Goa has a coastline of 100 kms that faces the Arabian Sea. Outlets of the state’s seven rivers break the straight, uninterrupted coastline. Goa has a variety of breathtaking beautiful beaches for tourists. A tourist can opt for crowded or some isolated or virgin beaches.
One of the most popular Goa beaches is Anjuna Beach. This beach is a crowded one and a shopper’s delight at the same time. Other popular beaches are Vagator beach, Miramar beach, Dona Paula Beach, Colva Beach, Arambol Beach, Bogmalo Beach, Benaulim Beach, Calangute Beach, Chapora Beach, Mabor, Majorda etc. The beaches in Goa are also known by the quality of sand. For ex, Calangute Beach is known for its coconut grove. Shaped like the new moon, Goa’s beaches are known the world over.
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Beaches in Goa
- Varca, Cavelossim, Mobor
Calangute is the most popular beach with thousands thronging it in both the peak and off-season. The waves rise high above as you wash away your city blues, though swimmer need to be a trifle cautious because of the sudden drop and the rising waves. Experienced swimmers will, however, revel in the seas here.. The beach is fringed with popular restaurants and hotels, including the Calangute Residency operated by GTDC.
This long, seven-km sweep of sand located 15 kms from Panaji, is called the ‘Queen of Beaches’. The village of Calangute has all basic facilities like post office, banks, foreign exchange offices, resort companies, all kind of bars and restaurants, besides medical facilities. The number of internet cafes in Calangute might even exceed that of the entire city of Panaji.
A few kms down the beach is another—Baga, part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa which begins at Fort Aguada, continues as Sinquerim Beach, moves on to Candolim which merges into Calangute Beach and then stretches on to Baga, Anjuna and on to Vagator, finally ending at Chapora beach. Truly a veritable feast of beaches.
Compared to Calangute, Baga is quieter and also more isolated. It is more popular with western tourists who love to use it as a base for water sports and fishing in the area.
This most photographed beach of Goa forms a bay that curves from the headland to the hillock crowned by the Chapora Fort. This beautiful arc of sand is located about 22 kms from Panaji and is part of the 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa.
Adjoining Anjuna, Vagator is secluded, crescent shaped and situated on the Caisua bay along the Chapora river basin in the shadow of Chapora Fort. During the tourist season, it is a favorite venue for midnight parties.
Anjuna was made famous by the ‘flower power and peace’ generation of the sixties and early seventies and later by the ‘trance’ parties. Located about 18 kms from Panaji, the beach is known for its breeze-catching palms, soft sand, and the unusual rocky formation overlying a cove of whitish sand and black rock that juts into the sea.
It is now famous for its weekly Flea Market, which draws legions of visitors every Wednesday and bargains can be had on apparel, footwear, jewellery, footwear, chess sets—and yak cheese.
With its magnificent 17th century fort which has now been converted into a prison, Sinquerim is one of the finest beaches in Goa, offering international class facilities for water-skiing, parasailing, fishing, scuba-diving and windsurfing.
Home to the Taj Hotel Group, which dominates the headland around the historic Fort Aguada, Sinquerim is located some 13 kms from Panaji. The uninterrupted stretch of firm sand stretches all the way north to Baga, offering visitors a temptingly long walk along the beach.
Candolim is the first beach that can be approached from the city of Panaji and is like a gateway to the other more famous beaches. Though individual accommodation is available here, there are only a few hotels with restaurants attached. One highlight of Candolim is the parasailing and water skiing facility, besides other water sports.
Aguada beach is almost synonymous with the top-notch Fort Aguada Hotel complex, a superb hotel that is built on the cliff, around the remnants of the early 17th century Portuguese fort. Although access to the beach is not possible through the hotel grounds, which are private, you can walk along Aguada beach, for in India private beaches do not exist.
The VIPs on this beach are the Olive Ridley turtles that come to nest here helped by a group of volunteers who guard the nests and help the hatchlings get into the sea. A favourite of Russian tourists, along with Ashwem beach close by, visitors will find signboards and menu cards in Russian
This is also a foreigners’ haunt with a large number of Tai Chi, nonpermanent mehendi or henna, tattoo, yoga and meditation centres. Harmal Beach is the one place you cannot drive on to, but there are narrow lanes that lead to the higher reaches of the coast.
