Goa vs Kerala – Where Should You Go?

Goa and Kerala are two of the most popular destinations in India. However, they are very different from each other. So, which of these two destinations should you visit?
Goa vs Kerala. Photo: Sumit Sourav | Unsplash

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Goa and Kerala are two of the most popular destinations in India. 

Beautiful and unique in their own way, while Goa and Kerala are sought-after destinations, many people get confused between the two. 

In a nutshell, Goa is famous for its beaches and party scene, while Kerala is known for its natural landscapes and mesmerising backwaters.

Much like Thailand’s Phuket and Krabi, if you’re stuck choosing whether to go to Goa or Kerala on your next holiday to India, we’ve got you covered. 

This article will break down the different aspects of each place and help you decide whether Goa or Kerala is the best holiday destination for you.

Goa vs Kerala: Best Time to Visit 

Goa vs Kerala. Photo: alexey turenkov | Unsplash

Goa best time to visit

Goa lies on India’s west coast and has a typical coastline climate and humid summers.

While Goa can be a great holiday destination year-round, it’s best to avoid it during the hot, humid summers. 

The best time to visit Goa is during winter, from November to March when the humidity is lower, the sun is shining, and the temperatures are moderate. 

Kerala best time to visit

Located on the southwest coast of India, Kerala is much bigger in size and population than Goa.

Kerala has a comfortable climate throughout the year, and summers (March-May) are hot but not uncomfortable and humid like Goa. 

The best time to visit Kerala is during winter (September-March), when the humidity levels drop and the days are warm. 

What is Goa Famous For? 

Goa. Photo: Raja Sen | Unsplash

Goa may be a popular beach destination, but there are many other attractions to see and activities to do. 

Goa’s identity lies in its unique culture and history, apparent in its buildings and Portuguese architecture (as it was a Portuguese colony from 1510 to 1961). 

Known as the beach capital of India, Goa has a beautiful coastline lined with plenty of sandy beaches. Because of the number of beaches, there are plenty of watersports available, such as surfing, parasailing and even dolphin spotting. 

Goa has excellent nightlife, with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. 

What is Kerala Famous For? 

Kerala. Photo: Nature Photographer | Unsplash

Unlike Goa, Kerala is more famous for its natural landscapes and backwaters.

There are plenty of activities in Kerala, such as exploring the national parks and coffee and tea plantations. 

You can also enjoy sailing along the backwaters in houseboats or spend a day at an Ayurvedic Spa.

Goa vs Kerala: How to Get There

How to Get to Goa & Kerala. Photo: Raja Sen | Unsplash

Both Goa and Kerala are well connected to other states in India via air, rail and roads. 

Goa transport options

The Dabolim Airport is the only domestic and international airport in Goa. So, if you’re flying in from Paris, London, Dubai and New York, you can fly straight to Goa. 

The state is also well connected with the major cities of India, such as Mumbai and Bangalore. You can get to Goa by the Konkan Railway or Southwestern Railway. 

Kerala transport options

Since Kerala is much bigger than Goa, it has four international airports that connect the state to major international cities. 

Therefore, no matter where you’re flying from, you can arrive at one of the four airports in the southern, central or northern parts of the state. 

Goa vs Kerala: Landscape 

Kerala’s Landscape. Photo: Vivek Kumar | Unsplash

Goa – diverse landscapes and beaches

Stretching just over 100km from north to south, Goa is much smaller than Kerala. However, what Goa lacks in size, it makes up for in its diverse landscapes. 

While Goa may be known for its stretch of beaches, the state is also home to lush hinterlands of rice paddies and coconut groves and forested mountains further inland.

Kerala  – more forest and diversity

In Kerala, the mountains are higher and experience a much different climate to Goa in the north. 

Tea, coffee and spice plantations cover the higher slopes, and since Kerala is a bigger state, there is much more forest and wildlife than Goa. 

Goa vs Kerala: Food 

Food in Goa & Kerala. Photo: Akhil Chandran | Unsplash

Goa food

The food in Goa is a blend of Portuguese and Indian flavours. Goan fish curry, chicken xacuti and masala crab are some of the most famous dishes to try while in Goa. 

Kerala food

Kerala cuisine is very much based on seafood, with dishes made from mussels, prawns, oysters and lobsters. Some dishes you must try in Kerala include Appam with stew, prawn curry, fish molee, fried-ground mutton curry and more. 

Goa vs Kerala: Accommodation

A typical house boat. Photo: Abhishek Prasad | Unsplash

Goa accommodation options

You will be pleased to know that there is a range of budget and luxury accommodation options in both Goa and Kerala. 

Since Goa is a beach destination, there are plenty of waterfront villas and beachside shacks to stay in. 

No matter your budget, because Goa is a popular destination, there are accommodation types and prices to suit every traveller. 

Kerala accommodation options

In Kerala, there are limited beach resorts. However, there are more tree houses, houseboats and homestays to stay in. 

You’ll be pleased to know that Kerala also has plenty of luxury resorts with fancy restaurants if you have a higher budget. 

Goa vs Kerala: Shopping & Things to Buy 

Goa Markets. Photo: Bhaskar Agarwal | Unsplash

Goa shopping

Goa is popular for its colourful flea markets and night markets. The markets have a range of products, including clothes, beachwear, handmade jewellery, precious stones, spices and more. There are also luxury malls in Goa where you can buy designer clothes or antiques. 

Kerala shopping

Unlike Goa, Kerala is famous for Ayurvedic medicines and cosmetics. Some of the things you can buy in Kerala include spices, Kathakali masks, Kassavu Mundu, mural paintings and Nettipattam. 

Goa vs Kerala: Where Should You Go? 

Where to go? Photo: Sreehari Devadas | Unsplash

Goa and Kerala are both beautiful places in India. However, where you choose to go depends on the type of holiday you want to have. 

Goa is the place to go for a beach holiday with great nightlife. And although it may be a cheaper destination, it’s much more crowded than Kerala. 

If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday where you can sail along the backwaters and visit Ayurvedic Spas, Kerala is the place for you. 

So, which place will you visit on your next trip to India? 


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