When it comes to a beach vacation, some of us look for the whole party scene, while some of us just want to settle down in a hammock and read by the sea. The great news is India has some of the best beaches, whatever you want your getaway to be like. Here are our top picks for beach destinations in India:
Being synonymous with fun-filled beach parties, great music, a vibrant carnival and delectable seafood is a role that Goa never fails to fulfill. When you think New Year parties, Goa pops into mind first. But Goa also is for people who want to have a quiet weekend away, either alone or with friends and family. Beaches like Baga, Anjuna and Calangute are always bustling with activity, while some of the quieter ones are Varca and Cavelossim in South Goa. The Wednesday Flea Market at Anjuna attracts a lot of tourists. You can shop for various knick-knacks and the food stalls offer a wide variety of cuisines. All major airlines operate multipleflights to Goa.
God’s Own Country, as it is fondly known, is a stunner whether it’s hills or the beaches. Most people have heard of Kovalam, one of the more popular beaches in this southwestern state. Located just 50 km from Thiruvananthapuram is Varkala, the only beach in India where there are steep cliffs just adjacent to the ocean. Marari, around 60 km from Kochi is a quiet fishing village that gives you a slice of life in Kerala’s villages. Water sports enthusiasts can also try snorkeling at Marari. In northern Kerala, Bekal, which you may remember from the popular song “Tu Hi Re”, the waves crashing against the rocks with the Bekal Fort in the background make a gorgeous picture. Try the Malabar cuisine that the state is known for, and you won’t have a doubt why this place is indeed God’s Own Country. Flights to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram connect major cities in India to Kerala.
3. Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Having repeatedly made it to the list of top 10 beaches in Asia, Radhanagar Beach in the Andaman Islands is a haven of white sand and deep blue waters. A trip to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is never complete without scuba diving or snorkeling. The diverse range of sea life that you will see in the most vivid colors is something you won’t forget in a jiffy. Some of the other beaches that you must visit include the Vijay Nagar Beach at Havelock Island and the Long Island Beach. Several cities in India are connected by flights to Port Blair, the entry point to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
4. Puducherry (Pondicherry)
For those of you wondering why all the good beaches are only on the western coast of the country, good news is here. Pondicherry, with its French influences on architecture and food, is a place where you cannot remember what it is like to be stressed. The main Promenade Beach is usually bustling with tourists and locals alike, and great for people-watching while you slowly sip your coffee. The Serenity Beach at Auroville lives up to its name, while Paradise Beach, a quiet, rather untouched strip of sand and surf, is a little away from the city. Scuba Diving is a popular activity in Pondicherry, and if you’re interested you can become a certified diver too. Pondicherry is approx. 160 km by road from Chennai.
Once considered the less popular cousin of Goa, this beach town in Karnataka is now very popular among travelers. While the beach in Gokarna is most popular with the pilgrims visiting the sacred Mahabaleshwar Temple, tourists also head to the beaches outside the town to relax. There are four beaches – Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach. Of these, Om and Kudle are most developed, with beach shacks and food joints. Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach are further away and are not very commercial with minimalistic amenities. The best way to reach Gokarna is by taking a flight to Goa followed by a scenic four hour drive.
With a coastline of about 530 km along the Arabian Sea, Maharashtra has imposing forts, beautiful temples, delicious seafood and clear blue waters. Popular beaches close to the capital, Mumbai, are Alibaug and Murud. For a quieter and more authentic Konkan experience, head South to the Malvan region. Tarkarli is a showstopper with its clear blue waters and the fringe of casuarina trees. While you’re in Malvan, don’t forget to try the Malvani mutton curry and the kombdi vade. Harihareshwar, in the Raigad district, 210 km from Mumbai is known for its Shiva temple. The beach here is very popular among pilgrims.
7. Agatti Island, Lakshadweep
Located just 400 km away from Kerala, in the Arabian Sea is a group of 36 islands that form Lakshadweep. Turquoise waters, pretty coral reefs, and a wide variety of sea life are a few reasons why this group of islands is very popular among travelers. You can reach Lakshadweep by taking a flight to Agatti Island, which has the only airport in the Union Territory. It is a 5.6 km long island situated on a coral atoll. Whether you want to enjoy some quiet time, or try some angling, Agatti Island is the place for you. Remember to make hotel bookings in advance as the island has limited lodging options.
8. Odisha (Orissa)
Just 16 km away from the town of Berhampur in Odisha is the little town of Gopalpur. With its pristine beach and casuarina trees, it is a nice option for a quick getaway for the folks in the eastern states. Domestic airlinesconnect major Indian cities to Bhubaneshwar, which is 190 km away from Gopalpur. Puri is a famous pilgrimage destination for millions of people in India. The Puri Beach, radiant with its sandy beaches is just 60 km away from Bhubaneshwar. Do not forget to indulge in some local seafood delicacies when at Puri.
9. Visakhapatnam (Vizag)
If you thought Andhra Pradesh was all about the Charminar and biryanis, say hello to the lovely Rishikonda beach just 11 km away from Vizag. The golden sand and the hills in the background make for a perfect getaway. Further away, around 25 km from Vizag is the Bhimili Beach. Bhimili is a sleepy town with an ancient temple dedicated to Bhimeswara Swamy, and it has the remains of a Portuguese Church. Daily flights to Vizagare available from most major Indian cities.
To most, Gujarat stands for vibrant festive colors, delectable food and the white desert. So the idea of a beach getaway seems a little surprising. But you need to visit Ahmedpur-Mandvi to believe how beautiful it is. It is a 6 km stretch bordering the Union Territory of Diu. Don’t be surprised if you see a dolphin or two when you’re there.