My last trip to Goa was quite an unusual one – one where I almost did not go to any beaches. I say “almost” – for it was only on the last day, we hopped onto the Fort Sinquerim that is along a beach. Again, we did not get onto the beach but just gazed at the sea from atop a bastion. For all the time that we were here, we were busy discovering the other part of Goa – the one that I have been calling – Goa Beyond Beaches.
Goa is an all year round destination- there are just tons of things that you I have shared quite a bit of my trip of Goa beyond Beaches in my earlier posts. This one is merely to summarize it for you and give you a list that can help you include a few places from Goa beyond beaches in your holiday itinerary.
Why Goa beyond beaches?
Alright – so Goa is beautiful. Beaches are good enough. Why should anyone look beyond it?
If this is what you are thinking, then my reasons below should be able to convince you –
- Goa has a very unusual history – one that is not just interesting but has a made Goa as you enjoy today. It is quite illuminating to know about it all.
- Goa is a lovely blend of Eastern Indian Culture with the Western Portuguese world. This blend is still visible in Goa. Once you discover these roots, you are bound to enjoy Goa even more.
- Goa is a state, not a city or region. Thus, it is time we look at it as a larger region – one that has so much natural beauty that takes you beyond its beaches. Discovering it is truly refreshing.
If you need to know some more reasons and are not completely convinced, my 7 picks of things to do in Goa beyond beaches will definitely do its trick. Take a look –
Heritage Walk in Panjim to see Goa beyond Beaches
The heritage walk through the Old Latin Quarters or the Fontainhas area of Panjim is a colorful and quite an illuminating experience. Here you can get glimpses of the shared connections with the Portuguese, discover the various facets of the Indo-Portuguese homes, find wishing wells while you pass through their old cafes and bakeries. You will also, be able to see the Fresh Water spring – on the basis of which this area was named as “Fontainhas” or the “Fountain of Phoenix”. Truly a unique and vibrant experience.
It is not enough that you use and enjoy spices. It is always good to know where they come. Goa’s spice plantations are truly a delight for your senses. A lush green paradise with fresh spices growing around, a tour of this plantation is bound to refresh you. You don’t just see these spices, but also, can taste them in the fresh lunch that is served here. Also, you can meet the gorgeous fauna residing in the gardens. Take a peek at this post for my other reasons on why you need to take this tour.
Not too fast, nor too slow, the River Mhadei is a great place to experience some River Rafting. A well-organized and safe adventure sport, river rafting is available only during the monsoon months. And it is not just the adrenaline kick, but also, a soothing and refreshing experience, thanks to the lovely woods along the banks of the River Mhadei. So, if you are headed to Goa around Monsoons, make sure you try this one out.
Don’t forget that there is more to the woods than the river rafting experience. You might even want to explore the wild in Goa out here for its unique flora and fauna.
Indian Customs and Central Excise museum
Experience the battle of wits as the customs officers play a chess game to beat the smugglers . Here you can also, see the goods that were saved from being stolen from India as well as case studies of how they were being smuggled out. One of its kind, this museum is definitely a recommended visit. If you want to know more, click here.
Houses of Goa Museum
Another exceptional museum that is not just unique in the way it is built but also, showcases the various aspects of the Indo-Portuguese homes. Built by a local architect Gerard Da Cunha, this museum explains the various traditions and signature styles and symbols of the Goan homes. And while you are here, take a tour of the cheerful and eco-friendly schools that have been built by the same architect.
Relics of Old Goa
The Old Goa region in Ponda is full of stories and heritage monuments. Be it the age-old Mangeshi temples that were built elsewhere earlier and then, shifted to its current location owing to the Portuguese invasion or the famed Basilica of Bom Jesus that holds the mortal remains of the St. Francis Xaviers. It is a delight to see the elaborate architecture of these places. A day spent in Old Goa definitely brings alive a different perspective to this lovely place called Goa.
