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Housed in the Konkan range, Goa is one of India’s wildest and hottest travel destinations since decades now. The white sand beaches, fresh seafood, unique biodiversity, lush flora and World Heritage listed architecture make this place a perfect getaway for friends, families and our special someones. It is frequented by local and international travellers alike, many of whom decided to stay back forever.
Also famous for its notorious hippie culture, Goa was that one location where western hippie travellers came to, loved living and burnt their passports to never go back. Crazy right? It did happen. That initial phase has now lead to Goa being a hubspot for hippie handmade goods and street markets.
But if you are planning a trip to Goa and dunno what to do when you are actually there, well, here are 40 different things to do in Goa you could try. Might even take you an extra trip to finish all these Goa sight seeing plans.
Snack on seafood
Honestly, we would go to Goa just for the seafood. It is the best place for keen pescatarians and for foodies like us, who like to try whatever comes their way. Black snapper, white pomfret, squid, oysters, mussels, tuna, mackerel, shellfish, sea bass and crabs are just some of the items on the menu when it comes to seafood in Goa. Goans sure do make a mean rava oyster fry and the best part is, the seafood is all super fresh.
Must try – Goan squid fry with a chilled beer.
Cost – Rs. 800 for two.
I’m sure you’ve heard of club-hopping before – well, you can do that in Goa too; but you can also do some island hopping. Goa is surrounded by numerous offbeat, serene and gorgeous islands that can truly make a hell of an itinerary for a day. Go to St. Jacinto’s island for a walk along the languid beach, to Bat island for some exciting water sports or Vanxim island to see old Portuguese houses and mandrake forests. Goa sight seeing is the best when done from a local’s perspective, and we are sure they love island hopping.
Must try – Sunbathing in Conco Island.
Cost – Starting from Rs. 1300 per person.
Visit the spice plantations
Everyone loves a spicy curry or masala chai but have you ever wondered how these spices are in their natural habitat? Goan spice plantations give you a chance to do just that. Goa is famous for the production of spices like black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla, betel nut, cinnamon and clove. Take a morning off to visit the Tropical Spice Plantations in Goa. They have an amazing tour that includes a full detailed tour of the plantation and a full Goan style lunch buffet.
Must try – Smelling raw vanilla pods.
Cost – Rs. 400 per person.
Check out the churches
There is a reason Goa is called the ‘Rome of the East’. And no, it is not the day drinking. It is because of the beautiful architectural marvels that are the old Portuguese churches. Sight seeing in Goa is incomplete without a visit to these gorgeous churches. The Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Church of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catejan are the top 5 must visit churches when you are looking for things to see in Goa.
Must try – Learning all about Francis Xavier.
Cost – Free.
Clubbing @ Club Cubana
Club Cubana or ‘Nightclub in the sky’ is located on a hilltop near Anjuna beach, Club Cubana is one of the most famous clubs in Goa. Entry is quite cheap and the music is always banging since many national and international DJs are always there spinning tunes. There is an urban myth that says you might see one or two familiar faces in Club Cubana wherever you go there. There is also a pool right in the middle of the club so there is practically no reason to check it out. Don’t forget to order one of their famous pizzas.
Must try – Wednesday ladies night where ladies drink for free.
Cost – Rs. 1000 for couple entry.
Anjuna flea market bargains
Legend says that the first hippie settler called ‘eight finger Eddie’ started the Anjuna flea market way back in 1975. When the foreign tourists first arrived in Goa, they fell in love with the place and many of them even ended up burning their passports. So they used to gather on the beach to trade clothes, guitars, food and other handmade goods to stay just a little longer in Goa.
Now, the market is full of expats and Indian nationals selling handmade jewellery, self designed hippie clothes, leather shoes, yak sweaters, beaded decor and even homemade jams and pickles. A great place to talk to people, grab a beer and do some light shopping. Like every good old fashioned street market, bargaining works here too.
If people watching is on your list of things to do, then Anjuna flea market is the best Goa sight seeing spot for you.
Must try – A hippie pair of harem pants.
