Soul-warming sun, plenty of white sand, palm trees, crystal clear blue water, and fragrant sea air is what Calangute beach is all about.
Bordered on the western coast of Goa, Calangute is India’s best known beach as a touristic destination. Popularized by the hippies in the 60’s including The Beatles who used to come to Calangute in the late sixties to rest and enjoy beach life, this luscious stretch of silvery sand is considered as Goa’s most beautiful and The Queen of all beaches. An ultimate destination to spend the most exquisite experience of one’s life, Calangute sees an influx of charter tourists, as well as low budget tourists and backpackers year after year. Before the place saw a number of British and European tourists, but now, it is the Israelis and The Russians who are profiled as a growing proportion of the international tourists in Goa.
In addition to swimming and sunbathing, beach goers here can para sail, water-ski, windsurf, snorkel and water-scooter while the kids can build castles in the sand. Calangute, 15 km north of Panaji, also has the tourist swarming for the countless shacks and picturesque huts that serve food on the beach. The cuisine of Goa is heavily influenced by four hundred years of Portuguese colonialism. While authentic Goan food eaten by the locals is extremely fiery, the food served at these shacks are less spicy keeping the `taste’ of tourists in mind. Most popular are the seafood dishes. From prawns to kingfish, lobster and squid, all are fresh and always available. Other popular local food is vegetarian Thalli, Balchao (fish in spicy, red sauce), Xacuti (meat or chicken cooked with coconut), Vindaloo (spicy pork curry), Sorpatel (spicy pork dish), Reichado (fish stuffed with spicy sauce), Fish Curry (the national dish) and Bebinca (sweet cake made from coconut pancakes).
But, whether you are looking for delightful cocktails in simple beach shacks, chic trendy lounges, jazz concerts or dancing till dawn under a starlit sky, Calangute has it all. The other places worth visiting in Calangute besides the Calangute beach is another beach known as Baga beach which is located 2 km away from Calangute Beach. Counted among the most popular beaches in Goa, Baga Beach is famous for its water sports and dolphin cruises. Tourists can reach Baga Beach by hiring motorbikes from Calangute.
Kerkar Art Gallery is the popular art gallery of Calangute that holds display of sculptures and paintings made by Subodh Kerkar. The exhibition at the gallery also holds display of the artwork of contemporary artists from all over India. The church of St. Alex, which was founded by Franciscans, is popular among tourists for its architectural beauty. The church features two towers, altars and a white dome, which can be seen from the entrance. This church was originally founded in 1595, which makes it one of the oldest surviving churches in Goa.
Located at Mottant, Medicinal Springs is a stream believed to have curative properties. These springs are an ideal spot for picnics, where tourists mainly take bath in the medicinal water. Tourists can reach these springs by following the narrow road after the Bom Viagem Convent. Baga Retreat House, located at Baga hilltop, is a retreat house dedicated to Saint Francis Xavier. Popularly known as Casa de Retiros, this retreat house overlooks the Arabian Sea and the village.
Calangute has always been known for its ‘Happening’ culture. Nightlife at Calangute is a major attraction for the tourists. The beach is a hotspot for organizing parties. Party culture in Goa is supposed to be started by the Hippies during their visit to Goa in 1960s. They found the beaches of Goa perfect for resting in solitude. Nights on these beaches under the moon along with water on one side prompted them to party during night time. Since then, Goa has come a long way in terms of the manner of the party. Tourists and locals need no excuse for a party and music & dance go on for whole night. The local music bands of Goa have developed a unique style of music, which is referred to as ‘Goa Trance’. The Rave parties of Goa are also referred to as Trance parties. A major appeal to a large section of the crowd is the music. The fascinating European inspired electro-trance music combined with goan beats creates an atmosphere of pure mystique, charisma and groove. The experience is surreal. Tree branches are painted fluorescent colours with black lights attached to them so that the night looks like an array of rainbow hues. The paintings attached to the trees display psychedelic images of supernatural creatures, aliens, gods and goddesses, religion, peace and unity. Body or face painting is applied before sundown and fire dancers entertain the crowd with exceptional performances. The party livens up after sunset with over 1,000 people absorbing the peculiar feeling infused in the night.
The most suitable occasion to visit this beach is Christmas and New Year eves. Calangute is well connected to other parts of Goa by road.
The nearest railway station is at Thivim, and taxi from there takes about 20 minutes and costs around Rs.300. Other railway stations are at Margao
and Vasco da Gama.
Frequent state buses go to and from other parts of Goa, but if you’re traveling a longer distance, you need to change buses (for example, from the airport you should need three buses to get to Calangute). A bus from Panaji costs Rs.10-15 depending on the route the bus takes.
Prepaid taxi from the outside counter on the airport costs Rs.900, while discussing the price directly with the driver should result into cheaper price.
Take any road going towards the beach from the main road and find a bunch of places to sleep as you approach the beach. If you choose a smaller road you’re likely to find cheaper places.
By Maria D’Costa
RECOMENDED BY innGOA
Luis Marino Gomes Road, Calangute, India
Good for: Romantic, Groups, Business, Special Occasion Dining, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, After-hours
Cuisines: Indian, Continental, Contemporary, Bar
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations
All Resorts Mentioned are walkable distance to beach, along with good hotel staff and food.
This place is exquisitely designed and has a class of its own. It manages to shun out the hustle bustle of the extremely crowded Calangute area but is still within a very accessible distance from the beach. Set in proper Modern amenites with kitchnett in rooms, this place is home away from home.
Atlanta Beach Resort
Atlanta Beach Resort located at the secluded edge of the Calangute Beach, is the perfect place for a truly relaxing holiday in Goa. The Atlanta beach resort is just 500 mtrs away from Calangute beach in North Goa. Basic amenities include Air conditioner, TV with cable, Telephone with Direct Dialing STD ISD, Refrigerator, 24 Hrs Hot & Cold Water etc.