Featured Image: Sadolxem Bridge in South Goa shot by Nikhil Mace
What would you do if you get bored of all the beaches and nightclubs in Goa? Would that be the end of Goa as a tourist hub? Or is there most to the sandy city with friendly faces? Yes, there is! Goa has a multitude of places beckoning the traveller in you to explore. From forts to caves to heritage museums, Goa has it all! Adding to our previous post about the hidden treasures of North Goa, this time we’ve picked out the best spots down south too. Here are 15 fantastic, off-beat locations in South Goa:
15. Sal Estuary, South Goa
Sandwiched beautifully between the shores of the Cavelossim beach and Betul beach, Sal estuary is a calm and quiet retreat along the coast of River Sal. Walk along the shore of the Cavelossim beach or if you fancy fishing, you can try your luck with a fishing line in the waters of Betul beach, where traditional fishermen lay their nets.
14. Cola Beach, Canacona, South Goa
Enjoy a scenic drive south towards Canacona, follow the signboards carefully, and you’ll reach the peaceful Cola beach. Come here for a leisurely evening with friends around a bonfire and leave with tons of memories. The lagoon here, nestled between the surrounding flora is a sight to watch.
13. Betul Lighthouse, Betul, South Goa
At a distance of just 20kms from the nearest city, Madgaon, the Betul lighthouse in Quitol, stands majestically like a sentinel, braving the forces of nature. Painted in bright red and white stripes, the coastal landmark can be spotted from a long way out and makes for a perfect subject in landscape pictures. The lighthouse is built on a hill and is surrounded by pastures of tall grass on one side and the coast, on the other.
12. Rivona Buddhist Caves, Quepem, South Goa
On the road south from Zambaulim in Quepem Taluka, there comes the small village of Rivona. Meagerly inhabited by a handful of hutments, the village is home to a moderate set of red-stoned caves. Spread over two levels, the upper and the lower, the caves are said to be built by 6th century Buddhist monks. The barely noticeable compartment shaped appearance makes for little architectural beauty, but is a strong reminder that Buddhism spread far and wide.
11. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali, South Goa
For all the nature lovers longing for a quiet day of bird watching or the excitement of spotting a wild animal in its habitat, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is the place to be in Goa. Located in the Sanguem Taluka, the sanctuary makes for a perfect outing on a weekend, with enough activities and nearby attractions to keep you engaged till sunset. An abundance of dense forests and majestic mountains in the backdrop, not to mention the exotic species spotted here make this an amazing retreat.
10. Galgibaga Beach, Canacona, South Goa
Mention the word pristine, and Galgibaga beach instantly pops to my head. Sadly, this quaint beach is unknown to a lot of travellers and even locals to attract beach lovers. Stretching for about 1.5 km, the spotless sands and looming pine trees provide a natural setting for the Olive Turtle Protection Drive implemented by the Forest Department on the entire northern part of the beach. While there are only a couple of shacks on the beach, and nor are there decent restaurants or hotels nearby, the beauty of this beach lies in its detached existence from the bursting tourist population of Goa.
When the sky is overcast, and the cool winds of monsoon blow across the Zuari river, the Salaulim Dam, built on the Saluli river, creates for a beautiful setting with dense vegetation all around. The dam’s unique duckbill spillway, through which water gushes down into the river below is a pleasing engineering marvel to watch. Relax in the botanical garden close by and take in the beauty of Goa during the monsoon.
8. Sadolxem Bridge – Sadolxem, Canacona, South Goa
Connecting Canacona to Pionguinim, this two-decade old Bailey bridge is one of a kind in Goa. Wide enough only for one four-wheeler to pass at a time, the bridge is at an interesting focal point over the Talpona river, which makes for great viewing of the backwaters and mangrove vegetation. Although the now aging bridge is worrying locals due to it corroding at many spots, do make it a point to visit it if you’re ever in the area.
7. Three Kings Church, Cansaulim, South Goa
Located in the village of Cansaulim, 15km from Velsao in South Goa is a holy sanctuary turned rogue. Local villagers say the church has been possessed by the spirits of the three kings. Numerous paranormal sightings have been recorded in and across the church walls. Astonishingly, The GRIP team of Indian Paranormal Society inspected the place and confirmed the worst fears. And since then, this place has been topping the charts of haunted places in Goa. If you’re in the mood for some real spine-tingling chills in Goa, you know where to be!
6. Dudhsagar Falls, South Goa
Aptly named, Dudhsagar or ‘the Ocean of milk’ is any traveller’s highlight. The gushing water is at its peak during the monsoon, but a less forceful, steady stream of water flows the rest of the year. A jeep ride, charged by the jeep operators, will take you to the bottom of the falls, where you can bathe and splash to your heart’s content. The drive till the waterfalls is bumpy, but that apart, a classic way to beat the heat.
5. Tambdi Surla Temple, Valpoi, South Goa
Built around the idol of Lord Shiva in the lingam form, the Mahadev temple in the village of Tambdi Surla at the foot of the Anmod Ghat is the oldest temple in Goa. Inspired from Jain architecture and decorated with intricate motifs of Lord Brahma, Vishnu and elephants, snakes, the small but well preserved temple has stood the test of Portuguese colonisation as well as Mughal rule. The river Surla flows just next to the temple and can be reached by a flight of steps.
4. Bamanbudo Waterfalls, Canacona, South Goa
Surrounded by thriving greenery on all sides, this spectacular waterfall looks as though it originates right at the roots of the towering trees above. Easily accessible from Margao or Canacona by road, the waterfall lies right on the edge of the road and requires no trekking. The waterfall can be enjoyed in all its glory only in the monsoon, when the huge volume of water rushes down with utmost force.
3. Hollant Beach, Vasco da Gama, South Goa
Very close to the famous Bogmalo beach in Vasco da Gama, Hollant beach offers breathtaking views of the southern coastline of Goa. With an array of good restaurants and resorts in the area, Hollant beach can be a great getaway for your entire family. The only beach that offers you the chance to see the sunrise, you can come here in the early hours for a refreshing start to your day.
2. Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, Caranzol, South Goa
Of the 6 wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary is the most spectacular and largest one that covers 240 kms of moist deciduous forests. Located close to the border with Karnataka in the Western Ghats, this one shelters an abundant number of species. From the big cats such as the tiger, leopard and panther that roam the grounds to the gaur, which is the state animal of Goa, the sanctuary is well represented in flora too. Dudhsagar falls is located in the southeast region of the sanctuary and is also a must visit.
1. Cabo de Rama Fort & Beach, South Goa
Named after Lord Rama, who lived here with wife Sita during his exile from Ayodhya, Cabo de Rama fort is one of the oldest and largest forts of Goa. Captured by the Portuguese during their rule, and earlier by the Mughals, this fort has played a key role in India’s rich history. Magnificent views of the Arabian Sea and the Goan coastline can be witnessed from atop the fort.
To find out similarly breathtaking and thrilling locations from the North of Goa, click here.
Did we miss out on any of the hidden gems of South Goa that you know of? Comment below and let us know. We would be more than happy to add it to our list 😉