Read all about the places to visit in Goa which is arguably one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Speckled with diverse attractions from sunny beaches to cathedrals and world heritage sites, this party capital of India attracts adventure tourists, honeymooners and leisure travellers alike.
The vibrant nightlife, thrilling water sports and places to visit in Goa are renowned worldwide. Let us take you through the places in Goa and the places to visit near Goa that you must not miss out on your visit to this little state of India.
This blog on best places to visit in Goa and Places to visit near Goa is unique as it shares with you:
- Famous tourist spots in Goa, including world heritage sites.
- Information on historic structures that have a kaleidoscopic blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures.
- Old cathedrals and temples that are must-visit attractions in Goa with opening and closing timings.
- Landmarks and location that will help you locate and reach the place.
- Historic significance about each place and why you must visit these tourist places in and around Goa.
At WaytoIndia, we are glad to take you through a bird’s eye-view of the best places to visit in Goa and best places to visit near Goa.
Places To Visit In Goa
While planning a trip to Goa, one thing that most of the travellers need to know is, the best places to visit in Goa and best places to visit around Goa.
To help the travellers plan their Goa tour, we have divided this blog into two sections:
Places to visit in Goa
Places to visit near Goa
The first section shares the places within Goa which must be a part of Goa tour itinerary(places to visit in Goa), while the second section shares the places which are within 100 Kms of Goa(places to visit near Goa) which one can visit as per the time a traveller has for this trip.
Places to visit in Goa
One of the most important places to visit in Goa, the Aguada Fort is a heritage from the Portuguese.
This prized and crucial fort helped them fight against the Dutch and Marathas. A deep dry moat and thick battlements ring the fort.
- What Not to Miss: The 13-meter high lighthouse that was built in 1864, views of the Arabian Sea
- Opening and Closing Time: 10:00 am – 05:30 pm, last entry at 05:00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Sinquerim Beach, North Goa
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
With an area of 8 square km., this is the smallest yet beautiful wildlife sanctuary in Goa. It houses varied species of flora and fauna. Among nature lovers, it is one of the popular place to visit in Goa.
- What Not to Miss: Try spotting the sambar deer, Malabar giant squirrel, Indian bison, Indian peafowl and many species of wild snakes.
- Opening and Closing Time:09:00 am – 05.00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Rajiv Gandhi Kala Mandir, Usgao-Ganjem VP, Ponda, Goa
Museum of Christian Art
Once the only museum of Christian art in Asia, the Museum of Christian Art is one of the most beautiful among the places to visit in Goa. It has a number of objects of Christian interest, including religious silverware and paintings dating back to the 16th century.
- What Not to Miss: Paintings and sculptures transferred from the Rachel
- Opening and Closing Time: 09:30 am – 05.00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: San Pedro church, Old Goa
Big Foot Goa
Have you ever visited an open-air museum, which is a miniature Goan village set up to restructure the rural life of ancient days?
Apart from miniature houses, liquor shops, and feni distillery, you can also see a bird habitat, rubber plantations, a spice yard and lots more at the Big Foot.It is surely one of the best place to visit in Goa for those who are interested in Heritage.
- What Not to Miss:14-meter giant sculpture of Sant Mirabai carved in just 30 days. It made its way to the Limca book of records for being the longest laterite sculpture in India.This makes Big Foot one of the Thebes places to visit in Goa.
- Opening and Closing Time: 09:00 am – 06.30 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Saviour of the world Church, South Goa
Goa Science Museum
The main objective of this museum is to cultivate a scientific inclination among the new generation. The museum with its daily science shows, cyber lab shows, and the taramandal shows(a show related to constellations), makes a perfect place for entertainment for the children.So if you wish to inculcate scientific temperament your children, this museum is certainly a must visit place in Goa.
- What Not to Miss: Interactive exhibits and3-D film shows definitely make Goa Science Museum one of the best place to visit in Goa for youngsters.
- Opening and Closing Time:10:00 am – 06.00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Hotel Varanda Do Mar, Panaji, Goa
Naval Aviation Museum
This is India’s one and only Naval Aviation Museum and one among the places not to be missed in Goa for youngsters.
Here you can come in close contact with bombs of varying sizes, torpedoes, rockets, warheads, depth charges, missiles, etc. You can also have a first-hand knowledge of the Jet Fighter cockpit in a simulator.
