A constant travel bug, I decided to explore this paradisiacal land of gorgeous beaches and one-of-a-kind sightseeing attractions. Goa — declared as the ‘fun capital of India’ — sits high on many travellers holiday bucket lists. Goa is a beach destination that is a magnet for tourists from India and abroad. Contrary to popular belief though, Goa is not just about the beaches and party. It is an experience, a real stress-buster, a guilty pleasure… But for me especially, it is like a world full of contradictions. Exploring Goa is my distant love affair that deepens with time.

On my last trip to Goa, we enjoyed our stay at Baga Hideout Resort that offered a great Goan ambiance and vibe. The hotel was strategically located near the tourist attractions and surrounded by many food stalls. Having explored Goa beyond the beaches, here are some other wonderful things to do in Goa I can recommend from my own experience.

Things To Do In Goa Beyond the Beaches

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Fort Aguada: ‘Dil Chahta Hai Point’

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Popularly known as the Dil Chahta Hai Point, this fort is also a four-storey lighthouse. We couldn’t finish our trip to Goa without shooting up on its rugged stairs to get the view of the vast Sinquerim beach.

Another intriguing fact about the fort is the central jail in the basement, which is also the largest of Goa and was used mainly to imprison drug traffickers. The prison area is still off limits to the public. It’s indeed an amazing spot to hang out and to enjoy the superb view of Mandovi River and take tons of photos with your loved ones.

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2. Crocodile Spotting and Elephant Bathing in Goa

When packing your bags for Goa’s ‘Treasure Island’, there’s a heck of a lot of adventurous things on the cards. For us, one adventure we had to have was the crocodile spotting.

It was an impromptu fun boat ride from Cortalim Jetty to the Cumbharjua Canals, which are widely known as the home of the crocodiles. It’s recommended not to stand too close and avoid standing on the edge, as the crocodiles have a habit of popping up suddenly which could give you enough of a surprise to lose your footing! But hey don’t let that scare you! Just follow that simple rule and you’ll be fine. Most of the time, the crocodiles swim slowly and just chill on the bay.

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If crocodiles are not your things, you may want to check out the elephants instead. Located at Sahakari Spice Farm in Goa, it was an exciting experience as we got a chance to ride on the outskirts of the farm and bathe elephants too. With brushes, buckets, and water, we washed the large gentle giants.

Once we were done, we rode the elephant (maximum of two people at once), and the elephant gave us a ‘thank you’ splash of water through its trunk.  It’s a pretty special and rare experience — so you should definitely put this down as one of your things to do in Goa!

 

3. Basilica De Bom Jesus: The Church of Living Legend

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It was such a captivating visit to this Basilica De Bom Jesus built by the Portuguese in 1542. We were astounded by the magnificent architecture — both the facade and interior — as well as the long history of the church. The main attraction of the church, however, is the remains of St. Francis Xavier. His body is enshrined in the mausoleum to the right, in a silver casket with several gilt stars and glass windows to look into the casket. It has been more than 400 years by now and yet, his body remains fresh, in a non-decomposing state.

Every 10 years the church will exhibit the Saint’s preserved body and the body will be sacredly carried around the Old Goa before hundreds of pilgrims. The next time they will do this is in 2024, if you’re interested to plan your visit to coincide with this.

4. Anjuna’s Flea Market: Shopping Sprees in Goa

And the world stops here! As much as I relish Anjuna Beach, the flea market here is a Goa attraction that gets me a little more excited. A rocking hide-out for those who love to eat and shop, this market is only open on Wednesdays — so don’t miss it!

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The flea market is indeed a depiction of ‘Hippie culture’ with colourful apparels, guitars, jewelry, art, music, coffee, tea, spices and street food. For me, this place was an excellent one-stop centre that offered anything for anyone.

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5. Martin’s Corner

Martin’s is another spellbinding food hub which is also known as ‘The Paradise of Goan Delicacy.’ We wouldn’t dream of missing this! This lovely place to visit in Goa is ready to charm you with its colourful caricature, laid-back ambience, the excellent choices of food, live music and many more! Visitors will discover the lively and vibrant Goan culture through the play of colours, flavours, and music in the restaurant.

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Even with all that, I must say I haven’t fully explored all that Goa has to offer beyond its lovely beaches. There is so much more about its culture and diversity that you can only find in their historic sites, streets, and nature.