Welcome to Panaji


A glorious whitewashed church lords over the animated city centre, a broad leafy boulevard skirts around the river, and grand colonial-era buildings rub shoulders with arty boutiques, old-school bookshops, state-of-the-art malls and backstreet bars.

But it’s the tangle of narrow streets in the old Latin Quarter that really steal the show. Nowhere is the Portuguese influence felt more strongly than here, where the late afternoon sun lights up yellow houses with purple doors, and around each corner you’ll find restored ochre-coloured mansions with terracotta-tiled roofs, wrought-iron balconies and arched oyster-shell windows.

A day or two in Panaji really is an essential part of the Goan experience.


Top experiences in Panaji

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Panaji activities

$45 Cultural & Theme Tours

Se Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Dona Paula Private Tour

Discover Goa’s colorful history on this private half-day tour. Learn about the heavy influence Portuguese rule had on this region’s religion and architecture from your expert guide’s interesting commentary about all the places you see. After pickup from your Goa hotel in the morning by private, air-conditioned vehicle, your guide will take you to the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds the remains of the Catholic missionary St Francis Xavier.Enter the church and walk on the marble floor inlaid with precious stones. Admire the exquisite paintings adorning the walls that depict scenes from St Francis Xavier’s life and see the mausoleum that contains his silver casket. Follow your guide upstairs to the art gallery to see beautiful surrealist paintings from Goan painter Dom Martin.Walk to the nearby Se Cathedral, also known as the Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina, dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria, a Christian saint who was martyred in the early 4th century by a Roman emperor for her devout dedication to Christianity. Marvel at the facade’s Portuguese Gothic-style architecture before entering the church with your guide to see the Golden Bell, one of the largest bells in Goa.Re-board the vehicle and head 15 minutes to the city of Panaji to visit the historic neighborhood of Fontainhas, known as the Latin Quarter. Discover the area’s Portuguese influences as you walk with your guide down narrow streets and past old, colorful villas. Visit the small St Sebastian Chapel and see several statues of historical figures including the Roman Catholic monk Abade Faria.Then, drive to the Dona Paula Jetty, a secluded bay where you can enjoy gorgeous views of the Mormugao Harbour and the point where the Mandovi River and Zuari River meet the Arabian Sea. Feel the gentle sea breeze and enjoy the romantic atmosphere of this hidden treasure before exploring a small local market along the waterway.After your tour, you can choose to stop at the popular O’Coquerio restaurant for lunch (own expense). Enjoy traditional Portuguese and Goan dishes and try their famous pomfret recheiado (fish stuffed with red masala). Then, settle in your comfortable vehicle for the drive back to your hotel.

$60 Private & Custom Tours

Private, All-Inclusive Tour of Goa

After a 9am pickup at your Goa city hotel, meet your guide and travel in a private air-conditioned vehicle to reach Old Goa, also known as Velha Goa (velha means old in Portuguese). This was the original capital of the state of Goa and the second capital city established by the Portuguese in India. It was established in 1510 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Appreciate this slice of history as your guide shows you the many churches in Old Goa.Next, visit the Mangueshi Temple, one of the largest Hindu temples in the state of Goa. It was completed in 1560 and was originally a very plain building. Over the centuries it has been renovated and expanded. Admire the current lavish temple as your guide points out key elements like the Mangesh Linga.Then continue to the Shanta Durga Temple, a large temple complex near the village of Kavalem, before touring a spice plantation in the town of Ponda. The plantation is spread over a large area where TK SPICES are grown. After receiving a traditional Aarti welcome and a garland of marigolds, tour the plantation then enjoy a buffet lunch on site including traditional Goan dishes served on a banana leaf (vegetarian options available). After lunch, visit the Portuguese Latin Quarters in the city of Panaji, including Fontainhas (or Bairro das Fontainhas, in Portuguese). Here the Portuguese influence is easy to see in the architecture, the narrow streets, and the buildings painted in lively colors. Continue to the village of Dona Paula near Panaji. Formerly called Oddavell, this village was re-named in honor of a beloved and generous benefactor. It is now home to the National Institute of Oceanography. Finally, explore Panjim City, the capital of the state of Goa, on the banks of the Mandovi River, including the Baroque Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church on the main square (known as Praça da Igreja in Portuguese), colorful villas, and cobblestone streets. Then sit back and relax for the return to Goa in your private vehicle, arriving at your hotel around 5pm.

