Get the best Information about Goa in this exhaustive Goa tourism guide. India’s most popular resort destination, Goa attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors year-round looking for a blast of sunshine away from the city. Colonized by the Portuguese in 1510, Goa is visibly different from the rest of India with a unique Lusitanian air that spills from its ancient architectural relics all the way down to the names of contemporary businesses. Originally popularised as a hippie haven, today all kinds of travellers flock to Goa’s shores for an unforgettable holiday.
Goa is soaking in the sun. It is dancing the night away, uncovering India’s multicultural heritage, and haggling your way into the best bargain at a flea market. It is cocktails at sunset and yoga at sunrise. Goa is all of this and so much more. Find out everything you need to know about visiting this pocket-sized Indian state in our Goa tourism guide below.
How to Reach Goa (Air, Road, Train)
As a popular tourist destination, Goa is well connected with the rest of India and the world. This makes it super easy for you to reach your beach hut hassle-free. On our guide to Goa, we tell you the best ways to reach Goa:
Air: Dabolim Airport is located less than 30km from Goa’s capital, Panjim. Daily flights connect here from New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Cochin and Bangalore.
Road: There are plenty of public and private bus operators in Goa that offer a variety of routes to get you where you want to go. This is a popular option for tourists travelling from Mumbai and Pune as buses run overnight and offer an affordable alternative to trains and flights.
Train: Another option is to reach Goa by train from other Indian cities. The two main stations in Goa are Madgaon and Thivim and they are well connected with direct train services from Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and many other cities.
Best time to visit Goa
Best time to visit Goa is between November and March when the weather is clear with a cool, mild sea breeze blowing. During this time, most of the places in Goa are open and you can enjoy all the adventure activities or party till you drop. However, visiting Goa during the off season (April to October) provides a completely different experience. Even though most of the things are closed and the prices of accommodation are relatively cheaper, the lashing rains offers a stunning view of the flora and fauna. The lush greenery comes to the fore and is a treat to the eyes for all the nature lovers.
North Goa vs South Goa
Wherever you end up in Goa, you’re sure to find sandy beaches, mouthwatering food and an eclectic mix of cultures that will entrance you. But the age-old question remains: should you visit North Goa or South Goa? On our guide to Goa we break down the differences between the two and help you make up your mind.
North Goa is a paradise for partygoers and backpackers. Its scenic beaches are full of life and a constant flow of international and Indian sun seekers gathers here for one reason: to have a hell of a good time. After dark, the crowd moves to Curlies, Club Cabana and Tito’s to dance until dawn. But even North Goa isn’t just about beaches and parties. The region’s colonial history comes alive here with some of the most impressive remnants of Goa’s Portuguese heritage in Old Goa.
South Goa, on the other hand, maintains North Goa’s laidback tropical vibe but caters to a more selective crowd. Upscale hotels and elite restaurants offer the best of Indian luxury. The beaches here showcase Goa’s wild beauty in its purest form with a pristine sandy coastline, serene palm tree groves and lush jungle ready for you to explore. South Goa is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or a few days away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Best Places to Visit in Goa
A former Portuguese colony with stunning beaches and a lively night scene, Goa has it all. Amongst its kaleidoscopic blend of Portuguese and Indian traditions, visitors will find plenty of diverse places to discover and explore. In our Goa tourism guide, find a few of our favourite tourist places in Goa:
- Basílica do Bom Jesus
- Fort Aguada
- Shri Mangeshi Temple
- Sahakari Spice Farm
- Church of St. Francis of Assisi
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Interesting things to do in Goa
There is so much more to Goa than wild bashes and sunny shores. The region’s colonial past has created an eclectic culture where Portuguese traditions spill into Goa’s architecture, cuisine and local customs. Find out some of the most interesting things to do below in our Goa tourism guide:
- Go dolphin spotting
- Visit Old Goa
- Party the night away
- Take a Cruise
Read more about Top Things To Do in Goa
Best Beaches in Goa
Goa and its beaches need no introduction. Goa is famous for its exotic beaches & happening night life. Brimming with swaying palms, food shacks, flea markets, water sports and nightlife, the Goa beaches make for a perfect holiday. Enchanting beaches of Goa attract thousands of international and domestic tourists throughout the year. Here, in our Goa tourism guide, we have mentioned some of the most popular beaches in Goa.
