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Goa has a bit of something for everyone. Its beautiful beaches and natural beauty are certain to impress, but its long and storied history and full menu of activities will interest everyone from history buffs to sports enthusiasts. Even its local cuisine is sure to satisfy the fussiest eaters.
Here are five of the best things to do in Goa.
#1 – The Beaches of Goa
Goa is a beach-lovers paradise. It is filled with dozens of strands with perfect sands and crystal-clear waters. Goa’s temperature is also ideal for the beach, with very little rainfall outside of monsoon season.
Each beach in Goa has its own personality and style. Some are rocky, while others are sandy. Some are better suited for swimming and snorkelling, while others are better for sunbathing. Some are busy, while others are quiet. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or a place to party, Goa has a beach for you.
#2 – Diving and Other Water Sports
Goa is one of the most popular diving spots in the world with thousands of scuba devotees visiting each year to explore its underwater beauty and ogle its many species of colourful tropical fish. Diving trips can be booked at most diving schools to explore the coral reefs, underwater wrecks and submarine caverns.
Other water sports on offer in Goa include flying kites, kitesurfing, jet-skiing, tubing, speedboating and paragliding.
#3 – Museums, Art Galleries and Libraries
Goa is home to many excellent museums, art galleries and libraries. Most of them tell the history of Goa’s development over the ages. Of the state’s many museums, the Goa State Museum and the Archaeological Museum are arguably the best. Their permanent exhibitions teach about Goa’s 450-year occupation by the Portuguese and the effects it had on local culture.
Goa’s many art galleries and libraries showcase the work of local talents, too, with examples of local art, poetry and writings on show. Some of the best places can be found in the town of Panjim near its Central Library in the Institute Menezes Braganza.
#4 – Ancient Temples and Churches
Goa is full of centuries-old temples and churches, each with its own unique history and story to tell. Arguably the best of Goa’s temples is the Shri Mangesh Shantadurga Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple each year to pray and to take in its beauty. Festivals are held regularly at the temple, too, with many locals dressing up in colourful costumes to sing, dance and make their devotions. These are not to be missed.
The majority of Goa’s churches and convents can be found in Old Goa, a small town nine kilometres east of Panaji, the capital. Old Goa is full of structures built centuries ago by Portuguese settlers. Despite their age, these buildings are remarkably well preserved. The best way to explore Old Goa is on foot. Local guides can be hired to help you understand what you are looking at.
#5 – Explore Goa’s Countryside
Goa’s countryside is just as beautiful as Goa’s famous gorgeous beaches. Paddy fields, vibrant villages, hidden temples and more can be found a few kilometres from the beach. Dudhsagar Waterfalls, said to be the second largest in India, are not to be missed, but plan to arrive early for a bit of contemplative quiet as they’re a very popular destination for locals.
The best way to explore Goa’s countryside is by motorbike, which can be rented from the local towns at very little cost. Make sure to drive slowly and wear a helmet at all times, though, and be sure that your travel insurance covers you for riding a motorbike, too.