- What Not to Miss: Views of the Arabian Sea and Bagmalo beach
- Opening and Closing Time: 10:00 am – 05.00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Bogmalo Beach, South Goa
Basilica of Bom Jesus
A world heritage site, this church is one of the most popular churches in Goa. It is India’s first minor cathedral and the best example of the country’s decorative architecture.
St. Francis died while on a voyage to China from India. The church holds his mortal remains in an airtight coffin made of glass.
- What Not to Miss: The Preserved body of St. Francis Xavier.
- Opening Closing Time:00 am – 06.30 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Wax world museum, Old Goa
Church of St. Cajetan
The next best place to visit in Goa is Church of St. Cajetan. Visited by numerous tourists each year, this church’s popularity owes to its exquisite architecture. The primary design is on the basis of the Basilica of St. Peter situated in Rome. The church is built with laterite blocks that are lime plastered. The interiors are turned into a cruciform with the clever use of four huge pillars and internal buttresses.
- What Not to Miss: The statues of the apostles
- Opening and Closing Time: 09.00 am – 12.00 pm and 04.00 pm to 07.00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Shree SatpurushPrasanna Temple, Old Goa
The Se Cathedral is a magnificent 16th-century monument and the largest Catholic Church in Asia.It is the most celebrated and ancient religious building of Goa.
UNESCO has declared it a heritage site. It is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria. The church has many ancient stories associated with it and thus makes for the best place to visit in Goa.
- What Not to Miss: The Golden Bell
- Opening and Closing Time: 07.00 am –06.30 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Kritsu Kala Mandir, Old Goa
Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church
This is one of the first churches built in Goa. It is set on a hillside overlooking the city of Panjim. The two flanking altars catch the visitor’s eye. This church has been featured in a number of Bollywood movies and is among the must-visit places in Goa.
- What Not to Miss: The church bell (second largest in the world)
- Opening and Closing Time: 06.00 am – 05.30 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Panjim Church, Panjim, Goa
Shanta Durga Temple
The temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, the goddess who mediates between Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
The temple complex is on the slant of the foothills of a mountain string, surrounded by lush vegetation. Its roman-arched windows and maroon-peach-white colour paint give the temple a serene look.
- What Not to Miss: The collection of pyramidal roofs with a dome
- Opening and Closing Time: 05.00 am – 10.00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Warpath Ground, North Goa
Francis of Assisi Church
Another popular place to visit in Goa is St. Francis of Assisi Church.The interiors of this church are rather faded and ragged. Nevertheless, it is beautiful in a predominantly folk art typestyle.
The statue of Jesus’s right arm is free to embrace St Francis, who is standing on the top of the three vows of the Franciscan order – poverty, humility, and obedience.
- What Not to Miss: Maritime themes with coats of arms and navigators’ globes which once adorned ships’ sails
- Opening and Closing Time: 00am – 12.30 pm and 3.00pm – 6.30 pm.
- Nearest Landmark: Se Cathedral, Old Goa
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
This sanctuary is named after India’s best-known ornithologist, Dr Salim. Mangrove swamps span over this bird-watchers’ paradise and an assortment of migratory and local birds can be found on this island.
- What Not to Miss: Sight of flying foxes, crocodiles and jackals
- Opening and Closing Time: 06.00 am – 06.00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Ribandar ferry wharf, Old Goa
Reis Magos Fort
The fort stands tall on the banks of the River Mandovi. It was meant to thwart an outbreak in the city of Panaji by sea.
It helped the Portuguese withstand several attacks from the Marathas. This is the only well-preserved fort in Goa and hence ranks in the list of best places to visit in North Goa.
- What Not to Miss: Sweeping river and sea views, Museum in the fort
- Opening and Closing Time: 06.00 am – 10.00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Shri DandeshwarPrassan Temple, North Goa
Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla
Located in the midst of a forested area, this temple is the most ancient temple in Goa. This flawlessly proportioned black basalt temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is the only remains of the Kadamba-Yadava architecture in Goa. If you are a history buff, then this is an ideal place to visit in Goa.
- What Not to Miss: Linga symbol of Lord Shiva mounted on a pedestal inside the inner sanctum
- Opening and Closing Time: 09.00 am – 12.00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, North Goa
These caves are also known as the Pandava caves and were carved in the 6th century.
The beauty of this place is mainly because these rock-cut caves were excavated out of a single enormous laterite rock. There are also Shivlings carved out of granite in the caves.
