I hope you’re reading this because you’re planning a trip to Goa! It’s such a fantastic place to visit. Although I recommend coming longer than the 3 days mentioned in this title, often readers email who mention they have that amount of time therefore I wanted to put together a basic 3 day Goa itinerary and show you the top places to visit in Goa in 3 days.
It seems to be a question I am asked a lot! Perhaps, I’ll add a 5 day itinerary down the road.
Tips for Planning Your Trip to Goa
This first things you have to decide about Goa are:
- How to get here
- When to come
- Where to stay
- How to get around
How to Get to Goa
You can fly into the only airport (GOI) or you can take a train into Thvim or Margao stations, or a bus straight into the town you want to be in.
When to Come
The best time to come is October through March but if you want to come in monsoon, here is an article on what to expect in Goa’s monsoon.
How to Get Around
You’ll need to decide if you want to rent a car or bike. You can alternatively ask your hotel for a taxi drivers’ number.
Where to Stay in Goa
You’ll want to choose between North or South Goa. It just depends on what you want. If you’re looking for a busier scene, try the north, and if you’re looking to relax, try the south. Read these posts to help you decide where to go and the best place to stay in Goa:
- Ask Me Anything: Should I go to North or South Goa?
- What’s the Best Place to Stay in Goa? [My Absolute Favorites]
The BEST Places to Visit in Goa in 3 Days
For this itinerary, I’m going to focus on Anjuna and Vagator in North Goa since they’re the most common choice travelers make. I’ll also be focusing on peak-season since that’s, of course, the popular time frame when everything is open!
Places You’ll Visit in Goa on Day 1:
- Vagator Beach
Check in to your hotel
First things first, check in to your hotel! There are some seriously kickass places to stay in Goa. While you’ll want to look into places in Anjuna and Vagator, if you have a car, you can also stay in:
- And more
If you want to splurge, check out my favorite 5-star hotels in Goa, and if you’re on a shoestring budget, check out my post on the cheapest hostels and guesthouses in Goa.
Relax in Vagator Beach
After checking in you’ll want to see the beach. For day one, I recommend heading to Vagator Beach to eat lunch and have a day in the sun. You can grab nice pizzas at the beach shack Antares or you can get some Goan curry at Shiva Place. For more food options, head down to the beach to the right for Sports Bar. You can also surf at this beach early in the morning.
Let yourself be pampered on the beach by the girls: getting threaded, massages, and buying sarongs when they come around to your beach chairs.
Dinner in Anjuna
After the beach and showering up for dinner, you could enjoy pre-dinner drinks at the beer garden, Zorba, in Anjuna then head to a perfect Goan dinner of rava fish or Indian tandoori at Anand Bar which is near the Bobby bar intersection on the way to Vagator.
Party in Goa
After dinner you can party! Goa is great for nightlife, so I have a few posts to help you figure out where to go for what!
- 10 Essential Tips for Goa Nightlife
- Goa Nightlife: 5 Most Popular Party Places in Goa
- 7 Best Beaches in Goa for Nightlife
- 20 Best Nightclubs in Goa For an Epic Time
Places You’ll Visit in Goa on Day 2:
- Vagator Beach
- Old Goa
Breakfast in Vagator
Don’t waste the day being hung over! Head to Vagator Beach for breakfast.
Sightseeing in Goa
You can skip the beach today to do the tourist things. There isn’t much for tourists in Goa because it’s a “chill out” place. You can go to Ponda to the spice plantation (learn about spices, see the elephants, eat lunch here) which is just near Panjim. This means you can see Old Goa (Portuguese influence, old churches) in the same trip. It’s about 1 hour from Anjuna and will cost you about 2,500 Rs. You can wander Panjim and do some shopping in the old Portuguese lanes.
Vagator Beach for Dinner
Head back to your hotel to freshen up for dinner then pick from this list of the top restaurants in Goa (all my favorites). I recommend Thalassa if you can get there by sunset. It’s on Vagator cliff and has the best sunset view in Goa plus the vibe usually leads to a fun night out after.
Places You’ll Visit in Goa on Day 3:
- Anjuna Beach
- Vagator Beach
Shopping and Sunbathing in Ashwem
If you want to see a new beach, I recommend going North about 20 minutes to Ashwem, which is a lovely beach. You can have lunch at La Plage, a very popular French restaurant. Then catch some rays. There is great shopping on this side of town. Check out my shopping guide to Ashwem to see the exact shops.
