Goa when we hear about it, there are lot of things that pop-up, out of all the thoughts there is one which always outranks every other thought is the movie Dil Chahta Hai and the trio of Aamir, Saif and Akshay going on a road trip, every kid from ’90s has inked it in his memory. Every group has aspirations to go to the famous chapora fort and click that famous Dil Chahta Pose. It is said that your backpacking trip to north goa isn’t complete if you don’t get that pose clicked.
There are numerous blogs out there how to backpack goa in the cheapest way, this is my story how did I go through. Just to let you know the amount includes stay, food, travel and also getting booze back to my home city “Aamchi Mumbai”.
It would be stupid of me not agreeing that our Goa trip was not inspired by the Bollywood movie mentioned earlier. I have always been a fan of road trips and Goa was definitely one of them. Here is a perfect itinerary for a memorable goa trip. I would be breaking this post into 3 sections which would be
- How to reach?
- Where to stay?
- Places to visit in Goa for first-timers
How to reach Goa?
Well, there are multiple ways to reach Goa. Being a major tourist attraction, people around the globe come down to visit this Portuguese paradise. The closest airport is the GOA International Airport and if you’ve landed in Mumbai or are in Mumbai then you have multiple options mentioned below
- Taking a train from Mumbai to Goa which is about a 12-hour journey and has about 39 trains leaving from Mumbai. You can book trains from the official IRCTC Website or from this link, sign up to this link to get an exclusive discount.
- Taking a bus from Mumbai to Goa will take around 14 hours to reach and you can use the same link
- Taking a flight from Mumbai to Goa which is the quickest way to reach the paradise of beaches. If you have planned ahead you surely will get a good deal
- Last but not least my favourite is driving for 14 hours from Mumbai to Goa. I recommend a CNG based car if you have your own or if you’re using any self-drive services try to see which car gives the best average and select it.
Where to stay in North Goa?
Goa provides you with various options ranging from luxury to budget stays. If you are a backpacker and short on budget you can stay at hostels. If you’re with family then I would prefer a 3-star hotel and If you’re full of cash then go for some exotic luxurious 5 stars hotel. For me, If I am travelling solo I would choose Zostel and if you’re with family then I would choose Citrus Goa or De Baga Deck Goa Book here to get amazing discounts.
I have had multiple trips and I have stayed at Citrus Goa which is now renamed as Kyriad Prestige Calangute Goa and have also stayed at De Baga Deck. Out of the two, I would prefer Citrus property w.r.t breakfast and service.
Citrus Goa Review
From luxurious rooms to clean swimming pools, this is a top-notch property in a moderate budget. With Live cooking counter and a superb buffet breakfast is enough to satisfy your taste buds. The room has a chargeable minibar. The most important part is you can carry your own liquor inside the room bought from outside and have it. In case you use the minibar and replace the liquor, then it would not be charged. Citrus Goa has top security with CCTV surveillance
List of Amenities of Citrus Goa
- Conference Room
- Business Centre
- First Aid Services
- Room Locker with digital lock
- Medical Centre
- Doc on Call
- Tour Assistance
- Wake-up Call
- Free Wi-Fi
- Room Service
- Free Parking
- Smoking Rooms
- Public Restrooms
- Laundry Service
List of Amenities of De Baga Deck Goa
- Swimming Pool
- Wi-Fi Broad Band Internet
- Laundry Service
- Room Service
- Multi-Cuisine Restaurant
- Goa Sight Seeing
- Doctor on Call
- Rent a Car
- News Papers
- Travel Desk
- Direct dialling from the rooms.
- Valet Parking
- Master / Maestro / Visa credit / debit cards accepted.
Room Amenities for both hotels
- Fully Air Conditioned
- Comfortable beds with Duet
- Free Wi-Fi
- 24 X 7 Hot and Cold Water
- Digital T.V with Set-Top Box
- Spacious bathrooms
- Safe Deposit Lockers
- Writing Table
- Dressing Mirror
- Room Service
Places to visit in North Goa
If you are visiting Goa for the first time and want to cover maximum places in minimum time. Here is the list of places that you should definitely visit for the first time. I’ll start with north goa which is favourite among party lovers, an abundance of the shack options and beautiful beaches.
Cover these places while backpacking north goa for the first time.
