When people plan out their trip to Goa after going through various Goa tour packages, they look for the best beaches with lively parties and more after parties, night clubs, adventure activities to do in Goa and the usual spots and destinations where tourists go. Although the state of Goa is little when compared to the rest of states of India, but it has the distinction of having fusion of two cultures, i.e. Indian and Portuguese which makes Goa a place with strong history and stories. There are some hidden gems in the state of Goa which will surely have your heart taken away by them, and they are in some ways better than what is most popular. These offbeat places in Goa do not have hordes of tourists and are free from all the loud parties, so you can explore in peace and take in the actual vibes of Goa. So here is a list of our favourite offbeat places to visit in Goa.
1. Reis Magos Fort
People actually miss out on a gem of a place while travelling to Goa. Reis Magos is definitely one of the best offbeat places to visit in Goa. The fort is located in the village named Reis Magos on the northern bank of Mandovi river in Bardez, Goa.
This fort was built half a century earlier than the famous Aguada Fort of Goa. Along with the Reis Magos Fort, this village also has a really popular place which is the Reis Magos Church, which has the distinction of being the first church in Bardez.
2. Galgibaga Beach
This Goan beach has a very unique distinction to its name: being the cleanest beach in Goa and also India. A true offbeat place of Goa, this beach is also one of the three beaches of Goa which is the nesting and hatching site for the threatened Olive Ridley turtle.
It is perhaps one of the few hidden treasures that Goa has left and is also known as the “Turtle Beach”. This beach lies in the deep south of Goa, adjacent to the banks of the Galgibag river. From Colva, this beach is around 56kms and 54kms from Margao, which is the cultural capital of Goa.
Galgibaga beach has some surreal beach line, filled with golden brown sand, lined up with palm and coconut trees which makes up for a beautiful experience for your trip to Goa.
3. Velsao Beach
This beach can be your own personal beach and we aren’t even joking. It is one of the best offbeat places in Goa to visit and the footfall is really low, almost negligible.
Velsao has one of the best beach surfaces, i.e. it is lined with warm silver sand and you would also see fishermen along with their families going fishing in the waters. The women and kids stay back and you can even indulge in a game of cricket or football on the beach with the kids. This beach is located in Vasco De Gama, near Dabolim Airport.
PS: If you hear loud thundering noise from the skies, don’t be alarmed as these are the fighter jets namely INS Vikramaditya or the Mikoyan Mig-29k flying for test runs.
4. Querim (Keri Beach)
If we told you that this beach lies in the more famous Northern part of Goa, you wouldn’t believe us, but it is a fact. This beach gets off the tourist’s radar because there are not many tourists exploring this offbeat place of Goa and this beach is quite unheard of when compared to famous North Goan beaches like Candolim, Calangute, Baga and Vagator.
The beach has picture-perfect white sand beaches, clean shorelines, and surreal blue water. While here, you can also indulge in water-based activities like parasailing and paragliding which are some of the best adventure activities to do in Goa.
Keri Beach is located in the Pernem Administrative Region of North Goa and is located around 50kms from the Goan capital Panaji. It should roughly take an hour and thirty minutes to get here by road.
5. Vanxim Island
Traditionally known as “Ilha De Capão” in Portuguese or Island of Capao, this island is a lost and forgotten island of Goa with not many tourists knowing about this place, making it one of the offbeat places to visit in Goa. You can explore this unheard and offbeat island in complete silence and serenity away from the hordes of tourists.
This tiny island has a church and chapel which were built hundreds of years ago, still standing strong. Old houses built with a Portuguese style of architecture amidst lush greenery add to the rich scenic beauty of the place. To reach Vanxim Island, you need to reach Divar and take a ferry that crosses the Mandovi River to reach Vanxim Island. After reaching the island you can hike around as the roads aren’t that good.
PS: If possible, hire a sunset ferry from Divar to Vanxim for the surreal sunset experience. You can look for a customized trip to Goa for that.
