Goa

Goa Travel Guide: The Complete Itinerary of North and South Goa

A psychedelic blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, alleviated with the shimmering sun, moon, azure sea and beaches, gleaming sand, seafood, beer, festivals and spirituality, Goa is India’s perfect beach capital. Although the small state in India, the lush green landscape and the golden coastline make Goa the most attractive place in the World.

From couples to friends and from solo backpackers to Group travellers, Goa has magical moments and diversified life for everyone. North to South and summer to winter Goa has different beauty in every season and at every location. If you opt for clear glittering water and beaches North is the main attraction but South has its own charm with Portuguese houses, chapels and calm alleys. This tiny city gives a variety of options to the foodies in terms of Veg and Non-veg preference. So, if you want to explore the complete Goa, here is the complete itinerary of North and South Goa.

 

History of Goa

It is said in Hindu Mythology, that Goa is connected with Dasavathar of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu in his Parasurama Avatar made the area of Goa. He won the war against the Kshatriyas and proclaimed Goa as the place of the Brahmins. From that point forward to the fourteenth century, Goa had been a significant Hindu strict site. Toward the start of the fourteenth century, Islamic intruders took control of Goa but, didn’t run it for long. Since Goa was a port locale, it pulled in the Vijayanagar to rule and its waterfront regions were utilized by dealers to import Arabian ponies from the Middle East. 

Goa

 

Toward the start of the sixteenth century, European powers began to arrive in India and it was not some time before Goa was heavily influenced by the Portuguese around the same time, Christianity ministers drove by Saint Francis Xavier entered India. His powerful influence destroyed many Shiva temples to convert people to Christianity one of the temples is the Basilica of Bom Jesus and other ruins of temples are still very much there in South Goa. Goa was heavily influenced by the Portuguese for 4 centuries and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. During this time, the Goan culture disintegrated to adapt to western culture and a unique lifestyle was born. Before the finish of 1961, the Indian Army took control of Goa and the Portuguese left the nation. The Goan populace didn’t need themselves to be added to Maharashtra and in this manner, they were announced as a union territory.

 

Best Time to Visit

Goa has incredible season variations around the year. There are some seasons which is so pleasant but crowded and costly and some are a little offbeat but less crowded and pocket-friendly. You have to decide which season you would like to pick. 

 

 

 

The Best Season (November – February): This is the best season for a party, chilled beer, mild and comfortable weather and a perfect beach getaway. You can find most of the crowd, foreigners in this season also can cherish the festivals like Sunburn, New Year, Christmas etc. So the price gets higher in every aspect so book your hotels in advance since this is the peak season and prices of accommodation go way higher than you would imagine.

Summer (March-May): The season of extremely hot and humid. Prices are relatively cheap and the crowd are less this season.

Monsoon (June – October): My personal favourite season though rains hit the goa and turn it into a rainy place. Most of the beaches are closed and because of the rains most of the hotels are surrounded by bushes. I visited Goa in August and found it extremely pretty as the lush green Countryside, less crowded Sea beaches and cleanest roads make it so beautiful. The price is reasonable and a great option for budget travellers to explore Goa in a perfect way.

 

How to Reach

The tiny State is nestled between Maharashtra and Karnataka and is always on top priority in terms of beaches and holiday purposes. A lot of crowds often come from different parts of the country and abroad to enjoy a relaxing holiday here. Keep the Crowd in mind, Goa offers an extensive way to reach the destination via Air, Rail, Road and Water.

By Air: If you opt to Goa by airway then the nearest international airport is located at Dabolim. Dabolim airport is situated at a distance of almost 29 kilometres away from Panaji. This international airport is well connected with the major domestic cities as well as international major cities like the U.K. and Germany as well.

By Rail: It is quite easy to reach Goa via railways as there are a few railway stations in Goa located in Margao and Thivim. The main railway station is known as Madgaon and Vasco-da-Gama which is connecting South Goa and Thivim is the main station that connects North Goa easily. These railway stations are well linked with Mumbai and then other parts of the country as well.

 

By Road: Clean roads are accessible and well connected to different cities. The bus services are also good here in the city. Anyone can easily commute via cars, and cabs too. The roads are beautiful and give a surreal view. 

By Cruise: One of the Luxury affairs is to commute to Goa from Mumbai via Cruise. There are a few services available and also you have to book in advance, the price is really costly.

 

Where to Stay

There are so many hotels, resorts, homestays, hostels and BnB available here and you have to decide exactly which part of Goa you want to stay in. Generally, South Goa is idle for those who want to spend a private vacation far away from the crowd and North Goa is best described for Nightlife, crowd, shopping, beaches and apt for party-orientated people. 