- What Not to Miss: Architecture of the caves, Rudreshwar temple and a waterfall in its vicinity
- Opening and Closing Time: 09.00 am – 05.00 pm
Nearest Landmark: Rudreshwar Temple, North Goa
The falls are a major sightseeing attraction in North Goa and a must visit place in Goa for honeymooners.Set amongst the rolling green slopes, you can take a cooling dip into the lake it forms. The gushing falls are sure to enthral all your senses.
The Government of Goa has also developed a park from which the sight of the waterfall can be relished in tranquillity.
- What Not to Miss: A walk on the old arched bridge alongside the falls
- Opening and Closing Time: 09.00 am – 06.00 pm
- Nearest Landmark: Rudreshwar Temple, North Goa
Places To Visit Near Goa
About Dudhsagar Falls
Just about 69 km. from Goa Airport, Dudhsagar that plummets from a height of over 300 mt. is the highest waterfall in Goa and is upstream of the Mandovi River. There is a trekking base camp near the waterfalls.Dudhsagar, a four-tiered waterfall is one of the popular picnic spots around Goa and is one of the best places to visit near Goa.
How to reach Dudhsagar Falls?
Take a train to Londa Junction(Station Code: LD on the South-Western Railway Zone). From Londa Junction, take a local bus/taxi to Kulem.From Kulem, take a special jeep which goes through the jungle for about an hour up to a point from where you walk around 10 minutes to the base of Dudhsagar waterfalls.
About Chorla Ghats
Thick forests bordering the Western Ghats and the rain-fed streams make Chorla Ghatan ideal weekend getaway. It is only 73 km from Goa Airport.
The tourist attractions include the Twin Vajra Waterfalls and Peak of Lasni Temb. Chorla Ghat is famous for its trekking and hiking trails.Thus, Chorla Ghat is one amongst the best places to visit near Goa.
How to reach Chorla Ghats?
One can take State Highway No 4 from Panaji to reach Chorla Ghats.
Terekhol Fort or Tiracol Fort
About Terekhol Fort
Located at a distance of 42 km. from Panjim, Terekhol Fort is on the banks of the Terekhol River. The original fort commissioned by the Maharaja of Sawantwadi, which comprised of a barrack, chapel and 12 guns was later taken over by the Portuguese Maritime Forces.
At present, the fort houses a hotel, Terekhol Fort Heritage and it offers panoramic views of the sea and the ships. Jeri Beach, located nearby is ideal for a leisurely stroll and for sunset views.
Scenic views and heritage value make Terekhol Fort one amongst the places to visit in Goa.
How to Reach Terekhol Fort
Drive to Querim Jetty which is about 47 km from Panaji.From Querim take a ferry to reach Terekhol Fort.
Amboli, the nearest hill station to Goa is a good weekend getaway location. Only 90km. from Panjim, it is easily accessible. Perched at an altitude of over 690 mt. above sea level, it is bestowed with scenic beauty with forests and waterfalls.
It enjoys a pleasant climate all round the year and ensures you a desirable break from the hot coastal weather of Goa. Set amidst the breathtakingly beautiful Sahyadri Mountains, this hill station has many rain-fed lakes and waterfalls.
Village tours and the cave temple of Hiranyakeshiare also worth visiting.Amboli is for sure one of the places to visit in Goa.
To get more travel related information about Amboli, go through Amboli travel guide on http://waytoindia.com/travel-guide/amboli
How to Reach Amboli?
The nearest railway station to Amboli is Savantwadi.Amboli is situated about 118 Km north of Goa and one may also drive to Amboli via Hathkhamba-Goa Road.
Located at a distance of 75 km. from Goa, Nersa is a postcard-pretty village situated in the beautiful Mahadai Valley. Famous for its thick forest cover and sprawling groundnut and sugarcane fields, Nersa, which is situated around 762 meters above sea level makes an excellent picnic spot.
It is a good bird watching spot as well as is home to over 950 species of birds, which also draws ornithologists and wildlife researchers to this village.
Being a picnic spot Nersa deserves to be one of the places to visit near Goa.
How to reach Nersa?
Located about 75 Km northeast to Goa, one can take a cab to reach Nersa.Nearest railway station to Nersa is Khanapur.
