Namaskar Wanderlusters! It’s time to get beachy! And what better place to do it in than the much loved Goa, a coastal state in India. And Old Goa is the part of Goa that is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and Portuguese colonial architecture plus many hidden gems that are less frequented and are waiting for you to explore them.  

There are many places in Goa that are madly frequented by visitors. Especially popular tourist spots like Calangute, Baga, and Anjuna are a go-to and hence can become too much for travelers looking for some relaxation with nature. 

And if you too are looking for hidden gems of Old Goa then you are at the right place. Because we will take you through the best hidden gems of Old Goa. so get your sundresses, hats and sunscreens ready because it’s time to dive in! 

old goa beaches
Beaches of Old Goa

Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary: Deep Within Nature 

Situated in the Eastern Ghats, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts. It is home to several species of flora and fauna, including the elusive black panther. The sanctuary offers opportunities for trekking, birdwatching, and exploring the enchanting Dudhsagar Waterfall.

Arambol Sweet Lake: Surreal Serenity Awaits

Arambol Sweet Lake is a lesser-known freshwater lake located near the popular Arambol Beach. It is a serene and secluded spot where visitors can swim, kayak, or simply relax amidst the tranquil surroundings. The lake is especially beautiful during sunset.

Cabo de Rama Fort: A Look Inside Portuguese History 

Situated in South Goa, Cabo de Rama Fort is a historic fort. It has a rich history dating back to the Portuguese era. The fort offers panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and is a peaceful spot away from the bustling tourist areas. It is an excellent place to witness a breathtaking sunset.

Butterfly Beach: Where Butterflies Dance and Dolphins Prance

Hidden away from the clamor of mainstream tourists, this secluded paradise offers a breathtaking landscape where dolphins frolic in the waves and butterflies grace the air. It’s a serene escape that rewards your adventurous spirit with tranquility and mesmerizing vistas.

Divar Island: A Time Capsule of Traditional Charm

Next stop on our itinerary is Divar Island, a haven of old-world charm situated on the Mandovi River. Step into a time capsule as you explore its narrow lanes, Portuguese-style houses, and lush green fields. Whether you choose to take leisurely walks or rent a bicycle, Divar Island promises to transport you to a bygone era. and here you will feel like life moves at a serene pace.

Chorla Ghat: A Jungle Odyssey for Nature Lovers

Prepare to be spellbound by the lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and exotic wildlife of Chorla Ghat. Tucked away on the Goa-Karnataka-Maharashtra border, this hidden gem within the Western Ghats offers an adventurous playground for trekkers, birdwatchers, and anyone seeking solace in nature’s embrace.

church of old goa
Basilica of Bom Jesus

Basilica of Bom Jesus: Where History Meets Divine Grandeur

The Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a testament to the grandeur of Baroque architecture and houses the mortal remains of Saint Francis Xavier. Marvel at the ornate interiors and let the ethereal ambiance take you on a spiritual quest.

Sé Cathedral: Where Whispers Echo through Time

Right next to the Basilica, the Sé Cathedral beckons you with its Gothic splendor and towering presence. As you step inside, let the hushed whispers of history transport you to an era of magnificence. Explore its intricately carved altars, ancient religious relics, and the whispering gallery, where even the walls keep the secrets of the past.

Fontainhas: A Splash of Colors and Quaint Delights

The Latin Quarter of Panjim, Fontainhas is the best place to encounter a mixture of vibrant bursts of colors, colonial charm, cheap shopping locations and a lot more. Stroll through narrow streets adorned with Portuguese-style houses painted in vibrant hues. Explore art galleries, local culinary delights, raging festivals and of course lose yourself in the unique blend of cultures that define this gem.

Museum of Christian Art: A Hidden Gem of Artistic Treasures

Are you seeking artistic inspiration to get you out of the dump of lack of creativity? Look no further than the Museum of Christian Art. Nestled somewhere within the Convent of Santa Monica, this museum helps you delve into the rich heritage of Christian art. With its exquisite ivory and wooden sculptures, rare paintings, and precious artifacts you are sure to love the museum and take back memories for a lifetime. 

Tambdi Surla Temple: A Marvel in the Jungle

Old Goa is not all beaches because deep within the dense forests of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, lies the ancient Tambdi Surla Temple. This 12th-century architectural marvel dedicated to Lord Shiva is a hidden gem for history and culture enthusiasts. And a must visit for everyone who wishes to go the off-beat path. Here you can admire the intricate carvings on the temple walls, marvel at the structural brilliance, and soak in the spiritual ambiance that is prevalent in the surroundings. 

Sahakari Spice Plantation: A Spicy Delight

It’s time for a sensory overload. Because as you step into the Sahakari Spice Plantation, you enter a world of fragrant spices and lush greenery. Located in Ponda, this hidden gem offers an immersive experience that is sure to tantalize all your senses. Take a guided tour through the spice gardens, learn about the cultivation and processing of various spices, and indulge in a traditional Goan meal infused with the flavors of the land. Quick tip: don’t forget to try the famous spiced tea. 

Harvalem Waterfall: Nature’s Refreshing Symphony

Escape the crowds and discover the hidden beauty of Harvalem Waterfall, also known as the Arvalem Waterfall. Tucked away in the heart of Goa’s countryside, this picturesque cascade offers a refreshing retreat amidst mother nature’s embrace. Take a dip in the cool waters, unwind in the shade of surrounding trees, and let the soothing sound of cascading water make you forget about all your worries. 

old goa fort
The Terekhol Fort Church

Terekhol Fort: A Hidden Fortress by The Sea

Venture north to the village of Terekhol and discover the lesser-known Terekhol Fort. Perched atop a hill overlooking the tranquil Terekhol River and the Arabian Sea, this centuries-old fortress offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into Goa’s rich history. Explore the fort’s crumbling walls, visit the chapel within its premises, and witness the glorious sunset as the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant hues.

