6 things to do in Goa in one day sightseeing

There are so many things to do in Goa. But at times we are constrained by time. I had been to Goa with my wife in November 2012. Although, it was a package tour which included a one day site seeing, provided by Resort Terra Paraiso where we stayed. Still, we thoroughly enjoyed this crisp and neat site seeing trip which covered most of the major attractions and things to do in Goa in one day. Although, one day is no way enough to see and experience all that Goa has to offer. So, this trip covered only the highlights of things to do in Goa, the most famous sites that fall into the ‘top’ things to do in Goa. Thus, I thought to jot it down in order to help you plan something similar even if you were planning your trip on your own and had limited time to spend Site seeing in Goa.

The tour started early in the morning around 9:30 am. Post breakfast from hotel, we started in a mini bus in seat on coach basis. However, if planning on your own, you can as well rent a cab or self drive to places on the same itinerary that we followed.

Fort Aguada #1 – Things to do in Goa

It was the first of the things to do in Goa for us. We first headed to Fort Aguada. We spent almost around an hour there. Actually, ‘Aguada’ means water. As, this fort had a fresh stream of water inside the fort. And, the passing by ships in old age used to stop by the fort. And the crew filled their water vessels from here. Thats how the fort got it’s name. This is a Portuguese fort . It was built in the seventeenth century. This fort and it’s light house are one of the major attractions of old Goa. This fort was constructed as a guiding point for the vehicles that came in for trade from Europe at that time. The fort is located on the south side of Candolim beach, almost on the banks of river Mandovi.

Things to do in Goa
The fort is primarily divided in two parts – upper part and lower part. The upper part has the water body, several chambers and also a secret passage that was used to escape in case of wars and threats against the Dutch and Marathas that ruled some other parts of India during the same era. The fort has a huge campus, at one end of which lies the light house. The light house was obviously used to guide the ships coming in for trade.
Things to do in Goa

River Cruise on Mandovi river #2 – Things to do in Goa

Then, around 11 we headed to a river cruise and dolphin spotting on Mandovi river. The fort is located on the banks of the river, so, within 5 minutes, we reached at the boating spot. Mandovi is one big river that flows through the heart of Goa. And it is rightly called the lifeline of Goa. The river is neat and clean. It is home to several Dolphins. Several cruises are offered in the river that include spotting interesting sights along the bank of the river and Dolphin spotting in the river.

The cruise that we took was almost around a half an hour cruise. And we had to wait a little for our turn as the boats were limited. But once on the river, we enjoyed the cruise throughly. Along the cruise, you can see the Aguada fort, some beautiful and luxurious hotels built alongside the river and across the banks you can spot the beautiful cities of Goa.

Things to do in Goa

Anjuna Beach #3 – Things to do in Goa

Post the river cruise, we headed for lunch at Anjuna beach in North Goa in a beach side open air restaurant, around 1 pm. We took a leisurely stroll on the beach for sometime post lunch, enjoying the serene and calm atmosphere, before heading back to our tour vehicle. Although we spent just half an hour strolling on this beach, Anjuna beach made a special spot in our heart. Not sure if it was the serene atmosphere, the laid back environment or the view of the waves continuously crushing on the rocks that got embedded in our heart forever.

Anjuna is a village in north Goa. The place is particularly famous for the trance parties that are held on Anjuna beach during the new year time period. Also, there is a famous night market, a flea market, that is setup near the beach every Wednesday.

Things to do in Goa
Beach side restaurant on Anjuna Beach
Things to do in Goa
Beach side restaurant on Anjuna Beach


Shopping in Goa #4 – Things to do in Goa

Post lunch, we were driven to the thriving markets of Panjim where we had a time slot of around an hour (2:30-3:30 pm) for exploring the shops and the items on offer. We picked some items from spice and cashew merchants. Goa has several things to offer if you are looking forward to buying something. The spices and cashews of Goa are particularly very well known. Apart from this, cloths, garments, beach wear, slippers, cloth bags, silver jewelry and many other items can also be bought in Goa at very reasonable price.

