Welcome to India’s tropical paradise — Goa! With beaches too numerous to list, it can be difficult to decide where to stay. After considerable research (i.e.: sunbathing), I’ve put together an essential guide to Goa’s 5 best beaches:
In This India Article You Will Discover:
- How to Find Seclusion
- White Sand Beaches
- Travel & Accommodation Tips
Ah, Goa. Lapped gently by the Arabian Sea, it is one of the world’s quintessential tropical paradises. And despite the area’s popularity, secluded strips of sandy beaches fringed with swaying palm trees and beach-shacks with a low-key backpacker vibe are all easy to find — if you know where to look:
I think there is a conspiracy afoot regarding Morjim Beach. The latest edition of the Lonely Planet India gives this wondrous stretch of silver sand merely a few sentences, not all of which are positive. Methinks the travel writer clique is trying to keep Morjim for itself… As this is the Goa of your dreams. Sparsely populated, expect relative seclusion even around peak season. The water is warm with just enough waves to have fun in. Dining options include the spectacular Sublime (400 rupees for a five-star meal); accommodation is best found at the lovely Village Susegat ($2,250 Rupees/night with a minimum seven-night stay).
Let the days drift by, rent a scooter and explore the area, dine under the starlight, spot Olive Ridley Turtles hatching under the full moon… I wish I was there right now.
Consider Ashvem as Morjim’s (slightly) bigger brother. Located just to the north and with a similar environment — a few more palm trees compared to the arid backdrop of Morjim — this beach is more developed, complete with higher-end resort-style accommodation. There are even a couple of surf schools, for when seasonal waves are large enough, and the town offers a good selection of restaurants and shops to peruse.
If you fancy an off-the-beaten-path beach, but still like it a little bit lively, consider Ashvem the best of both worlds.
La Plage is a popular restaurant, and Marbela Beach Resort offers trendy, high-end cabanas.
Just a few years ago, Palolem was considered Goa’s “undiscovered gem;” an unspoiled paradise of whitesand beaches backed by thick jungle. Well, people have certainly discovered it nowadays — but the whitesand beaches and palms remain. In peak season, Palolem can get quite busy, but it is a lovely place to stay and eat (Magic Pizza is a good bet for dinner) — and for those who like action and nightlife, Palolem is far-south Goa’s liveliest choice (still quiet when compared to Calangute and Baga). Rent a scooter, rent a kayak… go for a boat tour, have a Kingfisher beer at a beach shack… peruse the souvenir shops, people-watch to your heart’s content.
You won’t get bored in Palolem.
Located about two kilometres south of Palolem, Patnem is far-south Goa’s loveliest beach. Boasting expanses of white-sand, roaming cows and just enough beach shacks to provide multiple dining/accommodation options — but not enough to feel crowded — Patnem is always quiet and laid-back.
You’ll find plenty of space to throw out a beach towel and you’ll never wait to get a seat at a restaurant.
All of the beach shack restaurants are pretty much the same — expect fresh fish and cold Kingfisher at low-low prices. Eat breakfast at the Nepali-run German Bakery, just off-beach in between Patnem and Palolem. This is Goa as you’ve imagined it to be.
Rent a scooter at Palolem Beach and head to Agonda, about a 20-minute ride north. You may miss the turnoff the first time around, and you’ll need quality scootering-skills to navigate the rough dirt road into Agonda, but I promise it’s worth it. Similar to Patnem in many ways, this off-path beach area offers a few more shacks and a wider range of accommodation than Patnem — yet maintains its secluded, low-key feel.
The only issue with Agonda is finding beach access; it is limited to easy-to-miss trails, otherwise it is via beach huts.
It’s best to eat lunch at a shack, then wander onto the sand for the rest of the day — that way you can park your scooter without worry you’re in someone’s backyard. (Watch out for cow pies on the sand!)