North Goa or South Goa – Best beaches in Goa & Best time to visit

North Goa or South Goa – Best beaches in Goa & Best time to visit

Goa is popular for its beaches, nightlife, safe environment and water sports. Goa is bounded by the Arabian Sea and has around 70 big & small beaches on its 125 Km long shoreline. The sea water’s temperature makes Goa a perfect destination for swimming and water sports. The best beaches in North Goa are popular as the party destination, whereas the best beaches in south Goa are popular for quite & laid back feel. Most of the best beaches in Goa gets crowded during peak season still it remains the popular choice for beach holidays. Goa has something for every traveler, it doesn’t matter if you traveling solo or with friends or family.

Everyone has different choices when it comes to where to stay in Goa. Most of us prefer to stay in a hotel on the beach in Goa. Some of the best beaches of Goa are popular among family travelers while some are popular among foreign travelers.

I have compiled this list of best beaches in north Goa and best beaches in south Goa based on my several trips as well with the help of my family members. This list is mostly based on our personal experiences in Goa. I have also suggested the best places to stay in Goa along with the map of beaches in Goa.

Also read about Most beautiful places in India and Must visit places in India

Best time to visit Goa

Goa is a popular beach destination of India throughout the year but winter is the peak season.

* Winter months – The best time to visit Goa is between November to February. This is the peak season and Goa is full of tourists. Infect between 20th December to 10th January Goa is overcrowded. Most of the hotel’s room rates go up by 25 to 30% during these 3 weeks.
Weather-wise it is the best time to visit Goa if you are planning to stay mostly in your resort and relaxing. Otherwise, be prepared for the crowd on beaches and shacks.

* Summer months – March to June is the summer and temperature goes to 37-38 degree Celsius but it feels hotter due to humidity. During the day it is very difficult to go out. April onwards many shacks start closing their operation due to fewer tourists. Monsoon arrives in June but it remains hot and humid.

* Monsoon season – July to October is the monsoon season and it rains heavily during this time. If you are not enthusiastic about water sports or swimming in the sea then it is a good time to relax by the beach. Even the most popular and crowded beaches of Goa have fewer people at this time of the year. You can get hotels at a discounted price.

If you are planning to go to Dudhsagar waterfall then monsoon is the best time to visit this second highest waterfall in India.

I personally feel after mid-September to the end of October is the best time to visit Goa because of several reasons. Some of the reasons are – beaches are less crowded, hotels are cheaper, and Goa is lush green after the monsoon. Even water sports and shacks on the beaches start opening. It is a win-win time to visit Goa.

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North Goa or South Goa – Where to go & basic difference

If you are visiting Goa for the first time then head toward north Goa. Why? Because north Goa is the place which you see mostly on the Internet and hear about. There are beaches in North Goa, which can match with South Goa beaches, but the opposite is not true. Moreover, all the sightseeing places are near the north Goa.

If you want to see churches, temples, Old Portuguese buildings, Divar or Chorao island and spice gardens of Goa then everything is close to North Goa.

There are several places on Calangute Baga road and near Anjuna beach, which remains open till 03.00 AM. Most of the people come to Goa to party. This is the main reason why these areas of North Goa remain crowded with tourist.

If you have been to Goa a couple of times then I am sure you have explored the best beaches and monuments around north Goa. Then it is time to explore the best beaches in south Goa. If you just want to relax by the beach and away from the crowds then also south Goa is the place for you.

If you want peaceful, cleaner, beautiful beaches and not too interested in parties then head towards south Goa. Some of the best resorts of Goa are in south Goa minus nightlife.

Also read these before traveling to Goa. A first timer’s guide for Goa, Offbeat places in Goa beyond beaches, A trip to spice gardens of Goa and All about Divar and Chorao’s island of Goa

Best beaches in North Goa and Best places to stay in North Goa

Bambolim beach

Bambolim beach is around 7 km from the state capital Panaji. The beach is lined with trees and shrubs. There are several paths between shrubs leading to the beach. It is a part sandy and part rocky beach with soft tides. I can say it is one of the offbeat and best beaches in north Goa if you are looking for solitude. Beach is clean and has fewer tourists, you may see students on the beach from nearby medical college. The sea water is perfect for swimming and the beach for relaxing.

