Goa is the most popular beach destination in India, but it can be confusing to decide which beaches to visit because there are so many. In such a case, I always recommend South Goa beaches because they are as appealing as they are pristine.
South Goa was our second stop after we first left the UK to travel, live and work abroad. After our long journey from England and several fun but hectic days in Mumbai, we were more than ready for some beach time.
We stayed on Palolem Beach and spent most of our time exploring as many of the South Goa beaches as possible. So I’m excited to share with you our recommendations for the best beaches in South Goa.
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Best South Goa Beaches
There’s lots of information out there about Goa, such as this Goa guide for first-timers, Goa itineraries, Goa cafe guides and lists of beaches. Yet, there just isn’t enough buzz generated about the underrated South Goa beaches.
While the beaches of North Goa are more popular, with tons of beach shacks and cafes, they do tend to get overcrowded. In contrast, the South Goa beaches are relatively unexplored. There are just a few tourist hotspots with nice cafes, water sports, boat rides, yoga and beach huts on offer.
So based on our first-hand experience here’s my take on the 9 best South Goa beaches.
1. Agonda Beach
Agonda Beach is one of the two most popular South Goa beaches that is mainly visited by foreign visitors. What we loved most about this beach, is that the road parallel to the beach is lined with several stores and cafes.
The cafes here have a bohemian vibe, and most have a vegetarian as well as a vegan option. Some local shops sell beachwear, jewellery and other knick-knacks.
One of our favourite cafes, the vegan Blue Planet Cafe was only a 5-minute drive from the beach. It was run by a sweet local couple that used fresh organic produce to cook exciting dishes. Sadly this is now temporarily closed, hopefully, it will reopen soon.
There are plenty of accommodation options to suit different budgets on or near Agonda Beach.
2. Palolem Beach
Palolem Beach is without a doubt the most popular and one of the most beautiful beaches in South Goa. Just beware of the Palolem beach cows, they’re generally friendly but one didn’t take kindly to me trying to take a photo with it and decided to head butt me in the leg – ouch.
There are many activities that you can try at Palolem Beach. As well as beach sports like paragliding and water skiing, you can take a boat to nearby secluded Butterfly Beach.
Because Palolem Beach gets a lot of foreign visitors, there are a lot of vegan cafes and the usual beach shack restaurants. But, what draws people to Palolem Beach the most are the iconic colourful beach huts.
Visitors can book a stay in one of these cute huts, most of which have a porch and air conditioning. I highly recommend spending at least one night in a beach hut on Palolem.
We stayed at Palolem Beach Resort which was okay, but in need of some maintenance and updating. If you’re on a budget like us and don’t need much to be happy, then it would be fine. However, you might prefer something a little nicer like O3 Beach Resort or Club Palolem Resort.
O3 Beach Resort has beach shacks with air-conditioning and porches overlooking the beach. The huts at Club Palolem are larger but a couple of minutes walk from the beach. They come with a porch and a small garden with benches.
3. Patnem Beach
While Palolem Beach may be one of the more popular beaches in South Goa, Patnem Beach is a close second favourite.
Patnem Beach is very similar to Palolem in terms of the look and feel. It also has beach shacks, bright colourful huts and the same vibe. Patnem is also only 2 km from Palolem, so if you decide to stay at either of the two beaches, you can easily visit the other due to their proximity.
4. Bogmalo Beach
The coastline of South Goa stretches over a whopping 70 km with many beaches on this stretch. One fine beach which is often overlooked by visitors to Goa is the Bogmalo beach. Located just 5 km from Goa International Airport, it’s the best South Goa beach to chill out at before a flight.
Bogmalo Beach has many hotels and resorts in its vicinity. The Bogmalo Beach Resort is the best one, located right at the beach. with an infinity pool facing the ocean. Like most beaches in Goa, you’ll find beach shacks at Bogmalo that serve a range of cuisines, play live music and have karaoke nights.
I recommend visiting Bogmalo Beach if you stay near the airport or if you have time to kill before your flight. There are even local buses that run between the beach and the airport so you need not worry about arranging a taxi.
