Goa is the leader in attendance among Indian resorts, here you can successfully combine a beautiful beach holiday with exciting excursions. About the sights of Goa, with photos and descriptions, read the article.
Top 16 attractions in Goa
Goa has many natural, historical, architectural and religious sites that will be a real discovery for first-time tourists. What to visit in Goa, where to go and what to see?
Shiva’s Face on Vagator Beach
The most interesting beach attraction in Goa is considered to be the face of God Shiva, carved in the rock, it is washed by the gentle waves of the Arabian Sea. You can find this sculpture on Vagator Beach, which is located in the northern part. But not everyone is able to find it. At times the sculpture is hidden under a layer of sand or under the waters of the sea. To find it you need to walk through the small Vagator to the rocks, where there is a small cafe, in front of the entrance to the bar and you will find the face of Shiva.
According to legend, the face was carved in stone by an Italian artist who came here on foot from Europe at the time of the hippie movement. He lived right by the sea for decades. How long it took him to create the sculpture is not known.
Some locals say that the artist still lives in these parts today, he works in the museum and continues to create his unusual masterpieces.
Fort Redie and Paradise Beach
Paradise is referred to by many as paradise on earth. But before a trip to the beach, experienced tourists are advised to visit the unique ancient Fort Redi. The road to the fort is not comfortable, but once you arrive at the end point, you will immediately forget about this small inconvenience. Half-ruined ancient fortress hides in a real jungle. The buildings are drowned in the roots of centuries-old trees, cobwebs and bizarre plants. After wandering through the ruins, you can go to one of the cleanest corners of India.
Paradise is surprising because instead of palm trees there are pine trees. The cleanest sand, warm sea and gentle sun – that’s what you see in this place. There are not the usual numerous bars, intrusive traders and amusement rides. The beach is perfect for those who dream of silence and solitude.
Banyan is a tree. The Big Banyan is a huge tree in Arambola that is extremely popular with travelers, but why? The thing is that on the Internet you can find a huge number of stories about this place. They say it’s a gathering place for all sorts of shady characters, and that the famous Liverpool Four once sat under this tree. Whether this is actually the case is hard to say, but today an elder Baba dwells under the tree.
To find the banyan, you have to wander along a narrow path through the jungle. It is simply impossible to walk past the elder. Right in front of him is a plaque with his name on it, and an arrow points straight at him. Don’t rush to rejoice, this is not a real old man, but only a decoy to confuse foreigners.
So, walk past the false elder and move on. On the way to Baba will have to climb over snags, around boulders and trees. But don’t go off the trail. Along the way you will come across signs with arrows, stick to this route. At the end of the road you will find a huge sprawling tree, and under it the famous real Baba. Baba explains to everyone the meaning of life, which, in his opinion, lies in the unity of man and nature.
Waterfall and Arvalem Cave
What else is there to see? You will surely be impressed by the excursion to the picturesque Arwalem Falls. The waterfall is set in the jungle, surrounded by wildlife. The water rumbles into the lake from a height of 10 meters. The best way to photograph the waterfall is from the observation bridge. This attraction is most impressive after the monsoon season.
Not far from the waterfall is Arwalem Cave. This cave is carved into the rock and is surprising in its size. Historians claim that the cave was created in the 5th or 6th century. There are five rooms that communicate with each other. In one of the rooms were found ancient inscriptions, which date back to the 13th century.
Four of the five rooms have sacred linga stones on pedestals. Sculptures are of great interest among tourists, many want to touch them, because according to the legend, these symbols of masculinity give a man protection from evil forces, as well as creative and spiritual growth.
Before entering the cave, it is necessary to take off your shoes.
This is the capital of the state of Goa. It was originally a small village until in the 18th century the residence of the Viceroy of Portugal was moved to Panaji. Since then, its rapid development began, and today the population of Panaji is about 60,000 people.
There are many surviving monuments of Portuguese colonial architecture, some of which are included in the UNESCO list. There are also remnants of the ancient Indian architecture, which was so loved and idolized by the children of color – the hippies.
The center of the city is called Church Square, on which is located the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Chapel of St. John the Baptist. Sebastian, built in the mid-16th century. You can also see the Jama Masjid mosque, the Mahalakshmi Indian temple and other attractions.
