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North And South Goa Itinerary Ideas

Goa Itinerary Ideas

After Exploring the Indian Himalayan region for 4 months, I returned back home to Mumbai. In the month of September, I decided to travel to Goa for the first time in my life. It may sound a bit unreal to not visit Goa even after being living in Mumbai for about 2 decades but Goa never interests me as I am not a party person or a beach person. The main reason to visit Goa was to learn to swim. I enrolled on a swimming course and booked train tickets from Mumbai to Goa! After exploring Goa periodically in the span of 3 weeks, I was pleasantly surprised. I explored Goa by Public transport, Hitchhiking, Bicycle, Walking unlike how most people do it! Alternatively, you can always rent a Scooty in Goa ranging from INR 300-500 per day depending upon the season. In this post, I will give you guys many day-to-day Goa Itinerary Ideas.

Go Goa!
Karmali railway station
Famous destinations distance from Karmali Railway station

REACHING GOA

I board the train from Mumbai at night and reached Goa the next day in the morning. Train no. 06084 / NMZ TVC SF SPL. I got down at Karmali railway station in North Goa. From the railway station, I hitchhiked to the main road. From the main road, I walked towards the bus stop. I took a bus to Panjim bus station. From Panjim bus station, I board another bus to reach Candolim. Goa was colonised by the Portuguese for 4 centuries before its liberation in 1961 by the Indian Army. Konkani is the official language of Goa. Local native people are known as “Goans”. Goa has two districts i.e. North and South Goa. Panjim is the HQ of North Goa and Madgaon is the HQ of South Goa.  I stayed in North Goa for around 2 weeks and almost a week in South Goa.

 

Panjim Circle
Famous Parra Coconut Road
Goan artwork
Casino cruises of Goa

Things to do in Goa: Reading book on the beach
Typical Goan Fish Thali

NORTH GOA

Alright, Let’s begin with North Goa. North Goa is known to be a party-centric place in North Goa. There are many Casinos, Clubs, Bars but I had little interest in them. So here’s how I explored the North Goa “An-Indian-Traveler” style I stayed in Candolim during my stay in North Goa. The reason I chose Candolim as my base is to be able to stay in proximity of my swimming classes. Every early morning for 2 weeks, I used to take a bus from Candolim to attend my Swimming classes in Porvorim. Below are some day to day itinerary ideas to explore North Goa:

Way to the beach
Candolim beach

Sinquerim beach
Sinquerim Fort
Crossing the hill
Aguada Fort
Baga Beach
Ganpati Visarjan at Calangute beach
Beach sunsets are

BAGA-CALANGUTE-CANDOLIM-SINQUERIM-AGUADA FORT

Candolim beach is adjacent to the party beaches of Calangute and Baga beach. I visited Calangute and Baga beach once during the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival to witness the Ganpati Visarjan(Immersion of Lord Ganesha’s Idol in a Sea). It was a really nice experience to patriciate with locals during the festivities. I really enjoyed witnessing sunsets on Candolim beach. It is a relatively less crowded beach as compared to Calangute and Baga beaches. One day, I begin walking from Candolim beach and after passing through the Sinquerim beach, I reached the Sinquerim Fort. From Sinquerim Fort, I kept walking and crossed a mountain/hill to reach the famous Aguada Fort. It was such a beautiful hike. I witnessed the mesmerising sunset from the Sinquerim Fort. It took me an hour or so to reach Aguada Fort from Candolim beach. Aguada Fort is a 17th-century fort built by the Portuguese colonisers. From Aguada Fort, I hitchhiked to reach the Sinquerim. Sinquerim is a quiet area with some nice restaurants. Do visit the “All About Alcohol” Museum located in between Candolim and Sinquerim. The most famous local drink that originated from Goa has to be Feni. It is made from Cashew or Coconut. I totally enjoyed covering this stretch.

 

Crossing Nerul River
Path to Coco beach
Coco beach
Reis Magos Fort
Reis Magos Church
Really old 17th century church
Goan Ros Omelette with Pav

NERUL-COCO BEACH-REIS MAGOS FORT

On one of the days, I decided to cover this stretch by walking and hitchhiking. From Candolim, I hitchhiked to Nerul bridge. From the bridge, I walked to Coco beach. It is a quaint beach with a lot of fishermen’s boats. From the beach, I took a road and kept walking towards Reis Magos Fort. I passed through the Kegdole beach before reaching the fort. Adjacent to the fort, Reis Magos church is located. It is a beautiful 19th-century church. From the church, I walked to the main road. On the way, I discovered a hidden 17th-century church. If you are into museums, you can visit the Museum of Goa (MOG). It is a contemporary museum around 4 km from Reis Magos.

