Saturday, October 22, 2011

Goa Tourist Attractions | Goa Sand Beaches |Tourist Places of Attraction in Goa

Goa a former Portuguese colony is India’s smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, shares its boundary with the state of Maharashtra to the north and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast. Legends from Hindu mythology credit Lord Parshuram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu with the creation of Goa. Over the centuries, various dynasties have ruled Goa. Rashtrakutas, Kadambas, Silaharas, Chalukyas, Bahamani Muslims and most famously the Portuguese have been the rulers of Goa. 

Goa also known as “the pearl of the east” and “Tourist Paradise”, is known for its Churches, Archeological Sites, Palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves, ferry and cruise rides and folk music. Some of the popular Churches in Goa are; Mary Immaculate Conception, Reis Magos Church, St. Anne Church, Church of St. Augustine, St. Paul Church etc. Goa is also home to numerous forts and museums which offers glimpses of a culturally rich state. Synonymous with tourism in India, Goa is the favorite tourist destination for millions across the globe.  

Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants and conquered it soon thereafter. The Portuguese overseas territory existed for about 450 years until it was liberated by India on December 19, 1961 and became an Union Territory along with the enclave of Daman and Duu. On May 30, 1987, Goa was conferred statehood and became the 25th state of the Indian Republic. Owning to its isolation from rest of India for almost 451 years, it is visibly different from the rest of India. Having been the meeting point of races, religions and cultures of East and West over the centuries, Goa has a multi-hued and distinctive lifestyle quite different from the rest of India. Hindu and Catholic communities make up almost the entire population with Muslims minority and other religions. All the communities have mutual respect towards one another and their secular outlook has given Goa a long and an unbroken tradition of religious harmony.

Goa tourism started from 1960’s onwards with influx of hippies and returning Goan’s expatriates who found virgin beaches ideal place to relax. The later years saw steady increase of charter tourism and pilgrims visiting Catholic and Hindus Shrines.  Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa attracts almost about 3 millions Domestic and International Tourists each year and the number is ever growing. It has also rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.

With its 131-km-long coastline, Goa forms an important destination in every tourist's itinerary. Sun, sand and sea being the major attractions, Goa is a perfect heaven for the ones who need and want relaxation. Goa is one of India's special places, a State seemingly blessed with fabulous weather, even more fabulous beaches, delightful people, good food, hill-top forts, little white-washed churches, soaring Portuguese-era cathedrals, an unique cultural legacy-small wonder.

The beaches in Goa, like the others along the Konkan coast, are long, and straight, and fringed with palm trees, but unlike much of the neighboring coastline, Goa has an impressive infrastructure of hotels and beach resorts, restaurants and bars, which cater to all price ranges, from top-notch 5-star luxury, to economy hotels. Besides the natural beauty, the fabulous beaches and sunshine, travellers to Goa love the laid-back, peaceful, warm and friendly nature of the Goan people. After all, more than anywhere else on planet earth, this is a place where people really know how to relax.

Sun, Sand, Surf, Sea and the Sea Beaches

The state of Goa is divided in two districts-North Goa and South Goa. The head quarter of the North Goa district is in Panaji and of the south district is in Madgaon. A district collector governs each district, who is an administrator appointed by the Government of India.  Around 105 kms of Konkan coast stretches across the state of Goa providing a wide range of choice in form of beaches to suit everybody's needs.

Some of beaches are without accommodation facility and human inhabitants, away from the city’s crowds. Then there are some with ultra modern comforts like internet cafes, massage centers, gyms, swimming pools, night clubs, etc. The choices are wide and depending upon one’s preferences, the choice of beach could be selected.

It is easy to plan an itinerary for going around the beaches in Goa as the North and South Goa equally have coastal area and from point of tourists, the distinction is not important. Taking the capital Panaji and the next major city Margao as base points, all these beaches can be visited in a stretch.

Beaches in North Goa

This stretch begins from the headland of Fort Aguada just outside Panaji city and moves up north towards the border to Maharashtra. Right from the Fort Aguada Beach Resort, a stretch of sand lies awaiting tourists, surfers and peoples seeking rest in beach. This is part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa by the Arabian sea that begins at Fort Aguada continues as Sinquerim Beach, then as Candolim Beach and merges into Calangute Beach and then to Baga beach and then Anjuna Beach and then to Vagator Beach finally ending at Chapora Beach and Fort.

