11 November 2019 | 6 min read

5 Best Beaches In India Other Than Goa


If you are looking to escape reality, even if for just a few days, beach holidays are the perfect getaway. However, every other traveller has the same idea. So, while everyone makes their way to the beautiful sun-kissed beaches of Goa, we suggest you give that a skip and head to lesser-known beaches in India that offer an equally memorable experience, minus the crowds.

If you’re wondering where these beaches are, we have already done the groundwork for you. So, pack some sunscreen, swim trunks, and a book and head to one of these best beaches in India.

Tip – Always plan your journey so that you can save a lot on flight and resort bookings. Also, travelling in the off-season can help you get massive discounts – find out more here.

1. Gokarna Beaches, Karnataka

Gokarna has come up as one of the most favoured beach destinations on the Arabian sea coastline in recent years. With its multitude of beautiful beaches and shacks, it is easy to see why this town tops many beach lovers’ list. Head to the Main Beach in the city, which is one of the most scenic beaches here. Walking is the best way to explore its quiet northern stretch, but if you’re up for something more active, head to Cocopelli Surf School on Long Beach. A 20-minute walk from Main Beach’s southern end will take you to Kudle Beach, which is today also called the Gokarna coast’s wellness hub, judging by the number of yoga experts and teachers who have settled here.

Another 20-minute walk ahead is the scenic Om Beach, which, as the name suggests, is known for its distinctive Om shape. One of the most popular beaches in the city, it has a direct road that connects it to the village. Om Beach’s other somewhat-dubious distinction is the availability of beer} since Gokarna is a Hindu pilgrim town, it is mostly vegetarian and alcohol-free}, which tends to give it the reputation as a displaced cousin of Goa. Overall, the city has managed to retain its grace and calm, making it an unforgettable beach getaway.

Guide – Gokarna is on the Karnataka coast, around 150 km/3 hours south of Madgaon in Goa and 230 km/4.5 hours north of Mangalore. The nearest airport is Dabolim in Goa. Taxis charge ₹3,500 for the one-way journey.

There are direct, overnight luxury buses from Bengaluru to Gokarna (approx. 10 hours/₹1,000) and Hampi (6 hours/approximately ₹1,100). There is one state transport bus daily from Madgaon to Gokarna at 1 p.m. (about 4 hours/₹150).

2. Alibaug Beach, Maharashtra

For those living in Mumbai, Alibaug has been a preferred spot for weekend parties and quick beach getaways for some time now. There are a bunch of homestays as well as private properties you can book to go with your group of friends, and aside from the famous beaches, there are quite a few secluded ones that you can walk around and explore if you’re in the mood.

Since Alibaug has a long coastline, beach hopping is the most apparent activity here. There are different stretches here that boast of varied colours and textures of sand, and all of them promise one that is a spectacular sunset. The rocky but picturesque Kihim beach is popular with locals, although it can get quite crowded on weekends. It is surrounded by casuarinas, coconut, and Indian tulip trees where there are a variety of birds, including plovers, sandpipers, and white-breasted kingfishers. Not surprisingly, the late ornithologist Salim Ali chose Alibaugh as his home for a while in the 1930s.

However, if you are looking to escape the crowds, head straight to Awas beach, with tall casuarinas that sway in the breeze, it is a perfect spot to catch a beautiful sunset, minus the crowds. If you are lucky, you might even get invited to a local football game.

The busy Mandwa beach near the jetty is perfect for those who want to try their hand at water sports. There are multiple activities on offer here from banana boat rides, jet-skiing, stand-up paddleboarding, and ATV and bumper boat rides. Kayaking and sailing are also popular, with numerous operators offering the same.

Guide – Located 98 kilometres south of Mumbai, Alibaug is a coastal town and municipal council in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. A ferry from the Gateway of India to Mandwa jetty is the fastest way to get to Alibaug. Ferries operate daily from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. except during the monsoon {Jun-Sep}. From Mumbai, Alibaug is about 2 hrs 45 minutes by road via the Mumbai-Goa NH-66.

3. Havelock, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Beaches in Andaman & Nicobar have a special place in our hearts due to the clear blue waters you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in India, as well as the serene calm of mostly unexplored sunset spots you’d have to see on your own. If you’re headed there, our pick for the perfect destination would be Havelock Island, as it has some of the most beautiful beach landscapes you’d probably ever come across in the region. There’s a lot of local cuisines specialities you need to try out here as well.

Havelock Island is also a favourite destination for scuba diving enthusiasts. The best time for diving is between February to May as temperatures are a little cooler at this time, ranging from 20 – 33 degrees Celsius, and the waters are calmer – ideal for newbie divers. Also, keep in mind that getting here might require some planning, so make sure to book your flight and hotel tickets on discounted websites well in advance.

Tip – Renting a scooter to explore the two roads that bisect Havelock is a great way to spend an afternoon. One winds along the coast, while the second cuts through the island’s wooded interior. Do remember to carry your driving licence and wear a helmet.

Guide – There are direct flights to Port Blair only from Kolkata and Chennai, and flights from any other Indian city includes a stop in one of these two cities. From Port Blair, an approximate 3-hr ferry ride takes you to Havelock.

4. Beaches In Kerala

If you’re making a trip to the southern end and love beaches, Kovalam is one of our favorite destinations to spend a few days. Kovalam’s beaches and its warm, shallow waters ideal for swimming are its biggest draw, which is why it can get pretty crowded with visitors on weekends and holidays. However, if you plan well, you will find many reasons to keep coming back, time, and again.

Head to the Lighthouse Beach for some enjoyable old water activities or explore the nearby area for a secluded spot if you’re going with someone special. There are quite a few eateries with food from all over the world scattered around Kovalam, so make sure to plan accordingly. If you want to get a view of Kovalam’s topography, visit the observation deck on the southern end of Lighthouse beach. It’s an approximately 157-step barefoot climb {footwear is not allowed}, including a final stretch up an almost vertical metal ladder to the deck. You’ll probably arrive breathlessly, but the view will make the trip worthwhile.

Kovalam beach also has options for surfing and snorkelling. The Kovalam Surf Club, which opened in 2005, is responsible for helping to popularize surfing, both among the locals and tourists. For snorkelling, the best spots are off the rocky headlands that separate its main beaches, and its marine life includes parrotfish, angelfish, groupers, and moray eels. It’s best to organise this through your hotel or at the beach. Go snorkelling from December to March, as during the monsoons, the sea can get rough.

Guide – Kovalam is 16 km/35 minutes south of Trivandrum, which is also where the closest airport and major railway station are located. It is 212 km/5.5 hours south of Kochi, via Trivandrum.

5. Pondicherry Beaches

Most travellers come to Pondicherry, via a scenic drive from Chennai for fresh seafood and inexpensive alcohol, but the seaside town has lots more to offer. Once you are here, sign up for a guided heritage walk through the former French colony, or cycle at your own pace past pretty colonial bungalows and restored Tamil mansions.

The waters off the coast have thriving coral reefs that attract scuba divers from all over the world, while the township of Auroville attracts earth-friendly travellers, lined with quirky boutiques and organic cafes. Don’t forget to stock up on sustainable foods, sign up for a wellness program, or go for a scuba diving session at Serenity beach, which offers classes to both amateurs and professionals.

Guide – Pondicherry is 160 km/3 hours south of Chennai. The drive down the East Coast Road is rather scenic. Frequent buses leave from the bus station in Koyambedu (tickets from ₹240). Shared taxis are available at Chennai airport, and charge from ₹3,600 for four passengers for the one-way trip.



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