Goa. India’s smallest state, tucked neatly into the sub-continents Southwest and gently caressed by the warm Arabian Sea. A Portuguese colony from circa 1500 until 1967, Goa retails a distinctly welcoming, laid back and positively psychedelic vibe that truly sets it apart from the rest of India.
Goa is also, however, a state of mind and after I first arrived in Goa in 2018, I never quite left.
Goa is not just a holiday destination or a backpacker enclave. It is a place where travelers are called to lose themselves or find themselves but in all cases to be themselves.
Of course, if all you want from Goa is sun, sea and souveivers then find it you shall but, if you are after that little bit extra something, then Goa will equally serve you. Ultimately the experience you want from Goa should determine where exactly in Goa you stay and for that reason, choosing where to stay in Goa is very important.
- Where to Stay in Goa
- Goa Neighborhood Guide
- Goa’s 5 Best Places to Stay in
- 1. Baga and Calangute – Where to Stay in Goa for your First Visit
- 2. Arambol & Mandrem – Best Place To Stay in Goa on a Budget
- 3. Anjuna & Vagator – Where to Stay in Goa for Nightlife
- 4. Morjim – Most Offbeat Place to Stay in Goa
- 5. Palolem – Where to Stay in Goa For Peace
- FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Goa
Where to Stay in Goa
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for the best places to stay in Goa!
Best Airbnb in Goa: Boho Flat in Mandrem
This eco-friendly farmhouse is our favourite Airbnb in Goa. It’s secluded amongst greenery while being close to the city and its attractions, and offers scooters for exploring the area. You’ll enjoy a beautifully decorated room and access to the kitchen as well as a private bathroom.
Best Hostel in Goa: Wild Flower Hostel
Boasting incredible sea, mountain, and sunset views, Wild Flower is our favorite hostel in Goa. It sits in a massive villa and offers an endless array of activities for you to enjoy, including yoga, volleyball, and a cinema. The hostel offers modern rooms and a shuttle service to help you explore the area with ease.
Best Hotel in Goa: Beach Street Resort
This stunning hotel is one of the best places to stay in Goa! Set in a faux European villa just steps away from the beaches, you’ll have everything you need and more to make the most of your visit. Each room is modern and comes with a stylish ensuite bathroom, as well as free wifi.
Tiswadi is the best place to stay if you’re visiting Goa for the first time. Home to chain hotels that cater for package tourists, its basically Goa-lite.
Arambol & Mandrem
The hippy and boho Mecca of Arambol sprawls all the way to the quieter village of Mandrem. Both are great budget options.
Lively, charismatic and fun, Anjuna is raver central. Home to Goa’s hottest clubs, busiest beaches, and legendary all-night trance parties, you won’t find a more exciting district in Goa.
Set Goa’s most northern district, Morjim is well located for both Anjuna and Arambol but also boats its own character with lush forests and up market resorts.
Goa’s most southerly district, Canacona is a calm and clean paradise ideal for families and travellers with young children.
Still not sure where to stay in Goa? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
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Goa’s 5 Best Places to Stay in
Please read before reading! In case you didn’t know this, Goa is not a town, a city or a beach but an entire state in India. Whilst it is India’s smallest state, it is still a good sight bigger than some entire countries!
Therefore where exactly you choose to stay in Goa is very important. In this guide we have picked a few key areas that we recommended as the best places in Goa to stay. Whilst it is certainly possible to travel between many of them, you probably don’t want to spend your entire trip driving on dusty roads right? Therefore be sure to choose a base that suits you and reflects exactly what you want from your visit to Goa.
Here are the best areas, broken down by interest for your stay in Goa.
Baga & Calangute
It’s Goa but not as we know it. Baga and Calangute are to India what Cancun is to Mexico and Marbella is to Spain and as such, are a shiny beacon to package holiday makers who want big(ish) hotels, sun loungers, cold beers, and little else.
Some of the hotels and guesthouses here are quite lush and the locals are quite used to catering for first timers to Goa making it a good place to dip your toes, get acquainted with Goa before heading out to explore other pastures.
Best Airbnb in Baga: Luxurious Villa with Pool
With room for six people, this gorgeous villa in Goa is the ideal base for your first visit to Goa! It offers a pool and is beautifully furnished throughout with everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay. You’ll be surrounded by greenery in a calm location despite being a stone’s throw away from the bustling city. Top attractions are under a 15 minute drive away, and the beach can be easily reached on foot.
Best Hostel in Baga: Old Quarter Hostel by thehostelcrowd
Immerse yourself in Goa’s cultural highlights by staying in the heart of Panjim’s heritage zone. This hotel has clean rooms, friendly staff and free wifi, all within minutes of the capital’s main attractions.
