The best beach in Gokarna: serenity and spirituality in India

The best beach in Gokarna: serenity and spirituality in India

Backpacking India: A travel guide to the best beach in Gokarna for the independent budget traveller

This post is all about how to find the best beach in Gokarna. Gokarna might be a sleepy little town, but it has no less than 5 different picture perfect palm fringed beaches and it will be difficult to choose. This guide will help you decide what is the best beach in Gokarna for you.

In my opinion Gokarna has some of the best beaches in India. Forget about Goa. If you want a quiet beach paradise to recover from India’s intense chaos come to Gokarna instead. After some busy weeks all I needed was a few days to relax somewhere quiet and beautiful. Gokarna offered just that.

Gokarna might be a sleepy little town in the Karnataka state, but it has plenty to offer for those that love a good beach and some adventure

best beach in Gokarna

The best beach in Gokarna

Before I went I knew not much about Gokarna and the differences between the places around. Gokarna has several beaches, some so remote that they can only be accessed by boat or hiking over the rocky cliffs. Others are close to the city and crowded with religious pilgrims.

So what is the best beach in Gokarna? Of course this all depends on what you are looking for. For me, it was a peaceful and quiet place, and Gokarna delivers without doubt. None of the beaches have any partyscene to speak of, but some have more facilities than others. This guide will help you decide what is the best beach in Gokarna for you.

1. Gokarna main beach

This is the most important beach for the sleepy temple town of Gokarna. Not because of its beauty, but because all pilgrims visiting the mahabeleshwar temple have to take a dip in the ocean here.

Along with the pilgrims and temple ceremonies, that are interesting to watch, also comes the problem of litter. This makes the main beach not one of the most idyllic spots in Gokarna.

Logistics: the beach is right behind the mahabeleshwar temple and a short hike from Gokarna town

best beach in Gokarna

2. Kudlee beach

Kudlee beach was the best beach in Gokarna for me personally.  It had the right mix of a scenic long stretch of sand that is far enough from everything to feel remote, but easy to acces and with a decent choice of restaurants and guesthouses.

Logistics: the beach has a north and south entrance. The north entrance is a 30 minute walk from Gokarna town. The south entrance to the beach is a long tuk tuk drive over winding roads.

best beach in Gokarna

3. Om beach

This is the most popular beach in Gokarna because of its om shaped appearance. Climbing one of the hills or rocky outcrops will clearly show you the om symbol that this beach is famous for. You will not be the only person around though and it can get pretty crowded during the day.

It’s easy to escape the crowds though as the beach is long enough to walk to some quiet corners at the end. That makes this the best beach in Gokarna for those that love a beautiful palm fringed beach with enough facilities around.

Logistics: It is a 6 kilometer drive from town over winding roads with splendid views over the ocean. Alternatively, its a short hike from Kudlee beach over the rocky cliff.

best beach in Gokarna

4. Half moon beach

The further south you go, the more secluded the beaches get. Half moon beach is no longer connected by road, but requires a scenic hike or a short boat ride from om beach. There are basic beach huts and restaurants in the tourist season from november till february.

best beach in Gokarna

5. Paradise beach

In my opinion this is the best beach in Gokarna for those that love solitude, because you will have the beach all to yourself. The only people that come here are those that have finished the Gokarna beach trail or those that come by boat.

There is absolutely nothing but sand and palm trees. It’s not for nothing that this beach is called paradise beach. There are no facilities so bring along everything you need.

Other things to do in Gokarna

1. Gokarna town

Gokarna is a small town, but of great significance for Indians and a place of pilgrimage for many Hindus. The temples in town are interesting to visit and will give you an insight into religious life.

The town also offers a small market with fresh fruits and vegetables and some nice local places to eat.

2. Gokarna beach trekking trail

If like me you love hiking you should consider the Gokarna beach trek. Also known as the Golden Trail. It is a moderate 8 kilometer trek connecting the best beaches in Gokarna with each other. From Kudlee beach all the way to Paradise beach.

Most of the trek is along the shore of the Arabian sea, but there are also rocky and hilly stretches. Wear some sturdy sandals that can get wet and enjoy the views over the ocean.

best beach in Gokarna

Where to sleep in Gokarna

I think the best beach in Gokarna for accomodation options is Kudlee beach. It is tranquil enough, but still easy to reach with enough facilities. It is also within walking distance from Om beach where you can take boats to the more remote places to visit in Gokarna.

I stayed in Uma garden tucked away in a quiet corner of Kudlee beach with huts overlooking the ocean. The huts are basic, but it is one of the cheapest options around and the location is great.

There is also the Zostel hostel near Gokarna town on the cliff overlooking Gokarna’s main beach and in walking distance from Kudlee beach. Zostel is a popular option and it’s best to make a reservation, especially during the weekends.

best beach in Gokarna

Where to eat in Gokarna

Unfortunately the culinary scene in Gokarna isn’t as good and varied as in Goa. The restaurants can be a bit hit and miss, depending on the owners mood that day.

When I was there the season was already ending and most restaurants at Kudlee beach had a limited menu with food that was uninspiring.

The best option that consistently offered good food was namaste café at om beach, making this beach the best beach in Gokarna for restaurant options.

How to get to Gokarna

Trains at the Konkan railway stop at Gokarna train station and there are frequent bus connections with Goa (4-5 hours), Mangalore (5-6 hours),  Bangalore (10-11 hours) and Mysore (11-12 hours).

You can check redbus for comfortable night buses from Bangalore or Mysore to Gokarna.

Best time to visit Gokarna

The best time to visit Gokarna is from October till March when the weather is pleasant and dry. In April it starts to get increasingly hot and from June till September monsoon season brings rain.

In the off season most hotels and restaurants close down. Kudlee beach should still have some accomodation options available at that time.

Backpacking India: A travel guide to the best beach in Gokarna for the independent budget traveller

There is 1 comment for this article
  1. Laura at 10:41 am

    We keep skipping India in our travel plans (despite being so tempted time and time again to go) because we always go for the more relaxed options as we know India can be pretty intense. It’s really good to read posts like this to know there are places to escape the madness and unwind. We are heading to Sri Lanka next, but maybe we should bite the bullet and head to India after?! The kingfisher photo is lovely btw!

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