Goa… or well, the Ibiza of India, is a state that should not be left out of your South India itinerary. While India is not known as a party or beach destination at all, Goa is exactly that. So looking for a break from the hectic India life? Maybe perhaps even get a tan? Or zip cocktails on the beach, Goa is your place to be! However, even if this state is tiny, there is still a large difference between the beaches and areas, so choose wisely where you’ll stay. Read below about my favorite beaches in Goa!
Beaches in Goa
The beaches in Goa are stretched from the North to the South side of the state, and getting from one to the other side might take a couple of hours; so choose wisely where you’ll stay. Anjuna Beach is situated in the North of Goa and is basically known as party paradise, a place that is visited by many travelers who are backpacking Goa. You will find this beach to be filled with backpackers and Indians ready to party! During the day you can hang out at the beach, get a nice tan, enjoy some amazing food, or even rent a scooter out to explore the area. One of my favorite places must be Tantra, a place that has treehouse-style balconies with a view on the beach. You will only have to look down to the kitchen and they will come take your order, a perfect place for a relax day…. or week.
But as soon as the sun sets the beach becomes one big party, so enjoy a cocktail over sunset, and get ready to dance your ass off. Anjuna is home to Curlies, the place that is known to be the birthplace of Goa Trance. While it is not exactly my kind of music, we decided to go, and well it was quite the experience. Besides that, the place to be basically changes every evening with different parties going on, so be sure to check with the hostel staff, I am sure they can inform you. Or else you will always be successful finding a party at the beach, and in the end what is better than dancing standing with your feet in the ocean..
Where to stay: My favorite hostel must be Prison by the Hostelcrowd. In no hostel in India did I have so much fun as in Prison. The name makes it kind of obvious, but the whole place is in prison style, including bars in front of the doors and windows and a sign that says “Clean up after yourself, you’re in prison b*tches”. Beds are comfortable, hostel is clean, staff is friendly and helpful and the place has a great atmosphere. The hostel is a 10 minute walk to the beach and is closely located to many restaurants.
Other Beaches in North Goa
Arambol Beach – Arambol beach is known as the hippie beach of Goa, just so you know what you would be getting yourself into. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful 16km long beach that even has a fresh water lake. It has a nice, quiet and relaxed feeling to it and is filled with other backpackers, mainly situated a bit inland, away from the beach. Should you be in the area, be sure to check out Twice in Nature, a bar with amazing live music and dj sets!
Vagator Beach – Vagator is that perfect place if you are looking for some relaxing time. It is quiet and serene, however, not the best place if you are looking for a party. Vagator is separated into three different beaches, you will find most of the backpackers at Ozran beach and the locals at Vagator beach. The last beach, Chapora beach, is a old fisherman style of beach. Looking for some good food? We loved Bean me up, a tasty and healthy vegan restaurant! And lastly, if you are looking for a place to stay check out Dreams Hostel or Jungle by the Hostelcrowd.
Palolem, most likely my favorite place in Goa, a place I could easily stay for a week, or month, or perhaps even a year. Palolem, to me, had that right mix of party and relaxing. The beach is absolutely beautiful, with little beach huts (budget and expensive) located all along the beach. Find yourself a nice shack midway the beach and enjoy a morning swim before having a breakfast with ocean view. Palolem is home to many fantastic restaurants for good food, places to see live music at night, or even a silent disco that allows you to party, but not disturb the serenity of the area. Just like Anjuna, Palolem is one of the most well visited beaches in Goa, if you are looking for more offbeat places in Goa this is not the place for you!
From Palolem you can rent a motorbike and explore national parks in the area, or some of the other lush beaches this area has to offer. Just don’t forget, you are here to relax, so grab that cocktail and curry and see the sun set over the ocean. Some of our favorite places in Palolem for food are: Avocado Garden, and Little World (which has the tastiest chai and pancakes) which are both great if you are looking for a bit less of an Indian breakfast. For drinks, Club Havana makes these tasty (and cheap) Gin & Tonics, and they have comfortable bean bags with an amazing ocean view. Looking for some awesome locals cooking the tastiest thali? Find Maria and Michael on Ourem road, food is tasty and this couple are just the sweetest!
Where to stay: if you are a solo traveler looking to meet some people, I would personally recommend to stay at Summer, another hostel from the hostel crowd! The hostel is clean, offers free breakfast, is a good place to meet new people and is not too far located from the beach. However… if you want the real Palolem experience, go over to the beach, take a walk over the beach and ask around how much the beach huts are. The budget beach huts (400 – 600 Rupees, suitable for 2 people) are very basic, but well, you are going to be hanging out on the beach anyway right? The luxury beach huts can be as expensive as 1500 to 3000 rupees, perhaps suitable if you are budget is a bit higher!
Other Beaches in South Goa
Cola Beach – A very quiet and deserted beach located riding distance from Palolem beach. Unless you are looking for absolute quiet and tranquility, I would not recommend to stay at Cola beach; I would personally hang out at Palolem and go see Cola beach as a day trip. You can easily ride there by scooter, albeit it a very very very bumpy ride though! But honestly, bumpy or not, the ride was worth the view!
Agonda – Smaller than Palolem, but not as small as Cola beach, is the peaceful beach of Agonda. Perfect if you are in the South and want to escape from the bigger tourist crowds, or large groups of backpackers. The view is pretty amazing, get yourself a nice shack on the beach, or close to the beach, and enjoy the ultimate beach life (nightlife is pretty nonexistent at this beach though). You might even be lucky enough to sunbathe with some cows!
There you go!
Which beach you choose really depends on what you are looking for when it comes to the beaches in Goa. When it comes to a party I would definitely recommend Anjuna. However, if you are looking for a pretty beach with the convenience of having loads of good food and relaxing time I would recommend Palolem. I would personally try to stay away from Baga, Calangute and Candolim. These are Goa’s most famous beaches when it comes to all inclusive deals and resorts. Last question: when to go? High season in Goa is from October till April, although temperatures in April can be scorching. From May onwards many places close due to rainy season, making your visit to Goa a lot less fun. In the end, no matter which beach you’ll pick, move around a bit and I am sure you’ll find a beach that suits just you!
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