Best Things to Do in Goa

Here are our favourite things to do in Goa – whether you're local or visiting for the weekend

Beach hopping, island visits, water sports, snorkeling, diving, sailing, fishing, nightlife, amazing food, forts, churches… there are so many things to do in Goa. You can holiday in Goa just like you want… spend a relaxing vacation doing nothing, or an active holiday, eating, drinking, partying, and seeing the many attractions.

There is something for everyone at Goa. The nature lover will love its beaches, lush greenery, rivers, and islands. The culture buff will love Goa’s many churches and forts. If you are foodie, you will love the seafood and Konkani cuisine. There is snorkeling, diving, paragliding, and go karting for those who seek adventure. Kids will love the waterparks. You can also go on a sea or river cruise to see dolphins and birds. Goa has many beautiful markets too where you will find several exotic things and souvenirs to take home.

Goa is small. But with so many things to do here, it is impossible to see and do everything in one visit. Which is why so many people keep coming back to Goa.

This guide will help you decide what to see and do in Goa.

Find out all the best things to do in Goa

#1 – Rent a Private Villa in Goa

Private Villa in Goa

A hand-picked collection of private luxury villas in Goa to rent in beautiful locations, with concierge service and housekeeping included during your stay. Rent start from Rs. 19 000/- per night.

#2 – The Beaches

Top Goa Beaches

The beaches of Goa will always top the list of any tourist. There are many beautiful beaches in Goa, from the North to the South. Select wisely because you cannot possibly visit them all. North Goa beaches are busier with a lot more activities, parties, and shopping. The beaches in the south are more serene and peaceful. There is more nature in the South too. Relax on the beach at a shack, get a massage, enjoy food and drinks, and go for a swim.

Top Goa Beaches – Baga, Candolim, Calangute, Anjuna, Vagator, Palolem, Colva, Cavelossim, Benaulim, Majorda, Chapora.

#3 – Water Sports

Goa Water Sports

There are many water sports activities to choose from, almost throughout Goa. There is parasailing, windsurfing, speed boat and banana boat rides, waterskiing, water scooters, boogie boarding, dinghy sailing, and more. Of course, there is swimming too at the beaches. But remember, there are rocks in many Goa beaches. Also, watch out for riptides. There are lifeguards at the most popular beaches, but not all. You can also try deep sea fishing in Goa.

Best time for water sports – Try early morning for windsurfing or parasailing as the morning breeze is light and calm. You can do boating throughout the day. Water sports activities are mostly closed during the rainy season, as it can be too risky.

#4 – Kayaking

Goa Kayaking

Kayaking in the backwaters of Goa could be an experience of a lifetime. Gently glide through the calm waters as you get close to the birds, bats, and the occasional dolphins. This tranquil experience will give you beautiful memories. You can see the villages, churches, and the daily life of the Goanese people as well.

Best time for kayaking – A kayak ride will be most comfortable in the winter. Kayak early in the morning to see the birds. They will go under shade as the day progresses.

#5 – Whitewater Rafting

Goa Water Rafting

If you want more excitement and adventure, then why not try whitewater rafting. Take on the challenge and ride over the rapids. It is sure to give you an adrenalin rush. There is whitewater rafting in Goa at many places – Valpoi River, Mhadei River, and the Mandovi River. The cost will be between 1,500-2,000 INR per person, which includes basic lessons, safety briefing, lifejackets, and rafting gear.

Best time for whitewater rafting – The monsoon season between June and September when the rapids are the wildest.

#6 – Snorkeling, Scuba Diving

Goa Scuba Diving

Head to Grande Island near Vasco da Gama for a day of swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving! Equipment is available on hire. There is basic training as well. Explore the many famous dive sites and ship wrecks, or just skim the surface to see colorful marine life. You can finish the day with a barbecue. Snorkeling is also available at Bogmalo Beach in South Goa.

