Goa: the best ideas for a great long weekend trip. It is never enough of Goa for me! Do you feel the same? If yes, join me for one more journey to the Goan world. Following my latest blog post Go Goa: Ten practical things you need to know before your travel, this time I want to share a few suggestions. How can you enjoy Goa the most when visiting it for an extended weekend, less than a week? What to do and what not to miss.
I am happy to see that a similar post about Greece has been interesting for you. If you missed it, it is here: Santorini: The best ideas for a great long weekend trip. So why are you waiting? Pack a few clothes (more is not needed, it is always warm in Goa), and let’s… Go Goa, at least for a few days!
OUR LONG WEEKEND TRIP TO GOA
Do you know what the problem is with the duration of travel to Goa? Just one: they are always too short.
Our September trip to Goa was my third travel to this incredible state of India. Considering different date options and our September plans, we decided to travel for five days. And when we were sitting on the beach on the fourth day, we asked ourselves: why we didn’t book for two more days, at least.
All my three travels to Goa happened during extended weekends. Always around 4-5 days trips. Are they enough to gather new energy and Goan vibes? Absolutely? Is it enough to explore the place, taste it and miss it again? Double yes! Additionally, three to five days in Goa will make you not forget it. Instead, you will think about the return trip! Goa is addictive. Remember it! 🙂
THE BEST IDEAS FOR A GREAT LONG WEEKEND TRIP
1. ENJOY THE BEACH
There is nothing more relaxing and charming in Goa than its beaches. A coastline of 160 km hides a lot of treasures: wide beaches, coconut trees, big resorts, and small fishermen’s houses. Goan beaches are a great place both to slow down or party. Enjoy the views, nature, local attractions, and food.
My favorite beaches in Goa? The empty ones, like Benaulim beach or the south part of the Vainguinim beach.
What surprised me about the beaches in Goa? Amazing sunsets and often empty beaches, somehow making one feel that it isn’t India. On the beaches, you might meet ladies selling jewelry and big shawls, so colorful. Just by the seaside, there might be a place to ride a horse, a great experience! And don’t be surprised when you will meet a cow by the beach or a stray dog. One thing that I didn’t expect was also water sports!
2. WATER SPORTS
I always imagined Goa as a purely relaxing place, with less infrastructure and more nature. And don’t worry, there is a lot of nature and greenery! The great thing is that on the Goan beach you don’t need to get bored. If you like, you can walk a bit by the seaside to one of the nearby beaches to enjoy the water sports. You will find water sports in many places, among them Mobor, Colva, Majorda, Utorda, Palolem beach.
Let’s talk practice! Which water / beach sports are available in Goa?
- Jet Ski Ride
- Scuba Diving
- Speed Boat Ride
- Banana Ride
I have done twice jet ski ride, one of my favorite ones. I can’t wait to return to Goa to do parasailing! And remember: prices in Goa are affordable, however if needed negotiate a bit! 🙂
3. DON’T MISS THE SUNSET
Goa and its sunsets are unseparated! Sunsets in Goa are usually between 6 and 7 PM. It is good to check the exact hour in advance so that you won’t miss it. Time And Date website can help you here. Stop your driving around, evening snack, or shopping, and head to the beach to admire the sunset! Goa is situated on the west coast of India, making it an ideal spot for sunset lovers!
No matter what your dream destinations are. Goa will always make its space in its wish list.
Is it safe in Goa after the sunset? Generally yes. However, as in any other part of the world, remember you are not the local person, so a bit of precaution is all that is needed.
4. BEACH SHACKS
No matter if sunset or any other time of the day: enjoy food and drinks in the beach shacks. What are the beach shacks? I wrote more about them in my previous post; the link is here. Shacks are little restaurants or bars by the beach. They are often temporary structures, with tables and chairs or sunbeds on the sand.
What do I recommend in the beach shacks? If you are a non-vegetarian, then seafood is a must! Else, try something from the typical Goan cuisine. And don’t forget to taste some local alcohol, cocktails, or mocktails. It is holiday time!
5. FOOD TIME
Food and travel are the ideal combinations for me! And Goa is the place made for it! When visiting recently Goa, apart from the beautiful beaches, I couldn’t wait to taste Goan food again!
There are so many different options both for restaurants selection as well as specific dishes. This time, we loved the food in The Fisherman’s Wharf and in The Black Sheep Bistro. If you want to try very tasty crab, visit the Sheela Restaurant & Bar. To try shark and other Goan and seafood delicacies, drive to the south to Martin’s Corner.
What not to miss in Goa?
- Seafood (if you are non-vegetarian), especially jumbo prawns, shark, and crab
- Goan bread/buns (vegetarian)
- Local thali (both vegetarian and seafood options are available)
- Goan feijoada (non vegetarian)
- Sorak curry (vegetarian)
- Patolea (dessert)
- Bebinca (dessert)
- Feni (drinking time!)