6. Conco (Monkey Island)
A really unique offbeat place of Goa, Conco Island is quite a novel place in South Goa. It is also called the “Monkey Island” as long ago it was inhabited by monkeys that lived in the forests surrounding the island. According to some visitors to this island, you can still spot monkeys around the island’s coconut trees and other plantations.
To reach Conco Island, you can take a 20 minutes boat ride from Agonda beach which is the nearest location to this island. Alternatively, you can also reach this island from Palolem and also Butterfly Island.
7. São Jacinto Island
Along with being one of the most offbeat places to travel in Goa, this island is also the most exotic one. Located a few kilometers from the city of Vasco, this island boasts of an interesting tale. In the 20th century, the residents of São Jacinto Island made a pact amongst themselves not to give the island on lease and let companies disturb the island’s ecosystem.
So, even to this day, the island has surreal beauty which captivates people visiting it and it surely takes you to old days with its surroundings. To get to this island, you need to take the NH-17 Vasco-Panaji Coastal Highway and from Vasco city, this island is a mile away and you can take a boat or ferry to reach the island.
PS: Don’t forget to ride around the island in the boat and go atop the lighthouse for the most surreal panoramic view from the island.
8. Harvalem Falls
When one talks about waterfalls in Goa, everyone forms a mental image of the iconic “Dudhsagar Falls” and we are not going to lie, the waterfall is quite iconic and tourists love to go to that place. But what if we tell you there’s a waterfall which is quite surreal if not more than Dudhsagar falls? Harvalem Falls lies amidst the deep lush jungles of Sanquelim, nearby the town of Sanquelim.
This waterfall is a cascading waterfall piercing through the tough, huge boulders. This can be your very own private waterfall for all we know and we can’t recommend this place enough to everyone as it is quite a treasure.
The town of Sanquelim is not well connected with other parts of Goa, so to reach this waterfall get off from Hat Kadamba-Goa road and head straight after the Vasant Nagar Ground.
9. Ruins of St. Augustine Church
This offbeat place of Goa tells the history of an era gone by. Today, only the crumbling structure remains. The only striking structure that remains to this day is a 46-meter high tower which once served as the belfry of the church.
A few centuries ago, when Old Goa was hit by a serious deadly epidemic, the church fell into total chaos and the vault collapsed in 1842. Till 1938, nothing remained of the church, except the tower’s huge bell which was brought to the church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panaji where it can be seen and its toll can be heard.
The best time to visit these ruins would be in the balmy summer evenings and to reach here, you need to take the road to Old Goa and once you get to the Basilica of Bom Jesus, you can turn towards the archaeological site which is a short hike.
10. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
This offbeat place of Goa is quite different from all the beaches, islands, and waterfalls that the state has to offer. Many people might not be aware that the state of Goa has a lot of wildlife sanctuaries and some exotic animals. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of high tree canopies, rare and exclusive plants, and animals that are only found here and nowhere in Asia. This forest consists of deciduous trees along with evergreen and semi-evergreen trees.
If you are lucky, you would be able to spot sambars, leopards, gaurs and spotted deers. Normally, you would see a variety of birds, frogs, snakes, monkeys and insects and if you are into wildlife photography, make sure to visit the waterhole during dusk and dawn to capture some fine moments when the animals flock.
To get to Cotigao wildlife sanctuary you need to take the Panvel-Kochi-Kanyakumari highway to reach the main entrance. When you reach, you can either take a hike through the forests or take rented jeeps provided by the authorities.
The state of Goa is a beautiful blend of Indian and Portuguese culture with beautiful beaches, amazing people, palm trees, blue skies, and sunny vibes. It is divided into two main parts, namely “North Goa” and “South Goa” from tourists’ perspective. Offbeat places to travel in Goa add more to your traditional travel and exploration in Goa and you get to live Goa the way it was meant to be.
If you are planning to travel to Goa in near future, do not forget to check out our Goa Travel Guide, which will provide you a headstart in planning and preparing for your trip to Goa. For more information related to Goa’s travel scenarios, trip updates, and the latest developments of other states and the rest of India, you can join our Whatsapp group https://bit.ly/3cuzrOj.
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