The most important are of Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim and Arambol  beaches that can be covered in the North Goa Circuit.


Candolim beach is located 14 kms north of Panaji in the state of Goa and is the first beach that can be approached from the city of Panaji. The Candolim Beach is a part of long extension of beach coastline along the Arabian Sea that begins at Fort Aquada and ends at Chapora Beach. The most part of beach is acquired by the Fort Aguada beach resort and other package tourist companies. Though it is difficult to find individual accommodation here, there are a few hotels with restaurants attached.

Candolim beach comes as an ideal beach for those who are gradually tired of the crowded beaches. There are good chances that one could find more secluded place for him.  One highlight of Candolim is the Parasailing and Water skiing facility, besides other sports available here.  There are special guides to help the tourists through these daring water sports activities. Fishing is an activity for those who love peaceful and quiet environment. Yoga & meditation has also gained popularity here because of the idyllic atmosphere. 

Aguada Fort is the greatest attraction of Candolim Beach. The fort was built by the Portuguese way back in 1912 for fortification against the Dutch and the Maratha invaders. Along with the fort the church, lighthouse and the garrison of the Aguada Jail have also been a part of tourist attractions. The northern side of the fort has two beaches, one of them is Calangute and the other one is Condolim. It is one of the most visited spots in Goa. There are many resorts, villas and guest houses around this fort. 


Calangute Beach is located around 15 kms northwest of Panaji. It is an open stretch of sand with occasional palm trees which everyone heads for the moment they land in Goa. The beach is accessible by cemented steps.  The beach is so natural that it is overcrowded in both peak and off seasons. This huge seven-kilometre sweep of sand, is called the 'Queen of Beaches'. This peaceful fishing village was once a favourite hideout of the hippies in the 70's and 80's. Today, Calangute beach symbolise Goa's reputation as a haven for beach and coastal splendour. 

Years of tourism has brought changes to this beach, the beach is now bustling with restaurants, stalls, and shops. Huge showrooms filled with exquisite handicrafts from Kashmir, Tibet, Indonesia, Rajasthan and other exotic places, line up the main road running towards Anjuna.

The waves on the beach are bigger and heavier here due to the rapid drop. There are sign boards warning the tourists from swimming due to strong undertow here.


This small beach north of Calangute, is a lively beach. Baga is an extension of Calangute Village. As compared to Calangute Beach , it is more quieter and also more isolated. Its scenic beauty, with it brown sand, and creek, the Baga Creek attracts thousands of tourists annually. It is more popular with western tourists who love to use it as a base for water sports and fishing in the area. Baga Beach is also famous for its water sports and Dolphin Cruses.


The Vegator beach is located 25 kms northwest of Panaji and is the northmost beach of Bardez Taluka. It is located on the opposite bank of the Chapora River. Vegator Beach has dramatic red cliffs looking down at the shore and tow fresh water springs within a stone’s throw of the sea. This is part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa by the arabian sea. The beach has secluded sandy coves, lots of palm trees, and is not a much one commercialized beach. The beach smoother serf is good for swimming.

The beach adjoining Anjuna is secluded, crescent shaped and situated on the Caisua bay along the Chapora river basin, in the shadow of Chapora fort. During the tourist season, it is a favorite venue for mid night parties. There are a number of buses that run from Mapusa and Calangute Beach to Vagator. The nearest interstate bus station is at Mapusa, the KTC bus station.


It is located about 18kms from Panaji. The Village of Anjuna is a five square mile enclosure nestling between the Arabian Sea and the Hill overlooking the beach. The beach is known for its swaying palms, soft sands and natural beauty. It has an unusual rocky formation overlying a cove of white sand and black rock that juts into the Sea.

Arjuna Beach is famous for its trance parties held on the beach during the tourist season.  Anjuna also hosts the famous flea market wherein you can purchase many things ranging from fruits to jewelry, clothes and electronic devices.