 

Fontainhas, Panjim
Ready to explore 🙂
Ribandar Ferry Terminal
Divar Island
Railway line passing through the Island

Boat at Vanxim Island
Best Fish Thali I had in Goa
Took a ferry and reach Old Goa
Se Cathedral
Church of St. Francis of Assisi
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Cycling back to Panjim

BETIM-PANJIM-DIVAR’S ISLAND-VANXIM ISLAND-OLD GOA

One can take a ferry (free of charge) from Betim to reach Panjim. The Betim ferry terminal is around 2 km from Reis Magos. At Panjim, I rent a bicycle to explore the Islands of Goa. At Panjim, you can visit the Goa state museum to know about Goa’s history and the Fontainhas neighbourhood. It is a colourful Latin quarter. The neighbourhood reminds me of many Colombian towns I have visited. After renting the bicycle, I ride it to the Ribandar ferry terminal. From the terminal, I took a ferry (free of charge) to Divar Island. There’s also a ferry terminal at Ribandar to reach Chorao Island. I skipped the Island. Chorao Island is famous for its bird sanctuary. I had a great time exploring Divar island by bicycle. It has so many picturesque spots. From Divar Island, I took another ferry to Vanxim Island. A really small island with 2-3 lanes. After getting back to Divar Island, I ride to the ferry terminal of Old Goa. On the way, I made a pit stop at Avinash Restaurant to have a typical Goa Fish Thali. It was the best thali I had in all of Goa. After reaching Old Goa, I visited the famous churches of Old Goa i.e. St. Cajetan Church, Church of St. Francis of Assisi and Se Cathedral. Se Cathedral is a World Heritage Site. Other notable sites in Old Goa are the Archaeological Museum of Goa, the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Carambolim lake etc. From Old Goa, I cycled all the way back to Candolim via Panjim in the rainy season. It was one hell of a ride.

 

Anjuna beach
View from Chapora Fort
Hill adjacent to Chapora Fort
Vagator beach as seen from Chapora Fort

Solo “Dil Chahta Hai”

ANJUNA-VAGATOR-CHAPORA FORT

From Candolim, I walked to Calangute. From Calangute, I took a bus to Anjuna beach. Anjuna village is a nice hippie place to stay and explore with cool cafes and food joints. It has rocky and sand beaches. I had a good time exploring the Anjuna village. One can walk from Anjuna beach to Vagator beach by crossing the hill/mountain if the seawater level permits. Not for beginners though. From Anjuna beach, I hitchhiked and walked to Chapora Fort. Chapora Fort is also known as the “Dil Chahta Hai” Fort. As the really popular Indian movie “Dil Chahta Hai” was shot here. One of the best experiences of Goa for me was to experience the sunset from Chapora Fort. I found a secluded spot on the Fort facing Vagator beach away from the crowd. It was a truly magical sight to behold. Vagator beach is within a walkable distance from the Chapora Fort.

 

Querim or Keri beach
Crossing Arambol Mountain
Kalacha beach
Arambol sweet lake
Huts on the way to Arambol beach
Church at Arambol
Couldn’t stop myself to click this stunning view on the way
Mandrem beach
Morjim beach
At the end of Morjim beach

QUERIM BEACH-ARAMBOL-MANDREM BEACH-MORJIM BEACH

It was one of the most adventurous days of my Goa trip and I loved it 🙂 I walked for about 20 km that day. So, I took a bus from Mapusa bus station to reach Querim beach. The beach is located at the Goa-Maharashtra border. It is the last beach of North Goa. The bus driver was kind enough to drop me at Querim or Keri beach which is not the last bus stop. Querim or Keri beach is a secluded rocky and sand beach with a nicely built brick boardwalk along the seashore. At the end of Keri beach, I met a coconut vendor who was going to Arambol lake by crossing the Arambol mountain. I tag along. At the lake, we become a team and sold the coconuts together before I took a dip in the lake. Afterwards, I explored the Arambol village for a while. Arambol village reminds me of Anjuna beach. It has that hippie vibe to it. I continued my journey on foot and reached Mandrem beach. It is the most secluded beach I have seen in North Goa. Loved the vibe. From Mandrem beach, I walked barefoot on the beach sand and walked and walked till the Morjim beach. A really long walk but I really enjoyed it. I witnessed the spellbinding sunset at Morjim beach and with that my day comes to an end. From the Morjim beach, I hitchhiked back to Candolim.

 

On the way to South Goa
Madgaon

SOUTH GOA

After spending 2 weeks in North Goa, I head to South Goa. I board a bus from Panjim bus station for Madgaon. From Madgaon bus station, I took another bus to Colva beach. I stayed in Sernabatim village near Colva village. Madgaon is the HQ of South Goa. South Goa is known to be a quiet place as compared to the party-centric North Goa. Below are some day to day itinerary ideas to explore South Goa

 

Sunset beach

Sunset at Majorda beach
Local fishermen
Chicken Xacuti

COLVA-SUNSET BEACH- MAJORDA BEACH

Colva is the most touristic beach in South Goa. There are many resorts in Colva. From Colva beach, I walked to Majorda beach via Sunset beach. It is a beautiful walk. There are rocks to sit and chill at Sunset beach. Really liked their placement. Majorda beach is the quietest beach on this stretch. It took me about 30 minutes to reach Majorda beach from Colva beach.
Benaulim
Benaulim beach
Varca beach
Church at Varca
Bakery at Varca

SERNABATIM BEACH-BENAULIM-TRINITY BEACH-VARCA

The next day, I decided to walk in the opposite direction. I started from Sernabtim beach and walked all the way to Varca beach. It took me around 45 minutes to reach Varca beach via Benaulim beach and Trinity beach. There are several water activities at Trinity beach. Varca has some really amazing bakeries. Do check them out.

