Baga, Calangute, Tito’s Bar, Panjim market, and Basilica of Bom Jesus – that’s pretty much your itinerary every time you plan a trip to Goa. Little did we know that there are numerous hidden places in Goa that remain concealed in its hip streets and verdant naturescapes just waiting to be explored. If you wish to experience the untouched, unspoilt, rather pristine version of this coastal beauty, then you must head to these unexplored, yet outright divine places to visit in Goa on your next trip. Make sure you don’t miss out on any!
Hidden Beaches in Goa
1. Kakolem Beach
Also known as Tiger Beach, this tiny paradise is a little hard to find. But once you’re here, you’ll find your efforts were certainly worth it. One of the most picturesque hidden places in Goa, the beach is completely deserted and clean since it doesn’t receive many visitors. You can either get there through the NH 66 while driving towards Cola village, or via a boat.
Where: 7 km south of Cabo De Rama resort, South Goa
2. Galgibaga Beach
Galgibaga boasts of being the cleanest beach in Goa, apart from being the seasonal nesting and hatching site for the endangered Olive Ridley turtle. It is one of those very few hidden beaches in Goa with crystal clear water and shimmering silver sands. And if you’re lucky, you might also spot some turtle eggs or nests.
Where: South of Talpona river, South Goa
3. Hollant Beach
The curvy bay lined with rustic boats, the clean, golden sand, the colourful shacks on one side, and the mesmerising views of the sunset make this beach an absolute favourite for all photographers and artists who discover it. It is also a great place for swimming and wading since the beach is shallow due to the absence of currents.
Where: Bogmalo, South Goa
4. Betul Beach
The quit Betul beach is more of a typical coastal fishing village located 18 kms away from Margao. Apart from a quaint environment, the beach has a 17th century fort, a small lagoon and various shacks nearby serving lip-smacking seafood. One needs to take the Cavelossim-Assolna ferry across the Sal River in order to get here.
Where: Salcette district, South Goa
5. Cola Beach
Cola beach is one of the best hidden places in Goa for those looking for a quiet place away from the crowded and noisy suburbs of the town. Lovely coconut palm groves, fancy beach huts, Rajasthani style tents, tranquil surroundings…and a pretty heart-shaped inland lagoon. Beat that!
Where: Canacona, South Goa
6. Velsao Beach
Soft silver sand dotted with white sea shells and an occasional starfish, coconut groves circling the beach, lakes decorated with lilies, and a cool breeze blowing over shallow warm waters are the reasons this beach is considered one of the best romantic secret beaches in Goa.
Where: Vasco de Gama near Dabolim Airport, South Goa
7. Arambol Beach
Arambol is a small fisherman village that never fails to attract native as well as foreign tourists owing to its lively flea market, its hippie culture, late night parties, barbecue at the shacks, adventure activities like paragliding and kitesurfing, and the lovely views of the cliffs lining both the sides of the area. Despite so much to offer, Arambol is still rather pristine as not many people know about it, which is why this Bohemian paradise falls among the unexplored places to visit in Goa.
Where: Pernem Administrative Region, North Goa
8. Ashwem Beach
Located south of the Arambol beach, Ashwem is one isolated, yet beautiful gem etched in the landscapes of Goa. This rather long stretch of absolutely clean sand and striking blue water is home to the Olive Ridley Turtles, who come ashore to lay their eggs. Other than that, the beach has great boutiques and markets for shopping.
Where: Mandrem, Pernem Administrative Region, North Goa
9. Bogmalo Beach
No matter how scarce its visitors may be, the beach provides to all a perfect blend of commercial space and natural beauty with crystal clear, azure water, a fascinating village nearby, sea-facing accommodation, shacks with delicious cuisines, and utter peace and serenity. Those who wish to indulge in watersports in Goa can either go swimming in the shallow water or scuba diving through the Goa Institute of Diving.
Where: Vasco de Gama near Dabolim Airport, South Goa
10. Butterfly Beach
Set as an isolated cove, Butterfly beach is one of the most beautiful, yet unexplored places in Goa as hardly anyone knows about it. When here, travelers have a thrilling opportunity to spot dolphins, crabs and a variety of butterflies. Blessed with powdery white sand, translucent waters, and unspoilt scenery, the beach is a perfect getaway for those seeking peace and isolation. One can get here via a boat from Palolem or Agonda beach, or trek to it through the lush jungles surrounding it.
Where: Palolem, South Goa
11. Mobor Beach
A peaceful and visually attractive abode, Mobor is sought for its impeccably clean white sands, crystal clear water, and a mind blowing sunset. The beach has many shops selling colourful handicrafts, shacks with good food, and budget accommodation options. One can also access the private beach of The Leela when here.
Where: Cavelossim, South Goa
12. Querim (Keri) beach
The beach is usually overlooked due to the absence of tourists, which is why it makes up for one of the most awesome Goa secret beaches. The beach is adorned with white sand, attractive beach shacks, deep water with ferociously lapping waves, and the handsome Tiracol Fort. There’s also scope for activities like paragliding, which makes it an ideal place for a family picnic. When here, one can also witness the Tiracol river flowing in and blending into the Arabian Sea, a sight too pretty to miss.
