Sparkling with sea, sand, and sunshine, North Goa welcomes you to a picturesque land of natural beauty. But if you thought this region is only about golden beaches and turquoise water, think again! Dotted with magnificent forts, ancient temples, gorgeous churches, electrifying party hotspots, famous shacks, buzzing flea markets, lavish casinos, and a host of other attractions, the place is truly a traveler’s delight. All you need to do is to step out of your hotels in North Goa and explore this kaleidoscopic destination.
So are you ready to surrender yourself to the many experiences that await you? Check out some of the most captivating places to visit in North Goa.
1. Chapora Fort
Chapora Fort captured the attention of wanderlust souls around the country when it was featured in the Bollywood blockbuster Dil Chahta Hai. So much so that many people now refer to it as the Dil Chahta Hai Fort. Dating back to 1717, the fort was a silent witness to the various historical events that unfolded here over the ages. Standing above a hill-top near the Chapora River, it offers excellent views of the surrounding areas and is definitely worth a visit.
- Location: Chapora
- Timings: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, every day
2. Vagator Beach
A stunning beach with dramatic red cliffs adorning the shore, Vagator presents a breath-taking sight. The beach here is split into two main beaches, namely Big Vagator and Little Vagator. It is the perfect place to put your feet up and enjoy your dose of sun, sand, and sea. But if you are up to some water fun, Vagator has plenty of options including jet skiing and parasailing. You can also enjoy lovely sunsets and look forward to a wonderful nightlife.
- Must-try Activities: Jetskiing, Parasailing, Dolphin watching
3. Anjuna Beach
Glowing white sands, adventurous water sports, and a scintillating nightlife, that’s Anjuna for you. One of the most popular beaches in the northern part, Anjuna embodies all that Goa stands for. If the rocky shore seems enticing during the day, wait till the night kisses this place and it awakens with a party vibe. Adding to the appeal of the beach is the flea market held here every Wednesday, which is a top draw among the tourists.
- Must-try Activities: Scuba diving, Snorkeling, Windsurfing, Parasailing, Water skiing, Banana ride, Water scooter, Dolphin Sighting
4. Fort Aguada
Majestic is the word that best defines Fort Aguada, one of the famous forts in Goa. The imposing fort enjoys a strategic location even as the waves of the Arabian Sea play along its lofty walls. Steeped in history, this colossal fort dates back to the 17th century and offers a spectacular view of the sea that spreads in front of it. Among the main attractions of the fort are a series of prison cells and an ancient lighthouse, which is the oldest one of its kind in Asia.
- Location: Candolim
- Timings: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, every day
5. Baga Beach
When it comes to having fun in North Goa, there can be no better destination than Baga Beach. Named after the Baga creek that makes its way to the Arabian Sea, Baga is the perfect place to enjoy a thrilling day and party late into the night by visiting the hangouts located right on the beach. From indulging in water sports to getting a tattoo done to street shopping, you can do it all here. With signature restaurants and cafes like Tito’s, Britto’s, and Mambos lining the beach, Baga definitely counts among the best party destinations in Goa.
- Must-try Activities: Motorboat ride, Scuba diving, Jetskiing, Water skiing, Banana ride, River cruise, Dolphin trip, Windsurfing, Water scooter
6. Calangute Beach
It’s not without reason that Calangute is often referred to as the queen of beaches in Goa. Stretching from Baga to Candolim, this place is easily the most happening hub in North Goa. The beach here is a picturesque sight, which explains why it is almost always crowded. Be it beach fun during the day or jazzing parties during the night, Calangute ticks the boxes for everything. It is also one of the best spots in North Goa for a great shopping experience, thanks to the buzzing street market here.
- Must-try Activities: Speed boat rides, Parasailing, Jetskiing, Water surfing, Banana ride
7. Candolim Beach
Tranquil ambiance, thrilling water sports, and an enchanting nightlife make Candolim one of the most appealing beaches to explore in the north. You won’t find much commercial activity around this place, but the spellbinding beauty of the beach more than makes up for it. If you are looking forward to enjoying adventurous water-based activities in a calm and serene beach, Candolim is your best bet.
