Miramar is at a distance of 3km from Panaji. Although it is the beach that is closest to the capital, it is not the most spectacular. But if you feel that a beach with a name straight out of Top Gun is worth trying out, then accommodation should not be a problem. A range of budget hotels and a youth hostel are available here.
Sprinkled with palm trees and casuarina plantations, the beach of Dona Paula in North Goa is a peaceful stretch next to the little town and fishing village of Dona Paula. It is also a popular picnic spot. You can take a ferry from here to Vasco da Gama. Resorts with swimming pools and beach cottages are available in Dona Paula.
The five-star deluxe hotel – Cidade de Goa, stands on the lovely Vainguinim Beach. Their USP is that their hotel is run by Goans, so they give you the complete Goan experience, coupled with all the five star frills.
Sinquerim and Candolim
The Sinquerim Beach in North Goa has a dramatic backdrop in the form of the 16th century Fort Aguada. Sinquerim and Candolim beaches in North Goa are both popular with backpackers, and tend to be a little more sober compared to the Calangute Beach. Built in 1612 by the Portuguese, the Fort Aguada is pretty much in ruins, but the view from the top of the fort as you look down to the mouth of the Mandovi River, is simply breathtaking.
Calangute and Baga
Ever since the 60’s, the flower children have not looked at another beach. They’ve headed straight for Calangute; their abode, their psychedelia, and their Mecca. God knows if they ever found their existential-or-otherwise, ‘meaning in life’ but in their quest to do so, some of them went too far for the local sensibilities. The result was police clampdowns, and other drastic measures taken to control the ‘bunch of hippies’ of the lost generation.
Though the beach is still pretty ‘active’ and the ‘Om Namah Shivai trance’ continues to linger; today, Calangute is a far cry from what it used to be. The shacks and palms have given way to a rapidly-growing, package-tourist market, rows of shops, guesthouses and other budget hotels. The tidy little fish market in town is worth a visit.
Baga formed a twin beach with Calangute, and therefore shares Calangute’s colourful past. Nestling close to the estuary, this beach has more character.
Anjuna Beach in North Goa
Anjuna Beach Anjuna Beach in North Goa is a stretch of straight sand, with a backdrop of feathery coconut groves. It’s a big favourite with backpackers and travellers staying on for a long time. Anjuna beach took the relay from Calangute, and became the next haven of the flower children. The beach still has an intoxicating atmosphere and draws a motley crowd of passover hippies, travellers, philosophers, thinkers, babacools, rastamen and musicians. It’s a great place to meet people and generally collect material for a thesis on human psychology. Anjuna is known for its flea market, held under the shady coconut groves, every Wednesday. You can pick up trinkets, get a tattoo, or just hang around to enjoy the crazy colourful atmosphere.
Chapora & Vagator North Goa Beach
The old Portuguese Chapora Fort stands on a hill which looks down on the tiny Chapora village, the estuary, the coconut groves and the beach. With their hidden sandy coves and creeks, Chapora and Vagator North Goa beach are easily amongst the most beautiful beaches in Goa. Besides the strip of the Little Vagator Beach , the North Goa beaches are quite peaceful, as they are not yet a major hub for travellers.
Arambol North Goa Beach
Arambol served as the rudimentary getaway for travellers from Anjuna Beach when Anjuna came under scrutiny of the police and the locals. Arambol North Goa Beach is a beautiful stretch of silky sand dotted with basalt rocks, and is still comparatively uncluttered. There is a freshwater lake and some sulphur springs, close by.