26 Fun & Unusual Things to Do in Goa, India | 2024 (with Photos)

Nataša Obradovic

Nataša Obradovic - Travel Writer

Last Updated: January 4, 2024

Natasha is an adventurous traveler who has explored the vibrant landscapes of Goa, India extensively. With her passion for offbeat experiences, she brings you a list of 26 unique and exciting things to do in Goa, accompanied by captivating photos that will inspire your next adventure.

Goa, India

Located in the west of India, Goa is an unsurprisingly popular tourist destination. With so many things to do in Goa, it's hard to pick just a few of the must-sees.

Those who visit Goa can expect sprawling sandy beaches and a plethora of cute beach towns, as well as the striking Old Goa and many fun activities.

If you’re ready to visit Goa, prepare for thrilling water sports, yoga retreats, meditation, and jungle excursions.

Abundant in natural beauty and great food, Goa is also famous for its Portuguese-inspired architecture, aromatic spice plantations, and iconic Mandovi River.

Let’s break down the best things to do in Goa.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Beach hopping

Top Choice Hotel

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Goa

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Gunpowder

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Tito's

Best Time to Visit

Ideal weather, fewer tourists, vibrant festivals, stunning beaches.

Average Temperature

Hot climate with average temperature around 30 degrees.

Transportation Options

Buses, taxis, motorbikes, rickshaws, ferries, rental cars available.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)

$$

My Top Recommendation

In Goa, India, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Panaji, the state's capital city. Stroll along the charming streets lined with colonial architecture, soak up the sun on the beautiful Miramar Beach, and savor delicious local seafood at popular waterfront shacks.

For a serene and secluded experience, head to the tranquil village of Arambol. Surrender yourself to the pristine beaches, indulge in yoga and meditation sessions by the shore, and relish the bohemian vibe that attracts free-spirited travelers from around the world.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Light and comfortable clothing
  2. Sunscreen and sunglasses
  3. Swimwear and beach towels
  4. Mosquito repellent
  5. Comfortable footwear for walking
  6. Power adapter and charger for electronics
  7. Travel documents (passport, visa, ID)
  8. Cash and a credit card
  9. Medications and first aid kit
  10. Camera or smartphone for capturing memories

What Not to Miss

  1. Beaches: Goa is famous for its stunning beaches like Baga, Calangute, and Anjuna.
  2. Fort Aguada: Visit this historic fort that offers captivating views of the Arabian Sea.
  3. Dudhsagar Falls: Explore the majestic waterfall nestled amidst lush greenery.
  4. Old Goa: Discover the rich Portuguese heritage through its beautiful churches and cathedrals.
  5. Spice Plantations: Take a tour of the aromatic spice plantations for a unique experience.

What to Avoid

  1. Avoid going to overcrowded beaches during peak tourist seasons.
  2. Avoid consuming tap water and opt for bottled water or boiled water instead.
  3. Avoid engaging in any illegal or drug-related activities.
  4. Avoid walking alone at night in isolated areas.
  5. Avoid trusting unknown or unregistered tour guides or touts.

1. Visit Morjim Beach at Sunset

Morjim Beach

Morjim Beach is the first of the furthest North Goa beaches and is a stunning expanse of golden sand and sapphire sea.

Known for its beauty and ambiance, this beach is perfect if you enjoy beach hopping. Relax in one of the beach shacks or, for you nature-lovers, marvel at the Olive Ridley sea turtles that reside there.

Morjim Beach is an important conservation site, as well as a great spot to surf during the day.

Avoid more crowded beaches and add Morjim Beach to your list of things to do in Goa. The vibrant nightlight and delectable local cuisine await.

2. Deep dive at Grand Island

Grand Island Diving

There are so many things to do in Goa and if you're a water baby, scuba diving at Grand Island should be on your list.

Grand Island is a beautiful spot teeming with diverse marine life, vibrant coral reefs, and turquoise waters.

Set sail and scuba dive, getting up close and personal with tropical fish, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

If you’re new to scuba diving or would rather have a guide, there are plenty of diving schools and excursions with instructors for your safety.

Don’t want to get wet? Take a boat trip and ride the waves in style. With so many things to do in Goa, there is an activity for everyone.

3. Fall for the Goa Dudhsagar Falls

Goa Dudhsagar Falls

Visiting Goa, no one should miss out on the tremendous four-tier Dudhsagar Falls. This major attraction is located in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park.

The falls are central in the voyage of the Mandovi River from the Western Ghats down to the capital city Panaji where it meets the Arabian Sea.

