ARAMBOL, 32km northwest of Mapusa, is easily the most populous village in the far north, and the area’s main tourist hub. Traditionally a refuge for a hard-core hippie fringe, it nowadays attracts a lively and eclectic mix of travellers, the majority of whom stick around for the season, living in rented rooms, hut camps and small houses scattered behind the magnificent white-sand beach. As with most of north Goa, there’s a strong showing of Russians here, but the well-heeled Muscovites still don’t quite outnumber the spiritually inclined types from northern Europe who have long formed Arambol’s mainstay. The two groups rub along harmoniously enough, and the overall vibe is inclusive and positive, with plenty of live music to enjoy in the evenings, lots of relaxed places to eat and drink, and more opportunities to learn new yoga poses and reshuffle your chakras than you could get through in several lifetimes, let alone a winter. Moreover, beach life is generally laidback too – except on weekends, when day-tripping drinkers descend en masse in SUVs from nearby Maharashtra.

Arambol’s main drag is a winding road lined cheek-by-jowl with clothes and bedspread stalls, travel agents, internet cafés and souvenir shops selling tourist knick-knacks. The lane bends downhill to the main beach – dotted with wooden outriggers and one of the most picturesque in south India. The best view of it is from the crucifix and small Parasurama shrine on the hilltop to the north, which is an especially serene spot at sunset. After dark, when the Hula-Hoopers, fire jugglers and bhajan singers have turned homewards, the candles and fairy lights of the shacks illuminate the beachfront to magical effect.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

25 years and 10 editions: The Rough Guide to India over the years

25 years and 10 editions: The Rough Guide to India over the years

It's 25 years since an adventurous quartet of Rough Guides authors set off for the Subcontinent to begin work on researching the inaugural instalment of The Rou…

30 Nov 2016 • Edward Aves insert_drive_file Article
The most romantic places in India

The most romantic places in India

India has to be one of the world's most romantic destinations. Its beguiling mix of ancient forts, pretty palaces, shimmering lakes and gorgeous beaches is boun…

25 Nov 2016 • Freya Godfrey camera_alt Gallery
13 tips for backpacking India

13 tips for backpacking India

Whether you’re hurtling along in a rickshaw, eating fantastic curries, kicking back on the backwaters or hiking in the mountains, backpacking India will alwa…

23 Nov 2016 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month