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Best places to stay in Goa

Discussion in 'Goa' started by Gagn5, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Gagn5

    Gagn5 New Member

    I wish to go Goa, and there are so many places in Goa which people visit, some of which are good and some not even worth going to. I have read some of the threads on the forum and still do not have a clear idea of which places in Goa are worth staying at.

    I would like to find out which are some of the best places to stay in Goa, so I can make the final decision of where to stay there. Obviously, I would like the place to be a tourist area.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!



    The coastal state of Goa has long been a favourite amongst tourists. With over 50 beaches to choose from, you are spoiled for options here. Goa is not just for beach bumming, it has also gained popularity for being the party capital of India. If you're one who loves partying until the end of the dawn, you've come to the right place as Goa's nightlife is very vibrant and active. That's not all though because it also has a lot of history behind it, having been ruled by the Portuguese for many years. For the history buffs, you won't run out of places to adore here, whether for their heritage value or architectural value. In this guide, we would highlight the best places to stay when in Goa, depending on your interests and preferences.

    Best Places to Stay When in Goa

    Sightseeing to the core...

    1. Panjim - For those who want to explore the Portuguese side of Goa, there's no doubt that Panjim is the best place for that. Panjim is the capital of the state and is teeming with heritage attractions. The former capital of the state, Old Goa, is located here and is where you can find various Portuguese churches of the olden era. The biggest church here is of the Se Cathedral, a 16th century church dedicated to Saint Catherine. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is also easy to distinguish because of its red bricked facade. This church is dedicated to the Infant Jesus and also houses the tomb of Saint Francis Xavier. After exploring these religious attractions, head on to Fontainhas, a Portuguese residential area with typical bright-hued houses and bordered windows. Do visit some of the cafes and shops here which would make you feel like you're in a different country altogether. The Reis Magos Fort is yet another can't be missed attraction which combines the sea view, history and river view. Yes, situated in a strategic location on the northern side of the Mandovi River, along with the Arabian Sea view, this fort stands as witness to the rule of the Portuguese over Goa. Finally, to complete your tour of the city, visit the Goa State Museum, with artefacts found from the region on display, mostly of the religious themes. Don't forget to take a sunset stroll in the shores of the Miramar Beach, though a bit crowded, you can enjoy the local snacks and local culture here.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Old Goa, Fontainhas, Reis Magos Fort, Mandovi River, Goa State Museum and Miramar Beach
    Panjim (Image from Frederick)

    2. Margao - Margao is home to the Madgaon Railway Station, the largest and busiest railway station in Goa. Margao is rarely a part of the itinerary of tourists as many consider it as a mere stopover after alighting at its railway station. In reality though, Margao has plenty to offer when it comes to sightseeing. It has some religious attractions that are worth exploring. The Church of the Holy Spirit is the main attraction here, a pure white church amidst a busy area in the city. Originally, it was built around the 16th century but was destroyed and hence rebuilt thereafter in the 17th century. The interiors are simple but delicately executed, with a gilded altar and traditional wooden pews. The Rachol Seminary is about seven kilometres from the centre of Margao. It is surrounded by some parts of the Rachol Fort which is unfortunately, in a ruined state already. The seminary though is still intact and serves as the training ground for prospective priests. Interestingly, the seminary was established during the 16th century and still functions well even today. For the devout Hindus, two temples in the city are dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Damodar Temple and the Chandranath Temple. Last but not the least is the San Thome Museum, a quirky museum of various vintage items like wall clocks, the first calculator, musical instruments and more.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Church of the Holy Spirit, Rachol Seminary, Rachol Fort, Damodar Temple, Chandranath Temple and San Thome Museum
    Where the action is...

    3. Baga - If you love partying, crowds and chaos, then Baga is the place for you. Baga is located at the northern side of Goa, in between Anjuna and Calangute. Of course, a must visit here is the Baga Beach, a lively stretch of golden sands with lots of beach shacks and resorts around it. Water sports are also available in here, ranging from banana boat riding, jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing and more. There are also many budget to luxury properties around this area. By night time, venture into Tito's Lane, where you would find a variety of bars and pubs for partying and just chilling. The most popular bars here are Cafe Mambo's, Cape Town Cafe and Tito's Club. Recently, a number of hip and happening newer clubs have also been established here so you can take your pick accordingly. Also worth visiting here is the Mackie's Saturday Night Bazaar, which is comparable to the Anjuna Saturday Night Market on a smaller scale. You can find various stalls here selling handcrafts, clothes, hippie items and more. Unique to this bazaar is that it has live entertainment as well as food stalls as well.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Baga Beach, Tito's Lane and Mackie's Saturday Night Bazaar
    Baga (Image from Gayatri)

