Boasting of endless stretches of palm-fringed beaches along its 105-km-long coastline, Goa is the first choice for most tourists planning a beach holiday in India. Golden sand beaches, beach shacks, wild parties, and casinos have come to define Goa, but there lies another side to this beautiful state beyond its image as the ‘Beach and the Party Capital of India‘. Our guide to the offbeat places in Goa takes you on an unexplored trail dotted with colonial forts, ancient temples, churches, biodiversity hotspots, lesser-known beaches, and yoga retreats.
Fontainhas: The Latin Quarters of Panjim
Portuguese heritage is very much alive in this colorful neighborhood of Goa’s capital city, Panjim. Brightly painted vintage houses, beautifully restored heritage hotels, restaurants, cafes, little bakeries, and art galleries flank the flawless lanes of Fontainhas. Amble along the Latin quarters of Panjim soaking up the ambiance of these quaint quarters bursting with colonial character. Needless to say, photo ops are aplenty at this offbeat place in Goa.
Heritage Forts: Visit the Forgotten Forts
Ancient forts that reflect Goa’s rich heritage are among the top tourist attractions, but most tourists limit their visit to the very popular Aguada and Chapora Fort. This time you book your flights to Goa from Los Angeles for a holiday; explore the forgotten forts like Tiracol, Corjuem, Cabo de Rama, Mormugao, and Sinquerim Fort. Although not as colossal as the other Indian forts, they are no less impressive. Enveloped in lush greenery, these forts offer expansive views of the sea and arresting sunset views.
Also Read: Things to do in Goa with Family
Divar Island: A Taste of Rural Goa
A charming little island, Divar is one of the most beautiful offbeat places in Goa. The stillness of this sleepy village comes as a surprise to those ears wont to the banging beats of loud Goan parties. Vast open fields surround the empty roads and rustic settlements are dotted with Portuguese-style houses, churches, and ancient temples. This is the kind of place where you’d feel like slowing down and reflecting on life. A ferry ride from Old Goa gets you to Divar Island, which is situated nearly 10 km from Panaji/Panjim.
Tropical Spice Plantation Tour: A Treat to the Senses
A rejuvenating experience is what awaits you at Tropical Spice Plantation located in Keri of North Goa. The guided tours not only show visitors around the sprawling plantations but also educate them on the medicinal properties of various Indian spices cultivated here. You’ll receive a traditional welcome (with aarti, kumkum, and garland), offered herbal tea, and treated to a delicious Goan fare in an open-air restaurant set in the plantation itself. Nearly 75 different species of birds call this plantation their home, and a variety of butterflies fluttering around the butterfly garden further enchant visitors.
Mandrem: Quiet Beaches and Spiritual retreats
This picturesque coastal village is the perfect offbeat place in Goa for you if uncrowded beaches and spiritual retreats are what you expect from your offbeat Goan holiday. Enjoy an early morning or evening walk at Mandrem beach known for its white sand, sparkling waters, and a shore lined with palm and casuarina trees. Practice Yoga and meditation at Oceanic Yoga School, get an Ayurvedic massage, and roam around the fishing village catching glimpses of the laidback lifestyle.
Heart-Shaped Lake: This One Steals Your Heart
Brimming with clear cerulean waters, this beautiful lagoon formed in the shape of a heart is completely off the beaten track. The heart-shaped lake is tucked away in Bogmalo, a short drive from Dabolim Airport. The path to this secluded spot is a little tricky, but this shouldn’t discourage you from venturing to this offbeat place in Goa. What you see in front of you when you reach the cliff point is breathtaking! There’s this beautiful heart-shaped lagoon and beyond it, the Arabian Sea stretches to infinity. One would lose their hearts to these drop-dead gorgeous views.
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Mangrove BoardWalk: Get Closer to Nature
India’s second Mangrove Boardwalk is right here in Goa, inviting nature lovers for a refreshing walk through the mangrove forests of the state. This green space sprawls across 1,100 square meters and is a haven for 14 species of mangroves as well as the area’s flora and fauna. Mangrove Boardwalk is located behind the Goa State Central Library in Panjim. Fontainhas is also quite nearby, so you could consider combining your visit to two of the best offbeat places in Goa.
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