- Must-try Activities: Water scooter, Dolphin sighting trips, Banana ride, Jetskiing, Water surfing
8. Sinquerim Beach
The gorgeous Sinquerim Beach beckons you to a scenic sandy shoreline. Apart from enjoying a host of water-based sports and adventurous activities, you can also indulge in swimming. More often than not, nightlife on this beach is marked with music festivals. Sinquerim also boasts of a number of restaurants serving excellent food and beverages, making it a preferred destination for foodies.
- Must-try Activities: Scuba diving, Windsurfing, Water skiing, Dolphin sighting trips, Jetskiing, Swimming, Paragliding
9. Arambol Beach
A spectacular beach with a distinct Bohemian vibe, Arambol exemplifies the perfect blend of scenic beauty and serenity. This rocky-cum-sandy beach is counted among the less-crowded beaches in Goa, which makes it ideal for you to spend some romantic moments with your special someone and indulge in some amazing water-based activities. You can even shop for knick-knacks and junk jewelry from the small shops lining the beach or have a drink or two at one of the shacks surrounding the beach.
- Activities: Dolphin sighting trips, Paragliding, Swimming
10. Reis Magos Fort
Standing on a hilltop, Reis Magos Fort has played many roles in its long history spreading over more than four and a half centuries. From serving as a residence for viceroys and other significant personalities to being a prison and then lying as an abandoned fort, Reis Magos Fort has seen many chapters of history unfold within its walls. Today, the fort serves as a cultural center and draws in a large number of tourists.
- Location: Bardez
- Timings: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm; closed on Mondays
11. Basilica of Bom Jesus
For an ardent traveler or a history buff, the name Basilica of Bom Jesus needs no introduction. One of the UNESCO Heritage Sites in Goa, the church dates back to over 400 years and boasts of Portuguese style of architecture. Guess what’s the key attraction here? The mummy of St. Xavier which is taken out for public viewing every ten years! You can also see a collection of paintings related to the life of the St. Xavier and relics of other saints such as Jesuit Rudolf Acquaviva and Antoni Francisci.
Read our blog on why Basilica of Bom Jesus is the best church in Goa to know more about this magnificent church.
- Location: Old Goa Road
Monday to Saturday – 09.00 am to 06.30 pm
Sundays – 10.30 am to 06.30 pm
12. The Church of Mae De Deus
An exemplary example of Gothic architecture, the Church Of Mae De Deus is a charming story etched in stone. Adorned with pristine white walls and lofty spires, it seems to be a structure straight out of a children’s fairy tale book. What makes this church even more special is the fact that it is home to the miraculous statue of Mae de Deus (Mother of God). The church offers an incredibly beautiful illuminated view at night.
- Location: Saligao
- Timings: 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm; every day
13. The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception boasts of a majestic structure, marked by its spectacular double flight of steps zigzagging its way upward. Located on a hillside and overlooking the capital city of Panaji, the lovely white structure is a sight to behold. It houses the ancient bell that was once a part of the Church of Our Lady of Grace. It is said to be the second largest bell of its kind in Goa.
- Location: Panaji
- Timings: 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm; every day
14. Chapel of St. Catherine
The Chapel of St. Catherine exhibits simple Renaissance style architecture, but it has immense historical significance. This edifice owes its origin to the Portuguese general Afonso de Albuquerque, who commissioned its construction in 1510 to commemorate his victorious march into the city. If you are a history buff, you will definitely love exploring this church.
- Location: Taleigao
- Timings: 6:00 am to 6:00 pm; every day
To know more, read our blog on the major UNESCO heritage churches in Goa, collectively called ‘the Churches and Convents of Goa’?
15. Mangeshi Temple
One of the largest and most famous temples in Goa, Mangeshi boasts of spellbinding Goan temple architecture style. Its columns, domes, and balustrades lend the temple a distinct beauty. Lord Mangesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, is the reigning deity here. Among the main attractions of the temple are a lovely water tank and a seven-story octagonal lamp tower.
