North Goa is not only about parties,beaches and beachside shacks. There are many offbeat things to do in north goa. Goa is the smallest state in india having only two districts which are north goa and south goa. You cannot compare between them because each have its own kind of unique geographies and culture. As for clubs while we have Cubana in north then we have leopard valley in south. Likewise if there is paloelem Beach for shacks in south then we have baga in the north for shacks by the sea. Like the Baga titos lane it is missing in the south while like the elegant honeymoon and the butterfly beach it is missing such trekking routes to beaches in north. I personally felt south is more silent than north ,peaceful and charming while north is famous for party and easily accessible by roadways and nir ro forget the casinos! Moving ahead let me guide you to the best offbeat things to do in north goa.
Sweet water lake trek:-
A secluded lagoon formed due to high tides of the sea this lake is gem of a wonder in the midst of the numerous beaches in north goa. Sweet water lake can be reached via a short trek from arambol Beach in 20 mins but please keep in your mind the last only 4 minutes are the toughest. But as the Bible of travelling speaks out loudly ,that tough routes leads us to wonderland. With the brightest and unique scenery of whole of goa as lake and sea is just on the same beach this place must be visited in the to do list in north goa. Sweet water lake has few shacks with delectable dishes,and if you take my opinion the best time to visit is in early morning hours and enjoy the scenery at breakfast.
This fort is also known as lower aguada fort situated little north of aguada. A historical place, this fort is situated on the sinquerim Beach with waters splashing on its tall standing walls.There are many forts in north goa but this fort is far more scenic and gives a charming view of the beachline till candolim. Although the fort is in ruins now, government is trying hard to restore it. Still remnants of this fort pulls us back to the ancient stories when the king used this panoramic view to shoot the incoming enemy soldiers from the fort. The fort was built in the early 17 th century by the Portuguese and since the fort goes inside the shoreline this fort also served the purpose of being reference for the goods coming from Europe.
Divar and Vanxim island:-
There are many small islands near old goa in panaji which are beautiful in its own way. In order to reach these islands on mandovi River and arabian sea one has to change jetty at minimum price which is only rs 10. The unique features of the islandss is that everything inside it like the houses ,churches are ancient and rustic in its own way. Although they are colourful and the people have a great culture separated from the mainland. In winters one may spot migratory birds here which is rare. There are hindu temples also inside the island showing the unity of the people of different religions residing here. The islands don’t have much hotels or shacks. This place is more like a silent and tranquil town,away from the hustle and bustle.
Cube gallery :-
What can I say of this place. Totally an out of box and an unique place ,visiting this first avant art gallery in india is an experience in its own way. This place has beautiful structures ,artforms ,statues and paintings . It is located near a town called Moira towards East of North goa. Each of the statues built are so delicate and charming. The statues have great inner meanings with an unique abstract art. The paintings are also abstract and colourful revealing the hardworking and intelligent brain behind the effort. The entrance of the gallery is so elegant and right at its start the building shows the mystical theme and out of this world experience to imbibe from the gallery. May be cube is a third dimension mathematical model so perhaps the name suggest us to use our brain in higher dimensions before entering this place.
Reis magos fort:-
Located between panjim and candolim this majestic fort was built on 16th century by the Portuguese and overlooks the estuary of mandovi River. Earlier this fort was used for leisure time to stay for queens and viceroy travelling to the east from Lisbon. Later it was converted to jail and ammunition store. The view from the top of the fort is out of this world. On one side we get to see panjim shoreline on mandovi River while on the other side the never ending horizon of the arabian sea. Canons can be seen on the roof top facing towards the sea and the river protecting the fort from the invaders. The fort was totally in ruins but thanks to the tourism government of goa ,as it was completely taken care of and renovated thereafter.
It is the prime attraction for all couples and photographers. The Latin quarters has everything you need to take your memorable picture and portrait images. Fontainhas is a small area with colourful buildings and houses keeping the whole area as memoir of the past Portuguese colony. The streets are lightened up with cosy restaurants,shops,white colored churches and decorative lights. Not to forget the famous Joseph’s bar is situated here. The Latin quarters has some ethnic restaurants with charming paintily walls garlands the streets with their attractive music. On the opposite side you will find the casinos waiting for you to enter their bustling entertaining area.