Cost – Entry free. Cost of products vary.
Picnic on a secret beach
Nothing beats a picnic with your friends on a beautiful secluded location. And unfortunately, not every tourist destination can provide one with that. But, lucky for you – Goa certainly can. Goa has a plethora of secret beaches that you and your friends can reach in a jiffy. We recommend the elusive Galgibaga beach. Located about 18km from Canacona, this beach is also called ‘Turtle beach’ since it is an occasional nesting/hatching site for the endangered Olive Ridley turtle. Consider yourself lucky if you spot one!
Must try – Picnic lunch at Butterfly beach.
Cost – Free.
Just in case you didn’t know, parasailing involves being harnessed to a parachute which is thrust forward by a fast-moving boat. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? It certainly is. And Goa is famous for its parasailing activities. It is not very expensive and there are many vendors on the famous beaches like Candolim, Anjuna, Calangute and Donna Paula who will be more than happy to provide you with this experience. And if you are not a parasailing person, you can choose to wakeboard, kitesurf, windsurf or even jet ski.
This is definitely Goa sight seeing on another level because you get to view the lushness of this region from up top. Like a bird in the sky.
Must try – Parasailing at Baga beach.
Cost – Rs. 950 per person for complete package including other activities.
Foot massage on the beach
Peculiar as it may sound, the beaches of Goa are full of walking masseurs. They usually go around asking travellers if they would want a massage, get their hair braided or buy homemade sarongs and such. Some of these people have been practitioners of massage for a long time and have really good pressure for that aching leg day. So if you are looking to pamper yourself in the evening after a long day of sightseeing with your squad, go for a beach foot massage!
Must try – Foot massage with essential oils.
Cost – Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 per session
Also Read: Why Bir Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List
Take an art class
Taking a class during a holiday might seem like an arduous task, but not if it’s something really cool and interests you. Goa is full to the brim with unique and spectacular artists of all kinds – many of them offer 3 day/1 week courses you can take to get a basic understanding of their art form. There are more than 100 different types of art classes happening in Goa at any one time, flyers of which you will see all over the city too. Candle making, clay sculpting, watercolour painting, beaded jewellery, woven bracelets, embroidery, gift packing and yoga are just some of the examples.
Must try – Take a macrame class and make a potholder.
Cost – Starting Rs. 700 for a 3 day course.
Pub-crawl with The Hosteller
Not in the mood to go out and pub hunt? We get that. That is why The Hosteller Goa has some banging pub crawls plans for all our in-house guests. All you gotta do is dress up (or down) and show up to the reception before the crawl starts. Leave the rest to us. Our expert experience curators will take you to the hippest, grooviest and most selective parties and pubs on offer. Drink tickets in hand guys – lets begin the sight seeing in Goa!
Must try – This pub crawl will always be a must try 😉
Cost – Free.
Rent a Vespa
This one does not need an explanation. If you are in Goa & don’t know how to ride a scooter, we are sure you are gonna feel a little left out. This cute little transport is the best way to explore Goa and its surroundings. Drive up to Keri lake for an empty beach, hit up Curlies for some munchies or take your scooter to the hippest club in town – you can do it all. Nothing says Goa sight seeing like a good, old fashioned long drive on your Vespas.
Must try – Drive along the beach before the sun rises.
Cost – Rs. 300 per day.
Hit up the Carnival
At the very end of the Portuguese rule in Goa, carnivals had pretty much fallen into obscurity. It was 1965 when this Catholic tradition was welcomed back and ever since then has been a major show runner for Goa tourism. If you are in Goa during the month of February, then it will be an unthinkable sin for you to leave without experiencing the Carnival. Super colourful floats, delicious street food, amazing dancers and live performances is what makes Carnaval one of a kind. The mother of all Goan bloc parties.
Must try – Dress up in carnival clothes and pose a lot!
Cost – Free.