- Location: Mangeshi Village
- Timings: 6:00 am to 10:00 pm; every day
16. Mahalakshmi Temple
Religious or not, you can’t help admiring the architectural splendor of Mahalakshmi Temple, an ancient temple in North Goa that traces its origins to the 15th century. Adorned with a pillared hall and a silver arched doorway, the temple features an idol of Goddess Lakshmi crafted out of black stone. Adding to the beauty of the temple are twenty-four wooden panels displaying scenes from the Bhagavata Purana.
- Location: Bandivade
- Timings: 6:30 am to 8:30 pm; every day
17. Temple of Bodgeshwar
The Temple of Bodgeshwar is an exquisite structure situated amidst lush green surroundings. The temple is dedicated to Kanakeshwar Baba or Bodgeshwar, also known as Bongini. In complete contrast to the hip and happening façade of North Goa, this small shrine exudes tranquility and is an ideal place to spend a few hours soaking in the serene vibes.
- Location: Calangute
- Timings: 6:00 am to 8:00 pm; every day
18. Goa State Museum
If you are interested in unraveling the glorious past of Goa, head off to Goa State Museum. The place is a treasure of artifacts and boasts of more than 8000 relics. You can discover a wonderful world of rock statues, Jain sculptures, bronze artworks, exceptional silver coins, and a host of other fascinating exhibits.
- Location: Panaji
- Timings: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm; closed on Saturdays and Sundays
19. Houses of Goa Museum
Fascinated by the architectural beauty of Goa? Then you must visit the Houses of Goa Museum. Unlike other museums in Goa, this museum offers a peek into the evolution of houses in Goa and its surrounding areas. Interestingly, the museum itself is shaped like a ship and stands right in the middle of the road.
- Location: Torda, Salvador Do Mundo
- Timings: 10:00 am to 7:30 pm; closed on Mondays
- Entry fee:
Adults – ₹ 100 per person
Children – ₹ 25 per person
20. Museum of Christian Art
Christianity has played an undeniable role in the history and culture of Goa and the Museum of Christian Art is where you can get a glimpse into this rich history. The museum showcases many relics that are as old as the Portuguese invasion of the region. From statues and furniture to ivory, paintings, and precious metals, you will find a wide range of interesting exhibits here.
- Location: Velha Goa
- Timings: 9:30 am to 5 pm; closed on Sundays
- Entry fee: ₹ 30 per person
21. Anjuna Flea Market
Counted among the best markets in Goa, this flea market comes alive on the Anjuna Beach every Wednesday. This beachfront market is where you can buy souvenirs, knick-knacks, funky jewelry, beachwear, wall hangings, and Nepali and Tibetan goods at throw-away prices. There are also several food stalls, body piercing centers, live music, and other entertainment activities in and around the market. Remember, the market is open only from October to May, so plan your visit accordingly.
- Location: Anjuna
- Timings: 08.00 am to 06:00 pm; every Wednesday
- What to Buy: Tibetan Goodies, Jewelry, Souvenirs, Handicraft Items, Footwear, Clothes
22. Arpora Night Market
One of the most exciting things to do in North Goa is to visit the lively Saturday night market at Arpora. The bustling place is a shopaholic’s paradise, where you can find a variety of items ranging from local handicrafts to designer garments. A number of food stalls selling mouth-watering delicacies add to the appeal of the place.
- Location: Arpora
- Timings: 6:00 pm to midnight; only on Saturdays
- What to buy: Apparels, Handbags, Rugs, Handicrafts
23. Mapusa Market
On most days, this market is like any other Goan market. But on Fridays, the place turns into a buzzing marketplace where you can experience the real appeal of shopping in a traditional Goan bazaar. You can find all sorts of stuff to buy here, ranging from fruits and vegetables to jewelry and apparel. Do not hesitate to take out your haggling skills to seal the best deal.