I stayed in the North part and it was pretty reasonable with one private beach ( but it was closed due to monsoon). There are plenty of beaches, markets, nightclubs, most of the crowd in the north part and you can consider it too. The stay options are also varied according to your budget and seasons. Let’s say the good hotels or resorts are very reasonable in the offseason but yes in the main season there are a whole lot of options available according to the pocket and the ranges are from INR 600 to INR 40K plus. 

 

 

South Goa is calm with a blend of vibrant colourful Portuguese culture, churches, chapels, beautiful walking alleys, splendid cafes, and amazing greeneries everywhere with a few mind-blowing beaches just perfect for a peaceful vacation where you can relax your days at any cafe while sipping your favourite drink with a book or just to walk in any colourful alley while holding the hand of your love. In the South part,  stay options are also available according to your budget and trust me you can find every option like hostel, resort, hotels and BnB according to the pocket.

 

What To See in North Goa

Beaches are not to be missed in North Goa

 

Goa is called the paradise of beaches. There are almost 50 beaches you can find here and almost 21 beaches are in North Part. Surprised ?? Yes, I was surprised too to read that rest of the 29 beaches are in the South part but not every beach is accessible there and most happening beaches are considered in North Goa. 

The famous beaches not to be missed in North Goa are Arambol beach(my hot favourite), Mandrem Beach, Ashwem Beach, Morjim beach (the cleanest one and also called little Russia), Chapora beach, Vagator beach, Anjuna beach, Baga beach (Crowed beach) and another famous my favourite beach is Calangute beach. There are so many more beaches you can explore but these mentioned names are really not to be missed as there are a lot of differences you can see at every beach like Arambol has the most spectacular sunset whereas Anjuna has the rocky part to explore and so on. These beaches are placed like a necklace of the northern coastline with tons of shacks buzzing with life, serving lip-smacking delicious food from Konkan cuisine to Portuguese dishes with cocktails, beers and mocktails to go along; Goa’s beaches make your dream come true at any cost.

Places to visit in North Goa

If you are a traveller who wants to explore every nook and corner like me then you must visit :

Chapora Fort: Chapora Fort first appeared and got famous in the movie Dil Chahta Hai. This ancient fort in North Goa offers surreal views of the Arabian Sea. The fort is located on top of a hillock with slopes on all sides, and though it is almost in ruins, the government started refurbishing the fort to make it worth it again.

 

Fort Aguada: Lighthouse in a fort; who wants to miss this ??? Yes, you can be mesmerised by the view and the lighthouse of Fort Aguada. 

Apart from that, there are plenty of Chappels and churches surrounded by the Northern region, just walk down the roads and enjoy your moments.

 

** I have made a video on my trip, which describes every small thing in North Goa, You can check it here

 

What To See in South Goa

Beaches of South Goa

South Goa is rather dulcet, with serene beaches like Colva, Miramar, Palolem and Galgibaga (famous as a nesting ground for Olive Ridley turtles) which are simply away from the world, but really worth paying a visit if you are looking for some peace and calm ambience. There are other beaches also situated in the South part but most of them are not much clean and not accessible.

Gems of South Goa

The South part has really blessed with lush green beauty and some amazing places to visit.

Spice Plantation: India is often called a “Land of Spices” and the Tropical Spice Plantation is proved that term with its huge variety of spice species. Based on 130 acres of land, only 2acres are allowed for tourists to explore. This place is worth a visit and the ticket charge includes a welcome drink, lunch and a guide charge also.

If you visit this tour you can get to see the Indian hospitality, where you will be greeted with garland and lemongrass welcome drink. Also, this educative tour will provide you with the perfect knowledge of different spices such as Cocoa, Turmeric, Vanilla and a lot more. The aroma of the spices, the greenery and the eco-friendly nature with the surreal walking view will surely provide you with the feeling of a Green Paradise. 

Basilica de Bom Jesus: The UNESCO heritage site and the famous church in South Goa where you can see the mortal of Saint Francis Xavier still remains in a coffin. Also, you will not find any single cross inside, as it is said that this church was built on a shiva temple and henceforth no cross had been established in the church. Many people or architects came but they did not get the success to put a cross over there. 

Dona Paola: I can say it’s a spot to sit and chase the sunset or just walk around the nearby stalls.