Besides Ponda, if you visit the smaller villages and the capital city of Panjim, you are bound to find some really gorgeous churches and temples – that are bound to mesmerize you with their architecture.
Unusual festivals of Goa
The little towns and villages of Goa have some really unusual and vibrant celebrations. I had the fortune of attending one of them – the Touxeachem or the Cucumber festival of Goa which you can see for yourself here. And then, there were others that I was keen to attend – like the fun Chikal Kalo festival where you play with mud or the Bonderam festival that took place in an island off Goa. The Bonderam Festival has some really creative floats and games and I for one, would love to be a part of that. Almost every month, Goa has some festivals that you can visit and be a part of. To find this calendar of events, you can refer to the Goa Tourism website.
With this list, I am sure you are convinced that there is more to Goa than just its beaches and am sure, you would be keen to explore this part of Goa beyond beaches. On how to get to these places, just click on the links that I have included under each suggestion.
Which one of these appeal to you? And if you still want more options, check out my fellow blogger Sid’s post on his blog Sid-thewanderer to know what else you can do in Goa beyond its beaches.
Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.
I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including BBC Travel, Lonely Planet India and Jetwings. I have recently published my first book – When Places Come Alive – a collection of stories that are based on legends, landscapes, art and culture of a place which is available in both ebook and paperback format.
106 thoughts on “7 Things to do in Goa beyond beaches”
Goa may be famous for its beaches, but it does offer a lot more than that. I love the churches in Goa and the houses. The houses of Goa Museum sounds interesting. Will make it a point to visit next time I plan on going Goa.
Thanks Manavi. You should definitely explore the other side of Goa. It is fun.
Wonderful…indeed there’s so much to see and do in Goa beyond beaches… 🙂
Thanks Maniparna. There sure is a lot to do in Goa
It is a good list.. Did you forget Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary ?
Thanks Sharjeel. There are plenty more, but just listing a few to start with.
Great list Ami! There indeed plenty to do instead of the beaches alone.
The museum of Houses of Goa being most amazing.
Thanks Indrani. I personally loved the Indian Customs and Central excise museum.
Love to be able to look behind the scenes, past these well known tourist attractions, especially in a place like Goa. Safe travels! 🙂
Thanks Christina. Am sure you will love it.
Wonderful list. And gorgeous pictures 🙂
so many places to visit !!!! list is good and exploring will be amazing….for the travelers.
Thanks Jyotirmoy. Glad you like it
Loads to explore beyond the beaches. Nice read.
Absolutely wonderful list. And the photographs have turned out really nice. The houses of Goa museum sounds so cool!
My last trip to Goa was in the monsoons, and I totally loved it : travelshoebum.com/2016/03/02/goa-in-the-monsoons-top-5-experiences
Hope you will like checking it out.
Thanks Shubham. Monsoons is absolutely magical in Goa. Will definitely be checking out your post.
I have never been to Goa. though I know that Goa is famouc for its beaches and nightlife which I would like to experience of course, I would also be looking towards something off beat to do. I love your guide and I guess the Heritage Walk tour would be the best for me when I go there.
Thanks Subhadrika. The heritage walk is indeed lovely and very vibrant. Am sure you will love it.
I agree! Beaches are fine, but I get tired of them pretty quickly. This is a great guide for something a little different.
Thanks Tracie. There is so much variety in Goa, that they add to the beach fun.
Personally I don’t like going to the beach and have always visited the other parts of Goa as you mentioned!
Thanks. I love the beaches too, but I like to mix them up with the other stuff in Goa. It makes it more fun.
So many more things to do in Goa than I ever knew about. We are going to Goa next Jan as part of our India visit and this gives us such a good insight as to what to do there. India is always about the spice and that is a great place to start. The homes and the festivals are also very interesting and I hope we can time our visit to coincide with some of those.
Thanks John. I am sure you will have a great time in Goa. There is just so much to do.
I wish to participate in a Spice Tour! I would like to know those secret spices you guys mixed with your foods that makes it ohh soo freakin delicious, and colorful! I wish we have that kind of tour here in PH.
