The Perfect 1 Week Holiday in Goa Itinerary

The Perfect 1 Week Itinerary for a Holiday in Goa, India

The Best Goa Itinerary

Planning a Holiday in Goa? Here’s your perfect 1 week Goa itinerary for what to do and when to make the most of your holiday!

Goa is India’s most popular holiday destination due to its tropical beaches, vibrant night life and laid back lifestyle. Although Goa is most famous for its beaches there is so much more to a holiday in Goa than just lazing on the beach!  There is something in Goa for everyone and your holiday in Goa can be as relaxed or as action packed as you want! There’s so much to do so you’ll need to think about your Goa itinerary if you want to fit it all in.

What sets a holiday in Goa apart from other tropical beach destinations is the unique, magical mix of Indian and Portuguese culture that it would just be a crime not to explore fully so use my insider tips and 1 week Goa itinerary to make sure you get the most out of your holiday in Goa.

Anjuna Beach in North Goa, India

Anjuna Beach in North Goa, India

First things first, when to come and where to stay in 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 less than 60 days 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.

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 and where this Goa itinerary is based.

on the beach in goa

Me on the beach in Goa

The beaches of Baga and Calangute are the most popular in Goa and have the most facilities and offer easy access to the rest of Goa, but they can get quite busy. You could base yourself could be around the Anjuna and Vagator area – these were the original hippie beaches and, while they now have a lot to offer for all kinds of visitors, they still retain their charm, are not yet overdeveloped and offer easy access to all the action in North Goa. Although if you want to stay right on the beach then the noise from parties may keep you awake. If you want something a bit quieter then check out the beaches of Morjim, Mandrem and Ashwem a bit further North. Check out my favourite hotels and places to stay in Goa here. 

You can find flights to Goa (usually changing in Mumbai) from Europe and the rest of Asia. Goa has an international airport (GOI) with direct charter flights to UK, Europe and Russia in season and domestic flights that will connect you to the rest of 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.

If you want to take the hassle out of arranging flights and accommodation then check out Thomson and Thomas Cook for competitive package holiday deals to Goa from the UK. 

You might also want to get the Lonely Planet Goa Guidebook for more info, it also has Mumbai and Hampi which are popular and easy add ons to a Goa trip. The Love Goa Guide is also really good, especially for luxury and higher end places to stay, eat, shop, relax and things to do. The best Goa guidebook is by top blogger Rachel from Hippie in Heels has lived in Goa for years and recently put together the Insider’s Guide to Goa E Book This is the most comprehensive book about Goa out there, it’s 169 pages packed with all her amazing insider knowledge and local tips for Goa. Get it here. 

For more on the different beaches in Goa and where to stay check out my Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Goa.

The Perfect Goa Itinerary for 1 Week in Goa, India (1)

Your 1 week Goa itinerary 

Goa Itinerary Day 1: Saturday – Welcome to Goa!

Your holiday in Goa starts here! You will probably be pretty tired from the flight so grab a pre paid taxi from the airport to your hotel. 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.

Once you’re all sorted with your accommodation and transport hopefully there’s still time to zip down to the beach to get your first dip in the warm Arabian sea, feel the sand in your toes and catch your first Goan sunset they are pretty spectacular!

Eat: South Anjuna Beach is one of my favourite spots to swim, chill and catch the sunset as it’s not so crowded as the main part of Anjuna beach, you don’t get hassled by vendors and the sea is nice and calm. Curlies is a famous beach shacks here that has been around since Anjuna’s hippie days. Curlies has a lively atmosphere and is a popular party place.

NightLife: On Saturdays don’t miss the amazing 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!

Saturday night market in Aprora, North Goa

Saturday night market in Apora, North Goa

Goa Itinerary Day 2: Sunday – Relaxing Beach Day

Relax into your holiday in Goa with day lazing on one of the beaches. Avoid crowded Baga and Calangute Beaches – I usually go to Ozran Beach in Vagator (Fishtail shack is the best for lunch) or South Anjuna Beach (eat at Curlies). Start to fully relax into your holiday with an ayruvedic massage and take a yoga class, all kinds of yoga are on offer in Goa and people come from all over the world to practise yoga here or if you are feeling a little more active then you could try some water sports, take a cookery class or climb up to Chapora Fort for amazing views at sunset.

Eat: Relax and eat at a beach shack by day and later you must check out The German Bakery, tucked away on a side road just before the Flea Market it’s almost an institution in Anjuna. The German Bakery serves an interesting selection of healthy food in a super nice, chilled out spot. It’s a good place to hang out under the colourful Tibetan prayer flags and there is also a good beauty and massage place here and lots of posters where you can find out all the yoga and alternative therapies that are going on nearby.

Nightlife: Goa is famous for its lively psytrance scene and Hilltop in Vagator is one of the best places to experience Goa trance with a party night on every Sunday.