Market in Anjuna
Anjuna is a small town with the famous Goa flea market on the coast on Wednesdays. The market first appeared in the 1960s, when hippies settled on this blessed land.
The children of the sun would gather in company at one of the beaches near Anjuna, where they would hold an all-night party, singing and dancing. In order to find money to continue everyone’s fun, they immediately sold unnecessary things. This is how the market in Anjuna came about.
This colorful market has long been a local landmark. People come here just to observe the local extravagant inhabitants.
You can buy anything: clothes, shoes, cosmetics, musical instruments, souvenirs, books, etc.
Bon Jesús Basilica
This is another interesting attraction located in Old Goa. In front of us is a Catholic church and a historical monument, which is on the aforementioned UNESCO list. It was the first in Goa to be declared a minor basilica by the Pope.
Here are the relics of St. John the Baptist. The temple is the center of the pilgrimage of Francis Xavier. The basilica was built in the early 17th century in the Baroque style. Inside, it has a marble floor decorated with semi-precious stones and gilded altars.
There are valuable frescoes and paintings on the walls of the temple, and in its center is a statue of the founder of the Jesuit order, revered by all Catholics. The Basilica is the main iconic Catholic landmark in Goa.
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Catherine’s
Where else would you like to go in Goa? This cathedral in Old Goa is the largest Catholic cathedral in all of India. It was built in the Portuguese colonial style, is of historical value and is on the famous UNESCO list.
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The Cathedral of St. Catherine was built in the early 16th century in the form of a basilica, near which two towers were installed. One of them has not come down to our time. And on the preserved tower is a bell tower with 5 huge bells.
The main altar of the cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine the Martyr. Here is the chapel of missionary Francis Xavier, where he baptized the people of Goa as he preached the Word of God. There is also the Miraculous Cross on which Jesus himself appeared.
The Church of St. John the Baptist. Francis of Assisi
This church is another beautiful place in Old Goa. It was built by local Franciscan monks in the mid-17th century and still has magnificent stucco and sumptuous wood carvings.
Interestingly, at first it was painted by local artists, but later the Portuguese authorities learned that these artists were incorporating Indian deities and demons into scenes of Christian mythology. Indian painters were no longer allowed in church painting.
On St. Francis’ Memorial Day, thousands of pilgrims come here and the saint’s relics are displayed to them. Believers are convinced that touching them will help anyone heal from all diseases and ailments
This small reserve is simply adored by European tourists. Here, in an amazing way peacefully coexist representatives of flora and fauna from all over the world, mingle Europe and Asia, Portugal and ancient India.
The animals that live in this sanctuary can be found in any European reserve, and all around there is a wonderful Indian jungle. It is interesting that they are landscaped, put in order, so they look like a city park.
There is a small hill in the center of Bondla, which is surrounded on all sides by jungle. They are home to many wild animals, with predators – in cages or special aviaries, in conditions close to the natural environment.
Night Market in Arpora
If you do not know where to go in North Goa, feel free to go to this unique market. This wonderful, unique in its kind place must be visited on vacation in Goa. What’s interesting for tourists there?
The night market in Arpora combines a European flea market with a colorful oriental bazaar. It’s a huge hangout where people just talk to each other. Buying or selling goods is in second place. Hippie culture is flourishing all around.
At the top of the organized clothing market, including. with designer things, handmade products. In the center you can eat fast food, which is quite expensive by Indian standards. And downstairs there are many entertainment venues, bars.
The Church of St. John the Baptist. Augustine
This church is another unusual place in Goa. It was built in the early 17th century in Old Goa, but today it remains in ruined condition, while it is on the famous list under the protection of UNESCO.
The temple was built by monks from the monastery of St. John the Baptist. It was a major religious building in the state of Goa that amazed parishioners with its extraordinary beauty. The Augustinians erected a monastery around the temple.
In the 19th century, many Catholic orders were banned by the Portuguese king, so the Augustinians were forced to abandon their church and its monastery. The Renaissance architectural specimen was gradually deteriorating until it became a piece of wall.
This Hindu temple was erected in the first half of the 18th century and is dedicated to the goddess Parvati, the former wife of Shiva. Shantadurga immediately became the most popular temple among local Hindus, and today it is also admired by tourists.