Thanks Blair. Since you enjoy the spices, you will love this tour alright. 🙂 And yes, you get to know our secrets too.
Enjoyed going through your post. We did most of these during our last trip to Goa almost a year back. Wonderful place and so friendly too! Loved the villages and their beautiful architecture…and the beautiful Mandovi river flowed gently!
Thanks Esha. Glad you were able to do a few of these things in Goa.
This November I’m going to Goa again. Though I only want to be at the beach and not move an inch, your post has tempted me to try something different. Maybe I will, if I can conjure up the strength 🙂
It does not really take up too much time. Head here in the noons when it gets a little hot on the beach . 🙂
So true! Beaches are just one part of what Goa is all about. The forest, the waterfall, the churches, the wildlife. the French colony, there is so much to explore and enjoy!
Indeed, the Portuguese connections make Goa really vibrant and nice.
The museums and river trip would definitely be on my list! I love beaches, and I like to experience the culture and history of my destination. There is more to life than just beaches. Wait, did I actually just type that?!?!?
Ha ha Jen. U now really need to get to Goa.
I have never been to Goa but I would love to visit the museums nearby in addition to hanging out at the beach.
Am sure you will love it Carmy. It gives a different perspective to the place.
Perfect itinerary to everyone who want to explore places other than the sunny beaches in Goa. Definitely going to try River rafting and Spice tour on our next visit to Goa.
Thanks ladies. Am sure you will have a good time here with these two things. Though note that the river rafting is best in Monsoons.
So many incredible things to do in Goa other than beaches, something I totally never knew of before reading more blogs 🙂 Love your list of activities, will make sure to highlight them for our next visit in India!
Thanks Thuymi. Stay tuned as I share more magical places.
Great post! I only spend little time on the beach so a guide like this is very helpful. The houses, Old Goa, the river rafting and the festivals all sound so appealing!
Thanks Alina. Hope you visit some of these the next time.
I always love reading alternative guides: the museums sound really fascinating to discover!
Thanks Sophie. It was fun discovering this alternative side too.
I am rather fascinated with Goa and the history of this state.Love that you did more than the famous beaches of Goa. Thanks for these tips.
Thanks Verushka. It was fun discovering the other side of Goa
Goa without its beaches sounds so unbelievable, but it is a fact that there is much, much more beyond beaches.. Ample evidence is provided by your post about the vast range of things to do and places to see in Goa other than the beaches. Most times the hype of a place overshadows some unsung places.
Thanks Vyjay. There is so much more to Goa as I discovered and it is just amazing exploring it all.
Love this post! Goa is usually associated with only beaches, its nice that bought attention to all the other places people can visit!
Thank you Anju. Glad you liked it.
I honestly didn’t know much about goa beyond the beaches but it looks to be a versatile and culturally rich destination!
It sure is Shane. And I hope you get here soon.
I wish I had travelled to Goa more and more as I keep reading posts about the incredible landmarks, cuisine and culture I missed! I need to head there to experience everything highlighted!
Thanks Janine. You definitely need another visit. Am sure you will love it all.
Great list! Goa has something to do for every age! Indeed a nice place in South India to have an amazing vacation!
Thanks Anamika. Goa is great anytime.
A chess game to beat smugglers? Thats a first! I’ve never thought too much about Goa but now I know its definitely worth a longer visit.
Thanks Mar. The museum gave me also a new perspective to customs. Definitely worth a visit.
I knew Goa had a lot to offer, but much of this is new to me. I would love to experience the river rafting and explore the Houses of Goa museum. It looks very cool!
Thanks Kevin. River rafting is a nice and relaxing activity. The Houses of Goa museum is quite an insightful journey to the history of Goa.
Places like this always mesmerize me with not only their beauty, but their rich culture and history. You did such a good job of capturing that with this post!
Thank you Kristina. Glad you liked it.
