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. First up is this little guide to Patnem Beach, Goa!
I, Jules, find the beaches in South Goa are perfect for some me-time rather than the usual friend-finding adventures that go hand-in-hand with backpacking in North Goa. There aren’t as many hostels or common areas, so it’s more of a peaceful retreat whether you go solo or with a partner or friend.
Located almost two hours from Dabolim Airport in a taxi right between Palolem and Galgibaga, Patnem Beach is one of my favorites in the South. I’ve been going for over a decade now! It has definitely gotten a lot busier with a few more sun beds lining the beaches. However, it still has the same tranquil charm as it always did.
I like to compare evenings here to those you see on Pinterest with the candlelit tables out on the beach, the moon, and the stars clear in the sky, and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. It is literally the perfect date-night location or perfect for the need-some-time-away-from-my-backpack evenings!
It is a small beach, maybe only 1km or so long, with lots of great sea-facing restaurants dotted along it. There is one very thin main road leading down to the beach which means the flow of traffic is basically non-existent. It is a quiet stretch where you won’t find places playing loud music or parties into the night.
The sea is usually calm and if you get the tide timings right, the sand can be perfect for a morning or sunset run. I do appreciate holidays, and morning runs are not always compatible with vacationing, so please replace run with walk if necessary.
Do note, same as all other beaches in the South, Patnem 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 Patnem Beach in South Goa
If you do plan to visit Patnem Beach, here’s a full guide to help you plan your trip.
Places to Eat in Patnem
My actual favorite place in Goa, I think, which is a pretty big claim. But I have my favorite table, favorite drink, and favorite breakfast, and I can’t seem to veer away from any of them! They have the most delicious vegetarian food on the menu for breakfast, lunch, and an early dinner. I believe it is French-owned (I may be wrong) so the salads and a lot of the dishes feel very European.
The Home Rosti (with extra mushrooms) is my go to meal accompanied with a strawberry or banana lassi, and if you have the space, a chocolate brownie to share. But genuinely everything on the menu is delicious. The service is great and they have hammocks and a cool floor seating area if you just need a space to chill in the shade.
This is a newcomer on the scene. I made sure to make a special trip to try it out when I was last in the South. It did not disappoint. The menu again has a European feel and they have lots of tapas-type dishes that are perfect for sharing. Jaali is located on the main road so doesn’t have a beach view but instead has a breezy, laid back vibe about it. There is also a great boutique shop in the Cafe selling some beautiful bits you won’t want to miss out on.
Namaste, Papayas, and Nirvana
There are lots of sea-facing places to eat all along Patnem though I do remember eating at Namaste a few more times than others. I would recommend taking the time to try a few if you are there for a few nights. They usually have fresh fish from the day’s catch which can be chosen and grilled in the tandoor – ask for butter garlic or Goan red masala depending on your taste buds. This is where in the evening you will find the candle lit tables out on the beach, replacing the sun beds that are usually there in the day. During the hot sun days, take a seat inside the shacks where they usually have floor-seated tables with plenty of cushions.
For some delicious Indian food try April 20, which is set back a bit from the beach. They have a sister restaurant in Agonda and the food is great. I remember going here once with some friends years ago and the waiter dropping a tray of about eight drinks down my back but here I am still recommending them which shows the food must be great!
Where to Stay in Patnem Beach
I have spent many a time walking up and down this beach on arrival, bargaining my way down to the best price for a last minute beach hut stay. I have never booked in advance but depending on the time of year and your bargaining ability you can also book in advance on booking.com for a lot of places. Not all, but most of them.
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.
This is a very fancy place to stay with the prices being on the much higher end of the scale – 5k+ per night. But you really get what you pay for here with very luxurious beach huts either facing the sea or located a bit further behind and in the garden area. These are the kind of huts you want to live in forever, so if you find they have availability, I suggest you treat yourself! Book here
Funtastic Beach Huts
I have been staying at these beach huts for years. It isn’t because they are anything majorly special but they are in a great location. Very close to Home, the restaurant – and the owners are nice. There is a great hut just above the reception desk which is on stilts and faces the sea though I recommend having a walk up and down the beach to see what takes your fancy. Book here
This place also has rooms to offer. They aren’t beach huts or sea-facing. However, if you are more of a concrete-room-need-actual-walls kind of person then this is a great little place. Book here
These are very beautiful standalone beach huts on more of the southern side. They’re even quieter than the quiet north side of Patnem Beach. They seem a little bit more luxurious than the other standard beach huts found along the front. Book here
Things to Do in Patnem Beach
Rent a kayak and get yourself up and out early in the morning before the current gets too strong. Take the kayak all the way to the south side of the beach and past the neighboring Rajbaga Beach to where the sea meets the river. You can then kayak into this river and give your arms a rest. I once met a Mumma dolphin and her baby here who gracefully swam by, showing their fins occasionally while I was terrified I would fall in, in excitement.
Kayaks can be rented from most places along the beach. Do not take your non-waterproof valuables because you are almost guaranteed to fall in especially when trying to get out of the sea at the end. This happened to me as we tried to surf a wave to shore which was great until the kayak flipped!
Walk to the River
If kayaking isn’t your thing then I suggest doing what is written above but just walking instead. You will need to walk around the big rock/cliff face that separates Patnem Beach from Rajbaga Beach. There isn’t really much happening on Rajbaga beach, not sure why, and head all the way down. If you are lucky, there may be a fisherman willing to take you on a little boat trip.
There will be offers of boat trips. They’re great to see dolphins, visit next door Palolem and Butterfly Beach, or enjoy the sunset from the water. I would recommend trying it at least once. It is really lovely to get out into the vast blue sea on one of their boats. I think morning trips are always nicer as the waves are usually smaller, and you get less boat rock in choppy waters.
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.
If you want to combine your Patnem beach stay with some timetabled yoga then Kranti has a large school located right on the beach. They offer drop-in classes as well as retreats and teacher training. I did a drop-in class here, the facilities are great and the common area was very cool and welcoming. There are quite a few other yoga schools along the beach which may also offer drop-in classes. You can’t beat a bit of sunset yoga!
Beaches and Towns Nearby Patnem
Palolem is the neighboring beach on Patnem’s northern side. I would definitely visit as it’s so close. You just need to walk along the beach and then take the road alongside Turtle Hill. Ask any locals walking by and they will all point you in the right direction. This shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes. However, if you don’t feel like walking, you can hail a rickshaw from the main road for 100rs or less.
Palolem is the busier, louder, bigger beach with the most beautiful palm trees lining the shore all leaning towards the sun. A lot of people stay here because it has more to do. But I have always stayed on Patnem and taken the short rickshaw journey over to Palolem for any nights out. Depending on the type of holiday you are looking for you could do it the other way and stay on Palolem and visit Patnem.
And there you have it! A little guide to the tranquil Patnem 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:
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- Safety Tips For Solo Female Travel in Goa, India
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