Leda seashells and Sand & Sea bar and restaurant are two of the most popular beach shacks. For a formal dining experience, you can go to Grand Hyatt nearby.

Places to stay around Bambolim beach

For a luxury experience, you can stay in Grand Hyatt near the beach or at Casa da Graca. For a medium budget stay in Bambolim beach resort on the beach. There are few OYO room hotel in this area. I didn’t see other budget accommodations in this area. Bambolim beach Goa

Miramar Beach

This beach is only 2 Km from Panaji on the confluence of Mandovi river and Arabian sea. This is a local beach because of it’s close proximity to residential areas around it. Local people come to Miramar beach for a morning walk and do yoga on the beach.

It is not crowded in the morning and afternoon but in evening lots of food stall come up on the road running parallel to the beach. Due to this the beach and all the surrounding areas get crowded. I can say that it becomes like the Chowpatty in Mumbai, where people go for an outing and not for beach activities. The beach gets dirty due to disposable plates, empty cups and water bottles use in these food stalls.

There are no shacks on the beach like most of the Goa beaches. You can go to Goa tourism’s restaurant inside the Miramar residency or there is a Cafe Coffee Day. For fine dining experience go to restaurants in the Marriott hotel. If you go half a km towards Panajim then there are several restaurants like Aarohi Udupi veg restaurant, Mum’s kitchen, and The Oak barrel.

Places to stay near Miramar beach

Earlier I used to stay in Miramar residency by GTDC Goa but now there are several options near Miramar beach. Goa Marriott resorts & Spa is a luxury hotel. For medium budget, Miramar residency or Fortune Miramar are two popular options. There are several OYO rooms for budget travelers near Miramar beach.
There are hotels for every budget in Dona Paula area, which is 2 Km from Miramar. I at miramar beach Goa

Sinquerim and Candolim beach

These two beaches are joined and look like one long beach. It is difficult to understand where one beach end and other starts. Candolim Bardez is my current favorite area in North Goa.

The Candolim beach is clean, water is clear and most importantly it is not crowded. Though at certain places I noticed empty bottles and wrappers though away from water. Candolim is a popular residential area but there are several resorts and hotels along the beach. Small roads lead to the beachfront and it is very helpful when you return from the beach after dark.

There are water sports available but not too many or too crowded like Calangute or Baga beach. Sinquerim and Candolim are the best beaches in Goa to stay with family as there is everything for all age groups.

There are some shacks on the beach and Calamari Bathe & Bing is most popular. Bobby’s Shack, Mango Grove, and Inferno are some of the other popular places to enjoy a meal in Candolim. Other then these you can try several small places on the Candolim road where you can have fresh food at a reasonable price.

The Sinq Night Club in Candolim opposite Taj holiday village is one of the most popular parties places in Goa. Sinquerim beach view from Fort Aguada Goa

Places to stay near Sinquerim and Candolim beach

I can say that North Goa’s best hotels & resorts are in the Candolim area. For five-star luxury experience stay at Taj Holiday Village Resort and Spa, Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Sea Shell beach suits, or Novotel Goa Resort and Spa.

If you are on a medium budget then stay in Santana Beach Resort, Casablanca beach resort or Sunset beach resort. If you are a budget traveler then stay in Banyan Tree courtyard, Summer Ville beach resort or Riva Gold coast. There are several OYO hotels in the area for different budgets. I at Candolim beach Goa

Calangute Beach

It is Goa’s most popular beach and also known as Queen of beaches. Calangute beach remains full of tourist’s throughout the year from Indian and foreign travelers from across the world. There are some good restaurants and several shacks along the beach. Calangute beach is also popular for water sports. There is never a dull moment on this beach.

The market next to the beach is one of the biggest in the area. There are restaurants, wine shops, tattoo studios, departmental stores, a fish market, and several shops selling almost everything.

Calangute beach is not for the people who don’t like crowds and looking for a peaceful time. Calangute is very popular among Indian travelers and most of the people visiting Goa for the first time consider it among the best beaches in Goa for the family.

