Essential South Goa Travel Guide

Discover the Best of South Goa in this Travel Guide

South Goa is like north Goa was decades ago, with relatively pristine beaches and minimal development. If you want to escape the ever-growing crowd in north Goa and have a relatively laid back vacation, you'll love it there. The majority of accommodations consist of luxury hotels, heritage villas, or simple huts on the beach. Find out information about the best places to go and how to get there in this south Goa travel guide.

  • 01 of 10

    Getting There

    Huts on Palolem beach, south Goa.
    ••• Huts on Palolem beach, south Goa. Anders Blomqvist/Getty Images.

    Depending on your budget, there are a number of ways that you can get to south Goa. The most convenient way is to fly. Then, depending on how far south you want to go (Patnem beach is usually the limit for most people), it will be up to a one and a half hour drive (expect to pay a 1,600 taxi fare for this distance). The main railway station is called Madgaon/Margao, and it's commonly reached by train from Mumbai. The bus is another option, albeit a less comfortable one.

  • 02 of 10
    ••• Alila Diwa

    The majority Goa's luxury hotels are located in south Goa, particularly in the vicinity of Varca, Cavelossim and Morbor beaches. These fishing beaches are clean and unspoiled. The most popular luxury hotel is the Taj Exotica.

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    Dwarka Eco Beach Resort.
    ••• Dwarka Eco Beach Resort. Sharell Cook.

    Paradise found is the first thing that comes to mind at the exclusive Dwarka Eco Beach Resort. Tranquilly and seclusion abound with 10 stylish cottages, set amid a sprawling palm grove that borders a lagoon right next to the ocean. Nature is a focus and it's as idyllic as it sounds! To get there, you have to drive through villages and down a dirt road. The location is Cola beach (not to be mistaken with Colva beach) in south Goa, with the closest beaches being Agonda and Benaulim.

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    Intimate Villa Stay: Turiya Villa

    Turiya Villa porch.
    ••• Turiya Villa.

    Turiya Villa is a gorgeously renovated 100 year old Goan villa, located in Canacona (Chaudi) just a few minutes from Patnem and Palolem beaches. The villa is excellent place to stay if you're traveling with family or a group of friends, as the whole thing can be booked. Its four rooms are also rented separately. Delicious home cooked thalis are served on request. Alternatively, there's a barbecue area near the patio if you want to cook you food!

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  • 05 of 10
    Front of house, Vivenda dos Palhacos.
    ••• Front of house, Vivenda dos Palhacos. Sharell Cook.

    To experience Goan village life in a delightful heritage property, don't miss staying at Vivenda dos Palhacos, only a few minutes from the beach in Majorda. Nostalgic, intimate, and eclectic, it's perfect for discerning guests who want to experience a different side of Goa. Oh, and there's a swimming pool too!

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    Sitting room in Fernandes wing of Braganza House.
    ••• Sitting room in Fernandes wing of Braganza House. Greg Elms/Getty Images.

    If you're interested in Goa's heritage properties, it's possible to visit magnificent old Portuguese mansions that have been restored and are open to the public. There are quite a few of them in south Goa and you can spend a day exploring them.

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    ••• Agonda beach, Goa. Benjamin Madgwick/Getty Images
    If you're keen on simply relaxing and doing nothing, you'll find Agonda beach to be ideal. It's still fairly quiet and undeveloped. Stretching for around 3 kilometers, there's plenty of space for everyone.
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    ••• Palolem Beach, Goa. Kimberley Coole/Getty Images

    Around 10 minutes south of Agonda beach, Palolem beach is south Goa's most attractive and happening beach. People flock there to stay in coco huts under the palm trees right on the beach, and enjoy the diverse nightlife. There are a few bars who have 24 hour licenses for those who really don't want to sleep!

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  • 09 of 10
    Patnem beach, Goa.
    ••• Patnem beach, Goa. Ben Beiske Flickr/CC BY NC SA 2.0

    Less than five minutes south of Palolem, Patnem offers a good blend of entertainment and relaxation. This small beach, nestled between two cliffs, is a wonderful place to stay if you want to chill out but not be too far away from some decent nightlife in Palolem.

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    Luxury hut at Surya Beach Cafe, Galjibag.
    ••• Luxury hut at Surya Beach Cafe, Galjibag. Sharell Cook.

    About 15 minutes south of Patnem beach, little-known Galjibag beach is a protected Olive Ridley turtle breeding site that remains delightfully untouched and free of any permanent structures. There's hardly a soul on this long stretch of pristine beach, thickly lined with Casuarina trees. The handful of shacks at the southern end of the beach serve fresh seafood from the nearby river.