There’s no dearth of things to see in Goa whether you’re staying near the beaches, in quaint villages, smackbang in the middle of tourist hubs or at old ancestral homes in the state. But for every other time someone asks us about the best things to do in Goa, we’ve put together a list. So, go on and take a pick from these offbeat experiences and have the best vacation ever.
Vacation Planners, These Are 11 Of The Best Things To Do In Goa
Go Kayaking Through The Backwaters
Beaches can get hot and uncomfortable during the afternoon, which is why we recommend heading to the backwaters instead. The drive to the backwaters around Nerul is a beautiful one, filled with pit stops meant for taking great photos. Once you reach the relatively untouched backwaters of Goa, spend the afternoon kayaking along the mangroves. This activity is one where you get close to nature- untouched waters, thick mangroves, rare species of birds and a sense of calm. Sit by the riverside and enjoy a tranquil seafood lunch at The Lazy Goose while you're around Nerul.
Who to call: Terra Conscious or Konkan Explorers conduct kayaking tours and even take people on ethical dolphin spotting rides.
Explore An Island On A Cycle
Thought Goa was best explored on foot? Think again. Nothing beats the charm of riding through Goa’s sleepy villages and off late, a lot of people looking for awesome things to do in Goa are now signing up for bicycle tours instead. Chorao and Divar Island trips have reserved a place right on top for a chance to stop by churches, forgotten lakes, charming little bars, cross heritage homes and stop by for a chat with the locals. In fact, if you’re headed towards Chorao, you can combine it Dr. Salim Ali Bird sanctuary visit too.
Who to call: Make It Happn, The Local Beat, Soul Travelling & B:Live
Dance Away At The Silent Party
For everyone who digs Goa’s party culture, a headphone party might still be an exciting thing to try in Goa. Silent Party is an innovative escape from the regular parties and has become quite the rage during season time. Held at Palolem Beach at Neptune Point for a night of epic dancing. Silent Noise Party is one where international DJs get together to play the latest, trendiest music that party-goers listen to on their headphones! And even though you cannot hear the music, people are seen dancing all night long. Undoubtedly one of the things to put on your Goa itinerary especially if you’re staying in South Goa.
Witness Goa's Night Market Scene
A unique shopping experience awaits you in the night markets of Goa. Browse through stalls selling clothes, jewellery, beachwear, musical instruments and even arts and artefacts from all over the world. Best part? These huge flea markets sell stuff at affordable rates, and you can always negotiate to get a good rate too. The famous night markets in Goa include the Saturday Night Market at Arpora, Mackie’s Saturday Night Market at Baga, Friday Market at Mapusa and Anjuna Flea Market. The night markets remain open till around 2am and are buzzing with live music, overflowing beer and good vibes, making this one of the best things to see and witness in Goa.
Try Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
Goa also offers you a chance to go deep sea diving to explore the aquatic life if you're done with the usual set of water sports. If you’re an adventure seeker wondering what to do in Goa, try scuba diving or swim with the fish during snorkelling. Head to Colva Beach or Palolem Beach in South Goa or Sinquerim Beach in North Goa for the best underwater experiences. There are companies that take you deep into the waters, and have trained experts who accompany you on your dive.
Eat Authentic Goan Food
No trip to Goa is complete without gorging on seafood and mouth-watering Indo Portuguese delicacies. If you don’t know where to start, let our list of the best fish thalis guide you. If you’ve got an experimental palate, here’s our list of must-visit Goan restaurants. We highly recommend trying the Chicken Xacuti with poi, Chicken Cafreal, Goan squid fry, prawn curry rice are some of the other delicacies that you mustn’t miss out on when in Goa. If you like breads, poi, kakon (bangle bread) and katro (butterfly bread) are other popular options to try out. Don’t forget to end every meal with serradura or good ol’ bibinka.
Who to call: Local friends will be your best bet or try B:Live, Soul Travelling and Foodie Trails
Stay At A Museum
The Figueredo House is a 400-year-old heritage Indo-Portuguese mansion located in Loutolim in South Goa. It is a heritage inn-meets-museum that gives you a chance to soak in the history of Goa. This house was earlier maintained by the first woman judge of India, Maria de Lourdes Figueiredo de Albuquerque and a few years ago her sister Maria de Fátima Figueiredo de Albuquerque took it up as a project to convert it into a heritage home. There are 5 rooms available and are surrounded by a huge courtyard. The furniture is made of teak, porcelain cutlery adorns the dining table and Italian tiles glisten on the floor as you make your way through this royal property. Meals can be cooked if requested. They will also help you with tours around the local villages. This stay/visit is truly one of those Goa things to do.
Rooms start at 4,500 INR per night.
Visit A Brewery Or Sign Up For A Distillery Tour
Goa Brewing Co (GBC) in Sangolda has made its name in the craft beer space thanks to their IPA, Eight Finger Eddie. Tourists can visit this brewery on a Saturday and take a tour of the entire space, and can get the chance to sample freshly brewed beer. A tour here will take you through this 250 years-old heritage Indo-Portuguese house which has now been covered into this brewery, and you’ll see for yourself the way the beer is brewed, stored, bottled, labelled and dispatched.
Take A Curated Walking Tour
They say that the best way to discover a new land is by walking around, and we agree! If you too are with us, get in touch with The Local Beat or Soul Travelling, 2 popular travel companies in Goa that provide curated walking tours. From singing, story-telling and jiving to tile painting, pottery, jam-making or even cherry plucking, these companies will introduce you to Goa from the eyes of a local. The Local Beat customises experiences as per individual requirement and tastes, and they even arrange hotel pick-ups and drops. Soul Travelling has pre-decided tours that you can sign up for, and these include heritage walks, church tours, island tours, tours of old Goan homes and much more.
Go On A Sunset Cruise
Fancy a romantic experience while in Goa? A sunset cruise is one of the things to do in Goa that let you soak in the scenery and landscape without burning a huge hole in your pocket. Hop on to a cruise from Panjim and sit back to enjoy this immersive experience as the cruise takes you along the Mandovi river. You can choose from the local ferry for a totally local experience, a backwater cruise, a sunset cruise or even a casino boat with dinner and entertainment.The city skyline, hills and sea in the distance make for a breathtaking landscape, and as the sky turns shades of pink as the sun makes its way towards the horizon, you can take it all in with a pint, a glass of wine or even a candlelit dinner for two.
Who to call: These cruises are family friendly too, and have live singing and dancing on board. Just head straight to Panjim and book yourself on to one. Fun Cruises has the option of private yachts if you’re feeling indulgent. Or, there are houseboats for a more rustic experience.
Drive Down To The Butterfly Conservatory
Another one of those unconventional things to see in Goa is the butterfly conservatory. Located in South Goa, the Mystic Meadows Conservatory provides a fresh change from the usual Goan experiences. The conservatory was started by a couple who were concerned about the future of the butterfly population of Goa, and wished to preserve the endemic species of butterflies in the region. Today, more than 133 species of butterflies are found here! If you love nature, a visit here will make your heart jump with joy.