By the beach near the sea, what a wonderful place to be!! Let me ask you something. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say ‘Goa’? Is it the beaches, vacation, party, cheap booze, churches or the freshness? Or is it the secret dream plan of chilling out in Goa with your loved ones? Well if you are connected with all of the above, then North Goa is heaven for you.
Beautiful sunset in North Goa
Being a tourist paradise, in any case, North Goa has significantly more to offer than just the ocean, sun and surf. From the popular beaches to the best beach shacks, from exotic Goan cuisine to famous markets, North Goa has got everything that can delight its visitor. Stretching from Querim Beach in the North to the Dona Paula in the South, North Goa is brimmed with tourists throughout the year, very unlike South Goa.
Tourist fishing at a beach in North Goa
Known as “Pearl of Orient”, North Goa is famous for its history of Portuguese invasion, Vasco Da Gama’s arrival, and modern age carnivals. It’s a hotspot for all genre of folks either it to be a nature lover, adventure seeker, romantic couple or a lover of solitude. I as a nature lover fell in every aspect of it. With its sandy shorelines, North Goa welcomed me with open arms.
Carnival in North Goa
How to reach North Goa
The cheapest and the convenient way to reach North Goa is via railways. The two major railheads in Goa are Madgaon and Vasco-da-Gama. Both these stations are directly connected to major Indian cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, and Bangalore via railways. For train bookings visit IRCTC.
You can get down at Vasco –da—Gama station and catch a bus for Panaji bus stand (28 kms – INR 40). The bus station is at a walking distance from the Vasco station. From Panaji bus stand, direct buses are available for Baga, Calangute, Anjuna and other major beaches of North Goa.
Getting around North Goa
For getting around, you can opt for a local bus transport but one needs to be familiar with the bus routes which is a bit challenging task. Goa being one of the most touristy states, there are a lot of taxi options available but the rates are exorbitantly high.
What I would recommend you is to rent out a scooty/motorcycle and set yourself to explore the beach town. Renting options are available at every corner of the town (most being at the Calangute beach). Also, various online websites are available (ziphop, Wheelstreet, cleartrip, royalbrothers, and rentabike – compare before booking to get the best deal). The charges for the same are in the range of INR 300 to 600/per day which may go a bit higher in the season time. Generally one needs to submit a valid photo ID proof in order to hire the same.
Sinquerim Beach North Goa
My journey to North Goa
Goa is just like that fever, which gets within you at least for a year and you are left with indefinable emotions. Every time you visit this place, it will fill you with energy. It was this fever which brought me to one of the most touristy states of India for the 7th time. Yeah, you heard it right😀. I took the Goa Express from Pune which starts at 4:35 pm and reaches Vasco Da Gama at 06:30 am.
Breathtaking view from Chapora Fort
I had already explored the most known parts of Goa before this visit and just wanted to spend some peaceful days glaring at the ocean waves with the sun setting down in the vicinity. With all my previous experiences, let me put forward a 3-day itinerary which can help you to explore the must-see places of North Goa.
Day 1 itinerary to explore North Goa
Day 1: Chapora Fort – Vagator Beach – Ozran Beach – Anjuna Beach
- Chapora Fort: You can kick-start your day 1 of exploring North Goa by reaching the Chapora Fort early morning and watching the sunrise from there. Though Goa is not known for the beautiful sunrises, the views of sunrise from Chapora Fort will leave you spellbound.
Sunrise view from Chapora Fort
The fort overlooks the Chapora river and hence its name. Wondering where is “Dil Chahta Hai” Fort in Goa? No need to search, it’s another name given to this fort after few scenes of famous Bollywood movie “Dil Chahta Hai” was shot back here in 2001. Apart from sunrise, the fort offers a gorgeous view of Vagator and Anjuna beaches from its premises and is an excellent place to test your photography skills.
At Chapora fort with Vagator beach in Backdrop
- Vagator Beach: It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa which provide a wholesome escapade offering everything like sightseeing, shopping, water sports, and peacefulness. The cracked rock along the beach adds quite a touch of grace to the beach. I would recommend you to walk along the shores of this beach all the way up to the Ozran beach.
Vagator Beach North Goa
- Ozran Beach: One of my personal favorite beach amongst all the beaches that lie in North part of Goa. The beach is mostly empty and you will feel like the entire beach belongs to you. This secluded beach is an extension of the famous Vagator Beach. It’s a perfect place to spend a peaceful time with your loved ones. At the southern tip of the beach, there is the famous Shiva’s Face.
Ozran Beach North Goa
- Anjuna Beach: After spending quality time at Ozran, you can head for the Anjuna Beach. If it’s a Wednesday, head to the most famous “Anjuna Flea Market”. For more details check out Hippie in Heels. If it’s a Saturday, you can head to nearby Arpora where “Saturday Night Market “is set up.
Curlies at Anjuna Beach North Goa
At the onset of the sunset, I would recommend you climb a small hill at the southern tip (on the curlie’s shack side). There is a small temple too on the hill. The view of the sunset from that hill is just outstanding. You can end your day by enjoying the night party at the famous Curlie’s shack but be ready to lighten up your wallet.
Sunset from the hill at Anjuna Beach North Goa
Day 2: Sinquerim Fort & Beach – Aguada Fort – Reis Magos Fort – Dona Pola – Basilica of Bom Jesus – Se Cathedral – Candolim Beach – Calangute Beach – Baga Beach
Have you started wondering how can you cover all this in a day’s time?!! Don’t worry; it’s very much possible as most of these spots won’t take much time to explore.
