Anjuna’s reputation as a hippie and party destination precedes itself, but there are so many more things to do in Anjuna and in neighboring Vagator than partying past 5 am.
While I didn’t find Anjuna/Vagator as cozy or rugged as Morjim, these two villages in North Goa are popular for a reason.
They’re every bit worthy of a visit, but, again, for more than what meets the eye.
For example, instead of opting for a psytrance party, why not dip inside an intimate taproom for seasonal craft beer or a local watering hole for infused feni and live music?
From shopping at funky markets for boho beachwear to hiking to ruined forts for panoramic vistas to digging into a typical Goan fish thali, there are plenty of activities and off-beat adventures to have in and around Anjuna and Vagator!
Best Things to Do in Anjuna & Vagator
1. Enjoy Live Music, Food, & More at the Goa Collective Bazaar
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One of the first things we did touching down in Anjuna was go to the night market, at The Goa Collective Bazaar (—not to be confused with the other Saturday Night Bazaar in Arpora, here).
Shopping at the markets is a must-do when in North Goa, and this market in particular is one of the funkiest and coolest around Anjuna and Vagator. *This market temporarily closes during the off-season or the monsoons.
The market is set outdoors in what feels like a palm tree grove, all lit up with fairy lights and neon colors.
As you stroll around, you can shop for quite literally anything hippie-esque—handmade jewelry and clothing, woven baskets, embroidered pillows, herbs and spices, bohemian rugs, Indian handicrafts, vegan supplements, etc. You name it!
The vendors are local and international artists and creatives, you’ll find lots of actually handmade items here which separates this market from a lot of the flea markets you’ll find in Goa that sell everything imported from Nepalese yak scarves to Tibetan bowls.
But the Saturday Night Market isn’t just about shopping!
There are also dozens of food and booze stalls plus little venues to host live bands and concerts.
All combined, the Saturday Night Market is definitely a fun thing to do near Anjuna and Vagator.
Quick tips for visiting this fun night market in Goa:
- There’s an entry fee of 100 Rs. per person (cash only).
- No “professional” cameras (I had to put mine away in my backpack).
- Prices can be a bit steep, expect to haggle a bit. Also, some vendors take cash only but some we found also accept take credit cards.
- Parking is a bit hectic but free, it’s best to arrive by scooter and do as the locals do.
PS — I’ve heard that the market used to be much more glamorous and sprawling in its heyday, but for a first-timer in Goa, it’s still quite impressive!
2. Grab a “Half Pint” at Vagator’s Boozy Craft Brewery
- 📍 Half Pint, House no. 639, Little Vagator, Vagator, Goa
- 🕰️ Open from 5 pm to 12:30 am, closed Tuesdays
One of my favorite things to do, no matter where I am in the world, is find a cute neighborhood brewery or taproom.
I’m not a beer snob by any means, but I love a good brewery atmosphere where I can try a new seasonal ale or sour, get chatty, and have a good time!
If that’s your vibe too, then check out India’s first collaborative taproom located right in Little Vagator — Half Pint.
Half Pint is the brainchild of Nakul behind Great State Aleworks and Gaurav, the founder of India’s Arbor Brewing Company.
“Half Pint is a taproom, a gathering place, a community, a space to learn more about beer culture, an area of discovery for the new, familiar, borrowed and brewed. Come on by, grab a beer and perhaps a seat.”Brewer World
Inside their cozy taproom, housed inside a refurbished Portuguese home, you’ll find four beers on tap from both brands, in addition to four of Half Pint’s special brews.
Make sure when in Vagator to stop by and try their Life of Poee amber ale, which is quintessentially Goa in a glass.
For more underrated places to grab a drink like a local (away from the beach shacks and trance parties), then also check out:
- Darling’s Bar, Chapora
- Paulo’s Antique Bar, Chapora
- Elephants & Co, Anjuna
3. Watch the Sunset from Our Lady of Miracles Church
Watching the sunset dip down behind the Arabian Sea is a must-do in Anjuna–Vagator.
While there are several places to watch the sunset (see next), this one came recommended to us by our hosts who live in Goa.
The Lady of Miracles Church is a little Catholic church perched atop a hill away from the beaches and touristy areas of Anjuna and Vagator.
Take a scooter up to this hilltop in time for a fiery sunset (here is the location on Google Maps). There is ample free parking at the church.
The actual viewpoint is a 2-minute walk beyond the church following a dirt path.
The view from up here is really beautiful and worth a trip!
You can see Chapora Fort across the bay as well, which leads me to the next top thing to do in Vagator.
🏡 Looking for a hotel or place to stay near Anjuna and Vagator?
Getting around Anjuna and Vagator is easy via scooter, so no need to stay in a beachfront resort!
Two places I recommend staying at are Anamiva Anjuna (this is the chic boutique hotel that we stayed at!) and NomadGao coliving space (this place is great for mingling with a community of fellow digital nomads in Goa).
4. Explore the Ruined Chapora Fort for Panoramic Views
While there’s not much left of the centuries-old Chapora Fort, a climb up to the top is well worth it for views overlooking the beaches, Arabian Sea, the Chapora Estuary/River, and surrounding palm tree-covered hills.