You have to walk down a slope to the beach itself. The black rocks on the silvery beach make for some pretty dramatic scenery at sunset. Further up near the hill is a pool with soft yellow clay, which is said to have healing properties. Beauticians buy the clay as do the innumerable massage parlours in the area.
This beautiful ‘urban’ beach, akin to Chowpatty in Mumbai, is located just 3 kms from Panaji. It lies adjoining the estuary of the river Mandovi as it opens into the Arabian Sea. It was originally known as ‘Gasper Dias Beach’, named after Gaspar Dias, a prosperous landlord and where a Portuguese fort once stood at the far end of the 16th century.
Palolem is a cosy beach of white sand facing a blue bay between two headlands. The little wooded islands on the northern headland look alluring and you could try and persuade one of the fishermen — this is also a fishing beach — to ferry you across.
They also offer to take you out to spot dolphins. Tourists have of late discovered Palolem and so there are quite a few shacks selling seafood snacks, souvenirs and clothes of the bright, informal kind. Panaji, the capital, is more than 70 kms away.
If you continue driving towards Panaji from Palolem, the next beach is Agonda. It’s long and lonely, fringed with palms and casuarinas and dominated by a large hill to the south. It’s not safe to swim out too far on this beach.
There are very few facilities available here and you are needed to carry all the essentials. Agonda is a 3 km long beautiful cove of white sand, safely secluded in the palms. There are no tourists, no souvenir stalls, no restaurants—just peace and tranquility. Just the trees, the beach, the big beautiful ocean and you. Not far from Agonda beach is Cabo de Rama, untouched by most of the visitors in this region.
Varca, Cavelossim, Mobor
Varca, Cavelossim and Mabor are a trio of the most alluring beaches south of Benaulim. These beaches are much cleaner and quieter than most of the other more famous beaches of Goa. There are numerous beach shacks offering a variety of Goan dishes and seafood at reasonable prices.
There are several food joints around the grand ‘Dona Sylvia’ resort offering a splendid repast at reasonable rates. There are also facilities for Dolphin watching up the River Sal.
North of Colva is Betalbatim Beach which begins a long string of beaches with Majorda, Utorda, Arossim and Velsao at the north. It is a ten kilometre stretch of white sand which is not very crowded
This is the most important beach in the South circuit, equipped with all modern amenities like air-conditioned resort complexes, tourist cottages, discos, besides several stalls, eateries and guest houses—all of which have expanded the village enormously. With 20 kms of virgin white sands, palm fringed, sun drenched beaches, Colva is the most loved beach in Goan.
Unlike Anjuna or Calangute, Colva has gained popularity only lately. Located just 39 kms from the capital Panaji, it was relatively little disturbed and life moved on quietly. The Church of Our Lady Of Mercy in Colva is famous for its miracle statue of Menino Jesus. The busy road leading from the Church to the beach is where all the facilities are located.
This small stretch, about 5 kms north of Colva Beach, is as pretty as a picture, studded with several hotels, the most prominent being the starred Majorda Beach Resort. Majorda is the village where the Jesuits, fond as they were of the good things of life, discovered the best Goan toddy (sap from the coconut palm), which they used to leaven the bread.
Naturally, then, Majorda is the place where the Goans were first trained in the delicate art of baking European breads. The Majordans are still Goa’s best bakers.
This beach, dominated by a 5-star hotel located right on its edge, is cut apart from both the North and South beach circuit. Just 4 kms from the airport at Dabolim, it is a favourite among the elite classes and has an air of exclusivity. Although the resort hotel towers above the village, there are still a few smaller and appealing places to stay in. Windsurfing and water skiing facilities are available.
Less than 2 kms south of Colva is the more tranquil beach of Benaulim, is one of the few places in Goa where one can glimpse handicrafts typical to this area. The best of the traditional rosewood furniture is made here. Also, mythically Benaulim is famous as the place where the legendary Parashuram’s arrow landed by which Goa was created.
Betul is an important fishing port where all the mechanized boats and deep sea trawlers bring in their catch. Here headlands from the slopes of the Western Ghats protrude into the shore, imparting an imposing backdrop
Beyond this secluded beach is the hill of Cabo De Rama where the Portuguese built a fort. From the fort, a great view of the sunset on the beach can be viewed. However, there are very few places to stay in Betul.