6. VISIT OLD GOA
During two of my stays in Goa, I have visited Old Goa city. During the first travel, it was a longer visit, exploring the place, visiting the churches, and enjoying a bit of shopping. What not to miss in Old Goa city? Churches! Most of them are white (apart from the Basilica of Bom Jesus), representing different architecture styles from Portugal and Europe. Make sure to visit the below churches:
- Basilica of Bom Jesus – it is part of the UNESCO Heritage site, and it contains the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, the famous Jesuit saint
- Se Cathedral
- Church of St. Cajetan
- Church of St. Francis of Assisi
If you decide to stay in the north of Goa, then another benefit of visit Goa is that it is on the way to Ponda! And if you are staying in the south, then you can visit Ponda and then Old Goa. But what is in Ponda?
7. DISCOVER PONDA
Take a note of this small city name: Ponda! It is a city in the north of Goa, with over 170000 inhabitants. It is known as “Antruz Mahal” as it is home to numerous famous temples and has a rich cultural heritage.
What is the best way to reach Ponda? I would suggest a car/taxi or scooter/bike. When I visited it the first time, back in 2009, we rode there on the scooters. This time, back in September, we rented a hotel taxi for a full day. Any struggle when driving there alone, without the local driver? During my first visit, we lost a few times. Roads are small with many deviations and poor network; the GPS might not be your best friend in that part of Goa.
There are two main attractions that I recommend in Ponda. The first one: the spice plantation called Sahakari Spice Farm. It is an incredible place and experience.
The farm is spread over 130 acres of jungle. During the visit, you won’t only smell all the wonderful spices in the air. You will also have an opportunity to visit a small part of the farm, learning more about many spices. Do you need more details?
Location: Curti / Ponda
Timing: daily 9 am till 4:30 pm
Entry ticket: 400 INR (4.6 euro / $5.4) per adult, 200 INR (2.3 euro / $2.7) per child (5-7 years), free entry for children below 5 year old
Ticket includes: buffet lunch (veg and non-veg) and 25-30 min guided tour in the farm.
And that’s not all about Ponda! Just 2 minutes away by the car from the farm, there is the second attractions: you can experience an elephant ride! It costs about 700 INR (8 euro / $9.5) per person for a 10 minutes ride. If you arrive early in the morning, you might also experience giving the bath to the elephant. If you feel like riding the elephant might not be the best idea, you might want to pass by and give the elephant a good hug.
8. SHOPPING TIME
Who goes for holidays with zero shopping? Hmm. Come on, at least one magnet! 😀 Goa, just like the rest of India, is a great shopping place. However, I would not encourage you for the mass production items. Instead, buy something hand-made, locally produced. In this way, you could bring back home a piece of Goa with you.
Where to shop in Goa? There are a lot of shops, as well as street and beach markets. Some of the places that you can enjoy are:
- Anjuna Flea Market (north)
- Calangute market (north)
- Panjim Market (north)
- Mapusa Friday market (north)
- Arpora / Ingo’s – Saturday Night Bazar, starting 6 PM (north)
- Arpora / River Baga – Saturday Mackie Night Bazar, Nov-Apr starting 6 PM (north)
- Baga Beach – Saturday Night Market, starting 6 PM (north)
- Colva Beach (south)
- Palolem Market (south)
And what to buy in Goa? Goan cashew nuts, spices, feni or other local alcohol, Azulejos tiles, local Kunbi sarees, coconut craft, or local pop art, among others. Shopping in Goa can be kind of unlimited! 🙂
9. PARTY time
The great thing about Goa is that it can give a full experience: from the relaxation on the beach to the party and fun time. If lying down on the beach or by the resort pool is not something made for you, then head to the north of Goa. Fun time is guaranteed over there!
Before the pandemic, the north of Goa was full of tourists (both from India and internationally) enjoying the late evenings and nights by the beach. There is an infrastructure in place to ensure a great time: shacks on the beach, discos, bars, loud music. The prices of entertainment, food, and drinks in Goa are very affordable. It makes it an ideal place for all who seek more fun during travel.
10. EXPERIENCE CASINOS
Last but not least! One more idea for a holiday in Goa: experience local casinos. My intention is not to encourage you to gamble. Entering casinos doesn’t mean you need to invest your fortune or any rupee there! Casinos in India are allowed only in three states, including Goa. But why do I suggest visiting a casino in Goa? They are unique: most of them are on the boats!
The state of Goa has allowed gambling in 1976. The government allowed slot machines in five-star hotels and card rooms in offshore vessels. Later on, in 1996, casinos were permitted the table games like poker and roulette. One principle: such games can only be played on cruise ships and are not allowed in land casinos. That’s why most of the Goan casinos are on the boats.
Pandemic remark: as of September 2021, casinos are closed due to Covid. It is best to follow the government rules for the latest announcements.
Have you been to Goa? If yes, what surprised you the most? Which advice would you give to the travelers planning to visit the Goan state for an extended weekend? And if you haven’t been to Goa yet, is it on your bucket list? I would love to hear your feedback. Sharing is caring!
Moments that matter, no matter how long in Goa.