a sight to behold.
1. Palolem Beach
40 km from Margao, situated in the southernmost town Canacona, Palolem Beach is the most beautiful beach of Goa. It has a shallow bay full of coconut palms in the background and a hush green hillside at one side. The beach of white sand against the blue bay is soothing to the eyes.
The splendid beach is crescent shaped and offers some great panoramic views. The sea here is quite calm and safe for swimming.
There is a road side market here where you can shop for some amazing beach wares and other antique articles. Then there are a few shacks selling seafood snacks, souvenirs and clothes of the shapeless, bright, informal kind.
Another tourist attraction here is the presence of the large amount of Dolphins. Dolphin spotting trips are a great fun in this area, so get ready to sail into the sea to spot a few of them performing wonderful water acrobats.
2. Anjuna Beach
Anjuna Beach is located around 18 km from the capital Panaji and is situated in Bardez taluka. The Village of Anjuna is a five square mile enclosure nestling between the Arabian Sea and the hill overlooking the beach. This beach is known for its swaying palms, soft sands and natural beauty. Its white sand and red laterite rocks offer a beautiful gaze. The majestic red cliffs near the golden sandy shoreline are hit with waves relentlessly.
The restaurants and food joints here offer lip smacking sea food delicacies and the excitement in the air draws the tourists even more. Also, typical Goan entertainment can be experienced here in the famous full moon parties. Apart from these, it also offers activities such as para sailing. yatching and windsurfing for the visitors. The best time to visit here is during Christmas and New Year.
3. Colva Beach
The beautiful Colva Beach is one beach that has almost everything to offer for everyone in a family; be it drinks and awesome food for the elders, shopping and carnivals for the ladies, and sand castle making and paddle waves in the shallow shores for the children. This beach is almost deserted in the early mornings and the inexplicable experience of a long walk on its silver sands is unbeatable and one of its kind. Evenings here are quite romantic and the festivities are at the peak at night.
4. Candolim Beach
The Candolim Beach has quite a calm and serene atmosphere and a long stretch of peaceful silvery beach that offers meager commercial activities on it. It stretches from Escrivao Vaddo to Vaddy Vaddo along the Calangute Candolim highway. The Candolim Beach offers some adventure sports activities like para sailing and water skiing. However, its USP is its serene environment. The best place to visit this beach is during the months from December to February.
5. Baga Beach
Are you fond of fishing? If yes, this is the place for you. Baga Beach is favorite fishing point amongst the tourists in Goa. The beach is not less than a paradise on earth. It is a part of 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa. It is a small but lovely beach located between Colva and Calangute.
Baga Beach is a stupendous place to enjoy your nights. The night parties here are among the liveliest ones.
6. Morjim Beach
The Morjim Beach is located on the north side of the mouth of Chapora river estuary near the Chapora Fort. This beach is a home to the famous species of turtles viz. the Olive Ridley turtles and is a favorite among nature lovers as it also offers some great bird viewing.
Morjim Beach is a paradise of golden sand with lots of palms and casuarinas trees in the backdrop.
Delicious meals and fresh fruit juices available at the nearby restaurants and shacks are no less than an icing over the cake.
7. Chapora Fort
The fort of Chapora lies at a distance of approximately 12 km from Mapusa and is easily accessible from Vagator over the hill leading to the fort. It might be interesting to know that this fort gained a lot of popularity after the Bollywood movie ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ which was shot here.
The fort stands on the top of a hill and was earlier a Muslim structure in the village of Shahpura (was actually a watch post). However, in 1617 the Portuguese invaders demolished the old structure and built the fort. Although it was lying in ruins due to neglect, recent efforts have helped create the same old magic to a great extent and restored the lost heritage.
The fort has a good piece of historical importance attached with it, learning which over here is pretty interesting. This fort offers a superb bird’s eye view of the surrounding coastline and the boundless blue sea.
8. Aguada Fort
Aguada fort is largest and well preserved Portuguese fort quite near to the Aguada beach. The awe-inspiring Aguada fort was constructed in 1612 and lies at the shore of the Mandovi River. It was originally built in order to prevent the entry of ships into the river Mandovi thus protecting Goa from potential enemy attacks (the Dutch and the Maratha). It used be a reference point for the vessels coming from Europe. “Aguada” means “water” and is named so due to a freshwater spring that is in the fort itself and served as a good source of water for ships which halted here.
It holds importance due to the presence of a 4 storied lighthouse, measuring 13 m in height which dates back to 1864 and is one of the oldest in Asia.
9. Dudhsagar Waterfall
Located 60 km from the capital Panaji, the exuberant Dudh Sagar Waterfall is situated in the Sanguem taluka. It is perched on the lofty heights of the Western ghats and falls from a height of 603 m. The word Dudhsagar literally means ocean of milk. They are named so because from a distance, they appear like milky streams. These waterfalls offer a breathtaking view, especially after the monsoon showers when they are in full and furious flow. This waterfall is one of the most attractive and ideal picnic spots offering unrivaled natural beauty. So, if you plan to visit Goa during monsoon, spare some time to go to the Dudhsagar waterfall and enjoy the mesmerizing scenery they offer.
10. Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi
The Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi is in the premises of Se Cathedral at Old Goa. It is built up of laterite blocks and the walls are plastered with lime. There are two spectacular orthogonal towers on both the sides. The wooden statue of St. Francis and the statue of Our Lady of Miracles brought from Jaffina, Sri Lanka are just amazing.
The exterior of the Church is of the Tuscan order while the main entrance is in Manuline style. The inside of the Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi is a fine example of the Mosaic Corinthian style and the walls of the church display scenes from the Bible. The heavily ornamented main altar dedicated to St. Francis is worth viewing.
Moreover, the convent has an Archaeological Museum which has a rich collection of paintings, statues and cart pieces. It has statues of Hindu deities such as Lord Vishnu, and others like Vasco de Gama and St. Catherine. Apart from these, about 60 portraits of Portuguese viceroys and governors of Goa are housed here.