Goa is renowned for its long stretches of silky sand, emerald waters, palm trees, rustic beach huts and yoga and meditation retreats. Despite it being a very small state in comparison to its larger neighbours, each of its beaches are diverse and have their own personality, which will either capture or break your heart.
After travelling through Goa for a few weeks, I have come to discover the highlights of this region’s pristine coastline.
Here is my guide to the beaches of Goa:
Anjuna, known as the ‘hippie beach’ of Goa, is located around an hour and a half taxi ride North of the airport. Full of quirky backpackers relaxing in beach shacks and bopping along to reggae music, it is a brilliant beach to chill out on in the day and party on at night.
Be sure to head to the huge flee market, which pops up next to the beach every Wednesday and Sunday (night market).
If you’ve had a read of my first ‘Postcards Home’ post (if you haven’t, check it out here), you’ll know that I’m not Candolim’s biggest fan. Often referred to as ‘the Benidorm of Goa’ and situated around an hour taxi ride North of the airport, Candolim is a popular destination for families and groups of friends looking for good weather and cheap booze. Consequently, the beach has become overrun by sunbeds and beach shacks blaring trance music (even when you’re trying to enjoy a tranquil beach dinner… *jeez I sound old*).
If you are just after a beach to relax on for a couple of weeks then Candolim may be perfect for you however, as a traveller trying to escape the tourists, it wasn’t my cup of tea.
The polar opposite to Candolim, Khancola is a secluded beach nestled down a steep mountainside. Offering spectacular views across the ocean and forrest from the top of the mountain and a deserted alcoved beach with calm waters at the bottom, this was by far my favourite beach in Goa.
Accessible by tuk tuk, taxi or moped down a dusty dirt track, this beach is around a 15 minute journey from Agonda.
Agonda is a more picture-perfect version of Palolem. A pristine beach, popular with yoga and meditation fanatics as well as, herds of cows (they seem to be like the beach mafia here), Agonda is somewhere where you end up feeling really at home.
Although there is little to do in this area other than lay in the sun in the day and watch the sunset with a cocktail in the evening, I would highly recommend at least a day trip to this zen beach.
Palolem is the perfect combination of tranquility and tourism.
Lined with beach huts for every budget, chilled out bars and restaurants and panoramic views to die for, Palolem is the perfect beach to head to if you want to escape the mania of the North but still be surrounded by fellow travellers.
With its calm waters, Palolem beach is the best place to rent a kayak at sunset to paddle out to try to find dolphins (100 rupees per person for 1 hour).
Another prime place to watch the sunset – Neptune Point can be found to the far left of the beach (when facing the sea). Nestled behind palm trees, a mound of rocks and a restaurant, this point boasts an elevated view of the beach and ocean through the shadow of swaying palm trees. Watch as the sky morphs from pale pink to dusty purple and the beach lights up.
If Palolem is still a little too crowded for your liking, head 10 minutes down the road to Patnem Beach, a slightly smaller and quieter version of Palolem.