How to see the best places to visit in Goa in 3 days only
Although Goa is most famous for its beaches and nightlife there is so much more to a holiday in Goa than just lazing on the beach and partying. In fact, there is so much to do in Goa that you could easily keep yourself entertained for weeks. If you have a week’s holiday in Goa check out my perfect itinerary for 1 week. But if you only have a short time to explore Goa then luckily you can see some of the best places to visit in Goa in 3 days or a long weekend.
What sets a holiday in Goa apart from other beach destinations is the crazy nightlife, colourful flea markets, the food and the unique, magical mix of Indian and Portuguese culture that is a delight to explore. So use my insider tips and read on to find out how to make the most of a short break and still see the best places to visit in Goa in 3 days.
First things first, when to come and how to get to Goa
The best time to holiday in Goa is the main tourist season which is between November and March when the weather is sunny, dry and not so humid.
First things, you’ll need to get an Indian visa. If you’re visiting for a short time then an E Tourist Visa is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to get an Indian visa. See my post here for how to get an E Visa for India.
Next, you’ll need to get to Goa. Goa has an international airport with charter flights to Europe in season and domestic flights that will connect you to the rest of India. If you only have a short time to visit Goa then flying is the best way to maximise your time and allow you to see the best places to visit in Goa in 3 days.
Flights to Goa are cheapest from Mumbai and Bangalore by flights go all over India. I always check Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights, if you can be flexible and search across the whole month you can find the best deals. You can also reach Goa by train or bus from many places in India especially Mumbai and Bangalore.
Best places to stay in Goa
Goa is really very diverse and each beach offers a different scene so it’s worth researching a bit beforehand about the different beaches in Goa before choosing.
Generally speaking South Goa is quieter, and mostly the realm of luxury resorts, apart from the popular more backpacker orientated resorts around Agonda and Palolem in the far South. North Goa is where most of the action is and where the best parties, nightlife, markets, restaurants and attractions are.
If you want to see the best places to visit in Goa in 3 days then it’s best to base yourself in North Goa and book a Goa hotel close to all the action. The beaches of Candolim, Calangute and Baga are the most popular and have the most facilities like hotels for all budgets, restaurants, bars, tours, shops, watersports and nightlife and are a good base to explore the rest of Goa from.
For more on the different beaches in Goa and where to stay check out my Insider’s Guide to Goa.
To make the most of your trip you should also rent a scooter, motorbike or car so that you can get around easily and see the most of Goa. Your hotel should be able to help you arrange this.
Best places to visit in Goa in 3 days
I’ve tried to pack all the best places to visit in Goa in 3 days into this itinerary – perfect if you are planning a weekend trip to Goa and want to see all the best beaches, markets, restaurants and parties and much more.
Day 1 – Welcome to Goa! Beach Day!
Get to Goa and get settled into your hotel. You will probably be pretty tired from the journey so taking a pre paid taxi from the airport to your hotel is the most hassle free way to arrive.
Once you’re all sorted with your accommodation head down to the beach to get your first dip in the warm Arabian sea, feel the sand in your toes, try some watersports, eat a Goan fish curry in one of the beach shacks and enjoy a cocktail or cold beer while you soak up your first Goan sunset – they are pretty spectacular!
To get the best out of your holiday in Goa you’ll need your own transport as public transport is not very convenient and taxis charge exorbitant prices. Most guesthouses and hotels should be able to arrange scooters and motorbike hire (about 300 rupees a day) and this is definitely the best way to get around and explore Goa.
Make your first night in Goa special by visiting one of the best restaurants, Thalassa is a Greek restaurant with great views over Vagator beach which is one of my all time favourites restaurants in Goa. Make a reservation to get a good table for sunset.
Goa is probably the best place to party in all of India, there’s lots going on every night in season. One of the most popular party places in around Tito’s lane in Baga, also check out Curlies on South Anjuna Beach, Hilltop and Waters in Vagator and Club Cubana in Arpora depending on what kind of music you like.
Day 2 – Explore Inland Goa
A holiday in Goa has much more to offer than just beaches. Prise yourself away from the beach and hire a driver or take a day trip for a fascinating day exploring more of Goa’s nature, culture and history. Head into the jungle for a refreshing swim in Dudhsagar waterfall and learn about why spices are so important with a visit to a spice plantation.
You also can’t miss the impressive, UNESCO listed Portuguese churches of Old Goa and make time to explore Panjim, Goa’s capital, check out the stunning Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the colourful old Portuguese architecture around Fontainhas.
Most of the Spice Plantations include a Goan buffet lunch in the entrance price or Panjim has some great restaurants, Try Mum’s Kitchen – famous for Goan food or popular Hotel Venite.
How to do it: There are lots of day tours and trips you can do to see the all the best places in a short time. Many hotels and small local travel agencies can arrange sightseeing and the daily cost to hire a car with a driver should be around 2500 rupees.
You could also book organised Goa day tours on Viator. Nature lovers will like this private full day tour to Dudhsagar waterfalls and spice plantations while culture buffs might enjoy this private full day Goa sightseeing tour private full day Goa sightseeing tour which visits the Old Goa churches, the most famous Goa temples, the historic Portuguese quarters of Panjim as well as a spice plantation tour with lunch.
If you’re coming to Goa for the weekend then don’t miss the Saturday Night Market at Arpora. This huge market situated between Anjuna and Baga is the best place to shop for souvenirs, clothes, handicrafts, sarongs. There are many Indian sellers and also some foreigners and hippies who sell unique handmade clothes, jewellery and other things.
The night market is also a bit of a party as there is a bar, many food stalls, live bands and music that goes into the early hours of Sunday morning. Don’t miss it!
Day 3 – Drive up the coast and explore more beaches
There are so many beaches you can explore while on holiday in Goa! Get on the bike or hire a Jeep/Thar, feel the wind through your hair and soak in the gorgeous countryside; green paddy fields, towering palm trees, white washed Portuguese churches and colourful Goan villages while you explore further up the coast.
Check out Anjuna and Vagator beaches, these were the original hippie beaches, Anjuna still has a famous flea market every Wednesday and Vagator’s rocky coves are interesting and charming to explore. Also, check out the ruins and views from Chapora Fort made famous after the film Dil Chahta Hai.
Enjoy the drive further north and check out quiet Morjim Beach, the home of rare Olive Ridley turtles, the wide, empty sands of Mandrem and the hip Ashwem. Eat at La Plage in Ashvem (one of the best restaurants in all of Goa right on the beach) or try Sublime in Morjim and Café NU in Mandrem
And don’t miss hippy Arambol, head over the cliffs at the North end of the beach and discover Kalacha Beach with it’s cute sweet water lake. You can even try paragliding here.
Try to be in Arambol for sunset as each night hippies, backpackers and long stayers set up a cute little sunset hippy market along the beach and you’ll see all kinds of weird and wonderful people practising yoga, meditation, fire dancing or juggling and the drum circle that Arambol is famous for.
Check out this video by Drifter Planet for a taster of Arambol life
So there’s my suggestion of the best places to visit in Goa in 3 days.
There is a lot more to see and your holiday will be pretty action packed with this 3 day Goa itinerary but there’s so much to do in Goa and that’s about as much you can pack into 3 days.