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If some seaside tranquility is what you’re looking for, then India has much more to offer than just the beaches of Goa. To help you navigate the Indian coastline, we’ve rounded up this list of the country’s best seaside towns that every sea lover ought to visit.
Located on the southernmost tip of mainland India, Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu offers plenty of unique delights. As the meeting point of three different bodies of water—the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea—this historic town offers views markedly different from elsewhere on India’s coasts. A famous 133-feet-tall statue of Tamil poet and philosopher, Thiruvalluvar, is yet another remarkable highlight worth visiting.
This small temple town in the state of Karnataka is among India’s finest seaside towns owing to its popular palm-lined beaches and tranquil atmosphere. A calmer alternative to Goa, Gokarna offers plenty of scenic beaches that are almost always crowd-free. Kudle, Om and Paradise beaches are among the most popular options. Gokarna is also home to historic Hindu temples such as the Mahabaleshwar Temple dating to the 4th century C.E.
Kovalam is home to some of Kerala’s most popular beaches, and among the state’s most visited seaside towns. Located just outside the state’s capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, Kovalam is a hub of delicious seafood, Ayurvedic spas, scenic views of the Arabian Sea, and palm-lined beaches. Its three beaches together make up a 17 kilometer stretch – making this an ideal location for anyone seeking to stay connected with the sea.
Stunning heritage architecture, delicious local cuisine and picturesque views of the Bay of Bengal await you in this historic town on India’s eastern coast. The largest among four districts that make up the union territory of Puducherry which was once a French colony, this quaint town is an attractive destination for history enthusiasts. Formerly known as Pondicherry, the town is an ideal weekend getaway from Bangalore, Chennai and other south Indian cities.
This small and scenic beach town in the state of Maharashtra is a popular destination for water sports. Besides its pristine, eight kilometer stretch of white sanded beach, Tarkarli offers snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing and water skiing options to visitors. The beach town is also known for its proximity to Sindudhurg Fort, a famed 17th-century fortress built by Maratha rulers.
Part of the union territory of Daman and Diu, this coastal town is as historic as it is scenic. It was an ancient trading port prior to coming under Portuguese control in the mid-16th century – from which it gained independence only in 1961 to become part of modern India. Home to historic basilicas, forts and heritage buildings, Diu is a rewarding vacation destination. Make sure to visit Diu Fort, built in 1535, as well as the Basilica of Bom Jesus, dating to 1594, before hitting up the district’s popular Nagoa beach.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are home to plenty of charming beach towns, but Havelock Island is among your finest options. Pristine and largely non-touristy, this small island is home to Radhanagar Beach, which has repeatedly been voted among the world’s most beautiful beaches. Elephant beach, a popular snorkeling spot, and Kalapathar beach, which gets its name from the black (kala) rocks (pathar) that adorn its coastline, are two other picturesque beaches worth visiting.