OR Shopping in Anjuna/Vagator
If you decide to stay in Anjuna/Vagator area you can still do some shopping. I wrote a guide to shopping in Goa. You’ll want to start at Tia’s Shop outside her mum’s restaurant Natti’s Naturals (try the colorful salad, I don’t know what it’s called!). Tia carries all the best brands in Goa plus her own brand which is the cutest and I wear all the time.
Chill Out at Anjuna Beach
You can try Anjuna Beach if you were at Vagator the first day. Anjuna is chilled out and the famous beach from the party days. You can have a beer at Curlies to see the vibe. They do a good fish curry there as well. If you’re lucky, you’ll be in Goa on a Wednesday and can go to the Anjuna Flea market which is just on the edge of the beach.
More to Do in Goa
If you want to do some more things before your last dinner and night out, you can check out this list of 50 things to do in Goa. If you weren’t lucky to be here on a Wednesday, perhaps it’s a Saturday and in that case you can visit the Saturday Night Market in Arpora. It’s my favorite market and you can eat dinner there. They have loads of options like rotisserie chicken, authentic pizza, Thai food, Greek gyros, dosas, curries, and Tandoori.. plus lots more. The shopping here is fabulous and there are two little “clubs” in the market.
Final Notes on this Goa Itinerary for 3 Days
So, that’s really about all you can fit in this 3 day Goa itinerary. I kind of picked my favorites beaches and restaurants. I couldn’t list the bars as you really need to check each day to see what’s happening. It’s not fun to show up at an empty bar! I wrote a post answering a few FAQs about Goa and I wrote my top tips for Goa where I talk more about transportation.
There are a few things I didn’t mention that are great to do in Goa but 3 days most likely is not enough time, unless you really prioritized these things: volunteering with animals and going to the secret beach.
If you take some time to read more of my articles on Goa you will see there are SO many fabulous options of things to do, that you might end up extending your time in Goa to a longer stay!
General Travel to India Tips
- Why You Need World Nomads travel insurance for India
- How to Get a Visa for India (which, yes, you DO need)
- How to Dress in India
- 100 India Travel Tips You HAVE To Read
If you are coming to Goa, you definitely need my ebook, Insider’s Guide to Goa. It’s 170 pages filled with the most up to date, comprehensive information about Goa plus it has all my secret places to go that I’ve found after living here almost five years.This book has 50x more information about Goa than my blog and is organized to make things easy for you to find. Click here to buy it now.
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Looks like an amazing place to visit, glad you had a great time!
I just got back from Goa on Saturday, April 2, 2016. I stayed in Manderm Beach. I have many regrets about traveling to Goa and I”m finding it very difficult to focus on the positives. I find your information misleading for future travelers. You failed to mention the TRASH all over the place. The SHANTIES right next to the places you discuss, the lack of safety when traveling the roads by any means. I saw motorbike accidents and it made me worried for all the babies and children on motorbikes and scooters without helmets. The dogs barking all through the night. Dogs are everywhere and I like dogs but you can’t sleep because they bark all night long. The conditions of restaurants, bathrooms, and most places are not sanitary. The sand has sand flies/fleas that leave bites all over your legs and feet. There is ample sunshine, warm sea breezes, and a warm sea to swim in. Food and drink are cheap but I would prefer paying more for cleaner conditions. I went to yoga three times at Ashiyana and the instructors were wonderful but the same as any other place in India it was not clean. The yoga mats were filthy and not wiped down after class. Cleanliness is not a priority in Goa India and I like things clean and sanitary. If you like the same then traveling to Goa is not for you.
Hi Lu, it’s a shame you had such a bad time. Mandrem is one of the nicest beaches. In my “this is india” series I share A LOT about the things in India which are upsetting like slums, bike accidents (I lost a very good friend in one), kids without helmets, trash, and issues with stray dogs – Goa may be a cool beach town but it’s still India, and unfortunately India isn’t for everyone.
Jesus Christ why do you even travel Lu? How devoid of any form of common sense are you that you would travel to somewhere like India if you like things ‘clean and sanitary.’ What the hell did you expect? Maybe next time take a weekend away instead and stay in a 5-star hotel where you can be as anal retentive and boring as you please.
I am with you here !!
Hi Rachel, a friend and I are planning a two week trip to India in Oct/Nov to celebrate her 50th birthday. We’d love to end off our time relaxing in Goa, but this would be over Diwali. We’d really like to enjoy the festivities & were wondering if there would be lots happening in this part of the world, or if we’d be better off being in a bigger city for these celebrations.