Where: Pernem Administrative Region, North Goa
Concealed Waterfalls in Goa
13. Harvalem Falls
Tucked away in lush jungles, Harvalem is amongst the most beautiful waterfalls in Goa with milky white water cascading down tough scenic boulders. And the best part – the waterfall remains concealed from the eyes of the world, which allows visitors complete privacy. While here, one can visit the Rudreshwar temple and the Arvalem caves nearby.
Where: Near Sanquelim village, North Goa
14. Bamanbudo Waterfalls
The Bamanbudo waterfall is a charming refreshment for those looking for peaceful and unexplored places in Goa to get away from this hippie town’s maddening crowd. Though the waterfall is easily accessible and provides a fun spot for a rejuvenating dip, tourists still tend to miss it. One should not miss an excursion to this ecstatic tourist place in Goa.
Where: Gaodongrem, Canacona district, South Goa
Unexplored Forts in Goa
15. Cabo De Rama
Located off the Mumbai Cochin highway in South Goa, this fort is one of the most relaxing secret places in Goa that offers splendid views of the Cabo De Rama beach below it and the sea vanishing into the horizon beyond it. The fort houses ruins and old canons of the erstwhile Portuguese troops which makes the fort perfect for shoots and picnic with friends.
Where: Cola, South Goa
16. Fort Tiracol
Fort Tiracol is the most delightful fort in Goa due to its design and architecture. This 17th century Portuguese fort is located off a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean and has seven rooms, each named after a day in the week. The day you visit, the room bearing that name will have the best view out of others. Fascinating, right? Though the fort has now been converted into a marvelous hotel, it remains as one of the most beautiful hidden places in Goa. One can visit via a ferry from Keri beach.
Where: Near Querim beach, Pernem Administrative Region, North Goa
17. Sinquerim Fort
Thanks to its eye-catching Portuguese architecture and breathtaking views of the sunset, Sinquerim fort is the favourite subject of every photographer who comes looking for unexplored places to visit in Goa. Other than that, the beach is also a pure delight. With soft sands and a cool breeze, Sinquerim beach serves as a superb place to relax and provides recreation opportunities like swimming, beach volleyball, scuba diving, water skiing, fishing and windsurfing to visitors. The entire area is well kept, pristine, and houses a number of luxury accommodations and budget eateries.
Where: Sinquerim village, Bardez sub-district, North Goa
Secret Caves in Goa
18. Arvalem Caves
Dating back to the 6th century, the Arvalem Caves or Pandava Caves have long been the centre of debate on account of their mixed form of architecture. Some say the caves were used by the Pandavas due to the presence of Shivlingas inside the compartments. Others argue the caves are Buddhist as there’s a huge statue of Buddha near the place. But whatever be the origin, the cave’s rock cut foundations, its mysterious aura, and its historic appeal never fails to charm visitors.
Where: Rudreshwar Colony, Sanquelim, North Goa
19. Lamgau Caves
Nestled away in Bicholim, this cave is an architectural masterpiece. Though it does not get many visitors, the ones who come are always charmed by its elaborate carvings and mystical outlook. Inside the cave is a shrine that showcases some impressively designed structures like a pavilion, beams and a ceiling. The courtyard bears a stone linga with a tulsi vrindavan and an image of the nandi bull. The caverns are quite delicate, which is why one is not advised to venture inside.
Where: Bicholim, North Goa
20. Rivona Caves
This cave has a very rich Buddhist history. The laterite rock inside is said to have served as a Buddhist monk’s seat who once meditated here. Other than laterite formations, one can also find beautiful Buddhist sculptures and paintings inside the cave. Overlooking the mighty seas and bearing a unique layout, Rivona caves are among the most fascinating hidden places to visit in Goa.
Where: Rivona village, South Goa
Undiscovered Wildlife Sanctuaries in Goa
21. Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary & Mollem National Park
The presence of three wildlife sanctuaries in Goa goes on to prove that there’s more to Goa than mere beaches and pubs. The Mollem National park and Bhagvan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary are a haven for wildlife lovers and reptile researchers. Apart from a diverse variety of flora and fauna, the park is listed among the best
unexplored places in Goa on account of its hiking and trekking trails that facilitate sightings of Leopards, Gaurs and Sloth Bears amongst others.
Where: NH 4A, Caranzol, South Goa
22. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Though it is Goa’s second largest wildlife reserve, you may not find as many animals in Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary as you would in Goa’s other two sanctuaries. Cotigao provides visitors with vivid sights of flora and a perfect place for recreation and hiking. Tall trees, rare plants, rocks, marshes, and ponds – it let’s you connect with the most peaceful form of nature. If you’re lucky, you may also spot animals like Sloth Bears, Laughing Hyenas, Indian Bisons, monkeys and the Malabar Crested Eagle.
