Goa, India’s smallest state, is a perennial favourite with tourists and has become an all-year-round destination with its beaches, attractive Portuguese history and heritage mansions, white-washed churches, yoga retreats, lively bars and nightlife, delicious seafood, and a laid-back Susegad vibe. The country’s party capital also promises a relaxing vacation with diverse accommodation options from five-star hotels to beach huts. The best time to visit Goa is in the shoulder season of October, with a few showers and pleasant weather overall.

Alternatively, Goa is at its festive best during the peak season from November to February. This is the time to visit the beaches, indulge in adventure sports, visit historical sites and forts and spend evenings in Goa’s beach bars. The low season is the monsoon between June and September. This is when you can hike in the forests, visit museums and enjoy Goa without the crowds, even though the weather will be rough.

Best time to visit beautiful places in Goa for great weather

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary | Image credit: nikitich viktoriya/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Goa for good weather is from November to February when the temperatures are in the early 20s and you can enjoy the beaches, take day trips, savour a drink at the open-air beach bars and shacks, and swim in the sea. You can river cruise on the Mandovi or dance away the nights at beach parties. Visit the flea markets at Arpora and Anjuna. December is also a good time to visit the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary to watch the spectacle of migratory birds.

Christmas is a festive season with bakeries selling local treats like kalkal and dodol. It is also the most crowded time of the year in Goa when the prices are high. The shoulder season (April, May and October) is a good time for fewer tourists and lower hotel rates. But April and May get warm and humid, and you may get a few showers in October.

Book your stay at JW Marriott Goa via Booking.com

Book you stay at JW Marriott Goa via Agoda.com

When to explore the beaches and islands in Goa

Palolem Beach | Image credit: kosmos111/Shutterstock

The best time to explore the beaches and islands of Goa is between November and March when it’s dry and the sun is out. You can sunbathe or swim on beaches like Calangute, Anjuna and Baga.  You can visit islands like Divar on River Mandovi and Charao, also famous for a bird sanctuary.

Anjuna, Baga and Candolim beaches are very popular. If you want a clean, less crowded beach, head towards Varca, Benaulim or Vagator. Morjim is great for bird watching, and Agonda for sunbathing and swimming. North of Palolem Beach is a hidden paradise called Butterfly Beach, accessible by a boat ride or short trek through the forest, where you can spot dolphins and sunbathe.

Best time to visit Goa for a honeymoon

Butterfly Beach | Image credit: musicman/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Goa for a honeymoon is November to early December, and March to April, when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are thin. If you want it even less crowded, visit in October to explore the beaches and historical sites in Old Goa like the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral, and to shop at the flea markets like the one in Anjuna. Visit the Chapora Fort, Dudhsagar Falls, and beaches like Candolim and Butterfly for a romantic time. Explore the old Indo-Portuguese mansions like Figueiredo House and you have a typical Goan lunch and shop at quaint boutique stores housed in old houses. Beat the crowds by staying in South Goa, with beaches like Palolem, Varca and Colva.

Book your stay at Le Meridien Goa via Booking.com

Book your stay at Le Méridien Goa via Agoda.com

Best time to visit Goa for the best deals and low prices

Dudhsagar Waterfall | Image credit: nomadographer/Shutterstock

If you are visiting Goa as a group and seeking better deals on hotels and airfares, the best time to visit it is in the off-season, which runs from June to September, coinciding with the monsoon season. Many people say that Goa is the most beautiful at this time of the year – lush and green. But be prepared for torrential rainfall and rough sea conditions. Also, several of Goa’s best restaurants shut their doors for this season. But it’s lush, with empty roads, secluded beaches and hardly any tourists. Fewer tourists means more personalised experiences.

You can visit the Dudhsagar Falls and witness the famous Sao Jao festival when local people jump into streams, wells, and ponds, and pray for a good monsoon and harvest. Take a hike through the forests of Mollem National Park, explore the mangroves, and enjoy seasonal seafood and greens.

The shoulder season in April and May is hot, but prices are lower. You can visit mansions and museums or chill in cafes during the day and visit the beaches in the evening.

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Exploring adventure activities in Goa

Kayaking at Palolem Beach | Image credit: Peppy Graphics/Shutterstock

The best  time to visit Goa for adventure activities like parasailing, windsurfing, etc., are the dry months between November and March when the weather is pleasant and the sea is calm. Avoid the monsoon season. If you are interested in scuba diving or snorkelling, tie up with an operator like Dive Goa. Baga and Arambol beaches are good spots for parasailing. Bogmalo, Vagator and Dona Paula offer windsurfing. The Mandovi River also offers white water rafting in places like Valpoi and Sattari. There are also several surf schools in Arambol and Morjim.

Also read – Beginner’s Guide To Planning A Kayaking Adventure In Goa

Visiting Goa for local food

Pork Vindaloo | Image credit: Paul_Brighton/Shutterstock

From Portuguese to Konkan, Goan food is a fusion of various influences and cultures. Try local seafood, from succulent prawns to crab curries, clams, oysters and grilled pomfret, available throughout the year. You must also try local specialities like Chicken Xacuti, Pork Vindaloo, Sorpotel and Feijoada prepared with pork. Vegetarians should try steamed sanna, and nevris with coconut, sugar, cardamom and almonds. Don’t miss the layered dessert called Bebinca, said to be inspired by the seven hills of Lisbon. The monsoon is good for green leafy vegetables. The summer is great for mangoes and cashews.

Book your stay at Grand Hyatt Goa via Booking.com

Book your stay at Grand Hyatt Goa via Agoda.com

Worst time to visit Goa

There is no bad time to be in Goa but May can get extremely hot and humid. Those who come here for the sunny weather and beaches feel the monsoon is the worst season to visit Goa because of inclement weather and flooding. Many others love Goa in the monsoons when the weather is cool, and prefer to read or listen to music in their rooms, watching the rain.

shop the best travel experiences here

(Feature Image Credit: Guzel Gashigullina/Shutterstock)

Related: Swayed By Susegad: Unwind With A 10-Day Leisurely Goa Itinerary

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

-What is the weather like in Goa throughout the year?
The weather in Goa is tropical, boasting a wet and a dry season. The summers are warm and humid and the winters are pleasant.

-Are there any specific activities or festivals in Goa during different seasons?
The best time for electronic music festivals, which attract DJs from across the world are mostly held between November and March. The famous Goa Carnival is in February and the Hindu Shigmo Festival with street plays and folk dances is in March every year. For Dolphin-watching trips, October to May is the best time. During Christmas and New Year, Goa has a strong festival vibe.

-How many days are enough to explore Goa?
Keep 5-7 days to explore Goa and its attractions from forts to beaches.

-How crowded does Goa get during peak tourist seasons?
Mid-December to mid-January is chaotic and extremely crowded, when hotel rates are high and restaurants and beaches are full of tourists.

-North Goa or South Goa, which is better?
South Goa is more tranquil and peaceful. North Goa is good for a window into its Portuguese past with churches, cathedrals, and mansions. It is also famous for its bars and nightlife and is generally more touristy.

-How is the availability of accommodation and transportation during peak tourist seasons in Goa?
Goa has accommodations to suit all budgets, though rates are higher in peak season. If you are visiting in peak season, it’s better to book much in advance. Transportation is expensive as there is no Uber in Goa. You have to hire taxis, which charge a flat rate or rent a car or scooter.

-What are the best hotels to stay in Goa?
The best hotels in Goa include JW Marriot in Vagator and Le Meridien Goa in Calangute. There are also many Airbnbs and guest houses.

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