Even once you’ve decided where to stay in Goa and that you’d prefer the more relaxing south over north, there are still quite a lot of beaches to choose from! With the help of our local expert, Jules, we’re going to look at the best ones to visit. Here we have this little guide to Palolem Beach, Goa!
I, Jules, have been taking trips to South Goa for over 15 years. There are lots of different beaches along the Southern coastline, all offering a different kind of break or holiday. Make sure you read up on some of the other neighboring beaches such as Patnem, Agonda and Galgibaga before making your decision.
Palolem can be reached via taxi from Dabolim airport or via local buses from Mapusa, Panjim and Margao.
I would describe Palolem as one of the original Southern beaches that has been busy for a long time. I am not sure how true this is, but I imagine the concept of stilted beach huts in India, probably started there. Think of it as a large beach with the most glorious palm trees lined all along the back and all leaning towards the sun. Combine it with the most night life you will find in the South (not much compared to the North) and add a huge array of colorful stilted beach huts. It really is the wonderful beach holiday from our cliche dreams.
Do note, same as all other beaches in the South, Palolem usually opens for tourists from November through to April. Between May and October the beach is usually deserted with all beach huts dismantled and the monsoon season setting in.
A Guide to Palolem Beach in South Goa
If you do plan to visit Palolem Beach, here’s a full guide to help you plan your trip.
Places to Eat in Palolem
I think Palolem and along the road leading up to the neighboring beach of Patnem have the most trendy, cool and chic Cafes probably in Goa. There are a lot of independent cafes run by locals and some run by tourists who got lost and never ended up leaving. Most places are vegetarian with a lot of option for vegans too. Below are just a few suggestions but I would recommend taking a walk along the road running parallel to the beach and not just sticking to the beach shacks and their sea view.
However, if you are looking for fresh fish and a BBQ then the shacks on the beach would be your best bet. And of course don’t miss out on Happy Hour which you will find at most beach shacks during the golden sunset hour.
This is one of my favorite vegetarian/vegan breakfast spots in the South. If you aren’t veggie or vegan, don’t let it put you off as everything is genuinely so delicious you might find yourself going back for lunch. And if you are veggie or vegan, you may end up eating here daily. Try the granola bowl (enough to share between two), lemon and ricotta pancakes, coconut chia pudding, Mexican bowl and the pizzas! Yum!!
Another veggie and vegan spot with a large menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A very cute place to sit for some peace and quiet with a book or just to watch the world go by. If you go for dinner you can enjoy the lovely added touch of the fairy lights that decorate the whole place. Try the vegan cheesecake, scrambled tofu, shakshuka and of course the masala chai.
Art Resort Goa
This is a beach front restaurant on the more Southern side of Palolem beach. It is a bit more of a high end beach shack with the prices being a bit steeper due to the more premium rooms they offer. They do great cocktails and delicious Indian food. You can spend the day on their sunbeds, chilling in their hammocks under the palm trees or swinging on their very cool outdoor swing bed!
Cafe Del Mar
This is one of the more lively beach front shacks with screens for sports and a pool table. I am not sure the food is anything extremely special but if you are looking for a bit more of an atmosphere alongside your lunchtime or evening drinks (or breakfast! No judgement allowed on your holidays!) then this is a nice shack to sit by.
The Rice Mill
This is a new spot in town and has been furnished and decorated beautifully! Another place with lots of vegetarian and vegan options to choose from. Some of the food served is from recipes passed down from the grandparents of the owners. Try the smoothie bowls, pumpkin soup, burgers and freshly bakes scones!
Where to Stay in Palolem Beach
The stilted beach huts of Palolem are famous for their design and different color options. These are the epitome of an instagrammable room so I highly recommend you treat yourself to one – right on the front to give you that real holiday feeling. I have to be honest and say I have never booked in advance for any of the beach huts I have stayed in but this can all depend on the time of year you go.
If you are going during the months of December and January then it may be best to book in advance as the Christmas rush lasts a while. As it starts to get to April, it gets a lot hotter and a lot quieter. These beach huts line the whole length of the beach so there will always be accommodation available, it just depends whether you can be bothered to haggle or walk up and down looking for your perfect hut. If not, head over to Booking.com where a lot of them can now be reserved in advance.
Remember you will pay more for a beach hut that faces the sea. The further back you go, the cheaper it is. Depending on the time of year and how far back or in front the hut is, prices can range from 500rs – 3000rs per night. If travelling around Christmas time, double any expected prices.
There will usually always be a restaurant connected to your accommodation so do try and eat at least one meal here during your stay to help give them a bit of business. It’s pretty difficult for anyone to get a fruit bowl and a masala omlette wrong!
This is a very cute little resort offering beach bungalows as well as beach fronted stilted huts. They have a man-made pond area among the lush tropical green gardens in the back. Book here
Art Resort Goa
Some of these rooms are a bit on the higher side of the price scale, with one room even having a very cool and very Instagrammable bath tub! If you are looking for something a bit more trendy and unusual then I would suggest splashing out here. Book here
Palolem beach is lined with stilted beach huts and beach bungalows so the options are endless. Above are just a few I would specifically recommend and here are a few other names to look out for – Royal Woods Beach Resort, Roundcube Beach Bungalows, Neptunes Beach Resort.
