Nowhere else in peninsular India conforms so obediently to the archetypal image of a paradise beach as Palolem, 35km south of Margao. Lined with a swaying curtain of coconut palms, the bay forms a perfect curve of golden sand, arcing north from a giant pile of boulders to a spur of the Sahyadri Hills, which tapers into the sea draped in thick forest. Palolem, however, has become something of a paradise lost over the past decade. It’s now the most popular resort in Goa among independent foreign travellers, and is deluged from late November. Visitor numbers become positively overwhelming in peak season, when thousands of people spill across a beach backed by an unbroken line of shacks and Thai-style huts camps.

Basically, Palolem in full swing is the kind of place you’ll either love at first sight, or want to get away from as quickly as possible. If you’re in the latter category, try smaller, less frequented Patnem beach, a short walk south around the headland, where the shack scene is more subdued and the sands marginally emptier.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors 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…

15 Aug 2017 • 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