Beaches in Goa: The 5 best in the south is an insider guide written by Marianne Nielsen
India's many facets - from unique temples to beautiful beaches in Goa
India is known for several things: Bollywood, Taj Mahal, Indian food and culture are just some of them. But the country also rhymes with beach holidays. If you are looking for a relaxing start or end to your trip to India, Goa is the perfect place for you.
Goa is a beautiful paradise where you can experience kilometers of beaches, spicy scents, bustling markets and amazing sunsets. You will therefore get my guide to which five fantastic beaches you must not miss if you are in the south of Goa and need a little beach holiday.
My favorite beaches in South Goa are in the municipality - or 'taluka' - Canacona, and they are; Patnem Beach, Palolem Beach, Butterfly Beach, Agonda Beach and Cola Beach.
In the south of Goa you will find the elongated sandy beaches with coconut palms swaying in the wind, a very relaxed atmosphere and absolutely wonderful little beach huts offering pure Robinson Crusoe atmosphere, or delicious luxurious 'boutique resorts' on the beach.
Patnem Beach - one of the semi-secret beaches of Goa
Patnem Beach is the little sister of the more famous Palolem beach. Despite the fact that the secret of the little beach is no longer quite so secret, it is still far less visited than Palolem Beach.
Here you will find fine sand, clear water and palm trees and a relaxed atmosphere. The beach is sandwiched between two cliffs that create the most beautiful surroundings.
Patnem is a great base if you want to stay in peace and quiet with the opportunity to visit the famous 'Paradise Beach' at Palolem just 10 minutes from here.
Here you will find several yoga retreats, and the atmosphere is relaxed easy living, where the days are enjoyed with sun, beach and pure relaxation. Behind the beach you will find several small cozy shops and stalls, and there is a fine selection of beach huts - called 'beach shacks' - and restaurants.
Palolem - the paradise beach of southern Goa
The most famous of all Goa's beautiful beaches is without a doubt Palolem, which quite deservedly also goes by the name Paradise Beach. Palolem is blessed with a lush coconut palm grove, and the beautiful palm trees stand and tower all the way down to the beach edge.
The beach, which offers the finest sand, lies like a semicircle in the small bay with rocks at each end. Swimming is great here, and the water is often calm without the big waves or undercurrents that many of the beaches in Goa can otherwise offer. Yes, there are many people here - because everyone wants a trip to paradise.
There are several accommodation options in all categories of comfort and price range, and the selection of restaurants, cafés and small charming beach huts offers something for everyone.
My favorite is the Chaska Beach Restaurant, which is enchantingly perched on a cliff at the southernmost end of the beach, and especially seafood a delicacy here.
Indian seafront with it all
In Palolem, the small town behind the beach has grown with tourism. So here you can also go shopping and enjoy the local life right behind the coconut trees if you need a break from the beach.
If you are into it a little more in the evening than just sitting with a cold beer and bare toes in the sand, so-called 'Silent noise parties' are held weekly. Here you can have a fun and different evening with other party-loving beach guests, without the music bothering those who want peace and quiet.
The concept is simple: Everyone is equipped with headphones, and then you just dance loose in the sand. Alternatively, you will always be able to find a place with cozy live music, where local musicians or visiting backpackers earn a little for their further journey by playing in the glow of the sunset.
Butterfly Beach - silence and butterflies
Do not forget to visit the small wonderful beach Butterfly Beach, which is just a short boat ride with the local fishermen from Palolem Beach. Sail out early in the morning, then you have the beach pretty much to yourself, and with a little luck you will most likely meet playful dolphins who enjoy frolicking off Butterfly Beach where there is not the hectic activity of local boats as by the other beaches.
As the name suggests, the beach is especially known for the many butterflies that live in the beautiful natural surroundings. Make an agreement with your boatman about when the time is best in relation to high and low tide - and not least when he picks you up again. And remember provisions, as there is nothing here on the small beach; neither vendors, beach huts or restrooms.
Agonda Beach - completely relax with turtles and dolphins
Agonda is for you who want a larger but quiet beach without too many people far away from hectic activity. Here awaits you a long wide sandy beach with peace and quiet and several accommodation options, which cover everything from the simple palm huts to wooden huts of a higher standard. There is a fine selection of restaurants and beach huts, but on a much smaller scale than, for example, in Palolem.
Take a long walk on the beach in the morning while enjoying the sight of the mountains appearing at sunrise and the local fishermen putting the small boats out to sea. Maybe you are lucky enough to see the turtles coming up to lay eggs, or the dolphins that can often be seen from the patio of your own little bamboo hut.
The days can be spent on the beach, a kayak trip or to take a trip to the nearest fort, Cabo de Rama Fort, or the small church. Talk to the local boatmen and make an appointment for a boat trip out into the sunset.
Cola Beach - one of the most isolated beaches in Goa
Cola Beach - also called Khola Beach - is for nature lovers. Here you go on an adventure, because it is not so straightforward to get to Cola. There are no buses and the only way to get here is by boat, taxi or scooter.
If you choose the country side, you drive about 2 km from the main road. Keep an eye out for the small signs and be prepared for a minor trekking trip from the parking lot down steep slopes to reach the beach.
There have been plans to build a small road down to Cola for several years, but it has not yet happened. The relaxed way to get to Cola Beach is to sail here.
What makes Cola Beach very special is the small lagoon. On one side of the beach awaits the rushing waves of the Arabian Sea, and on the other side you can swim in the most amazing cold and clear water. There are no beach vendors or long rows of beach huts. But the few accommodations at Cola Beach offer amenities that you are welcome to use when you buy your food and beverages here.
If you want to stay overnight here, I would recommend that you book in advance, because there is a rift about the seats. For example, you can stay in traditional 'Rajasthan tents' on the Blue Lagoon or in small fine wooden huts on Dwarka Goa. The possibilities are almost endless - paradise awaits.
Have a good trip to Goa!
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