Spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Goa is one of the top wishes on every Indian’s travel bucket list. There are people who visit the state every year during winters. Then there are some who’ve had enough of Goa and are now looking for beach destination alternatives in India. By Karan Kaushik
Goa is simply incredible during this time of the year is a fact that can’t be questioned, but we can’t also deny that it tends to get a tad crowded. For those looking for a much quieter beach holiday, we’ve some recommendations.
A vacation in Goa is mostly about chilling at its many beaches and getting sloshed with your mains. So, we have curated a list of some of the most serene beach destinations in India where you could still get your share of good fun, without having to care about the burgeoning crowd.
These beach destinations in India will not make you miss Goa this Christmas
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Beach buffs simply love Gokarna. Surrounded by the splendid western ghats on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other, Gokarna is famed for its temples and beaches. These have successfully managed to draw solace seekers to the city every year in the droves.
A vacation in Gokarna can be spent surfing and trekking around the Kudle beach, savouring local delicacies like patrode, prawn masala and clam curry, temple hopping, visiting the nearby Jog Falls, and more. Not to forget the mandatory visit to the renowned Om Beach.
The rocky terrain also allows adventure junkies to go biking and mountaineering. Scuba, snorkelling, jet skiing and parasailing are some other activities you may fancy.
Pristine beaches, clear blue waters, yum Malvani cuisine, rejuvenating scuba sessions, and dolphin spotting. That’s Tarkali for you. This little hamlet, situated in Maharashtra’s south Konkan region, is nothing less than a paradise for solitude seekers.
Watch surreal sunsets, take a walk with your partner at the beach, pamper yourself with a houseboat stay or visit the historical Sidhudurg fort, there’s a lot to be done. Then there are the evergreen banana boat rides and jet skiing at the Tsunami Island.
You could also snorkel in the turquoise waters and be absolutely enchanted by the magical underwater world. There’s parasailing too, just FYI.
If you love the old-world colonial charm of Goa, you will fall for Diu too. The erstwhile Portuguese colony is home to age-old churches, neat and tranquil beaches. History lovers can visit the Diu Fort and the Diu Museum, located in the Thomas Church complex.
When in Diu, you can play with sea waves at the Nagoa beach, marvel at the distinct topography of the secluded Gomtimata beach, visit the intriguing Sea Shell Museum and explore the otherworldly Naida caves near the Diu fort. The magnificent St Paul Church is a must-visit too.
Also, we hope you will not confuse Diu with Daman or think about clubbing the two during your trip. A gentle reminder- Diu and Daman are 650km apart.
Not many people will tell you this, but canoeing at Minicoy Island could even make you get over your toxic ex. No really, Lakshadweep does have those kinds of superpowers. An island vacation at this tropical archipelago is exactly what you need after this kinda terrible year we all have had.
Things to do here include snorkelling at Agatti island, kayaking and yacht sailing around Kavaratti island, scuba diving, and kite surfing at Kalpeni island, and more. The Marine Museum here will leave you fascinated with its intriguing exhibits. If fishing interests you, take a short helicopter ride to Kadmat island.
Lakshadweep is also blessed with a happening nightlife. Bangaram Island is where you should be for ultimate sundowners.
Often touted as India’s best-kept secret, Odisha is home to some of the most incredible beaches you will ever visit in your life. Gopalpur Beach is surely one of them.
Located in Ganjam district, Gopalpur is a much sought-after destination if you are looking to travel with your family. What once served as an important port for the seafarers of Kalinga and later as a military port during the first world war, is now a bustling beach destination. From windsurfing to paddle boating and shopping for local handicrafts, you could indulge in everything touristy here.
Sunrises and sunsets are simply stunning, with shades of purple and tangerine dominating the sky most of the time. Gopalpur is also dotted with colourful houses and ancient ruins, which can be best explored during an early morning stroll.
Give Munnar and Alleppey a break this time and choose Kovalam for a change. From pampering yourself with an Ayurvedic massage to demolishing flapjacks and shrimp biryani at the German Bakery here, Kovalam offers something for everyone.
The prime highlight of any Kovalam vacay is usually taking catamaran rides at Hawah Beach. Other must-dos include seeking blessings at the Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple, walking the pages of early human history at the Rock Cut Cave Temple, and visiting the Halcyon Castle.
If you can’t get enough of picturesque landscapes, the Vellayani Lake, Neyyar Dam, and Aruvikkara Dam are great options. There’s a must-visit lighthouse too. Art enthusiasts will have a ball at the Kovalam Art Gallery, which houses attractive sculptures and artworks.
Home to the Rushikonda Beach, one of the Blue Flag beaches in India, Vizag is one city that will grow on you and how. From being inside a real submarine to riding a ropeway to nerding it out at museums, Vizag has much more to it than pretty beaches.
Start your trip with a visit to Ramakrishna Beach, where most of the action is. Nearby is the INS Kursura Submarine Museum, another must-have experience. In the evening, you could take a nice ropeway ride to Kailasgiri or seek peaceful vibes at Rushikonda Beach.
You can also club your trip with a day’s visit to the nearby Araku Valley, which is breathtaking. If you have more time to spare, don’t miss Lambasingi, a quaint hamlet located around 100km from Vizag.
This much-loved city beckons you with its grand churches, lighthouses, beaches, ashrams, and great French cuisine. The seaside promenade in White Town is where everyone usually prefers to begin their day. The best part about Pondicherry is that it can easily be explored on foot or by a scooter. You don’t have to necessarily take those pricey tourist packages.
After a nice brunch at one of the seaside restaurants at the promenade, you could start your cathedral trail. Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Immaculate Conception Cathedral are the main churches in Pondicherry.
When done seeking the almighty’s blessings, head to the rock beach or visit the Aurobindo Ashram. Later in the day, you can attend the evening prayers at the much-revered Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple. Goes without saying that any trip to Pondicherry is incomplete without a visit to Auroville, just 20km away.