There is a long mysterious story is hidden behind everything. So why not make your story a more interesting one than a cliché?
“Sky above, sand below, peace within” is bound to be a mandatory caption of the Instagram post from someone’s ‘Goa diaries’. Well, who doesn’t intend on visiting numerous beaches and clicking hundreds and thousands of pictures and showing them off to the world? The real essence of Goa does lie in the beaches, casinos, and cruises but Goa indeed doesn’t limit itself to these places. White sand beaches, Tropical climate, dynamic nightlife, and welcoming weather make Goa worth a visit in a lifetime, but some hidden and less-visited as well as history-bound, informative places make the state more alluring.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Goa
If you are to visit Goa, then you better not miss out on these places.
1. Chapora Fort
If you are staying in North Goa, then you must start your journey here. Chapora Fort – “the ruined Portuguese fort” of Goa is not just an abandoned castle, but one of the best places to sit and relax. This fort is located at the banks of the Chapora river in Bardez, Goa. The site was built up by a Muslim ruler; Adil Shah called Shahpura, whose name was altered by the Portuguese to Chapora. There are two ways to reach there from the capital city: either a local bus or a taxi. One can spend an hour or two exploring the natural area around the place. It is well known for sightseeing and the view from the above is breathtaking. The only drawback is that you can hardly see any vendors around in the fort area and so it is better to carry some essential snacks with you, it will be thus easy for you to roam around without getting hungry.
2. Valpoi waterfall/ springs
These waterfalls fall among one of the hidden places in the region of North Goa, and has been a tourist attraction very recently ( 5 years at the most). It is really easy to reach this place which is located near the Bicholem village and surrounded by famous beaches. You can either take a taxi, or a bus from Panjim. The place is an absolute spot for the spring season. The jaw-dropping beauty mesmerizes you to peace. No doubt, waterfalls are always an attraction to see the fearless water running down the rocks and making its way into the river ahead. You will always feel to stay longer and it would be a fun spot for children (ahh they love water!).
3. Divar Island
To one’s knowledge, not many tourists want to visit this place as they believe that there isn’t much to see. But for the ones who are interested to know some hidden history of Goa, Divar Island is a must-visit destination. This Island, which is at present a blooming town, holds a lot of history. The only way to reach the isle is through a ferry that goes around from Panjim thrice a day (the place is approximately 10km, by water, from the capital city). There are 3 villages located in Divar, namely, Piedade, Malar, and Naroa, each village being a storyteller. Piedade, the largest of the three villages, is the home to the ruins of the Kadamba dynasty which dates back to the 14th century. The highest hill in the town is now home to the “Church of Our Lady of Compassion” as well as a cemetery. Malar, next, is the place that marks the beginning of the religious transformation during the Portuguese rule. The Sao Mathias church is the center of attraction of the village. Naroa, on the other hand, is considered as the ghost-town, which was once a holy pilgrimage site (in the 12th century) and was destructed by Muslim rulers and Portuguese invaders. Thus, to explore all of Divar Island, you need at least a 2-day stay. The island has several villas with all the basic and premium facilities.
4. Tropical Spice Plantation
This place won’t take much of your time, plus, it is worth visiting if you are a nature lover. It is always a pleasure to walk in a thicket. Along with it, the place is known for its informative aspect. One may know the growing and nurturing of spices they use in their daily lives. During a tour of approx. 1 hr., the staff will introduce you to several spice plantations such as cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, and betel nut trees. While entering, you will be served with green lemon tea and after the walk, you will be served with Feni (a kind of liquor produced in Goa). It isn’t hard to reach the Tropical Spice plantations. One can book a cab from Panjim since this place is just 30 km away.
5. Basilica of Bom Jesus
Goa is well known for the churches and each church holds a special attraction for the tourists. Bom Jesus Basilica is one of them. It is the most ancient and famous church in Goa. The major attraction of the church is that it contains the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier that have been kept on display for the public in a coffin. The church has an ultimate Baroque architecture (a type of architecture that flourished in Europe in the early 17th century) and Portuguese colonel architecture as well. It also has paintings from the life of St. Francis Xavier which depicts his various life events. This Church is located in the region of Old Goa and one can reach through a cab from Panjim.
