Goa 101: A Detailed 5-day Itinerary for the land of beaches

Goa is a land of golden beaches, lush forests, enthralling sunsets, high-spirited parties, vibrant markets, and captivating landscapes. There are boundless possibilities for first-timers in Goa, but if you plan it well, you can cover almost all the major spots. For a small state, Goa is spread across a vast expanse and it takes a…

Goa is a land of golden beaches, lush forests, enthralling sunsets, high-spirited parties, vibrant markets, and captivating landscapes. There are boundless possibilities for first-timers in Goa, but if you plan it well, you can cover almost all the major spots. For a small state, Goa is spread across a vast expanse and it takes a lot of time to travel from one place to the other. Staying in the North has the benefits of accessibility, as everything is close from here. Whereas, South Goa is at the extreme end and limits your mobility. 

It is not possible to cover everything in one trip, so here’s the itinerary to help you explore the best of Goa. 

Day 1- Explore the gems of Old Goa 

12:00: Check-in and brunch at the hotel 

01:00 – 05:00: Explore Old Goa 

05:30 – 06:30: Fontainhas old Portugese locale 

06:30 – 08:00: Eat at Viva Panjim/ Horseshoe/ Joseph Bar 

08:00: Head back to the hotel/ sit by the beach 

Day one is a deep dive into the cultural side of Goa, with its centuries-old architecture, rustic Portuguese neighborhoods, and authentic diners. After your check-in and have brunch/lunch at the hotel, your first stop is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Basilica of Bom Jesus. Inside the structure, you’ll find the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier who died in 1552. After a walk through history, tread towards the marvelous architectural structure from 1661, Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The historical tour doesn’t end here, head to the Se Cathedral and the museum of Christian Arts for a peek into Goan lineage. 

After 4 hours of exploring the ancient wonders of Goa, ride to another beautiful Portuguese locale in Goa. Fontainhas is a hamlet of beautiful colonial cottages painted in striking colors. Take a walk through its cobbled streets and soak in the essence of 18th century Goa. After exploring the picturesque locale of Fontainhas, you can walk to Viva Panjim to fill your bellies with delicious Goan or Portuguese cuisines. You can also try Horse Shoe for authentic dishes or head to Joseph Bar to gulp a chilled beer. 

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After a tiring day of historical escapade, take a cab back to your hotel or the nearest beach. 

Day 2- Ride across North Goa 

09:00- 10:00: Breakfast at Eva cafe, Anjuna  

10:00 – 12:00: Water sports at Little Vagator 

12:00 – 01:00: Chapora Fort 

01:00 – 02:00: Lunch at Bean me up 

02:30- 03:30: Mardrem Beach 

04:00 – 05:00: Arambol beach 

05:30 – 08:30: Sunset/ Party at Purple Martini 

09:00 – 10:00: Night market, Arpora 

10:00: Party at Curlies beach shack 

Set by the Anjuna rock beach, Eva cafe serves the best breakfast. After a homely breakfast at the cafe, a long and exciting day awaits you. Head to Little Vagator for an action-packed morning. From snorkeling to parasailing, get the adrenaline rushing with these activities. After a spirited morning at the beach, drive to the Chapora fort. Perched on the Chapora river, it is one of the most beautiful locations in Goa. After the tiring climb, eat the well-earned lunch at Bean me up. It is a cosy vegan place only 1 kilometer from the fort. Spend the evening walking on the shores of Mardrem and Arambol and drive back to lounge at Purple Martini. It is an incredible place for sunsets and sundowners. You can relax at the outer deck for the rest of the evening or go shopping at the vibrant night market of Arpora. From jewelry to clothes, souvenirs to spices, you can find everything at this cheery night market. 


Day 3- Walk through the heart of Goa- Panjim 

09:00 – 10:00 Breakfast near the hotel 

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10:00 – 12:00: Dona Paula

12:00 – 02:00: Chill at Miramar Beach

02:00 – 03:00: Eat At Ritz Classic

03:00 – 04:00: Shop At Panjim Market

04:00 – 05:00: Coffee break at Blue Tokai 

05:30 – 07:00: Floating Casinos 

07:30 – 08:30: Fisherman’s Wharf 

09:00 Clubbing at LPK 

From walking on the silvery sands of Dona Paula to watching the glorious Aguada fort from Miramar beach, spend the third day of the trip in the heart of Goa. Famed for its fish thali, Ritz classic is a perfect place for lunch in Panjim. After the soul-filling lunch, spend the evening in the lively markets of Panjim. 

With a lot of exciting things still left to do, energise yourself with a refreshing cup of Arabic coffee at Blue Tokai. Spend the evening trying your luck at the famous floating casinos and then head for a Goan meal at Fisherman’s Wharf. As the city comes to life, hop to the exhilarating riverfront club of Goa to experience the dazzling nightlife at LPK, Nerul. 


Day 4- Sit by the surreal beaches of South Goa 

09:00 – 10:00: Breakfast at Aggie’s cafe, Calangute 

10:30: Head out for South goa 

12:00- 01:00: Lunch at Martin’s Corner

02:00 – 03:00: Salaulim Dam

04:00 – 05:00: Cabo de Rama

05:30- 08:00: Explore Agonda & Palolem 

08:00- 09:00: Dinner at Palolem 

09:00: Head back or stay a night in Palolem 

After a hearty breakfast at Aggie’s beach cafe, start your drive from Calangute to South Goa. The empty roads and scenic landscapes make up for the long drive. The famous Martin’s corner is right on your way. Take a stop for lunch to savour the seafood here. From here the drive is quieter, more serene and magical. A one-hour drive from Martin’s, Salaulim Dam is one of the lesser-known escapes in Goa. The detour to the Dam is worth your time for its breathtaking view. The enchanting curvature with a drop of 100feet is a sight to behold. Relax in the botanical garden and from there make your way to Cabo de Rama, a massive fortress in ruins. Spread across a large area of 1800 square meters, the fort is set by the sea. Witness a beautiful sunset before driving to Agonda. Explore the quiet and calm beaches of the south after the bustling beaches of the North. Have dinner at one of the restaurants by Palolem Beach. 

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The best way to explore this region is by renting a car for a day. It will cost you around ₹1200/ $16 for one day. You can stay in one of the comfy beach shacks at Palolem if you want to avoid driving at night. 

Day 5- Checkout and leisure 

-Breakfast near the hotel 

-Check out from the hotel 

-Spend the time chilling by the beach 


After four days of fun, adventure, serenity, and exploration just sit by the beach on the last day. Walk across the shore in the morning sun before it is time for your checkout. The last thing to do before you go is to wave goodbye to the sea. 

History, Culture, Nature, Cuisines & Markets, Goa has it all. Though you can get a taste of what the place offers in 5 days, it leaves you with a feeling of longing to come back for more. This 5-day trip gives you a hint of everything, a bit of adventure, party, peace, exploration, and amazement. Leave some space in your day for surprises, let Goa dazzle you with its unique vibe.  


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