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Anjuna Beach Goa © Joel's Goa Pics / Flickr
Anjuna Beach Goa © Joel's Goa Pics / Flickr
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North Goa vs South Goa: Where Should You Go First

Picture of Poonam Binayak
India Writer
Updated: 12 June 2017

Goa is the smallest state of India, yet it packs a wallop in terms of sightseeing, adventure, nightlife, food, accommodation and fun activities. But one question visitors mull over is where to go first – North Goa or South Goa? Both are unique and beautiful in their own way. North Goa is all about nightlife, shopping and liveliness, whereas South Goa has unblemished beaches, scenic drives and tranquillity. No matter where you decide to go in Goa, you just can’t go wrong as it all depends on what you want to explore and experience. Here’s a rundown on where to head.

Places of Interest

Goa is dotted with numerous places of interest that date back to the Portuguese era and are completely mesmerizing.

If you want to shake hands with the past, North Goa is perfect, as it features Portuguese structures, like the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its baroque architecture and rich past that will enchant you completely. Other historical and architectural marvels in North Goa include Se Cathedral, Chapora Fort, and Fort Aguada.

Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa Rd, Bainguinim, Goa, India, +91 0832 228 5790

Se Cathedral, Velha, Goa, India

Chapora Fort, Chapora Fort Rd, Chapora, Goa, India, +91 0832 249 4500

Fort Aguada, Fort Aguada Road, Candolim, Goa, India, +91 0832 249 4200

If you want to explore the length and breadth of Goa’s wildlife and indulge in adventure activities amidst thick forests, South Goa is good for you. South Goa features several wildlife sanctuaries that are home to a plethora of flora and fauna. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and Dudhsagar Falls are a must-visit.

Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Verlem, Goa, India, +91 091729 98027

Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Canacona Taluka, Khotigao, Goa, India, +91 0832 296 5601

Dudhsagar Falls, Sonaulim, Goa, India, +91 0832 243 7728

Beaches

This smallest state of India is not short of picturesque beaches offering stunning views of the sunset that are a feast for the eyes, and ample adventure activities to satiate the adrenaline junkie.

If you want to engage in water sports, North Goa is perfect. North Goa is home to numerous beaches that exude a hippie vibe and are ideal for water activities, like parasailing, banana rides, paragliding, kayaking, scuba diving and more. Some of the popular ones are Vagator beach, Calangute beach, Anjuna beach and Baga beach.

Vagator Beach, Goa, India

Calangute beach, Goa, India

Anjuna beach, Goa, India

Baga beach, Goa, India

If you want scenic beauty and tranquillity, South Goa is the place to be. South Goa is home to the best secluded, rustic and pristine beaches that offer serene environs, relaxation and natural beauty. A few popular ones are Palolem beach, Colva beach, Butterfly beach and Benaulim beach.

Palolem beach, Goa, India

Colva beach, Goa, India

Butterfly beach, Goa, India

Benaulim beach, Goa, India

Nightlife

Another thing that comes to mind when talking about Goa is its lively nightlife! Right from the time when the sun goes down and the stars light up the sky, to the moment moon bids adieu, there is a plethora of things to do in both North and South Goa.

If you want to party all night long, North Goa is the place to go. Well-known for its full-moon parties and beach parties that continue until the wee hours of the morning, this region of Goa has numerous happening nightclubs, like The Bollywood Club- by Titos, Cafe Mambos, Curlies, etc. where you can dance the night away to popular DJs. Plus, there are an endless number of offbeat things to do at night-time in North Goa, like a bike night ride, cruise tour or trying your luck at casinos.

The Bollywood Club- by Titos, Titos Lane, Goa, India, +91 098227 65002

Cafe Mambos, Titos Lane, Baga Beach, Goa, India, +91 083800 65002

Curlies Beach Shack, Near Flea Market, Monteiro Vaddo, Anjuna, Goa, India, +91 095524 71720

If you want silent parties, South Goa is a good choice. South Goa boasts ‘Silent Noise Parties’ that are held every Saturday on Palolem Beach.

Silent Noise Club, Palolem, Canacona, Goa, India, +91 077986 80842

Undoubtedly, North Goa scores over South Goa when it comes to nightlife!

Silent noise

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Retail Therapy

A trip to Goa in incomplete without indulging in some retail therapy!  The state is home to numerous flea markets that will satisfy shopaholics.

If you want to take the real slice of Goa to your home and at pocket-friendly prices, North Goa wins any day. It is brimming with colourful flea markets that sell everything from clothes and accessories to souvenirs, handicrafts, pottery and local produces at dirt cheap prices. The markets of North Goa are crowded and lively. Saturday Night Market in Arpora, Anjuna Market on Wednesday, Mapusa Market on Friday and Bicholim are the popular ones.

The Saturday Night Market – GOA, Aguada – Siolim Rd, Xim Waddo, Arpora, Goa, India, +91 099221 00009

Anjuna Market, Goa, India

Mapusa Market, Mapusa Market Area, Panjim, Goa, India

Bicholim, Goa, India

Food and Drink

Goa has been influenced by a mélange of cultures, including Portuguese, Hindu and Muslim. This is reflected in its cuisine.

If you want to enjoy gourmet Goan food and drink with a spectacular view, North Goa is the place to go.  North Goa is replete with amazing cafes and beach shacks offering a variety of gastronomic options. Savour the specialties of Goa at the following places: Calamari Bathe & Binge, Thalassa, Baba Au Rhum, Britto’s.

Calamari Bathe & Binge, Dando Beach, Candolim, Goa, India, +91 093717 03536.

Thalassa, Small Vagator, Ozran, Vagator, Goa, India +91 098500 33537

Baba Au Rhum, House No. 1054, Sim Vaddo, Anjuna, Bardez, Goa, India, +91 096572 10468

Britto’s, House No.7/171 Saunta Vaddo, Baga- Calangute, Bardez-Goa, Baga, Goa, India

Accommodation

Goa has much picturesque beauty, and many relaxing and fun activities. Plus, this party capital of India provides overwhelming hospitality. It is home to numerous accommodation options suitable for all budgets.

If you want a budget holiday, North Goa has great options. North Goa is brimming with affordable hotels, resorts and beach shacks that offer beautiful views and are accentuated by excellent service, friendly staff and delicious food.

If you want lavish and tranquil holiday, south Goa is perfect for you. South Goa is characterized with opulent accommodation options that provide utter luxury and serenity amidst the stunning backdrop of beautiful beaches and lush greenery.

Crowd

If a lively atmosphere and regular large crowds are what draw you to Goa, then head North.

For those keen to get away from the crowd and find peace and quiet, try South Goa.