Places to visit in South Goa – There is no dearth of tourist attractions in the southern district. There are beaches, waterfalls, wildlife sanctuaries, dams, hinterlands, heritage, museums, historical places, and more.
Allow me to share a Glimpse of South Goa sightseeing as I have seen it across all the seasons of long summers, sweet monsoons & short but sweet winters.
You choose the places to visit, based on your interests, duration & the season of your trip.
Places to visit in South Goa
South Goa Beaches
These beaches are very different from the North Goa beaches. Beaches in the southern part of the state have fine white sand. On a dry day, when you put your foot in the sand here, you almost feel you have put your foot in a pile of silk. Your foot just sinks in the smooth texture of sand here. The sand is not exactly white but quite close to it. The best times to visit the beaches are early morning & evenings. You can go for a long walk or jog or just relax. There are several watersports available for the interested. Explore some food by the beach shacks.
When you fly out of the state, especially when you go south, if you are sitting on the right side, you can see the long straight line beach. This 20 km or so stretch of beach is known by various names along its length. Most beaches derive their name from the village located next to them.
The most famous beaches of South Goa are Palolem, Agonda, Mobor, Betul & Colva beach. Beaches along the south are all tourist attractions and one’s place of stay and availability of vehicles to commute matter. Colva beach is best known for water sports. It is a good place to go parasailing – the view from the top is beautiful, to say the least. Utorda beach is a quieter beach, just walk a little north of Colva beach and you will find yourself almost alone with very few shacks around.
Check out this tool to help you explore beaches in India by Expedia: Beach Map of India.
While the beaches are the preferred destination for travelers, they are best visited early in the morning or in the evening. So what to do for the rest of the day. There are many interesting places to visit in South Goa within an hour’s drive. Know about them and plan your travel well and explore them as well
Waterfalls of South Goa
If you happen to be in the state during monsoon months i.e. June to September most beaches are kind of inaccessible. This is the time to head to hinterlands in search of hidden waterfalls. While most waterfalls need a bit of trekking, here are a few that you can see without much of an effort.
Hidden deep inside the Cotigao National Park, Kuskem waterfall is a lovely waterfall. It is a seasonal waterfall, hence best to visit as soon as the monsoon ends or during monsoon breaks. You need to hike just a bit to reach it. For directions though you must depend on the villagers who live inside.
The most famous waterfalls of Goa, Dudhsagar falls need no introduction. However, remember these falls are best seen from a train. Unfortunately, there are not too many trains that take you there and bring you back. A visit to the Dudhsagar Waterfalls location is possible only after monsoons and the opening date for tourists is determined by the forest department of the state. It essentially is about safety and only forest department jeeps will ferry tourists to and fro from the Mollem village.
Visiting Netravali falls requires a bit of trekking and a guide. Plan a visit accordingly.
Wildlife Sanctuaries – South Goa Sightseeing
The state is blessed with abundant nature – be it rivers, ocean, islands, or nature reserves. Nature nurtures biodiversity. It is a perfect place to spend time with nature and for activities like birding.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary & Zoo
Bondla wildlife sanctuary & zoo visit ensures that you get an opportunity to see dense forest areas in the hinterlands, some animals in the zoo, many birds, and if lucky some wild animals too. However, we recommend that you look for the crocodiles on the banks of water bodies.
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Cotigao wildlife sanctuary is our favorite walking place in the wilderness. Walk, go on top of trees and see the forests from the top.
Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary & Mollem National Park
You can visit this sanctuary when you visit Dudhsagar falls.
Museums to visit in South Goa
These museums preserve & present the heritage of the state in their unique ways.
Goa Chitra & Chakra Museum
A tribute to the wheel and the ethnographic part of the state. Visit this museum to get a perspective of the then precious wheels that enabled mankind to travel once upon a time
Bigfoot Museum, Cross Museum & Heritage Portuguese House
Naval Aviation Museum
The museum hosts some of the flying machines & naval history. You can see a model of INS Virat here.
Hinterlands, Dams, Botanical Garden – Places to visit in South Goa
The state is home to small dams like Anjunem Dam or Amthane Dam. The southern part of the state though has a unique dam – Salalulim Dam. Built with duckbill spillway technology this is a semi-circular dam with no gates. The excess water just flows into the river that in turn takes it to the sea.
During monsoon season you admire the dam like a waterfall.
Salaulim Dam & Botanical Gardens
One of its kind duckbill spillway Salaulim Dam is a vast lush green campus. Head there if you like some serene moments. The botanical gardens are also worth a visit for the interested.
Budbudi Tal or Bubble lake & Spice Farms
Mysteriously bubbles arise from this small temple pond if you clap. Curious about the Budbudi Tal visit it. Next door is a spice farm with homestay provisions. Netravali falls is also nearby to this place.
A personal initiative of a physician couple, Butterfly conservatory is home to several butterflies. Visit if you are interested in butterflies and their conservation.
The region was full of temples once upon a time. Most of these now live in the Ponda region. We have designed a small trail of the most famous temples of Goa that you can do in half a day easily.
We do recommend the Mud Festival of Devaki Krishna Temple – it is the most fun festival that we have ever seen anywhere.
Portuguese era houses
Chandor was the ancient capital of Goa. There is not much that is left of that era, but it is still home to large palatial houses of the Portuguese era. Some of these houses like Menezes Berganza’s house are open to the public.
One of Asia’s oldest & largest seminary. The Architecture of the complex is also interesting.
Do you know the world’s oldest known labyrinth is located on a river bed in South Goa? Head to Usgalimol or Pansoimol and on the banks of river Sharavati, you will see various petroglyphs depicting animals, human birth, and a world-famous labyrinth. These prehistoric sculptures are living proof of the continuous living civilization in the state.
Not too far from here are the Rivona caves.
The state is one of the most bio-diverse states of India despite it being the smallest Indian state. You can find birds in most fields, wetlands, and by the riversides. In the south district, we recommend walking in quaint villages like Maina, preferably early mornings.
Several trekking programs are conducted in the state for the enthusiastic explorers of hills and western ghats. Check out local newspapers
Check-out the cartoons of Mario Miranda the son of the soil cartoonist in several public places.
Which of these interests you? Enjoy your holidays.