We take a look at the similarities and differences between Goa and Kerala in this Goa vs Kerala comparison; two beautiful states in the south of India.
While many holidaymakers will jet off to Goa for a holiday of relaxation and indulgence, there are some visitors to the state who like to explore, discover and add multiple experiences to their itinerary. One of the best add-ons in our programme can be found in the shape of Kerala, a beautiful state located to the south of Goa, easily accessible by internal flight.
One question that is likely to come to mind when considering a holiday in Goa or Kerala, is how exactly these states differ and what kind of experiences you will get from each, as well as whether Goa or Kerala is more for you?
To help you answer these questions, here's our Goa vs Kerala guide.
Goa vs Kerala
The state of Goa is located on India's west coast, with the major cities of Mumbai and Bangalore found to the north and east of the state respectively. Goa's neighbouring states include Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The state of Kerala can be discovered in the far south-west of India, stretching along the coast, almost as far as the sub-continent's most southerly point. Kerala and Goa are separated by the large state of Karnataka, while to the east of Kerala you'll find the state of Tamil Nadu. Travelling from Goa to Kerala or Kerala to Goa can be done by air, road or rail.
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Size and population
At 3,702 square kilometres, Goa is India's smallest state by some distance, but that's not to say the state is small on attractions and things to do, in fact, it's quite the opposite. The population of Goa is approximately 2.9 million, though this increases during high season as tourists head to the state for their holidays.
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Kerala is much larger than Goa, covering 38,863 square kilometres, though it is still one of the subcontinent's smallest states. The population is much higher, at approximately 36.6 million, though this also rises during popular holiday periods.
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The climate in Goa is very desirable, and from November to April, the state experiences almost no rainfall whatsoever. This encompasses the most popular period to visit Goa, though the state can still be rewarding at other times of the year, especially given that Goa's average yearly temperature is 30ºC.
The climate in Kerala is a little more varied than that of Goa, largely down to its geographical diversity. The average temperature across the year is higher, reaching 32ºC, and you'll experience little rainfall between December and March. The warmer temperatures are recorded on the coast, while further inland, towards the Western Ghats, you'll discover a cooler climate.
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Things to do beyond the beach
Though many may consider Goa to be primarily a beach destination, there are countless things to do in the state away from the sand. Culture, history and religion forms much of the identity of Goa, something that is effortless to explore across the state. Delve into Goa's incredible range of markets, head to Old Goa for a look back to the state's colonial splendour, explore incredible Hindu temples in and around Ponda, and don't forget to drop in for a tour of a spice plantation.
Take a look at our range of tours and excursions offered in Goa
Kerala is particularly famous for its stunning backwaters and other beautiful natural landscapes, and for many, the primary attractions of the state are embedded in these features. You can't visit Kerala without embarking on a houseboat cruise on its famous backwaters, while wildlife encounters, such as those gained at the Periyar National Park, are unforgettable. A visit to a tea plantation is another memorable experience, especially in beautiful Munnar.
Find out more about our tours in Kerala here
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The coastline in Goa is stunning and undeniably one of the key attractions of any holiday to the state. Beaches are found throughout, from the bustling far north down to the more serene far south. Whether you opt for the wild and picturesque expanse of Ashvem or the vibrant atmosphere of Baga in the north, or the quaint and quiet resort of Arossim or the stunning horseshoe bay at Palolem in the south; you'll be spoilt for choice.
Find out more about Goa's beaches here
Kerala is not as famous as Goa when it comes to beaches, though holidays on the sand are certainly a possibility in locations across the state. The beaches here tend to be smaller and less developed, though you can find a more vibrant atmosphere at beaches such as Kovalam and Varkala. One of the most spectacular beaches in Kerala is Marari.
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Food is one of the focal points of any holiday to Goa, and foodies will be in for a treat during their time in the state. The cuisine is a blend of delicious Portuguese and Indian flavours, often incorporating coconut and fish. Among some of the finest dishes are chicken xacuti, marsala crab and Goan fish curry.
Read more about the cuisine of Goa
You won't be shortchanged in Kerala either when it comes to food. The state uses much of the same ingredients as Goa, though the food here does tend to be a little hotter in taste. Don't forget to wash it down with some of the local tea, one of the most famous exports in the state.
Rather than asking 'which is better, Goa or Kerala?' get tempted by the prospect of combining a bit of both into your Goa holiday. Discover our full list of excursions and tours here.
Fancy discovering some other attractive destinations in India? Take a look at our India Tours page.