North Goa vs South Goa – A Detailed Comparison and Breakdown
North Goa vs South Goa – A Detailed Comparison and Breakdown

North Goa vs South Goa – A Detailed Comparison and Breakdown

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This article contains a comparison of North Goa and South Goa. It also discusses the pros and cons of North Goa vs South Goa.

Planning a trip to Goa can feel overwhelming because of how many things there are to do. So how do you decide on an itinerary for Goa? Should you stay in North Goa or South Goa? Which one is better – North Goa or South Goa? If you’re new to Goa or have been here before but want to see a comparison of North Goa vs South Goa in order to decide where to go, then this article will help you with that!

Before you get into a detailed comparison of North and South Goa, let me disclose that they are both unique, beautiful, have great beaches, good vibes, plenty of hotels and resorts and lots of sightseeing options. Ofcourse there are some big differences between these two parts of Goa but no matter what you choose, one or both, you’re going to have a great time on your Goa trip. So don’t stress too much about choosing South Goa or North Goa and let this detailed comparison of North Goa and South Goa help you out!

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North Goa or South Goa

Firstly, let’s understand why we are comparing North Goa and South Goa. Goa is a state in India that has 2 districts, namely- North Goa district and South Goa district. While they are both a part of the same state, in fact, these two districts are very different in terms of their vibes, what they have to offer and even their beaches. Both North Goa and South Goa are poles apart but have something unique to offer to visitors.

Why am I qualified to make this comparison between North and South Goa? That’s because I have spent over 13 years living in Goa and have seen almost every nook and cranny of this place. So now let’s take a look at the differences between these two parts of Goa.

North Goa vs South Goa – Which is prettier?

North Goa or South Goa - What to Choose

Both North Goa and South Goa have something unique to offer. However it goes without a doubt that South Goa is much prettier than North Goa. This is because South Goa is not as commercialized as North Goa. Hence it has preserved its unparalleled natural beauty. As you’re driving through South Goa, you will pass through paddy fields, quaint Goan villages, coconut trees and green landscapes. So if you’re comparing North Goa vs South Goa in terms of natural beauty then South Goa is the winner in this regard.

That being said, there are some very green and natural parts to North Goa too. However, since it has more commercialization than South Goa, it is only a matter of time before even the few green parts are taken apart.

North Goa vs South Goa – Which has less crowds?

Continuing from the previous section, because South Goa has more open green areas and much less commercialization compared to North Goa, it goes without saying that South Goa has less crowds compared to North Goa. In fact, until a few years ago when South Goa became popular, most Indian tourists would only visit north Goa whereas most foreigners would go to South Goa for the uncrowded beaches. Although South Goa has gained popularity in the past few years, it is still much less crowded than its northern counterpart.

North Goa vs South Goa – Which is best for couples?

North Goa or South Goa - Which is best for couples?

If you’re wondering whether to go to North Goa or South Goa as a couple or on your honeymoon then it depends on what you like as a couple. If you’re the kind of couple who likes to enjoy having a few drinks, partying and dancing the night away then North Goa would be the right choice for you. You could ideally stay in Vagator or Anjuna to access both beaches and the party scenes.

On the other hand, if you are looking to get away from the crowd, sit on a quiet beach with a book in hand, and take romantic strolls on nearly empty beaches then you should head to South Goa. Speaking personally, me and my husband loved staying at our romatic beachfront shack in South Goa. There was practically no one around so we could take dips in the ocean and walk on quiet beaches hand-in-hand. To know more about the best beach shacks to stay, checkout my post on the best Palolem beach shacks in South Goa.

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North Goa vs South Goa – Which has more parties?

You will find that North Goa has one too many pubs, clubs, and parties. In fact, South Goa has next to zero nightlife. So if you’re looking for the party scene then you must go to North Goa. Some of the popular night clubs in North Goa are Sinq, Mambos, and Love Passion Karma among others. Moreover, Soro in Assagao and Soho in Panaji city are popular pubs among both tourists and locals for dancing and drinks. In recent years, many more fun clubs have come up in North Goa so it’s definitely worth exploring the party scene here.