    4. Colva - Onto the southern side of Goa, we have Colva, which is perhaps one of its more crowded beaches. In contrast to the Baga Beach, Colva Beach has a long stretch of white powdery shores and turquoise waters. If by chance you have heard that South Goan beaches are more serene, Colva Beach might make you change your perspective. This beach is almost always crowded and has its fair share of resorts and restaurants around. Water sports such as banana boat riding, jet skiing, water scootering and parasailing can all be enjoyed here. For partying, Colva has a number of bars that one can visit. There's the Boomerang Beach Bar, a laid-back bar by the beach where you can enjoy retro music while munching on delicious local delicacies. Other worth visiting clubs here are Club Sunshine and Club Margarita.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Colva Beach, Boomerang Beach Bar, Club Sunshine and Club Margarita
    Nature bounty...

    5. Canacona - Canacona is known for beaches like Palolem and Cola but it also has a number of natural attractions worth exploring. If you have explored the beaches of the south, then you can allot some time for wildlife spotting. The best place for that is the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, an eco-tourism area in Canacona. With its mixture of deciduous and evergreen forests, you are exposed to a different side of the state. You can even embark in nature trails here instead of the usual jeep safari so that you can get closer to nature. Commonly spotted animals here are monkeys, squirrels, deers and antelopes. About 15 kilometres away from the sanctuary is the Kuskem Waterfalls, a lesser known waterfall in the region. It requires a bit of trekking to reach the main waterfall, which is set upon huge rocks and slippery paths. The water falls from a great height, but it doesn't have any cascades along the way so it looks quite stunning. The Bamanbudo Waterfalls is a bit further away at around 25 kilometres from Canacona. This is a smaller waterfall that looks more powerful during monsoon. You won't need to trek to reach the waterfall so it's ideal for travellers who aren't as physically fit or are bringing their little kids with them.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Kuskem Waterfalls and Bamanbudo Waterfalls
    Kuksem Waterfalls in Canacona (Image from Paul)

    6. Netravali - A newly established wildlife area in Goa is located in Netravali. This is named the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, which is contiguous with the other wildlife sanctuaries of Goa. The landscapes here are more pristine since it is lesser frequented by tourists. Animals that you can spot here are squirrels, antelopes, sloth bears and monkeys. There are also two waterfalls within the vicinity of the sanctuary that one can visit. First is the Savari Waterfalls, a cascading waterfall popular amongst the tourists. To reach the waterfall, you can trek from the entrance of the sanctuary or trek up to the motorable jeep point from which you have to trek down for around 200 steps. The second is the Mainapi Waterfalls, which has more treacherous trekking involved so is lesser frequented by tourists. It takes around an hour by foot to reach the waterfall, which also has cascades in its height. Do visit the unique Budbudyanchi Tali as well, a small pond which has a phenomenon of water bubbling after clapping. Some believe that the bubbles form due to the methane present in the water which increases in intensity when one claps due to vibrations.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Savari Waterfalls, Mainapi Waterfalls and Budbudyanchi Tali
    Spices galore...

    7. Ponda - Staying amidst aromatic spice plantations might do wonders for your rejuvenation, that's why Ponda is another good staying option when in Goa. Ponda is situated in between of Panjim and Margao so it is still at a prime location. When in Ponda, it's a must to visit the Sahakari Spice Farm, a huge spice plantation spread around 200 acres of land. Here, you would need to pay for a nominal entry fee which already includes a buffet lunch. Then, you would be taken on a guided tour of the different spices grown here like cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, cardamom and turmeric. Depending on the season, you would also be taken on a guided tour of the process of cashew nut production. There's also the Tropical Spice Plantation, another large plantation about six kilometres away from the centre of Ponda. Again, they have the same assortment of spices mentioned above but the difference is that you can even spot many species of birds and butterflies frolicking around. The entry fees here also include a buffet lunch with tea already. Aside from these plantations, Ponda is also home to many Hindu temples that you can add into your itinerary. The most popular ones are the Shri Mahalasa Temple, Shri Ramnath Temple and Shri Naguesh Temple.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Sahakari Spice Farm, Tropical Spice Plantation, Shri Mahalasa Temple, Shri Ramnath Temple and Shri Naguesh Temple
    Ponda Spice Farm (Image from Sanfy)

    8. Sanguem - Ponda might be well known for spice plantations but another place that is gaining popularity nowadays is the city of Sanguem. You can find the Tanshikar's Working Organic Spice Farm here. It has the same features as above, lush lands filled with the aroma of different spices such as nutmeg, mace, coffee and more. What makes it different is that it has accommodation options in the form of guest houses and cottages. For a more rustic experience, do opt for the latter, which gives you a feeling of living in a tree house. While in Sanguem, do visit the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary as well, a dense forest sanctuary which has gained popularity as of recent due to a supposed tiger sighting in here. The Salaulim Dam is also located in this city, a picturesque water reservoir surrounded by greenery all around. There's a small garden nearby it where you can also spend some idyllic time in. If you want an off the beaten track adventure, Sanguem is definitely the place for that.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Tanshikar's Working Organic Spice Farm, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and Salaulim Dam
    Lovely beaches to laze on...