Calangute beach has the most footfalls turning it into a paradise for beach bums. If you want to have a splendid time on the beach and enjoy watersports if your pocket allows you, then come down to this beach. Calangute beach is spread across 7 km. with shower facilities for tourists at the main entrance for INR 25/-. It’s sheer beauty, Calangute rightly gets its name as Queen of beaches. Apart from beach vibes, Calangute offers a treat for shopaholics. You can shop Tibetan, Indonesian and traditional Goan handicrafts just outside the beach. Head out and get a souvenir for you and make sure you haggle to get a better deal.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
It is a roman catholic basilica located in goa. It is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage. If you really want to experience the essence of Old Goa, then you should definitely visit this place. One of the most fascinating facts about this church is, it is the only church which is not plastered from outside
The inside of the church is made of precious stone named marble mosaic. The church is over 408 years old and is open every day for tourist
Location: Old Goa Rd, Bainguinim, Goa 403402
Reis Magos Fort
If you love sea views this is the ideal place to watch one, with a pinch of some Goan culture. When the fort was built in 1493 it served as defence fortress and then was used as a jail and later as a hospital. After 1993, the fort started to deteriorate and then the Goa State Government and The Helen Hamlyn Trust decided to restore its history. It was opened for public on 5th June 2012.
Location: Besides three kings Church, Verem, Goa 403114
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church
It’s popularly known as the Church which was seen in a Bollywood movie “Josh”. There are no fees to enter as it is a normal church but its architecture makes a shutterbug excited to shoot some pictures. You would often spot couples here clicking some candid shots.
Location: Altinho, Panaji, Goa 403521
Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine
It was one of the oldest churches in Goa but now it is in ruins. Once being the fame of goa with 4 towers and 1 vault, currently, it has one tower standing tall and calling out tourists who are interested to dig some Goan history. Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine is located Close to the Nunnery of Santa Monica and was included in UNESCO World Heritage in 1986.
The Church is dedicated to Our Lady Of Grace. The tower which is still standing tall is of 150 ft and the vicinity has some artefacts of the architecture.
Being still in ruins, the church has some significant history behind it. In 1990, a study was made on the ruins and it was identified that the church held the remains of the lost martyr, Queen Ketevan of Georgia
Location: This church is located in Panjim and can be reached easily via public transport, bike or a car.
Known as the backbone of the Portugal punters back then against the duchess, the fort is one of the few forts remaining built by Portuguese people. Although the fort is standing on rumbling parts it’s holding itself standing strong and gives you amazing views of the fort, the beach adjacent to it and also has a lighthouse. If you are into capturing panoramic views and want to put your photography skills to test, well then I guess this would be an ideal place to do it.
Location: Fort Aguada Rd, Aguada Fort Area, Candolim, Goa
Chapora fort shot to fame when the trio of Aamir Khan, Akshay Khanna and Saif Ali Khan gave the world the iconic pose of Dil Chahta Hai and many of us have planned a goa trip just to live the shot in person.
A little about the fort, the fort has been ruled by many rulers. It is another fort captured by Portuguese people but was built by Muslim ruler Adil Shah called Shahpura. Once the Portuguese captured the fort, they changed the name to chapora based on the chapora river, as the fort looks over the same river
It was believed that the fort walls cannot be breached due to its natural terrain, but the fort walls fell to the Maratha leader Sambhaji and his army, the Maratha army scaled the fort walls with ease and thus captured the fort.
Location: Bardez, Goa
Donna Paula Suicide Point
Famously known as the Suicide point of Goa, the place shot to fame when Dona Paula the daughter of Portuguese Viceroy Don Antonia Caetano de Menezes fell in love with a local Goan. But her father did not accept their relationship and Donna was forbidden to meet the fisherman. The pain of separation was far immense and she jumped from the cliff and drowned herself in the Arabian sea. Knowing this, the viceroy named the area as Donna Paula.
Apart from this controversial history, the suicide point gives you breathe taking views and it is advisable to visit after 3 PM and stay till sunset.
Location: Panjim Suburb, Goa
I guess this covers most of the spots you should cover while doing your first backpacking trip to the north goa and obviously there are more places to be in Goa which I would be publishing soon. If you love planes and aviation also head out Indian Aviation Museum in South Goa. You can visit the entire gallery which was captured by me.