Things to do in North Goa
North Goa is known as the more chilled and hippy area in comparison with the South. I visited Anjuna for an amazing yoga retreat with Yoga Magic. Set out below are some of the things to do in North Goa:
My accommodation at Yoga Magic was in Anjuna, near the coast. Whilst the beach is not worth visiting in itself, I recommend combining it with a trip to the flea market on a Wednesday, which runs from 8am to the end of the day.
The market was an amazing experience! Allow yourself at least two hours to explore the nooks and crannies and all the stalls. Just watching the locals, the bartering and the amazing colourful merchandise on sale is worth the trip. I got stuck in with the spirit of bartering and bought a whole array of items – scarves, ornaments, clothes, spices, tea and more! You can normal negotiate down at least 50% so hold your ground but don’t be disrespectful. A smile goes a long way!
Also do not be surprised to see cows wandering around, sometimes alone and also sometimes dressed up in beautiful colours!
I also recommend the Saturday night market which starts around 7pm and goes on until 2/3am with live bands and trance music! It is a really fun lovely atmosphere. There is not so much bartering here and the merchandise is similar to the Wednesday market.
Mandrem is a 40 minutes drive north and is slightly more upmarket and picturesque than Anjuna. There are beautiful white sandy beaches split by a narrow river inlet with bamboo bridges connecting the shacks to the beach. There is also penty of yoga here as well if you are interested.
From Mandrem, you can walk along the beach for around 30 minutes where you will arrive at Arambol. It is slightly more lively than Mandrem with beach parties, paragliding and more yoga!
We visited Beach Street Resort where there is a beautiful restaurant / bar with large huts overlooking the beach. It was absolute paradise. I had a tasty strawberry dacquiri (about £3!) and other drinks were similarly priced or cheaper.
Ashvem Beach was lovely to visit for the day with chilled beaches and markets. I recommend a visit La Plage restaurant which takes you into a little tropical paradise right by the beach. It is down a long path so keep an eye out for signs!
The menu has a French influence and has a great range of seafood. There were 12 of us eating and the general consensus was positive. There was good feedback on the risotto and prawns in particular. I opted for the beef steak which came with Mediterranean vegetables, salad and some very tasty potatoes.
I LOVED the chocolate thali with a mixture of raw chocolate, sponge, coffee, coconut and ice cream. There was a great mixture and a brilliant sharing dessert.
Make sure you book in advance if you can, as it is a popular restaurant. Two courses (thali to share) and a drink was around £12 -15 – absolutely bargain for the quality.
The capital of Goa, Panaji, is also known by its former Portugeuese name, Panjim and is by the peninsula overlooking the Mandovi River. It is small enough to wander around in half a day.
We first visited the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, a white church in the centre of the city built in 1619.
The main attraction for me was the Old Latin Quarter, which contain a number of narrow streets that showcase the Portuguese influence. The beautifully bright and pastel colours of houses, shops and chapels make it a wonderful place to just meander through.
Although you could spend much longer here, a whistle stop tour can be done in around 2 hours.
Old Goa, as the name suggests, is the old capital and was the main part of Goa until 1835. It is now mainly a space for tourists to visit the beautiful churches and chapels. I was also extremely impressed by some of the surrounding gardens.
The two main sights are the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral (both free entrance). I also recommend Viceroy’s Arch and the Church and Covent of St Cajetan which has some lovely gardens.
You could wander around Old Goa in around 2/3 hours.
Lastly, if you are looking for a decent department store, check out Fab India (there are a number of branches in Goa) which has good clothes and homeware.
East London Girl: Things to do in North Goa
Click Here to read about my yoga retreat in Anjuna with Yoga Magic!