$580 Multi-day & Extended Tours

3-Night Luxury Vacation In Goa

In India, nowhere else will you find the laid-back life of a Goan lunchtime, the adorable charms of its people or the soothing tranquility of a day on its beaches. In Goa, a herd of water buffalo will greet you at breakfast; a lily-covered lake might provide the backdrop for your morning walk; a sea eagle will be your companion for afternoon along a deserted stretch of immaculate beach; a gorgeously spice-laden vindaloo might make your evening feast and a fiery glass of cashew-palm feni liquor your goodnight tonic. So pack your bags and be go goa gone! DAY 1: Goa (arrival) Arrive at Goa Airport by flight. The private AC cab will pick-up from airport and transfer to hotel. Check-in at hotel and relax. Evening at your leisure. Overnight stay at the hotel in Goa. Hotel: Holiday Inn Goa Resort (or similar) DAY 2: Goa (full day sightseeing) After breakfast head out for local sightseeing tour of Goa. Visit Old Goa Churches (UNESCO World Heritage Site): Se Cathedral and Basilica of Bom Jesus; Miramar Beach & Dona Paula. In the evening hangout at Panaji market. Reach back hotel by evening. Overnight stay at the hotel in Goa. Hotel: Holiday Inn Goa Resort (or similar) DAY 3: Goa (free day - no transport) After breakfast entire day at your leisure to explore the Goan beaches on your own. Goa has a vast stretch of shorelines which forms a variety of beaches. If you like crowd and fun, North Goan beaches are the most happening. If you like peace & serenity, South Goan beaches are meant for you. Reach back hotel by evening. Overnight stay at the hotel in Goa. Hotel: Holiday Inn Goa Resort (or similar) DAY 4: Goa (departure) After breakfast check-out from the hotel and transfer back to the airport for your return journey. Bid farewell with fun-filled memories of 4 amazing days spent at the happening Goa.

$50 Tours & Sightseeing

Panaji Heritage walk with cultural evangelist and archaeologist

We begin our walk from the Latin quarters of Fontainhas, the residential quarters designed for the Portuguese Bureaucrats and servants. This was one of the earliest settlements in Panaji city. The quarter has retained its heritage look with the small crowded lanes flanked by the typical bright Portuguese styled houses. Our walk takes u past a wishing well, Chapel of St. Sebastian and the Temple on the hill dedicated to lord Maruti and the Geetanjali Gallery of modern art exhibitions. Tobacco SquareWe visit the square which got its name from Tobacco trading over the river. Later this square served as the police headquarters, a customs and mint area and currently accommodates the General Post Office and the Sao Tome Chappel. We walk past bright coloured buildings set on the backdrop of the river Mandovi. We will also walk to the Mermaid Garden and statue of the world famous hypnotist Abbe Faria.Palace of MaquinezesOur next destination is the headquarters for the International Film Festival of India and the Entertainment Society of Goa. The Palace of Maquinezes or Palacio dos Maquinezes was built in 1702 and originally belonged to two brothers, Diago da Costa de Ataide e Tieve and Cristovam da Costa de Ataide e Tieve, known by the name of Maquinezes. In 1842, the Portuguese used the nearly 150-year old Palace to house the Goa Medical College. This grand palace has been part of many Bollywood films such as Golmaal.Panaji City ChurchThe Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is often used to represent Goa in Bollywood films. The church was constructed on this hill for the sailors in the year 1541 after demolishing a temple. Later in the early 17th century it was renovated and constructed in the Baroque style of architecture. The church houses a large church bell in Goa that was brought here from the fallen monastery of Old Goa.Mahalakshmi TempleWe visit a unique temple dedicated to the goddess of wealth, Mahalakshmi. It is the only temple constructed in Goa with the permission of Portuguese after years of wanton destruction of temples.  The temple  board also founded one of the most eminent institutions for the spread of education in the regional languages. Noon- End of tour