Amthane dam in North Goa serves as the main source of water for the nearby rural villages. The valley named after the village Amthane is painted with numerous water streams that get activated from the rainfall in monsoon. The road trip from Anjuna to Amthane in North Goa is an hour trip. It brings out two significant different landscapes in the monsoons.
On the way to the Amthane dam in North Goa first, we get to see roads in between flooded plains with patches of green grasslands. So driving through these roads creates an experience like spending moments in backwaters. However, this perfectly suits with the scenery of the monsoon plains in rural Goa.
Then after half an hour, the hills arrive with utmost greenery. Due to the fresh grasslands,it covers the valley of the Western Ghats in the monsoons. The patches of black colored rocks show its faces in between the grasslands creating an out of this world experience.
Amthane dam and amthane valley are the best places to visit in Goa trip for couples. The experience was truly the best in this monsoon road trip. As I concluded these memorable scenes and captured the huge reservoir from a circular platform. I would suggest this dam should be one of the best unique things to do in North Goa for couples, especially in the monsoons. It seemed quite a romantic to me.
From Panaji, there are numerous destinations that will show us the versatile geography of Konkan ghats. Within 2 hour drive, we can explore some historical caves and astonishing waterfalls. Sanquerim in the Rudreshwar colony is the most famous village among them.
The waterfall known as Harvalem or Arvalem waterfalls is the second most famous waterfall in Goa after the famous Dudhsagar waterfalls. I have particularly chosen this place as a must-visit destination in Goa as it has three important elements in one place. One is the waterfall, the second is the Rudreshwar Shiva temple and the third is the Pandava caves. So this is surely one of the best places to visit in Goa trip.
The waterfall looks gigantic and stunning especially in the monsoons when it falls from a height of 50 meters into the Cudnem river. It creates heavy mist and smoke due to the gushing speed of the free-flowing river in the Konkan ghats.
Just a 15-minute walk downstream will lead us to a 6 th century B.C cave. They believe that the five Pandavas of Mahabharata took refuge there during their period of exile. While the locals believe that the Buddhist monks who had traveled south into the forests of Goa took shelter in the caves. A trip to Harvalem is both spiritual and historical for a traveler who wants to see the other rural parts of Goa.
Fort Terekhol :-
Situated in the northern most fringes of north goa is the fort terekhol or tiracol which has now been converted to a heritage hotel. The view from the fort is commanding overlooking the tiracol River and the queriem beach. The structure of the fort is truly marvelous when seen from top as its colourful walls stands tall surrounded by clear waters of the arabian sea. Fort terekhol was initially built by the Samantwadi rulers but a force battle followed after which they surrendered to the Portuguese. Visiting this fort will rekindle our history and the decorative walls will rekindle our photography skills. The restaurant in the roof serves sumptuous breakfast ,and enjoy the food with the panoramic view of the sea.
Situated near panjim old goa is all about beautiful churches,chapels and elegant buildings. Among the places which are really offbeat you must visit are St Augustine tower,Chapel of the lady of the mount,Church of St Cajetan were the places I explored. Old goa is so charming that unless you visit you will not find the real charisma. St. Agustine tower is a collapsed building still standing tall among the broken walls and devastating chambers. The church collapsed on 1935 due to negligence of the Portuguese rulers at that time. However the remnants still holds the grandeur and thousands of tourists visit this place everyday. Chapel of the lady of mount is the oldest chapel in goa built in 16 th century. The view from this chapel is ecstatic from where the Cumburja canal,divar island and almost whole of old goa can be seen. The beautiful structure of this chapel attracts many Hindi film producers to shoot films in this location. Church of St cajetan is situated on the banks of mandovi River. This church is an unesco world heritage site and the beautiful structure tells it all. It was believed that the Portuguese soldier dead bodies were kept here before they were being transferred to Lisbon. There are many other places in old goa to explore ,but due to lack of time I explored these three.