No wonder Goa tops the list of best holiday destinations in India. The sun, sand and the sea together with the party hotspots in the north and the serenity down south make it an irresistible combo of fun and leisure. But scenic beaches and eccentric nightlife are not the only attractions that await you in Goa. From exploring ancient temples and churches, age-old forts and pretty Portuguese villages to captivating sunsets, flea markets, exciting water sports and a night of gambling at the casino, there’s a lot more to experience in this beach paradise.

With so much to see and do, even a week’s time might seem less to explore this beautiful state. But if you can’t accommodate such a long trip, plan at least for 3 days. Here’s a perfect itinerary to help you explore the best of North and South Goa:

Day 01

8.00 am – 10.00 am: Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast in North Goa

Breakfast in North Goa | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Breakfast in North Goa | 3-Day Trip to Goa

As you arrive in Goa early in the morning, you probably wouldn’t want to waste even a split second to delve in the amazing vibe of the state. So just drop off your luggage at the hotel and head for an appetizing meal at one of North Goa’s most-loved breakfast places.

Where to eat?

  • Infantaria, Calangute
  • Toro, Baga
  • Baba Au Rhum, Anjuna
  • Lila Café, Anjuna
  • Artjuna, Anjuna

10.00 am – 4.00 pm: Visit the sun-kissed beaches in the north

Breakfast in North Goa | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Post a sumptuous English breakfast or an authentic Goan morning feast, it’s time to hit one of the popular beaches in the north… after all, isn’t that why you planned a trip to Goa in the first place? Depending on what you want to do, choose where you wish to go.

Where to go and why?

  • Baga Beach: For water sports like scuba diving, jet skiing and paragliding, dolphin cruises and banana, bumper and boat rides
  • Calangute Beach: For swimming, yoga, long walks, sunbathing, surfing, catamaran sailing and water skiing
  • Anjuna Beach: For water sports, Ayurvedic massages, hair braids and temporary tattoos

In case it’s a Wednesday, don’t miss out on the popular Anjuna Flea Market to buy souvenirs, beachy clothes, home décor, artificial jewellery, spices and much more.

  • Timings: 9.00 am till sunset (November to March)

After strolling down the long stretches of golden sand and indulging the water baby in you, you must have worked up an appetite by now. You can try the seafood delicacies and other local fare served at one of the beach shacks or head to a good restaurant nearby.

Where to eat?

  • Pousada by the Beach, Calangute
  • Souza Lobo, Calangute
  • Britto’s, Baga
  • Fat Fish, Baga
  • De Baga Deck, Baga
  • Purple Martini, Anjuna
  • Burger Factory, Anjuna
  • Café Cotinga, Anjuna

Thereafter, continue your Goa journey to the iconic Chapora Fort.

  • By road: Approx. 20-30 minutes’ drive

4.30 pm – 6.00 pm: Recreate ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ pose at Chapora Fort

Chapora Fort | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Chapora Fort | 3-Day Trip to Goa

If you’re a Bollywood buff at heart, you wouldn’t want to miss out on exploring the historical ruins of Chapora Fort located next to Vagator Beach. You might find the trek up to the fort strenuous but the captivating views of the sunset sky above and the sea below will be worth it! Plus, you’ll get to click a picture at the place where the blockbuster, Dil Chahta Hai was shot.

  • Last Entry: 5.30 pm (All days)

After sunset, carefully climb down the fort and proceed to Vagator.

  • By road: Approx. 10 minutes’ drive

6.10 pm – 8.00 pm: Unwind under the starlit sky at Vagator Beach

Vagator Beach | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Vagator Beach | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Unlike its counterparts that are known for tourist traffic, Vagator Beach is one of the cleaner, quieter and rather isolated beaches in North Goa. You can just relax here; soaking in the cool sea breeze, the sound of the waves lapping the shore and the beautiful night sky.

If you stay at the beach for long, you can even attend one of those famous Goa parties that go on till the wee hours of the night and play some hypnotic trance music.

8.00 pm onwards: Eat, drink and make merry till late night hours

Eat-Drink late Night | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Eat-Drink late Night | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Should you wish to stay back in Vagator for dinner, it has some of the finest European restaurants in the area serving exotic Goan cuisine especially seafood delicacies.