$396 Multi-day & Extended Tours

Fabulous Tropical Indian Beaches - 3 Nights In Goa

Day 1: Arrive GoaUpon arrival in Goa, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight stay: Lazy Lagoon Sarovar Portico (Superior) Day 2: North GoaAfter breakfast, you will enjoy a sightseeing tour of north Goa. Visit Fort Aguada and its lighthouse overlooking the Arabian Sea. The fort was built in 1612 to guard against the Dutch and the Indian Maratha warriors. The four story Portuguese lighthouse was erected in 1864 and is the oldest of its kind in Asia. Continue to the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Chapel of St Francis Xavier. Built in the 16th century, this magnificent building is the most popular and famous of all the churches in Goa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, kept in a silver casket, are enshrined here. Later, visit the Goa beaches: Anjuna, Baga and Calangute. There are local markets at Anjuna offering traditional jewelry, handicrafts and souvenirs. Dona Paula Beach is located about 4 miles from Panaji. This beach is named after the legend of Dona Paula de Menezes and nicknamed the Lovers Paradise in Goa.Overnight stay:Lazy Lagoon Sarovar Portico (Superior) (B)Day 3: South GoaAfter breakfast, leave for your half day sightseeing in South Goa. The Colva beach is located about 3.5 miles to the west of Margao and is amongst the oldest and most celebrated beaches in South Goa. Its coastline runs for about 15 miles and is made up of finely grained white sand. On one side coconut groves flank the scenery. Bogmalo Beach, a curving sandy beach is located beside a small fishing village of the same name. It is ideal for those looking for peace and tranquillity. Overnight stay: Lazy Lagoon Sarovar Portico (Superior) (B)Day 4: DepartYour tour concludes after breakfast and hotel check out. (B)

$39 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Home cooking and dining experience with a local family in Goa

Goa is perpetually on everyone’s bucket list, may it be Indians or travellers from other countries and people who flock to Goa believe the place is nothing short of a paradise. Panaji (also known as Panjim) is the capital of Goa. The houses, churches and the general ambience of the place echoes with Portuguese influence - extremely picturesque. While visiting Panaji, an afternoon with home-chef Sandhya should definitely be part of your itinerary. When it comes to venturing into Goan cuisine, seafood evidently prevails. While there are the Portuguese inspired flavours, there is the local community of Goa called the Hindu Goans or the Goan Saraswats, whose cuisine is different from the colonial influence and depicts another side - the rustic side - of Goa. Hindu Goan cuisine also predominantly consumes fish but the cooking techniques and use of ingredients is quite different from their Portuguese counterparts. Get know interesting facts about Goa and its cuisine and culture from Sandhya.Meet Sandhya at her home in Miramar, Panaji, Goa. She will greet you with a refreshing welcome drink and you can get to know her and her family better. Later you can indulging in a cooking session with home-chef Sandhya, you can learn how to make Goan dishes such as the Fish Fry and the Mackerel Pickle. After that you can enjoy a hearty Goan meal where you can enjoy dishes such as Fodi (a crispy snack made with something extremely unique called breadfruit), Fish Hooman (fish cooked in a thick gravy of tamarind, coconut and red chillies), Unde (Goan bread) and Mangane (dessert made with sago, jaggery and coconut milk). Enjoy you meal over great conversations about Goa and local way of life with Sandhya and her family. The entire experience at Sandhya’s home can last for about 2-4 hours. Please note: This is not a professional cooking class. This is an unique opportunity to interact with a local and learn some tips and tricks of Indian cooking and enjoy a lovely home-cooked meal over great conversations.