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Goa Beyond Beaches - 8 Things To Do

A day in Goa away from the Beach (Non-Beachy/Non-Party)

This Guide Contains

Top Places (Detailed)

Time Required

Ticket Links

Cost Breakdown

Interactive Map with Day Plans

Transport Options

What to Eat/Drink?

A state that needs no introduction. The most sought after spot in India for vacations, Goa is a world within itself. It’s said that nobody goes to Goa just once - Well, I sure am a firm believer of that. A former Portuguese occupied area in the country, Goa is like the Miami of India. An uptrend coastal city in South India, it is filled with tourists from all around the globe. World-class beaches, lip-smacking seafood, cheaper-than-water alcohol - Goa is a dream paradise. It is loved by introverts and extroverts alike. There is something for everybody here: Huge all-night party culture, floating casinos, magical beaches lined with shacks, water sport activities, beautiful churches full of historic significance, street shopping, unlimited food - the list is never-ending.
Like all Indian cities, multiple languages are spoken here with Konkani being the official language. English and Hindi are widely understood and spoken as well. Cards and digital payments are accepted. Mandovi and Zuari are the two primary rivers in the state of Goa.

If you are not a party person and don’t want to lay by the water all day or just want to explore the non-beachy, non-party side of Goa then this article is absolutely for you! We’ve covered the main tourist attractions to visit in Goa, a brief on what they are and what to expect .

(Map included at the bottom of the article)

πŸ₯˜ What should I eat?

πŸ› Chicken Xacuti - A true Goan delicacy curry made with roasted spices and fresh coconut.
πŸ› Pork/Chicken Vindaloo - A spicy and tangy dish where the meat is marinated with lots of garlic and vinegar
πŸ› Chicken Cafreal - A green colored curry based dish made with lots of coriander, cinnamon and green chilies.
πŸ› Goan fish curry - Traditional Goan meal with a fish fry and coconut based fish curry is something one must try while in Goa.
πŸ› Bebinca - The most popular Goan dessert which is a layered pudding made from coconut milk, eggs, butter, flour and jaggery.

πŸ₯ƒ What should I drink?

Alcoholic :
🍹 Feni/Fenni - fermented cashew/coconut drink
🍹 Uraak - Goa’s jungle juice available from March to May
🍹 Coconut Rum (Cabo)

Non-alcoholic :
🍸 Kokum Sherbet - A purple colored berry juice with amazing health benefits (also acts as a body coolant)
🍸 Sol Kadhi - a cold drink made of dried kokum fruit and coconut milk

1) Basilica of Bom Jesus

 πŸ’³ Free  | πŸ•‘ 30 minutes 

What is it?

One of the oldest churches in India, Basilica of Bom Jesus was built during the Portuguese rule in Goa. Its existence can be traced back to the times Christianity started in the country. It is dedicated to Jesus Christ. It has the relics of St. Francis Xavier (a Catholic missionary who was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus). The coffin containing his body is made of silver and was a gift from Italy. The holy remains of the saint are displayed every ten years during the anniversary of the saint’s death. It is an operational church and regular mass service is held.

What to expect?

The church has a beautiful Baroque-style architecture. The interiors are rather simple as compared to some of the other churches in the city. The elegant bright golden central altar is highly decorative and holds a large statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. The Basilica also contains a modern art gallery with paintings depicting various Biblical scenes.

πŸ•• Timings :
βŒ› Mon to Sat – 9.00am to 6.30pm
βŒ› Sunday – 10.30am to 6.30pm

πŸ•• Mass Timings :
βŒ› Mon to Sat – 7.00am, 8.00am and 6.00pm
βŒ› Sunday – 8.00am, 9.15am and 6.00pm in Konkani, 10.15am in English

2) Se Cathedral

 πŸ’³ INR 25  | πŸ•‘ 1.5 hrs 

What is it?

