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There is so much more to Goa than beaches and beer! Travel a little inland, and the old world charm of Goa begins to surface: beautiful natural settings, gracious hospitality, and the pleasures of quiet village life. Goa also has many interesting cultural centers and outdoor activities to explore. Here are just a few suggestions that will provide a deeper Goan experience...

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker

7 Places

5 City Tips

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7 Places

Mapusa Friday Bazaar

Flea & street markets

Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Nature & wildlife areas

Goa - Chitra

Museums, History museums

Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts

Art galleries

Menezes Braganza House

Historic sites

Palacio do Deao

Historic sites

Butterfly Conservatory Of Goa

Nature & wildlife areas

Deepa_Krishnan's City Tips

  • For ease of understanding, distances are indicated using Panaji as the base. From Panaji, there are buses to all parts of Goa; alternatively you can hire a taxi.
  • The ferry is a great way to experience local life in Goa. I have included it in some of the options below.
  • There are many eateries along the coastline, but when you go further inland options are limited; it's helpful to plan where to eat in advance.
  • When venturing into green areas, make sure you have mosquito protection.
  • Street dogs are friendly in general, but in smaller villages some dogs can be hostile to outsiders.
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    Mapusa Friday Bazaar
    Flea & street markets
    See more photos
    Deepa_Krishnan Says:

    Situated at the crossroads of North Goa's highways (16km north of Panaji), the Mapusa Friday Bazaar is a bustling delight. Goans from all the surrounding areas come here to buy and sell everything under the sun. You'll find a lot of tourist souvenir stalls too, but skip those and instead head for the food markets, where you can join the locals and seek out Goan specialties like spices, pickles, masalas, chorizos, and dried and salted seafood. After all, one of the most interesting ways to understand a place is through its food!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Although "Friday Bazaar" is in the name, the market is also known simply as "Mapusa Market," and is open everyday but Sunday. It's busiest on Friday.
    • You will have to bargain for good prices.
    • During summer, the heat and the crowds can become oppressive, so bring along plenty of water.
    • The meat section of the market is not for the squeamish!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 3 shopping & fashion in Mapusa
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Hmmmmmmmm! 03/03/2015
    • OMG 21/02/2015
    • Mapusa Friday Bazaar
    Address:
    Near Mapusa Municipal Market
    Mapusa
    India
  • Save
    Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
    Nature & wildlife areas
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    Deepa_Krishnan Says:

    Goa is blessed with rich birdlife, and there are many great options for spending a happy morning with a pair of binoculars. One of them, Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, is named after the eminent Goan ornithologist. The best way to explore it is by hiring a boat; you will be punted through the mangroves to spot birds — and sometimes crocodiles too!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The best season for sightings is November through February (especially for winter migratory birds). Early mornings are especially rewarding for birdwatching.
    • It is a 10-15 minute ferry ride across the Mandovi River from Ribandar Ferry Point to Chorao Island, where the sanctuary is located. Ribandar is 7km to the east of Panaji.
    • Another place for good birdwatching is Carambolim Lake, in Tiswadi.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 56 attractions in Panaji
    • Superb Location 20/02/2015
    • Nice for Morning visit 10/02/2015
    • Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
    Address:
    Chorao Island
    Panaji
    India
    Phone:
    08322239141
  • Save
    Goa - Chitra
    Museums, History museums
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    Deepa_Krishnan Says:

    Goa Chitra is one man's attempt to preserve and present the traditional culture of Goa, as represented by objects of daily use. In the ethnographic museum, founder Victor Hugo Gomes has lovingly documented and displayed the old ways of life that are fast disappearing from Goan villages. Set on an organic farm in a traditional Goan village, this charming and well-designed labor of love will give you a glimpse at an endangered way of life — through agricultural implements, cooking utensils, weights, scales, and a great collection of olden-day transport methods.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Situated 40km south of Panaji, Goa Chitra is near Braganza Mansion and Palacio do Deao, all of which can be done in a day.
    • There are many unusual objects here, and it's fun to discover their various purposes. The transportation section is particularly interesting!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 2 attractions in Salcette District
    • Excellent break from "beach life". 06/02/2015
    • A Fascinating Gem 14/01/2015
    • Goa - Chitra
    Address:
    St. John the Baptist Church Road
    Mondo-Waddo, Benaulim
    403716
    India
    Phone:
    +91 832 657 0877
    Other:
  • Save
    Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts
    Art galleries
    See more photos
    Deepa_Krishnan Says:

