Goa Beaches: Where to stay, where to play
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Goa is separate from India in many ways, the Goa beaches being its lifeblood. The richest state in the whole country, Goa thrives on tourism in a way no other part of the country does.
India's Ibiza at the same time as its Seychelles, there is a range of beaches and places to stay all along the coast and inland. There's something for everyone in Goa, from swish Portuguese houses surrounded by dense palm groves, to the simple whitewashed huts on the beaches; you just have to pick the right place.
The other appealing thing about Goa, as well as its glorious weather, is that it's relatively easy to get to with great value breaks from big names such as TUI and from Mercury Holidays. Here's our quick guide to Goa beaches to get you planning your next beach break:
Northern Goa Beaches
Anjuna beach is somewhere you might stop off when visiting the Anjuna flea market on a Wednesday, but not necessarily somewhere you'd want to stay. It used to be hippy heaven, but that was a few decades ago.
There are still some great bars, but part of the beauty of the famous flea market and indeed the beach is the drive to get to it. Winding past palm trees and exotic birds perched on telegraph wires above rice paddies. Stay on another beach and come here when the flea market is on.
Here are the masses. The throngs of tourists sunning themselves on the beach. If part of what you love about a beach holiday is hanging out with all the other holidaymakers then this one is for you.
Baga and Candolim beaches sit either side of Calangute and there's a lot of accommodation to choose from between the three, as well as plenty of bars and restaurants. But if what you're looking for is a family-friendly resort holiday, you might look at Cavolossim or Arossim beaches instead.
Candolim has all the bars and restaurants that you need located just in front of the sand dunes. It is less crowded and a little bit more relaxing than Calangute and Baga beaches.
Also, for the fort lovers out there, 17th Century Aguada Fort is close by. Notable as a reminder of Goa's colonial Portuguese past and with a lighthouse to boot, it makes for a nice walk away from the beach.
Southern Goa Beaches
Most paradise-like beach in Goa? This one. Agonda beach has only a small smattering of beach huts. You can hire a taxi to take you in the morning and wait for you until the end of the day. This beach is surrounded by beautiful hills covered in palm trees.
It's good for wandering looking at seashells, and there's also a decent shady restaurant with a garden, a little way up the dune behind the beach. A small word of advice about Agonda - the currents can at times be very strong without being visibly so - so do take care when swimming.
Colva beach is only a short distance from Benaulim, and if you're staying on Benaulim beach, you'll likely hear Colva before you see it. Colva beach sounds like a lot of people having fun. Like a mass volleyball championship taking place on any one day.
It's a busy beach and a favourite among Indian tourists. There are many restaurants and bars but the fun happens in the day, and is more suited to the locals and Indian tourists than to the international visitor.
Benaulim beach is perfectly balanced. Popular with European tourists from their thirties to their seventies, and with Russians, there are enough beach bars and restaurants to keep visitors well fed and watered, but with a curfew for music, which means a good night's sleep.
There are light and airy blocks of stone beach huts to stay in. Many have the additional joy of a masseuse on site. Massages are relatively inexpensive and excellent, so it's possible to have one every day if you fancy.
As Benaulim is a fishing beach, you'll often wake to see men with large nets spread across the sand in the morning, cows passing as the men sort through their catch. At the local internet café, it is also possible to book a place on the bus which takes you to the Anjuna flea market. The market takes place once a week and has items from all over India for sale.
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