“There are so many beaches to choose from I can’t decide where to stay to stay in Goa. How do I find the best beach in Goa for my trip?’
After living in Goa since 2015 this is a question I get asked A LOT! While Goa is India’s smallest state there are over 100 km of beautiful, tropical, sandy beaches so it’s important to figure out which are the best beaches in Goa when your planning your trip.
So which is the best beach in Goa?
Well, it’s an impossible question to answer because each beach in Goa has a different vibe and attracts a different kind of traveller. It’s just a case of finding the best beach in Goa for you…
One of the best things about Goa is that there is something here for everyone and you really can have it all in Goa – from luxury resorts and package holiday hotels, to beach huts and sociable backpacker hostels.
Whether you are looking for wild all night trance parties or a serene yoga retreat, spicy Goan curries or fine dining European cuisine, you will find it all in Goa!
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Which is better? North Goa’s Beaches or South Goa’s Beaches
One of the first things to decide when planning your trip and thinking about where to stay in Goa is whether you want to stay in North Goa or South Goa.
The answer depends on what you are looking for, but if you are looking for the best beaches then South Goa should be your first choice. The beaches in South Goa are quieter and less developed, whereas the beaches in North Goa are where all the action is.
South Goa has better, cleaner and quieter beaches and is mainly luxury hotel resorts, although you can also find some busy stretches of beach and parties in South Goa and you can still find some quiet areas of North Goa too.
There is also a lot of explore in between the beach resorts too, crumbling old forts, bustling markets, colourful villages, palm tree fringed paddy fields and white washed Portuguese churches, all with that special Goan charm and character.
It’s quite easy to explore neighbouring beaches and towns but the distance between North Goa and South Goa is a few hours on the highway so you probably want to concentrate on one area at a time, or perhaps stay one week enjoying all the action in North Goa and then another week chilling in the South to get the best of both worlds.
The Best Beaches in Goa – Insider’s Tips
The answer to “Which is the best beach in Goa?” really depends on what you are looking for, there’s something for everyone.
I’ve been lucky enough to explore all of Goa’s beaches so here’s my opinion on the best beaches in Goa. I’ve divided this list into categories to make it easier for you to find the best beach for you
- Most beautiful beaches in Goa
- Best beaches for nightlife
- Best beaches for peace and quiet
- Best beaches for yoga
- Best beaches for luxury vacations
- Best beaches for package and family holidays
- Best beaches for backpackers and hippies
- Best beaches for expats and long stayers
The Most Beautiful Beaches in Goa
Calm turquoise sea that is perfect for swimming, the white crescent beach backed with palm trees and colourful beach huts. Palolem is a laid back paradise on one of the best beaches in Goa although it is getting increasingly busier every year. You could also try Patnem next door which is beautiful but a little quieter.
A great wide sandy that sometimes feels like you’ve got it all to yourself and a rustic, laid back vibe that is a good quieter alternative not too far from Palolem.
Varca Beach and Cavelossim Beach
Probably the best of a scenic stretch of quiet beaches in South Goa that cater for upmarket guests in luxury resorts.
The sand is not the most golden but the rocky coves and views over the charismatic red Goan cliffs and the hippy vibe still have that special, unique Goan charm.
The Best Beaches in Goa for Nightlife
Baga Beach and Calangute Beach
The busiest beaches offer the best choice in everything (apart from quiet that is) including restaurants serving food from all over the globe, lively Saturday Night markets nearby that go on till the early hours, live music bars and nightclubs like Mambos, Titos and Club Cubana.
Anjuna Beach and Vagator Beach
Goa loves psytrance and you will find it in Anjuna and Vagator where you can party all night at a beach shack or in famous nightclubs like Hilltop and Nine Bar, look out for flyers to see whats on where. There are also bars with live music but mainly the scene here is all about trance and techno.
The Best Beaches in Goa for Peace and Quiet
Only recently discovered the beach is long and wide and often pretty empty, I got a really good feeling of space here. There is a good choice of budget accommodation and beach huts to choose from but not nightlife to speak of yet, I feel like this place will get more popular and busier every season.
Great, long sandy beach with only a handful of beach shacks and accommodation options near the beach. Most visitors are slightly older but I had a great relaxing few days here and only 5 mins from Margao Train Station I can’t understand why it’s not busier
Velsao Beach, Arrosim Beach and Cansaulim Beach
The start of South Goa’s strip of gorgeous beaches great for a relaxing holiday. This top end is quieter, probably because of the view of the chemical plant on the headland but the beaches and water are clean enough and if you look the other direction its just as beautiful as the other beaches. Most accommodation options are mid range or upmarket resorts.