The Shiva carved into a rock on Vagator Beach, Goa,

The Shiva carved into a rock on Vagator Beach, Goa,

Read More: An Insider’s Guide to Goa: The Best Restaurants in Vagator

Goa Itinerary Day 3: Monday – Explore Inland Goa

A holiday in Goa has much more to offer than just beaches. Prise yourself off the sun lounger 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 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.

The daily cost to hire a car with a driver should be around 2000 rupees.  This is a pretty full on day, if you have more time in Goa you could split this over 2 days if you want to explore at a slower pace.

Eat: 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.

Nightlife: You’ll probably be pretty tired so maybe try Blue Tao or The Spirit of Anjuna for a relaxed meal with some live music/ jam session to wind down after your day exploring.

The Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panjim, Goa

The Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panjim, Goa

Read More: 16 Things to do Off The Beach in Goa

Goa Itinerary Day 4: Tuesday – Beaches, Beaches and More Beaches

There are so many beaches you can explore while on holiday in Goa! Get on the scooter, feel the wind through your hair and soak in the gorgeous countryside and explore further up the coast. Check out quiet Morjim Beach, the home of rare Olive Ridley turtles, the wide, empty sands of Mandrem and the hip Ashwem. 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 or head further up to quiet Keri (Querim) Beach with it’s cute cupcake like pink temple.

Eat: There are some amazing restaurants and famous beach shacks on this stretch – Try Sublime in Morjim, Café NU in Mandrem or La Plage in Ashwem (possibly the best beach shack ever!) If your exploring further Tiracol Fort has been converted into a heritage hotel and has a good restaurant with a view or you can just try one of the many cheap beach shacks along the coast.

Nightlife: Try to be in Arambol for sunset as each night hippies, backpackers and long stayers set up a cute little 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.

On South Anjuna Beach, Shiva Valley has a big and hugely popular Psy Trance party each Tuesday night that starts at sunset and goes on till sunrise – come and see why Shiva Valley is called the temple of trance!

Ashvem Beach in North Goa

Ashvem Beach in North Goa

Goa Itinerary Day 5: Wednesday – Anjuna Flea Market

While on holiday in Goa you simply can’t miss the famous Anjuna Flea Market that is held every Wednesday. What started off as a way for hippies converge and raise funds to carry on their travels is now largely a mainstream affair that sprawls from the beach and back into the paddy fields of Anjuna village in a colourful array of sarongs, spices and souvenirs but it’s still great fun and an essential Goan experience. You can pick up handicrafts and souvenirs from all over India here just don’t forget to haggle hard if you are looking for a bargain and check out the interesting unique, hippie run stalls.

Eat: If you tire of looking at the stalls and haggling with the vendors there are quite a few places to grab a bite to eat. The best is Café Loodas which is right on the sea front and usually has a live band playing. It’s the perfect place to chill out after shopping.

Nightlife: If Psy Trance isn’t your thing then check out Club Cubana a huge nightclub perched on top of a hill in Arpora (between Anjuna and Baga) Club Cubana plays more commercial and chart music and has an open bar. On Wednesdays it’s Ladies Night which means the girls get to enter and drink all night for free!

Read More: An Insider’s Guide to Goa: The Best Restaurants in Anjuna

Stalls at Anjuna Flea Market, Goa, India

Stalls at Anjuna Flea Market, Goa, India

Goa Itinerary Day 6: Thursday – Cruising the Backwaters

Take a break from markets, shopping and beaches and explore a more authentic side to Goa. Did you know that you don’t need to go all the way to Kerala to cruise the backwaters in a houseboat – you can do it right here on holiday in Goa! Spend the day gliding along the palm fringed languid backwaters, past paddy fields, white washed Portuguese churches and delightful, authentic Indian villages and watch as local people go about their lives away from the tourist hotspots near the beaches.

Eat: Houseboats will provide you will a delicious lunch or hop off and try a local, authentic Goan eatery along the way.

Nightlife: Spend the night serenely on the houseboat or if you’re up for partying then the famous and ever popular Curlies shack on South Anjuna Beach is where it’s happening for Psy Trance on Thursdays.

 

Cruising the Kerala backwaters on a houseboat is an expereince you can't miss when in Kerala

Cruising the backwaters on a houseboat

Goa Itinerary Day 7: Friday – Mapusa Local Market

Goa is one of the most westernized states in India but you can still get a taste of ‘real India’ and feel the hustle and bustle of local life at  Mapusa Market, it’s on every day apart from Sunday but it’s busier on Fridays and most tourists visit then. After the hustle and bustle of the market then return to your favourite beach and treat yourself with a refreshing swim and soak up as many rays as you can before your holiday in Goa sadly ends.

Eat: If it’s your last night on holiday in Goa then make it one to remember and eat at one of the best restaurants in all of Goa – Thalassa, perched on the cliffs overlooking Vagator beach. The Greek food and chilled ambience is just as amazing as the views. Sunset here is amazing but you’ll need to make a reservation call (+91) 98 50 033 537

Nightlife: On the cliffs overlooking Vagator Beach near Thalassa, Waters is a swish multi level club with a pool and sea view that has a popular techno party on Friday nights.

