Visiting Ashwem and Mandrem Beach in Goa, India? Here’s all you need to know!
Hello, Jules here, your local Goa expert hoping to give you all the gossip on places to visit, stay, eat and most importantly, where to chase sunsets. Here is the perfect guide to Ashwem and Mandrem Beach which is one of my favourite parts of North Goa. You will find me at one of these two beaches every Sunday in season time (October – April).
Ashwem Beach leads on to Mandrem Beach, it is not clear which part this changeover happens at exactly but this is a large stretch of beach in the North that begins with Morjim and leads on to Ashwem, Mandrem and then Arambol. You could actually do a very long walk along all 4 of these beaches if you wished, but be prepared for at least a couple of hours of walking.
I am going to write about Ashwem and Mandrem in this guide as these are my favorites of the four and are the two which I think have the most to offer.
Ashwem Beach is the beach you will pass first, of the two we talk about in this guide, when coming from the airport up North. It is a pretty beach with lovely palm trees lining the back and lots of happening beach shacks with sun beds and good food. Sadly, a lot of rocks have come up this season due to sand erosion so it is not as beautiful as it once was but it still beats a lot of the beaches before it.
You won’t be bombarded with loud shack music though you may be asked several times if you would like a foot massage or whether you want to buy a lungi (sarong). When I spend the day on this beach I always end up going home with 2 more beautiful lungis I did not need! But these ladies are very nice and will appreciate any business you can give them.
I come to this beach when I want a sun bed, a calm sea, some quiet and the best fruit salad around – (Change Your Mind beach shack):
Mandrem Beach is my favourite beach in North Goa as it is much emptier than the rest and doesn’t have many beach shacks at all due to it being a turtle nesting site. This means shacks and sun beds aren’t actually allowed and you will need to bring your own towel/beach mat and umbrella if you have one. This is not for everybody but if you are looking for more peace and quiet and are fine without the option of ordering food and drinks on the beach then head this way.
There are a few shacks which can be found along Mandrem but it is mainly empty and these are the best spots to set up for the day. This requires a bit of walking along as there isn’t that much access via road. The way I usually get to Mandrem Beach involves the crossing of a river which, depending on the tide, can mean carrying your belongings up high over your head and avoiding the sneaky sharp rocks which can be found below. This adds to the adventure and is probably also a reason why it is quieter than others during the day. I also find the sand on Mandrem Beach that little bit finer, silkier and whiter!
As mentioned above there isn’t a clear indication of where Ashwem becomes Mandrem Beach so a lot of the options on where to stay and eat are all in a similar vicinity but some may be more Ashwem Side and others more Mandrem side. So this is how I will categorise them below.
Where to Stay
Very cute cottages set back a little bit from the beach with their own private sun beds up on a grassy patch just a few steps up from the beach. Book here
Beautiful stone huts set back behind the Palm Grove restaurant that is directly on the beach. These are a bit more upmarket and usually get booked up pretty quickly. Book here
Simple beach huts with a nice beach front restaurant. These are more traditional beach shack style and not as fancy as their neighbours but still very cute. Book here
These are some of my favourite huts with a very cool restaurant on the beach and their own sun beds. They also have a yoga deck and a nice upper deck perfect for a Pina Colada at sunset. Book here
This is a very cool place to stay with nice concrete rooms, a river-facing hut or the option of the Vaayu Villa too. They have a great cafe – Prana Cafe – serving delicious food, smoothies and cocktails as well as different activities on offer such as paddle boarding, surfing, a weekly farmers market and other events. A morning paddle board on the river in front of Vaayu is definitely a beautiful way to wake up! Book here
This secret but also not-so-secret spot is hard to come by as they are usually fully booked and you can see why when you see the pictures. These are beautiful Portuguese houses situated on the beach among the palm trees with nothing else in front to block the view of the sea and the sunset. If you get a chance to stay here, please do! Book here
These are very cute wooden huts all with different and amazing outdoor bathrooms. Situated behind the river there is a nice sized swimming pool, very cute lounge chairs perfect for a day of reading and a very cool cafe serving delicious and simple food. Book here
This is part of Lazy Dog which is a great restaurant on the beach over a rickety wooden bridge. They have lots of wooden beach hut options with yoga classes, a swimming pool and lots of sun beds. Book here
This is not on the beach but located inland, sort of on Mandrem Side but also coming towards Arambol. These are amazing tipis situated in a very green garden with the loveliest outdoor bathrooms. If you are looking for somewhere unique and different to stay, choose Wigwam. You can then borrow the Wigwam bicycles to take the short ride to the beach! Book here
This is a lovely beach resort with its own access to the beach over another ricketty wooden bridge. They have fun reggae parties on a Sunday here and they have a pool and large grounds with different room options. Book here
These are wooden beach huts set back from the beach behind the Dunes restaurant serving typical beach shack food. They have different options for yoga classes and also host retreats here too. Book here
Where to Eat
If you are looking for the beach shack scene then try Gopal’s, Change Your Mind, Silver Sands or Babu Huts. These all have sun beds and a wide range of options for food including great seafood.
On the main road, so not beach-side, there is La Cucina for some great Italian and one of my favourites – Goa 108. They have a very cute rooftop bar, usually with some live music happening and an amazing menu offering some delicious options.
If you want to sit at a beach front restaurant or more upscale beach shack then try Anahata’s restaurant – L’Atelier, Palm Grove and of course the very famous La Plage.
Head to Prana for some delicious smoothie bowls, tacos, salads and cocktails, not located directly on the beach but all with a sea view. Verandah is on the main road and has a special Gin bar serving delicious Gin cocktails and great pizza. Jamboree Creek has it’s own in-house cute cafe and Dunes is one of the few beach shacks on the beach facing the sea just near Lazy Dog. Lazy Dog have their own pool and restaurant set a bit back from the beach but still with an uninterrupted view.
What to Do
Both these areas are predominantly beach based which means there isn’t really that much to do except the expected beach activities. These include lying on your sun bed for the whole day with a coconut in hand (easier to do in Ashwem at a beach shack), reading a book and watching the world go by. If this doesn’t float your boat then you can try some surf lessons at Vaayu (Mandrem) or even just rent a board from them if you already know what you are doing.
Paddle Boarding along the river in Mandrem or out at sea if the waves allow it, is also a favourite activity of mine (that I don’t do enough!). The peacefulness of the river is really beautiful. These paddle boards can also be rented from Vaayu.
Take a nice long beach walk and explore the whole of Ashwem and Mandrem on foot. It is a lovely long stretch of beach with beautiful palms and silky sand.
Explore some of the shops on the main road in Ashwem for some cool clothes and jewellery as well as the little market, Vibrant Marche’ Des Createurs which is just behind La Plage and has lots of cool brands and shops all in one place.
Go for a swim in what is usually the pretty relaxing waters of Ashwem and Mandrem. The sea is a lot calmer here than the beaches found a bit further South in Calangute, Candolim and Vagator.
I hope this post helps you find your around Ashwem and Mandrem. I am sure you will love these beaches as much as I do!
For More on Goa
- Should I Go to North or South Goa?
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- 75 Unique Things to Do in Goa
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