Explore Goa backwaters
When one thinks of backwaters, the mind immediately drifts to Kerala. Rightfully so. But Goa is no underdog when it comes to vistas of stunning backwater lanes that snake between the lush green lands. These backwater cruises range from 300 – 1500 bucks. The ones that are more expensive usually stop at attractions like spice plantations and include a lunch menu. Nothing can be better to do than to cruise along the languid backwaters on a Saturday afternoon and enjoying Goa sight seeing in it’s undiscovered regions.
Must try – Try your hand at fishing during the backwater trip.
Cost – Rs. 350 per hour for one person.
Go to Mapusa market
If you really want to experience Goa like a local, then you have to go to Mapusa market once on a busy day, which is usually Thursdays and Fridays. The entire market is filled with street vendors and stores of all kinds. You will see vendors selling homemade Goan chorizo and pork sausages and marinated chicken tenders alongside antiques, Goan pottery, clothes designed by locals and lots of fresh fruit. The market has many ATMs nearby so if you end up spending all your loose cash, you can always draw more. And, do not forget to sample some local desserts like dodol and bebinca while there.
Must try – Buy some homemade ham chorizo for an open barbeque.
Cost – Entry free. Prices of produce varies.
Street food sampling at Saturday Night Market
Now this is a big one. You absolutely cannot leave Goa without going to the Saturday night market and filling your tummy up with all the delicious food on offer. The market is much more than the food – from stores selling distressed jeans to Kashmiri carpets to raw Goan spices. You can’t say you have done sight seeing in Goa unless you include this legendary market in your plans.
But, the food is what draws crowds in from far away places to Arpora on Saturday evenings. Steamed oysters, freshly prepared sushi, whole grilled rotisserie chicken, tumblers of boozy ice teas, Israeli treats like schnitzel, locally brewed beers and handi biryanis are just some (SOME) of the lip-smacking items you will find here. Our mouth is already watering just thinking about it.
Must try – Bags by Sabrina, Cheshire Cat Jewellery and Bean Me Up.
Cost – Entry free. Prices of goods varies.
Feni is a local Goan alcoholic beverage prepared by juicing and fermenting cashew apples or coconut palm (toddy). It is milky and sort of frothy in consistency when first prepared. That is actually where the name comes from. ‘Feni’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘phena’ with means froth. The alcohol content in feni is quite high, ranging from 38-45% and hence, is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some of our friends say it tastes like lava going down your throat – but you know, when in Rome!
Must try – Cazulo, premium cashew feni.
Cost – Rs. 100 – 200 depending on the brand.
Buy local handmade jewellery
As we said before, Goa is replete with hippie artists of all kind. Some of them have actually learnt to hone their craft over the years while (no shade) there are others who stick who conch shells together and call it a day. The difference is in the eye of the beholder. Street markets and pop-up markets in Anjuna, Arpora and Mapusa will have plenty of these hippie expat and Indian artists selling their wares. If something catches your eye, why not support the local artists and buy it?
Must try – THEY/ Wearable Art by Priyal Woodpecker.
Cost – Anywhere between 100-1000 bucks.
Get a tattoo
Feeling a bit adventurous on your trip to Goa? Why not make it a permanent memory on your body and get a fun and quirky little tattoo while in Goa? Doesn’t have to be something big and gaudy you know. Could be something sweet and small that you (and maybe all your friends) could get as a gentle reminder to this amazing vacation that you took. Ideas off the top of our head are a small ocean wave, the outline of a boat or a tiny sunset.
Goa has some very talented and great tattoo artists that can do you in a jiffy. But please be careful and do some research about the parlour before you step in. We highly recommend going to an actual professional not a street side tattoo shack.
Must try – Mandalism Tattoo Studio in Vagator.
Cost – Rs. 700 onwards.
Hot air balloon ride
This one is a bit on the expensive side. Not something you can do under 500 bucks, that’s for sure. But it is exhilarating af. Hot air balloon rides usually happen before the sun rises and last for 40 minutes to an hour. The Goa Tourism Dept. has teamed up with several flight providers that employ trained professionals to do these flights. The hot air balloon sails across the vistas of South Goa and gives you ample opportunities to take some stunning photographs from up top. Another really cool thing is, the basket are actually handmade with wicker. How cool!