** I have made a video on my trip, which describes every small thing in South Goa, You can check it here

 

 

A One-Stop Guide for Shopaholic People

 

Goa has so many local markets where you can easily get a lot of souvenirs, beach hopping dresses, accessories and many more at a very cheap price. Sometimes you have to bargain a lot to get the product else this is a great place for shopaholics.

 

Some Activities you should Try

Well, if you are an adventure nerd then you should try these activities  for fun :

 

  • Water Sport
  • Water Gliding
  • Casino and gambling 
  • Dolphin Watch
  • Windsurfing
  • Kayaking

 

Checklist

(Based on my Personal Experience)

  • Make sure you carry a good amount of cash as there are a few ATMs available in Goa.
  • Be careful with your phone. My phone got damaged due to moisture (even if it did not hit the water )
  • Don’t throw empty beer cans, bottles, or packets anywhere or in the water. Use a dustbin for that
  • Don’t taunt or make any offensive comments towards foreigners, hippies or anyone. Be a responsible traveller. 
  • Not every fish items are good in taste. Try first then order. 
  • Cab charges are very high, better go for rent bike or cab option.

 

Showered with beaches, lush green roadside views, coconut trees, and rivers Goa have something to fall in love with again and again….

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63 thoughts on “Goa Travel Guide: The Complete Itinerary of North and South Goa

  1. Indeed Goa has everything for everyone. Beautiful place and your detailed description is just awesome. Keep writing this kind of articles. Very helpful I must say.

  2. I visited Goa in 2017. Generally, I love the mountain more but Goa is something special. I stayed in Sernavatim Beach, less crowded. I liked the fact that hard drinks, foods are quite reasonable. Literally, back into those days while reading the article. Nice and detailed post.

  3. I visit goa before 5 year and spend 3 days overthere. These 3 days i enjoyed a lot. I eat seafood first tome overthere. I always miss those days but in winter again i planned for goa… thanks for your article its help me lot

  4. Now that’s such a lovely, informative and detailed post. Totally bookmarking it for my next Goa trip

  5. Good gracious, there are so many things to do in Goa and still not get over with it.

    I would love to spend my lifetime here.

    1. Goa is a beautiful destination with golden beaches, reminisces of Portuguese culture and laid back as well as electrifying city vibes to spend vacation. Goa is in my bucket list for long time.Thank you for sharing all the useful guides on travel and shopping in Goa.

  6. I have told my husband Goa is the one place I wish to visit after lockdown. Loved your post and there is never ever enough of Goa you can get. Lots to see and do yet

  7. Wow missing goa with friends. Always love arambol never been on sunset bit looked wow. Well penned ya

  8. Have always placed goa on the top of my bucket list even after being there once. Had my tickets for April 2020, sadly the pandemic didn’t let me visit the magical land again. I so feel like going there rn to get some fresh air after reading this.

  9. That’s some of the best advices for Goa you gave here .. I am honestly itching to go to Goa and spend some chill time out there ..I have not yet been to South Goa beaches .. it’s a great detailed post .

  10. I haven’t been to Goa. I did have plans for Goa in this year. Unfortunately! Probably next year now. Goa plans don’t work out so easily.

    I’ll get in touch with you once I decide down to visit there.

  11. Oh! How I miss Goa! Now, even more. We usually visit Goa, have fun and chill around, but do not think about its history much. Thanks for sharing that information here. Your pictures are definitely giving me wanderlust.

  12. Hi Pamela, wow, this is an amazing read. It’s rare to see people write about the history of Goa. Also, I did explore south goa and its beaches. It’s amazingly clean and less crowded.

  13. I absolutely love Goa. I have been there thrice and I have had so much fun. But I would still say that I have explored that place very less. This guide is awesome and it gives all the details. Will bookmark this for future reference.

  14. Thanks for sharing detailed information about the place. Goa is in our bucket list from very long. And hopefully we are planning to visit soon. I am bookmarking this post for future reference.

  15. Goa is always on the planned list and yet gets cancelled at the last moment. Let see if anything happens soon. And honestly this is the first time I am reading the history associated with Goa. I had no idea if Parshuram linked to the place. Great to know such details.

  16. Quite detailed and informative, especially now as more and more people are travelling to Goa after lockdown. A combination of NOrth and South and all details in one place is just fab

  17. Thanks for sharing detailed post on Goa. Goa is in our bucket list from very long but every time something happened on the last moment. But we would love to visit Goa and we are planning to visit this year only.

  18. Goa is really a beautiful place. I like south Goa much more, it’s scenic and quiet. But it was a revelation to know that Goa was formed by a Vishnu avatar. Interesting!