Querim/ Keri Beach
Perhaps the last undiscovered beach paradise right up in the far North of Goa. A wide sandy beach shaded by tall trees and pretty much empty apart from a few beach shacks that have appeared and a cute pink cupcake like temple. Limited accommodation options though.
The Best Beaches in Goa for Luxury
Candolim Beach and Sinquerim Beach
At the end of Candolim Beach Sinquerim is the home to two luxury Taj hotels making it a good choice for a luxury stay but close enough to all the action and nightlife of North Goa.
Varca Beach, Cavelossim Beach and Mobor Beach
Many of the beautiful, white sand, unspoilt fishing beaches in this part of South Goa are private beaches part of Goa’s luxury resorts. Most of the nightlife happens at the resorts. The exquisite Zuri, Taj Exotic and Leela and LaLit are all along this stretch and many have private beaches.
The Best Beaches in Goa for Package Holidays and Family Fun
Baga Beach and Calangute Beach
Busy and crowded beaches with shallow waters perennially popular with both domestic and foreign families and package tourists. The most popular beaches in Goa and have the widest range of facilities with accommodation and restaurants to suit every budget and inclination, the widest range of shopping, watersports, tours and activites and the best nightlife.
Following on from Baga and Calangute the beach is just as good and there is a good choice of accommodation – slightly more upmarket too, and it’s still lively but a bit less hectic than Baga but still with easy access to all facilities.
Utorda Beach and Majorda Beach
A nice enough strip of beaches good, clean and quiet beaches (Majorda is cleaner and nicer but busier) Most accommodation is in nice, upmarket resorts with a few luxury hotels with watersports and beach shacks available too.
Probably the busiest beach in South Goa, busy with lots of Indian families and a wide range of accommodation, watersports, activities and eating options but without the nightlife scene of Baga and Calangute or the enchanting atmosphere of Palolem.
The Beach Beaches in Goa for Hippies and Backpackers
A long wide beach with loads of cheap beach huts, more hippie clothing stalls than Glastonbury, every alternative therapy you’ve ever heard of and some you never thought existed, the odd drumming circle and a laid back, friendly vibe. Plus, climb over the rocks and go paragliding over cute Kalacha beach and swim in the sweet lake.
Anjuna Beach and Vagator Beach
These beaches became popular in the days of the hippie trail and some people never left! Good choice of cheap accommodation and beach shacks, a friendly vibe that attracts a lot of long stayers, trance parties and the infamous Anjuna flea market. Vagator’s beaches are rocky but the cliffs are charismatic whereas Anjuna’s beach is more sandy and better for swimming.
Beautiful beach with colourful, affordable beach huts, plenty of beach shacks and eating and drinking options but as it gets busier every year it feels more mainstream, not so much the hippie or party scene up north.
The Best Beaches in Goa for Yoga
Mandrem Beach, Ashwen Beach and Morjim Beach
The wide, flat beaches of Mandrem, Ashwen and Morjim merge into each with a still low key, chilled out scene that is popular with long staying Russians, with many great yoga schools and are also a nesting ground of rare olive ridley turtles!
This backpacker and hippie haven has every natural healing and alternative therapy you could ever think of, and some that you never knew existed and the general vibe is awesome if this is your kind of thing.
Anjuna Beach and Assago (a cute village slightly inland)
This area is home to some great international yoga schools and a vibe that makes alternative types, yogis and hippy long stayers feel at home.
Palolem Beach and Patnem Beach
The best variety and options for yoga, meditation, ayurveda and alternative therapy in South Goa are found on the beautiful and enchanting Palolem beach. Quieter Patnem beach nearby is home to a couple of yoga teacher training schools.
The Best Beaches in Goa for Expats and Long Stayers
Just around the corner from popular Palolem is Patnem, another beautiful beach but one that is a lot quieter than Palolem these days and has a good community and range of affordable apartments to rent and call home for a few months.
Popular with long staying Russians but even if you can’t read Cyrillic you can find a nice and cheap apartment or house to rent for the season in a chilled out environment
Anjuna Beach and Vagator Beach
Alternative communities and many long stayers (some who never even left from the days of the hippy trail!) Look out for the ‘House for Rent’ signs and find somewhere to chill out and enjoy the unique Goan vibes for a few months.
I hope this blog has helped guide you through the huge variety of the best beaches in Goa and given you a taste for what each one is like.
Once you’ve decided on which Goa beach is best for you head over to my ultimate list of the best places to stay in Goa to find your perfect hotel.
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