The state of Goa, on the west coast of India, is a cultural melting pot. Tourists flock to its bustling beaches, slow-paced inland villages, and atmosphere laden with Portuguese Colonial flavor. Home to world-famous landmarks like the Vatican of the East – Old Goa, it also shelters some lesser-known but equally fascinating destinations that await discovery by travelers. Tourists prefer to book rooms in the Leela Goa because it is considered to be one of the best hotels in Goa.Here are 10 places you must visit in Goa:
Shri Shantadurga Temple – Shri Shantadurga Temple is a religious destination situated at Shiroda, a small village 30 km away from Panaji. The temple hosts three shrines dedicated to the Hindu deity Shantadurga (Parvati), depicting her in different forms. This temple is the only one of its kind in Goa, housing three different temples dedicated to one goddess.
St. Francis of Assisi Church – St Francis of Assisi Church located in Chicalim, Goa is a historical church founded by the Portuguese in 1594. A blend of Portuguese architecture and Hindu artistic themes, this church attracts tourists from all over India as well as abroad with its mesmerizing beauty and spiritual aura that sweeps across everyone who enters it.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary – The first sanctuary of its kind in Asia, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located on the island of Chorao and is home to more than 305 species of birds. Spread across an area of 129 hectares, it is a habitat for wildlife like peacocks, neelgais, and deer.
Calambur Beach – Though not very known, Calambur beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa. Located near Bogmalo beach (25 km away), it can be reached only by ferry or boat. This beautiful golden sandy beach has clear blue waters and offers you a picture-perfect holiday destination away from the hustle-bustle of Goan cities.
Mapusa Fort – A primary tourist destination, the Mapusa Fort can be found in the northern part of Panaji fort. The oldest fort in Goa dates back to 1627, and houses monuments like the Impeachment Gate and the Old Prison which also has a replica of Mahatma Gandhi’s call.
Cansaulim Beach – Another popular beach, Cansaulim Beach is one of the most talked-about beaches in South Goa. Located at Karwar (72 km away), it offers a peaceful escape from today’s hectic urban life.
Betal-Vaddo – One of the oldest historical places in Goa, Betal-Vaddo is situated at Vasco da Gama, 25 km away from Panaji. It is a place surrounded by old Portuguese buildings and churches that date back to the 16th century. This area has been declared as a heritage site by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Dudhsagar Falls – One of the biggest waterfalls in India, Dudhsagar Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Goa. It is located near Assolna village (40 km away), this natural beauty attracts tourists from all over India as well as abroad.
Gomant-Ghat – Voted as Asia’s 2nd best waterfall by CNN Traveler, Gomant-Ghat is one of the most visited spots in Goa. It can be found near Ramnathi village (34 km away), on the banks of the Mandovi River.
Quepem Market – One of the major marketplaces in Goa, Quepem Market is a great shopping destination where you can buy local products made by hand. There are several handicrafts, shawls, and clothes available here that you can bring home for your friends and family members.
Fort Aguada – The fort is located at a distance of 13 km from Panaji on NH17. It is an 18th-century Portuguese fortress perched atop a promontory with a lighthouse standing tall at the tip of it. It stands as testimony to Goa’s glorious colonial past and has often been used as postcards for Goan tourism promotion. The light house cum museum houses many artifacts from ancient times preserved by the Archaeological Survey Of India
Anjuna – Anjuna is a town situated on the banks of river Mandovi, which runs along the northern coast. The river brings the much needed water to the town. In the past, it was known for its sandalwood traders and today is known for its all kinds of crafts, especially wood carvings and paintings. It has a few beaches from where it’s best to shoot pictures.
Baga Beach – Baga beach is located at a distance of 35 km from Panaji on NH17 and has many eateries serving delicious seafood dishes, which are mostly grilled right in front of you. It is a great place to spend the day lazing on the beach, relaxing with a cocktail in hand.
Chandor -Chandor fort is located at a distance of 20 km from Panaji and is perched on a hill overlooking the river Mandavi. It has been declared a protected monument by the ASI and stands as testimony to Goa’s Rajput era. It was built in 1460 by Brahmin Jagirdar Laxmikant Kumpisar who shifted here after being banished from Ankola Karnataka and upon his death, his wife Chandri Bai took charge of it. After her death, her daughter Sunanda Devi took over control. It has a palace, a Shiva temple, and many other fort structures with views of the river Mandavi. It is also famous for its Pousa tree orchid. The local panchayat organizes an orchid festival every year for the preservation and conservation of the orchid
Anjuna Market -Anjuna market is located in Goa 6 Km from Baga Beach. It is one of Goa’s most visited tourist attractions where different types of fruits, vegetables, clothing articles, and jewellery can be found at bargain deals. The place is well connected by buses and taxis making it easy to find it on your own
Candolim – Candolim is an important coastal town located at a distance of 25 km from Panaji on NH17. It is situated on the western side of the famous Macchimar beach and is one of Goa’s major tourist attractions. This seashore village has a beautiful shoreline and beach with amazing views.
Auroville – The Auroville is a non-profit community designed as part of the philosophy and ideals of the Indian guru, The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ghose. The place lies in the Kodaikanal town of Tamil Nadu and is home to over 31000 people.
Panaji is a city located at a distance of 20 km from Panaji on NH17. It is the capital city of Goa and stands as testimony to Goa’s glorious colonial past. You will find many good hotels, restaurants, beaches and shopping malls in this place.Candolim beach is located at a distance of 15 km from Panaji on NH17 and has many world-class restaurants and hotels where you can have a great time with your family or friends. The Leela Goa gives you the most comfortable stay.