Beaches, Beer, Parties and Shacks- these are the obvious things that come to our mind when we think of Goa. Undoubtedly, Goa is the party haven of India and millions of tourists, from all over the world, flock to this beautiful state every year to party hard and have a great time. However, Goa is full of cultural heritage and astounding natural beauty and has a lot more to offer to those willing to travel to its heart –Panjim. In this post, I will share 8 offbeat things to do in Goa that will help you explore the state (Don’t worry! I am not going to take you to South Goan temples) and enjoy it in its pristine form.
So here are 8 offbeat things you can do the next time you visit Goa:
1. Stay at Panjim instead of Calangute
Panjim is a beautiful city on the banks of Mandovi river. The capital of Goa, Panjim has colorful offices, by lanes, markets and ofcourse the tempting cruise casinos. The best part about staying at Panjim is its central location. You can explore North, South & Old Goa easily from here and the airport is not very far off either.
You’ll find multiple heritage guesthouses that offer home like accommodation. We stayed at the amazing Hospedaria Abrigo de Botelho villa that showcases traditional Portuguese architecture. The owner helped us plan our itinerary (to the very last detail… very sweet of him! <3) and served sumptuous home-cooked buffet breakfast in the morning.
2. Take a stroll on the colorful streets of Panjim
The streets are full of colors and walking near the Mandovi river is a delight in itself. Don’t forget to stop at the cashew shops and buy some Bibinca (Layered coconut cake) for your loved ones. You might come across colorful villas which to one’s surprise are offices. (Workplace goals I swear!)
3. Head over to floating casinos in Panjim
I had never been to a casino earlier so this was a completely new experience for me. We went to Deltin Jaqk, however there are multiple such casinos such as Deltin Royale and Casino pride. These ships are anchored in the Mandovi river where they take you via motor boat. You can play Black jack, Teen patti, Poker and Roulette. If you are a newbie like me, better stick to simpler games like Black Jack, have your free food and come back. The cost per person is Rs 2000 which gets you gaming chips worth Rs2000 and unlimited drinks and food.
Fun fact: Only three states in India have legalized operations of casinos: Goa, Daman & Sikkim.
4. Visit the heritage churches in Old Goa
Visit the very popular Basilica of Bom Jesus church, which is slightly touristy especially if you go on a Sunday. Even if you’re not quite religious, the architecture of this magnificent edifice won’t disappoint you. Speaking of architecture, you may visit the Church of St. Augustine Ruins which is at walking distance from there.
5. Drive down to South Goa and halt at Figueiredo mansion
Figueiredo mansion is an ancestral mansion in the Loutlim village of South Goa. Located amidst the natural beauty of paddy fields and coconut trees, the interiors are intricately planned using the finest components across the world. The mansion gives a royal feel and is a must visit for those fascinated by interior designs.
On the way you can grab some delicious eclairs and melting moments from the famous Jila bakery in Loutlim (Yumm!!)
6. Enjoy scrumptious delicacies of the sea at Pedro’s
Pedro’s is a popular restaurant and is famous for its sea food. Located at Benaulim beach in South Goa, you can enjoy great views of the waves crashing on the beach, sipping your favorite drink (cheaper than North Goa) and delicious food ranging from continental breakfast to traditional Goan dishes like Rawa Masala grill fish and Goan fish curry rice. The restaurant is a permanent beach shack and is open all round the year.
7. Visit the Northern most beach of Goa
Querim beach is the northernmost beach of Goa and is at the border of Goa & Maharashtra. It is much secluded, clean and peaceful, and is definitely a must-visit in Goa. The drive from Anjuna to Querim is scenic and if you happen to reach in the evening, you might be lucky to witness a picturesque sunset just like this one here.
8. Witness spectacular views from Reis Magos fort
Reis Magos fort is located on the northern banks of Mandovi river and offers spectacular sea views from the top. The fort is less crowded and very well maintained by the authorities. In addition to the scenic viewpoints, exploring the fort and its many nooks and crannies brings back childhood memories of playing hide & seek. In my opinion, this is a Do-Not-Miss place in every Goan itinerary.
After clicking perfect pictures at the fort, head to nearby sea side shack- Babazin for a savory lunch (with a view). I would definitely recommend having Goan Xacuti with rice for lunch and Serradura for desserts.
There is no shortage of amazing offbeat things to do in Goa. I hope the next time you visit, you will consider these alternate travel plans as well in your itinerary. 🙂
Looking for offbeat place to visit in India? Do read about Hampi- The city frozen in time
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