Millions of tourists visit Goa for the silken sand, crystalline shores, cocohut culture and the laid-back atmosphere that makes Goa beaches so attractive.

The entire Goan coast, with its splendid beaches, is a popular tourist destination. The Goa beaches stretch over 106 km (66 miles) from Querim in the north to Mobor in the south. Each beach has its own individual character, though in general, South Goa’s beaches are far less developed than those in North Goa. To cater to the growing number of visitors, many beaches now have shacks serving beer, snacks and seafood, lively flea markets, and vendors offering a variety of services from head massages to dolphin watching trips.

Below is an overview of Goa beaches starting from the north at Terekhol Fort and ending in the south at Palolem.


Terekhol Fort

Across the Terekhol River from Querim is the little hamlet of Terekhol Fort situated on a plateau. The fort’s high battlements face the sea, looking across the waters to Fort Aguada, Arambol and Chapora. The atmospheric Terekhol Fort Heritage Hotel offers some excellent views.



Close to Terekhol, is a lovely, unspoilt stretch of sand.



Also known as Harmal, Arambol is the only fishing village in North Goa that has some basic facilities for visitors. Situated along one of Goa’s less commercial beaches, it still retains all the charm of a traditional fishing village, except for the occasional gypsy selling bright scarves and skirts. Unlike in central Goa, the Hindu influence is apparent here; the numerous cafés and guesthouses are called Ganesha or Namaste instead of Pete’s or Johnny’s.

At the northern end, a rocky footpath leads to a second beach, entirely surrounded by cliffs. This sandy cove has a freshwater lagoon fed by hot springs and lined with sulphurous mud. A 5-km (3-mile) long path, heading north, leads to Querim Beach – a pristine strip of white sand, backed by casuarina trees.



Peaceful, quiet, hidden Mandrem, with a beautiful location and glorious beach, 12 km (7 miles) north of Chapora village, has in recent years become a refuge for those seeking a break from the traveller scenes of Arambol and Anjuna – and those who avoided the scene to begin with. The beach is beautiful, and there’s little to do but laze on it.



Morjim, a pretty strip of mostly empty sand 5 km (3 miles) north of Chapora village, is one of the very few beaches where sunbathing doesn’t attract hordes of hawkers, dogs and onlookers. The water, though, does suff er from a bit of river runoff pollution and cannot ever be described as crystal clear. Nonetheless, rare olive ridley turtles nest at the beach’s southern end from September to February, so this is a protected area, which, in theory at least, means no development and no rubbish. The area around the village of Morjim is ideal for birdwatching.



A beautiful bay sheltered by rocky outcrops at both ends, Vagator consists of a number of small beaches fringed by shady coconut palms. Rarely crowded, it is the perfect place to discover Goa’s unspoilt beauty.

The southernmost cove of Ozran lies below a steep cliff, where a freshwater stream empties into a clear pool, ideal for swimming. Little Vagator, to the north, is a secluded stretch of sand popular with more discerning visitors. Big Vagator Beach is dominated by the red laterite Chapora Fort situated on top of a hill at its northern tip. Its ramparts, now desolate, offer sweeping views of the coast. Chapora village, below the fort, has many pleasant cafes.



Anjuna has now replaced Calangute as a haven for backpackers. It is better-known for its full-moon rave parties and sprawling flea markets than for its beach.



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An extension of Calangute, Goa’s most developed beach, Baga has lots of activity, with numerous bars, resorts and shacks, and some lively night spots.



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Calangute Beach is Goa’s most popular beach. During the day, it is packed with sunbathers, hawkers, masseurs, hair-braiders and ear-cleaners. The entire stretch of sand is lined with resorts, trinket stalls, bars and beach shacks which serve excellent Goan food.



Beginning at Fort Aguada and merging with Calangute beach towards the end, it is one of the longest beaches in the state. The beach in itself is very calm and peaceful, and at times, tourists come here from Rajneesh Ashram in Pune to take a break. What adds to the scenic beauty of the sand and sea are the scrub covered dunes at the back of the beach quite popular with tourists.



Extending up to the ramparts of Fort Aguada, Sinquerim has three luxury hotels situated on its sands. A few notable operators offer a range of water sports facilities as well as boat trips.

Fort Aguada

4 km (2.5 miles) west of Reis Magos, Fort Aguada was built in 1612 as a defence against the Marathas and the Dutch. Its church, dedicated to St Lawrence, the patron saint of sailors, was built in 1630, while the huge lighthouse dates to 1864. Some buildings within the fort now house the state prison.



Miramar is Panaji’s nearest beach located 3 km (2 miles) west of the capital.


Dona Paula

7 km (4 miles) southwest of Panaji is near the headland dividing the estuaries of the Zuari and Mandovi rivers. The jetty offers fine views of Fort Aguada across the bay. Visitors can also take a ferry ride to Vasco da Gama harbour.



Vainguinim has facilities for sailing, wind-surfing, water-skiing, parasailing, canoeing and scuba diving, as well as motor boats and jet skis for hire.



A small, unspoilt beach, Sinda is a short drive from Panaji; its shores have pretty seashells.



Bogmalo is safe for swimming, is an ideal family beach with adequate facilities for water sports.



7 km (4 miles) north of Colva, has a wide beach dotted with luxury hotels.



Colva has one of Goa’s longest uninterrupted stretches of sand, backed by shady palms. It is the most popular of South Goa’s beaches, and has a busy market square and a number of bars and seafood cafes.



Tourism has spilled over from Colva to the quiet fishing village of Benaulim 2 km (1.3 miles) south, whose roads are lined with small guesthouses, restaurants and bars.



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A favourite with Indian celebrities, Cavelossum has an enchanting 2-km (1.3-miles) stretch of sand. It also has a golf course, luxury resorts and excellent seafood restaurants.



5 km (3 miles) south of Colva, is an idyllic spot, with its backdrop of hills, and the pretty fishing village of Betul, nestling near the Sal river.


Cabo da Rama

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Cabo da Rama (“Cape Rama”), the promontory just south of Betul, is named after Rama, hero of the Ramayana, who supposedly hid here during his 14-year exile. It has the ruins of a Hindu fortress that fell to the Portuguese in 1763.



7 km (4 miles) north of Palolem, is even quieter than its neighbour.



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The crescent-shaped Palolem Beach, the loveliest in South Goa, offers dolphin-watching trips and tree houses for rent. The sunset views here are spectacular.