The church building has been reconstructed and restored many times, most recently in the 1960s. The entire temple complex consists of one large building and three smaller ones made of Kashmiri stone.
Next to the temple of Shantadurgi there is a tower linking the Earth and Heaven. They come here necessarily with gifts for Parvati. Wreaths of flowers are sold as gifts near the temple.
Shoes should be removed before entering the temple. Admission is completely free.
This interesting place in Goa is a real historical treasure: a Portuguese port built in the 17th century. It protected the Portuguese from attacks by local tribes and was a center where ships and merchant ships from Europe came.
Another interesting attraction of the fort – a huge lighthouse, as built by the Portuguese in the 60s of the 19 th century. Today, Fort Aguada is the largest man-made freshwater reservoir in Asia.
The upper part of the fort stored water, there are underground chambers, rooms for storing gunpowder, bastions, etc., and below there were ships. The lighthouse shone until the 1970s, and then it was abandoned. Today the fort is a prison.
Salim Ali Reserve
What else is interesting in Goa? Be sure to visit the small predominantly bird sanctuary of Salim Ali near Panaji. In addition to the four hundred species of birds, you can observe crocodiles, jackals, etc.
The reserve was named after the famous Indian ornithologist, who was the first in the country to conduct regular observations of bird life and write scientific studies about them. It was in the local mangrove forests and swamps that he began to do science.
White herons, storks, ducks, and the famous Kingfisher birds live here. Of exotic animals there are flying foxes. The best time to go to the reserve is from October to March.
This famous waterfall is one of the most beautiful places in Goa, so it is included in the absolute majority of tourist nature trails. It is located in the reserve, which is easiest to get to by jeep, as. There are no roads there.
Another local attraction for tourists – wild monkeys, there are hundreds of them. They live near the waterfall and are used to begging tourists for different goodies. Therefore, the latter buy monkey treats for them in advance.
The Dudhsagar waterfall itself pours down the mountain in three beautiful cascades that create walls of water. Above the waterfall there is an old railway bridge, built by the Portuguese. Huge trout and carp can be seen under the water in the waterfall.
Excursions and entertainment in Goa
One of the most popular types of excursions are day trips, which cover visits to the maximum number of attractions. The itinerary you can make yourself, if you travel on your own or take advantage of the offer of local travel companies.
A one-day excursion may include a visit to:
- of the old city;
- Dudhsagar waterfall;
- spice plantations;
- ancient temples;
- elephant plantation.
If time permits, you can visit the main attractions in a few excursions. It is worth noting that if the trip is for the whole day, travel companies provide food and drinking water.
So, the rating of popular excursions and entertainment:
- Spice Plantation and Dudhsagar Waterfall.
- Little Tibet.
- Portuguese area.
- Crocodile Safari.
- Journey along the Zuari River.
- The ancient city of Hampi.
- Saturday night market.
- Robinson’s Journey.
- Excursion with elephants.
- Journey through the wild jungle.
- Journey to the ancient temples.
- A tour of the markets.
Historical features of Goa
A historical feature of the state is the fact that it was not until 1962 that this corner of paradise was liberated from the Portuguese colonizers. Because of the mix of cultures, Goa has an unusual mix of European and Indian attractions. This gives the resort a special charm and uniqueness. Next to each other, side by side, there are European castles and Indian pagodas, unique waterfalls and wild jungle.
The remarkable thing about the resort is the wild unbridled nature. Here you can see the rare animals, unique plants that have not been touched by human progress and live their own lives. It is not uncommon for those who enter the wild jungle to get the impression that there is no civilization here at all.
Despite all the beauty and excellent infrastructure rest in Goa is considered relatively cheap. Tours to this resort have become popular with Russians only a few years ago, while Europeans have discovered this piece of paradise in the 70s.
Paradise holidays in Goa
The state of Goa in India has long been one of the world’s tourist centers. There are great places for beach holidays, nightclubs with psychedelic music, tourists are waiting for the eternal sunny holiday in the style of hippies.
Some foreigners, imbued with the atmosphere of Goa, come here forever. Most locals have a long-established European mentality, and Indian ethnic exoticism has become an integral part of world culture.