Small path along the railway line
I paid INR 100 after entering the forest
Extraordinary Dudhsagar Waterfall

DUDHSAGAR WATERFALL TREK

Alright, hiking to one of the tallest waterfalls i.e. Dudhsagar Falls in India was an exhilarating experience. From Madgaon, I board a bus to Curchorem. From the Curchorem bus station, I took another bus to reach Colem or Kulem. It was an hour or so long journey. There’s a railway station at Kulem and one can take a train from Madgaon railway station to reach Kulem. So from Kulem, there’s a designated path via the forest to reach the Dudhsagar falls but it was closed due to waterlogging. So I decided to take the railway track path. This is not a regular path. Take it at your own risk. At one point, one can enter the forest from the railway track. Hiking into the forest to reach the falls was an amazing experience. I paid 100 INR as an entry fee. It took me around 90 minutes to reach the waterfall. Dudhsagar waterfall has this larger-than-life feel to it given its four-tiered structure. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Do check the train timings of the first and the last train between Kulem and Madgaon and plan your trip accordingly. It is a convenient option as compared to the bus journey.

 

Rajbag beach
Crossing a hill
To reach here: Patnem beach

Palolem beach
Lake adjacent to Palolem beach
On the way to Butterfly beach

Butterfly beach
Trick photography
Agonda beach

RAJBAG-PALOLEM BEACH-BUTTERFLY BEACH-AGONDA

One day, I decided to explore the above-mentioned stretch. I board a bus from Madgaon and get down at Canacona bus station. From the Canacona bus station, I walked to Rajbag beach. One has to go through a Golf resort to reach Rajbag beach. I took a dip in Rajbag beach before continuing my journey to Patnem beach. Rajbag and Patnem beaches are relatively less crowded as compared to Palolem beach. From Patnem beach, I walked to Palolem beach. It is a beautiful stretch to cover by walk. There are many restaurants and shops near Palolem beach. After having my lunch at Palolem, I hitchhiked to the point(Refer Google Maps) where the road diverts towards Butterfly beach. It is easily one of my favourite beaches in Goa. From the road, I hiked to Butterfly beach. It is a forest hike. It took me about 40 minutes to reach there. Loved the experience! Butterfly beach is surrounded by two cliffs. It is a narrow stretch. At Butterfly beach, I met a group of teenagers and they gave me a ride to Agonda beach. After witnessing the dreamy sunset at Agonda beach, I decided to head back to my place in Sernabatim. My only option was to hitchhike and a crazy turn of events ensues. I reached the internal road that goes towards Madgaon. I tried for half an hour but had no luck. I thought of going to the main road as there will be much more traffic but even reaching the main road was a challenge. Finally, I got a ride till 2 km. The important rule of hitchhiking is to never say no. Always move ahead in order to open more possibilities. I got my second ride to Cola village. People at Cola village suggested that I spend a night in the village as it is really difficult to get a ride at this time of the night. They had a point but I had another idea. So I decided to reach the main road to increase my chances. Luckily, a guy was going towards the main road from the Cola village and I tag along. I got down at a bus stop in the hope to get a long-distance bus coming from Karnataka. After waiting for more than 30 minutes, I begin contemplating spending a night in Palolem. It was then I saw a Suv Car and a drunk guy got out. He walked up to me and asked me for a lighter. Since I don’t smoke, I pointed him towards the shop nearby. I asked this guy for a ride and he told me to ask the guy in the driver’s seat. I approached the driver and he readily agreed! These two guys were coming from Kerala. They just made an impromptu plan, not sure where to go. I suggested Colva since there are many resorts and they loved the idea. They dropped me at my place before continuing to Colva. What a day that was!

 

COLA BEACH-KAKOLEM BEACH-CABO DE RAMA FORT

Many people recommended that I visit Cola or Khola beach but due to time constraints, I didn’t make it. You can plan your day by starting with Cola or Khola beach. The beach is famous for the Cola beach Lagoon. Buses ply to Cola village from Madgaon. After Cola beach, one can explore Kakolem beach. There’s a small waterfall on the beach. Lastly, you can head to Cabo de Rama Fort and Cabo de Rama beach. There are several viewpoints near Cabo de Rama fort. It is a medieval hillfort. Also, Do check out the Shiva waterfall nearby.
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