Oh I came across this article at just the right time. I am moving to Goa next week and I was looking for things to do there other than the beaches. I would love to know about the history of Goa and also go on the heritage walk.
Glad to be of help Tamshuk. Mail me any queries that you may have. Happy to help. Have a great time.
I have visited Goa quiet a few times and I was wondering if I have left out anything. It seems the answer is a big NO. I have loved it everytime I went there. But I think I have exhausted the places to visit in Goa. New Destination is calling me.
Glad you were able to cover Goa. Maybe you will return to visit it again…just for fun 😀
Every time I have been to Goa is only to temples…its a shame…I made a node of this post 🙂
Thanks Shweta. Hope you get there soon. 😀
Wonderful images and great write up. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiance in Goa, very nice
Thank you Ashok
We definitely added this to our list!! Can not wait to visit.
Thanks Heather. Hope you get here soon.
Exceptionally enlightening voyaging blog i cherish the places of worship in Goa….thanks for share i adore it..
Between the spice tour and colorful Portuguese quarter I think Goa sounds incredible… and then add beaches… I can’t wait to visit!
I am sure you will have a blast. Get here soon.
That church reminds me of something that I would expect to see in South or Central America. Your post adds a new dimension to Goa and I love your angle- more than just beaches!
Thanks Gearoid. The beaches do overpower the other aspects of Goa. Hoping this post will refresh them all.
Interesting facts about Goa history and heritage and present day Goa culture
I realised for me Goa has only been the beaches and a lounge holidays. This gives me a great perspective. Do you have some post on offbeat accommodations in Goa?
Not really Prerna. Though I do know of a few. 🙂 You must experience Goa beyond its beaches.
If you’re in Goa in June month then you can participate in Sao Joao festival the most popular monsoon festivals in Goa. Sao Joao is a traditional Goan festival celebrated on 24th June every year.
YEs, I have heard and seen it but would love to experience it all over again!
Goa is a delight in the monsoons. This land of beaches, picturesque sceneries and a superabundant list of activities is a wondrous treat during the rains!
I completely agree. Thanks for stopping by
WOw!! wonderful blog. Goa is really such a beautiful City. This picturesque and beaches more beautiful. Thank you so much.
Thank you. Glad you liked it.
yup ! Goa is dream destiny for me and many more thank you so much to sharing these type of post
Glad you liked it And I hope you have a good trip here.
We love Goa. In fact we plan to settle down in Goa. We don’t spend our holidays on the beach, but search out varied places to visit and enjoy, including the waterfalls, spice gardens, islands, natural springs, remote sights that are sometimes ignored by the regular tourist. It makes for calm (no crowded noisy places)
Thank you for the lovely write up of Goa.
Thank you Louise. It is a lovely place to settle down and I envy you for it. 😀 Cheers
Very nice list of things to do, am travelling in september mid 2018, n want to do the river rafting, can u please guide about it.
You can have a look at this site https://www.goarafting.com/ for the bookings. Have a good time
Very inspiring indeed!!! I love to read your story and see the beautiful pictures. Your blog is a perfect travel guide for us! Thank you for sharing the wonderful list of things to do in Goa.
Glad to be of help. Thank you for the kind words.
This was really a great read. We are glad to have travellers like you, who beautify and highlight the essence of any destination.
We would like to welcome you to our luxury boutique home in Morjim, Goa.
Thank you. I will definitely take you up on the offer whenever I plan to visit Goa again. Cheers
Loved your suggestions!! Even I have been to Goa for offbeat travel and I had a wonderful time exploring Olaulim. But the next time I visit, I would surely take up your suggestions too.
Glad that you found something new to do in Goa. Thanks for stopping by
Thanks for sharing.Very inspiring content indeed!! I really loved the article and the beautiful pictures of the place.This post is really a travel guide to get help for exploring goa.
Thank you Shweta. I am glad you found the post useful and interesting. Do feel free to share it on social media.
Thanks for the information. I liked the facts