Gokarna is a small and remote holy town in northern Karnataka, with four of India’s most secluded and pristine beaches nestled nearby. It draws both pious pilgrims and hedonistic holiday makers with equal enthusiasm. Go there to get a feel for what Goa was like in its heyday, although time is limited as developers are already seeing the potential of this area.
3. Best Picturesque Beach: Palolem
Picturesque Palolem Beach, enclosed by a thick forest of coconut palms in far south Goa, is arguably the state’s most beautiful beach. This mile long, shady, semi-circle shaped beach continues to grow in popularity every year, and it’s become very lively with the diverse crowd that it attracts.
If you can’t make it to the Andaman Islands, the area around Tarkarli beach in southern Maharashtra has one of the best coral reefs on the Indian mainland. Relatively untouched by development, this beach is not on the tourist trail and still retains a village feel complete with homestay accommodations right on the beach. Locals can often be seen unhurriedly riding bicycles or walking to get around.
5. Best Beach for Doing Nothing: Agonda
Long, serene Agonda Beach in south Goa is perfect for those looking to get away from it all. Stay in a simple hut right on the beach, and enjoy the stillness and nature. The rear of the beach is lined with shacks and small shops but apart from that, there’s not much else to do apart from eat, drink, swim, and chill.
6. Best Beach for Hippies and Musicians: Arambol
Arambol, on Goa’s far northern stretch of coastline, has become the new hippie haven. Once a small fishing village, it’s now full of long term travelers. You’ll find plenty of alternative therapies there, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and reiki. The nightlife is relaxed, with live music and jam sessions happening on the beach.
7. Best Trendy Beach: Ashvem/Mandrem/Morjim
The wide open beaches of Ashvem, Mandrem and Morjim, located in a line next to each other in north Goa, have become quite hip and trendy in recent years. Groovy beach bars, restaurants, shops, beach huts and fashionable resorts can be found there. Sunset Ashram is one of Goa’s best bars. The area also has a number yoga retreats and some of the best beach huts.
8. Best Commercial Beach: Baga
For sure, Baga Beach in north Goa may be touristy and busy but for those who like action, it’s one of the most happening beaches on the coast. Water sports, para sailing, dolphin sightseeing trips, beach shacks, bars, clubs, and fine dining restaurants — you’ll find them all there!
9. Best Beach with a Lighthouse: Kovalam
The most developed of Kerala’s beaches, Kovalam is located not far from Trivandrum. It’s made up of two coves — Hawa (also referred to as Eve’s beach) and Lighthouse. Lighthouse is the biggest and busiest of the two, with its promenade lined with open air restaurants. The lighthouse atop this beach provides fantastic views, especially at sunset. If you’d prefer somewhere a little more secluded, you’ll find nearby Samudra beach to be a better option. Kovalam is also one of the best beaches in India for surfing.
10. Best Remote Beach: Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island
Once voted Asia’s Best Beach by TIME Magazine, Radhanagar Beach is situated on Havelock Island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are sprinkled across the Bay of Bengal. The islands are a Union Territory of India. Radhanagar Beach (also referred to as beach number seven) is renowned for its calm, still water and fine white sand.