Just like parasailing, this is Goa sight seeing on a different level; or should we say altitude?
Must try – Leaning out and down from the balloon (you will surely freak your friends out).
Cost – Rs. 9000 onwards for 2 hours.
Trek to Todo waterfall
Everyone knows about Dudhsagar but Goa also has many other hidden and quaint waterfalls to explore. The Todo falls are located about 2 hours from Verlem, which is the starting point of the Todo trek. Yes, you heard it right. A trek in Goa. It may not be a 6 hour journey but this 2 hour experience is replete with explorations through dense jungles, balmy woods, mini waterfalls and a gorgeous summit and stunning river bed views. Its best done on a cloudy day so that the sun is not to harsh on you, or you know, you could always wear a sun cap.
Must try – Bathing under the waterfall.
Cost – Entry free. A paid guided tour costs about 1500 bucks.
Daytrip to Dudhsagar
Dudhsagar literally translates to Sea of Milk and is a four-tiered waterfall located about 60km from the town of Panaji in Goa. Some of you might recognize it from drone shots in countless Bollywood movies, the most recent being Chennai Express. There are travellers looking who come to Dudhsagar without fail as part of Goa sight seeing.
One can reach Dudhsagar by trekking. There are 3 routes you can follow for it – Collem, Kuveshi and Castle Rock route. During the drier seasons the Dudhsagar falls are not particularly spectacular but as the monsoon arrives, it gets swollen with water and becomes a regular tour de force.
Must try – Waiting for the iconic Goa Express to go by.
Cost – Entry free. Guided paid tour from Rs. 1500 onwards.
Visit the filming locations of Dil Chahta Hain
The iconic 2001 flick cemented the surreal scenes of Goa in many a youth. The languid walks on Anjuna and Vagator beach as well as the unforgettable shots at the Chapora Fort make Goa synonymous with friendship and holiday plans. Visit these places when in Goa and take photos just like the terrific trio of Akash, Sameer and Siddharth.
Must try – Lots of DCH themed photos.
Cost – Free.
Meet travellers at Curlies
Rumoured to be the first ever beach shack in Anjuna, Curlies is the hottest destination for local and foreign travellers to dance all their woes away. Before 5-6pm, Curlies is just another food shack where you will see people enjoying seafood platters and towers of chilled beer. After 6, it becomes much more happening and sometime’s Curlies even hosts parties that go on till early morning. Wicked!
Thursday party entries are usually free but clubs in Goa mostly do end up charging for stag entries. If you want to make the most of your Goa vacay, then definitely head to Curlies once during the night and meet travellers from around the world. And also get a taste of the famous Goa trance.
Again, another amazing location to people watch as part of your sight seeing in Goa. Accompanied by yummy food. Blissful, isn’t it?
Must try – Ruculla salad with orange prawns.
Cost – Approximately 500-800 for two people.
Snorkelling & scuba diving
Back to adventure mode. When you are midst the ocean – blue waters and beaches on all sides, a little fun time with the fishies is a must. Snorkelling and scuba diving are pretty common activities in Goa and finding a paid instructor is not difficult at all. Swimming with the pretty fishes, exploring the depth of the ocean and getting freaked out the first few dips is all a part of the ride. Just learn to enjoy it.
Must try – Grande Island snorkelling and scuba diving.
Cost – Rs. 1500 for each.
Volunteer at the animal shelter
If you have some time in Goa and feel like giving back to the community or just doing some productive work, why not volunteer at an animal shelter? WAGS or Welfare for Animals in Goa is an organization that rescues dogs, cats, cows, camels, goats etc. and is run by a very involved person called Atul. You can use your time there to feed the animals, take them on walks, volunteer during events and even help fundraise. WAGS is located in Siolim.
Must try – Dog walking on the beach at sundown.
Cost – Free.
Roam the Latin quarters
The Latin quarters of Goa are located in Fontainhas, Panjim and is the best location to immerse yourself into the aesthetic of the past Portuguese rule. It is essentially a colony made up of all old style Portguese houses and adorable little shops and bakeries.