5. Benaulim Beach
Benaulim Beach is one of the busier beaches close to Margao City, the second-largest city in Goa. Located roughly 9 km from Margao (or Madgaon), Benaulim Beach is a happening place. Many beach shacks dot the beach and lanes leading to the beach. There are also many great restaurants and accommodation options not far from the beach.
Locals from Margao City frequent the beach due to its proximity to the city. Being one of the more lively beaches in South Goa, lots of tourists visit Benaulim as well.
I like Rogers Beach Shack and The Southern Deck restaurant, both located right on the beach. Farmhouse Bistro, which lies between Benaulim and Varca beaches, is also worth checking out for its quaint location.
6. Cavelossim Beach
Cavelossim Beach is one of the beaches in South Goa that only sees foreign tourists and very few locals.
While the clean and empty beach in itself sounds appealing, it’s the range of good restaurants and shacks to stay in nearby that is the main attraction. Fisherman’s Wharf (Cavelossim branch) is one of the main attractions near the beach. It’s just 2 km away on the banks of the Sal River.
This restaurant is not only one of the best restaurants in South Goa but also in all of Goa. From the soothing ambience, and attentive staff to the delicious fresh food, Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-visit for anyone travelling to South Goa.
Starlight Riverside Restaurant is another one of the best places to try seafood in Goa.
7. Utorda Beach
Despite the growing popularity of the beaches in South Goa, there are still several beaches that are untouched and undisturbed. Utorda Beach is one of those beaches.
The best part about this beach is that there are hardly any visitors to the beach. The only people on the beach are the ones staying at the popular Planet Hollywood Resort and the handful of locals looking for a quiet uncrowded beach. There are a few beach shacks as well, but again, they’re never crowded.
Utorda Beach is perfect if you’re looking for a secluded beach for a quiet dinner and stroll without too many people or too much activity.
8. Cabo de Rama Beach
There are a few cliff-side beaches in South Goa. Cabo de Rama Beach is one of the relatively unexplored ones. While only locals used to frequent this beach, it is slowly gaining recognition amongst tourists too.
The beach lies below the cliff and is reached via stairs on one end of the cliff. Cabo de Rama is one of the very few beaches that has a freshwater lagoon at the beach. There are also coconut trees where you can have a picnic under the shade of the trees if you wish.
There are two restaurants at the Cabo de Rama cliff, one of them, The Cape, is also a high-end resort. It has lovely huts with bathtubs, large balconies overlooking the ocean and easy access to the beach.
9. Cola Beach
Cola Beach is yet another hidden gem of South Goa. Because the beach isn’t quite on the tourist radar, its beauty remains untouched and pristine.
This beach is at a secluded location with no concrete road, which means a bit of off-roading for 15 – 20 minutes to get there. Then there’s a large staircase to climb down to reach the beach.
While the beach itself is clean and beautiful, it’s the lagoon surrounded by wooden huts and coconut trees that steals the show. You can swim in the ocean or the lagoon. You can even take a kayak into the lagoon, followed by a meal at one of the many surrounding restaurants.
Cola Beach is one of the most underrated beaches in all of Goa.
Where to Stay in South Goa
If you’re looking to explore the real Goa – one not packed with tourists, with lush greenery and stunning landscapes, then definitely visit the South Goa beaches.
There you’ll find the most incredible beaches, have authentic experiences, taste delicious local cuisine, find fun things to do, and get a whiff of the untouched beauty of Goa.
The beaches of South Goa are my favourite part of Goa and I hope you get to experience the remarkable beauty of it too.
Have you been to South Goa in India? Which was your favourite beach and why?
Planning Your Trip to South Goa?
Planning your trip to South Goa in India? Here are some of our recommended useful resources to help you have the best time possible.
SafetyWing is another solution, particularly for digital nomads and long-term travellers.
● Compare rental car prices on Rentalcars.com.
● Booking.com usually have the best hotel prices.
● Our go-to for self-catering accommodation is Vrbo.
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