Calangute is the most popular beach with thousands thronging it in both the peak and off-season. The waves rise high above as you wash away your city blues, though swimmer need to be a trifle cautious because of the sudden drop and the rising waves. Experienced swimmers will, however, revel in the seas here.. The beach is fringed with popular restaurants and hotels, including the Calangute Residency operated by GTDC. This long, seven-km sweep of sand located 15 kms from Panaji, is called the 'Queen of Beaches'.
All the travel agencies and tour operators have a base here from where bookings are done for most of the other beaches.Years of tourism has brought in a tremendous change in the scenario. Hotels and guesthouses stretch uninterrupted from Calangute to Baga. The village of Calangute has all basic facilities like post office, banks, foreign exchange offices, resort companies, all kind of bars and restaurants, besides medical facilities. The number of internet cafes in Calangute might even exceed that of the entire city of Panaji.
Huge showrooms filled with exquisite handicrafts from Kashmir, Tibet, Indonesia, Rajasthan and other exotic places, line up the main road running towards Anjuna.
A few kms down the beach is another—Baga.-- part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa which begins at Fort Aguada, continues as Sinquerim Beach, moves on to Candolim which merges into Calangute Beach and then stretches on to Baga, Anjuna and on to Vagator, finally ending at Chapora beach. Truly a veritable feast of beaches.
Compared to Calangute, Baga is quieter and also more isolated. Its scenic beauty, with the creek, the Retreat House perched on the hill and the fewer tourist buses all have contributed to its unique beauty. It is more popular with western tourists who love to use it as a base for water sports and fishing in the area.
This most photographed beach of Goa forms a bay that curves from the headland to the hillock crowned by the Chapora Fort.
This beautiful arc of sand is located about 22 kms from Panaji and is part of the 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa.
Adjoining Anjuna, Vagator is secluded, crescent shaped and situated on the Caisua bay along the Chapora river basin in the shadow of Chapora Fort. During the tourist season, it is a favorite venue for midnight parties. There are a number of buses that run from Mapusa and Calangute beach to Vagator. The nearest interstate bus station is at Mapusa.
Anjuna was made famous by the ‘flower power and peace’ generation of the sixties and early seventies. And later by the ‘trance’ parties. Located about 18 kms from Panaji, the beach is known for its breeze-catching palms, soft sand, and the unusual rocky formation overlying a cove of whitish sand.and black rock that juts into the sea.
It is now famous for its weekly Flea Market, which draws legions of visitors every Wednesday and bargains can be had on apparel, footwear, jewellery, footwear, chess sets—and yak cheese.
The village of Anjuna is a five square mile enclosure nestling between the Arabian Sea and the Hill overlooking the beach.
With its magnificent 17th century fort which has now been converted into a prison, Sinquerim is one of the finest beaches in Goa, offering international class facilities for water-skiing, parasailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing.
Home to the Taj Hotel Group, which dominates the headland around the historic Fort Aguada, Sinquerim is located some 13 kms from Panaji. The uninterrupted stretch of firm sand stretches all the way north to Baga, offering visitors a temptingly long walk along the beach.
Candolim is the first beach that can be approached from the city of Panaji and is like a gateway to the other more famous beaches. Though individual accommodation is available here, there are only a few hotels with restaurants attached. One highlight of Candolim is the parasailing and water skiing facility, besides other water sports.
Aguada beach is almost synonymous with the top-notch Fort Aguada Hotel complex, a superb hotel that is built on the cliff, around the remnants of the early 17th century Portuguese fort. Although access to the beach is not possible through the hotel grounds, which are private, you can walk along Aguada beach, for in India private beaches do not exist.
Drawn by the clientele of the hotel, Aguada beach has cafes, itinerant vendors of everything from Kashmiri carpets to massages, and a good range of water sports.
The VIPs on this beach are the Olive Ridley turtles that come to nest here helped by a group of volunteers who guard the nests and help the hatchlings get into the sea.
A favourite of Russian tourists, along with Ashwem beach close by, visitors will find signboards and menu cards in Russian!
Arambol or Harmal Beach
This is also a foreigners’ haunt with a large number of Tai Chi, non-permanent mehendi or henna, tattoo, yoga and meditation centres. Harmal Beach is the one place you cannot drive on to, but there are narrow lanes that lead to the higher reaches of the coast. You have to walk down a slope to the beach itself. The black rocks on the silvery beach make for some pretty dramatic scenery at sunset. Further up near the hill is a pool with soft yellow clay, which is said to have healing properties. Beauticians buy the clay as do the innumerable massage parlours in the area.
This beautiful ‘urban’ beach, akin to Chowpatty in Mumbai, is located just 3 kms from Panaji. It lies adjoining the estuary of the river Mandovi as it opens into the Arabian Sea. It was originally known as ‘Gasper Dias Beach’, named after Gaspar Dias, a prosperous landlord and where a Portuguese fort once stood at the fag end of the 16th century.
From the beach across the river is an excellent view of Fort Aguada. With its proximity to Panaji, and located near educational institutions, Miramar is very much both a family beach and a meeting point for young people. It is also a hot spot for fitness fiends and walkers. Tourists love the familiar atmosphere. Numerous hotels, including the spacious and well laid out Miramar Residency run by GTDC, dot the area.
The beach is crowded with locals and tourists alike on most days. A memorial to Goa's first chief minister, the late Dayanand Bandodkar is located here.
Dona Paula Beach
Dona Paula Beach