How to Spend 1 Day in Goa
If you only have one day in Goa, you may just want to spend your time on the beach; after all, that's what this coastal Indian state is best known for. However, if you're more of an active traveler, then it’s worth checking out Goa's beautiful temples and historic Portuguese churches and homes. Here's how to do it all in one day.
Morning: Portuguese Panjim
Start your day off in the city of Panaji (Panjim), which has been Goa's capital city since 1759, when a bubonic plague outbreak forced the government to move the capital from what is now known as Old Goa. Panaji is full of lovely Portuguese architecture and home to some of the most authentic, charming neighborhoods in the state. Start in Fontainhas, home of mid-19th-century houses and the Chapel of St. Sebastian. Then make way your north to Sao Tome, the other major Portuguese neighborhood, known for colorful Portuguese architecture and a variety of old public buildings, including a tobacco trading house turned post office.
Afternoon: Old Goa and Shantadurga Temple
In the afternoon, head to Old Goa (Velha Goa), the former colonial capital of Goa. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to several significant churches, including the Basilica of Bom Jesus and St. Catherine’s Cathedral (aka Sé Cathedral). The basilica is among the oldest churches in India and holds the remains of Goa's patron saint, Francis Xavier, while the cathedral is celebrated for its relics and religious artwork. After visiting Old Goa, make your way south to Shantadurga Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess of peace. Its architecture blends Indian and Portuguese influences, with the red walls and white trim seen throughout Portuguese Goa.
Night: Beach Sunset and Nightlife
As the afternoon winds down, make your way north to Sinquerim Beach for sunset. The best vantage point is the 17th-century Aguada Fort, which offers views of the Arabian Sea. From here, head north along the coast, perhaps stopping in busy Calangute for dinner, before checking out some of Goa’s many nightlife options. If you’re more into commercial and Bollywood music, your best bet is Tito’s on Baga Beach. If electronic music is more your jam, go farther north to Anjuna Beach (where regular electronic dance parties take place) or head up to Hilltop, an outdoor nightclub specializing in Goa’s homegrown Goa trance music.