Menu
Search

Where to stay in Goa for first time visitors

A comprehensive guide on finding the best accommodation in Goa

Wondering where to stay in Goa? The exotic city-state of Goa is an ideal place to get away from real life and lose yourself in a tropical wonderland.

Spend days immersed in the city's long and interesting history with its unique Portuguese and Indian blend of architecture and culture.

This is what makes Goa such a unique destination. The North and the South are so vastly different, that deciding where to stay in Goa essentially defines your trip.

North Goa, is known as the party centre of India, it draws people from all over the country and internationally to party the night away at world-renowned clubs and all-night beach parties, Bardez being one of the most popular areas for an entertainment packed trip.

You can also enjoy shopping in the biggest markets and a wide range of international and local Goan restaurants.

Conversely, the South of Goa is renowned for relaxed resorts and luxury stays embedded in jungle landscape with the incredible coastline, fishing villages and beaches to enjoy.

In central Tiswadi, you'll find enough history and culture to rival any other city break across the world.

You could spend time in these three different areas and have three totally different experiences, and that's the beauty of Goa.

Wherever you choose to stay in Goa, you'll never be far from a stretch of coastline with over 101km of beaches to pick from, each with their own unique vibe.

Where to stay in Goa for first time visitors - Contents

Where to stay in Goa

The main thing to consider when choosing a place to stay in Goa is that some regions of Goa are better suited to specific interests than others.

Consider whether you're keen to see the sights and explore Goa's history and culture or would rather a tranquil escape based in nature.

Pin this now

Where to stay in Goa for first time visitors
Where to stay in Goa for first time visitors

Or, are you looking to dance until dawn on a moonlit beach? No matter your interest, there's an area of Goa for you.

Many of the neighbourhoods in Goa are spread out and although there's a cheap and convenient public transport system, particularly from the capital city of Panjim in Tiswadi, the most convenient way to get around Goa will always be by renting a scooter or car.

Goa, India - Area & Neighbourhoods Map

Tiswadi

Central, a historical hub with a mix of cultures and activities

Located within Tiswadi is the capital city of Panjim which is bursting with attractions including the historical sights of Old Goa once considered the ‘Rome of the East'.

Cultural hubs such as the exciting Latin Quarter, and natural scenes such as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary which can be accessed by ferry.

Why stay in Tiswadi

If this is your first time in Goa, then Tiswadi is an ideal base for all or part of your holiday.

While the area isn't conveniently located to the famous Goa party beaches you can reach most of the island via the accessible public transport, so this is ideal if you're not looking to primarily relax on the beach and would like more diversity from your trip.

That being said, there are some local white sand beaches nearby to enjoy like Miramar, Bambolim, and Dona Paula bays.

You'll find a varied range of accommodation options here from budget to luxury so it's well suited to every kind of traveller.

From museums to art galleries, and colonial Portuguese architecture to explore, this diverse area will keep you incredibly busy.

Things to do in Tiswadi

Where to stay in Tiswadi

  • Explore the colonial architecture, colourful houses, and cobbled streets in the Latin Quarter
  • Marvel at Se Cathedral, the largest church in Asia
  • Peruse the extensive collection of Scandinavian art at Gitanjali Gallery
  • Learn about Goan culture at the Goa State Museum
  • Take a heritage walking tour of the characterful abandoned city of Old Goa
  • Visit St. Francis Xavier's remains at the Basilica of Bom Jesus
  • Take a cooking class and try Goan Cuisine at Siolim Cooking School
Fortune Miramar Goa
Check Fortune Miramar Goa - Member ITC Hotel Group, Panaji on Booking.com

Fortune Miramar Goa - Member ITC Hotel Group, Panaji

Fortune Miramar Goa is situated in Panaji in the Goa region, a short distance from Miramar Beach, Goa Science Centre, and Kala Academy Goa. Free bike rental is available.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Menezes House

In Menezes House, the rooms fitted with a TV, WIFI, aircon and a private bathroom. The hotel is located in Panaji, a short distance from Miramar Beach.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Treehouse Neptune

Set in Panaji, Treehouse Neptune offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, a TV and private bathrooms. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property. Room service is available.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Salcete

Just outside the city but with white sand beaches to enjoy

Salcete is known for being the cultural capital of Goa as there's plenty of history to explore including the grandest of the traditional Portuguese mansions Sat Burnzam Ghor and the epic Mount Church on Monte Hill.

Why stay in Salcete

Just South of Tiswaldi area and perfect for budget travellers (although you'll find some fantastic boutique hotels here too) and people who want the best of both worlds in terms of city sights and glorious unspoiled beaches.