As one of the tallest and most magnificent waterfalls in India, the falls attract nature lovers, explorers, and adventure seekers alike. This is one of the things to do in Goa that also requires thought around when in the year you visit.

If you choose to visit, whether you trek, train or drive, during monsoon season take necessary precautions and always listen to guides to remain safe.

4. Fall in Love with Dona Paula Beach at Sunset

Dona Paula Beach

Head to the western coast of north Goa for this next gem – a must-visit on your list of things to do in Goa.

Dona Paula Beach boasts spectacular views of the Arabian Sea whilst being nestled in rolling, lush vegetation. Named after the historical figure, Dona Paula Amaral Antónia de Souto Maior, the beach is known as a lover’s paradise, based on her own tragic love story.

The beautiful Dona Paula fell in love with a local fisherman, but her father disapproved of their relationship. Heartbroken, Dona Paula is rumored to have thrown herself from the nearby cliffs.

For history buffs and couples alike, Dona Paula Beach is one of many popular tourist destinations in north Goa, and one of the things to do in Goa that is both historical and mythical.

5. Press Pause or Party at Palolem Beach

Palolem Beach

Goa offers a plethora of gorgeous sandy beaches so don't miss out on the popular Palolem Beach. Laze on the loungers, get zen with some yoga or sip on a cocktail.

Busier than the more remote spots, there is vibrant nightlife on this astounding beach. The beach faces Canacona, home of the Silent Noise Club.

If you're a night owl and looking for a great night, head to this silent disco and you can tick partying all night off your list of things to do in Goa.

6. Take a Boat Trip to Butterfly Beach

Butterfly Beach

If partying at Palolem Beach isn't your speed, head to Butterfly Beach by boat ride. The secluded beach is perfect for a stolen moment of serenity.

Soak up a sunset or watch the dolphins dive out of the waves, the beach is a secluded haven with limited accessibility so you can reset and recharge.

For food lovers, there are a few restaurants nearby to indulge in delicious local cuisine. If one of your things to do in Goa includes a more private experience, this is the one for you.

7. Take a Moment For a Massage

Foot massage

With all the things to do in Goa, sometimes you need to take a break. What better way than to seek out the many beach shacks or massage centers along the coast and have a relaxing foot massage? Typically performed on the golden sand beaches, take a moment’s respite from all the exploring and allow the trained massage therapists to massage your feet, calves, and lower legs with authentic herbal oils.

Treat that tension so you can continue your travels and take on more things to do in Goa.

8. Go Wild at The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary

The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area in north Goa that attracts animal lovers and adventurers alike.

At the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, you can enjoy a range of activities, including trekking, bird-watching, and hiking. Keep an eye out for sloths, mongooses, wild dogs, slender loris, deer, and panthers.

If you love to explore, add this wildlife sanctuary to your list of things to do in Goa.

9. Flock to The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Located on the western tip of Chorão, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a haven for both common and rare birds.

Meander through the thicket of magnificent mangrove trees and explore the smallest wildlife sanctuary in Goa.

Named after the eminent Indian ornithologist Dr Salim Ali, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is home to purple herons, white egrets, eagles, kingfishers, kites, mynahs, drongos, and curlews.

Bask in beautiful birdsong and head up the watchtower for an enchanting view of the entire sanctuary. Make sure to visit the Salim Ali Sanctuary while in Goa.

10. Bungee Jump at Mayem Lake

Mayem Lake

There are many things to do in Goa that aren't just centered around relaxation. For all those thrill-seekers, take a leap of faith and bungee jump at Mayem Lake.

Mayem Lake is nestled on the woodland shores of north Goa, teeming with beautiful birdlife.

Owned and run by ex-army officers and licensed professionals, this activity is safe for tourists and your well-being will be of the utmost importance.

Of the many fun things to do in Goa, add an adrenaline rush to your trip today.

11. Explore the Anjuna Flea Market

Anjuna Flea Market

Pick up some perfect souvenirs and get immersed in the local culture of the Anjuna Flea Market, right by Anjuna Beach.

The weekly market boasts an eclectic mix of handmade treasures, authentic clothing, street vendors, and souvenirs. Explore the beach village and indulge in the Goan delicacies at one of Goa's hippie markets.

Head there every Wednesday to witness the local splendor. When you're finished, head to Anjuna Beach for a relaxing evening in one of the beautiful beach shacks.

12. Bring on the Bazaar in North Goa

Bazaar in North Goa

If you're looking for some Friday night lights paired with brilliant boutiques and spectacular stalls, the Goa Collective Bazaar is a hotspot for both locals and tourists.

