The everlasting battle of having to choose between North Goa and South Goa on your next vacation is the conundrum of a lifetime with no win – win situation in the near, foreseeable future! Such a lot of confusion for one pocket sized state in India, you’d think right? Well there is a good reason why your brain seems to be a confused puddle of useless mud right now. It is really difficult with both sides having some equally great things to offer. So let’s do this the old fashioned way, we list down the main differences between the two sides of Goa and you can analyse and then choose which one makes a better vacation spot this year!

Destination synopsis: North Goa and South Goa

The weather: You’re in the tropics, so you’re going to get tropical weather in both North and South Goa, but South Goa tends to be a lot less humid when compared to North Goa.

Best time to go there: It’s best if you go between the months of October and April. But the monsoons in Goa are a beautiful sight too.

Budget: This usually tends to be the decider if not a variety of other reasons, because the wallet always reigns supreme. There is no dearth of places to stay and unwind in Goa, you have everything from beach shacks, budget stays, home-stays, villas to luxury hotels that’ll nuke your savings!

North Goa tends to be cheaper at INR 10,000 3N/4D (budget stay) while South Goa will put a hole in your pocket the size of INR 20,000 for 3N/4D (luxurious stay).

North Goa offers you a variety of affordable beach shacks, hotels and home-stays if you’re on a budget. They aren’t the most luxurious spaces, but rest assured that the view and the food will make up for anything that is lacking. Book yourself into Naked Space Boutique Hotel, Casa Vagator, S2 Beach Shack and Calamari Beach Shack, all these places are close to the beaches and what more would you need from a trip to Goa.

South Goa’s the place to be if you’re looking to sit back and relax in serene surroundings. And if you’re the kind that lives and breathes luxury and do not want to compromise, then South Goa comes highly recommended. Slip into the Jacuzzi and spas in these lavish hotels and even the shacks boast of these! Your perfect tour of Goa is pretty much guaranteed here. We would suggest that you stay at The HQ, The Nest and BeachHutBooking. You could even book yourselves a private villa and live like a king, check out some options here!

What To Do In North Goa And South Goa

If you’re still undecided even after reading the previous part, it’s time to battle it out. Shall we begin?

Beaches

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Who doesn’t become a water sprite when in Goa? Goa has beaches on both the south and north directions, but they’re as different from each other as chalk from cheese!

North Goa is the place to be for happening beaches with electrifying vibes and wild parties. The party animals can unleash their wild side at Baga Beach, Vagator Beach, Anjuna Beach and Calangute Beach for sure. As fun and famous as they are, they are also pretty crowded but you do get to enjoy the jazzy parties, adventurous water sports, great street food and wonderful flea markets too!

South Goa’s beaches in the meanwhile are quiet, secluded and jazz free areas where you can indulge in some soul searching and wave surfing. They’re equally famous as their North Goan counterparts but a lot less crowded. That however doesn’t mean that you won’t get great food or music down here, explore the Palolem Beach, Butterfly Beach and Majorda Beach where you’ll find the most elite restaurants serving some exquisite delicacies. You could also go Tiswadi Island for a perfect romantic getaway for the weekend!

Heritage Places

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Now that the beaches are done, next we explore the places that are part of the history that shaped Goa. Be it the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Hindus or the Mughals, they all played a hand in moulding present day Goa into what it is and each of them left a legacy behind to tell tales of their relationship with Goa in the form of ancient monuments.

North Goa’s heritage sites are not only famous; they have been declared as UNESCO World heritage sites as well. The famed churches of North Goa that are built amidst picturesque surroundings make them even more special for the tourists. When you enter these artistic monuments you will feel as if you’ve been transported back in time to when Goa was a Portuguese colony. The ones that are frequently visited are Church of St. Catherine, St. Antony’s Church and Church of St. Lawrence. A visit to Se Cathedral is a must to see the largest bell in the state also called the “Golden Bell” and Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa to see the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier or you could go to the 450 years old Mangueshi Temple. Old Goa is full of churches and monuments that when you take the time to explore will leave you spellbound.

South Goa’s heritage places and monuments on the other hand are less explored but equally interesting. Visit the Shree Mallikarjun temple and Shree Saunsthan Gokarn Partagali Jeevottam Math or the Rachol Seminary. How can you come back from Goa if you haven’t been to Mormugao Harbour also known as Vasco-Da-Gama?

Food Glorious Food!

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Well the battle of North Goa v/s South Goa will be incomplete if it doesn’t take on a gastronomical turn!

