Ask Me Anything: Should I go to North or South Goa?

This post is part of my Ask Me Anything series where I answer FAQ I get often via email and social media. In this post, I’ll answer the common question of “should I come to North or South Goa?”.

You might have noticed I write mostly about North Goa on my blog. That is because I live in North Goa. Goa isn’t a big state, and it takes about four hours to drive along the whole coast. They aren’t hugely different from how the look, so it never seems like it’s worth the drive for us. Maybe once a year, we go down there.

Don’t forget to pick up my Insider Guide to Goa and my Guide to India

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Should I go to North or South Goa?

Many people email about coming to Goa for one week or two and want to know if they should stay in the North or bounce down to the South. The answer to this doesn’t actually depend on the amount of time you have to travel in Goa, but more so what your interests are because they are two very different places in some ways.


Christmas in Goa

If I had to list the top 10 restaurants in Goa, they would all be in the North. If I did the top twenty, at least 15 would be in the North. Most of the best restaurants in Goa are in North Goa. The South has a few stand out places, but all the “famous’ restaurants (except Martin’s Corner and 5-stars) are in the North.


While there are parties in the South, I would say at least 95% of the massive parties are in North Goa. There are a few places in the South that have parties on the weekends, but not only are they smaller you have less options on where to go out.

The North has a handful of trance parties each weekend but all the clubs in Baga and Candolim area. If you want to party, especially trance, come to the North.


The beaches in the far South and the farthest North are the best. North Goa usually tends to be Anjuna/Vagator area (decent, crowded beaches) and Candolim/Baga (very crowded beaches), and Ashwem/Arambol (fun clean, pretty beaches). But there are beaches even further North that are totally undeveloped and empty.

goa india

In the South, you have the best beaches like this but they are developed a little and have shacks and guesthouses nearby.

In the South, I’ve written about the secret beach I love that isn’t so secret anymore (not due to me but more hotels popping up).

secret beach goa


The North is by far more crowded that the South. If you’re dead against crowded party areas and are on of the people who think “Goa won’t be the real India” then you’ll most likely prefer the South.

The South is actually better for backpackers as you don’t have crazy crowds, can chill in quiet jungle, take cooking classes and other classes, and feel like you are somewhere from a movie.

The North has so many tourists here both international and Indian, that it’s way overcrowded. It is this way because almost all the best things to do/see are in the North.


goa india

There are yoga classes and retreats in both North and South, but the South has many more and is more known for doing yoga teacher training as there are multiple famous schools down there. It’s a little more “zen” in the South.


You're Invited! Tia's Shop Opening, Anjuna shopping in goa

travel shoes sol sana

All my favorite shops are in North Goa, like Tia’s (pics I took for her above). FARA, Lamuella, and all the rest that I love are here. Also, the famous Anjuna market and Saturday Night Market are all in North Goa.

Overall, for me, the North of Goa is my jam! I know where to go to avoid crowds and I drive to Ashwem when I want a nice beach. Hopefully this helped you answer if you should go to North or South India!

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If you want more details on where to do yoga, where to eat and chill in all the different areas of Goa, you need my ebook. My 170-page guide is the most comprehensive guide out there for Goa and has all my little secret places! Click here to buy it.

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Ask Me Anything: Should I go to North or South Goa?


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Stephanie September 6, 2017 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Both sides sound like fun :) LOL

  2. Linda September 15, 2017 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Hi were coming over in March staying at the taj exotica my husband and I are in our late fifties I’m fit and young at heart lol he has a few medical conditions one being celiac do you thing we have made the right decision staying at this hotel and is it possible to hire a taxi and go to the north or is the distance to much also I have seen a program here in the uk about the river boats and would like to spend a night on one is there any in this area

  3. Julie-Ann September 18, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Having spent 2 months in Goa I am the opposite to you. While Anjuna and Vagaror areas were nice I found the non stop loud dance music and overly pushy vendors annoying. I returned to my haven of Patnem/Palolem and found it so much more relaxing and fun.

    Again just my personal opinion and as someone in my early 40s am probably the wrong person to respond!

    • Rachel Jones September 18, 2017 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      Yep, the South is much quieter and great for those who don’t want the party scene.

  4. Barbara POEDTS November 25, 2017 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    I was thinking to go 4 days north and 4 south… But after reading this, maybe better 6 days north and 2 south… Enough to see the highlights of both?

    • Rachel Jones November 26, 2017 at 3:43 am - Reply

      It really depends on the person! It’s too hard to say as I don’t know what you think are the highlights :)

  5. Peter January 6, 2018 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel, excellent blog. Can you advise where the picture is taken in the top of this (north or south Goa) article. It is a restaurant uphill overlooking the sea. End april I will go with my daughter 13 years old for 10 days to Goa. We intend to stay 3 days at Agonda, 3 days Palolem and maybe a couple of days in North of Goa. What beach would you pick in north of Goa. She does want to visit a market for some shopping. Many thanks in advance

    • Rachel Jones January 7, 2018 at 6:34 pm - Reply

      That photo is in front of Vaayu in Mandrem beach, North Goa. It’s a great area, definitely, check it out or Ashwem up there. IF you want the markets though they are near Anjuna.

  6. Sharath January 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Hi rachel, Me and my freinds are planning to travel on 1st week of May. Can i find any crazy parties during that time, If yes which place?

    • Rachel Jones January 22, 2018 at 8:35 am - Reply

      Not really in May, most big parties are over at that time. You can check to see if more come along.

    • Rachel Jones January 22, 2018 at 8:36 am - Reply

      They do usually have one party in the monsoon. You can check GSOM (goa state of mind) or 9 Bar for parties but in monsoon they won’t be huge parties just smaller local vibes

  7. Peter April 11, 2018 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel, just bought your ebook. Looking forward to read and even more to visit Goa end of this month

  8. Bhavika December 10, 2018 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel , visiting Goa on new yr .which would b better ? Yes we Love parties but also hate overcrowded places so any particular option?

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