Even though South Goa has almost no nightlife to offer, the famous Silent Noise party with headphones is held on Saturday nights at Palolem beach in South Goa. The nearby Leopard Valley near Agonda beach also holds rave parties.

Is Panjim in North Goa or South Goa?

Is Panaji city in North Goa or South Goa?

Coming to some of the frequently asked questions, many visitors are often confused about where Panaji city is located. Is Panjim in North Goa or south Goa? Panaji is the capital city of Goa and even though it is located somewhere in the middle point, it actually comes under the North Goa district. There are infact, quite a few fun things to do in Panjim city within 1 day that you can checkout if you’re heading there.

On the other hand, the Goa airport at Dabolim is in South Goa technically. I know all this for a fact because I used to live near the Goa Airport and worked in Panjim city!

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Is Madgaon in North Goa or South Goa?

Another question that many people are confused about is whether Madgaon is located in North Goa or south Goa? Madgaon is known by visitors for its railway station called the Madgaon railway station. It is the biggest railway station in Goa and almost all trains pass through this station. So to answer the question, Margao or Madgaon is located in South Goa and it is actually the district capital of the South Goa district.

Should You Stay in North Goa or South Goa?

Whether you want to stay in North Goa or South Goa depends on what you are looking to do. Both North and South Goa have plenty of resorts, beach shacks, hostels and hotels for every budget. I will break down the different stay options in North Goa vs South Goa in the sections below so that you can make an informed choice for yourself.

Why to Choose North Goa?

Let’s get one thing clear. Even though it may seem life North Goa has a bad name due to the crowds and the parties, it still has many good things to offer. The north side of Goa has beaches, forts, churches, and islands to keep you entertained and not wanting to leave. Let’s explore some of the reasons to choose North Goa.

Resorts in North Goa

North Goa vs South Goa - Choosing the best resorts in North Goa
The infinitiy pool at DoubleTree by Hilton, Panaji, North Goa

Coming to resorts, we found the Novotel Goa resort and spa in Candolim to be super romantic with a pool, scrumptious breakfast buffet and a beautiful garden. Plus it was located close to all the North Goa attractions and beaches.

The Park River Hotel in Baga is located close enough to Baga Beach, just a few steps away. But it is conveniently located just far enough that you don’t get disturbed by the noise on the beach. Moreover, you have a choice of either a river-facing room or a pool-facing room. With a charming decor, convenient location and a poolside breakfast buffet, I loved to get away with my girls at The Park River Baga.

Additionally, if you want to spend a few days exploring Panaji ctiy, then stay at DoubleTree by Hilton which has a drop-dead gorgeous infinity pool and an amazing restaurant in addition to great rooms and facilities.

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Hostels in North Goa

Best Goa hostel for work from home - Woke Morjim in Morjim, North Goa
Woke Morjim Hostel in North Goa

If you’re looking to stay in North Goa on a budget then I recommend booking a hostel in North Goa. A matter of fact, there are literally countless hostels in North Goa. To make it easy for you to choose a hostel, I have compiled a blog post on the best hostels in Goa.

In the far north side of Goa, the best option is Woke Morjim. Book a stay at this hostel if you want to explore the popular beaches – Morjim, Arambol, Ashwem and Mandrem. Apart from a nice pool, cabanas, common spaces and a garden, they offer many different types of rooms that are big, spacious and clean.

You can stay at Jungle by the Hostelcrowd at Vagator to be close to the parties, beaches, cafes and the best things to do in North Goa. Their pool, poolside bar and the vibe is simply indescribable. Not to mention that they have a famous cafe that serves the most amazing selection of coffees.

Where to Eat in North Goa

Because North Goa sees a lot of visitors, you will find a plethora of amazing restaurants and cafes in North Goa. The best cafes include Eva cafe, Baba au Rhum, Cafe Bodega, Artjuna and many more. Coming to restaurants, The Black Sheep Bistro, Gunpowder, Thalassa, and Antares are some of the popular ones. It’s hard to list them all here so I have summed up my favorite and the best restaurants and cafes in North Goa in a blog post.