Held every Friday from 4 pm until 1 am from the end of November until the end of April. It can be found in north Goa near Vagator Beach at the famous Goan Trance venue of Hilltop.

Stock up on incense or collect crystals as you roam between the vibrant stalls at this bazaar, one of the most popular things to do in Goa.

13. Check out the Saturday Night Market

Saturday Night Market

Are you busy on Friday? Well then check out the Saturday Night Bazaar. Set against a mango orchard in Arpora, the Bazaar has hundreds of stalls and authentic local cuisine guaranteed to excite your taste buds.

Running from 4 pm until the early hours, marvel at the music at one of Goa's most famous hippie markets.

If shopping and partying are a must on your list of things to do in Goa, spend your Saturday at the market.

14. Visit a Tropical Spice Plantation

Tropical Spice Plantation

One of the many things to do in Goa, especially if you're a food lover, is to visit one of the spectacularly popular spice plantations.

One that can't be missed is The Tropical Spice Plantation located in north Goa, six kilometers from Ponda, in Keri Village.

Discover cashews, betel nuts, palm trees, papayas, exotic fruits, and sweet spices such as black pepper cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and chilies at the spectacular Spice Plantation.

Finish your tour of the aromatic spice plantation with a stop at the bird sanctuary, then enjoy an al fresco lunch in the open-air restaurant. You can also cool off with a boat tour in the lake surrounded by lush green fields.

15. Explore the Culture at the Goa State Museum

Goa State Museum

Do you want to add an educational experience to your list of things to do in Goa? Admire the rich cultural heritage of the region with a visit to the Goa State Museum.

Take a peep into the past and appraise the huge array of sculptures, exhibitions, and paintings. This magnificent museum contains departments including Ancient History and Archaeology, Art and Craft, and Geology.

With over 8,000 artifacts on display, it's the perfect way to spend a slow, relaxing afternoon.

16. Visit The Basilica of Bom Jesus: Goa's UNESCO World Heritage Site

Basilica of Bom Jesus

Located in Old Goa, also called Goa Velha, the former capital of the Portuguese Indies, you can see the Portuguese influence in the ornate architecture of its renowned churches.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a historic Roman Catholic basilica in Old Goa and is one of the most famous churches in India.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus invites tourists from all over the world to the resting place of St Francis Xavier

This dazzling basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Baroque architectural style with its spectacular interior makes for an unmissable experience.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is an important pilgrimage site for Catholics and a popular tourist destination for history buffs, architects, design fanatics, and those on a spiritual journey - there are plenty of things to do in Goa, no matter what your preference.

17. See the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception Church is another beautiful example of the prevalent Portuguese and Catholic influence in Goa.

Erected in 1541, this imposing alabaster-white beauty sits atop a hillside, overlooking Panjim.

If you want to experience the profound peace of the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, mass runs every day in English, Konkani, and Portuguese.

Visitors to the church can expect to be blown away by its beautiful interiors, adorned with spectacular sculptures and intricate carvings.

18. Explore More Old Churches of Goa

Old Churches of Goa

You can see the influences of Portuguese and Catholic culture throughout Goa. If you love history and architecture, or you are on a spiritual or religious retreat, one of the many things to do in Goa is to tour the old churches.

In South Goa, you will be awestruck by the immense beauty of churches, so add a tour of Goa's old churches to your list of things to do in Goa.

See the Three Kings Chapel, Our Lady of Merces, and St John The Baptist.

Tour the Chapel of St Catherine, the Church of St Francis of Assisi, the Church of Our Lady of Rosary, Sé Catedral, and the Church of St Augustine for a well-rounded experience.

19. Peep into the Past with The Forts of Goa

The Forts of Goa

Goa, with its rich military and religious history, has several forts that have been built over the centuries.

One of the most prized forts in north Goa is Fort Aguada, an immense structure overlooking the lapping waves of the Arabian Sea.

In south Goa, you can find Mormugao Fort, adorning the mouth of River Zuari.

Peer into the past with one of the most popular things to do in Goa and explore multiple Portuguese forts, enjoying sweeping views of the lush landscape and the winding bends of the rivers.

These forts offer a glimpse into Goa's rich history and provide a unique look at the architectural styles and military strategies.

Visitors to the forts can explore ramparts, learn about their history and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

20. Experience a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Sail across the sky and see Goa from the clouds in a dreamy hot air balloon. Head to Assolda Football Grounds in Chandor, south Goa, first thing in the morning and begin your hot air balloon ride as the sun rises.

If you want to visit Goa and leave the world behind whilst taking in the breathtaking views of Goa town and the countryside, start your soaring hot air balloon flight.