With a magnificent 17th century fort which has now been converted into a prison, is one of the best beaches in Goa with international class facilities for water-skiing, para-sailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing.

The tourists can stay here either at the Fort Aguada Beach Resort, Taj Holiday Village or at the Aguada Hermitage which is situated on the hillside, overlooking the sea.

Sinquerim is located some 13 km from Panaji. Taj Hotel group has set up the Heritage Complex here which dominates the headland around the historic Fort Aguada. There is uninterrupted firm sand from here all the way to north to Baga and if you want a long beach walk, there cannot be a better place to start from. 


This beautiful beach is located about 3kms from Panaji. It lies adjoining the estuary of the river Mandovi as it opens into the Arabian Sea. It was originally known as the "Gasper Dias Beach".

From the beach across the river is an excellent view of Fort Aguada. Apart from its proximity to Panaji, it is very much commercialized and a large number of hotels and exclusive homes of Goa's rich and famous stud the area.

The beach is crowded with locals and tourists alike on most days. The Dhempe College of Arts and Science is located here and so is the memorial to Goa's first chief minister, the late Dayanand Bandodkar. A lovely golden beach of soft sand gridled with palm trees facing the blue Arabian Sea, is the nearest to Panaji.


Aguada beach is almost synonymous with the top-notch Fort Aguada Hotel complex, a superb hotel that is built on the cliff, around the remnants of the early 17th century Portuguese fort. Although access to the beach is not possible through the hotel grounds, which are private, you can walk along Aguada beach as in India private beaches do not exist.

The hotel has been constructed in three parts, consisting of expensive cottages on the upper reaches of the hillside, the fort jutting out to sea, and a delightful Goan village, with individual cottages. Drawn by the clientele of the hotel, Aguada beach has cafes, itinerant vendors of everything from Kashmiri carpets to massages, and a good range of water sports.

Beaches in South Goa

Another major base to begin the beach conquest is from Margao, the second most important city in Goa. This railway junction connects Goa to all major cities in the coastline like Mumbai, Mangalore and Kochi.

Beginning from Majorda beach, a 20 kms long silvery white sand stretches across till the headland of Cabo de Rama. 

Velsao, Majorda, Betalbatim, Colva, Benaulim, Varca, Cavelossim, Mobor and Betul beaches are all interconnected.


Palolem is the beach of Goa’s southernmost town, Canacona, locally known as Chaudi. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa. It’s a beach of white sand facing a blue bay between two headlands. It is a natural bay surrounded by lofty healands on either sides, resulting in a calm, idyllic sea with a gently sloping bed which allows one to walk upto 100 meters out from the beach.

If you’re interested, try to persuade one of the fishermen — this is also a fishing beach — to ferry you across. They do offer to take you out to spot dolphins. Tourists have discovered Palolem and so there are a few shacks selling seafood snacks, souvenirs and clothes of the shapeless, bright, informal kind. Panaji, the capital, is more than 70 km away.

Palolem is just 3 km away from Canacona Railway station, now on the Konkan Railway. You can hire taxis and auto-rickshaws to reach Palolem beach from Margao, 40 km away. There are regular buses from Margao to Palolem that would drop you at Canacona village.

There are beautiful beach huts and family room to choose from in Palolem. Try to avoid the weekends, as there is a big crowd of picnickers who throng the beach on weekends.


Agonda Beach is a small, striking and sheltered beach located 37 kms away from the Goan town of Margao. It is an Ideal place for Holidday’s makers.  It’s long and lonely, fringed with palms and casuarinas and dominated by a large hill to the south. Dominated by the forlom gorgeous bay of white sand that is edged with palm trees and casuarinas, the main attraction of Agonda Bbeach is Cabo De Rama. The citadel is known as the abode of Lord Rama for 12 long years during his exile.

It’s not safe to swim out too far on this beach. There are very few facilities available here and you are needed to carry all the essentials.

Agonda is a three-kilometer long beautiful cove of white sand, safely secluded in the palms. There are no tourists, no souvenir stalls, no restaurants, nothing.

Just the trees, the beach, the big beautiful ocean and you is the Agonda Beach. It also makes for a great day trip from Colva and Covelossim. For real adventure, hire a tent and camp for the night, listening to the crashing of the sea waves.

