Goa isn’t a big state, but when it comes to its experiences, there is a huge difference when you look at North Goa Vs South Goa. With so much to see across the state, you may be asking, which is better? Which place you visit is very dependent on what your interests are. Both ends are unique and beautiful in their own way— North Goa is known for its nightlife, whereas South Goa has a more laid-back vibe of serene beaches and natural beauty.
What will this article cover?
In this article, we’ll take a look at the distinct flavours of both North and South Goa, to help you decide what to choose and what to do once you get there so that when it comes to North Goa vs South Goa you can be the deciding factor.
Goan cuisine is known for its unique flavours, influenced by many different cultures, including Portuguese, Hindu and Muslim.
If you want to enjoy multiple cuisines and fusion fare, choose North Goa
In North Goa, you will find varied options and multiple cuisines on offer, from pizzas and pasta to North Indian food, Chinese, Greek, and much more. However, it is perhaps best known for its beach shacks which serve up a mix of Goan cuisine, excellent fresh seafood, and fusion fare.
Some of the best places to eat in North Goa: Britto’s, Curlies, Infantaria, Purple Martini, Thalassa, Basilico
If you want more authentic local Goan fare, head to South Goa
On the other hand, South Goa is known for its restaurants serving more authentic Portuguese-Goan dishes. While these can be more expensive than a beach shack, you will also find lots of local bakeries selling snacks and small meals.
Some of the best places to eat in South Goa: The Fisherman’s Wharf, Martin’s Corner, Nostalgia, Ignia, Magic Italy
Verdict: So, if you want lots of options and international cuisine, head to North Goa, but if you want more authentic local fare, the South is where you should go.
Goa is a popular destination for tourists, both domestic and international. But how do you decide which place is a better fit for you?
If you want to meet new people and have lively parties, North Goa is for you
North Goa is much more crowded than the South as it attracts lots more tourists, both local and foreign. They are attracted to the lively atmosphere and energetic parties.
If you want a relaxed and quiet holiday, choose South Goa
South Goa has smaller crowds and is the place to go for some peace and quiet. It also has lots of unique opportunities such as cooking classes and visits to spice plantations.
Verdict: So, if you prefer electrifying parties and large crowds, head North, but if you’re looking for a peaceful vacation, where you can soak in the local culture, try South Goa.
Being a coastal state, there are lots of amazing beaches in Goa with stunning views and lots of opportunities for adventurous activities. But when it comes to North Goa vs South Goa, which one is best for you?
If you want to take part or engage in water sports, North Goa is perfect
The beaches of North Goa are perfect for those looking for parties, beach shacks and watersports such as parasailing, paragliding, kayaking, scuba diving and more. However, because of this, these beaches are a lot more crowded and also often not as clean as those in the south.
Some of the best beaches in North Goa: Candolim, Baga, Anjuna, Calangute, Vagator, Morjim, Sinquerim
If you want beaches that are secluded and tranquil, go to South Goa
South Goa is home to more secluded beaches that are scenic and tranquil. They are an excellent place if you want to engage in activities such as yoga and meditation, or just relax and watch the sunset, and are often much cleaner and secluded than those in the north.
Some of the best beaches in South Goa: Palolem, Colva, Majorda, Benaulim, and Butterfly Beach.
Verdict: In general, the beaches in South Goa are much cleaner and more picturesque, though they have few amenities (such as shacks and guesthouses) nearby. However, the beaches in the far north of Goa (such as Arambol and Mandrem) are equally secluded and tranquil.
Another thing that Goa is famous for is its vibrant nightlife. But where should you go for the best parties?
If you want crazy nightlife and to party all night long, North Goa is the place to go
North Goa is famous for its nightclubs and its never-ending beach parties that go on until the wee hours of the morning. With famous DJs and excellent music, this is the place to be if you want to party.
Some of the best clubs to enjoy the nightlife in North Goa: Tito’s, Club Cabana or Cafe Mambo’s, and Curlies.
If you want more unusual parties or a more quiet atmosphere, head to South Goa
Unlike the northern part of this state, South Goa is a little less ‘happening’ when it comes to parties and nightclubs. However, the nightlife here has its own charm; for example, there are ‘Silent Noise Parties’ every Saturday on Palolem Beach where people gather and listen to their own music with headphones on.
