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Swimming, sunbathing, watching the sunset, feet dipped in sand while enjoying a cocktail and reading a book, and pleasant walks under the moonlight – does it all sound like your idea of a perfect relaxing holiday? If yes, hitting the beaches should be the first among things to do for free in Goa. Goa is home to numerous beaches that offer all these things and more without straining the wallet. If you’re after the glitz and glamour, Baga, Vagator, Calangute, Anjuna, Arambol, Colva, Agonda, Candolim, Miramar, Morjim and Palolem are the beaches for you. And, if you are seeking quiet and peace, Querim, Mandrem, Ashwem, Betul, Butterfly, Cola and Kakolem are ideal.
Of all the free things in Goa, Fontainhas, the only Latin Quarters of India, surrounded by the Altinho hill and the Qurem Creek, is the perfect treat for history buffs, architecture lovers and culture enthusiasts. With a Portuguese influence, Fontainhas has plenty of stunning architecture to gawk at. Dotted with colorful cottages and houses washed in tones of blue, yellow, orange, green and red; tile-roofs, overhead balconies and winding streets – walking pass the streets of Fontainhas will take visitors back in time. Must-visit spots here are the Maruti Temple, the Chapel of St. Sebastian, Confeitaria 31 de Janueiro (traditional bakery), the Gitanjali Art Gallery, and the Phoenix Fountain that was built by Antonio Joao de Sequeira, the founder of the area.
Also among the best things to do for free in Goa is visiting the ancient churches and admiring their amazing architecture. Goa is home to a myriad of churches, out of which, one of the ancient churches – the Basilica of Bom Jesus is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Other churches to explore are the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Se Cathedral, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Augustine Tower, and Church of St. Thomas. The serenity and calmness of these churches is just blissful. What else would you possibly need?
Goa is at its best during monsoon season (June-September). And, one of the best things to do if visiting in those months, is hiking up the scenic waterfalls. Cascading down from 1,017-feet through four steps on rolling hills, Dudhsagar is one of the most beautiful and must-visit waterfalls in Goa. Water gushing down from a height is just like milk, completely white, thus creating a fine visual spectacle.
Other waterfalls to visit in Goa are Sada Falls, Arvalem Falls, Hivre Falls and Kesarval Falls. The access routes to these waterfalls are equally beautiful, scenic and adventurous. And do you know what the price of such a wonderful experience is? Zero.
Goa is home to several rugged forts peppered along its coastline. The most popular are Fort Aguada and Chapora Fort. Built in the 17th century by the Portuguese, the Fort Aguada will make visitors go wow with its brilliant panoramic views of Goa’s coastline. There is a 19th century lighthouse on the top of the fort that offers picture-perfect sight. Situated on the banks of Chapora River, the Chapora Fort offers views that are nothing short of spectacular. Needless to say, the cost of these breathtaking vistas is NIL.
Vivacious, lively and jam-packed is the scene of Goa Carnival, which is held in February every year. It is a three-day event that involves parades and floats, live bands, dancing troupes, music, sports competitions, DJ nights, fashion shows, and revellers in wacky costumes and masks. It is a visual spectacle on the streets of Goa. And yes, it is free to attend!