It is known that Goa from the 16th century was a long time a colony of Portugal, so there are still towns with architecture in the national style. Old Goa, the former capital, is on the famous UNESCO list. This is one of the most interesting places in Goa.
Today, hotels in the state can offer the highest service and all conditions for a carefree life. There’s room for everyone. If you have a modest budget, you should choose the northern part of the paradise. Prices here are much lower, but the rest is also not forgotten and full of interesting excursions and travels. Luxury vacation has to offer the south. Here are the fashionable hotels, the beaches are characterized by snow-white sand, but also the prices are much higher than in the north.
Recently, holidays in India have been closely intertwined with the recovery of the body. Followers of the teachings of Ayurveda come here. This teaching is based on the unity of nature and man, on the restoration of natural mechanisms to rejuvenate and revitalize the human body.
The brightest representatives of the resort are the hippies. They are literally everywhere, because it was this movement in the early ’60s that discovered this heavenly corner of the earth and showed the world where the secrets of the human universe are kept. It is the hippies who claim to know the meaning of life that India has revealed to them.
Food in Goa
The popularity of the resort has made adjustments to the menu offered by local restaurants. Here you can easily find European, Asian, American and Mediterranean cuisine. However, in spite of all the variety of dishes, the most popular is the traditional Indian cuisine, which is so diverse that every tourist can find in it the dishes to his taste. The most common dietary destinations in Goa are:
Cheese-eating. This trend involves eating raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries. Goa in this sense is a treasure trove of healthy food. A huge range of products that can be eaten without heat treatment allows you to make your own varied menu for the entire period of rest. Raw food restaurants are very popular here.
Vegetarianism. For fans of the direction there are also many cafes and restaurants. The food in these places is prepared according to all the rules of vegetarian culture. The Indian culture forbids the eating of one’s own kind, which is why vegetarianism is especially revered here.
Meat Kitchen. Meat menu at the resort is represented by chicken or seafood dishes. Because of the culture of the local population, it is forbidden to eat beef and pork. For this reason, there is no need to irritate the locals with the question of dishes made from these types of meat.
National Cuisine. The national cuisine in Goa can only evoke two emotions. Either you will become a fan forever, and even in your home country you will cook Goan delicacies, or you will never touch this cuisine again. It’s all about the huge number of spices that make up the national Indian cuisine.
Briefly about safety in Goa
Buying a tour to Goa, every tourist should take care of safety. The first thing to remember is that it is strictly forbidden to drink raw water in Goa! The water here is of poor quality and you can easily pick up a dangerous infection. You should not eat fruit washed with raw water or drink water with ice. Ice at local vendors is made from unboiled water.
The second thing to know is that you should not take expensive things on tours. Phones and cameras should always be kept with you or left in your hotel room. Also, do not take large sums of money with you. Know that your purse can be snatched right out of your hands.
If you don’t want to pay, refuse small services or local help. Here accept to pay for everything from help with carrying things to cabs and escorting you to the place you want to go. And often the locals snatch the suitcases from the tourists literally by force, and escorts do not lag behind against your will to earn a little money.
Ignore the beggars and beach vendors. If you give alms alone, as well as buy something from a pedestrian trader, be prepared to be surrounded by a crowd of such people and have to fight them off. Always carry several photocopies of your passport with you! If your documents are stolen, this will solve the problem.
Shopping in Goa
Haggle! At the resort, almost all items are sold at double the price. You will not see price tags here, the price says the seller, and for locals it is several times lower. Bargaining for 15 minutes will reduce the price of goods by 2-5 times! Before visiting the markets, walk around the supermarkets and determine the price range of certain goods.
Mostly in Goa, tourists buy local souvenirs. Their variety is really impressive. Popular are beach goods and fruits. However, in the local markets you can buy serious things, the most popular items are considered leather goods, ceramics, carpets, jewelry. Buy these products in stores, there are many fakes on the markets.
Video overview of the sights of Goa
Goa is truly considered a corner of paradise on our planet. The sun shines here all year round, and the clean sandy coast and warm sea provide an unforgettable experience. Beaches stretch along the coast for hundreds of kilometers and everyone can find a secluded place for privacy and relaxation.