Gokarna is one of the lesser known beach-towns lying in the middle of Goa and Karnataka. In many ways it has the best of Goa’s beauty without its gnarly drunkenness. Here is all you need to know about this lovely, laidback town.
There are four main beaches in Gokarna – Kudlee Beach, Om Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach (in order from North to South). As one goes further South, the beaches become even more secluded and pristine. Walking is the most common way of getting around. However, auto-rickshaws between the popular beaches are also available. Currents change on a day to day basis, sometimes making the waters too dangerous for a swim.
Gokarna is most crowded during Shivaratri (February/March) when up to 20,000 pilgrims invade the small beach town. The 4-day festival involves large scale celebrations wherein two mammoth chariots are pulled across the main town.
THINGS TO DO
Most visitors will be there to spend time on the beautiful beaches to the south. Enjoy the sea and the views from the beach cafes or play volleyball on the sand. The beaches are clean, but ask locally about swimming, as currents can be strong.
The nearest airport is in Goa. From Margao, which is 125 kms away one can take a train or a pre-booked taxi. With advance booking taxis or trains can also be taken from Mangalore or Bangalore, which are 225 km and 475 km away respectively.
EAT AND DRINK
Sea food is freely available. Thalis are fabulously inexpensive. The Namaste Cafe on Om Beach serves good Mexican, Israeli and Indian food. Restaurants are not allowed to serve hard liquor. Hence, beer is usually the only option.
There are many hotels and shacks in Gokarna however the nearest homestays are in
Margao where you can choose from. Check out our Goa homestay list.
If you would like to include Palolem beach on your India itinerary, contact our reservations team who will be happy to help you with your plans.