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 serenity on a yoga retreat.
As North and South Goa have totally different vibes here’s my pick of the 5 best places to stay (for all budgets) in North Goa and South Goa:
My Pick of the 5 Best Places to Stay in North Goa
Best Luxury Hotel in North Goa – W Goa, Vagator
This modern, ultra stylish 5 star resort is perched right on the cliff with amazing views over Vagator Beach from the pool. It’s also right next door to Chapora Fort, made famous in the film ‘Dil Chahta Hai’
Best Heritage Hotel in North Goa – Wildflower Villas, Candolim
A gorgeous, family run, boutique resort of 7 Goan heritage cottages nestled in luscious gardens and situated located on a hill with panoramic views over Candolim Beach from the infinity pool.
Best Apartment in North Goa – Siolim Holiday Apartments, Siolim
A selection of comfortable and well equipped modern studio, 1 BHK and 2 BHK apartments with a super helpful host in the local, untouristy village of Siolim giving easy access to every where in North Goa.
Best Budget Hotel in North Goa – Mi Casa By The Sea, Candolim
These clean private rooms with AC, Wifi, T.V, private bathroom and balcony are amazing value for money and just 5 mins walk from Candolim Beach. If Mi Casa is full, Hotel Bonanza in Baga is another good choice.
Best Hostel in North Goa – Woke Hostel, Arpora
A beautiful hostel offering private rooms, AC dormitories and female only dormitories situated in a heritage Goan Portuguese house with sociable common areas, tropical gardens and a swimming pool close to Goa’s best nightlife and markets.
My Pick of the 5 Best Places to Stay in South Goa
Best Luxury Hotel in South Goa – Alila Diwa, Majorda
A simply stunning 5 star resort and spa with mesmerising green paddy field views from the infinity pool, sumptuously designed suites and an on demand shuttle to some of South Goa’s most pristine and uncrowded beaches.
Best Heritage Hotel in South Goa – Casa Susegad, Loutolim
A beautifully restored, laidback 100 year old Indo-Portuguese mansion situated in a traditional, rural South Goan village with 5 unique and homely rooms that overlook the swimming pool.
Best Apartments in South Goa – Mistral Holidays, Benaulim
Light and airy, well equipped and tastefully furnished 1 BHK apartment with good AC and Wifi, balcony and gardens in serene Benaulim walking distance from a peaceful beach and just 10 minutes drive from Madgaon train station.
Best Beach Hut in South Goa – Art Resort, Palolem
Beautiful, arty, quirky, AC beach huts situated right on the sea front of Goa’s prettiest beach with lovely wooden decks out front complete with swinging beds and billowing white drapes. Some huts even have baths in the shape of a boat on the deck!
Best Budget Hotel in South Goa – Cupids Heaven, Agonda
Cheap and cheerful, basic but clean and comfortable private rooms with a fan and bathroom just 100 feet from restaurants, shops, the beach and spectacular sunsets in peaceful Agonda.
Best Hostel in South Goa – The Lost Hostel, Palolem
Great value hostel with clean dormitory rooms, an onsite restaurant, bar and sociable common areas and a fun and friendly vibe less than 10 minutes walk from popular Palolem Beach.
Best Yoga Retreat in Goa – Earth Yoga Village, Palolem Beach
My favourite Goa yoga retreat in this rustic, eco friendly, community focused yoga retreat located in the quiet far north end of beautiful Palolem Beach. I love that they offer many different therapies, activities, lectures and interactive discussions as well as Hatha yoga, meditation and pranayama.
My Pick of the Best Places to Stay in Panjim/ Panaji
Best Luxury Hotel in Panjim – Goa Marriott
This sleek 5 star hotel on Miramar Beach has stylish rooms, many excellent dinning options and great sea views from the pool.
Best Heritage Hotel in Panjim –Panjim Inn
Located in the colourful Fontainhas, the old Latin quarter, Panjim Inn is one of the oldest mansions which is now a renowned yet still affordable heritage hotel with interesting fine art and collectables displayed all over the property.
Best Hostel in Panjim – Old Quarter Hostel
A comfy, clean, well run and friendly hostel with a great coffee shop and female only dormitories located in colourful Fontainhas, the old Latin quarter of Panjim.
To see more of my Goa hotel recommendations check out these posts:
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.