Photo Credit: Le Batteur de Lune

Goa is a fantastic place to spend your holidays, but if you have blown the budget on the flight and accommodation then there is plenty to do in this coastal part of India for free. Read on for our top recommendations of activities for your holiday in Goa that are just as exciting as paid for alternatives.

1. Picnic at Chapora Fort

This fort, dating back to 1717, is ideally located for a picnic as it sits high up on the cliffs offering a view out in several directions. It is steeped in history and even before the present fortifications were built, previous strongholds were situated on the same spot.

It has been in a number of different hands over the years and the defensive walls still stand, following the course of the slopes of the mountain.

2. Volunteer to walk a stray dog

Perhaps you are a dog lover and missing your pet back at home or maybe your circumstances mean that you can’t have a dog of your own, but in Goa there is a great opportunity to have a companion for the day.

International Animal Rescue takes dogs off the street, sterilises them and tends to their wounds before looking for new homes for them. With such a big task on their hands they are always on the lookout for volunteers to help walk the animals in their care.

One look at the little faces in the sanctuary would melt even the hardest of hearts. The dogs are tagged to ensure that there is a record of who has been walked each day in order to make it fair.

3. Browse in a flea market

Heading to one of Goa’s many flea markets is an exciting and overwhelming experience. As well as the stall holders there are usually a selection of hawkers wandering around trying to sell you items. If you want to keep this activity free you will have to have strong will power to resist a purchase.

To browse everything from Balinese batiks to mirrored waistcoats check out the Anjuna Flea Market held every Wednesday from September to March at Dando Vaddo to the south of Anjuna Beach.

Alternatively make the Friday Bazaar at Mapusa your destination if you want to stock up on herbs, spices and ceramics. You will be overwhelmed by the smells and the colours. Feast your stomachs as well as your other senses with Goan sausages, salt cod and fresh hot cross buns.

4. Take in the sunset at Palolem Beach

One of the best free activities to do anywhere in the world is view a sunset and there is no better spot in Goa than Palolem Beach. This coconut palm-lined stretch of sand is an idyllic location to watch the sun drop below the horizon.

5. Take in the views from the Fort Aguada lighthouse

There has been a lighthouse on the headland at Fort Aguada since 1864, but it has undergone several different incarnations. The present occupant of the space was built in 1976 and is fairly modern in its square design.

Open to the public with no entrance fee, it offers a great opportunity to get up high and survey the surrounding area. Among the views are the walls of the impressive fort nearby. To get to the top of the structure you must climb a metal spiral staircase inside the lighthouse.