A woman leaning out the window of a train in Goa, India

Why Visit Goa? 10 Best Reasons

India is a diverse country with hundreds of unique places to visit. It can be difficult to narrow down the spots you need to hit during your visit, so if you’re planning a trip to India, why should Goa be on your list? Check out these 10 reasons, and you’ll be racing to put Goa at the top of your itinerary!

Travel to: Goa

The beauty of Goa

Everywhere you look in India, you’ll find gorgeous scenery, stunning architecture, and history around every corner. So what makes Goa so special? Some of India’s most beautiful places are located in Goa – here are a few of our favourites.

  • Agonda Beach: This isolated white-sand beach is your perfect escape from a busy trip! Visit the turtle centre to learn about conservation efforts, or just spend the day lounging in beachside cafes.
  • Basilica of Bom Jesus: Home of the body of St. Francis Xavier, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was constructed in 1605 in stunning white marble. As well as being an important historical site, the Basilica is architecturally stunning!
  • Amboli Waterfalls: Located in the Western Ghat hills, Amboli Falls is one of India’s most beautiful waterfalls – and the incredibly diverse flora and fauna surrounding the falls don’t hurt either!
  • Terekhol Fort: Technically, the Terekhol Fort is in Maharashtra – it sits on the northern side of the Terekhol River, which is the dividing line between the states – but we couldn’t resist! This 17th-century fort provides stunning panoramic views of the river and sea beyond.
  • Grande Island: A great escape from busier cities, Grande Island (or Ilha Grande) is a quick ferry ride away from the mainland. Here, travellers can enjoy snorkelling, swimming, exploring shipwrecks, and even spotting dolphins!
  • Mapusa Market: Open Fridays, this market is where locals come to get their fresh produce. Here, you’ll find a rush of brightly-coloured fruits, home-made snacks, jewelry, wine, and anything else you can imagine.
  • The Latin Quarter: Feel like you’ve stepped into the Mediterranean in Panjim, Goa’s Old Lain Quarter and a UNESCO Heritage Zone. Your camera will love the colourful houses and old Portuguese mansions!

1. It’s a Water Sport Heaven

If you like water, Goa has it all. This Indian state stretches its coastline along the Arabian Sea, which means there’s plenty of beach to go around. You can experience scuba diving or snorkeling in the sea, go on a sport fishing tour, try kitesurfing, and so much more!

Goa also boasts some beautiful rivers, including the Zuari and the Nerul, which offer calmer activities such as kayaking or backwater cruises.

A beach in Goa, India
Enjoy Goa’s marvellous beaches! | © Alexey Turenkov/Unsplash

2. Get a taste of the culture left behind by the Portuguese

The Portuguese held control over Goa until 1961, which means the culture still has a very clear mark on this area. In fact, many of the older locals still speak Portuguese.

If you want to get a taste of Portuguese culture, take a stroll through Old Goa, and make sure these three places are on your list!

  1. Se Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Goa
  2. Basilica of Bom Jesus
  3. Church of Saint Francis of Assisi

Next, head to the Fontainhas neighborhood of Panaji to discover the colorful Portuguese-style houses and enjoy the culturally-charged atmosphere.

Colourful houses in Fontainhas, Goa, India
The Portuguese town of Fontainhas | © Navin Sigamany/Flickr

3. Accommodations for all budgets

Another great reason to visit Goa is the fact that, no matter what your budget is, you can afford to stay here. If you prefer to live in the lap of luxury, some of India’s most opulent beach resorts can be found here. However, if you’re trying to visit India on a shoestring, there are plenty of hotels that offer you all the comforts of home while still allowing you to stay within your budget.

A small yellow bed and breakfast in Goa, India
There are many guesthouses in Goa for budget-conscious travellers! | © Lian Chang/Flickr

4. Go party or just relax: it’s up to you

Goa is somewhat known for its party lifestyle, and if that’s your scene, you’ll be pleased. The nightlife doesn’t stop in Goa, and there are plenty of places you can party until dawn.

However, once you get tired of the nightlife (or the hangover kicks in), Goa also has a variety of places for you to relax and just enjoy life. Whether you’re looking for relaxing treks through the jungle, old-world history, or beaches that look like they were taken from your computer’s wallpaper, Goa has what you need to wind down.

5. Beautiful wildlife

Of course, your relaxation just won’t be complete until you take in some of the natural sights of Goa.

With over 450 species of birds, Goa is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Check out the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Chorao to see some feathered friends. You can also see other rare animals, such as pangolins, guars, chitals, or elephants in Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries. The biggest sanctuary is located inside Mollem National Park, about two hours’ drive from Panaji.

Green trees at the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa, India
The Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary | © ptwo/Flickr

6. These three Museums alone make it worthwhile

The Museum of Christian Art

Located in old Goa, this museum is a stunning representation of Goa’s Christian heritage. When you get a glimpse of Indo-Portuguese Christian art, you’ll see just what a beautiful blend these two cultures created.

The Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum is another stand-out experience that can’t be missed. Check out the history of Goa with artifacts such as Portuguese weapons, ancient maps, bronze statues, Persian and Arabian inscriptions, and more.

Indian Naval Aviation Museum

For aviation fanatics, the Naval Museum is a great place to stop off and visit with classic planes and helicopters. Check out India’s aviation history throughout the years, and enjoy the indoor/outdoor design of the museum which allows visitors to stroll through the sunshine while viewing planes dating back to the 1940s.

7. Flea markets that appeal to all

Once you’ve had enough of the Portuguese culture in Goa, jump right back into India with flea markets such as the one in Anjuna.

This beachside flea market is full of eclectic goodies, many of which are made by hand. Make sure to hit Anjuna on a Wednesday so you can see this market! Once you get tired of wandering the shops, take a stroll on the beach or make your way inland to the German Bakery for some chilled vibes and vegetarian food.

Anjuna Flea Market, Goa, India
The famous Anjuna Flea Market | © Alexey Komarov/Flickr

8. Opportunities for volunteering

Goa isn’t just about tourism. If you’re looking for a way to give back while you travel, check out the opportunities for volunteering in the local community.

Volunteer travel allows you to accomplish something while you see the world, and gives you a chance to get to know the wonderful and welcoming people of Goa.

9. Trek to Dudhsagar Falls

One of the largest waterfalls in the country is located just 60 kilometres (37 miles) from Panaji. Its four tiers stand over 310 metres (1017 feet) tall and create an incredible effect in the jungle that will truly stop you in your tracks.

To get there, head to Mollem and take a taxi, or book a Dudhsagar Falls tour.

Dudhsagar Falls, Goa, India
Trek to the stunning Dudhsagar Falls | © Kumaresh Rajarajan/Flickr

10. Enjoy foods you can only have here

Everyone raves about the food in Goa, and for good reason. With the coast at your doorstep, the seafood in Goa is top-notch.

Also, try foods and drinks that are unique to this area. For example, take a tour through a spice plantation and learn all about how spices are grown, and what they can be used for. Don’t forget to try Feni, a local liquor made from cashews or coconuts. This drink has been described as a part of Goa’s culture, so don’t leave without a sip or two!

A spice plantation in a tropical jungle in Goa, India
A spice plantation in Goa | © bcawston/Flickr

Goa is a vibrant and culturally-charged area full of new things to see and adventures to be had. Now armed with 10 excellent reasons to visit Goa, you can start packing your bags and get ready for a true Goan adventure!

Amy Copadis is a freelance writer and blogger currently living in Spain. She writes to fund her addiction to travel and coffee.

two people looking in the sunset overlooking a lake and a cliff
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