The Best Beaches in India
All of the best beaches in India are based on the West Coast, with the majority being in the states of Goa and Kerala. Most Indian beaches are frequented by local Indians who earn a living by selling fresh and juicy fruits for a reasonable price, sarongs and handmade jewellery, as well as offering hour long massages on your sun lounger.
Goa, a popular tourist destination, boasts some of India’s best beaches, though many are now fast becoming commercial, a different scene from the 60’s and 70’s when it was renowned for its hippy scene. There are still a couple of gems however.
Arambol in the far north of Goa is still very popular with ageing hippies, and has a lot of seasonal travellers. There are also a lot of backpackers due to the reasonable prices. Arambol stretches for miles, with parts of the beach bustling with people, though not too overcrowded. Hippies hold a daily sun down gathering with music, dancing, and an interesting array of performances with hula hoops, and juggling. There are daily yoga and thai chi classes held along the beach.
Walking away from the main stretch of the beach in one direction you can walk for miles on an empty peaceful beach with only a handful of people, beach huts and low key restaurants. Walk the other way and you will find the surrounding forest hills, containing beautiful fresh water lakes. Arambol still has lots of cheap no-frill beach huts, perfect for lazing in a hammock watching the weird and wonderful lives go by.
Head to the south most part of Goa and you get Palolem, once very popular with backpackers, it is getting busier and more commercial by the year, now hosting a 24 hour bar and silent disco . It’s as vibrant as Arambol with people playing cricket, Frisbee and football until the sun goes down. You will find fisherman boats along the beach, and lots of great seafood restaurants. It is starting to get more popular with package holiday-makers, though some of its original bohemian charm remains with lots of standalone beach huts. When you fancy a quieter, more un-spoilt location, why not rent a moped and head to Agonda, 15minutes down the road.
To rival Goa’s beaches there is Kerala. Kerala is India’s southernmost state and is known for its tropical feel, with thousands of palm trees, and great seafood. The state is also well known for is Ayurvedic massage and spas, and you will find such treatments being offered in abundance in the bazaars along the beaches.
Kovalam is Kerala’s most commercial and westernised beach resort, with more upmarket hotels, and fewer budget options. Should you choose to pay for your hotel stay with a credit card, you can take advantage of a host of rewards, so this may be an option worth considering. To get a credit card, try the American Express website as they have some great offers for travellers at the moment.
Once you head out of the hotel, Kovalam offers black sand beaches, lots of things to do, and an array of water sports which is what has made it one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. There is the Lighthouse, a Kovalam landmark, 35 meters tall and open to the public, which gives great panoramic views. The surrounding area is also great for cycling and walking amongst the palm groves. Vellayani Lake, one of Kerala’s few fresh water lakes is only 7km away, and is where you can hire kayaks and canoes. Perhaps one of the most enchanting spots in Kovalam is Edakallu a popular sunset viewing point that lies between the Lighthouse beach and Eve’s beach.
Varkala, also in Kerala, is stunning, the beach itself surrounded by cliffs, with the shopping bazaar and accommodation set on top of these cliffs, the sunsets never disappoint. Some prefer Varkala to Kovalam simply due to fewer crowds, and less shops, its long stretch of beach remaining un-spoilt for the moment. The cliffs offer some great views and nice walks, and there have been some sightings of dolphins’ way below the towering cliffs. There are numerous surrounding temples, and numerous centers for yoga and massage, a good place to relax. A good day out is to visit Kappil lake, 6km north that gives way to the enchanting Kerala backwaters.
These are just a few of many great beaches in India, where there are lots of smaller lesser known beaches nearby to the ones I have named, easily accessible if you can rent a moped take off and explore.