This place is best explored on foot as you would want to soak in the views of rows of colourful blue, green, red, yellow houses complete with white tapering and old school windows. It will totally change your view of sight seeing in Goa. The tiny cafes and eateries also make it worth your while as you can stop to try many local delicacies of this region while you take that perfect Instaphoto!
Must try – Cafe Viva Panjim.
Cost – Free.
Go see a live jazz band
Trance might be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of music in Goa, but trust us, there is much more than that. One night in Goa is best spent eating some delicious food, sipping on a cocktail and vibing to the smooth jazzy tunes of local artists. Many restaurants like Soro, Cantare and Jazz Corner have dedicated jazz nights one or twice a week. A night of jazz combined with some aromatic spiciness of the Goan cuisine and the salty sea air is bound to make that night impressive.
Must try – Soro: The Village Pub for dinner.
Cost – Entry is mostly free.
Go bookstore hunting
This is something we love to do no matter which new place we explore. Bookstore hunting. Put on those shorts and ganji and head out with your friends to find the best (or cheapest) bookstore in Goa. Lotuseaters and Singbal book store are out recommendations. If you find out some more, do drop it in the comments down below and we will add it up here. For a day, forget sight seeing in Goa and try book hunting instead.
Must try – Lotuseaters in Bambolim.
Cost – Entry free.
Immerse in the rustic lives of daily fishermen and go on a crab catching tour when in Goa. These tours take place in the backwaters of Goa and usually last for a few hours from late afternoon to early evenings (3pm – 7pm). The tour provides travellers with bait, fishing equipment and a fisherman guide to explain the entire process to you.
And crab catching isn’t even a requirement. If you feel too irked for the task, you can simply glide along the languid backwaters and watch the dazzling sun dip down behind the blue ocean. But we must say, the meal afterwards involves preparing the crabs caught during the day and eating something you caught yourself has a totally different feel to it. So you should at least try your hand at it once.
Must try – Masala crab curry with crabs you caught.
Cost – RS. 1600 for 4 hours.
Learn Oceanic Yoga
The Oceanic Yoga Institute in Goa provides 6 day courses for anyone interested in learning more about this art form, learning the basics of yoga and enjoying a yoga retreat near the ocean. Although the institute specializes in 100, 200 and 300 hour courses for yoga teachers and professional yogis, the yoga holiday retreat package is a great way to meet yogis from around the world and indulge in some self love and healing. The institute is located in Mandrem in North Goa and they also provide airport pick ups and drops for any guest coming to stay.
Must try – Ashtanga Yoga course.
Cost – Starting from Rs. 200 per hour.
Photoshoot in a fort
Even though Goa is all about parties and trance now, it does have a rich colonial history and heritage behind it. It has been under the rule of the Maranthas, the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese. These dynasties have left behind some beautiful and scenic forts in the state, many of which overlook the deep blue Arabian sea. Almost all of the forts are in pretty good condition till date, but some like Corjuem and Nanoz Fort have fallen into ruin and overrun by plants.
But this exact characteristic is what makes it an awesome place to have a photoshoot. If you are a fashion model or a beauty influencer, then these forts in Goa are sure to provide you with some smashing backgrounds. On a different note, every Goa sight seeing plan is incomplete without a few old world forts in it.
Must try – Heading to the roof of Mormugao Fort.
Cost – Free.
‘Mugger’ crocodiles that live in Goa are the bigger and less predatory cousins of the infamous salt-water crocodiles. They stay mostly in the brackish waters of the Cumbarjua wetlands that connect the rivers Mandovi and Zuari. The tour includes a 3-4 hour ride along the Cumbarjua wetlands – watching the crocodiles sunbathe, the groves of mangroves and birds nearby because of the proximity to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. The Cumbarjua canal holds about 40-50 crocodiles.
Must try – Feeding the crocodiles. JK, do not do that!
Cost – Rs. 1000 per person (beverages and snacks included).