Best time for snorkeling, scuba diving – Between November and April.

#7 – Dolphin Tours

Dolphin in Goa

Go on a boat trip for a chance to come face to face with the amazing dolphins. You can see dolphins close to the shore at many places in Goa, like Candolim, Calangute, Sinquerim, and the Varca Beach. You can see them also at Grande Island, and sometimes even in the rivers. There is such a high chance of a sighting that many operators offer ‘no dolphin, no pay’ service.

Best time to see the dolphins – Between October and May.

#8 – Cruising

Mandovi River Cruise

There is cruising on the Mandovi River and on the Sal River in the south. There are all types of cruises to select from, such as dinner cruises with Goan music, food, singing, and dancing. Goa Tourism Department runs popular river cruises, but there are also private operators. Try a candlelight dinner cruise for a more private and memorable experience. There are 1 hour and 2 hour river cruises and sunset cruises as well. You can also go on a backwater or a houseboat cruise, or hire a yacht or catamaran for a few hours or the entire day for exclusive cruising.

Best time for cruising – Throughout the year, except the monsoon. Cruising is most popular in the winter season, though.

#9 – Spice Plantation

Spice Plantations

Witness the aroma of spices, and learn how they are grown at the spice plantations in Goa. See some exotic spices that became India’s first exports. See cardamom, Peri Peri, which is one of the world’s hottest chilies, and more. You will also see many exotic birds. A spice plantation is a photographer’s delight. Ride an elephant or splash water with them, giving them a bath. Before leaving, enjoy a traditional Goan lunch that is cooked with farm spices.

Best time to visit a spice plantation – You can visit throughout the year. Try to visit just after the monsoon season because the plantation will be lush green.

#10 – Paragliding

Paragliding in Goa

Paragliding is a fun and adventure sport for the thrill seekers. You can enjoy paragliding at Arambol beach in north Goa for just 3,000 INR an hour. There are shorter duration trips as well. Take off after some basic instructions and safety check and glide gently up in the sky, helped by your instructor, of course. The flight will actually start from a cliff between the Arambol and Harmal beaches. See wonderful views of the sea, the cliffs, beach, and the countryside of Goa.

Best time for paragliding – Anytime of the day except late afternoon when the wind may pick up. Avoid the monsoons months – June, July, and August.

#11 – Casino Gambling

Casino in Goa

Goa is the only place in India where gambling is legal. You can try your luck at roulette, slots machines, Indian Flush, poker, black jack, baccarat, and other games. There is live music and dancing, Russian dancers, stand-up comedy shows, and separate entertainment zones for the kids as well. Deltin Royale, Casino Paradise, Deltin Jaqk, Casino Carnival, Casino Pearl, Casino Pride, and Casino Paradise are some of the biggest names.

Where in Goa, best time – The casinos are open throughout the year, but the winter season is the most popular. Most of them are floating casinos on ships. There are casino games at a few land-based private resorts as well.

#12 – Party on the Beach

Party on the Arambol Beach

When in Goa, you have to party on the beach. In North Goa, choose from Baga, Candolim, Calangute, and Anjuna. St. Anthony’s Bar in Baga is a great place from where you can see glorious sunsets. There is live music at Curlie’s and Café Lilliput in Anjuna. In the South, Cavelossim and Palolem are hot party destinations. Many beach shacks are transformed into nightclubs after dark, so you can party right on the beach. There are other beach parties as well, playing trance music.

Best time for beach parties – Beach parties are held during the winter.

#13 – Unleash the Hippie in You

Hippie in Goa

Goa became famous in the 1960s and 1970s as a hippie destination. The hippie culture is mostly gone now, but you can still get a henna tattoo, braid your hair, and make dreadlocks to bring out the free hippie spirit within you. It’s good to unleash, break free sometimes, and let your wild side out. Goa is just the right place for an image makeover.

Where in Goa – You will find tattoo stores and hair clinics throughout Goa.

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