- Sinquerim Fort & Beach: You can start your day by visiting the beautiful Sinquerim which is less crowded when compared to the touristy beaches of Calangute and Baga. Also, Sinquerim Fort located on the southern side of the beach is the perfect place to be at if you looking for some great clicks.
Sinquerim Fort North Goa
- Aguada Fort & Reis Magos Fort: The Aguada fort houses a jail and a lighthouse which are its main attractions. The fort provides a great panoramic view of the nearby region. I did not visit the Reis Magos Fort, but if you are a history lover, you shouldn’t give it a miss.
Aguada Fort North Goa
- Dona Paula: It is a hammered shaped land that divides the Zuari and Mondovi River. This beach has become one of the most happening beaches of the Goa. It is the same place where the few scenes of famous Bollywood movie “Singham” were shot.
Dona Paula North Goa
- Basilica of Bom Jesus & Se Cathedral: Located in Old Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO world heritage site which holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. It is more than 408 years old and is open to the public every day. Located exactly opposite is the cathedral of the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman.
Basilica of Bom Jesus North Goa
- Candolim & Calangute: These 2 beaches are definitely among the most popular beaches of Goa. Lakhs of tourists visit these beaches throughout the year. One can find lots of eating options at the beach side of Calangute. I would recommend you to walk all the way from Candolim to Calangute along the beach. Calangute is the biggest beach of North Goa and is named as “queen of beaches” by many tourists.
Huge crowd at Calangute Beach North Goa
- Baga beach: Baga Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa and is basically an extension of Calangute Beach. The beach is quite popular among the youngsters as lots of pubs and bar options is available near to the beach.
Baga Beach North Goa
I would suggest you to climb the rocky patches at the Northern end (there is a big Baga board and a small river) in the evening time. Views of the sunset from the rocky patches are just fabulous. The hues just after the sunset are spectacular as well. One can stroll at the Tito’ lane to experience the nightlife of Goa. Be careful if you are visiting Tito’s Lane with your family. Hope you got it. Ha-ha!!
Sunset view from the rocky patch at Baga Beach North Goa
Day 3: Morjim Beach – Ashwem Beach – Mandrem Beach – Querim beach – Arambol Beach
I am not going into details of all these beaches individually. These beaches are comparatively less crowded compared to the Baga, Calangute, and Anjuna beach. But that has nothing to do with the overall beauty of these beaches. You can start exploring from Morjim and end up your day watching the amazing scenes of sunset at the Arambol beach.
Sunset view from Arambol beach
If you still have time left after exploring all these, you can visit Mae De Deus Church, Mapusa Market, and the Goa State Museum. Wanna try your luck out, head to any of the Casinos. For more details, check out 10 best casinos in Goa.
Day 3 itinerary North Goa
If you are in Goa for more than 3 days or want to skip visiting the Day 3 beaches which I have mentioned, you can head to South Goa. I personally like South Goa when compared to the North as it is more peaceful and the beaches are more beautiful. For more details, check out my post The Undiluted Essence of South Goa Soil.
Cola Beach South Goa
Stay and food options in North Goa
Being a solo traveler, I personally like to stay in hostels as they are comparatively cheaper. Also, you meet fellow travelers from all around the world. Most of the hostels in North Goa are concentrated near Anjuna and Vagator Beach.
The few hostels that I would recommend you for the stay in North Goa are Folklore Hostel Vagator, Happy Panda Hostel Arambol, JUNGLE by thehostelcrowd vagator, The-Funky-Monkey-Hostel Anjuna, Lazy-Llama Anjuna, Dreams hostel Anjuna, GYPSYS Hostel Anjuna, Bunkker Container Hostel. You can compare prices and check reviews of all these hostels on Hostel Word or Booking.com and select the best one for you.
For food options, you can check out the post by Hippie in heels: Top 5 Restaurants in Goa.
A cute kid enjoying the time out in North Goa
Best time to visit North Goa
The main tourist season in Goa runs from November to February when the weather is a little cooler but still ideal for swimming, sunbathing, relaxing and enjoying. December is the time when lakhs of tourist visit the beach state to celebrate the Christmas and New Year Eve.
Personally, I would recommend visiting Goa just after the monsoon i.e. the month of October as the weather is good and it is comparatively less crowded. Also, you will find cheap accommodations when compared over touristy months of November to January.
My expenses – Pune – Goa (INR 700 – Goa express –Sleeper class), 3-days stay: INR 900, 3 days Activa charges: INR 900, 3-days food charges: INR 800, Petrol charges : INR 200
Total: INR 3500
The tans will fade but the memories will last forever. With such a great amount to see I got indulged in it so deep that a part of me didn’t want to come back home. North Goa proves to be paradise for a sundowner like me. I’ll recall its food, festive celebration, hopping around in zest and moreover the sound of waves that awakened a part of me who was thankful to witness such beauty. Goa is massive!! No matter how many times I visit it, I always end up discovering a new spot here.
Life is sucking, the job has become a headache, and there is nothing good to feel good about. Pack your bags, let the waves touch your feet and the sand be your seat. Goa is calling you my dear friend!
Looking for a one-day trek near Goa, check out my post on Dudhsagar Waterfall trek – One-day adventurous trek near Goa.
Are you still looking for another beach town? You can check my blog post on Gokarna Karnataka, a piece of heaven for beach lovers
Looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my blog post on What’s in my Backpack.
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