Known for its beaches, food, music and discos, North Goa reigns supreme on the party scene of Goa. A 40-km drive from Dabolim Airport to North Goa is exciting as you pass by all popular beaches like Morjim, Vagator, Anjuna, Baga, Calangute, and Candolim.
Morjim is the quieter one of the lot and a perfect getaway for travellers looking for happening but peaceful places.
Here is a one-day itinerary to spend time in North Goa, all within 20 km of Morjim Beach. Watching sunrise, a visit to Chapora Fort, a posh meal, adventure water sports in the evening and night life at popular clubs are all part of this 24-hour trip.
Sunrise by Morjim Beach
Morjim Beach, also known as 'Little Russia,' is one of the popular but less crowded beaches in North Goa. The crowd that you see around here is mostly Russian and hence the name. This beautiful beach strip begins where River Chapora meets the Arabian Sea.
This 3-km beach stretch is ideal for a nice long morning walk, enjoying the sunrise, breeze and the waves. Yoga classes are also available on the beach, starting 8 am. There are shacks that cater early morning breakfast at the beach while most others open by 9 am.
How to reach: Morjim Beach is 28 km from the capital Panaji and 56 km from Dabolim Airport. Expect a 2-hour drive from airport due to the traffic conditions in Goa. It is 17 km from the popular Baga Beach and 10 km from Vagator Beach.
Chapora Fort, popularly known as the 'Dil Chahta Hai' fort, is at Bardez. It is located 13 km from Morjim Beach and 1.5 km from Vagator Beach. A steep climb over a path hewn with around 100 laterite stone steps is required to reach the fort. With each step, the scenic views of Vagator Beach and Chapora River unfold around you.
As you march through the entrance, a wide space opens up with the spectacular view of the fort and sea in the background. When you reach the top, vendors selling handicraft stuff and refreshing drinks greet you.
Although the fort is in ruins, it is a symbol of Goa's Portuguese past. You may visit the fort in first half of the day or late afternoons.
The site was the location of a fort built by Muslim ruler Adil Shah and called Shahpura, whose name the Portuguese altered to Chapora.
How to reach: It is located 13 km from Morjim Beach and 1.5 km from Vagator Beach.
Lunch at Thalassa Restaurant
Thalassa is the most popular Greek restaurant in North Goa. The ambiance of this seaside restaurant decorated in monochrome white takes you to a whole different world. The food here is very tasty and reasonably priced. But it will be difficult to find a spot here in the evening without a reservation. The live band, the view of the sea and mouthwatering dishes bring the crowd from far and near.
Recommended dishes: Special veg Thalassa salad, mixed seafood salads, calamari fries and beef gyros, yum cheesecakes for dessert.
How to reach: It is located 3 km from Chapora Fort in Siolim area
An alternative is to enjoy lunch at one of the shacks on Vagator Beach.
Shacks on Vagator Beach
Vagator Beach is located 1.5 km from Chapora Fort. It's again a quiet beach with big black rocks, adventure sports activities and shacks. It is divided into 2 zones – Orzan, the little Vagator and North Vagator, the big Vagator. Thumbs up to the view of the beach and tasty food from the shacks.
Those who don't want to take the steep steps to the beach may opt for a mud road plied by vehicles. Once you walk down, there is a small flea market for handicrafts and beach apparels.
How to reach: Vagator Beach is located 1.5 km from Chapora Fort and around 10 km from Baga beach.
You may enjoy time at these shacks until late afternoon and head back to hotel and rest. Then get ready for some music and dance. For those interested in adventure sports, parasailing would be a good option.
Night life in North Goa
Goa has a very vibrant night life with resorts and bars hosting live bands and people dancing to peppy tunes and enjoying tasty Goan food. Most beaches have shacks with live bands.
Cavala, Cohiba and Tito's Lane are clubs near Baga Beach which is around 17 km from Morjim Beach. Cavala has been popular among tourists since 1979. But the experience here is as lively as one in any new-gen bars. The live band is very good. Drinks go free with the tickets. Appetizers like calamari fry, sauted prawns are awesome.
Music band at Cohiba is not that great but the ambiance and appetizers like beef fry are definitely worth a try. You may make advanced booking at these places, especially during peak season.
St Antony's Church, Siolim
For those of you who like to visit a church on this trip, St Antony's Church is ideal since it is right on the way to Chapora Fort or Vagator Beach. It is at a location where it is convenient to park as you proceed to pray.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Goa is from November to February when the place becomes lively with all the shops and shacks. Christmas and New Year's is the busiest time in Goa.
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