Situated on the southern banks of the Mandovi River, Panaji is the capital of the Indian state of Goa. Today, Panaji is not only the state capital but also an educational, commercial and cultural centre of Goa and boasts Portuguese Baroque style buildings, Portuguese Baroque style buildings, riverside, whitewashed houses, cobbled alleys, old taverns, cafes and pristine white sand beaches. The city is dotted with elegant and picturesque Baroque style monuments, cobbled streets, red-tile-roofed houses and overhanging balconies representing the strong Portuguese influence on the area.
One of the best ways to explore the unique culture and vibrant lifestyle of the city is to indulge in some of the best things to do in Panaji which include taking tours of Panaji's principal landmark, Church Square and other main attractions like Church of Immaculate Conception, Municipal Garden, Adil Shah Palace, Chapel of St. Sebastain, Goa State Museum, Miramar Beach, Mahalaxmi Temple, Old Medical complex-Inox, Kala Academy, Campal Gardens and Maruti Temple. The city is home to numerous beaches including famous beaches like Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna Beach and Miramar Beach. Other top things to do in Panaji include local attractions like World heritage churches of Old Goa, Salim Ali Bird sanctuary, Houses of Goa Museum, Reis Magos Fort, Sinquerim Beach and Aguada Fort. Panaji is also home to many flea markets including the Saturday night market at Arpora and Wednesday flea market at Anjuna. And as the day comes to an end, head to the numerous pubs, bars, and clubs in Panaji like Sinq, LKP Waterfront and Cubana that give you an opportunity to experience the vibrant Goan nightlife. The panoramic views of the Arabian sea, the picturesque landscape, the unique culture and the vibrant and relaxed lifestyle of the Goan capital never fails to enchant the travellers with its charm.
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Even though only parts of this fort remain it is still very beautiful and definitely worth a visit. Built by the Portugese and the Marathas the fort is a wonderful amalgamation of the two cultures. This is very apparent in its architecture.
The primary purpose of the fort was to keep prisoners and to provide freshwater to the sailors. The cells of the prison were designed in such a way that very little sun-light would reach the criminals. The place has vestiges of the huge building though and it provides a magnificient view of the sea. There is a short and stout white lighthouse in the premises that acted as a beacon for the sailors, but now lies abandoned.
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Old Goa Rd, Bainguinim, Goa 403402
09:00 am - 06:30 pm
The Basilica of Bom Jesus or Borea Jezuchi Bajilika is a very well-known Church in Goa. It is a beautiful Basilica and is known for its simplicity and elegance. The architecture is of baroque style and it this type of design is rarely seen in a country like India.
It is famous for the glass case which holds the remains of St. Francis Xavier and there are many interesting stories about the remains. The Basilica is more that 400 years old and is a very important religious site today. The exquisite gold altar is also a major crowd puller. Even though the church is partially in ruins, the rustic charm of the building has been preserved as it hasn’t been allowed to be plastered. This grand and yet simply built church draws countless visitors every year and is an important place for Christianity in India.
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Verem, Bardez, Goa 403114, India
09:30 am - 05:30 pm
Though not as famous as Fort Aguada, this smaller fort actually predates the larger one by about half a century. Built in 1551, it was enlarged over the centuries, and proved to be decisive against the Maratha armies in the 18th century. Visitors ought to check out the commanding view it has of the land and the sea, and the 33 guns that defend its walls. Later used as a prison, the fort eventually was abandoned, fell into decay, until it was renovated in the late 20th century. Today it is used as an event space that can be rented out to private parties. It's a popular place to get married, shoot films, or throw a fashion show.
Near the fort, close to a pretty spring of water, is the elegant church of Reis Magos.
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Panaji (Panjim), Goa 403001, India
12:01 am - 12:00 am
Visiting this quiet quarter of Goa is like stepping into a painting of a European town. The streets are winding and pretty, coursing through houses colored in muted yellows and blues and pinks. Overhead balconies project out into the street. Make sure to stop by the neighborhood's namesake, the Phoenix fountain, laid down by the man who founded the area, Antonio Joao de Sequeira. Make sure to try the beef samosas and prawn cutlets sold by street vendors. The post office here used to be the local tobacco trading house. The square in front of it used to be the site of executions. Close by, you should check out the Chapel of St. Sebastian and also the Maruti Temple.
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Baga Beach ,Goa
Baga is one of the many sea-side towns in Goa which is famous for its popular beach. The Baga beach attracts tourists from far and wide. There is a beautiful black rock edifice called Chor Biam on the foot of the hilltop flanks on one side and makes a beautiful backdrop for the colorful beach.
The beach offers many activities like wind surfing and surfing, parasailing as well as like most other Goa beaches. Try out the speedboat ride to watch Dolphins and Crocodile. It is safe to say that Baga beach is one of the most “happening” beaches in Goa. There are always a lot of tourists and the beach is sometimes crowded even in the monsoon months. It also has a very busy night life. If you like the sun, the sand and also some action Baga beach will offer all that and more.
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Aguada, Candolim, GA
The Aguada beach is one of the spectacular shores in North Goa offering the explorers remarkable opportunity to have a splendid experience out of the trinity of sand, ocean and sun. The beach is well-known for its unbelievable sixteenth century fortification constructed by the Portuguese, which is highly contrasted by the wonderful delicate white sands, influencing palms and quiet surroundings.
The vacation spot is visited by endless vacationers and locals each year as it offers awesome perspective of the vast ocean and beautiful scenery. In spite of being a marvelous Goa beach, the vacationers might find serenity as a fundamental aspect to revive and witness. In the nights, it is so flawless to watch the blue ocean lapping against the brilliant sands of the sunny shore. The sea green and blue waters of the ocean are ideal for swimming. Placed in the northern part of Goa, this sunny shore is around 14 km from Panjim city.