Verdict: Without a doubt, North Goa scores over South Goa when it comes to nightlife. While there are parties in the South, they usually aren’t as large as those in the North.
The Things To Do And See
There are lots of amazing things to do in Goa, that aren’t beaches and nightlife. But in the battle of North Goa vs South Goa, which one will score a win for you?
Other than the famous golden beaches, Goa is known for its historic Catholic buildings with beautiful architecture. The Portuguese style adapted by the convents and churches commemorates the past of Goa.
If you want a taste of history, North Goa is the place to go
In North Goa, you will find many fascinating historical sights from its Portuguese past. From famous forts to captivating churches, it’s the place to see Goa’s many architectural marvels. However, you can also see some amazing wildlife (including Bengal tigers) at the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, or the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary.
Some of the best things to see in North Goa: the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, Chapora Fort, and Fort Aguada.
If you want to explore wildlife and nature, South Goa is for you
South Goa, on the other hand, is known for its several wildlife sanctuaries and its diversity of flora and fauna. Among these exciting experiences are the chance to observe the rare Olive Ridley sea turtles or go dolphin sighting along the coast. Much like North Goa, there are also churches and forts to see, but these are relatively newer and don’t have the same historical significance as the ones up North.
Some of the best things to see in South Goa: Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and Dudhsagar Falls; as well as Rachol Fort, Cabo da Rama, Velim Church and Three Kings Church.
Verdict: Goa’s Portuguese history has left it with many wonderful historical sights to see, but these are mostly grouped around North Goa. It also has a plethora of flora and fauna and is the perfect destination for those looking for wildlife and to indulge in adventure activities.
Apart from the usual fare that everyone does in Goa, there are some sights that are unique to the state, and you will only find them in one of these areas.
If you want some retail therapy or a night out at a casino, pick North Goa
In North Goa, you will find numerous flea markets that sell everything from clothes and accessories to souvenirs and handicrafts. Places like the famous Anjuna Market, the Saturday Night Market in Arpora, and the Mapusa Market are all in North Goa.
Also in the North are Goa’s famous casinos, such as Casino Palms, Casino Carnival and Crown Casino.
If you want secret beaches and yoga retreats, head to South Goa
In South Goa, you will get the opportunity to explore many hidden sights. One of the things you can look for is secret beaches, where you can escape the crowds that you’ll find everywhere else. Being that these are secret beaches, we won’t list any for you. You’ll have to find them for yourself, by befriending and asking the locals!
Verdict: Both North Goa and South Goa have their own unique draws, but what’s on offer will likely appeal to very different types of travellers.
As Goa is incredibly popular with tourists, there are lots of stay options across the state, whether you’re looking for budget options or a luxury getaway.
If budget is your priority, head over to North Goa
For those looking for a budget holiday, North Goa is full of affordable hotels, resorts and beach shacks. Though they’re not very luxurious, you’ll still find friendly staff and delicious food. At the same time, you will find some mid-range and splurge-worthy options (such as the Taj Fort Aguada).
For a more luxurious experience, South Goa is perfect for you
But, if you want a more lavish holiday, you should head to South Goa. There are lots of options in terms of lavish hotels and luxury stays if you don’t want to compromise on the budget, for example, The Leela. However, there are still lots of budget-friendly places to stay at, such as smaller inns and homestays.
Verdict: If you’re looking for accommodation in Goa that fits both your taste and budget, keep in mind that North Goa is known for its budget stays, while South Goa has more luxurious options.
So, How Can You Get The Best Of Both Goas?
When it comes to travelling to either North Goa or South Goa, you must keep in mind that the great increase in tourism has caused as many problems as it has opportunities. So it’s important that you respect the environment—correctly disposing of waste so you don’t dirty the beaches, and watching animals from a respectful distance are just a few things to follow.
We understand that lots of tourists come here to relax on the beach, but you can also enrich your trip by spending some time away to learn about the rich Goan culture. Go on a spice plantation tour, explore the historical sights, and try some authentic local food.
Verdict: North Goa, with its wider range of accommodation and cheap food, is perfect for budget travellers, and for those looking for parties, great opportunities for water sports, and who want international food options. South Goa is best for those who want a quieter or more luxurious experience or those who want to explore nature and more authentic traditional food.
If you want a mix of these things, consider spending time in both North and South Goa, to get the best out of what these places have to offer.