Tranquility, blue skies, warm waters, seafood and adventure for those who seek it – the beaches in Goa are known for different things. But to truly enjoy Goa’s sandy white beaches, knowing your way around them is essential. With an amazing stretch of sun-kissed beaches in the region, it would be a shame not to make the most of your trip by visiting some of the best ones.
So, where do you start. Here’s a list of them – from the busy to the quiet and serene – perfect when you’re looking for – perfect any kind of travel, mood and occasion. Just pick and go!
Located close to Baga Beach, and 15 kms from the city of Panaji, it’s a perfect location to relax under the sunny skies and often empty stretches. It also happens to be one of the first beaches I visited in Goa. If you want to avoid the milling crowds of the more popular beaches close by, I would suggest Candolim if you’re looking to relax and yet want to feel you’re not too far away from “town”! There’s a ship called River Princess, which has been stuck in the sands since the year 2000.
A serene beach filled with white sand down in South Goa. The beach is situated at the southern most tip of Salcete beach stretch, which starts from Majorda in the north to Cavelossim in the south. The river Sal flows into the Arabian sea, south of this town. Cleaner and quieter than most of the famous beaches, it’s perfect for anyone who wants to head down south, relax and gorge on the local delicacies offered by many shacks that are scattered on the beach.
I first heard of Agonda, when I was in Palolem, which is further down south. Today, it’s probably on every Goan beach lover’s agenda. The clean sands, serene atmosphere and gorgeous stretch attracts a lot of sun lovers. Meditate, sun bathe, do some yoga, enjoy the scenery – or if you’re the adventurous kind, you can get onto a boat and go dolphin spotting. The Cabo de Rama fort located nearby was built by the Maratha king Sambhaji Raje. After Portugese colonization, it was named as Cabo de Rama, which translates to “Cave of Rama”. With it’s wellness centers and yoga retreats, it does seem like a place where you can spend a lot of time relaxing and rejuvenating.
Crowds. Yes–and I know many travelers enjoy this aspect–so if you like humanity and the buzz, this could be the place for you. Baga is not only a beach, it’s also a party destination. Filled with beach parties, sea-food shacks, water sports, dolphin cruises–it seems to have everything that attracts travelers who enjoy a gamut of activities. Also, a great place for the family to hang out–there’s something for everybody. Located in the town of Bardez, it’s also quite close to the airport. A last minute stop before you fly out, perhaps?
South of Colva, there’s Benaulim Beach, a haven for beach combers and shoppers alike. You’ll get an inside view of handicrafts that Goa offers – including traditional rosewood furniture. The legendary Parashuram’s (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) arrow landed here, from where Goa sprung forth to life. Earlier called “Banahalli”, it also has a temple dedicated to Shiva and Parvati and if you make a trip to the village – you’ll still find the ruins. It does get crowded in the evenings and the weekends, but you can always head out on a weekday for some peace and quiet time!
Situated south of Margao, another quite famous destination in Goa. And needless to say – it gets rather crowded during the peak season. The town itself – due to the heavy tourist in flow – has everything on offer. As a result of all the tourism, Calangute has transformed into a miniature town, offering services from banks to internet cafes to post offices – perfect for those who want to share their gorgeous vacations on social media, or to mail a gift back home. Not only is this stretch filled with vibrant life, it also offers handicrafts from almost everywhere – Tibet, Indonesia, Rajasthan to name a few. Get some shopping done too, while you’re at it.
Around 13 kms from Panaji, in Bardez village, this is another haven for tourists looking for long relaxing walks, water-skiing, fishing or swimming in the waters. There’s also the famous Aguada fort nearby; usually a must-visit for many travelers. If you’re looking for luxury, there’s the Taj Holiday Village and the Aguada Hermitage nearby and the airport is 45 kms away.
Located in North Goa, it’s around 21 kms from the capital Panaji. Looking for some quality time with the loved one? Or a location for your honeymoon? Try this slightly more peaceful beach (there are actually two stretches of beach – Ashvem and Junas) with some gorgeous views as you relax with the better half. Perfect for those who want to get away from the crowds and enjoy a “do nothing” kind of holiday. You can try the local restaurants, swim or just be a beach bum!
Despite the popularity, this 20 km stretch of sand is still quite pleasant and peaceful. With it’s palm fringed beaches and white sands, there are tons of things to do here. Ranging from seashell stores to amazing eateries, it captures all of Goa. On the shore, you can see the silver colored bhangde (kind of small fish) drying, and get a glimpse of local life.
Goa is filled with various interesting stay options and I’ve written about them earlier too. It all depends on what kind of holiday you’re looking at. For a bit of luxury, mixed with easy access to some of these beaches, one of my recommended ones is the Sterling Holidays’ Club Estadio, which offers a Spanish beach villa close to the most popular beaches and the city of Panjim. Their travel desk is quite helpful if you need information. I’ve had the good fortune of staying in quite a few luxury destinations around the country, and I’d have to say this ranks up there in terms of comfort and accessibility.
Of course, Goa can also be experienced in other ways–like home stays and bed & breakfast places–but that’s a post for another day!
Meanwhile, enjoy Goa’s beautiful warm beaches. The October to January period is perhaps the perfect time to head to this sunshine and sussegad state. What are you waiting for?
There are probably no “secret” beaches left in Goa anymore (sad, but true) – pretty much every stretch has been discovered thanks to some persistent travelers and curious writers! But do you have a favorite? I would love to hear your “go-to” beach in Goa.
If you love Goa, don’t miss a chance to visit it in the monsoons (my favorite time of the year).