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14 Best Beaches in Goa

Written by Joni Sweet
Aug 26, 2020

Goa might be among India's smallest states, but it has a bounty of beaches that beat any other coastal areas of the subcontinent. Think: Swaying palms, uninterrupted stretches of glittery gold sand, and smooth azure surf that promises to soothe the stresses of traveling in India. And at just an hour and 15 minutes away by air from Mumbai, Goa is an easy holiday destination to add to any trip to South India.

No matter what you're looking for, you can find coastal places to visit in Goa that suit your individual travel style. Benaulim Beach is a welcoming destination for families. Agonda Beach is the go-to place for wannabe surfers. Travelers who want to go off the beaten path will love discovering Butterfly Beach.

For more ideas to help you plan your visit to this petite paradise, check out our list of the best beaches in Goa.

1. Colva Beach

Palms on Colva Beach

One of Goa's most famous beaches, Colva attracts crowds of tourists during high season (mid-November through mid-February) — for good reason. The 2.4-kilometer-long beach in south Goa offers an endless array of aquatic adventure sports (including jet skiing, banana boat rides, and parasailing), sand that's as soft and as white as baby powder, and a well-developed tourism infrastructure that can cater to your every need. See for yourself at the incredible beach resorts in this area.

Colva Beach is a favorite among Indian tourists, so if you're looking for a local experience, you'll find it here. Consider staying overnight at one of the many homestay accommodations offered by families in the village for an even more authentic trip.

When you've had enough sun, head just a few minutes inland for sanctuary at Our Lady of Mercy Church. The white-washed spiritual center in the village square was founded in the 1600s and houses a famous statue of an infant Jesus that reportedly has healing powers. The attraction draws countless pilgrims from around the world for the traditional Fama celebration every October.

2. Dona Paula Beach

Dona Paula Beach

Dona Paula Beach is one of the best beaches in Goa for honeymoon tourists. Nicknamed "Lovers' Paradise," this coastal destination in the suburbs of Panaji even has its own love legend.

The tale is about Dona Paula, the daughter of a Portuguese viceroy, who threw herself into the Arabian Sea after her father forbade her from seeing a Goan fisherman who had stolen her heart. The viceroy was so saddened by the loss of his young daughter that he named this entire beautiful area after her, and treated it as a tribute to eternal romance.

It's easy for modern-day tourists to fall in love with this pretty beach. It's got calm waters and bronze sand shaded by palm trees, along with a relaxing vibe that begs you to stick around for sunset. It's also well served by a range of accommodations, including boutique hotels and luxury beach resorts, that will make you feel right at home.

3. Morjim Beach

Morjim Beach

This beach in north Goa offers a more wild, rustic feel than others in the state. It's a tranquil escape, lined with beach huts and sun beds, where you can spend hours on end. Morjim Beach has earned the nickname "Little Russia" for the large influx of Russians who stay here for weeks at a time. Its abundance of Russian restaurants can be a welcome change of pace from the rest of the food in Goa.

One of the top things to do in Morjim Beach is check out the wildlife. A variety of feathered species, including kingfishers, cuckoos, bay-backed shrikes, and sand plovers, create a bird-lovers' utopia. Olive ridley sea turtles can be found along the beach and offer unique photo opportunities. However, local laws prohibit tourists from disturbing the creatures, so be respectful and avoid getting too close. Look out to sea and you may see dolphins swimming along the horizon.

Hot tip: Bring your best pair of binoculars, so you can get up-close views of the animals at Morjim Beach.

4. Palolem Beach

Palolem Beach

Accommodations in Goa don't get much quirkier than what you'll find at Palolem Beach. Every year, locals in the hospitality industry erect temporary coco huts in which travelers can spend the night. The rustic rooms make up for their lack of luxury with premier access to one of Goa's best beaches, dedicated lounge chairs right on the sand, and a one-of-a-kind experience that make for a lifetime's worth of memories.

Make the most of your time at stunning Palolem Beach by taking part in the many activities offered here. You can dance all night long to your choice of tunes at the beach's regular silent discos. Test your balance and find your zen in beach yoga classes. And sample traditional Goan flavors at one of the many well-reputed restaurants on Palolem Beach.

5. Vagator Beach

Vagator Beach

Vagator Beach is a lively area, but compared to the crowds of nearby Anjuna Beach, it's a serene getaway. Here, tourists will find a variety of offerings, including renowned restaurants that cater to every dietary need, shops filled to the brim with tempting souvenirs, and beach shacks with all the essentials you'll need for a day of sand and surf.

Walk to the end of Vagator Beach and you'll discover one of Goa's most picturesque attractions: the head of a Hindu deity carved into a boulder on the shore. Devotees often adorn the sculpture with marigold garlands and colored pigments.

A short walk inland brings you to Chapora Fort, a structure built by the Portuguese in the 17th century. Its hilltop location offers soothing seaside vistas.

6. Galgibaga Beach

Galgibaga Beach

With almost no commercial development, Galgibaga remains one of the cleanest beaches in Goa. Pack a picnic lunch and head to this relatively undiscovered beach to enjoy crystal-clear seawater, caramel-colored sand, and a grove of tropical coconut palm trees. Bring enough water to last you through the day — there are no beach shacks to refuel at here, and the sun can be powerful.

Galgibaga is sometimes affectionately referred to as "Turtle Beach" for the shelled creatures that nest in this protected area. Plan to visit between December and February for your best chance at seeing the olive ridley sea turtles, which are the second smallest species of sea turtle in the world.