6. Mapusa Friday Bazaar (Market)
Every famous city in our country has its special market with a special significance, that the markets represent the cities itself. Mapusa Friday Market is that one representative of Goa. It is what a market exactly looks like-both noise and riots! You will find everything you need. Right from the fresh spices to the trendy clothes, you’ll get them all at much cheaper prices than you may expect(all you need is to bargain well). The market is well known for its spice, pottery, jewelry, and carpet shops.
7. Candolim beach
Out of all the famous beaches of Goa, Candolim is where I would suggest people visit. Candolim Beach gives the most hypnotic experience of Goa. This beach is at most 13 km away from Panjim and can be reached by any means of transport. It stretches along with the Aguada fort and has many sports activities too such as parasailing, bumpy banana ride, snorkeling, boat ride, jet skiing, etc, But above all, it has a Dolphin Tour which makes it more interesting of all. The nightlife at the beach adds more spice to the place. The famous clubs (such as Latino and SinQ beach club) alongside the beach fill you up with much zeal and the beach-side parties make you remember the place for a lifetime. What is more attractive is the Cuisine at the beachside. Some of the best cuisine from Goa is found at Candolim. The best restaurant being Claudina’s Shack with the ultimate choice of plates of seafood, may it be crabs or prawns, the dishes are mouth-watering, I bet you will visit it more than once!
8. Three Kings Church
Visiting this place is a matter of belief and a job of fearlessness. Diverse Ghost stories run around the corners of Goa, and The Three Kings Church is home to one such story as well. It is said that 3 kings, who wanted to rule the place and fought for it, died eating a poisonous meal in the church itself, and later on, their bodies were buried in the church premises. It is history but the locals around believe that the spirits of the monarchs still reside inside. If you have a strong heart then do give this place a visit in the dark because that is when villagers have heard strange sounds from inside. This church is located on a small hill in the Cansaulim village of South Goa. The place is well connected by roads and thus you can either book a cab or any other private vehicle to reach your destination. Visit at your own risk, who knows you will be possessed by the kings’ spirit?!
9. A Reverie
Well, this is for the foodies. Goa is famous for its world-class, finger-licking, and mouth-watering cuisines. For food bloggers, Goa is the best place to enhance their taste buds and blogging activities. One such delicacy serving restaurant, namely, ‘A reverie’ is located on the holiday street at Calungate, north goa. The cuisine type served to be Continental, I would personally suggest even a non-foodie to visit it. It is a well-lit, pretty restaurant with disco-balls, intricate lamps, and chandeliers adding much more charm to the place. Some of the cuisines that one should not miss are Tiramisu, Mushroom Risotto, Spring roll, Pad Thai, and Chicken wings.
10. Lamgau caves
These old Buddist caves are certainly one of the hidden places in Goa. Lamgau caves are located in Bicholim, 35 km from the northeast of Panjim. One can either take a bus or a cab to the place. Another way to reach Lamgau is through rivers. The caves aren’t just a tourist destination but additionally are a great historical and cultural depiction of the lives of ancient people. These are man-made caves that were intended to be a residence for monks in the past. These caves are one of those excavators revealed places in the country, and worth a visit, especially for History lovers.
Goa is a place suited both for family and friends to visit with. Beaches and casinos are surely the heart of Goa but the historical places and nature’s beauty is what makes the state worth traveling to. On a note, Goa is famed for one of the most popular festivals of the country “The Goa Carnival”. The rich wildlife and birdlife of Goa can be seen in Salim Ali sanctuary and Mollem sanctuary (not mentioned above). There’s much more in the state to explore. Once you visit, you’ll find abundant tourist spots. To sum up, Goa is par sands, skies, and beer glasses, but do remember to take away a bottle of Feni as a souvenir!
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