Everyone has stories about Goa, the nights they couldn’t remember and the memories they will never forget. One of the most frequented tourist destinations in India, it also attracts travellers worldwide. However, while Goa remains the ‘land of beaches’, there’s a Goa beyond it as well; and simultaneously both North Goa and South Goa are very different in nature but have something for every kind of traveller.
Let’s explore the points of interest in North Goa that you truly must not miss.
Fontainhas – Keeping the Old World Charm Alive
A UNESCO Heritage Zone, Fontainhas is located on the banks of an ancient creek at the foot of Altinho Hill, Panjim. Take a walk in its enchanting neighbourhood through the dainty lanes filled with quaint little curio shops, colourful villas and art galleries that promise to transport you to another world. Stop by, have a bite or a sip on a coffee at one of the cute little bakeries and charming cafes, and let time stop for the moment.
Other places to visit in North Goa in Fontainhas include Gallery Gitanjali, Saint Sebastian Chapel, Altinho hill (for that breathtaking view) and Fonte Phoenix.
Soak in the serenity of Chorao Island
Chorao Island, located on Mandovi River, is the perfect getaway from the bustle of Goa. The tranquil backwaters, mangroves, Portuguese villas, Saptakoteshwar Temple, and warm locals make up the charming island of Chorao. Hike up the hilltop for a mesmerising view of the skyline. Swift past on the water channels to explore the exotic Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, a temporary home to migratory birds of over 400 species. You might bump into some crocodiles and mudskippers as well.
Best time to visit – Nov to April.
Explore the sleepy village of Aldona
One of the prettiest tourist places in North Goa is the village of Aldona. The Corjuem Fort ruins, located close by, is known for its unique architecture and an even more unique story behind its construction. Ask around, they’ll tell you.
Cut through the serene backwaters of the hinterland on a speedboat. Relish in the beauty of the countryside as you drive past its tiny lanes lined with rustic huts, charming Portuguese styled cottages, aesthetic gardens, petite shops, and over the Aldona Corjuem Cable Bridge to get a glimpse into the other side of Goa. Take home some traditional Poi, Kaotro and Kakon from one of the authentic bakeries in Aldona. Lastly, stop by the famous cemetery with the works “AIZ MAKA FALEA TUKA” engraved on the entrance. It means “Today it is me, tomorrow it is you”; makes you want to live every moment a bit longer, doesn’t it?
North Goa Beaches For Every Traveller
Beaches remain the main tourist attractions in North Goa. The best beaches of North Goa have unique features of their own. Let’s have a look at them.
- Querim – Stop by the Tiracol Fort as you explore its calm shores.
- Arambol – Offers a bohemian vibe and is lined with hot springs.
- Ashwem & Morjim – For those who love seclusion and a home to the Olive Ridley Turtles.
- Mandrem – Stroll on the white sands and don’t forget to go on a Dolphin spotting trip.
- Chapora – A beautiful beach with the Chapora Fort in the backdrop (the epic Dil Chahta Hai scene was shot here, yes we will never get over it).
- Vagator – A place to relax.
- Anjuna – Strung with places to party, this beach is thronged by foreigners.
- Baga Beach – The ‘Queen of all’. You know about this one, so we won’t say a word.
- Calangute – For the thrill junkie with a thirst for adventure sports.
- Candolim – Home to the Sunburn Festival.
- Sinquerim – Apt place to be with yourself.
Shopping In North Goa
- Mapusa Market – If you want a dose of the Goan culture, here’s where all the locals shop for authentic spices, handicrafts, antiques, local produce, pottery, homemade pickles and what not. You really are spoilt for choice, especially, when you get everything at the lowest of prices. What’s more, it transforms into a flea market on Fridays!When? 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Anjuna Flea Market – Get a hold of those quirky accessories, clothes, footwear, local handicrafts, beachwear etc. You can get everything for a steal if you get away with your bargaining skills.
When? Wednesday, 9 .am. to 6 p.m.
- Ingo’s Saturday Night Bazaar – You can buy everything under the sun, right from spices, to home decor, to trendy trinkets and clothes on a budget as well as designer ones. Stick around for a drink or two as you hover around the delicious food stalls and groove to the live music amidst a mix of people, taste and colour.When? Saturday, 6 p.m. – Midnight
- Mackie’s Night Bazaar – Absorb the flavour of Goa as you stroll through the brightly lit shacks and stalls at Mackie’s Night Bazaar located near the Baga River. Savour exotic dishes from stalls offering different cuisines, shop for eco-friendly items and while you are at it, revel in the live music and get to the dance floor.When? Saturday, 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.
North and South Goa are two sides of the same coin, on the same territory but with different qualities. However, they do have something in common – the historical forts and monuments that are scattered across the ‘land of beaches’, which have almost similar characteristics. Se Cathedral, Church of Lady Rosary, Church of St Francis of Assisi, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Chapora Fort and Fort Aguada are some important North Goa tourist places for those who love monuments, fort, and all things architecture!
Have some more important points of interest in North Goa? Share your experiences by commenting below.