Salcete is also home to Goa's second largest city Margao, which boasts one of the most famous local markets in the country.

Margao Market is perfect for trying local delicacies, sniffing spices, picking up souvenirs, and mingling with the locals.

For people who want a coastal area and would like a quieter, yet equally cultural stay to the Tiswadi area, then this is ideal.

Things to do in Salcete

  • Enjoy the endless Varca Beach, an oasis of palm trees and white sand
  • Visit Margao's main church from 1565, the Church of the Holy Spirit
  • Climb Monte Hill for stunning views of the city
  • Indulge in delicious vegetarian food at the local favourite all-you-can-eat Café Tato
  • Go book shopping at one of Goa's best bookshops, the packed Golden Heart Emporium
  • Enjoy quirky sculptures at Ancestral Goa park
  • Witness technology through the ages at San Thome Museum
  • Head to Colva Beach, known as ‘the pride of Salcete'
  • Try genuine Goan cuisine at the long-running Viva Goa restaurant

Where to stay in Salcete

ITC Grand Goa, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
Check ITC Grand Goa, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa on Booking.com

ITC Grand Goa, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

ITC Grand Goa Resort & Spa is set within 45 acres of landscaped gardens with glimmering waterways and lagoons along the pristine Arossim Beach which is just a 15 minutes drive from Goa International Airport. It offers an outdoor swimming pool overlooking the Arabian Sea, 6 dining options and a spa.

The rooms and suites look out into the tropical gardens, the lagoons and water. All rooms and suites feature a balcony or patio and some rooms also have an outdoor rain shower or a secret garden.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Goa

Offering an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre, Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Goa is located on the Uttorda Beach. This pet-friendly accommodation will provide you with air conditioning and a balcony. The property provides free parking.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Heritage Village Resort & Spa Goa

The Heritage Village Resort & Spa Goa is nestled along the pristine white sands of Arossim Beach. The property boasts a traditional Indian spa and Turkish bath facilities. Rooms are fitted with balconies. Select rooms include a minibar and flat-screen TV. The resort has a large outdoor pool with a swim-up bar serving chilled beer and cocktails and a separate kids pool.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Bardez

Party until dawn at this youthful, clubbing and beach haven

The atmosphere is young, fun, and non-stop clubbing is the main draw to the area with famous spots such as Cub Cabana, Club Titos, and Paradiso.

Why stay in Bardez

For the party-goers this is the highlight of Goa, the most popular tourist destination in the country, Bardez is famous for all-night trance parties, moonlit beach dancing, and rooftop raves.

However, in the days when you're not partying, there are some fun things to get up to like exploring the hippie vibe and local shops of Anjuna, visiting some of the local museums, nursing your hangover on the pristine Vagator Beach or scenic Candolim beach or simply meandering the iconic markets.

From hostels to resorts, you'll find a wide range of accommodation to suit every budget here.

Things to do in Bardez

Where to stay in Bardez

  • Visit the oldest fort in Goa, Reis Magos developed in 1551 to defend the Old Capital
  • Discover the interactive Museum of Goa bringing local history to life through contemporary art
  • Find amazing souvenirs at Anjuna's Wednesday night flea market
  • Try Fenny, the locally distilled liquor
  • Learn about Goa's fascinating history of eastern and western architecture at the House of Goa museum
  • Go shopping and enjoy the entertainment at the Saturday Night Market of Anpora
Presa di Goa
Check Presa di Goa on Booking.com

Presa di Goa

Presa di Goa offers 4-star colonial-style rooms and pool in a restored country house. Parking and shuttle service are available free of charge. Situated in tropical landscapes, air-conditioned rooms feature antique wood furnishings, woven carpets and craftwork. They are fitted with satellite TV, mini refrigerator and electronic safe. Private bathrooms have a hairdryer and hot/cold shower.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Lar Amorosa

Set in Sangolda, Lar Amorosa provides accommodation with free WiFi and a flat-screen TV. Some units have a kitchenette. The daily breakfast offers continental and buffet options. At the bed and breakfast you will find a restaurant serving International cuisine. Lar Amorosa offers a year-round outdoor pool.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Angels Resort

Angels Holiday Resort provides an outdoor swimming pool, a free shuttle service to Calangute Beach and Panjim City, and value-for-money accommodation with private balconies. It also has a fitness centre and a restaurant. Featuring colourful decor, rooms are all air-conditioned and come with private bathroom facilities. They are equipped with satellite TV, a writing desk and a tea/coffee maker. Some rooms offer views of the garden or pool.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Pernem

A natural and tranquil paradise where you can explore and unwind

For anyone looking to come to Goa for a relaxing getaway surrounded by breath-taking scenery where you can indulge, unwind and maybe take up yoga, Pernem is a haven.

