Apart from its vibrant beaches and exciting nightlife, there are a lot of unexplored places in Goa that you must visit.
Let’s first talk about the unexplored places in Goa along with the history and story behind it.
7 Offbeat Places to Explore in Goa
Little do you know that there are a lot of hidden places in Goa that are hidden amidst the lively and happening streets and the verdant landscapes. Goa proudly boasts of its fabulous churches and its Portuguese architecture that are proofs of its diverse and rich heritage, culture and history.
Marsplay brings you a list of 7 offbeat places in Goa you can visit when you get tired of the beaches or partying all night!
1. Fort Tiracol in Goa
Fort Tiracol is the most pleasant fort in Goa due to its intriguing design and intricate architecture. What makes the fort worth visiting is the beautiful view of the confluence of the Tiracol River water and the Arabian Sea and its fascinating history. To visit this fort one can take a ferry from Keri beach.
Fun Fact: This Fort has 7 rooms named after the seven days of the week. It is said that the day you visit the fort, the room bearing that name of that day will have the best view out of others.
2. Chappora Fort
Overlooking the Vagator beach, at a distance of 46 km from Vasco Da Gama Goa railway station, is the Chappora Fort. Often called as the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ fort by tourists, this fort is situated in North Goa and is one of the prime attraction for tourists in Goa.
If you want to experience a beautiful sunset, Chappora Fort is the place.
Fun Fact: This is one such fort, which wasn’t originally built by the Portuguese. It was constructed by the king of Bijapur, Adil Shah, and then reconstructed by the Portuguese in 1617.
3. Cumbarjua Backwater Canal in Goa
Cumbarjua Water Canal is another hidden gem that tourists are unaware of. This canal is a narrow stretch of salty water that is around 15 km in length. One can take a backwater cruise along with this canal and spot crocodiles basking in the sun.
Fun fact: The village of Cumbarjua was considered to be a no man’s land between the Portuguese and Bijapuri territories and the crocodiles found here were brought to prevent the attack of foreign invaders.
4. Basilica of Bom Jesus
The famous Basilica of Bom Jesus, also known as St. Francis Xavier’s Tomb is a place of tourist attraction. This place has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Basilica of Bom Jesus holds the sacred remains of Goa’s patron saint Francis Xavier, who died on a sea voyage in 1552. The Church is famous for its Baroque style of architecture.
Fun Fact: People claim that the nails and hair of the body of St. Francis Xavier continue to grow even after his death.
5. Fontainhas, Latin Quarters
A paradise for photographers, located in Panjim, Fontainhas is also known as Latin Quarters. They are famous for their colorful and fascinating buildings. Latin Quarter has the remnants of the houses and cottages built in Portuguese architecture and painted in bright and pastel colors.
You’ll fall in love with these houses, as soon as you step into these streets. The best way to explore the Fontainhas is on foot. The surroundings of this area will definitely transport you back in time.
Do remember to visit the WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn when you visit the Fontainhas. This inn holds the significance of being Goa’s first heritage hotel. You can also plan a stay at this Goa’s best hotel.
Fun Fact: The houses and cottages in Fontainhas are re-painted every year after monsoons.
6. Aguada Fort, Goa
The Aguada Fort was built by the Portuguese colonial rulers to protect the old Goa from the invasions of the Dutch and Marathas. This fort stands tall and separates the Sinquerim beach and the Candolim beach from each other. It also houses a lighthouse which was built in 1864 and is the first-ever lighthouse in Asia.
Close to the Aguada Fort is the Sinquerim fort. This fort is considered to be an extension of the upper Aguada fort and is an excellent place to watch the panoramic view of the sea and the surroundings.
It is a great place to spend your afternoons and explore this important heritage site in Goa. Once you are done, you can visit either of the beaches you fancy and spend a beautiful evening watching the sunset.
7. Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception Church
Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception Church is the first church to be built in Goa. It dates back to 1541. This church is situated in Panaji, the capital city in the state of Goa. The church is famous amongst the tourists because of its distinctive appearance, which consists of a double flight of steps that zigzag across the hillside on which it is built.
Try to visit the church after sunset. During this time it is beautifully lit by a multitude of lights. The timings to visit the church for the public are from 9.00am – 12.30pm and 3.30pm – 7.30pm.
Now let us talk about the food culture of Goa.
Goa has a very diverse cuisine, and Goan food is one of the world’s original fusion foods. The staple food of Goa is fish curry and fruit rice. Apart from these, there are many more distinct tastes and flavors to tantalize your taste buds in Goa.
Seafood like prawns, crabs, lobsters, shrimps and a variety of fish is a must on the menu of a majority of Goan restaurants. Some other favorite dishes one must try when they visit Goa are Goan Xacuti and Vindaloo. They are served along with coconut rice.
The traditional saying of ‘Prodham bhookt, magi mookt’ (you can’t think until you have eaten well) is a mindset reflected in the wealth of dishes available in Goa.
Apart from these some other food items you must try in Goa are:
- Goan fish curry or the Xitti Kodi
- Feijoada – Red Beans With Pork
- Cafreal chicken
- Sannas or Goan idlis
These Unique Festivals of Goa will make you fall in love with this place all over again
India is a diverse country and is a land of festivals. The wide variety of festivals celebrated in India is a true manifestation of its rich culture and traditions. While the celebrations for Diwali, Holi, and Christmas happen all over the country, Goa has a unique set of festivals which are attended by tourists from all over the country. This is the time when the state can be seen at its vibrant best.
Shigmo also is known as Shigmotsav is a dynamic and colorful festival, you must definitely visit. It is the Goan version of Holi and is celebrated to bid farewell to the cold winters and bring in the spring.
The streets are decorated with flags, and you can witness all the cultural extravaganza. Dances like Goff and Ghodi Modheni are also presented in Shigmo.
2. Sao Joao Festival in Goa
Sao Joao is celebrated during monsoons. It marks the onset of monsoons. People celebrate this festival by jumping in wells and rivers and enjoy the rains. Siolim is famous for its Sao Joao celebrations.
Boat decorations and boat racing competition are also held during Sao Joao. People celebrate this festival by wearing headgears which are made of fruits and flowers.
This festival celebrates the folk culture of India. In this festival, performers from all over the country, showcase arts and crafts, folk dances and traditional music. This festival lasts for 10 days and takes place in Panji around the 2nd week of January.
4. Chikal Kalo
Chikal Kalo also called as the mud festival is another unique festival celebrated in Goa. This festival celebrates the younger years of Lord Krishna, during his time in Vrindavan and Mathura. During the festival, every male member of the family gets out of their houses and play games in the mud.
There are a lot of other smaller festivals that are celebrated in Goa, especially its villages.
So, these were a few things you must do definitely do in Goa and see how Goa is a true kaleidoscope of food, culture, history, and heritage.
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Also, check out our other Goa article Ultimate Travel Guide for Surprising Goa Places to Visit