Panjim is the capital city of Goa. It has a systematic market with clear zones for each kind of items that you would like to buy. You can head to the road side shops and explore the items available there. We have been to Goa two times and both the times we came back with some quality cashews that we liked a lot. [more details on shopping in Goa].

Bom Jesus Basilica #5 – Things to do in Goa

Post the shopping spree, we headed to Bom Jesus Basilica. It is one of the most popular churches of Goa. Actually, it is a UNESCO world heritage. The church is located in old Goa. After finishing our shopping in Panjim, we headed here across the bridge on Mandovi river. We arrived here around 4pm in the evening and  and then spent almost an hour on the premises of the Church, part of it sitting inside the church in peace and offering our prayer, part of it taking a stroll around the massive architecture and admiring its details.

Things to do in Goa
Bom Jesus Basilica
Things to do in Goa
Bom Jesus Basilica

The church is made in the architectural style resembling the Baroque architecture. It was constructed in almost 10 years. This church also contains the body of St. Francis Xavier who was a close friend of St. Ignatius Loyola. The casket containing the body is made of silver. Actually, this casket was the gifted by the last of the Medicis, Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The interiors of the church are done in Golden. And it looks beautiful.

Cruise, Folk performance and dinner #6 – Things to do in Goa

From the church, we headed to a cruise on river Mandovi. By this time, it was almost dark. We on-boarded  the cruise ship by almost 6pm. The ship had two decks. We first headed to the top deck. A sitting arrangement was done with chairs on the open deck. While a stage was set on the other end for some folk performances. We enjoyed the folk performances. At the end of the performance, even the guests were urged to join the locals. The atmosphere was super charged at this point.

After the performance, we went ahead for dinner.While many others proceeded to the lower deck where there was a live disco going on. Overall, the cruise trip continued till 7:30pm. Post this, we slowly started departing from the cruise.


It was a crisp trip but why I fell in love with it was because it gave us a glimpse of almost everything that Goa has got to offer – forts and ancient monuments, churches, river cruise, sea beach, sea cruise, shopping and dining!! However, it had it’s own cons that any such trip has. The foremost being, there was a limited time that we could spend at each of the locations post which we had to rush back to our mini bus that was waiting for us. Being slow travelers, we didn’t enjoy this part of a clock ticking all the time while you are visiting a site. So, this was also a learning experience for us. Here’s a comprehensive guide to make the most of your time in Goa and also contains rich information about things to do and places to see : An insider guide to Goa .
In short, for those constrained by time, this is really a very viable option to do the top things to do in Goa and get a little feel of all that Goa has to offer. But the same trip, if taken on your own, will be much more enjoyable because you can spread your time between the sites as per your own preference.
One day sight seeing in Goa India. What to do and what to see.
Spread the love
  • 1

27 Responses

  1. Katchutravels (@Katchutravels)

    Hey Neha. Good one! It covers most of the things that 1 day sight seeing does. But if people could google maps themselves to the place, I’d advise to shop at Panjim on June 18th road, and avoid Anjuna (because as a beach Anjuna is fairly far off and is not on the same stretch as Sinquerim-Candolim-Calangute-Baga. Anjuna on wednesdays would be great, and similarly ingo/mackie’s night bazaar on saturdays near Arpora works like a charm. Panjim-Old Goa-Fort Aguada ( and if they dont mind one more, I would add Chapora Fort). From a beach perspective I’d probably pick something closeby like Candolim which is near Fort Aguada. Just those minor additions to an otherwise do-able plan suggested by you for a 1 day plan.

    • Neha

      You are definitely a pro when it comes to Goa! Thanks for the tips. My readers will definitely have some valuable inputs from here.

  2. shubhammansingka

    Hehe, this post reminded me of my first time in Goa!! I’d gone with my parents and ended up doing all these activities. Over the years, it was fun to explore the more offbeat sights of Goa. We friends had made a pact to visit Goa at least once every year and that meant more than 10 trips in total! What fun!!

    I’ve made a monsoon post on Goa, if you ‘d like to check.