You won’t see many international tourists here, but it’s bustling with locals.
That’s because the Chapora Fort was one of the film locations in the popular Bollywood movie Dil Chahta Hain. So if you hear it being nicknamed the “Dil Chahta Hain Fort” that’s why.
I had no idea about the film beforehand, but it’s worth visiting just for the panoramic views. That said, the best time to go is about an hour before sunset. During midday, this expansive area with little shade really heats up.
Note as well that the easiest way to get here is by scooter; parking is at the base of the hill and costs only 10–20 Rs. It takes about 5–10 minutes from the parking lot to reach the top.
Pack lots of water or purchase your fill of freshly cut fruit sold by street vendors as you make your way up to the abandoned fort.
5. Duck Inside This Hidden Speakeasy for Prohibition-Era Vibes
Take a drive down the Anjuna-Arpora road and you’ll pass by a bright and airy cafe called Big Fat Sandwich. During the day, this is a great place to come for a coffee or a bite to eat.
But at night, head inside and ask for “the code to the bookshelf” in the back…!
I’ll just say a cozy, dim-lit setting for drinks and dancing in an old-world era awaits inside. (The perfect place to sip on an Old Fashioned.)
Shout out to our local hosts from the Nurall Goa Retreat for taking us here! We wouldn’t have found this place otherwise and it’s definitely a fun spot to hang out at when in Anjuna.
6. Chill Out on Anjuna’s and Vagator’s Beaches
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the beaches in and around Anjuna. After all, part of North Goa’s claim to fame is its renowned beaches!
Anjuna Beach is a nice strip of beach, but it can get crowded. A lot of people come here to see the carved Shiva face on the rocks.
Parking can be a bit of a hassle as well, and you’ll get flagged down to pay as a foreigner. We found free scooter parking by parking at a hotel and eating at their beachfront restaurant for lunch.
We ate at Whiteshell but I found Elephant Beach Cafe and Eva Cafe to have the best views, vibes, and reviews.
Vagator Beach and Ozran Beach (aka Little Vagator Beach) are a little nicer and less crowded — at least during the day!
For sunset, this area is a popular local hang-out spot and at night the beaches turn into parties with the nearby Hilltop and Nine Bar clubs catering to the psychedelic and trance scene in Goa.
✨ Looking for more beaches and activities in Goa?
Don’t miss out on the sprawling colonial capital — here are the best things to do in Panjim!
7. Spend the Day Shopping & Strolling in Assagao
If you want to shop for boho beach clothes and jewelry and dine in trendy cafes and restaurants, then spend the day in Assagao.
You could easily spend a whole day here admiring the Portuguese villas, sipping coffee, and browsing boutiques.
A popular thing to do in Assagao is hiking up the four-hundred-something steps to The Miraculous Cross for panoramic views over Assagao and Vagator.
One shop I regret not dipping inside is No Nasties in Assagao—India’s premier sustainable clothing brand.
As for food, we didn’t get the chance to eat out but my friend that I mentioned who lived in Goa had a favorite spot for delicious South India fare, Gunpowder. There’s also Vinayak, which I mention next (#8)!
To finish off the day, head to Pablo’s (formerly known as Escobar)—a popular local watering hole—for “assorted craft beers, infused feni, and an extensive gin menu.”
8. Eat a Local Goan Fish Thali at Vinayak
Seafood is a specialty of Goan cuisine, in particular fish thali. And there are few places more popular for Goan fish thali than the Vinayak Family Restaurant near Anjuna and Vagator (in Assagao).
As it was my first time trying fish thali in Goa, I had nothing to compare it to. But then I had another fish thali somewhere else a few days later, and then I really tasted the difference!
The fried fish I ordered at Vinayak was delicious (Chonak Thali). The whole thali set was a seafood special, with side dishes such as clams masala, shrimp curry, and crab, served with a lump of rice and a little refresher of sol kadi.
We also tried a popular Portuguese dessert, serradura, otherwise known as “sawdust pudding.”
The only downside to coming here for lunch is that everyone else did too; expect to wait up to an hour or more to get seated!
9. Catch the Anjuna Flea Market on Wednesdays
If you want to get a glimpse into Anjuna’s hippie past, then head to the Anjuna Flea Market on Wednesday (9am–6pm, location here).
People who are familiar with the market might say it’s now a shadow of its former glory days, but it’s still worth visiting as a tribute to Anjuna’s hippie “Golden Age” in the mid-60s when Eight Finger Eddie—the “Original Freak” and “Master of Madness”—lived in Goa.
The market was hit hard during the pandemic, hence the reduced number of vendors and stalls, but you can stroll through hundreds of shops today to shop for Indian handicrafts, funky psy-hippie clothing, and more.
Anjuna and Vagator have so much more to offer than drugs/alcohol! I hope this little guide helps you discover a more off-beat, local scene in North Goa that you didn’t know about before.
Drop your comments and suggestions below if you discover more underrated things to do in Anjuna and Vagator!
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