Tuesday, June 18, 2024

An ideal itinerary for two days in Goa: the top 7 sites to see there

Goa stands out from India’s other busy beach cities with golden sand beaches, tangled palm trees, and a relaxed atmosphere. It feels like a vacation within a vacation just to visit this beach paradise. Goa’s beautiful natural scenery, serenity, and busy calendar of events and activities make it an ideal spot to fill your spare time.

A visit to Goa is not just about its beaches: The state is famous for its many other attractions. Many tourist attractions in Goa’s coastline, such as Palolem Beach and Colva Beach, are popular worldwide. Additionally, this charming destination has Portuguese-influenced cuisines, historical churches and temples, vibrant wildlife, and fascinating spice farms. You’ll wish you had more time to explore Goa, no matter how long you spend there.

Here is our list of Goa’s top-rated tourist attractions so you can plan your trip to India better.

1. The most popular beaches

palolem beach

Goa is a popular tourist destination in India due to the beautiful beaches it has to offer.

The most visited beach in south Goa is Palolem Beach, a crescent-shaped strip of white sand that overlooks the Arabian Sea. Visiting Palolem Beach is a great way to soak up the scenery, but it also offers various activities for you to enjoy. Swimming, kayaking, yoga classes, and dolphin-sighting excursions are among the activities available. Palolem’s rustic coco huts, erected during the high season, are also a great way to spend the night.

Another well-known beach in Goa is Colva Beach, especially among Indian tourists. You may sometimes see herds of cows sunbathing near tourists on this beach with swaying palms and deep bronze sand. Parasailing allows you to see the beach from above, while Jet Skis and banana boats will enable you to frolic on the beach.

With homestays in the region, you’ll authentically experience the local culture while staying close to Colva Beach.

2. Spice Farm of Tanshikar

Spice Farm of Tanshikar

Black pepper, cardamom, and cloves are just a few of the flavors native to South India. Portugal imported these natural flavorings hundreds of years ago, and they were very popular among Portuguese traders.

Visitors can tour Tanshikar’s Working Spice Farm & Ecological Rest House to get a taste of the local spice scene. The agritourism facility grows seven different spices using completely organic farming methods: pepper, vanilla, nutmeg, turmeric, cardamom, and chili.

Visitors can take guided tours, led by the farm’s owner, to get a close look at these flavor-packed crops and learn about some of the other products grown on the farm, such as betelnut, coffee beans, and pineapple. The Tanshikar’s apiary keeps bees as well as producing its all-natural honey.

Besides spice farm tours, Tanshikar’s offers several other fun activities. In addition to yoga, vegetarian culinary courses are available, a bubbling lake is nearby, and guests can hike to a beautiful waterfall. Everyone will find something to enjoy at this attraction.

3. Basilica de Bom Jesus

Basilica de Bom Jesus

Goa is popular among tourists for its beaches, yet many pilgrims visit religious sites, including the Basilica de Bom Jesus.

The remains of the St. Francis Xavier church lie within the walls of this Old Goa attraction dating from the late 16th century. Co-founder of the Society of Jesus with St. Ignatius Loyola and pioneer of a missionary movement in India, St. Ignatius was known as the “Apostle of the Indies.” UNESCO designated the basilica a World Heritage site in 1999.

Despite its simplicity, the structure is a mix of Doric, Corinthian, and Baroque styles. The intricate carvings add a touch of class. In the mid-20th century, this church was stripped of its plaster, meaning it has never had dressing applied. It has soaked in monsoon rains at the Basilica de Bom Jesus.

For a small fee, one can hire a guide from an independent agency near the entrance to give you a guided tour of the church. On the inside, you’ll find enormous ornamental screens and a casket once covered in precious stones in which the body of the resident saint rests. You’ll be transported back in time in this enchanting place.

This church draws large crowds for the Feast of St. Francis Xavier in early December and late November. This major event begins on Nov. 9 with an open-air mass and culminates on Dec. 3 with the major holiday.

4. Dudhsagar Falls

Dudhsagar Falls

It’s not just the beach in Goa where you can have an aquatic adventure. In addition to the falls, Dudhsagar Falls towers some 310 meters above the earth, a spectacular natural wonder. There’s no question that this is India’s tallest waterfall, and day trips to Goa and Karnataka always prove popular.

The nearest village to the falls is Colem, which you can reach by train or taxi. Dudhsagar Falls might be visible along your train route, depending on which one you take. Upon arriving at Devil’s Canyon, you’ll board a shared jeep to head into the jungle. A mere 45 minutes later, you will finally reach the falls once you have scrambled over some boulders.

Right after the monsoon, when the waterfall is at its peak, it is the best time to visit Dudhsagar Falls. Vendors at the attraction offer life jackets for rent to tourists who wish to take a dip.

5. Anjuna Market

Anjuna-Flea-Market

Several markets exist in Goa, but none compare to Anjuna Market in liveliness and product selection. Anjuna Beach has been a free-spirited travelers destination for more than 50 years; hundreds of vendors supply it with souvenirs and trinkets inspired by hippy culture.

You’ll find everything for sale here, from embroidered textiles to woven bikinis, sculptures of deities, dream catchers, hammocks, magnets, t-shirts with colorful slogans, and beaded jewelry.

Although you don’t have to shop, visiting Anjuna Market for sightseeing is a good idea. There is a swirling assortment of colorful goods at the flea market, along with bargain-driven salespeople, big bags of fresh spices, and street food galore. Anjuna Market ranks among Goa’s best cultural attractions based solely on its vibe.

6. Holy Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

Church

Visit the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panaji, a city famous for its laidback style.

A perfect example of Portuguese Baroque architecture, this place is worth seeing for sure. Located atop an elegant staircase that looks like a wedding cake, the pristine white church dates back to the early 17th century. It seems like a fairy tale at night because of twinkling lights.

Bright, colorful decorations adorn the interior, regardless of its lack of ornate decoration. Among the notable features of this church are the elegant main altar (dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus) and the gilded pillars featuring intricate carvings. Many parts of the vaulted ceiling display vines of blue and white blossoms around various holidays.

It is a major holiday for this church, and the festival of the Immaculate Conception occurs on Dec. 8. Be sure to stop by to see how colorful it is.

7. Portuguese-Indian Restaurants

Portuguese-Indian Restaurants

Attractions in Goa primarily revolve around flavors and food. India’s food here combines Portuguese flavor with Goan influences, making it distinctly different from the rest of the country’s cuisine. There is an abundance of fresh seafood and fiery flavors infused with coconut.

It would be incomplete without a taste of Goa’s signature dish, vindaloo, a spicy meat curry made with palm vinegar and dried red chilies. Goa’s capital city, Panaji, is home to Hospedaria Venite, a restaurant known for its delicious vindaloo. In addition to vindaloo, Dominick is a popular spot on Benaulim Beach, offering front-row seats for world-class sunsets.

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