The Se Cathedral was built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese under Afonso de Albuquerque over a Muslim army, leading to the capture of the city of Goa in 1510. Since the day of the victory happened to be on the feast of Saint Catherine, the cathedral was dedicated to her. She was the patroness of Christian philosophers besides being the patroness of the City of Old Goa, aka Goa Velha.
There are many sites to see within this complex :
βœ” Bell tower containing the Golden Bell. The golden bell is popular world-wide for its perfect melodious tone. There were 2 bell towers initially but one of them collapsed after getting struck by lightning in 1776.
βœ” The baptismal font used by St. Francis Xavier to baptize converts.
βœ” The main altar featuring Saint Catherine and 6 other altars with paintings depicting the lives of saints.
βœ” The Chapel of the Cross of Miracles
βœ” The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament

The convent adjoining the cathedral has been converted into an Archaeological Museum which is open to public. The museum has a separate entrance fee.

What to expect?

A pretty church full of history, it is located opposite to the Basilica of Bom Jesus. A visit to the cathedral will clear all your questions on the history of Goa from its Muslim rule, Portuguese rule to finally being liberated.

πŸ•• Timings :
βŒ› Open all days 7:30am to 6pm

3) Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church

 πŸ’³ Free  | πŸ•‘ 1 hr 

What is it?

A beautiful church in the capital city of Panaji, it is based on the belief that God protected the Virgin Mary from the taint of sin from the moment she was biologically conceived by her mother St. Anne. The church celebrates the Feast of Immaculate Conception annually on 8th December that is 9 months prior to the Nativity of Mary or the birth of the Virgin Mary.

What to expect?

With its striking design the church attracts your attention as soon as you get a glimpse of it from the main road. Ivory white and blue colors of the building do not fail to mesmerize. This is an operational church so please be respectful to the locals visiting to attend the daily mass.

πŸ•• Church Timings :
βŒ› Open all days : 9am - 12:30pm and 3:30pm - 7:30pm
πŸ•• Mass service timings :
βŒ› Konkani - 7:00am and 6:00pm; English 8:00am
βŒ› Portuguese : Sundays 10:30am. All are welcome to attend.

Many Bollywood movie scenes/songs are shot with the church as the background - Simba and Malang to name a few new ones.

4) Fontainhas (Latin Quarters)

 πŸ’³ Free  | πŸ•‘ 45 minutes 

What is it?

An old Latin residential quarter in Panjim that has retained its typical Portuguese styled colorful 2 storeyed houses with overhead long-running balconies. Narrow picturesque streets run through the quarters. There are also some Portuguese restaurants and a church within the neighborhood.

What to expect?

In terms of Goan heritage, this would be the best place to see and experience it first hand. You can park your vehicle in the vicinity and take a walking tour of the entire quarter and also click some beautiful pictures. The residents are very friendly and some are quick to identify tourists and strike a conversation! There are a ton of accommodation options (guest houses, Air BnB’s) available here if you don’t want to just take a walk but actually stay in and experience this heritage area. Highly recommend taking a walking tour with a guide here and listen through the stories from the past they take you through!

5) Aguada Fort

 πŸ’³ Entrance : INR 25; Parking : INR 100  | πŸ•‘ 2 hrs 

What is it?

A 17th-century Portuguese fort located near Sinquerim beach, it was mainly constructed to keep a watch on its enemies - The Dutch and the Maratha’s. Due to its strategic position and height, it provided early information of attacks both through sea and land. Fort Aguada has also been used as Aguada jail.

What to expect?

A four-storeyed lighthouse is hosted inside the fort. It dominates the landscape of the fort. Climbing to the top is not allowed. Aguada fort at the time was the only one to have a lighthouse within it in Asia. The entrance has a series of steps to get to the actual fort. It provides amazing views of the Arabian Sea and with the lighthouse in the background this is a perfect spot for photos!

πŸ•• Timings
βŒ› 9am - 6pm

6) Chapora Fort

 πŸ’³ Free  | πŸ•‘ 45 minutes 

What is it?