    9. Arambol - Whoever said that North Goa doesn't have serene beaches haven't been to Arambol. On the northern tip of the state are some of the most pristine beaches that are away from the crowds. There's the Arambol Beach, a beautiful and serene beach with pure white sands laden with little crabs which would become your companion while in here. As of recent years, Arambol Beach has started gaining popularity but is still less crowded than Baga or Calangute. From the beach, you can walk for about a kilometre to reach the hidden Paliem Sweet Water Lake. It's a charming lake just adjacent to the beach and surrounded by lush greenery. It is also the venue for paragliding hence frequented by the thrill seekers. You can also go further to the north where you would find the Querim Beach, a golden shore beach that is located between the border of Goa with Maharashtra. It is not yet commercialised so you can enjoy the utmost tranquility here.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Arambol Beach, Paliem Sweet Water Lake and Querim Beach
    Arambol Beach (Image from Ruben)

    10. Agonda - Last is Agonda, yet another serene beach getaway but this time in the southern side of Goa. The Agonda Beach is the epitome of the postcard beaches that you see. White sands, palm trees and turquoise waters, that's all that you can enjoy here. Oh wait, it is also famed for being a nesting ground for the Olive Ridley turtles and at the southern end of it, there are huge rock formations that you can have some photography moments in as well. There are many resorts and guest houses near the beach where you can stay in as well. This beach has been counted as one of the best beaches not just in India, but also in Asia. You can also visit the nearby Chapoli Dam, which is around eight kilometres away from the beach. This dam is picturesque because aside from the clear blue waters, you can also enjoy the unending views of the Western Ghats all around.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Agonda Beach and Chapoli Dam

    Your trip to Goa can be as commercial or as idyllic as you want it to be. Certain parts of the state are busier, like the central areas where Baga and Calangute can be found. Other parts are still relatively charming and uncrowded, usually those in the far north or far south of the state. It depends upon your main purpose which would be the best place for you to stay in Goa would be. For example, if you're planning on lots of sightseeing, it makes sense to make Panjim as your base where most of the attractions can be found. If you're planning on partying, then you can make Baga your base instead. I hope this guide helps you!


  3. Shiv

    Shiv Member

    Certainly, Goa offers a wide range of places to stay, and the best place for you depends on your preferences and what you're looking to experience in Goa. Here are some popular areas in Goa to consider for your stay:

    1. North Goa:
      • Calangute and Baga Beach: These are the most popular and vibrant beaches in North Goa with plenty of water sports, nightlife, and a variety of accommodations.
      • Anjuna Beach: Known for its relaxed atmosphere, popular among backpackers and those looking for a more laid-back vibe.
      • Candolim: Offers a quieter and less crowded beach experience while still being close to popular areas.
    2. South Goa:
      • Palolem Beach: A serene and picturesque beach known for its beautiful views and a relaxed atmosphere.
      • Colva Beach: A family-friendly beach with a range of accommodations, water sports, and a relaxed ambiance.
      • Agonda Beach: A peaceful and less commercialized beach known for its tranquility.
    3. Panaji (Goa's Capital):
      • For a more urban experience, you can consider staying in Panaji, which provides access to the culture and history of Goa.
    4. Old Goa:
      • For history and culture enthusiasts, staying in Old Goa will give you access to historic sites and beautiful churches.
    5. Candolim:
      • Offers a mix of relaxation, shopping, and dining options. It's a great base for exploring different parts of Goa.
    6. Morjim and Ashwem:
      • These areas are popular for their serene beaches and are less crowded than the busier North Goa beaches.
    7. Agonda and Palolem:
      • Great for those seeking a tranquil and peaceful environment. The beaches here are more secluded.
    8. Margao:
      • The commercial center of South Goa with easy access to various parts of the state.
    When choosing your stay, consider the kind of experience you want, whether it's a lively beach scene, a quieter escape, or a mix of both. It's essential to book your accommodation well in advance, especially during the peak season. Additionally, the best area for you might also depend on the specific activities and attractions you plan to visit during your trip.