    • Neha

      Great to know about your trip Shubham. And I will definitely check out your monsoon post. Because its a dream of mine to be in Goa during the monsoons some day.

  3. Kate and Kris

    I’ve read some really diverse blogs about Goa recently. Looks like there is so much to enjoy. Will have to get a trip planned.

  4. Sydney Fashion Hunter

    Goa is probably the destination that interests me most in India. I would hope to spent more than a day there though if I ever get to visit. My picks from your list would be the beach and shopping

    • Neha

      Definitely you should spend much more than a day at Goa. This is just a one day crisp trip. But there is so much more to do

  5. televisionofnomads

    Goa is definitely high on our India list! I’m loving the beachside restaurant, it looks so peaceful. And the church is so unique looking! I really want to go check it out.

  6. Kathy - Walkabout Wanderer

    I absolutely love Goa and I will be there in a few weeks. It will be my fifth time. I am so pleased that you pt Anjuna there. It is one of my favourite places in Goa. I love the Wednesday market, the vibe on the beach as the sunsets and some of the beautiful shops nearby.
    I have been to a few of the other places you have suggested but I am keen to check out the river cruise this time.

  7. onlybyland

    I missed the port whilst in Goa, it looks interesting though a piece of European history. I missed the Mandovi river cruise as well, this looks relaxing and good for a different view of the fort. Beaches, shopping and dinner are a must, I agree. I think I missed the Basilica too! I need to go back!

    • Neha

      You missed a lot of stuff 🙂 But then Goa has so much to offer and not everything is to everyone’s liking. On top of that , we are all pressed by time. I am sure, you still had a wonderful time here surfing the beaches. That’s why Goa is so special

  8. gtcookbook

    There were a couple things that stood out to me in this post that I will have to remember for my trip to Goa. #1 Dolphin watching! I love love LOVE seeing animals in the wild. I’ve seen orcas in my native British Columbia, Canada, but never dolphins! and #2 cashews! I didn’t know they were a specialty in Goa, but as a nut “nut” (that sounds awkward), I’m all about that! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Neha

      Glad that these two points stuck with you. You surely won’t be disappointed in Goa (although no one is ever!!)

  9. Raymond Carroll

    It’s sounds like you had a lovely time on your Goa sightseeing tour, albeit a little too busy, rushing from each location back onto your minibus. Goa has been on my radar for a while now. I am trekking to the Everest Base Camp in October but I am considering certain places in India to relax after our trek – Goa, being one of them! Nice informative post. Thanks for sharing, Neha. Safe travels!

    • Neha

      Thanks Raymond. A but hectic, but ultimately, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Goa. Hope you too will enjoy it as much as we did

  10. Hendrik

    Impressive, I like how you managed to see so many places in just one day!
    And I must say, really interesting how different all the places are, so you have some historical places with the fort, beach, shopping… Seems like you already had some kind of mini-vacation in just one day 🙂

    • Neha

      Definitely. Thats why we said, if you are time crunched, then it’s a perfect day trip to take around Goa. There is everything on offer in this compact trip

  11. Migrating Miss

    Wow it seems like there’s a lot to do there! I’ve wanted to go there for ages. Great tips and I’ll have to come back when I make it eventually 🙂

  12. Kreete | AdventurousTrails

    This article came at a perfect time just as I am planning my trip to Goa in May. I would love to see the dolphins on the boat cruise and the old Portugese fort with fresh water inside seems impressive too! Seems like you managed to see and do a lot in just one day. How much did you pay for the tour?

    • Neha

      This tour was a part of our hotel deal Kreete. So, can’t tell how much it would cost individually. But definitely affordable. The river cruise charge was paid on the spot and many sites had free entry. You can as well do the trip by hiring a bike or car of your own

  13. Sandy N Vyjay

    Goa has much to see and experience so it is difficult to cram much into a one day trip. But if you have time constraint, then definitely these are some sights that one should not miss.

    • Neha

      Goa has so much to see and do. I have been there twice. I can’t wait to plan yet another trip..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *