Goa may be a tiny state but the best way to explore it is to pick a side – especially if you are short on time. Goa can mainly be divided into 2 parts. North Goa and South Goa. Bothe sides have sun, sand and the sea and both sides are just as gorgeous and is totally worth the Goa hype. But there is one major difference. South goa is for those who love a chilled out Goan vacation, it’s peaceful, with a relatively quiet party scene and very authentic and susegaad. If you want to know more about South Goa, then here’s A Detailed Itinerary To All The Places You Can Visit In South Goa. But North Goa is the fiesty, teenage cousin of South Goa. It’s young, hot-blooded and there’s lots to do, lots to see & lots to live it up.
My name is Natasha Monteiro and i’m a self-appointed Goa expert. I’ve been to the sunshine state over 50 times and it’s where my heart lies. So here’s my detailed itinerary of everything you need to know about North Goa. But before we dive in further, here’s a virtual tour of Goa to give you all the right feels:
About North Goa
North Goa is for everyone – but it specially caters to Indians from all over. It’s the perfect blend of home and Goan exquisiteness. It has partying, great food, beaches, sunshine, cheap booze, lots of pubs, and lots to do. North goa is meant for those who love a bit of thrill and are willing to brave crowds – because believe me you’ll find plenty of those here. It is also extremely well connected even in terms of local buses, so getting to and from most parts of North Goa is relatively easier. (Please note: this is considering Goan transportation system. The last bus shuts at 8pm, so if you are using local transport, please plan accordingly).
How To Reach North Goa?
By Flight: Getting to North Goa by flight is pretty easy. Goa has only one airport at Dabolim, which is somewhat right in the middle of the state. From Dabolim airport, you can hire a local taxi or book a taxi through Goa Miles (an app by the government that is cheaper than the airport taxis)
By Train: Thivim is the major junction for North Goa, where all upcountry trains normally make a halt
By Road: Depending on which part of India you are driving from, the directions will change. The route from Mumbai to North Goa is extremely beautiful and takes about 10 h 32 min (578.8 km) via AH47.
By Bus: There are a number of buses that ply from major metros in India to North Goa, with Panjim being a major halt point. You can choose a luxury AC bus or a simple, single tier bus – depending on your budget and preference.
Best Places To Visit In North Goa
North Goa has a variety of beaches, tourist spots and attractions to offer – from forts to great eateries, from perfect sunset points to milky white waterfalls. Whatever you want to do, well it can be done at North Goa. So let’s delve in and look at someof the best spots to visit in North Goa
1. Vagator Beach
This beach is the perfect blend of commercial and laidback. It’s got the right vibe, at the same time it’s a little secluded (by North Goa standards), it’s safe and has the most amazing sunsets. There are also multiple sunset points and shacks – lined along the beach as well as the cliff that leads to the beach. Both make fabulous brunch and sundowner spots. The roads in Vagator are tree lined (just like you see in the movies) and it’s glorious to just zoom around on your two wheeler. Here are some of the things you can do at Vagator Beach.
Vagator has plenty of boutique hotels, 5 stars, budget shacks and small rooms. You’ll find a bunch of places along the beach and then again a bunch of places close to the beach. A personal favourite of mine is The Tamarind hotel, which has a lovely swimming pool too and the most courteous staff. The whole place is extremely Insta friendly and you’ll love it.
Also read: Curly Tales Presents Virtual Tour Of Goa
Oh man, the food in North Goa in general is so amazing. From burgers to North Indian food, from sushi to dosa – anything you crave you can get and everything is just a tiny bike ride away. Vagator has some great eateries to choose from like Antares (by Australian Master Chef Sarah Todd), Rockpool, Fish Tail and for those looking for a pure veg restaurant, may I suggest Pet Pooja Pure Veg.
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Like most of North Goa beaches, Vagator too has a lot of water activities like jet ski, banana boat rides, para sailing and more. Pro tip: Bargain with the vendors. If adventure activities are not your cup of tea, you can also just lie on the beach or enter the water, swim, or go for a massage. There are also plenty of party spots nearby, for you to go and shake your booty.