Where to eat?

  • Olive Bar and Kitchen
  • Antares
  • Bean Me Up
  • Spice Traders
  • Tin

Another option would be to get in your car and drive down to Thalassa.

  • By road Approx. 15 minutes’ drive

This happening Greek tavern in Siolim is all the rage amongst party seekers and popular for its good food, electrifying music and spirited ambience. And to top it all, it offers the most beautiful views of the Arabian Sea owing to its amazing location right on the shore.

You can party here till late amidst music and madness and then come back to the hotel in North Goa for a goodnight’s sleep so you wake up refreshed the next day.

8:00 pm onwards (Alternate Option): Shop at Goa’s night markets

NIght Market in Goa | 3-Day Trip to Goa

NIght Market in Goa | 3-Day Trip to Goa

If it’s a Saturday, then you can leave Vagator Beach for one of the famous night markets in Goa: Saturday Night Market (Arpora) and Mackies Saturday Nite Bazaar (Baga).

  • By road: Approx. 15 minutes’ drive

These markets are not just great to shop for an extensive selection of handmade goods but they also have everything you need to feel the true Goa vibe. There’s live music; food stalls serving salads and waffles and other local fare; cocktail bars; fun zones; and more.

  • Timings:
    Saturday Night Market (Arpora): 4.00 pm – 11.00 pm (November-April)
    Mackies Saturday Nite Bazaar (Baga): 6.00 pm – 1.00 am (November-May)

You can shop your heart out, binge on savoury and sweet treats and have a gala time at the markets before retreating to your hotel in Goa to sleep off the night.

Day 02

9.00 am – 12.00 pm: Delve into history with a trip to Old Goa

History in Goa | 3-Day Trip to Goa

History in Goa | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Goa is not all about partying and chilling… it also has a totally different side to it that speaks volumes about the state’s rich architectural and cultural heritage. So start your second day with a quick breakfast at the hotel followed by a long drive to Old Goa (or Velha). Once the capital of Portuguese India, Velha has many colonial-era buildings for history buffs to explore.

What to see?

  • Basilica of Bom Jesus
  • Se Cathedral
  • Church of St. Cajetan
  • Church of St. Francis of Assisi
  • Church of Our Lady of the Mount
  • Chapel of St. Francis Xavier
  • Augustine Tower
  • Museum of Christian Art

Click as many pictures as you can at these magnificent edifices dating back years and thereafter, take the road back to Panaji, the state capital, to explore its gems.

  • By road: Approx. 20-30 minutes’ drive

12.30 pm – 5.00 pm: Take a tour of the best of the best in Panaji

Panaji | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Panaji | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Drive through the cobblestone streets and bright, colourful Portuguese-era houses of Panaji to get a true feel of what the real Goa is. En route, catch a glimpse of some of the most popular landmarks in the area and if you have the time, don’t miss to capture them.

What to see?

  • Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
  • Fontainhas Latin Quarter

It’s almost time for lunch now, so take a break from all the sightseeing and halt at one of the popular restaurants or cafes in Panaji to sample an authentic Goan meal.

Where to eat?

  • Bay 15
  • The Fisherman’s Wharf
  • The Black Sheep Bistro
  • Kokni Kanteen
  • Ritz Classic

Once you’re full, continue your sojourn in Panaji with a visit to its most frequented place – Miramar Beach. Clean and filled with soft sand, this beach is perfect for unwinding or taking an evening stroll or even binge drinking at one of the pubs or bars along the shore.

5.00 pm – 7.00 pm: Go for a boat cruise on the River Mandovi

Boat cruise on River Mandovi | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Boat cruise on River Mandovi | 3-Day Trip to Goa

After spending a couple of hours at the tranquil Miramar Beach, prepare yourself for the experience of a lifetime: an hour-long boat cruise on Mandovi. The relaxed sail, traditional dance performances like Dekhni and Fugdi, DJ music, sightseeing and the best of all, the enchanting Goan sunset all make it the best way to spend some quality time with friends or family.