21. Ride a Boat to Bat Island

Bat Island

Pequeno Island, also known as Bat Island, is a small island off the coast, not far from Grand Island. The island is famous for the snorkeling opportunities it offers.

If you want a break from the things to do in Goa centered around the mainland, the island boasts a number of water sports and activities such as kite surfing, scuba diving, dolphin spotting, and more.

22. Stay up Late with Goa's Best Beach Parties

Goa's Best Beach Parties

What Goa trip would be complete without an all-night beach party?

One of the many fun things to do in Goa, if you're looking for a weekend activity and have already done the Saturday night market, is a party at a gorgeous beach.

Goa has so many options when it comes to beach hopping for parties.

If you want a large dance floor and a night of cocktails, here are some of the most popular nightlife beaches: Anjuna Beach, Baga Beach, Calangute Beach, and Palolem Beach.

Candolim Beach, also known for shopping, hosts India's biggest electronic music dance festival, the Sunburn Festival. Vagator Beach has some crowd-pleasing clubs too.

23. Kayak at Sal Backwaters, South Goa

Backwaters, South Goa

With all the water sports available, one of the many things to do in Goa is to grab a kayak and set sail.

Get carried off in a kayak at Sal Backwaters in south Goa. Coast past the lagoons and marshes, surrounded by delicate lily pads and lotus flowers for an afternoon of serenity.

As part of a tour group, professionals will guide you through the tranquil waters at this south Goa hotspot.

24. Explore the Latin Quarter of Fontainhas

Latin Quarter of Fontainhas

You will feel like you've been transported to Lisbon when you enter the Latin Quarter of Fontainhas in north Goa. This is a colorful explosion of architecture and culture.

If one of your favorite things to do in Goa includes exploring quaint, charming little neighborhoods, then make this a stop on your list.

Stop for great food, stroll the cobblestoned streets, and marvel at the brightly colored houses for a relaxing afternoon of adventure. Have your cameras (or iPhones) ready for that picture-perfect moment.

25. Laze around Arambol Beach

Arambol Beach

Exploring the renowned sandy beaches is one of the many things to do in Goa.

Abandon the beach parties of Baga Beach and Vagator Beach for a completely unique experience. Laze around the Sweet Water Lake in the beach village of Arambol.

On one side of Sweet Water Lake, you'll find the long, powdery white beach and on the other end, you’ll find the tranquil blue lagoon, enveloped by a tropical forest.

Add this north Goa gem to your to-see list.

26. The majestic Mystic Woods by The Butterfly Conservatory

The Butterfly Conservatory

Spread your wings and experience this wildly stunning spot in north Goa. Float through the Mystic Woods as over 100 different butterfly species flutter around you.

Get back to nature as bees bumble past and take in sweet birdsong, as the Butterfly Conservatory is home to all manner of things that fly.

This place provides a perfect reset located in the district of Ponda.

FAQs About Visiting Goa

Let's look at some frequently asked questions about things to do in Goa.

What should I not miss in Goa?

In Goa, do not miss a chance to go scuba diving, or at least take a beach trip. Head to Candolim Beach or Arambol Beach for spectacular views and cool swims. Agonda Beach is also a tourist hotspot for its turtle population.

What is famous in North Goa?

Famous attractions include North Goa, and the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the resting place of Francis Xavier. You will also find the Goa Collective Bazaar, a famous shopping district. No trip to North Goa would be complete without a trip to the aromatic Tropical Spice Plantation, of which the region is well known.

What are good things to do in Goa for families?

There are so many things to do in Goa for families. Visit Goa with your family and check out a flea market or head to the Goa Collective Bazaar. You can even book a cute jungle hut or take a dinner cruise down the Mandovi River. What better way to finish a day of exploration than a Mandovi River Cruise?

How many days are enough to spend in Goa?

With so many things to do in Goa, you should aim to visit Goa Town for at least a week. Make sure to hit Old Goa as well as some beach parties, tickle your taste buds at the spice plantations, and walk along the Mandovi River. Planning is key to making the most of all the adventurous things to do in Goa. Goa offers so much for travelers of all ages.

Summing up: Fun and Unusual Things to Do in Goa

Goa is undoubtedly a jewel of India. Like their national animal, the Bengal tiger, it is vibrant and striking.

There are so many things to do in Goa if you want to explore the state’s rich culture, stunning beaches, and delicious cuisine.

Take a boat tour or dinner cruise, try your hand at water sports, and get up close and personal with exotic creatures in a national park.

Prepare to create memories that will last a lifetime in one of India's most alluring states. There are so many things to do in Goa, so start planning and booking tickets now.

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