2. Candolim Beach
Candolim Beach, pronounced KAAN-DO-LEE is another gorgeous North Goa location. It’s far closer to the commercial hub-dub, but not so much that you get annoyed. Candolim is very close to most of North Goa’s party spots (not the over rated ones like Mambo’s & Tito’s), but some of the newer, more happening spots.
If you’re a seafood lover, head straight to Fisherman’s Cove which has the best ambience and the most delicious seafood. Try the butter garlic perawns which are finger-lickin’ good. There is also Tuscany Gardens if you’re craving for some yum Italian fare and pizzas. Southi & Palms N Sands are other great meal options.
From beach bungalows to tiny home stays, from villas to boutique stays – Candolim has everything. Depending on your budget, you can choose from multiple stay options.
Like most of North Goa beaches, Candolim too has a lot of water activities like jet ski, banana boat rides, para sailing and more. Pro tip: Bargain with the vendors. If adventure activities are not your cup of tea, you can also just lie on the beach or enter the water, swim, or go for a massage. There are also plenty of party spots nearby, for you to go and shake your booty. Some of the popular night clubs are SinQ, Toy Beach Club & Cohiba.
3. Anjuna Beach
A hyper popular spot, especially known for its Night Market and ‘hippie Goa’ Anjuna is the perfect place in Goa to take you on that ‘High’ (pun intended). I wouldn’t recommend Anjuna for families, but probably more for a group of frineds looking for a good time. A lot of Anjuna is filled with foreigners and hippies, so you have to be comfortable with that side of Goa.
A hugely popular spot at Anjuna is a tiny place called Baba Au Rhum, that serves yummy pizzas and food. I’d highly recommend this place for breakfast with a beer. Burger Factory, Cafe Cotinga, Artjuna (pure veg & vegan) are some of the other places I’d add to the recommendation list. Although I did got to Artjuna on my last trip and thought it to be quite over rated. The service is slow, the portion sizes are quite average, it’s quite expensive & the food wasn’t up to the mark.
From beach huts to beach villas and more, Anjuna has everything. It has super cheap stay options starting at Rs 200 a day to Rs 20,000 – take your pick.
The night market is one the biggest highlights of Anjuna. Filled with lots of thrift shopping, jewelry, clothes and more – get ready to also sharpen your bargaining skills.
I once rode down to Arambol from where I was living in Vagator and almost regretted just not living there. Arambol is absolutely stunning. It’s quiet, filled with people looking for adventure and happiness and is perfect for those with a taste for a quieter Goa, but still want to be close to the action.
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Arambol has a limited range of food options. We’d recommend the Tavern or Tamarind Cafe. But if you’re a foodie looking for a yum meal, I’s suggest riding down to Vagator or somewhere else in the North.
Like most of the touristy places in Goa, Arambol has its fair share of commercial accommodation options. You’ll find a bunch of places along the beach and then again a bunch of places close to the beach.
Arambol has both a lake and a beach. You can hike to the lake, take long walks along the beach and lots more.
Imagine getting to see turtles laying eggs on a beach, or turtles hatching and baby turtles rushing to the sea. That’s what Morjim beach has. Morjim is an absolute stunner of a beach with white sand and the blue ocean in the background. The narrow Goan lanes winding up to the beach has a vibe of its own. The beach is wonderfully secure for girls too and in the evening don’t forget to watch the fishermen pull their boats in.
EERMMYYYGAWWWDDD! You get the best food in Morjim. From Burger Factory to Tomato’s Beachside Bar & Kitchen, La Plage, Jardin D’Ulysse and lots more. No matter what kind of cuisine you’re craving for – Morjim has it. I’d recommend really spacing out your stay here, so you get a chance to eat at all these restaurants.
Morjim has a range of stay options that make for the perfect stay in Goa. I love this place called 02 villas that was not too expensive and was right across from the beach. The rooms were cosy and was at the perfect location!
Like most Goa beaches, Morjim too has a range of water sports to choose from. Go sailing or banana boat riding or whatever your adventurous soul claims.
So there you have it! Your North Goa bucket-list. I hope you enjoy this itinerary and if you have any questions about Goa, then feel free to reach out to me on my personal Instagram account and I’ll be more than happy to help.