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What are the best beaches in India?

April 8, 2018

From Goa to Kerala, to Mangalore and Kovalam – India is home to a range of beaches and surf locations. But what are the best beaches to visit in India? Which beaches in India are best for swimming? Which are the best beaches in India for surfing? And which beaches are family friendly.

As Australians, we are spoilt with arguably the best beaches in the world.

Most of our travellers on a tour of India from Australia, come to India for the cultural experience, to see places that have intrigued them, places that have been on their bucket list like to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, to meet local people, and to learn more about the fascinating history and rituals of the incredible country that is India. However, many visitors like to include a few nights beach stay in India at the end of their private tour of India – to have a few days to take in all that they have seen and experienced and to have a few days rest and relaxation before their holiday in India ends and it’s time to return to Australia.

Here are a few tips about beaches in India and which might suit you best during your India travel.


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Goa

Goa is likely the most well known of India’s beach regions. However you need to be selective about which beach you go to in Goa and where you stay. Do you want to relax and unwind in Goa, or be where the crowds are and close to the `scene.’ Goa is divided into North Goa and South Goa. There are many individual beaches in Goa. In the city of Panjim, there are some interesting local sights to see and some pretty churches.

North Goa has more of a `scene’. It’s busier than South Goa, attracting plenty of foreign and domestic visitors alike. It also has more options for dining and shopping with lots of bars, cafes and restaurants. The beaches here tend to busier.

Our preference for the best place to stay in Goa is in South Goa, where the beaches are less crowded and you will find casual beach shacks for meals. We prefer the quieter, relaxed pace of South Goa to unwind and relax.

In terms of accommodation, given its general popularity – there’s accommodation options for everyone in Goa. There are luxury hotels and resorts in Goa, family friendly options, budget hotels in Goa, and smaller, boutique hotels in Goa.

Some of the Goa hotels we like to include in a private tour of India are:

#Taj Holiday Village Goa, located on Sinquerim Beach – a good, more mainstream option – and
#Vivenda Dos Palhacos – s smaller, heritage villa run by a brother and sister team. Vivenda Dos Palhacos would make a great option for a group of friends travelling together in India, or a family holiday in India – with its relaxed and personalised service and lovely garden and pool.

Marari Beach, Kerala

One of our personal favourites among India’s beaches is Marari Beach in Kerala. An ideal place to conclude a two-week tour of Kerala. Because of the building restrictions in this part of Kerala, all the properties are really spacious, low-level buildings set in lovely tropical gardens. Some of the best places to stay in Marari Beach are resorts which contain individual dwellings – where each room is set in an individual villa or bungalow, surrounded by tropical plants, coconut trees and greenery. There’s no big developments, or high rises at Marari Beach (let’s hope the building restrictions stay in place and big developments stay away), and it’s this relative under development which means you don’t get big crowds.

At Marari Beach you will find luxury hotels such as –
#Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort.
# Xandari Pearl Marari Beach, and
# CGH Earth Marari Beach.

Marari Beach sunset

 

Best Surf Beaches in India

Varkala, Kerala
Varkala in Kerala is one of the beaches where you can surf in India. Varkala is good for beginner surfers. There’s a main strip of restaurants and cafes on a bluff overlooking the coast, where you can hang out when your not trying to catch a wave.

Mangalore

One of India’s lesser-known beach areas, Mangalore attracts surfers looking for the best surf beaches in India. It’s here along the coast near Mangalore where the Indian Open of Surfing has been hosted for several years, suggesting this is the spot favoured by serious surfers and one of the best places to surf in India.

Kovalam, South Kerala

We don’t recommend Kovalam in South Kerala as a beach destination to our travellers. Like parts of North Goa, Kovalam is home to the bigger hotel developments, attracting lots of crowds and is a popular destination with long-stay, packaged tourists.


Travel to the beaches of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

If you have the time and are willing to make the effort – you can travel to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Getting to the Andamans is a bit of a mission – involving one or two flights and a ferry – but worth travelling to if you are looking for a remote, tropical island experience. When we visited, Andaman was a pristine, untouched island far from the crowds. Stay at

#Barefoot at Havelock – a pared-back, down to earth resort set in the jungle with access to a beautiful stretch of beach.
#Taj Hotels recently opened the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Andamans

We recently revisited Marari Beach during a month long tour of India, with a particular focus on family travel in Kerala. For more information about travelling in India with children and family travel in Kerala, read our related blogs here. 

You may also like to read our Tips for Travelling in India with Children.