The generally protected sand secured shore is visited by various vacationers. The radiant Fort Aguada, set close to the vacation spot is the major fascination. From this fortification, one can have an incredible perspective of the sea. Additionally, the beach offers different daring yet fun water exercises.
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Sinquerium, Candolim, Goa 403515
The Sinquerim Beach is a village in North Goa that hosts a slightly lesser known beach called the Sinquerim beach. It isn’t as popular as the Baga and Calangute beaches but it definitely attracts a steady crowd all throughout the year. The beach has an interesting access route through the palm trees.
Like all Goa beaches there are several shacks and shanty’s along the shoreline for all your refreshment needs. The beach does sometimes get pretty crowded but it isn’t too difficult to find a place to play in the water making it a really good option. Hence, enjoying water sports like water-skiing, para-sailing, fishing, scuba diving and windsurfing are possible when you are in Sinquerim Beach.
As the Fort Aguada, which is a tourist magnet of sorts, is also on this beach. And being the venue for the famous Sunburn festival (the largest music festival in Asia), it makes the beach quite popular with the tourists.
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Though not so popular like Anjuna or Baga beach, but Varca Beach is perfect for beach hoppers who would love to indulge in some exciting outdoor activities. Firstly, it is cleaner and prettier as compare to other common beaches of Goa. Secondly, the palm-thatched houses dotting the beach offers comfortable stay for the tourists.
Another fact that has worked in pulling the crowd is its sugary soft sand beach where you can lie down and relax without getting disturbed by any tourist crowd. You can also indulge in activities like Dolphin watching or a boat ride on the river Sal.
All in all, this beach has everything a Goa beach needs, the sun, the sand, the shade and the beloved shacks. If you are in the mood to be a beach whale but want to do it somewhere other than the run of the mill, crowded beaches, this is undoubtedly the place to do it.
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Colva, Margao, GA
Colva Beach is a wonderful beach in south Goa with extremely pretty silverfish-white sand. Very popular amongst the tourists, this destination is a great place to hang out in. The beach is a little far from the other beaches but that does not diminish the love of the tourists for it. There are usually quite a few beach sports and activities that take place here.
There are plenty to shacks to choose from and they serve great food as well as alcohol at reasonable prices. This beach is ideal for youngsters but familes will also enjoy here. It is also a long and stretched out beach if you wish to take a leisurely walk along the shoreline.
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Mandrem, Goa 403527, India
12:01 am - 12:00 am
Goa's more popular beaches get all the attention, leaving this one peaceful and quiet. That's not to say it's any less beautiful than Baga or Calagute or Anjuna. The 1.5 kilometres of golden sands are very popular with swimmers and sunbathers. The lack of crowds also means the waters here are clearer. Vendors and restaurants of various cuisines have set up shop amongst the trees. There are nice accommodations nearby. After a certain point in the evenings no one is allowed to be noise, so it's a great place to relax in absolute darkness too. Sunsets here are beautiful.
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Titos Lane, Saunta Vaddo, Baga, Calangute 403516, India
06:00 pm - 11:59 pm
Cafe Mambo has been making the nightlife in Goa even more exciting since 1971. This well-known hang out spot is a very fun place to be. They are known to have entries only in couples but this isn't a strict rule. Often they will let stags in as well.
The cover charges aren't that high so a lot of people prefer this place. Cafe Mambo also has several international DJs playing for them. They often also have themed nights like “Bollywood” Night and the likes. They also have a mechanical rodeo bull so if you dare do try this one out. The atmosphere is chilled out so pick this one if you are looking for a relaxed night out with friends.
Shantadurga is the form the goddess Parvati took to mediate a violent quarrel between Vishnu and Shiva. This strikingly beautiful temple is dedicated to her. It was built in the reign of Maratha ruler Chattrapati Shahu of Satara in about 1738 A.D. Nestled into the foot of a lushly green hill, the temple's architecture fuses Indian and Portuguese styles. For example, it has shikaras on the roof but also roman windows of stained glass. The deity herself rests on a golden palanquin. Outside the temple is a lamp tower that looks like a cake. It is an utterly tranquil place.
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Panjim, Goa 403001, India
10:00 am - 05:30 pm
There used to be a chapel here in the 16th century, which sailors would visit after landing before the went further inland. Eventually they built this regal Baroque church to replace the chapel. It was completed in 1609, a bright white Portuguese building. Check out the zig-zagging stairways, added in the 18th century. Also, the bell in the belfry is the largest in Goa! Inside are three altars, vividly and colorfully decorated. The main one is dedicated to Mary, the second to Jesus's Crucifixion, and the third to Our Lady of the Rosary. You'll also find a chapel of St. Francis Xavier. Daily mass is in English, Konkani, and Portuguese. The church is beautifully decorated in the Festival of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.
India isn't big about casinos but this one hits all the right points. It is richly decorated. The cocktails are incredible. There is live music, comedy shows and the occasional concert. The bar and restaurant are excellent. But of course, the main thing here are the games. Texas Hold'Em, Roulette, Teen Patti, Blackjack, Baccarat, Slot Machines and the Money Wheel. And if you're feeling particularly strong, take on the best in the poker tournaments. The casino is the largest in the country and it is on a boat.
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Miramar Beach Panjim, Goa
This small beach isn't really appreciated by the locals. Tourists make way more use of it. In fact, it is one of the most tourist frequented beaches in Goa. The eateries here are terrific, but there are very few watersports facilities. The best time to visit is during evening at sunset when the sands have cooled down enough for a nice walk along the 2km long coast. Many also like to visit at night when the moon makes the sand sparkle. During winter the beach is popular with birdies who come to gaze at the migrating birds.