Where to Stay in Goa: The Ultimate List of the Best Hotels and Places to Stay in Goa
Goa is larger and more diverse than many people realise. One of the best things about Goa is that there are so many different beaches and areas that all have a different vibe that appeal to different kinds of people. There really is something for everyone in Goa but this also means it can be hard to decide where to stay in Goa.
I’ve been living in Goa for 4 seasons now and often get asked where to stay and to recommend where to stay in Goa so I’ve written many posts about hotels in Goa for all the different beaches, areas, budgets and types of accommodation.
Where to Stay in Goa: North Goa or South Goa?
When planning where to stay in Goa the first thing you’ll have to decide is which area of Goa you want to base yourself.
Goa has over 101km of tropical beaches and each beach and area of Goa has a different vibe and attracts a different type of travellers. To start with planning your perfect trip to Goa first check out – How to find the best beach in Goa for you.
Generally speaking South Goa is quieter and less developed whereas North Goa is where the parties, markets and all the action is.
Luxury travellers and people who want to relax and get away from it all usually head to the better, cleaner and quieter beaches of South Goa (it’s where most of the luxury resorts are but there are still some budget options. I’ll go into more detail later in the post. )
North Goa is busier and more popular as it is where the best nightlife, markets, restaurants and entertainment are. There is a huge range of accommodation and dining out options to suit all budgets in North Goa.
Map of Goa
Best Beaches in North Goa
The busiest and most popular beaches in Goa are in the North. Baga and Calangute are the most popular and most busy places to stay in Goa with a huge array of nightlife, hotels, restaurants and close to the famous Saturday night market. Nearby Candolim and Sinquerim also have a lot to offer and are close to all the action but are more upmarket.
Anjuna, Vagator and Arambol appeal mostly to backpackers and hippies. Anjuna is home to the famous flea market held every Wednesday and psytrance parties. Arambol is home to lots of yoga and alternative therapies and has a hippy sunset market and drum circles on the beach every night (in season). Morjim, Mandrem and Ashvem are the widest, quietest beaches in North Goa.
Panjim (Panaji) is Goa’s pleasant, Portuguese influenced capital. As it’s located in the middle of Goa it makes a good base for exploring Old Goa and the temples, spice plantations, wildlife sanctuaries and waterfalls of Central Goa. It’s a bit far from the beaches but nice to spend a few days exploring the old Portuguese quarter and enjoying the floating casinos. See here for more about the alternative things to do in Goa beyond the parties and beaches.
Best Beaches in South Goa
South Goa is home to Goa’s most beautiful, pristine and quiet beaches. The stretch from Arrosim to Cavelossim is mainly luxury resorts but Colva and Benalim are busier and have more budget friendly options.
Further South, Palolem is arguably the most beautiful beach in Goa with lots of colourful, basic beach huts. Nearby Patem and Agonda are quiet beaches good for budget travellers.
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The Best Places to Stay in Goa
There’s a place to stay in Goa to suit all budgets and types of travellers. From luxurious, glamorous resorts to basic beach huts, sociable and fun backpacker hostels, modern family friendly hotels, yoga retreats, Portuguese mansions and heritage hotels. For a different expereince you could even rent a house, apartment or private villa in Goa or find serentiy on a yoga retreat.
To see my Goa hotel recommendations check out these posts:
Best Beach Shacks and Beach Resorts in Goa
Also check out my perfect 1 week holiday in Goa itinerary to make the most of your time in Goa and, of course, don’t forget to get your Indian visa before you travel, you won’t be allowed in India without one! For more check out my other posts on Goa here.