How to Find the Best Beach in Goa for you! Insider’s Tips

“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.

North Goa has the best nightlife, restaurants and markets and a bigger range of accommodation, entertainment, shopping and eating out options to suit all budgets.

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

Palolem Beach in South Goa
Palolem Beach in South Goa

Palolem Beach

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.

Agonda Beach

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.

Vagator Beach

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

As the sun goes down the party starts up on Anjuna Beach
As the sun goes down the party starts up on Anjuna Beach

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.

For my pick of the best nightclubs and parties check out my guide to the best nightlife in Goa and check out my favourite restaurants in Anjuna and Vagator.

The Best Beaches in Goa for Peace and Quiet

Agoda Beach is a quiet slice of paradise
Agoda Beach is a quiet slice of paradise

Agonda Beach

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.

Benaulim Beach

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

The more upmarket Candolim Beach
The view of Sinquerim and more upmarket Candolim Beach from the Vivanta by Taj Hotel

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

Crowds on Baga Beach, one of the most popular and therefore busiest beach resorts in Goa
Crowds on Baga Beach, one of the most popular and therefore busiest beach resorts in Goa

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.

Candolim Beach

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.

Colva Beach

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

Beach shacks in Goa
Beach shacks in Goa

Arambol Beach

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.

Palolem Beach

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

Beach bliss, yoga and nesting turtles in Mandrem, beaches in Goa
Rustic beach bliss, yoga and nesting turtles can be found in Mandrem, Ashwen and Morjim

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!

Arambol Beach

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

beach huts beaches in goa
Colourful beach huts – many people love Goa so much they come for 6 months at a time.

If you love Goa and don’t want to leave then the good news is that living in Goa can be really affordable! Check out my guide about how to rent a house in Goa.

Patnem Beach

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.

Morjim Beach

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.

Fruit seller on Anjuna Beach in Goa
Fruit seller on Anjuna Beach in Goa

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.

Check out more Goa blogs:

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Carmack November 13, 2015 at 8:33 am

Great article, I like how you diveded it for people that want to find quiet beach, or luxuriuos, etc. 🙂

Joanna September 13, 2016 at 3:15 am

Hi I love your blog, it has been super useful for planning my trip. However I am really struggling to find good accommodation on or near Anjuna beach and I was wondering if you have any suggestions? I wanted to stay there so that we could go to the Saturday market and experience some of the fun part of goa before going a bit further north for something a bit more chilled. I was hoping to find some nice beach huts or a good B&B close to the beach but hardly anything like this comes up on trip advisor or lonely planet. Tantra seems to be the only beach huts coming up but these look super busy. Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks, Joanna

Anna September 14, 2016 at 11:43 pm

Hey Joanna! So glad to hear that my blog has helped. It depends what you are looking for – most of the accommodation on Anjuna Beach is a bit basic and plus you get lots of noise from the parties so sometimes its better to stay further back from the beach and most of the cheap accommodation is not online yet. Tantra is ok, the best beach facing option in Anjuna is probably Vista Praia huts , I have more tips on accommodation in my Goa Guide – Did you see it? There are also some nice properties on the cliffs in Vagator with stunning sunset views – check out Ozran Heights , Oltremarino and Ocean Bliss for nice huts close to the beach with amazing views. There are also loads of cheap beach huts up in Arambol as well. its still pretty busy but less party central than Anjuna and its only about a half hour drive to the markets and parties etc. If you want somewhere really laid back best to go to South Goa. Hope this helps 🙂

vinothini November 20, 2016 at 3:40 pm

A fantastic post about Goa attractions.Pictures you displayed are really awesome. I am really glad that I had a chance to visit your blog. Goa is an exotic destinations in India and a place which should be never missed. Thanks for this post which helped a lot to get some insights on Goa attractions

Anna November 24, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Thank you for your comment – yes I love Goa too 🙂

Katrina Hallmark November 25, 2016 at 9:13 am

Querim beach is my favourite I used to go to go Goa every year for Christmas. I remember going to Querim when there was only 1 shack. Couple of years later a couple of more shacks appeared, but I’m glad it’s still blissfully peaceful and hasn’t been ruined 🙂 I’d add to that list Ashvem Beach though. Used to visit here often, beautiful <3

Global Gallivanting November 25, 2016 at 9:28 am

I really like Querim beach too – one of my favourites ????

Alan Quayman November 29, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Cola beach on South Goa. Beautiful with the beach separating a clean freshwater lake with a clean stream from the sea. Few people and so peaceful.

Umina Beach July 13, 2017 at 3:33 am

I’ve been to mumbai with my friends,it was a cool place but were for a beach we heard about GOA .. well,we dont have time then! lol but this will be in our bucket list! thanks for sharing!! nice blog!!

Anna July 16, 2017 at 11:13 am

Mumbai is my favourite Indian city but yeah if you want to enjoy the beach life you need to come to Goa! 🙂 Hope you make it next time

Dan September 16, 2018 at 7:07 pm

Really wild town, so different than the rest of the country.

Anna September 30, 2018 at 7:13 pm

Yes Goa is alot different from the rest of India

My Top Things to do in Panjim (Panaji) and Central Goa - Global Gallivanting Travel Blog June 22, 2022 at 6:37 pm

[…] is mainly famous for its beaches and parties but there’s so much more to explore in Goa and if you don’t take time off the […]

Iris Ellmann September 3, 2022 at 1:23 pm

Hi Anna
Hope this finds you well.
I read through your beach and hotel articles but they seem a little old so maybe things have changed.
Was going to Goa with my mum last winter but flights kept on being cancelled so we flew to Mexico instead ! :-). Now, I would like to make another effort of tackling Goa.
Sadly, most resorts are only available via tour operators which we have been using since Covid, not before and I was hoping, not after,
Anyway, the 5 star resorts are very expensive and the 3 star or beach shacks are too basic for us. My mum is turning 80 but very fit and up for exploring.

We still want a Goan feeling and Goan food, meet people and be safe.

Have you been to this resort as I could not find this on your list (or overlooked)?
Caravela Beach Resort
In Varca Beach, South Goa, Goa, India

In nay case, I would value your expertise when you have a minute.

Anna September 11, 2022 at 9:01 pm

Hi Iris

Yes some of my Goa posts were written a few years ago but this one about where to stay was updated recently and might be helpful

It’s been difficult to travel to Goa for a few years so I hope you make it this year! I agree with you – Goa does budget and luxury very well but finding a great mid range resort is harder. There are lots of with reviews – you don’t need a tour operator to book them.

I haven’t stayed at Caravela myself but have heard good things about it – it seems like a good midrange choice. Another I can recommend is Beleza by the Beach which is not far away

Hope this helps 🙂


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