Best Hotel in Baga: FabHotel Prazeres Boutique Panaji
Walking distance to the beach and Tiswadi’s main attractions, the location of this boutique hotel can’t be beaten. New, spacious, and well-maintained, FabHotel Prazeres Boutique Hotel is clean, comfortable and offers guests modern amenities for their stay in Goa.
2. Arambol & Mandrem – Best Place To Stay in Goa on a Budget
Arambol in North Goa is the state’s (and quite possibly the worlds!) hippy and boho capital. Over the last few decades the region has grown from a clutch of tiny fishing villages into something almost bordering a small town. In Arambol you can find yoga sessions pretty much 24/7 along with drum circles, ecstatic dance and all the incense you could ever sniff along with some good, modern coffee shops and fine restaurants.
Arambol blends into Mandrem which is quieter, smaller, slightly pricier and has a better beach. You can travel between the 2 on a scooter in a few minutes, or you can walk along the beach that connects them in a half hour.
Best Airbnb in Mandrem: Heron Flat Mandrem
This truly stylish and modern flat is amongst the best value accommodation in Goa. It’s well located in Mandrem village, tastefully decorated, boasts good WIFi and impressive views. It can also comfortably sleep 6 people making a perfect pad for families or groups of friends.
Mixing comfort and location, this rates amongst Goa’s best Airbnbs.
Best Hostel in Arambol: Happy Panda
With a private garden and backyard convenient location, Waters Edge Goa is like a slice of heaven in paradise. This hostel offers guests stunning scenery, clean accommodations, and a convenient location. You won’t find a better hostel in Arambol.
Best Hotel in Mandrem: Beach Street Resort
Watching the budget? This place is great value for money, offering a whole apartment for the same price as a cheap hotel room! Save money by cooking in your own fully equipped kitchen, and kick back on the balcony after a day of exploring. If you do want to eat out there are plenty of restaurants close by, as well as lakes and cultural attractions.
Things to See and Do in Arambol & Mandrem
- Join the drum circle and sunset market each evening ad mix wit the hippy crowd.
- Sample delicious and traditional Goan food at any of the beach front shacks.
- Relax under a palm tree on Mandrem Beach.
- See the Church of the Holy Spirit, Arambol white church that dates back 1665.
- Join a yoga class anytime any day!
- Do not miss Ecstatic Dance around the big Banyan tree.
- Bargain for souvenirs and hippy chic.
- Head to sweet lake for paragliding.
A true ravers paradise Anjuna in many ways epitomises Goan culture with its tripped out landscapes, sultry beaches and all night trance parties. Anjuna is the home of Goan trance (which spawned the global, underground Psytrance movement) and to this day there are raves taking place in Anjuna/Vagator every night of the week during high season playing Psytrance, techno, house, DnB or horrible EDM.
There is however a lot more to Anjuna than repetitive beats though. It is fast becoming the Digital Nomad hub of Goa, boasts some stunning colonial villas and has some of my favourite coffee shops and markets.
Need more inspiration? Check out this post on the 10 best beaches in Goa for nightlife!
Best Airbnb in Anjuna: Garden View Apt in Beach Resort
Situated in a beach resort, this apartment comes with garden views and beachfront access. There are two swimming pools and restaurants on-site. Up to six guests can stay here, making it ideal for groups traveling to Goa. The area’s best nightlife is right by the resort, as well as shopping venues and restaurants. The apartment is fully air conditioned and comes with a lounge, two double bedrooms, and modern bathrooms.
Best Hostel in Vagator: Dreams Hostel
Bardez is our top nightlife destination in Goa, and Dreams Hostel puts you right next to it! This international backpackers has a fun and welcoming atmosphere, with plenty of spaces for meeting other travelers, playing games, or practicing yoga. The free wifi also makes this a popular choice for digital nomads.
Best Hotel in Anjuna: Green Fields
Green Fields is a quaint homestay in north Goa. The bedroom is simple but cozy, and the kitchen and bathroom are shared with the host who lives on-site. The beaches are 15 minutes away by car or bus, while churches, markets, and cultural attractions can be easily reached by taxi.
Things to See and Do in Anjuna & Vagator
- Experience the hippie vibe in Anjuna.
- Trance the night away at Shiva Valleys legendary psychedelic Tuesday party.
- Sip on Fenny, a locally distilled liquor that you’re guaranteed to either love or hate; there’s no in-between.
- See the Houses of Goa, an architectural museum, that celebrates the amalgamation of eastern and western architectural styles.
- Rest and relax on Vagator Beach, a pristine stretch of sand, in northern Bardez.
- Take in the sights, sounds and smells of the Hilltop Friday Night Market, the largest weekly shopping and entertainment event in the district.
- Hunt for treasures at Anjuna’s incredibly popular Wednesday night flea market.
