The Best Beaches to Visit in Karnataka, India
Gokarna Beach | © Aleksriis / WikiCommons
With 320 kilometres (199 miles) of coastline that stretches along the eastern shore of the Arabian Sea and that spans across three districts, it’s not surprising that Karnataka has plenty of beaches. Characterised by vast swathes of soft sands and backdrops of lush green hills, the beaches here have something for everyone, from those looking for adventure, to those looking to simply relax. Here’s a rundown of the best beaches to visit in Karnataka.
Naturally shaped like Om (an auspicious symbol in Hindu religion), Om Beach is one of the most popular stretches of shoreline in Karnataka that sees pristine waters lapping at its shores and lush greenery surrounding it. The beach also features stunning rock creations where its outline is clearly visible. You’ll find fishermen’s boats, a few shacks and small eateries at the beach. Here, you can also get active with outdoor pursuits like surfing, banana boat rides and speed boating.
Half Moon Beach
Surrounded by luxuriant hills and lapped by stunning turquoise waters, Half Moon Beach is one of the most gorgeous shores in Karnataka. Part of its appeal lies in its slightly adventurous accessibility that make it all the more exclusive. Follow the narrow trail from Om Beach through the lush forests and thorny bushes before opening out on to the golden sandy shores of Half Moon. In terms of activities, there is great diving along the beach or you can simply stroll along its several kilometres and enjoy the sense of serenity. There are a few shacks along the beach, but we recommend bringing enough supplies to last the day.
Characterised by white sand stretching as far as the eye can see with lush green hills on three sides, Kudle Beach is a heavenly haven. During the peak months, which run from November to February, the beach is filled with backpackers and foreign travellers, while outside these months, the beach is peaceful and quiet. Most people come here in the morning or evening for a leisurely walk or to practise yoga. Pro tip: you may not find enough lifeguards here, so swimming isn’t a good idea, unless you’re an experienced swimmer.
Also known as Full Moon Beach, Paradise Beach is prized for its serenity and surreal beauty. It is accessible only via boat or trek from Half Moon Beach. The golden sands, blue waters and mesmerising sight of the Arabian Sea make it an excellent spot to chill and relish the coastal beauty. For travellers with a knack for fun and adventure, the beach serves as the perfect spot to swim or camp. Don’t forget to try the local cuisine at one of the many shacks and cafés dotting the beach.
Malpe Beach is a gorgeous stretch of white sand surrounded by four rocky islands – and the best part is that there is no commercialisation or hordes of tourists here. The serene environs make it a perfect spot to simply relax and bask in the sun’s warmth. Get ready for adventure as exciting water sports reign here. Also, make sure to pack some food and water.
One of the cleanest seashores in Karnataka is Ullal Beach, which is nestled on approximately 14 acres of casuarinas groves. Home to several well-furnished cottages, the pristine waters flanked by tropical greenery make spending the day at Ullal Beach extremely relaxing and rejuvenating. There are also restaurants nearby, catering to both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, particularly famous for their seafood. For those who are looking for some adventure, there are water sports facilities to boot. Plus, there are scores of beautiful sights nearby, so it’s possible to spend the entire day here.
Also known as Rabindranath Tagore Beach, Karwar Beach is the perfect spot for those looking to soak up the sun and salt off-the-beaten-path. The beach’s miles of soft white sands bookended by lush greenery provide blissful relaxation, while its limpid waters are quite tempting for boating and swimming. A few metres to the land, you’ll find the INS Chapal Warship Museum replete with exhibits and videos on the Indian Navy and just beside it lies a small aquarium – both worthy of a visit. Don’t forget to treat your taste buds to delicious and fresh seafood.
Brimming with beautiful marine life, Maravanthe Beach is a paradise for scuba divers and snorkellers. Also, with calm waters and gentle tides, it’s perfect for swimming. Don’t leave before dusk as the view of the sunset is incredible.
Located on the shores of the Arabian Sea, Panambur Beach attracts both locals and tourists alike with its range of outdoor activities on offer. From buggy, camel and horse rides to water sports, including surfing, jet skiing, parasailing and boating, there are plenty of activities to satiate your craving for thrill and fun. The golden sand, salty breeze and picturesque sunset only add to the bliss.
Just a few kilometres from Panambur Beach lies postcard-perfect Tannirbhavi Beach. Fringed with trees and complete with facilities like concrete benches, lifeguards and small eateries, it’s not short on character. What’s more, its calm waters and fewer crowds make it perfect for swimming and soaking up the sea and sand – in peace and quiet. You’ll also see the remains of old shipwrecks here.
Overlooking the spectacular statue of Lord Shiva, Murdeshwar Beach is picturesquely framed by lush green foliage and gentle hills. The coconut trees all around add to its beauty. Aim to get here in the early morning as you’re likely to spot kingfisher birds and flying seagulls. Swimming, boating and parasailing are the activities you can partake in here. Don’t forget to take a picnic with you.
Located along the shores of the Arabian Sea, Kapu Beach, otherwise known as Kaup, is particularly known for its 1901-built lighthouse that offers a panoramic view of the sea and the surrounding landscape. It remains open from 5 pm to 6 pm every day. Also, with an abundance of pristine natural beauty, its ruins of Jain Basadis and forts, this spot gives nature lovers and history buffs plenty to explore. Though the waves are quiet, the depth of the sea and the magnitude of the undercurrent is high here, so it is best to avoid swimming.