With golden sand, aquamarine water and laid-back nightlife, Gokarna is regularly crowned one of India's top beach destinations. It offers a relaxing, low-key getaway with ancient temples and freshly-caught seafood.
Things to do
Soak up the sunshine at Gokarna's gorgeous beaches, which are strung along the sparkling Arabian Sea. Om Beach is a firm favourite, treating sunseekers to several kilometres of pristine coastline, as well as hidden coves and colourful rock pools. From here you can walk down to Half Moon Bay, where you can dig your toes in the powdery sand.
Kudle Beach is a pristine stretch of sand backed by lush forests. There's plenty of space to throw down your towel and spend the day relaxing with a good book. You'll also find a handful of restaurants, bungalows and yoga camps dotted along the sand.
When you've had your fill of sun and sand, spend the day exploring Gokarna's sacred Hindu pilgrim temples. Mahaganapati Temple is an oasis of calm, anchored by a beautifully carved, 1,500-year-old stone statue of Ganesh. You can also visit neighbouring Mahabaleshwara Temple, a 4th-century granite temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
For sumptuous South Indian classics head to Prema, a laid-back restaurant known for its creamy coconut fish curries. Pick up refreshments from Shree Shakti, a bustling cafe serving ice cream and freshly squeezed juices.
Gokarna town is easy to get around on foot, while taxis and auto rickshaws access the beaches. Trains arrive at Gokarna Road Station, nine kilometres from the town centre. You'll also find connections from Ankola, 25 kilometres away.