- Mandrem Beach
- Agonda Beach
- Calangute Beach
- Candolim Beach
- Baga Beach
- Palolem Beach
- Patnem Beach
- Vagator Beach
- Cavelossim Beach
- Dona Paula Beach
- Arambol Beach
- Cola Beach
Read more about all the above beaches here in our guide to Best Beaches in Goa
Best Places to Shop in Goa
If you thought Goa was just a party destination, then you’re in for a surprise! One of the top things to do in Goa is actually shopping. Pick out unconventional souvenirs at the Tibetan markets, get the best bargain at the Anjuna Flea Market or lose yourself in Goa’s freshest spices at the Mapusa Friday Market. Our guide to Goa tells you the best places to shop below:
Anjuna Flea Market Goa
Every Wednesday, the streets of Anjuna come alive with an eclectic flea market where you can buy just about anything. Originally set up by Western hippies in the 1960s who sought a place to meet other travellers and sell some belongings for extra cash, the Anjuna flea market today is one of the best tourist places in Goa to people-watch and get a good bargain.
Arpora Saturday Night Market Goa
There is no better way to spend your Saturday evening in Goa than by shopping the eclectic stalls of the Arpora Night Bazaar. You’ll find everything here from traditional spices to embroidered textiles, clothes and local handicrafts. And if you came for the bargains, stay for the street DJs, fire-eaters, poi jugglers and all other kinds of live entertainment!
Calangute Market Square Goa
Is there a better way to shop than with a gorgeous ocean view? We think not – and the shopaholics at Calangute Market Square would have to agree. Their never-ending shacks lined by the shore make it a shopper’s paradise where you’ll be able to find anything from sarongs to artsy trinkets. Food and drink is also readily (and cheaply) available so you can stock up for your shopping spree.
Mapusa Friday Market
Immerse yourself in the true flavor of Goa at the Mapusa Friday Market. Here, local vendors and traders haggle for clothes, antiques, traditional handicrafts, Goan pottery and more. If you’re hungry, the Mapusa Friday Market is also the perfect place to shop for some of Goa’s tastiest treats including spices, fruits, pickles and sausages.
Mackie’s Night Bazaar
Set up on the shores of River Baga, Mackie’s Night Bazaar is a must on your Goa itinerary. Its more than one hundred stalls sell everything from delicious local food to precious handicrafts and even some eco-friendly items.
Baga Beach Market
Every Saturday evening, Baga Beach lights up with one of the largest flea markets in Goa. It’s the perfect place to pick up some bargains on everything from fresh produce to electronics, jewellery and clothing! Tattoo artists, body piercers and hairdressers also set up some stalls here.
Best places to party in Goa
Nothing says “Goa” like a cocktail and a good beat to dance the night away. In our Goa tourism guide, find out the best places to party:
- Tito’s Nightclub
- LPK Waterfront (Love, Peace, and Karma)
- Club Cubana
- SinQ Beach Club
Read more about each of these party places in our Goa tourism guide to Best Places To Party in Goa
Affordable Places to Stay in Goa
Goa’s hotels and beach huts cater to all kinds of travellers from the luxurious honeymooners to the broke backpackers. Below, find a selection of some of the most charming places to stay in Goa while travelling on a budget:
Jardim a Mar (Agonda)
Located right on Agonda Beach, this oceanfront resort is a backpacker’s favourite. You can choose from ocean view rooms, village-side rooms and even charming beach huts. Onsite, you’ll find a delightful restaurant as well as a relaxing massage parlour. Rooms start from €9 and huts from €14.
Cavala, The Seaside Resort (Baga)
In just 3 short minutes you’ll be able to walk from the front steps of the lovely Cavala, The Seaside Resort to the sandy shores of Baga beaches. Nearby, you will also find the famed Tito’s Night Club and Calangute Beach. Onsite, the affordable resort offers air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant serving all kinds of international treats and live entertainment. Rooms start at €34 per night.
Mandrem Retreat (Mandrem)
Located just 200m from Mandrem Beach, Mandrem Retreat offers free Wi-Fi, air-conditioned rooms and an onsite restaurant serving Indian and Continental delights. A lush garden and refreshing terrace are also open to all guests. Rooms start at €24 per night.
That’s all from me, hope you found this Goa tourism guide useful.