Both Goa and Kerala are top tourist destinations in India and people always get confused between these two holiday options as each state carries a special charm. Goa is popular as a city of beaches and parties, and Kerala is known as God’s own country due to its mesmerising backwaters. Goa is best for the backpackers, party freaks and honeymooners, and Kerala is always a favourite place for those who love backwaters and are Ayurveda inspired. Surely, it is not easy to choose between the two as each is as attractive as the other. So before you choose any of these as your travel destination, you need to compare them.
Goa lies towards India's west coast while Kerala is far below in the south-west of India. Goa is much smaller in size and population when compared to Kerala.
Goa has a typical coastal climate and humid summers, while Kerala experiences a humid tropical wet climate. There is no doubt that Goa can be enjoyed all through the year, but it is better to avoid Goa during summer. You can visit Goa from June to October and drain out your stress by experiencing the lovely monsoons of the state. However, the best time to enjoy Goa is in winter i.e. November to March. However, there are several festivities in line from June to October.
Kerala is blessed with a nice comfortable climate all through the year. Summers (March-May) are hot but not uncomfortable. Monsoon season from June to August is best to visit this place. As for the peak season, it is from September to March. June to August is best for Ayurvedic treatment.
Both these places are well-connected to other states of India via air, rail and roadways.
You can take a train to reach Goa, travel by road or catch a flight. Goa has only one international airport Dabolim international airport. An extensive network of roads link Goa to Mumbai, Kolhapur, and Bangalore. There are plenty of scheduled flights from destinations across the world like Doha, Manchester, London, Moscow and more. Domestic flights connect the state to other major cities within India like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi, and Kolkata. Plus you can also reach Goa from Mumbai via cruise. The major railway stations in Goa are Vasco Da Gama Railway Station and Madgaon Railway Station.
In Kerala, you can find three airports, such as Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, Cochin International Airport, and Kozhikode International Airport. Cochin International Airport is 30 km away from main Cochin. You can also reach Cochin in Kerala by a yacht and cruise ship from Goa, Mumbai, Lakshadweep, Colombo and Male. Most trains to Kerala stop at Ernakulam Town Station and Ernakulam Junction Station from where you can take a cab or bus to reach Cochin. You can reach Alleppey (Kerala backwaters region) from the Kochin airport, in about 2 hours via taxi.
Goan cuisine is a blend of Portuguese and Indian flavours, and they use lots of coconut and fish. Goan fish curry, chicken xacuti, and masala crab are some famous dishes that you must try in Goa.
You will love the gastronomical journey when in Kerala. Here too you can relish lip-smacking seafood dishes made from mussels, crab, prawns, oysters, red lobsters and more. Some popular dishes are Appam with stew, spicy chicken fry, Iddiyappam, Prawn curry, Malabar Parota, Fish Molee, Banana fritters, Payasam, Fried-Ground Mutton Curry and lots more.
Goa may be seen as a beach destination primarily, but there are many other attractions and countless things to do here. Its identity lies in its unique culture and history and is apparent in its buildings and Portuguese architecture. The coastline of Goa is dotted with awesome beaches, and one remains spoilt for choice here. In this beach capital of India, one should explore Goa for its golden sandy beaches, night markets, and casinos. Enjoy a vast range of adventurous water sports in Goa like parasailing, surfing, and dolphin spotting.
Kerala is more famous for its natural landscapes and stunning backwaters. One can enjoy exploring those countless National Parks and coffee, tea and spice plantations. The state is not as famous as Goa when it comes to beaches, but there are some famous beaches here like Kovalam and Varkala. When in Kerala, one can enjoy activities, such as sailing in houseboats, Kalaripayattu or fencing, and Ayurvedic Spas.
In Goa, you can visit different beaches, such as Baga, Candolim, Palolem, Arambol, Agonda, and Vagator. On the other hand, in Kerala, you can explore some beaches like Marari, Varkala, Kavolam, and Kannu.
Both cities have some historical places too. You can explore the old Portuguese colonial heritage in Goa and visit Terekhol Fort, Se Cathedral, Chapora Fort, and Basilica of Bom Jesus. In this regard, Kerala has a few more historical places, such as Bekal Fort, Hill Place Museum, Synagogue, Palakkad Fort, Dutch Palace, and Kannur Fort.
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You can find ample luxury and budget stay options in both Goa and Kerala. You can go ahead and book your accommodation based on your preferences and pocket. The waterfront properties of Goa have luxury rooms and villas here are well-equipped with plush interiors. In Kerala, you can enjoy staying in tree houses, houseboats and homestays apart from luxury beach resorts or budget hotels. In Goa, you can also stay in beachside shacks, but you cannot find this option in Kerala. So, the hotels in Goa are a lot more variable, and one can even stay at shacks and homestays if on a limited budget. However, Kerala has a variety of posh restaurants and luxury resorts.
There are ample markets and shopping centres in Goa and Kerala. Any trip is incomplete without shopping and Goa is indeed a paradise for any shopaholic. Here, you can bargain a lot in any of those flea markets or the night markets. You can shop for all kind of goodies, clothes, jewellery, handicrafts and a lot more. If you visit Kerala then you need to collect some Ayurveda medicines and cosmetics or wellness products because Kerala is known for Ayurveda. In Kerala, you can also shop for spices, tea & coffee, coir handicrafts, cashews, Kathakali masks, Kerala sarees, shell handicrafts, and elephant showpieces.
If you love beaches, churches, and architecture, then Goa would be a better choice. A visit to Old Goa is highly recommended as it boasts of ancient churches, chapels, and museums. However, if you love backwaters, wildlife, nature, and Ayurvedic wellness experience, then Kerala seems to be the right choice. Alleypey is great for its houseboats and backwaters.
To be honest, you are going to love both states and are sure to have a wonderful time exploring both regions and their numerous attractions. However, Goa is relatively cheaper than Kerala but certainly more crowded. You will fall in love with Kerala as you hit its backwaters and explore the hills. Goa looks much more alluring because of those beaches and seafood. Both are beautiful and carry their own charm and a set of unique attractions. It would be wrong to compare the two with each other. Both states draw tourists who are eager to visit and explore the different attractions and cuisines of the states.