Chapora Fort: Relive Bollywood Magic

If you’re a fan of Bollywood and iconic Bollywood movie moments, a visit to Chapora Fort is a must. Perched on a hill overlooking the Chapora River and the Arabian Sea, this fort gained much fame. As it was the shooting location for the amazing, cannot-ever-forget-about classic film “Dil Chahta Hai”. Feel the magic as you walk along the fort walls, soak in the panoramic views, and let the nostalgia of Bollywood cinema transport you to a world of friendships and unforgettable memories.

Keri Beach: Tranquility at its Finest

Escape the hustle and bustle of the crowds and head to the serene and untouched Keri Beach, also known as Querim Beach. Located in North Goa, this hidden gem offers a tranquil retreat with its pristine white sands and azure waters. Take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, witness local fishermen at work, and witness stunning sunsets. Sunsets, that paint the sky with breathtaking colors. Sounds like perfection, doesn’t it?

Cumbarjua Backwaters: A Wildlife Safari with a Twist

Step away from the usual tourist trails and embark on a unique wildlife safari in the Cumbarjua Backwaters. Hop on a traditional Goan canoe and cruise through the mangrove-lined channels. Keep your eyes peeled for the main attraction: an encounter with the resident mugger crocodiles. This thrilling adventure will allow you to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Naval Aviation Museum: History on Wings

If aviation interests you, a visit to the Naval Aviation Museum in Bogmalo will definitely be a treat for your senses. Explore the extensive collection of vintage aircrafts, helicopters, and aviation artifacts that showcase the rich history of Indian naval aviation. From fighter jets to reconnaissance planes, this museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of aviation and the brave souls who soared and still soar the skies.

Arpora Night Market: Shop, Eat, and Groove

One of the most famous markets of Old Goa, Arpora is a place where you can Indulge in the vibrant atmosphere, a lively bazaar where you can shop, dine, and dance the night away. Here you can browse through a myriad of stalls selling everything from handicrafts and clothing to spices and souvenirs. And remember to satiate your taste buds with delectable street food and enjoy live music performances that add to the festive ambiance. 

Rivona Caves: Unveil Ancient Mysteries

Delve into the mystical past of Goa with a visit to the Rivona Caves, tucked away in the lesser-known village of Rivona. These ancient rock-cut caves date back to the 6th century and hold significant historical and religious importance. Explore the intricately carved interiors, marvel at the ancient sculptures, and let your imagination wander as you ponder over the stories and secrets concealed within these mystical chambers.

things to do in old goa
Picturesque train journey to Old Goa

Tips To Travel To Old Goa

  • Plan Your Trip: Goa can get quite humid in the summer months so make sure you plan your trip between November and February, to get the best of weather conditions.
  • Comfort is The Key: Remember to pack comfortable footwear as you’ll be doing a fair amount of walking on uneven surfaces in Old Goa. And for attire you can choose whatever makes you feel comfortable.
  • Start Early: Starting your day early is the best way to beat the crowds and make the most of your time exploring the hidden gems so that you can avoid the crowds and truly enjoy your experience.
  • Beat The Heat: Carry a hat, sunscreen, and a bottle of water so that you stay hydrated and can avoid issues due to the heat.
  • Respect The Local Culture: Have fun but remember to respect the cultural and religious significance of the few religious sites by dressing modestly and behaving respectfully.
  • Take Local Help: Engage a local guide to gain deeper insights into the history and significance of Old Goa’s landmarks.
  • Take in The Surroundings: Take your time to appreciate the intricate details of the architecture and soak in the serene ambiance of the old churches and museums.
  • Try Local Food: Don’t miss out on trying the local Goan cuisine in nearby restaurants for a delightful culinary experience.
  • Click To Perfection: Clicking Insta-worthy pictures is a must but also take moments to simply absorb the beauty and atmosphere of Old Goa.
  • Be Mindful: Leave no trace behind and ensure you dispose of any waste responsibly, helping to preserve the beauty of Old Goa for future visitors.


So Wanderlusters! This time when you think of visiting Goa, think of all the beautiful places Old Goa has to offer. And make sure you add as many places from this guide to your itinerary so that you can have the best experience the place has to offer. 

Plan a family trip, a trip with friends, you loved ones or just go solo, because Old Goa’s charms are undeniable. 

Some FAQs For You

How to reach Old Goa?

If you’re already in Goa you can take a taxi, hire a private vehicle, or use local buses from Panjim, which is the capital of Goa. If you’re traveling internationally, the closest airport is Dabolim Airport.

What are the top shopping places in Goa?

Goa has a lot of places you can practice your haggling skills in. Some popular places include the Anjuna Flea Market, Mapusa Market, Panjim Market, and the Arpora Saturday Night Market. These offer a wide range of souvenirs, clothing, accessories, and local handicrafts.

How can I commute within Goa?

Goa has many options for you to choose from in terms of commute. You can rent a scooter or motorcycle, hire a taxi, use local buses, or book app-based cab services like Ola or Uber. Motorbike taxis and auto-rickshaws are also available in certain areas.

What is the old name of Old Goa?

The old name of Old Goa was “Ela,” which means “Island” in the Konkani language. It was called Ela during the reign of the Kadamba dynasty before being named Old Goa during the Portuguese colonial period.


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