There are some popular clubs on the beach and they come alive after sunset. If you want to party all night then go to Club Titos on Calangute Baga road.

My favorite restaurant on Calangute beach is Souza Lobo on the beach. I also liked Chelsea Beach Shack, Tibetan Kitchen and Cafe Lazy day. Water sports at Calangute Beach Goa

Places to stay near Calangute

When I first time traveled to Goa, we stayed in Calangute residency by GTDC and again stayed here with my parents on the next trip. It’s on the beach and from the sea facing rooms balconies on the first & second-floor it feels as you are sitting on the beach. On my other trips, I found some of these interesting places to stay on Calangute beach.

Le Méridien Calangute, Ibis Styles Goa Calangute are luxury hotels close to the beach. For a medium budget stay in Resort Terra Paraiso, and if you are on a tight budget then Dreams Palm Beach Resort is a good option.

There are apartments like Goa Holiday Home, here you will have a small kitchen with some utensils. You can make full use of it to cook fresh catch from the nearby market. Shacks at Calangute Beach Goa

Baga beach

Baga beach is connected with Calangute beach and It is difficult to understand where one end and another starts. I had walked from Calangute to Baga beach on several occasions. Like Calangute, Baga is also full of tourists and remain crowded. Water sports are also available here and it is popular among swimmers.

The water from Baga creek flows into the sea near the beach and hence the beach is named after it. Most of the shacks on the Baga beach remain open till late at night.

Baga is one of the best beaches in Goa for nightlife. It is also popular among foreign travelers. The popular night out places like Britto’s and Cafe Mambos are here. It’s one of the most popular Goa beaches for adults.

My favorite restaurants on Baga beach are Britto’s, Shinning star beach shack and Las Olas.

Places to stay around Baga beach

If you are looking for luxury then stay in Baga Beach Resort. Estrela Do Mar Beach Resort is a good medium range resort on the beach. Coastal Stays Baga is a good option if you are on a budget. If you want to stay in a hostel then Bedrock Boutique Hostel is the best option near Baga beach. Chairs for relaxing Beach in Goa

Anjuna beach

This beach is not like the usual beaches in Goa, there are high cliffs and rocks in the sea water. Anjuna beach is famous for its trance parties and hippy culture. It is also popular for its flees market. Over the year this beautiful beach turned into a big flea market with an organized market close to the beach. The vendors from the market are persistent and push you to visit their shop even when you are sitting on the beach.

The crowds on the beach are a put off for those who are looking for a peaceful and non-crowded place. Anjuna is one of the most popular beaches in goa for foreigners.

Goa’s most popular nightlife place Club Cubana in Arpora is near Anjuna beach.

Curlies Beach Shack is most popular due to its location and view of Anjuna beach. Shiva cafe and Oasis are the other two options to enjoy the food when you are on Anjuna beach.

Where to stay around Anjuna beach

If you are looking for a luxury hotel then stay at Fairfield by Marriott Goa. Stay in Casa Anjuna if you are on a medium budget. For budget travelers, there are several hostels near Anjuna beach. Anjuna Beach Goa

Vagator beach

When I first time visited Goa, it was a quiet and peaceful beach with a couple of shacks on the beach. Over the years it became popular among tourists. Still, it is not crowded like Calangute, Baga or Anjuna and has a peaceful environment. You have to climb down to go to the beach. The beach is surrounded on one side by rocks, coconut and palm trees. Water is clean and its a good place for swimming. Water sports are available here like most of the best beaches in Goa.

There are many shacks on the beach. Several small stalls are selling trinkets and other souvenirs.
This beach is very popular for watching the sunset from the high rocks. It is still one of the cleanest and non-crowded beaches of north Goa.

Thalassa and Fishtail Bar & Restaurant are the two most popular eating joints in Vagator beach area. Vagator beach Goa

Where to stay near Vagator beach

W Goa is a relatively new hotel but one of the popular luxury hotel in Goa. Aria beach resort, Grand Leoney Resort is for medium budget. Several apartments and hostels are available near Vagator beach. Vagator beach Goa

Chapora beach

It is a sandy and rocky beach. The sand is comparatively white and the water looks relatively calm but it is not a place for swimming due to rocks. Sometimes undercurrents are very strong and this makes swimming dangerous. You may see people doing surfing on Chapora beach and other sports activities are also available here.

