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 of Fontainhas that really steal the show. Nowhere is the Portuguese influence felt more openly 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

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Panaji activities

$50 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 Se Cathedral and the Basilica of Born Jesus UNESCO World Heritage  sites 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.

$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.

$580 Multi-day & Extended Tours

4-Days Leisure Vacation In Goa

ItineraryDay 1: Goa (arrival)Pass By: Goa International AirportArrive at Goa Airport by flight. The private AC car will pick-up from airport and transfer to hotel. Check-in at hotel and relax. Evening at your leisure.No meals included on this day.Accommodation included: Overnight stay at Holiday Inn Resort Goa (or similar).Day 2: Goa (full day sightseeing)Stop At: Goa International AirportAfter 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 to the hotel by evening.Duration: 5 hoursMeals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: Overnight stay at Holiday Inn Resort Goa (or similar).Day 3: Goa (free day - no transport)Pass By: Goa International AirportAfter breakfast it will be free day without any transportation. 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. Hangout out at the beach near the hotel. Reach back to the hotel by evening.Meals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: Overnight stay at Holiday Inn Resort Goa (or similar).Day 4: Goa (departure)Pass By: Goa International AirportAfter breakfast check-out from the hotel. The private car will transfer you to the Goa airport for your return journey. Bid farewell with fun-filled memories of 4 amazing days spent at the happening Goa.Meals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: N/A

$50 Tours & Sightseeing

Panjim Heritage walk

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Fontainhas, Panjim, North Goa District, GoaWe 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.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Panjim, North Goa District, GoaThe 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.Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Shree Mahalaxmi 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.Duration: 30 minutes

$86.70 Day Trips & Excursions

WATERFALL & PLANTATION

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Dudhsagar Falls, Mollem National Park, South Goa District, GoaDudhsagar Falls (literally Sea of Milk ) is a four-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi River in the Indian state of Goa. It is 60 km from Panaji by road and is located on the Madgaon-Belagavi rail route about 46 km east of Madgaon and 80 km south of Belagavi. Dudhsagar Falls is amongst India’s tallest waterfalls with a height of 310 m (1017 feet) and an average width of 30 metres (100 feet).The falls is located in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park among the Western Ghats. The waterfall forms the border between Karnataka and Goa states. The area is surrounded by a deciduous forests with a rich biodiversity. The falls are not particularly spectacular during the dry season but during the monsoon season however, the falls are fed by rains and form a huge force of water.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Tropical Spice Plantation, Ponda, North Goa District, GoaThe splendour of nature goes well with ancient traditions. At The Spice Plantation we nature have strived to maintain traditions in harmony with nature. We welcome our guests in a traditional way by offering Aarti, Kumkum, and a garland of flowers. Then the guests are served with herbal tea. Healthy and nutritious food is served in a traditional manner on a banana leaf.Duration: 3 hours

$57.80 Day Trips & Excursions

CAPITAL CITY, CHURCHES & FORTS OF GOA, OLD GOA CHURCHES, PANAJI CITY.

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Panjim ChurchStart with Panaji city, also known as Panjim, is the state capital of Goa, in southwest India. Located on the banks of the Mandovi River, the city has cobblestone streets lined with colorful villas an buildings from the Portuguese colonial era. Palm-fringed Miramar Beach sits at the confluence of the river and the Arabian Sea. Set on a hill overlooking the city is the baroque Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, built in 1619.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Fontainhas, Panjim, North Goa District, GoaWalking tour in Fontainhas (or Bairro das Fontainhas, in Portuguese) is an old Latin Quarter in Panjim, capital city of the state of Goa, India. It maintains its Portuguese influence, particularly through its architecture, which includes narrow and picturesque winding streets like those found in many European cities, old villas and buildings with projecting balconies painted in the traditional tones of pale yellow, green, or blue, and roofs made of red coloured tiles. Fontainhas’ heritage ambience represents the traditional Portuguese influence in the areaDuration: 2 hoursStop At: Old Goa, Goa Velha, GoaOld Goa, also called Velha Goa, is beside the Mandovi River in the western Indian state of Goa. The former capital of Portuguese India, it’s known for colonial-era monuments like the Basilica of Bom Jesus, with the remains of St. Francis Xavier, and the domed Church of St. Cajetan, inspired by St. Peter’s in Rome. Nearby, the vast Se Cathedral, built in the 16th–17th centuries, has ornate chapels and a bell tower.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Reis Magos Fort, Panjim, North Goa District, GoaThe Fort, originated as an armed outpost of the Adil Shah of Bijapur in 1493. When Bardez was conquered by the Portuguese in 1541, the Fort was built along with the church. From 1900, it lost its defensive role and was used as a jail and was finally abandoned in 1993 after which it was at the mercy of the elements, and had begun to crumble. Restoration work on the fort began in 2008 with the funds being provided by the UK-based Helen Hamlyn Trust, INTACH – a non-governmental organisation dealing with restorations of monuments, and the Government of Goa. Renowned architect Gerard da Cunha was hired to restore the fort.[1] The fort is now converted into a cultural centre, besides being used a tourist attraction.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Fort Aguada, Sinquerim, North Goa District, GoaThe fort was constructed in 1612 to guard against the Dutch and the Marathas. It was a reference point for the vessels coming from Europe at that time. This old Portuguese fort stands on the beach south of Candolim, at the shore of the Mandovi River. It was initially tasked with defense of shipping and the nearby Bardez sub district.A freshwater spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that used to stop by. This is how the fort got its name: Aguada, meaning Water. Crews of passing ships would often visit to replenish their fresh water stores. On the fort stands a four-storey Portuguese lighthouse, erected in 1864 and the oldest of its kind in Asia. Built in 1612, it was once the grandstand of 79 cannons. It has the capacity of storing 2,376,000 gallons of water, one of the biggest freshwater storages of the time in whole of Asia. This fort is divided in two segments: the upper part acted as fort and watering station, while the lower part served as a safe berth for Portuguese ships. Whereas the upper part has a moat, underground water storage chamber, gunpowder room, light house and bastions, it also has a secret escape passage to use during time of war and emergency. The lighthouse at initial stage is used to emit light once in 7 minutes. In 1834 it was changed to emit light creating eclipse every 30 seconds, however it was abandoned in 1976.Fort Aguada was the most prized and crucial fort of Portuguese. The fort is so large that it envelops the entire peninsula at the south western tip of Bardez. Built on the mouth of river Mandovi, it was strategically located and was the chief defence of Portuguese against the Dutch and Marathas.Duration: 1 hour