  19. Goa never fails to reveal a new side whenever you visit. We travel again to Goa to revel in its multiple personalities. Our favourite haunt is of course South Goa. We find the beaches of South Goa quieter and more secluded. The churches of South Goa too are magnificent. Your post gives a birds-eye view of North and South Goa.

  20. I have been to Goa a few times now and I know its absolutely amazing especially the beaches. I would love to go there and stay for a few months. Hopefully some day.

  21. Extremely well documented and a detailed blog of Goa. This will surely be handy for people planning to travel to Goa. Bookmarking for my next visit.

  22. That tip about being careful with phone is so funny. My bestie just returned from Goa crying that she dropped her phone into the water, and it was completely dead.

  23. Goa looks like a beautiful part of India. I would first go to Arambol beach. The Portuguese architecture sounds so charming and definitely adds an edge to the area. Hopefully I can visit one day!

  24. I would want to take advantage of the beach, so I wouldn’t want to visit during rainy season. Interesting to hear about the Portuguese influence.

  25. I read a lot about Goa, but nobody’s mentioned the number of beaches there. I think I will have fun spending time on the beaches while in Goa. Of course, I won’t skip visiting and searching for Portuguese influence in the city.

  26. I recently traveled to GOA for the first time and really liked South Goa since I am not a party animal. My favourites places are Divar Island, Old Goa, Butterfly Beach, Majorda beach, Morjim beach.

  27. Goa is such a beautiful place. I have been there many times and I am again going in January. I have not seen so many of these places, I think I will add some of these for my next visit. Thanks for this list.

  28. I heard many good things about Goa and I’m fascinated by how similar and so different the North and South are. One part is with lots of beaches, nightlife, and shopping, while the other part has a more rural vibe. Nevertheless, both attract the traveler in me. Your post made has triggered my excitement to travel in Asia again!

  29. Goa is a place that you can never tire of. And not just for its beaches but its history, quirky museums and wildlife too. Every time I get there, I discover something new. South Goa is the part that I really like the most!

  30. Goa is absolute bliss for me and I can visit the place as many times you allow me to go. I am a beach baby I love watching the waves taking turns in its own ways and goa plantations last time impressed me immensely and how can I forget the Goan dishes which are just absolute delicious.

  31. Great curation. Good checklists and tips. Sharing this with friends who swear they know Goa! I’m sure they will also find something new to explore.

  32. God is a fab place to visit and one visit isn’t enough. I have been there many times and this travel guide is indeed very helpful for people travelling there.

  33. Goa has been one of my favourite destinations and always has something new to offer. This post brought back so many childhood as well as honeymoon memories!

  34. I have to bookmark this post as I am shamelessly admitting that I haven’t visited Goa… not once. Now my confusion is clear about South n north cuz whenever i ask some people say go to north n some South.
    Your detailed account is quite helpful Pamela and I loved the little bit on history… was absolutely ignorant of the pre-history aspect. Great pics too!

  35. You posts are always detailed and have all the information in one place. No need to search anywhere else. I have visited Goa many times but I am surely saving this.

  36. My first visit to Goa was last year. All the memories came flooding back with your post. You share everything. It’s a vivid virtual experience totally.

  37. Thank you for such a comprehensive post. All information one could need in one single post. I will definitely be exploring those I missed next time I visit Goa.

  38. Now that’s such a lovely, informative, and detailed post.; though we visited Goa around 18yrs back, some places are new to me. I am bookmarking this post for future visits.

  39. I have visited Goa twice & enjoyed both seasons. Iam not a party person so i found the Nov visit very crowded in terms of traffic while exploring the city.

  40. Such a great trip you’ve had to Goa! The place looks amazing and of course, sunsets looks amazing anywhere, everytime. The food also looks so sumptuous! A tourist destination indeed for a great time!

  41. Its been 12 years that I have been to Goa. We had a wonderful trip and I had been to most of these places you have mentioned.

  42. It’s been 3 months since I haven’t been there… I love your itinerary… As a tourist if you view it is lovely… I loved the pictures too.

  43. I have been togoa twice but both the times stayed in South Goa , so this time I will stay and explore north goa which has beaches with lots of water activities.

  44. Thank you so much, This came up when it is required. I am planning a Goa trip with my sisters and freinds. I am saving this post for my reference in planning our Trip. 🙂

  45. What an exhaustive and comprehensive guide to Goa! Really exciting!
    I have visited Goa 4 times till now and every time we find something new to explore!

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