Your advice and any suggestions would be hugely appreciated.
Diwali is a lot different in Goa and not as big as the cities – but I don’t know if you’d like the big city diwali! it’s full of smoke from firecracks and fireworks and with the haze already my friends who live in mumbai and delhi all want to leave at these times as it’s hard to breathe, traffic is crazy, and the men get very drunk
Thanks! Sounds like we’d definitely be better off in Goa over that time. Any specific recommendations for where we should stay to enjoy the festivities?
The nasty trash JUST piled up the last 3 months cuz of all the Indian tourists!!!! It is Not from Anyone in Goa! Everyone knows how to recycle and burn their trash and every season these Bombay and Delhi people move on and throw all their shit out the window at night and into everyone’s yards! They have no consideration and I don’t even like when Rachel’s blog tells of our good spots cuz these fools come here to have their first beer or celebrate their affairs with their secret man pal and throw the glass all down the stairs, where we park, and walking barefoot in the sand! We need more euro and out of India tourists, not out of state visitors who cause rude destruction. And the dog packs are fun. You have to train them and they’re all good.
P.s Iam an ocd clean freak and I can’t believe I’m able to live in Goa lol. It’s called loving the “rustic” life and being one with the natural elements. There are sand fleas everywhere. Just use Dr. Bronners soap and take a proper shower scrub and they won’t follow you to bed. When I first came here, I was surprised how every resturant has a sink to wash in, in India. It is not a barbaric place. It’s just natural! Sometimes I joke about wishing I had my uv air filter from Costco, instead of using a fan at night, but India hasn’t smothered mother earth’s natural flaws. It’s a good thing. That’s why they stay unique.
The dogs can be fun :) we’ve taken in two (shanti and omni) & they are family now! omni is a bit dense haha but shanti is clever :) you’re right about the litter. it’s a real shame.
Now I am excited to visit any of these places.. i really enjoy your post. thanks!
Rachel, I have been following your blog for years, but have never written (that I remember!). Thanks to your detailed information and enthusiasm for India, we made this amazing country a part of our year trip around the world. I am traveling with my husband and 2 kids (ages 8 & 10). We were in India from late October ’15 through late January ’16, and constantly used your blog as a guide for great places to experience in Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, and Goa (of course!). I’ve tried to chronicle our unique travel experiences as a family, on our own blog (also inspired by your website). I wanted to sincerely thank you for all of your hard work, and wish you continued success.
That’s awesome – I’m happy that my blog helped you in your trip & it’s great that you’ve started one of your own about your time in India :D
Wow Rachel.. absolutely loved your blog! Having been to a few myself, your recommendations are spot on! Wouldn’t change a thing in your itinerary. Brilliant.
I’ll try to incorporate to my travel plan to Goa. Thank you Rachel :D
Hey Rachel as you mentioned in your article i find it really nice but in comments your comments are horrible dear…India is not that bad.
I just want to ask you question
-> Other places in the world are free from accidents?
(people use helmet in goa)
-> Other countries dogs didn’t harm anyone?
( i think they won’t harm you until you disturb them)
-> All beaches of world are free from sand flies/fleas?
-> And goa is a very small territory of india… Goa is not high tech city.
( Goa have good restaurant, cafes and bars too it’s all about where you are spending your money)
I think you need to read them again – Those are not my comments they are a reader’s comments to a post I wrote about how great Goa is … in my comments I say I have adopted stray dogs, love the beach, and the whole article is about good restaurants cafes and bars! literally don’t even know what you’re talking about.
Thanks for your recommendations ! I am going on a 3 day week end in October to celebrate a friend’s birthday, so I will try to to include some of your suggestion in the planning ! One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to get there !
awesome I hope you have the best time! if you want more tips, I just released an ebook about Goa but for just three days, this blog post is probably all you need to know! have fun!
Thanks for the information, I have never been to Vagator as of now, planning in few weeks though. I am not sure if you mentioned about the scam for liquor anywhere on your website or any other blog.
The liquor is surely cheap and the vendor/ retailers never provide enough information about travelling with liquor. It is banned to take outside goa and they inform the cops who confiscate it on the border, charge you heavily and send half of it back to the vendor/ retailer.
In my opinion readers could ask for the authentic license on the shop as well for very cheap that could be shown on the border to have a hassle free exit.