Why stay in Pernem

The beaches in this area, notable Mandrem beach, are luxurious and perfect for whiling away the days reading with a cocktail in hand.

Not just for sunbathers, however, Pernem is also surrounded by stunning lagoons, lakes, and even jungles to explore.

Local colourful villages, small towns, and countless temples are set in glorious countryside, this is very much an untouched spot to enjoy another way of life.

Whether you enjoy luxury resorts, local stays, or even unique local cliffside shacks to stay in, the accommodation here is anything but ordinary.

Things to do in Pernem

  • Enjoy yoga or meditation at the many wellness centres on Mandrem Beach
  • Try surfing or kitesurfing at Pernem's surf schools
  • Go swimming in the natural hot spring, Sweet Water Lake
  • Seek out the elephant statues at Pernem Temple
  • Explore Fort Terekhol – a 16th-century Portuguese structure
  • Hike up Arambol Mountain for incredible views
  • Visit the beautiful architecture of Shri Bhagwati temple in Pernem

Where to stay in Pernem

Rama Beach Resort
Check Rama Beach Resort on Booking.com

Rama Beach Resort

Rama Beach Resort offers rooms in Arambol. Featuring a garden and 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a children's playground. Both free WiFi and private parking are available on site. All rooms at the resort are equipped with a seating area. Each room includes a private bathroom with free toiletries. All guest rooms have a flat-screen TV.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Little Nest

Hotel Little Nest features free WiFi and rooms with air conditioning in Mandrem. Attractively set in the Mandrem Beach district, this hotel offers a bar. Staff on site can arrange airport transfers. At the hotel, the rooms have a balcony. Each room includes a private bathroom. A continental breakfast is served each morning at the property.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Maitree

Maitree features a restaurant and an on-site bar. Rooms have free WiFi, TV and private bathroom. Some rooms come with a terrace or balcony. There is room service at the property.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Canacona

Southern, peaceful area with lots to do, ideal for families

Canacona is a quiet, tucked away paradise in the far South of Goa that's ideal for families and young children.

The city is surrounded by over twenty clean and calm beaches to enjoy as well as scenic forest and forts.

Why stay in Canacona

You're guaranteed to find your own spot on the beach compared with the busier stretches like Calangute and there's the opportunity to watch baby turtles being born on Agonda and Galibag beach and making their way out to sea. Please always be mindful of nature around you, do not disturb or touch the turtles.

There are myriad options here in terms of water sports and you'll find no shortage of places renting out inflatables, snorkelling gear, boogie boards, and kayaks to have fun with.

There are also plenty of local shops and restaurants to enjoy as well as all-night party areas to enjoy without clubbing defining the area as a whole so although this is a quiet and scenic area, it's certainly not dull.

Things to do in Canacona

Where to stay in Canacona

  • For a National Park experience head to Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Immerse yourself in history at one of Goa's oldest shrines Mallikarjuna Temple
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the Tanshikar organic spice farm
  • Hike to the majestic Bamanbudo Waterfalls
  • Visit Cabo de Rama Fort, one of the main tourist spots and associated with the legend of Rama and Sita
  • Relax among the coconut and palm trees at Cola Beach
  • Get off-the-beaten-track at Talpona Beach for quality alone time
  • Go clubbing at Leopard Valley for famous DJs and a true light and sound experience
  • Try out silent discoing at the Silent Noise club, disco lights and wireless headphones make for a unique party
O3 Beach Resort
Check O3 Beach Resort on Booking.com

O3 Beach Resort

Located at Palolem beach, O3 Beach Resort features rooms with free WiFi, 24-hour front desk. There is a restaurant on-site. Rooms are equipped with air conditioning, TV and private bathroom. Some rooms have a sea view. Breakfast is available every morning and includes continental and American options.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Crystal Goa Emerald Edition

Crystal Goa Emerald Edition is situated in Canacona, 3.7 miles from Agonda beach. All rooms are equipped with a TV, kettle, air conditioning and a private bathroom.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Royal wood Beach Resort

At Royal wood Beach Resort the rooms have a balcony, seating area, a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries, certain rooms also have a sea view. Guests at Royal wood Beach Resort can enjoy a continental breakfast.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Calangute

Enjoy the famous Calangute Beach and beachside fun at this tourism hun

Perfect for people who want a classic beach resort style trip, Calangute is the busiest and most commercial beach in Goa and stretches over 7km along the Arabian sea.

There's a wide range of water sports to indulge in Calangute as well as surfing and sailing schools plus a lively nightlife and restaurant scene.