The beach is clean and there are several shacks on the beach. It is not a crowded beach and this makes it a good place if you want to spend some time in peace in north Goa.

Another popular place to visit near Chapora beach is Chapora fort. The fort is situated on a small hill and we climbed to the fort from village side away from the beach. The fort is in ruins but the view from the fort is spectacular. We saw of the beach and surrounding areas from the fort. This is one of the best places in Goa to watch the sunset in peace.

Sakana is a popular restaurant near Chapora beach but because this beach is very close to Anjuna and Vagator so most people prefer to go there for food.

There are not many resorts in this area that’s why people stay in Anjuna or Vagator area and visit it during the day or for nightlife. Chapora Beach Goa

Morjim beach & Ashvam Beach

These are the best beaches in North Goa. Beaches are the peaceful, clean and not crowded beach. These beaches are the best places to swim in the sea. With the lifeguards on the beach, there is no worry regarding safety.

Morjim is one of those sites in Goa, where Olive Ridley turtles visit for laying the eggs. Some areas of the beach are restricted during the nesting and hatching time of turtles. Nesting is normally between November end to March and the eggs hatch after 50 to 60 days.

Morjim and Ashvem beach are in walking distance and actually, you can’t differentiate between two beaches.
Both these beaches are quite popular for watching the sunset.

There are shacks on the beach and several hotels and resorts in the area.
The Tibet Cafe, Rainbow bar & restaurant and Fish & feni are some the best places to eat near these two beaches.

Places to stay near Morjim beach & Ashvam Beach

Marbella beach resort and Jardin D’ulysse for medium budget and there are several budget hotels in this area. Morjim beach Goa

Arambol beach

This one is the farthermost beach in north Goa for tourist and Arambol is 42 Km from Panjim. Traditionally it was a fishing village but over the years it became a very popular beach among foreign travelers. There is no mad rush of tourist at Arambol and it is one of the best beaches in North Goa.

A freshwater lake is a few minutes walking distances from main Arambol beach. Parasailing and Kite’s surfing are two popular sports on this beach.
Mornings are calm and less crowded on the beach, you will see many people doing yoga in a group on the beach.

Every evening and night the beach gets comparatively crowded. It is a popular nightlife place in North Goa. Here you will see more foreign tourists in comparison to Indian travelers, mainly Russian tourists.

There is a flee market next to the beach, where you can buy fashion garments or accessories but you have to bargain hard to get a good price.

Laughing Buddha, Cafe Maitree and Kinara restaurants are some of the most popular food joints in the area.

Where to stay near Arambol beach

There are no luxury resorts in this area and you will find mostly budget or medium range accommodations here. There are some villas also available. Arambol Beach Goa

Map of North Goa beaches

Best beaches in South Goa and Best places to stay in South Goa

Palolem beach

This is south Goa’s most happening beach among Indian and foreign travelers. This semi-circular beach is clean and water is perfect for swimming. Though Palolem is far from the other parts of Goa.

Dabolim airport is 60 km and the nearest railway station of Margao is 43 km from Palolem. The small railway station of Canacona on Konkan railway’s route is a 10-minute drive from Palolem. An autorickshaw from Canacona cost 200 INR. Taxi from airport cost 2000 INR and taxi from Margao railway station cost 1200 INR.

The north part of the beach is quieter and you will see mostly families on this side of the beach. The south part of the beach is more popular among backpackers and solo travelers. You will see lots, foreign travelers on this beach, as this is one of the most popular beaches in goa for foreigners. Palolem Beach Goa

There are all kinds of water sports options available on Palolem beach. Other than these you can also rent a Kayak and visit the nearby area. An early morning Dolphin watching trip should be in your list of things to do in Palolem. Visit Butterfly beach and Honeymoon Island by boat from Palolem beach.

You can also go to Galgibaga beach which is also known as Turtle Beach, it is 7 Km from Palolem. This is one of the 3 sites where Olive Ridley turtles lay eggs between end November to March and eggs hatch in 50 to 60 days. Villagers run the conservation project and protect the eggs. If you are in this area during hatching time then must visit Turtle beach.