Not far from Agonda beach is Cabo de Rama, untouched by most of the visitors in this region. The atmosphere of the fort creates a sense of history and drama that very few would fail to appreciate. The fort is named after Rama, hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana. According to the local legends, Rama stayed here with his wife Sita during the period of 12-year exile.

The best way to reach this beach is by a scooter or motors bike.


Varca, Cavelossim, and Mabor are the most beautiful beaches south of Benaulim. These beaches are much cleaner and quieter than most of the famous beaches of Goa. There are numerous beach shacks offering a variety of Goan dishes and seafood at reasonable prices.

There are several food joints around Dona Sylvia where you can get entire package of good food, good drink, nice service, and a pleasant service in quite reasonable rates. There are facilities for Dolphin watching up river Sal.

These beaches are home to some of the most exclusive and luxurious beach resorts in Goa. Accommodation is also available for budget and economy class travelers though not on the beach itself.

There are plenty of transportation facilities available to reach these beaches from Margao. From Cavelossim village, Margao is 18 km away and buses and autos are available easily. You can also hire taxis from Dabolim Airport (41 – 48 km) to reach the beach resorts here. To move locally, use cycles and scooters that are available on hire.


This is the most important beach in the south Goa well developed with plenty of budget hotels, beach shacks, food stalls, small restaurants and bars. Colva beach is a white sand beach and one of the biggest beaches in the world (24 kms). The beach is constantly monitored by the lifeguards and the swimming area is flagged with colored flags.

With 24 km of virgin white sands, palm fringed, and sun drenched beaches, Colva is the most loved beach of Goans. Colva, unlike Anjuna or Calangute, gained popularity only lately. It was little disturbed and life moved on quietly.


This small stretch beach stretches about 5 Kms north of Colva Beach along the coastline. The beach is the studded with many hotels. It is in no way comparable to Colva Beach that lies just south along the coast.

Majorda is also famous for its bakery and toddy. Besides, the tourists can enjoy a wide variety of sea-food at the beach.. Majorda Beach of Goa has a strong bearing upon the Indian mythology. Legends believed that Lord Rama was kidnapped and brought to the Majorda beach in his childhood. It is also said that Lord Rama came to the beach in search of his wife, Sita. He is said to have come to Cabo-de-Rama, which lies in the southern part of the beach- a headland further south - where the stretch of developed beaches ends.


This beach dominated by a huge 5-star hotel located right on its edge and is cut apart from both the North and South beach circuit. Being just 4 kms away from the Goa Airport at Dabolim, it is a favourite among the elite classes and has an air of exclusivity.
Although the resort hotel towers above the village, there are couple of smaller places to stay. Windsurfing and water skiing facilities are available.


Beanulim also known as Banavali is a census town in South Goa District in the state of Goa, India. Less than 2 kms south of Colva is the more tranquil beach of Benaulim. Benaulim is one of the few places in Goa where one can glimpse handicrafts typical to this area. The best of the traditional rosewood furniture is made here. Also Benaulim is famous as the place where the legendary Parashuram's arrow landed, by which Goa was created. Ancient Banavalli had a magnificent temple dedicated to Shiva and Parvati,known as Katyayani Baneshvar,ruins ,of which can be still found in the village. The deities were shifted to Aversa in North Kanara in the 16th century.

The beach gets fairly crowded in the evenings and on weekends.

The Church of St John the Baptist is situated on a hill beyond the village and worth a visit. On the arrival of the monsoon, Feast of St John the Baptist (Sao Joao) is celebrated as a thanksgiving. Young men wearing crowns of leaves and fruits tour the area singing for gifts. To commemorate the movement of St John in his mother’s womb when he was in his mother’s womb and visited by Mary, the mother of Jesus, the young men of this village jump in the wells.


Betul is one of the most important fishing ports where all the mechanized boats and deep sea trawlers bring in their catch. Here headlands from the slopes of the Western Ghats protrude into the shore giving it an imposing backdrop.

Beyond this secluded beach is the hill of Cabo De Rama where the Portuguese have built a fort. From the fort a great view of the sunset on the beach can be viewed. There are very few places to stay in Betul.