7. Benaulim Beach

Benaulim Beach | solarisgirl / photo modified

Benaulim Beach is regularly ranked as one of the best beaches in Goa for families. Just south of Colva Beach, this laid-back destination offers a pleasant getaway for tourists who aren't into the Goan party scene. Benaulim Beach's soft white sand is a gold mine for youngsters who want to collect seashells and build sandcastles.

Tour operators offer plenty of water sports at Banaulim Beach. Choose from parasailing, Jet Ski rentals and dolphin-spotting excursions.

When you're feeling peckish, head to one of the popular beach shack restaurants. Little Tiger, a kid-friendly Indian restaurant, serves fresh seafood, crispy chicken, and fruit juices. Blue Corner, a Benaulim Beach mainstay, is a reliable spot for Tandoori meals. Leave room for the restaurant's sought-after lemon cheesecake!

8. Calangute Beach

Calangute Beach

If you're looking for one of the best beaches in Goa for foreigners, head to Calangute. The "Queen of Beaches" (as it's sometimes known) offers that quintessential Goan beach experience, with ample lounge chairs, smooth waves, and sunshine galore.

Tuck into fried prawns and icy cold soft drinks from the thatched-roof shacks just up the sand at this beach in north Goa. From here, you can arrange exciting things to do on Calangute Beach, like snorkeling and dolphin-watching trips, banana boat rides, and sailing. You can also shop for souvenirs, like wooden handicrafts, textiles, silver jewelry, and seashell necklaces.

Head into town to see St. Alex Church, one of Calangute's main attractions. The immaculate white church, which has an Indian-style cupola architectural feature, has been an oasis for locals and visitors alike since the 1600s.

9. Agonda Beach

Aerial view of Agonda Beach

Eager to try surfing? Head to Agonda Beach in South Goa. Its smooth, consistent waves prove accessible to first-timers. Encouraging teachers at local surf schools, like Aloha Surf India, will help you get the hang of hanging 10 and maximize your fun in the ocean playground. Agonda Beach is also a prime spot for bodyboarding.

Even if water sports aren't your thing, you can still have a perfect beach day at Agonda. Its calm vibe and cool breeze create the perfect atmosphere to linger around all day long. If you're lucky, you might even spot olive ridley sea turtles in the area.

10. Arambol Beach

Sunset yoga on Arambol Beach

Arambol was once an untouched fishing village, but backpackers have since transformed it into a mecca for free spirits. You could spend your day here lounging on the beach and enjoying the sea. However, most tourists enhance their itineraries with tons of soulful things to do at Arambol Beach. You can practice tai chi, take part in spirited yoga classes in the sand, lose yourself in guided meditation backed by the sounds of the tide, get entranced by nighttime drum circles, and restore your body and mind in a reiki session.

Arambol Beach also rivals Agonda when it comes to the surf scene. Surf Wala, an international surf school in Goa, offers lessons for groups and individuals that range from one to five days. Surf Wala also rents out surf boards, bodyboards, and fins.

11. Candolim Beach

Candolim Beach

Candolim Beach offers that classic stretch of sand lined by beach shacks and cafés that every tourist in Goa is looking for. Nearby Baga Beach tends to attract more crowds, which leaves Candolim Beach delightfully less boisterous, and spectacularly beautiful. It's an inviting place with just the right amount of development to keep visitors comfortable and entertained.

Plan to spend one full day at Candolim Beach. It'll give you time to see the ocean fade into different shades of blue, gray, and white throughout the day. Plus, it's one of the best places to watch the sunset in Goa. Snag your perfect spot and watch as the sky explodes into a rainbow of colors.

12. Anjuna Beach

Anjuna Beach

Anjuna Beach is a magnet for travelers looking to get a taste of the hippie trail from the 1960s. The beach itself is a classic in Goa, with plenty of space to sunbathe on golden sand and watch the palm trees dance in the breeze. The destination's bohemian energy pulses within the funky beach restaurants and live music venues.

Shopping at the Anjuna Beach flea market on Wednesdays is one of the top things to do in Goa. The massive alfresco tourist bazaar has fresh tea leaves, woven clothing, wooden deity statutes, and myriad tchotchkes that you'll want to take home.

13. Butterfly Beach

Aerial view of secluded Butterfly Beach

Butterfly Beach offers a secluded place to chill out in south Goa. The semi-circular stretch of sand is bookended by piles of boulders, which make for great sightseeing perches. You'll feel like you've stumbled upon a desert island.

Getting to Butterfly Beach might not be easy, but it's worth it. You'll need to hike through a few kilometers of dense forest, or hop on a boat from nearby Agonda Beach or Palolem Beach. Bring supplies to keep you comfortable, as there aren't many restaurants or shops nearby.

14. Cavelossim Beach

Cavelossim Beach

Cavelossim Beach stands out from other beaches in Goa for its unique stretch of white sand and black lava rocks. The contrasting geological features and little to no crowds create glorious scenery that's worthy of any postcard. The calm waters here are also perfect for tourists who want to spend their day swimming.

Tour operators along Cavelossim Beach offer fun activities to get you out on the Arabian Sea. Choose from dolphin sightseeing boat trips, catamaran rides, and kayak rentals.

Hot tip: Tourists report being hassled by pushy touts along Cavelossim Beach. If you're not interested in dealing with them, simply decline their offer and ignore any further attempts at a sale until they go away. Don't let them ruin your relaxed day in this picturesque place.

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