Read More: How to Rent a House in Goa and Live in Paradise for less than £10 a day.

spices for sale in Goa's markets

spices for sale in Goa’s markets

Got more than 1 week for a holiday in Goa? Awesome – explore the pristine and empty sands of South Goa, stay in a colourful beach in the crescent bay of popular Palolem and take the train to explore the magical ruins of Hampi!

 Read More: 30 Incredible India Bucket List Experiences. 

By the way: I’ve put this itinerary together carefully based on the days that markets and parties usually happen so sorry, for some things you can’t switch it round and visit the Flea Market on Monday or Hilltop on Thursday because it wont be open!

Views from Thalassa Restaurant in Vagator at sunset

Views from Thalassa Restaurant in Vagator at sunset

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The Perfect Itinerary for 1 Week in Goa, India

The Perfect Itinerary for 1 Week in Goa, India (1)

The Perfect 1 week Itinerary for a Holiday in Goa, India

22 Comments

  • Samir says:

    Anna! OMG I had no idea you could do a backwaters tour in Goa. Learn something new every day!

    Great and comprehensive article on Goa. Anjuna is definitely where it’s at.

    I think Palolem has started to retain a bit of its charm again (after a brief onslaught of Russian tourists). Also, Little Cola beach is great little hidden gem!

    -Samir
    Samir recently posted…Kerala: Top 10 Amazing Things to doMy Profile

    • Anna says:

      Hi Samir! Thanks, yes the backwaters and hinterlands of Goa are still quite unexplored compared to the busy beaches. Arambol is another great hippie area too – Anjuna is good for partying but can get a bit noisy and busy. I haven’t visited Palolem again this season but Cola is great – I don’t want to write about it because I don’t want anyone else to know about it!

  • Uttam says:

    I am planning to go in June and July. Want to stay for like 15-20 days in goa.. Will it be a good time to go. Would love to meet new people cz m traveling alone.. and how are the hostels in goa?

  • Darcey Brough-Mylod says:

    Hi! I was wondering which towns you recommend staying in for each night on the itinerary? We’d love to stay in a couple of different places and we’re planning to follow all your recommendations!

    • Anna says:

      Hi Darcey! Thanks for stopping by – I’m so glad to hear that you’ve liked my blog and it’s helping you plan your trip to Goa. For most of these places you can base yourself in Anjuna/ Vagator area or even Baga and Calangute but I don’t like that area much. It’s only an hours drive from there to the very North of Goa or down to Panjim and it saves messing around moving hotels. The Old Goa, Waterfalls and spice farm trip is a bit further but still best done as a day trip. I’ve recommended some hotels in my big Goa guide http://www.global-gallivanting.com/flashpackers-guide-goa/ I’m planning to write more before the new season but send me an email if you want any more tips 🙂 Have a great trip!

  • its really nice place to visit goa. I am looking to go out for goa this month.

  • Monika says:

    Thank you so much Ana for this fantastic resource! I am planning my first visit (my first solo vacation – detox for the soul :)) and I am super excited to have found your article.

  • Akshay Kumar says:

    Hi Anna
    I’m from Sonipat, Haryana near Delhi. I’m planning to visit Goa in January for 8days with my family of four( 2 kids age 10;13yrs) I find your article very informative. It clears most of the queries all by itself. Will it be suitable to book hotel at one place for whole Goa trip?

    • Anna says:

      Hi Akshay, a trip to Goa with the family in January sounds ideal! Yes, Goa is small and you can easily stay in one hotel (better if it’s more centrally located) and explore Goa and do day trips from there. I’m planning to write a more detailed guide about where to stay soon. Hope you have a nice time in Goa 🙂

  • Pram says:

    Hi Anna,

    I found your article very goods. I have planned my holidays from 9-16 August. Pls advise what are the must visit places during Mid-August and pubs/DJ party spots during Monsoon. I will be staying in Panjim.

    I love rain and greenery so i booked during monsoon.

    Thanks your article reply goods.
    Regards
    Pram

  • Umesh says:

    Hey, really loved this and the whole website..I was thinking to coming to India next Oct/Nov..would 3 months be ok to see India or would I need more time?also any hostels u reccomment in Goa?

    Hope u can help

  • Harjeet Singh says:

    Hi Anna
    This side Harjeet I m planning to come Goa with my wife could u plz help me by telling me about night markets in October……

  • Anirudh says:

    Hi Anna! Your blog proved to be expremely helpful. Thanks for sharing your experience. Cheers.

  • sam says:

    hi anna, i want to plan for 1 week goa trip in this june’2018. but little worried about monsoon. i m going with my family 2 adults + 2 kids. please tell me if there is any big issues in this time period. i don’t have any option than this dates.

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