Goa – Paradise, beaches, and history
Goa – Paradise, beaches, and history

Goa – Paradise, beaches, and history

A few weeks ago, some friends from Europe came to visit and we went on a road trip to Goa. The week before we left, the car air con started behaving erratically, and as a result a lot of the trip (10 hours long) was completed with the windows open and no cooling. At a place called Yellapur, it was 39oC, so you can imagine it was a sweaty trip. As soon as we arrived, I was into the water- there is nothing better than swimming in the sea, at sunset, after a long hot car journey.

I had previously been to Goa but really didn’t leave the beach, so this time, I was keen to explore the history of the area. The Portuguese lived in Goa for a long time, and one of our guests was from Portugal, so it was really great to have some of his culture popping up over India. There’s a lot of architecture, food, and cultural remnants of the Portuguese, making Goa a unique place in India.

I was also working while on holiday- a lot of time was spent like this.

Goa beaches
Goa: beer, beaches, and my laptop

A lot of working, swimming in the clear warm water of Palolem Beach, then back to my ‘desk’. Rinse, and repeat.

Portuguese History of Goa

However we did stay over a weekend and I planned two days of sightseeing. First stop: The Basilica of Bom Jesus. This church was constructed from 1594, and consecrated in 1605. It’s pretty amazing, and not what I expected to find in Goa. Inside, it’s gorgeously carved and a beautiful space. The chapel on the right holds the body of St Francis Xavier.

Goa history church front
Basilica of Bom Jesus
historic church in goa
Interior of Basilica of Bom Jesus
Portuguese churches in Goa
Body of St Francis Xavier

We then walked over the road, to the church of St Francis of Assisi. Another beautiful church, not as grand as Bom Jesus. At my Grandmother’s funeral, Granddad requested I read the St Francis of Assisi prayer, so I felt some level of connection here.

St Francis of Assisi church goa
St Francis of Assisi church interior

We then went to the tower of the church of St. Augustine. This 46m high tower and ruins are all that remains after this church was abandoned. Built in 1602 by Augustinian friars, the vault collapsed in 1842, and then the facade half the tower collapsed in 1931. A very cool place to explore but it was just too hot to hang out there too long.

Goa ruined tower
The half of the remaining tower. It seemed a bit precarious- I’ve lived through too many earthquakes and wasn’t keen on getting close!
Goa church in ruins
The ruins, a lot of work being done here to preserve this.
church goa ruins beach
More ruins, with the tower in the background.
Goa Portuguese history church ruins
More ruins, these ones well-preserved.
lunch in Goa
Lunch stop… an amazing restaurant with delicious Greek food…. and the view!
beaches in goa
The view from our lunch stop. AMAZING.

Then, we headed off to visit one of the local forts. Fort Aguada was built in 1612 to guard from the Dutch and Marathans. It has a lighthouse and a freshwater spring that supplied water to the ships stopping by, hence the name, aguada, Portugese for water. It could store up to 2,376,000 gallons of water- huge.

Goa Fort
The walls of the fort
Fort Aguada Goa
The walk into the fort… I look purposeful here but I was in a hurry to get out of the heat and find some shade.
Fort Aguada goa
Self indulgent post of me. Once again… very hot.
beaches fort in goa
The walk up the fort interior, the steps worn by hundreds of years of people walking up and down.
sunset in goa fort
The side of the lighthouse, as the sun slowly sunk down to dusk
Goa Fort walls
Loved the long straight walls in here, I got a bit click-happy until my camera ran out of batteries (you should all be grateful for this).
Fort Aguada wall
The interior wall
lighthouse goa
The lighthouse. We weren’t allowed inside it, sadly.
beaches in Goa view
The view from the fort.

Then, we went down to the beach. The fort actually includes the beach too.

goa beaches with fort wall
The beach, complete will fort wall


Goa beaches
We also constructed a fort. While the original idea and construction was a joint effort between an Indian and a Portuguese, the fine detail work and underground tunnelling was left to the New Zealander. The UK slept.

Night Market In Goa

We then went to the night markets, in town. These are just what you’d expect. Hot, sultry, a confused chaos of vendors and tourists. We meandered, the guys purchased their wives some gifts, and just soaked up the atmosphere.

spices in India for sale
Spices for sale
night market goa colourful
An aisle of cacophony
beaches goa night market
The night market
goa snack food
Night market- corn being cooked. DELICIOUS

Goa Beaches are Heaven

We headed back a couple of days later. Of course, if I told you that paradise existed, and it was in India (and CHEAP) then I’m sure you wouldn’t believe me… however, we found it. I know why everyone in South India refers to Goa almost reverently… because the place is magic.

I personally would avoid the noisy, polluted, ‘party’ of North Goa and just head straight to South Goa. The seafood is out of this world (crab, lobster, prawns, fish…. all ultra fresh) and the view… well….

goa beaches


  1. Rachit

    Fantastic read! Glad u r loving it in India. You must visit Goa during winters, especially during New Year. Lot of crowd (as u wud have already figured out by now!) but great time to enjoy- the weather and the atmosphere!

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