Do note beach huts and bungalows are not 5-star. Don’t expect luxury, expect the basic necessities with a lovely beach view!
If you aren’t looking for a beach front hut or want to stay long term in a room with concrete walls then the best option is to take a walk down the road that runs parallel to the beach. Here you will find a lot of guesthouse options and a few hostels. However, in my opinion nothing beats a beach hut!
Things to Do in Palolem Beach
Cocktails & Dreams
This bar has been in Palolem for well over 15 years. I can remember going here for New Years Eve when I was about 12 and it being packed and the place to be. It probably still is the place to be on Palolem Beach as they have a few pool tables, a never-ending list of cocktails and very loud music. Get yourself a cocktail and challenge a local to a game of pool!
Climb The Rock
I have mentioned this rock in a few other blogs as it is a challenge I still haven’t been able to complete. Not sure I ever will. There is a huge rock out in the sea that is swimming distance away and if the tide is right you can climb up the rock, with a bit of a struggle and the potential of some foot cuts (be careful with those!), and feel like the king/queen of the castle! Once up, the only way down is to jump off.
Silent Disco – Neptune’s Point
I really hope this is still open as at the far South end of the beach there is a silent disco that takes place on Fridays and Saturdays. Get yourself a drink, leave a deposit for your headphones and dance in silence with lots of randomers on a beach in Goa. What more could you want?!
Walk to the River & Monkey Island
Palolem is a really long beach so prepare yourself for a nice long walk. Take in all the different colored beach huts, maybe turn it into a shack crawl, try a different cocktail at each one – dangerous! – but try and end up at the far North end of the beach where the sea turns into a river and if there is a fisherman you can have a nice little boat trip. Many years ago they showed me the infamous Magic Rock which I assume must still be there. A huge boulder that is somehow and quite amazingly balancing on the edge of a cliff.
There is also Monkey Island which is the large island you can’t miss that is again at the North end of the beach and a little out to sea. When the tide is completely out you can actually walk to this island and I believe there is a little bar serving drinks. I am not sure whether there are actually monkeys on the island but it wouldn’t be unbelievable. If you do decide to walk over, make sure you head back before high tide or you will be walking with your valuables on your head!
You will find lots of Kayaks for rent along the beach. I would recommend taking one out early morning or when the sun starts to go down to help avoid that dreaded sunstroke! Believe me, it is real! Wear a hat. Palolem is not known for having huge waves so you should be able to get out easily enough and get that beautiful panoramic view of all the leaning palm trees!
Take up one of the many offers from the boat men on the shore to go out on a boat for sunset, to see Butterfly Beach or to try and find some lovely dolphins. I once hit the jackpot with a boat trip in Palolem. We saw a glorious sunset whilst a fishing boat turned up and put some nets out, this net attracted a lot of dolphins as the fish were getting grouped together and to top it off the fishermen sang a cool and very strange song while they pulled the nets in. So if you’re lucky and you time it right, maybe you will experience this too!
If you do decide on a dolphin trip, please let your boat driver know you don’t want to chase any dolphins but are happy to see from a distance and not scare them. Dolphin chasing is a big problem as they really don’t like the sound of the motor.
Beaches and Towns Nearby Palolem
Patnem is the neighboring beach on the southern side. It is a 15/20 minute walk away down a quiet road with a few hidden gems (shops and restaurants) along the way. If you don’t feel like walking you can take the very short rickshaw ride next door for no more than 100rs.
I recommend taking the time to visit Patnem, you might even find you prefer this quieter neighboring beach which happens to be one of my favorites. Or you could spend the day at Patnem and head back to Palolem for a bit of a livelier evening.
Agonda and Galgibaga are both taxi rides away if you feel like doing a bit of beach hopping while you’re there but be sure to have a read of our guides to know whether you want to stay overnight or just do a day trip.
And there you have it! A little guide to the bustling Palolem Beach in South Goa. Have you been? What did you think? Let us know!
For More Goa Travel Planning Guides:
Check out some of these posts to help you continue planning your trip to India:
Goa Travel Tips
- Unique Things to Do in Goa: A Bucket List
- Traveling in Goa India With Kids
- Safety Tips For Solo Female Travel in Goa
- Goa Beaches Explained: Which Beach is Best For You?
- Morjim Beach
- Ashwem and Mandrem Beach
- Agonda Beach
- Patnem Beach
Trip Planning Tips
- The 30 Best Places to Visit in India
- Travel to India Made Easy With This Step By Step Guide
- 100 India Travel Tips You HAVE To Read
- 10 Tips for First Time Travel to India
- How to Get an India Tourist Visa
- Travel Insurance for India
- How to Book a Train in India As Foreigner
- Do You Need a Filtered Water Bottle For India Travel?
- Money in India: How To Get Rupees & Handle Money
- How to Dress in India: the Ultimate Dos and Don’ts
- 10 Travel Essentials For India
- Men’s India Packing List
- The Only Backpacking Through India Packing List You Need
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