Goa’s top tourism places: Explore the beauty of Calangute beach, Chapora fort and more!

Goa, a fusion of Indian and Portuguese cultures, offers diverse attractions like Calangute Beach, Fort Aguada, Dudhsagar Falls, Anjuna Beach, Chapora Fort, Thalassa, and the Basilica of Bom Jesus Church, enticing visitors with its rich heritage and scenic beauty.

Goa represents a unique blend of Indian and Portuguese cultural influences, a result of Portugal’s 500-year occupation of the state. This sun-soaked coastal region attracts visitors seeking a serene and relaxing experience.

Best time to visit: In Goa, the ideal time to visit is either during the peak season from November to February when the weather is most delightful, or the moderate season from July to October which also offers favourable conditions, though slightly busier than the off-season but less crowded than winter.


Here are the top places to visit on your next trip to Goa:


Calangute Beach

Calangute Beach is the longest beach in North Goa, located about 15 km from Panjim. It stretches from Candolim to Baga. This large and popular beach attracts tourists and backpackers from around the world.

Calangute is considered one of the top 10 beaches in the world for swimming and is often called the “Queen of Beaches.” It’s a very busy and commercial beach, with many restaurants, shacks, and clubs serving food, drinks, and cocktails.

The beach is known for water sports activities like parasailing, surfing, banana boat rides, and jet skiing. The days are filled with beach fun, while the nights are lively with parties and celebrations.


Fort Aguada

Fort Aguada is a 17th-century Portuguese fort located about 18 km from Panjim, overlooking where the Mandovi River meets the Arabian Sea. It stands on Sinquerim Beach. The highlight is its four-story lighthouse, which is unique in Asia, and the stunning sunset views.

Built-in 1612, the fort was meant to protect against the Dutch and Marathas. It was a very important fort for the Portuguese and covered the entire peninsula at the southwestern tip of Bardez. The name “Aguada” comes from the Portuguese word for water, as the fort had a large freshwater reservoir that could hold 2.3 million gallons, one of the biggest in Asia at the time, to provide water for sailors.

The fort was also previously used as a jail called Aguada Jail. There is a statue in front of the jail honouring freedom fighters, giving the fort a patriotic significance. The crumbling ramparts and lone lighthouse against the backdrop of the river meeting the sea make for a scenic sight.


Dudhsagar Falls

Dudhsagar Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in India, located inside Mollem National Park, about 60 km from Panaji near the Goa-Karnataka border. At 310 meters high, this majestic four-tiered waterfall on the Mandovi River gets its name “Dudhsagar” meaning “Sea of Milk” from the way the water appears to flow like milk cascading down the hill.

Most visitors reach Dudhsagar Falls by jeep or private transport from Panaji and nearby areas, though some opt for the train journey or a trek. The famous Dudhsagar railway trek is currently closed, but the trek to the lower falls remains open.

The best time to visit is during the monsoon season when the waterfall is in full force and the surrounding deciduous forests are lush and green. However, accessing the falls can be difficult during heavy rains, and it may be closed if water levels become too high.

The 310-meter-tall Dudhsagar provides a spectacular sight of milky white waters tumbling down in four tiers amid the verdant forest setting.


Anjuna Beach

Anjuna Beach is one of the most popular beaches in North Goa, located about 21 km from Panjim. It stretches for almost 2 km and is known for its rocky outcrops and hippie vibe.

The beach attracts a variety of visitors – from families enjoying the golden coastline to adventure enthusiasts partaking in water sports, night clubs, full moon parties and flea markets.

Popular spots include nightclubs like Curlies for rocking nights out and Cafe Lilliput for techno music. During the day, eateries like Burger Factory, Baba Au Rhum and Basilico serve delicious food.

Anjuna gained fame as a hippie paradise in the 1960s and still retains that free-spirited atmosphere today. Visitors can expect to meet an eclectic mix of tourists from around the world.

Whether you’re a long-stay visitor or a first-timer, Anjuna’s unique charm makes it a favourite beach destination in Goa, blending a lively vibe with a picturesque golden shoreline.

Chapora Fort

Chapora Fort is one of the most famous forts in Goa, located about 10 km from Mapusa. Built by the Portuguese in 1717, it has a long fascinating history. The fort is popularly known as the ‘Dil Chahta Hai Fort’ after the 2001 Bollywood film shot there. It offers beautiful views of the sea and the Chapora River.

Before the Portuguese arrived, fortifications existed at this location, originally built by the Muslim ruler Adil Shah and called Shahpura. The Portuguese later reconstructed it and renamed it Chapora after the nearby river.

A highlight is the breathtaking view of Vagator Beach and the Arabian Sea, especially during sunset, from atop the now-ruined fort. However, reaching the top requires a steep 10-minute climb.

Over time, Chapora Fort passed through the hands of various rulers like the Portuguese, Marathas and others. You can still see the entry points of two tunnels built by the Portuguese as emergency escape routes.

The ruins tell stories of the fort’s long history under different rulers. Despite being in ruins now, Chapora Fort remains a popular attraction, famous for its cinematic appeal and scenic beauty.


Thalassa is one of the most popular restaurants in Goa, perched atop rocky cliffs overlooking the backwaters along Siolim. Previously located in Vagator, it is now famous for its signature cocktails and beautiful sunsets.

Bringing the flavours of Greece to Goa, Thalassa serves authentic Greek Mediterranean cuisine in an open-air setting with a lively Greek cultural vibe.

The restaurant is owned and conceptualized by Mariketty, known for her warm hospitality. It features cosy cushioned seating, rustic wooden decor, upbeat music and a gorgeous ambience.

A major highlight at Thalassa is the live-fire dance shows and performances like Sirtaki and Zorba the Greek, adding to the vibrant Greek taverna experience.

With its spectacular location, traditional Greek food, cocktails and entertaining live acts, Thalassa has become a popular dining destination capturing the spirit of the Greek islands in Goa.


Basilica of Bom Jesus Church 

The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church in Old Goa, located about 10 km from Panjim, is unique in India for its exemplary baroque architecture. Built in 1594 and consecrated in 1605, this church marks the beginning of Christianity in India.

It is the oldest church in Goa and houses the well-preserved remains of St. Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuit order, who was a close friend of St. Ignatius Loyola. Xavier’s remains are taken out for public viewing once every ten years.

With its rich cultural and religious significance, the Bom Jesus Basilica has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the only church in Old Goa that is not plastered on the outside.

The facade features triangular roofing ornately carved with the initials ‘IHS’ – representing the Jesuit emblem meaning ‘Jesus, Saviour of Men’ in Latin.

This baroque-style church, dating back over 400 years, stands as an architectural and historic marvel drawing visitors from around the world.


Goa offers a captivating blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, evident in its vibrant beaches, historic forts, and culinary delights. From the bustling shores of Calangute to the tranquil vistas of Chapora Fort, each attraction tells a story of Goa’s rich heritage and diverse influences, making it a must-visit destination for travellers seeking both relaxation and exploration.