Offbeat things to do in Goa

Divar Island in Offbeat Goa

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Time and again I keep stressing on the fact that Goa is not just about the beaches, cheap booze and parties. There's more to Goa than the typical overcrowded touristy things. Not only does Goa have a rich culture and heritage, but also immense natural beauty. From islands to churches, temples, lakes and off-route scenic drives, there's so much you can do other than just visiting the beaches. However, I'm not suggesting that you skip the beach. All I'm suggest is that you can make your Goa trip much more fulfilling my taking the offbeat road from time-to-time. With this in mind, I have compiled a list of my favourite offbeat things to do in Goa. If you're looking to visit Goa for the weekend, take a look at this 2-day guide to visit Goa.

Offbeat Places in Goa:

Divar Island

Divar Island in Offbeat Goa

Take a ferry from Old Goa or from Ribandar to reach the charming little Divar island. The island is located approximately 10 km upriver from Panaji. While there isn't much to see at the inland except for a few churches, there's a tranquillity in the air that you experience while driving across the empty roads surrounded by marshy open fields. As you arrive at the little villages surrounded by forested hills, step out of your car or bike and lake a leisurely walk along the single-lane roads and soak in the serenity of rural offbeat Goa. P.S. Follow my on Instagram (@thespicyjourney) to get instant updates on offbeat places in Goa and beyond.

Salaulim Dam

Offbeat Places in Goa - Salaulim Dam

Located in the Sanguem Taluka of South Goa, about 26 km from Margao, the Salaulim Dam is Goa's largest man-made water storage reservoir. Coupled with lush greenery and a large, picturesque garden, the dam makes for an ideal day-trip during and soon after the monsoon season in Goa. A sprawling lawn, canopy of trees, manicured hedges and ample open space make the botanical garden a favorite picnic spot among locals. Moreover, the garden was built to resemble the iconic Mysore's Brindavan gardens. From the top of the dam, you can see the pellucid waters reflecting the forest on one side and the garden on the other side. The duckbill spillway of the dam falls with such force that it causes some of the water to rise up and create a misty appearance. If you can't get yourself to leave this place, there is a guesthouse located close-by where you can book your stay.

Three Kings Church

Offbeat Places in Goa - 3 Kings Church

Three Kings Church or Our Lady of Remedios Chapel, is situated on a hillock 12 km from Dabolim Airport, on the way to Margao. A tiny Chapel atop a hill, it is a favorite hang out place among the locals. Since the Chapel is at a height, you get to see spectacular views of the surrounding landscape, open fields, lanes covered by coconut trees and the sea at a distance. In addition to the views, there is a gentle breeze in the evening and a small road where you can take a leisurely stroll or sit on a grassy patch and take in the views. You can visit this Chapel while going from the Dabolim airport towards Margao or vice-versa.

Explore the South Goa Beaches

One of the offbeat things to do in Goa is explore South Goa's beaches - Cabo de Rama beach

Did you really think I would leave out beaches from this list? In contrast to the beaches of North Goa which are generally overcrowded, South Goa beaches are usually desolate and have more room to walk around and enjoy the empty beach. Not only are there vacant beaches, but also some full-fledged tourist beaches with beach shacks and a vibrant atmosphere. My favourite tranquil beach in South Goa is Cabo de Rama beach. You can also read about a relatively undiscovered by the Indian crowd, Patnem beach. On your next Goa vacation, give the South Goa beaches a try. They will not let you down.

Walk Around Fontainhas

The Spicy Journey wearing a bright top in Fontainhas Panjim

The old Latin Quarter of Panaji, Fontainhas is an area bursting with colorful houses in bright maroon, green, blue and yellow. The restaurants around here are equally lively. Fontainhas is a region with a rich cultural history. Thus, I have written about Fontainhas in-depth in my post, A Day in Fontainhas. Read this article to find out the hidden secrets, the best eats and the right spots to take Instagram-worthy pictures. This is undoubtedly, one of the best offbeat places in Goa.

Explore Portuguese Mansions in Chandor

Offbeat Goa - Chandor

When it comes to offbeat Goa, Chandor is as offbeat as it gets. One of the unexplored places in South Goa, Chandor used to be a magnificent city between the 6th and 11th century. What's more, there are 2 elaborate mansions located in this village which is 15 km south east of Margao city. Braganza house dates back to the 16th century. The owners give the visitor a tour of the house, showing all the relics and where they came from. Most of the items in the house were imported from Europe. The highlight of the house is the grand ballroom, shown in the picture above. Expect to pay around Rs 300 per person, which goes into the maintenance of the house. While you're in Chandor, you can also visit the Fernandes house. This house is less extravagant but it has a secret passage build with gunshot holes. Besides, the man running the houses is the sweetest person. He's was kind enough to open his house for me and his friend in the middle of his lunchtime and gave us a full tour. A visit to Fernandes house will cost Rs 100 per person.

12 Replies to “Offbeat things to do in Goa”

  1. Your list of off-beat things to do in Goa is great. I would love to explore the South Goa beaches and take a walk around colourful Fontainhas.

    1. thespicyjourney says: Reply

      Thanks Linda! You must visit Goa and do all these things 🙂

  2. The beaches of South Goa – leaving out the Patnem and Palolem stretch (being very commercial) the rest is beautiful. Having born and brought up in the South of Goa, life this side has a charm of its own. Yes, the 3 Kings Church is a good place too along with Salaulim Dam. Good list you have there Ma’am.

    1. thespicyjourney says: Reply

      Thank you Savio. South Goa has me completely charmed !

  3. […] MoreIf you like reading this article, read Offbeat Things to do in Goa for discovering the most picturesque offbeat locations on […]

  4. […] you will get a clear view of the island, Old Goa and some of Panaji city. Divar island is one my favorite offbeat places to visit in Goa. It's not one to be missed […]

  5. […] Must Read: Offbeat Things to do in Goa […]

  6. […] rides is the one from Old Goa to Divar island. In all honesty, I encourage people to go for more offbeat places in Goa rather than touristy […]

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