  • Last Cruise: Around 8.00 pm

7.00 pm onwards: Try your luck at Goa’s anchored casinos

Goa’s anchored casinos | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Goa’s anchored casinos | 3-Day Trip to Goa

When in Goa, you definitely shouldn’t miss out on the memorable gaming experience offered by the state’s offshore casinos. Who knows, you just might get lucky!

Where to go?

  • Deltin Royale
  • Deltin Jaqk
  • Deltin Caravela
  • Big Daddy Jetty
  • Casino Pride

You can also enjoy live music and dance from 9 pm onwards along with a world-class gourmet buffet and free drinks that make the casino visit all the more worth it.

  • Entry Fee: Starting @ 1500 per person

Spend as much time as you wish at the casino; you can even stay here till the dawn of light and keep playing and hopefully, winning before you return to your hotel.

(Alternate Option)

5.00 pm – 7.00 pm: View a spellbinding sunset at Fort Aguada

Sunset at Fort Aguada | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Sunset at Fort Aguada | 3-Day Trip to Goa

From the Miramar Beach, you can also head back towards the heart of North Goa but don’t forget to make a stop at Fort Aguada to enjoy a captivating view of the sea.

  • By road: Approx. 45 minutes’ drive

Reach the fort via the 4 km-long road from Sinquerim Beach or take the shorter 2 km-long foot path; however, do note that it is a steep climb. But watching the sun setting on the horizon from atop this fort would be a memory that will be etched in your mind forever.

  • Last entry: 6.00 pm (All days)

After experiencing the tranquillity and enjoying the natural beauty at Fort Aguada, proceed to one of the famous pubs along Candolim-Baga stretch for max-level fun.

  • By road: Approx. 15-30 minutes’ drive

7.00 pm onwards: Party till you drop at North Goa’s pubs

North Goa's Pubs | 3-Day Trip to Goa

North Goa’s Pubs | 3-Day Trip to Goa

You’ve spent time at Goa’s beach shacks that are open till late but your trip will be incomplete if you don’t witness the state’s happening nightlife at its various pubs. The delicious food, the cocktails and the peppy music are sure to bring out the party animal in you.

Where to go?

  • Cohiba, Candolim
  • SinQ, Candolim
  • LPK Waterfront, Nerul
  • Café Mambos, Baga
  • Cape Town Café, Baga
  • Tito’s, Baga

Do visit St. Anthony’s shack on Baga if karaoke is your thing.

Since most pubs are open till late, you can dance (or sing) your heart out while sipping on drinks and binging on snacks before you head back to sleep off the night.

Day 03

Full Day: Explore the beaches of South Goa and more

Beaches of South Goa | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Beaches of South Goa | 3-Day Trip to Goa

Relish a delicious breakfast at the hotel or outside and then get ready to explore the tourist hotspots down south. From serene and beautiful beaches to revered shrines to wildlife sanctuaries and more, South Goa has a lot on offer for people of different interests.

  • By road: Approx. 2-3 hours’ drive

Since the first two days have been quite frenetic, it would be ideal to spend your last day of the tour just lazing around, away from the hustle-bustle of the north. The sun-kissed beaches and spectacular landscapes of South Goa are sure to offer you absolute bliss.

Where to go and why?

  • Colva Beach: For adventure sports like skiing, parasailing and paragliding
  • Benaulim Beach: For spice plantations, boat rides, bike rides and other water activities
  • Agonda Beach: For windsurfing, hiking and dolphin rides
  • Palolem Beach: For silent parties, dolphin spotting, scuba diving and sunset viewing
  • Polem Beach: For swimming and sunbathing

You can also visit Shantadurga Temple, which is a sight to see.

Whenever you’re hungry, you can enjoy a sumptuous Goan meal or other multi-cuisine delicacies at any of the restaurants, cafes or shacks dotted across South Goa.

Where to eat?

  • Martin’s Corner, Betalbatim
  • The Fisherman’s Wharf, Cavelossim
  • Dropadi, Palolem
  • The Red Ginger, Colva
  • Mickey’s Colva
  • Zeebop, Majorda

After spending whatever time you have at the most popular places in South Goa, it is best to head back to the airport in time for your flight with a bag full of memories.