    A nonprofit arts education initiative, Sunaparanta aims to preserve Goa's artistic legacies, support local artists and art students, and provide a link between the Goan art community and national and international art communities. The center hosts regular art exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, and workshops throughout the year; its festivals and events often attract leading writers and artists from both India and abroad.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Trendsetter
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You can combine a visit to Sunaparanta with a walk through Fontainhas to see the Immaculate Conception Church.
    • At Altinho Hill in Panaji, where Sunaparanta is located, you can also see the residences of government officials, including the Chief Minister's house.
    • The pretty courtyard cafe is a nice place to take a break — check the website for opening times.
    • Check the website for details about ongoing exhibitions and programs.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 12 shopping & fashion in Panaji
    • So nice place 21/02/2015
    • Very aritistic! 17/02/2015
    • Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts
    Address:
    63/C-8, Near Lar de Estudantes
    Altinho
    Panaji 403 001
    India
    Other:
  • Save
    Menezes Braganza House
    Historic sites
    See more photos
    Deepa_Krishnan Says:

    A walk through the grand 17th-century Braganza House gives a glimpse into the lavish lifestyles of South Goa's erstwhile 'landlords,' the Portuguese gentry who developed large estates during colonial rule — and spared no expense in decorating their homes with the latest local and foreign styles. The sheer size of Braganza House is something you need to see to believe! And the lavish decor — Portuguese tiles, Flemish wood, Italian marble, Belgian chandeliers, porcelain, ivory, ebony... — helps tell the story of the Braganza family. The location, in the quiet village of Chandor (40km south of Panaji), only adds to the house's charm.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • A visit here can be combined with stops at Goa Chitra, Palacio do Deao, and the calm waters of Benaulim beach.
    • The house is free to enter, but there is a suggested donation that helps with the upkeep.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 1 attractions in Chandor
    • Menezes Braganaza House – Its Villa Not House 22/02/2015
    • Fascinating view into a Portuguese family history 30/01/2015
    • Menezes Braganza House
  • Save
    Palacio do Deao
    Historic sites
    See more photos
    Deepa_Krishnan Says:

    Located in the village of Quepem (40km south of Panaji), this beautiful colonial mansion has been lovingly restored by Reuben and Celia Vasco da Gama, a Goan couple who now live there. Palacio do Deao was built in an interesting architectural style that blends Hindu and Portuguese cultures. Celia offers wonderful Indo-Portuguese lunches (call ahead to reserve), as well as tours of the house and extensive gardens.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you can't make lunch, you can also visit for high tea. Just be sure to call ahead, since it is a home, not a restaurant.
    • Explore the two acres of lush gardens, replete with a river, pond, and garden ornaments.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 1 attractions in Quepem
    • Excellent food in a Goan mansion 03/03/2015
    • Dining in an historical setting 06/11/2014
    • Palacio do Deao
    Address:
    opp. Holy Cross Church
    Quepem
    India
    Other:
  • Save
    Butterfly Conservatory Of Goa
    Nature & wildlife areas
    See more photos
    Deepa_Krishnan Says:

    The Helbekar family has created a haven for butterflies in the 4000-square-meter park behind their home in Ponda (30km southeast of Panaji). Walking through the Butterfly Conservatory of Goa feels like walking through a tropical forest, with small streams and many endemic butterfly-attracting plants to admire. It's a nice way to spend the morning and see the conservation efforts of private citizens!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You can walk around by yourself or sign up for the Sunday program: breakfast, a guided tour, and a small trek up to the plateau (prior registration required).
    • The best season for butterfly watching is in winter: from October through February. Mornings are ideal.
    • Expect to see around 20-25 species of butterflies during your visit.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 17 attractions in Ponda
    • Kids will enjoy this place very much! 22/02/2015
    • Nice place to visit with Kids 27/12/2014
    • Butterfly Conservatory Of Goa
    Address:
    Rajnagar , Pisgal , Priol , between Tropical Spice Farm and Sahakari Spice farm
    Ponda 403404
    India
    Phone:
    8322985174
    Other:
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