Timings: 6:00 am to 8:00 pm; closed on Sundays
What to buy: Goa’s famous ‘chouricos’ sausages, spices, handicrafts
24. Deltin Royale
Recreating a vibe akin to Las Vegas, Deltin Royale boasts of being the largest luxury floating casino in Goa. This lavish casino spread over 40,000 sq. ft. is a gamer’s paradise. There are more than 850 gaming positions covering three levels. Complete with a trendy whiskey lounge and a gourmet restaurant, the place promises you hours of non-stop fun, play, and entertainment.
- Location: Noah’s Ark, RND Jetty, Panaji
- Entry fee: ₹ 1500 to ₹ 8000
25. Casino Pride
Casino Pride is another floating gaming heaven that entices you with its golden-hued decor and a mind-blowing ambience. It is spread over three floors and has a plethora of exciting games for enthusiasts. A well-appointed bar, restaurants that serve multi-cuisine dishes, and barbeque, all add to the appeal of this fantastic casino. There’s even a kid’s zone to keep your children busy with exciting electronic games and gizmos.
- Location: Captain of Ports Jetty, Panaji
- Entry fee:
Monday to Thursday – ₹ 1500 per adult (with₹ 500 worth coupon)
Friday to Sunday – ₹ 2000 per adult (with ₹ 1000 worth coupon)
*Includes alcoholic drinks and unlimited buffet
26. Curlie’s Beach Shack
Counted among the most happening hangout spots on the Anjuna Beach, Curlie’s is an enticing beach shack that features restaurants, bars, indoor club, tea house, and a sea-view veranda as well. Apart from wine and dining facilities, the shack also offers various water sports facilities. The shack serves excellent Goan, Continental, Italian, and North Indian dishes. Don’t forget to taste their Roast Pork, Shakshouka, Paneer Tikka, and cocktails.
- Location: Anjuna
- Timings: 8:30 am to 3:00 am; every day
- Cost for two: ₹ 1500 (approx.)
27. Britto’s Shack
With an extensive menu covering 400 dishes selected from various cuisines, Britto’s Shack comes across as a heaven for the foodies. You can dig into authentic Goan food at this place even as you enjoy an amazing view of the Baga beach and the turquoise water. Jumbo Prawns, Butter Chicken, Smoothie Chocolate, cocktails, and mocktails are some of their signature items.
- Location: Baga
- Timings: 8:00 am to 12:00 midnight; every day
- Cost for two: ₹ 1400 (approx.)
28. Restaurants and Pubs
The land of the sun and sand has a number of restaurants and pubs where you can chill out over sumptuous food, drinks, and music. Here are a few must-visit restaurants and pubs in North Goa:
Restaurants in North Goa
- Location: Bhatti Waddo, Nerul
- Timings: 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm; every day
- Cost for two: ₹ 500 (approx.)
- Location: Near Kingfisher Villa, Candolim
- Timings: 4:00 am to 11:00 pm; closed on Tuesdays
- Cost for two: ₹ 1000 (approx.)
- Location: Satt-Adhar Complex, Mapusa
- Timings: 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm; 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm; every day
- Cost for two: ₹ 900 (approx.)
- Location: Ozran Beach, Vagator
- Timings: 10:00 am to 11:30 pm; every day
- Cost for two: ₹ 1500 (approx.)
Pubs and bars in Goa
Soro – The Village Pub
- Location: Vagator, Assagao, Bardez
- Timings: 6:00 pm to 2:00 am
- Cost for two: ₹ 1,200 (approx.)
- Location: Calangute – Baga Road
- Timings: 7:30 am to 12:30 am
- Cost for two: ₹ 1,700 (approx.)
Watson’s Grub Pub
- Location: Candolim
- Timings: 11:00 am to 1:00 am
- Cost for two: ₹ 1,000 (approx.)
Whether you are traveling with your friends, family, or solo, you can always expect to spend a wonderful time in North Goa. The place has enough attractions to entice every kind of traveler. So, pack your bags and let the Goa diaries begin!