Mollem National Park
The Mollem National Park is located near the town of Mollem and Dudhsagar falls. It was declared as a national park in 1978 and covers approximately 107 sq. kilometers. The tropical evergreen and moist deciduous forests are inhabited by a plethora of animals and birds, including but not limited to bonnet macaque, common langur, drongo, emerald dove, civets, leopards, Malabar giant squirrels, crocodiles, Indian black woodpecker etc. You can choose to hike inside the national park or take a scooter or vehicle.
Must try – Hiking along the river that flows inside the national park.
Cost – Entry free Rs. 20 for adults, Rs. 5 for children (separate charges for camera/devices).
Located in Ponda, the Butterfly Conservatory is a beautiful location to spend some time in. Replete in natural green beauty and hundreds of beautiful and vibrant butterflies fluttering about, it is sure to make you smile. Seeing the rapid depletion in butterfly species, one concerned couple decided to open up this conservatory. It initially housed only 20 species but now the number has crossed 150. The conservatory is essentially a giant park where you can walk about and admire the wonders of nature.
Must try – Trying to identify at least 10 species of butterflies without Google.
Cost – Rs. 150 per person.
This unique concept has been introduced in Goa only recently, after such kinds of parties started blowing up online. A responsible and less noisy way to have fun, headphone parties are events where everyone gets a pair of headphones where they can tune in to the music whenever they feel. Organizers of these events usually keep the location a secret and invitations are also not the easiest to come by. If you have made good friends with the hip locals, then an invite is sure to come your way. There are only one or two open clubs in Goa which employ this radical method of partying.
Must try – The Silent Noise Club in Palolem.
Cost – Rs. 1500 for two (Meals and drinks separate)
Lose some money in a casino
Now that you have landed in the land of lights and parties, you might as well try out a casino if you have not before. Goa is one of the only states in the country where gambling is legal, so you will see scores of people taking full advantage of it. There are many casinos throughout Goa, many lavish and 5 star while others smaller and with lesser games being played. The casino cruises on the river Mandovi are also extremely popular with the travellers. You might end up losing some money on this one but the experience might be worth it.
Must try – Blackjack at the Casino Carnival at the Marriot Goa.
Cost – Packages start from Rs. 2000 per person.
Romantic Candlelight Dinner
A lot of times, Goa is a destination we go to with our special ones. And what better way to make it memorable, then to have private and romantic candlelight dinner. Though this is a seriously fun situation, it might take a bit of preparation on your side. If you are a no fuss person, then maybe just grab a candle from one of Goa’s many handmade product stores and stick it on one of the beach shack’s tables.
But if you are looking to make it extra special for your extra special person, you can whip up some dinner, grab a foldable table, some beautiful wine and candles and head to an isolated beach during the late evening. The drive till there will be serene and the candlelight dinner near the ocean will make the night unforgettable. Don’t blame us if you end up proposing to them (but do send us the wedding invite).
Must try – Dining on home cooked aglio olio pasta with garlic mussels.
Cost – Free.
Eat some traditional Goan food
Goan food is notorious for being addictive. The fresh produce caught nearby and the aromatic spices produced in the state combined with the age old recipes make for some irresistible combinations. While most beach shacks tend to cater to more western and contemporary forms of seafood like grilled platter and fries; there are many traditional restaurants where you can get a taste of lip smacking dishes like pork vindaloo, pomfret curry, xacuti, fonna kadi, red prawn curry, rava fish fry and scented rice.
Must try – Mum’s Kitchen in Panjim.
Cost – Rs. 250-800 for two.
Discover your favorite cafe
Any place in India that gets a large footfall of international travellers always end ups being full of cute cafes. Goa is no different. The different towns are all filled with their own kind of cafes, eateries and home run bakeries that make the tastiest treats.
So instead of ordering in or going to the same outlets everyday, be adventurous, grab that Vespa and go cafe hopping. We are sure you will end up with at least a few favorite places you will be dying to come back to.
If you got a good coffee recommendation for our travellers, hit us up on Instagram @thehosteller.
Must try – Tuna sandwich and ice tea at Artjuna.
Cost – Rs. 800 – 1200 for two.