Why stay in Calangute

The buzzing atmosphere starts early and carries on well into the early hours.

Mass tourism has generally hit this area quite hard so it can get incredibly busy, particularly in high season, and you're likely to see a lot of rubbish strewn around here.

On the plus side, the water is calm and good for swimming and there are plenty of facilities on offer including sunbeds and beach shacks to use.

There is a wide range of accommodation options here from luxury resorts to hostels and there's always something going on nearby.

Things to do in Calangute

  • Dance the night away at the infamous Tito's and Café Mambo
  • Try your luck at Casino Palms, a laid back gambling space and one of very few in Goa
  • For a quieter beach spot nearby with lots of water sport options, head over to Baga beach
  • Take a cruise from Baga beach to see the dolphins
  • Visit The Church of St.Alex, founded in 1595 and one of the oldest surviving churches in Goa
  • Head over to The Medicinal Springs, within the cashew covered hills of Calangute, a great picnic and bathing spot

Where to stay in Calangute

Le Méridien Goa, Calangute
Check Le Méridien Goa, Calangute on Booking.com

Le Méridien Goa, Calangute

Offering an outdoor pool and fitness centre, Le Méridien Goa, Calangute is located in Calangute, 900 yards from Calangute beach. The hotel has a terrace and views of the city and 5 onsite dining options including Jazz & Grills Goa’s first whiskey bar. The rooms are fitted with a private bathroom with bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property and a Family Kids Club.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Novotel Goa Resort & Spa

Nestled amidst lush paddy plantations and hills, the Bali inspired 5 star Novotel Goa Resort & Spa offers an outdoor swimming pool with a sunken bar. It is just a 4 minutes’ drive from popular Candolim, Baga & Calangute Beaches and is graced with a view of the Candolim Hillocks from the poolside and restaurant. The resort also offers shuttle service to Candolim beach, which is only a 4-minute drive away. Guests can also use the facilities of the nearby Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel. Free WiFi is available.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Seashell Suites and Villas

Located in the Candolim Beach district in Candolim, 2.5 miles from Shanta Durga Temple, Seashell Suites and Villas has 3 swimming pools and an Al Fresco restaurant set amidst lush green tropical gardens. The resort has a sun terrace and views of the garden, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free WiFi is offered and free private parking is available on site.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Candolim

Tranquil area between Calangute and Sinquerim Beach

Bordering the Calangute city area, the long stretch of Candolim Beach is lined with local shacks and restaurants.

Why stay in Candolim

Candolim is generally a smaller, cleaner, and a quieter option to the busy commercial beach area of Calangute while still being in an ideal location to access everything on offer there.

Candolim also joins the Sinquerim Beach for a smaller and quieter option so you can really get the best of both worlds here in terms of things to do but also have space to yourself on the beach.

There are some fantastic budget accommodation options here which don't fill up as quickly.

Things to do in Candolim

  • Marvel at old opulent Portuguese Mansions like Chandor, Loutolim, and Quepem
  • Party with the locals at SinQ
  • Visit Aguada Fort on Sinquerim beach

Where to stay in Candolim

Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa
Check Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa on Booking.com

Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa

Overlooking the Arabian Sea, Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa offers luxurious 5-star accommodation spread across 73 acres. Boasting 5 dining options, it features a spa, outdoor pool and fitness facilities. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Complimentary airport transfer by shared air-conditioned coach is provided.

Guests can enjoy relaxing spa massages after active workouts at the tennis and squash courts. The property also houses a library, mini golf course and water sports facilities.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa, Goa

Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa, Goa is a beachfront property offering terracotta-roofed cottages spread across 28 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. It boasts a large outdoor pool with a sunken bar, a day spa and daily buffet breakfast. Complimentary airport transfer by shared air-conditioned coach is provided.

A stroll from the sandy beachfront, air-conditioned cottages come with a choice of sit-outs with scenic landscape or sea views. Relaxing spa massages await after active workouts at the golf course and gym. Other leisure options include squash and tennis courts and water sports at the beachfront.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Aguada Anchorage - The Villa Resort

Surround by 8 acres of lush greenery, just a few steps away from Aguada Fort, Aguada Anchorage boasts 2 swimming pools. Guests can also choose from 2 dining options. This luxurious property is located just a 10-minute walk from Candolim Beach. Spacious villas are fitted with a sofa seating area, a satellite flat-screen TV and a dining area with a kitchenette. The en suite bathroom will include shower facilities and free bath amenities.

Guests can indulge in activities like table tennis or simply enjoy a barbeque. A business centre and meeting facilities are also available upon request. Other facilities include a 24-hour reception, room service and a tour desk.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Responses