The quiet side
Candolim Beach is part of the same larger stretch of sand that reaches all the way up through Calangute and into Baga Beach. All in all, it's about eight kilometres long. But the beach Candolim calls its own is much more serene than its other Goan counterparts, offering holidaymakers a sunny spot to relax with the option to up the energy just up the coast.
The beach here is backed by a grove of palm trees and ramshackle-looking huts. Contrary to first impressions, these beach shacks turned restaurants actually serve some of the finest curries in the area.
Just around the tip of the Aguada Fort just under a 10-minute drive away are Coco Beach and Kegdole Beach, whose vibes up the relaxation factor to borderline comatose. The quiet scenery here is reminiscent of the film Jurassic Park – it's all rolling green hills, but without the dinosaurs.
Candolim's main street is part restaurant hub, part shopping haven, lined with local pit stops selling traditional Indian wares. It's here where you'll find colourful clothing and artwork, handmade jewellery and brightly-patterned fabric that make for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
To instantly multiply your shopping options, there's Goa's capital city of Panjim just a half-hour drive from Candolim. That's where you'll find a yellow brick roads-worth of shopping streets and big time bazaars and street markets that are the stuff of exotic dreams.
Since much of the activity in Candolim revolves around the beach, it'll come as no surprise that watersports are some of the main attractions in this waterfront town. There are boat tours to help you explore the coastline and diving trips to get you snorkelling and scuba diving below the surface. Just be prepared to see dolphins or the occasional shark.
You'll need a second stomach to make room for all the Indian food and seafood you'll be ingesting on your holiday to Candolim, as the city is more or less paved with restaurants highlighting the area's cuisine. The vibes of traditional curry spots range from lean-to beach shacks peppered with sunbeds to tranquil gardens made spicier with local performers and waterfront dining along the Mandovi River.
But if you're looking to branch out from the local cuisine, there's also a wide range of international fare to choose from. Candolim is home to restaurants featuring everything from Italian to Thai, Chinese and even European cafe ambiances.