Located approximately 86 km. from Goa in the Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra, Vengurla offers a spectacular view of the three hills of Dabholi, Mochemad and Tulas. Plantation tours to its sprawling cashew and mango plantations are extremely popular among tourists.
The town also has many temples including Shri Sateri, Shri Rameshwar, Shri Ravalnath and Shri Ganesha among others.Being the point from where you can see three
Plantation tours to its sprawling cashew and mango plantations are extremely popular among tourists. The town also has many temples including Shri Sateri, Shri Rameshwar, Shri Ravalnath and Shri Ganesha among others.
Being the point from where you can see three hills, Vengurla deserves to be on the list of places to visit near Goa.
How to reach Vengurla?
Drive about 90 Kms north-west of Goa to reach Vengurla.Thivim Railway Station is the nearest railway station which is about 50 km from Vengurla.
Make a day trip from Goa to the erstwhile capital of the Royal Kingdom of Sawantwadi to explore various attractions including Sawantwadi Palace and the Moti Talao.
It is famous for its woodcraft industry where you can buy delightful handmade wooden toys and accessories. Lying between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, this place has a beautiful topography as well.
How to reach Sawantwadi?
You may take a train from Goa to Sawantwadi.Some of the trains that you may take are Mandovi Express (Train No:10103), Konkan Kanyakumari Express (Train No:10111).
If you love adventure sports and wildlife, Dandeli in North Karnataka would be a perfect holiday spot for you.
Situated at a distance of 108km. from Panjim, this scenic town is famous for its white water rafting options and pilgrimage tours during Diwali, Dussehra and Ganesh Chaturthi. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is the most popular tourist attraction here.
It is well known for its thick deciduous forest over and beautiful milieu. Set out on a safari tour to spot wildlife or enjoy a spell of white water rafting within the sanctuary itself.
Bird watching and angling are some of the must-do activities here.Since Dandeli offers both adventure activities as well as wildlife safari options, we have listed Dandeli as one of the best places to visit near Goa.
How to reach Dandeli?
You may take Goa Express from Goa and get down at Londa Junction in Karnataka.From Londa junction take a taxi for Dandeli which is about 35 Km from Londa junction.
Situated on the banks of Kali River banks, Karwar lies along the Karnataka-Goa border at a distance of 108 km. from Panjim. This seaside town is well known for its many Portuguese and Dutch remnants.
The river bank is a popular picnic spot as well.Some of the attractions nearby include the Sadashivgad Fort and Karwar port. Beach lovers are sure to have a great time at the Karwar Beach, Devbagh Beach and the Binaga Beach are nearby.
There are many temples in Karwar including Shri Kshetra Gurumath and the Maruti Temple.
How to reach Karwar?
You may take the train from Goa to Karwar.Some of the trains that ply between Goa and Karwa are Netravati Exp (TrainNo: 16345), Matsyagandha Exp (TrainNo:12619) & Mangalore Exp (TrainNo:12133).You may also drive about 95 Km to reach Karwar from Goa.
About 120 km. from Goa Airport, Ankola is famous for its beaches and temples. Situated along the Arabian Sea, Ankola is in Karnataka.
Soak up the brilliant tropical weather, set out on a cashew plantation tour or enjoy a laid-back day at the beach. Do not miss out the natural harbour of Belikeri and the beaches at Baskal Gudda and Nadibag. Taste the locally grown new variety of mangoes called Ishad.
How to reach Ankola?
You may take Matsyaganda Express to reach Ankola from Goa which takes about 1 hour.Those who wish to go by road for Goa to Ankola may take National Highway Number 17.
Dajipur Wild Life Sanctuary
Located at a distance of 163 km. from Goa, this sanctuary falls along the border of Sindhudurg and Kolhapur districts of Maharashtra with the Sahyadri range at the backdrop.
Set amidst thick forests, this wildlife park is particularly popular for its bison species, wild deer and birds. Jungle trails a must do activity for tourists. The nearby Radhanagiri Dam is another place of tourist interest.
The above day excursion spots that are easily accessible from Goa ensure a diverse holiday experience that is not all about beaches, markets and Portuguese monuments.
We at WaytoIndia have summarised numerous places to visit in and around Goa, which are evidence that there is more than just beaches in Goa.Adventure activities, all-night parties and lip-smacking Goan food await you.
So, whether you are planning a Goa family holiday tour, wanting a honeymoon package for Goa or need a quick weekend getaway with friends, this small town has all the components for a perfect holiday recipe.