- Soak up the sunshine and take in the views from Candolim beach.
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Best Airbnb in Morjim: Budget Friendly Private Room
Guests staying in this private room can enjoy wifi, free breakfast, and a top location close to popular attractions. It’s the ideal place to be whether you’re visiting Goa for a weekend or plan on staying long-term, with comfortable rooms and free parking provided. Rooms are simply furnished and are a great base from which to explore the area.
Best Hostel Near Morjim: Wild Flower Hostel
Wild Flower sits in a massive villa overlooking the sea and mountains. It’s got plenty of space for yoga, basketball, volleyball, badminton, and plenty more activities. They offer a shuttle service to/from Arambol, so you can easily explore the surrounding areas. Whether you opt for a shared dorm or a private room, you’ll get modern amenities and that all important A/C.
Best Resort in Morjim: TP Beach Resort
At TP Beach Resort, guests can enjoy an on-site pool, gardens, restaurant, and room service. Each room is fitted with an ensuite bathroom, workspace, and free wifi, and breakfast is offered each morning. Tiracol Fort and the beach are right nearby, and the centre of Arambol is just one mile away.
Things to See and Do in Pernem
- Centre yourself and enjoy a day of yoga, meditation and relaxation at one of the areas chic wellness centres.
- Pick-up a good book and relax away an afternoon on quiet and calm Morjim beach.
- Take a day trip to Old Goa
- Learn to surf or kitesurf in these calm turquoise waters at one of Pernem’s numerous surf schools.
- Hop aboard Querim’s free ferry and explore Fort Terekhol.
- Visit Pernem Temple and see its collection of elephant sculptures.
- Sip a cocktail at the lush Leela Cottages resort.
- Check out the stunning wooden furniture at
South Goa represents the state’s quieter side and is the perfect antidote to the hippy, raver, package cocktail that the North serves up. Palolem is home to some of Goa’s most beautiful beaches and is the ideal place to rent a beach shack and enjoy the simple life.
That said, the Palolem clientele are typically a more monied crowd than in North Goa so there are some high end boutiques, restaurants and hotels to be had if the simple life gets a bit too boring for you. Agonda is also reachable from Palolem and is even less developed again.
Best Airbnb in Canacona: 2 Bedroom Flat with Balcony
You can’t go wrong with this apartment if you’re deciding where to stay in Goa with family. Set in a gated complex, guests can benefit from an on-site pool and clubhouse. The flat is tastefully decorated and features two double bedrooms, a kitchen, free wifi, and laundry facilities. Beaches and other villages are close by, and the hosts will help arrange transportation or rentals to help you get around easier.
Best Hostel in Canacona: Credo Jungle Resort – Agonda
Ten minutes from the beach, but worlds away, Credo Jungle Resort is Canacona’s best hostel. Sit back and relax as you enjoy the lush surroundings and even encounter an animal or two at this Southern Goan hostel. Opt for traditional accommodations or reserve an eco-hut for a more rustic adventure.
Best Hotel in Canacona: Crystal Goa Emerald Edition
This stunning hotel undoubtedly offers some of the best accommodation in Goa! The hotel is set in a lush garden just a stone’s throw away from popular beaches, and is a short drive from Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary. Rooms are bright, airy, and decorated in contemporary design. It’s the place to be if you’re looking for tropical beach vibes in an awesome location.
Things to See and Do in Canacona
- Escape to one of Canacona’s hidden beaches; the region boasts more than 20, so you’ll have no trouble finding a solitary slice of paradise.
- Look (but don’t touch!) the turtles that call Agonda and Galgibag beaches home during hatching season.
- Go on a guided dolphin tour, where you’ll see these majestic sea creatures up close.
- Take a guided tour of the Tanshikar Spice farm, an organic spice farm that harvests vanilla, cashews, chillies and other famous spices.
- Visit Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary to explore the forest and spot a few of India’s famous animals.
- Swim in Palolem’s calm and shallow waters.
- Take a long sunset stroll along picturesque Agonda beach.
- Hike out and see the spectacular Bamanbudo Waterfalls.
- Visit the beautifully situated and stunning Mallikarjuna Temple, one of the oldest shrines in Goa.
FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Goa
Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Goa and where to stay.
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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Goa
Goa has it all. Whether you are looking for India’s best beaches, a place to chill-out and relax, or the next big hedonistic party, there is something in Goa for everyone.
Still not sure where to stay in Goa? Backpackers can’t go wrong with Wild Flower Hostel on Pernem beach. It’s our top pick for the best hostel in Goa. Want a private room? Crystal Goa Emerald Edition is two-minutes from beach paradise.
We hope our post has helped you desipher between the best places to stay in Goa! Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment below!
Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.
Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀
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