For the hardcore street food enthusiasts, North Goa is a stairway to heaven. The landscape is studded with beach shacks and hotels serving decadent and piquant Goan cuisine. Get ready to get tipsy, pour yourself a bit of Goa’s special Kaju drink, feni. A word of warning, it’s really strong so intoxication is pretty much guaranteed! Try out Fellini’s Pizza and Matsya Freestyle Kitchen for great calzones and seafood. And North Goa has Curlies, Brittos and Bhaba Au Rhum; what more could you want?

South Goa serves scrumptious food in a mellow and classy setting, which will leave you asking for more. Relish these mouth watering delights basking on the sun beds and get yourself a superb tan too. You have to try some delicacies in the feni production part of Goa from Martin’s Corner and The Village Square that will soothe your taste buds.

The Nightlife

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Why would most anyone go to Goa if not to attend some great parties, after all it is the party capital of India!

For the party animal, North Goa is your destination! The never ending beach parties of North Goa make the nights seem brighter than the days. Most of the younger junta can be found grooving to the tunes of the famous DJ’s under flashy disco lights. Hit the dance floors of Cafe Mamo’s and Tito’s club with your buddies and dance the night away. By the way visiting Tito’s is almost a “coming of age” tradition for most young Indians!

South Goa isn’t any less compared to North Goa when it comes to partying, but it almost has a classy undertone to it! It’s more elitist, less rowdy and less crowded definitely. Under the shed of your luxurious resort, there is usually a lively party waiting for you. Visit Silent Noise Club and Leopard Valley and tell us how it feels to be a part of it. If you’re up for some leech bites, you can trek to Dudhsagar falls for the treat of a lifetime!

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What holiday or vacation is worth the name if you haven’t been sightseeing, right? Though Goa might be advertised as an eternal beach party there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye! Visit the temples, churches, forts and jungles around and revel in the different faces that Goa has to offer. Have a look at another side of Goa here.

North Goa is the adventure traveller’s favourite. The famous Fort Aguada and Chapora Fort are perfect to make memories for a lifetime. Take in the view of the awe-inspiring sea, facing the forts and revel in the architecture. If this is not enough, then head over to Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary for some bonding with elephants, tigers and maybe a crocodile or two. You can even try your hand at bathing an elephant after you ride it.

South Goa is for you if want to avoid that encounter with the tigers and take yourself home unscathed. Dolphin sighting, the ultimate experience for you in South Goa. Ride a boat along the waves of the open ocean to see these friendly fish frolicking happily in the water. Cabo De Gama and Rachol Fort are perfect photo opportunities while you’re exploring this part of the town. If you have still manage to work up the nerve to spot tigers then visit Codigo Wildlife Sanctuary with your family for a day.

Gambling

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Did you know that Goa is also nicknamed the “Las Vegas” of India? True or not, it might be fun to try your luck when you’re vacationing here. By the way, we don’t advocate gambling at all, we’re just asking you to try it once just for some giggles.

Gambling aboard a cruise ship as it floats on the Mondovi River in North Goa. With thunderous music that beats along with the spinning wheels of  Casino Palms, Casino Carnival and Crown Casino it’s time to try your hand at Blackjack and Rummy with ice-cold drinks at these Goan casinos. Along with the regular casinos North Goa has many luxury liners that you can go aboard for a perfect date.

By now you’ve probably realised that everything South Goa is pretty much brimming with luxury. The casino culture is a fairly recent development in South Goa and mainly because of the great inflow of foreign tourists. Check out Casino Pearl, Casino Pride and The Zuri White Sands and indulge in a gambling session with Baccarat & Roulette at amazing luxe casinos accompanied by great music played by famous DJ’s from all parts of the country.

Shopping

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The perfect end to a perfect holiday! There are three words that aptly define Goan markets- cheap, stylish and original. The boho chic artefacts and the temptation of ‘buy one get one free’ goads you to shop greedily from these fabulous marketplaces.

North Goa is the hub for budget shopping. The Flea markets of North Goa sell everything from clothes, jewellery and souvenirs for hard core shoppers and bargainers. Oh and bargain you must because the prices are highly exaggerated. The markets are a wonderful blend of Tibetan, Kashmiri and Gujarati trinkets, bed covers, wooden craft mixed with a fair sprinkling of foreign traders with their crafts as well, it’s quite a beguiling list. When you crash at the inviting beaches of North Goa, a visit to Anjuna market, Arpora market and Maposa market should definitely be on your list. If you can’t afford to shop you can definitely sample the foods from various countries cooked right in front of you with great music in the background.

South Goa as usual excels in being classy even with its flea markets! They are less crowded which means you have to enhance your bargaining skills. So go ahead and hit the Palolem market, Colem market and Caculo market and shop till your pockets weep for Goa’s most exclusive collections.

There you have it, the most honest list that tells you the difference between South and North Goa. Now it’s up to you to make the choice before you go.