Palolem is also not a party beach like other beaches in south Goa but on every Saturday there is a silent noise party (Where you put headphones for music & dance) at Neptune Point. For Nightlife, you can go to Cafe Del Mar and Silver Star cocktails & dreams as they remain open 24×7.

Draupadi bar & restaurant, Neptune Point beach shack, Ourem 88, and German Bakery are some of the popular eating joints in Palolem.

Where to stay near Palolem beach

There are no five stars luxury properties in Palolem area. Palolem beach resort is one of the most popular places. There are several medium budgets and low budget accommodations near Palolem beach. If you want to stay in a specific place then it’s advisable to book in advance because these places fill fast. Palolem beach sunset

Butterfly beach

There are very few people who have known about this beach, this little beach is tucked between hills near north of Palolem beach. This semi-circular shape beach is a hidden gem of Goa. Butterfly beach is also known as Butterfly island because it gives the impression of an island though it is not an island.

Butterfly beach is tucked between two mountains. There are two ways to reach this beach. Take 2 km hike through forest and hills or the easier way out is by taking a boat from Agonda or Palolem beach.

Most of the people go to Butterfly beach when they take a boat ride for Dolphin watching. These boats take you to Butterfly island and stay there for 30 -45 minutes.

There are no shacks or hotels in this area and you can only take a day trip to Butterfly beach. Carry water and food with you because nothing is available on the beach. It is worth visiting this beach to experience a different side of Goa. Butterfly beach

Agonda Beach

As I mentioned for other south Goa beaches, this is also a calm and clean beach. There are very fewer tourists during offseason on this beach hence shacks open only during the winter season. There are cows on some stretches of the beach but they are usually away from the shacks areas.

Silent Waves, Zest Vegan & Vegetarian restaurant, and Fatima Corner are some of the popular places to eat near Agonda beach.

Where to stay in Agonda beach

There are several medium ranges to low budget options near Agonda beach. If you like to stay in huts then you will find some options near the beach. The luxury hotels are not available here. Agonda beach Goa

Cavelossim and Mobor Beach

These two beaches are connected and look like a long beach. The river Sal flows into the sea near Mobor beach. Like other south Goa beaches, it is also clean, peaceful and not crowded. A perfect place to relax or swim in the sea. There are trees and shrubs along the beach, a narrow road leads to the beach. This is one of the whitest beaches in the south Goa.

The popular shacks near Cavelossim and Mobor beach are Dom’s Beach Shack, Robin’s Ark, and Sam’s beach shack. The Fishermans Wharf is near the Sal riverside.

Where to stay near Cavelossim and Mobor Beach

The Leela Goa and Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort Hotel one of the best luxury properties of Goa are close to these beaches. Holiday Inn resort and Radisson Blu resorts are other five-star luxury hotels near these beaches but they are cheaper in comparison to the other two resorts.

If you are on a medium budget then Shikara Beach Resort and Go green eco resort are good options. For budget travelers, Byke Old Anchor Beach Resort is a good option. There are few OYO room hotel in this area. Goa beach

Varca beach

This beach is also known as Diamond beach because it shines like a diamond. Varca beach is clean and peaceful as most of south Goa beaches. Water is nice and clean for swimming. Unfortunately, there are dogs on the beach, which are not dangerous but be careful of dog poop. Otherwise, it’s a nice beach to relax.

The shacks on the beach serve fresh seafood items. Evisha Beach Shack and Zeons Restaurant are popular places to have a good meal near Varca beach. You can also go to Benaulim beach which is close by. Goa beach

Where to stay near Varca beach

Club Mahindra Varca beach, Caravela Beach Resort, and Zuri White Sands are best luxury resorts close to the beach. If on a medium budget then Sterling Resorts is a good option. For budget travelers, Hotel Siesta De Goa or Veeniola Holiday Home are good options. Verca beach Goa

Benaulim Beach

This beach is also clean and not crowded like most of the best beaches in south Goa. The medium to low surf and shallow entry makes it a perfect beach for people who don’t know swimming but like to go into sea water. There are shops selling all kind of souvenirs but no point of buying here as things are over prices. The stray dogs & cows on and near the beach but they are harmless.