Things to do in North Goa

North Goa vs South Goa - Things to do in North Goa

There are many sightseeing attractions in north Goa. Firstly, you can check out the many things to do in Old Goa such as the Old Goa church and other offbeat attractions. Next, you can visit the forts like Chapora fort that was famously featured in the Bollywood movie Dil Chahta Hai, Reis Magos fort and Aguada fort. Apart from all that there are many churches, islands and other attractions. You can read more about the best places to visit in North Goa here.

North Goa Beaches

There are many different kinds of beaches to visit in North Goa. Check out Arambol Beach for the hippy vibe and a lake. While you’re here, you can’t miss Ashwem, Mandrem and Morjim beaches. I personally find Baga Beach and Anjuna beach to be a little too crowded for comfort but I like the Anjuna and Assagao areas for the cafes. The Vagator beach and that whole area is much better than Baga with a lot of good places to eat and some nice pubs in the vicinity. Coming to Panaji, to head to Miramar beach, Candolim beach and Dona Paula beach in the capital city.

How Many Days to Spend in North Goa?

I would personally suggest spending around 2-3 days in North Goa to fully explore this region. However, if you have a few more days (or even weeks) then you won’t run out of things to do in North Goa.

If you’re looking for things to do in North Goa in 3 days, then you can spend one day in the far north like Arambol, the second day in the Vagator-Baga-Anjuna area and the last day exploring the best things to do in Panaji city. Alternatively, you can even spend 2-days exploring the popular Vagator-Baga-Anjuna area and its parties and one day chilling in the capital city. Overall, there are many ways to spend your time here.

Why to Choose South Goa?

Lush green landscapes, white sands, quaint beaches, and romantic cliffside picnics excite you? If so then you must choose South Goa over North Goa. Look at some of the reasons why I think that South Goa is better than North Goa.

Where to Stay in South Goa

South Goa vs North Goa - Where to stay in South Goa
Stone Water Eco Resort in Dabolim, South Goa

There are so many great beach shacks in South Goa. I personally love the O3 Beach Resort in Palolem for the air conditioned wooden beach huts that come with cute little front porches. The resort has many rooms in a scenic setting and a beach-facing restaurant!

The Bay Agonda is the best stay option at Agonda beach. Not only do they offer both beach facing as well as river-facing rooms but they also have large spacious rooms, open air bathrooms, balconies, beach huts and complimentary breakfast to offer. It’s the best place to stay for couples and honeymooners.

If you’re staying near the Dabolim airport, then check out Stone Water Eco Resort (pictured above) which is a secluded resort near the Bogmalo beach with 2 swimming pools, beautiful chalets and many cozy nooks.

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Where to Eat in South Goa

Another perk of choosing South Goa over North Goa is the number of scenic and great restaurants and cafés in the area. Fisherman’s Wharf in Mobor is one of the best restaurants in South Goa located along a river. It’s also worth checking out Starlight and Fishka for seafood.

South Goa Beaches

South Goa or North Goa - What to choose - Beaches in South Goa

You’re going to love the secluded beaches in South Goa. For cliffside beaches, head to Cola beach and Cabo de Rama beach. Both of these beaches also have freshwater lagoons. To stay in nice beach huts, you can go to Palolem beach, Patnem beach or Agonda beach. To know more about the details of all the beaches, read this travel guide to the best South Goa beaches.

How Many Days to Spend in South Goa?

It’s recommended to spend at least 2 days in South Goa although you’re gonna end up falling in love with it and staying longer! You can spend these 2 days simply chilling on one of the beaches or beach-hopping to the beautiful South Goa beaches.

Is it Safe to Visit North Goa and South Goa?

Goa is pretty safe in general, compared to the rest of India. That being said, the crowd in North Goa can be a little rough so it’s better to watch your drink and keep your wits about you. As a solo female traveler, I got approached by random men wanting to talk to me or wanting to take pictures of me. In fact, many didn’t back off despite being told to.

South Goa is relatively much safer than the north. The crowd is better than the one in North Goa because people who come here in general are looking for peace and quiet. 

All in all, irrespective of your gender or whether you’re traveling solo or not, it’s best to be careful and wary whether you’re in South Goa or North Goa.

Did You Like This Article on North Goa vs South Goa?

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