An ancient fort in North Goa, it has shifted hands multiple times over the course of history. It has for a considerable amount of time been under Mughal emperor Akbar, the Marathas, Maharaja of Sawantwadi, the warrior clan of Bhonsle’s and ofcourse the Portuguese. The fort offers splendid views of the adjoining Vagator beach and overlooks the Arabian Sea from various angles. The fort is located on top of a hillock with slopes on all sides. As of today what is left behind are the ruins of the once prominent Chapora fort.

What to expect?

The fort had been long neglected until it featured in the 2001 Bollywood movie “Dil Chahta Hain”. The fort soon gained popularity among movie buffs and it now enjoys a good visitor base. It is also known as the Dil Chahta Hain fort!

πŸ•• Timings
βŒ› Open on all days 9:30am - 5:30pm

7) Try an authentic Goan meal

 πŸ’³ INR 250 - INR 300  | πŸ•‘ 1.5 hrs 

A typical Goan thali comes with white rice, fish fry (king fish generally), dry prawns chutney, 2 vegetarian curries, a coconut based fish curry, dry veggies, a local drink (sol kadhi or kokum juice) and pickle. This meal not only fills the tummy but truly satisfies the soul. It is widely available in all local restaurants throughout the city. You could upgrade to an expensive variety of fish for the fried dish based on season and availability! Some noteworthy restaurants serving the best thalis are-
πŸ₯˜ Kokni Kanteen - Panjim
πŸ₯˜ Kamlabai - Mapusa
πŸ₯˜ Balgo - Mapusa
πŸ₯˜ Sabina’s Thali - Palolem

8) Attend the annual city celebration - Lokotsav

 πŸ’³ Free  | πŸ•‘ 3.5 hrs 

An annual cultural extravaganza, Lokotsav is a celebration of traditional Indian music, dance and art typically held in the month of January. This week long gala invites the best local performers from all across India and showcases breathtaking live folk performances from different states. The costumes, the humongous stage, the colors and the respectful sea of audience is an experience in itself. Lokotsav thrives on encouraging local art and craftsmen - stalls are dedicated to selling a plethora of high-quality indigenous textile, jewelry, spices, decor and whatnot! We had a blast shopping and supporting Indian artisans and products. No celebration is complete without food - A section of stalls is dedicated to the talented local Indian chefs and you would find all varieties of food from Rajasthani kachori’s to Goan Xacuti chicken all under one roof! Needless to say the food is to die for and is such a fun experience! Witnessing some extraordinary folk dances, hopping off stall after stall, picking up some well made Kurta’s and intricate matching earrings, slurping on kala katta gola’s and hot daal kachori’s to then gobbling some lip smacking chole bature’s and ending with a plate of tiger prawn fries - Lokatsav was sure a joyful adventure for us and a wonderful way to spend family time! Incase you plan your visit during January, I highly highly recommend checking it out!

How to get around the city?

Option 1 : Rent a scooter! Scooters/bikes and cars are available for rent throughout the city. Walk into one such store, submit your identity proofs with driving license, pay the deposit and rental charges and you are all set. β‚Ή350 - β‚Ή450 per day is a pretty good deal.

Option 2 : Public taxi services - Uber and Ola are widely available in the city - Safe and dependable.

Option 3 : Hop on auto-rickshaws and travel from one point to the other. You could also make some on-the-go day deals with the auto driver who could take you to all the places of interest and wait for you in each of them.


πŸ“Œ Use the below interactive map for directions:

βœ” Clicking the top right button opens the map in a new tab showing the different sections. Click on view map legend if browsing on phone
βœ” Save the map in your Google Maps for easy access later: Click the ⭐star button beside the name of the map. You can access the map later from Google Maps > Saved > Maps

Happy Travels! :)
  • water and sand
  • architecture and heritage

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    Hi, we're Ayan & Apoorva


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