There are several beach shacks and they provide lounge chairs to relax but you have to buy something from them. Joecons Beach Shack, Johncy Restaurant, and Roger’s are some of the popular places to eat when at Benaulim beach. I at Goa beach

Where to stay near Benaulim beach

Taj Exotica resorts & spa (Few minutes walking distance from the beach), and Azaya Beach Resort Goa are a five-star luxury experience. Lotus beach resort, Palette – Beira Mar Beach Resort are medium range options and if you are on a budget then San Joao Holiday Homes or Oshin holiday can be your choice. Goa beach

Colva Beach

This is very different from other beaches in south Goa. It is crowded and bustling with activities. Surf mild and sand is soft. Colva beach is one of the best beaches in Goa if you are looking for different kind of water sports. There are several shacks on the beach and many lifeguards for the safety of tourists.

The 3 small bridges connect the road to the beach and it was easy to walk to the Colva beach through these. Colva is also popular for its nightlife, as most shacks & restaurants remain open till late at night.

Kentucky Seafood Bar & Restaurant, Boomerang Bar & Restaurant, and Silver spoon beach shack are some of the popular shacks/restaurants near Colva beach. Water sports at Colva beach Goa

Where to stay near Colva beach

Club Mahindra Acacia Palms, Soul Vacation are medium to higher range semi-luxury hotels in this area. There are several budget options near Colva beach. Colva Beach Goa

Betalbatim Beach

This peaceful beach is a great place to relax. The sand is soft and the water is clean. There are mostly foreign tourists on this beach.

Magzika Beach Shack and Mickey’s are the most popular places to eat near the beach.

Where to stay near Betalbatim Beach

There are some medium budget hotels like Nanu beach resort & spa and Sterling resort near the beach.

Majorda Beach

This is not a very well developed beach and this makes it one of the best beaches in south Goa. There are local as well as foreign travelers on the beach. You can watch local fishermen going in or coming back after fishing in the sea.
The beach shacks offer free sunbed, whereas in north Goa they charge a fixed amount.

Lavina’s beach shack near the beach, Martins is slightly away from the beach and FishKa Bar & Restaurant are some popular eating joints in the area.  Goa beach

Where to stay near Majorda beach

Alila Diwa Goa is one of the best hotels in the area and there are several budget options near Majorda beach.

Bogmalo Beach

This is one of the smallest beaches in Goa. Bogmalo is only 5 km from Goa airport. The beach is not very popular among tourists and that’s why not crowded. The beach remains open only in winter months and closed by guards during monsoon season. There is a fishing village next to the beach and you will see many locals people on the beach. Bogmalo is a clean and peaceful beach of Goa. this beach is a good place to relax minus water sports.

Also, visit the Indian Naval Aviation Museum when you are here.

Claudi’s Corner and Joets are two most popular shacks in the area.

Where to stay near Bogmalo beach

Bogmallo Beach Resort is one of the most popular places to stay on this beach. There are some medium budget places also in this area. Bogmalo beach Goa

Map of south Goa beaches

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This is my guide for beaches in the north and south Goa. There are some beaches that are popular among foreign travelers, some are popular for nightlife and some beaches are popular among family travelers. There are so many beaches in Goa and that’s why there is something for every kind of travelers. If there are luxury resorts in Goa then there are super cheap accommodations also. Goa beaches fulfill the requirement of all types of travelers that’s why it’s a popular destination among Indian as well as foreign travelers.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. These are products and services that I personally use and recommend. If you click on one and buy something, I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

4 thoughts on “North Goa or South Goa – Best beaches in Goa & Best time to visit”

  1. I had the opportunity to visit Goa way back in 2016. I visited some but not all of these places. Wish I had this detailed guide with me! Photographs are very good. But you should also mention “Photo by ___” in the photo caption so that people may know the copyright of the images. Otherwise it gives an impression that they have been downloaded from the internet.

    • Thanks so much 🙂
      I use 99% of photographs on my blog are clicked by me, so I take it for granted and don’t mention. On rare occasions, I borrow a couple of pics from my family members or any copyright free site. I never download pics from the internet just like that.

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