Where: Canacona district, Cotigao, South Goa
23. Butterfly Conservatory of Goa
Among the most exciting yet least known places to visit in Goa is the Butterfly Conservatory of Goa. The park was established as an effort to conserve butterfly species native to Goa and is currently home to over 133 species of butterflies. On a typical day visit one can spot up to 25 species. Imagine walking through a lush forest with colourful little butterflies fluttering past you! It’s nothing short of an enchantment! It’s a must visit for nature lovers and photographers.
Where: Rajnagar, Ponda, North Goa
24. Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
What makes a visit to this bird sanctuary exciting is that it is located on the island of Chorao and lets you indulge in a fun ferry ride up to it from Ribandar. Other than that, this unspoilt sanctuary is a haven for bird watchers and nature fanatics, giving it a prominent place on the list of hidden places in Goa. One can spot a number of migratory birds, especially Siberian, during winters. If not birds, you can get to the reserve for its exhilarating boat ride through mysterious mangrove forests.
Where: Near Ribandar Ferry, Chorao, North Goa
Other Hidden Places in Goa
25. Chorla Ghats
Lost in the glittering suburbs of Goa, people forget all about this gem nestled snugly on the Western Ghats in the Goa-Karnataka-Maharashtra border. With lush valleys and tropical jungles, this hill station in Goa makes up for one of the most surreal hidden places in Goa for a fun weekend getaway with family and friends. When here, one can go bird watching, butterfly spotting, trekking, hiking, or simply revel in the abundant natural beauty.
Where: Sahyadri mountain range off Sankhali, Chorla, North Goa
26. Savoi Spice Plantations
The soils and jungles of Southern India are replete with these native treasures of ours. So why should Goa be left behind! Savoi Spice Gardens is an organic paradise in Goa that takes you through the verdant plantations bearing rare herbs, colourful fruit orchards, peculiar looking plants, and the Goan urak and feni. Though an enjoyable part of Goa sightseeing, it is easily missed by those venturing into Goa for its lively parties and beachy fun.
Where: Ponda, North Goa
27. Carambolim Lake
Carambolim Lake is an inland freshwater and marshy lake which supports the vast expanse of irrigated paddy fields. To many it is just another of the hidden places in Goa, but to most bird watchers, nature lovers and photographers who visit, it provides a beautiful respite from the constant views of beaches and seas. On a good day, one can spot a number of species of migratory ducks, jacanas, moorhens, harriers, pipits, wagtails and kingfishers here.
Where: Carambolim, Corlim, North Goa
28. Cumbarjua Backwater Canal
Another ideal place for adventure seekers and nature lovers in Goa is the Cumbarjua canal. One can take a Backwater Cruise ride through the thick mangrove trees and marshes of this canal and spot crocodiles sunbathing lazily on the banks. This narrow creek and the lively village of Cumbarjua are some of the most enriching of Goa secret places that one should definitely visit on their trip to Goa.
Where: On the banks of Mandovi river, Cumbarjua, North Goa
29. Pequeno (Bat) Island
The Pequeno Island, or Bat Island, is just a 30 minute boat ride away from Vasco da Gama’s Baina beach and can be reached via a boat or ferry. Due to its concealed nature, it is easily overlooked by most and is thus one of the most secluded and unexplored places to visit in Goa. With a tiny rocky beach, stretches of green landscapes, facilities for snorkeling and day picnics, the island is loaded with surprises for adventure enthusiasts and couples.
Where: 1 km from Vasco da Gama, South Goa
30. Netravali – Bubbling Lake
If you wish to experience something extraordinary in Goa, head to the bubbling lake of Netravali. Still hidden from the armies of tourists that flock to Goa, this small muddy pond has an interesting phenomenon governing it. The presence of natural gases like Methane below the lake makes continuous bubbles emerge on the its surface which is quite fun to watch. Other than the bubbles, one can also dip their feet in the clean water and delight themselves with a free Fish Spa!
Where: Sanguem district, South Goa
31. Our Lady of the Mount
Set on a small hill, the Church of Our Lady of the Mount is a beautiful masterpiece of architecture and history. Though completely deserted and often overshadowed by the popularity of Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral, it makes up for a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Goa and provides stunning views of the city thanks to its location. In fact, it turns into one of the most beautiful secret places of Goa on a moonlit night when it provides breathtaking panoramic vistas of this shimmering coastal town below.
Where: Ella, South Goa
32. Convent of Santa Monica and the Chapel of the Weeping Cross
This church is a thrill for its exquisite artwork, statues, paintings, and other vintage items and is considered Asia’s first and largest convent. After many years of restoration work, this 450 year old church has finally been re-opened for the public.
Where: Monte Santo, Velha, North Goa
Fascinated much? Now plan a trip and visit all these hidden places in Goa before the world discovers and commercialises them! Know any more of Goa’s unexplored jewels? Pop them in the comments below.