Reis Magos Fort

North Goa

Opened to the public in 2012 as a cultural centre, Reis Magos Fort overlooks the narrowest point of the Mandovi River estuary, making it easy to appreciate the strategic importance of the site. It was originally built in 1551, after the north bank of the river came under Portuguese control, and rebuilt in 1703, in time to assist the desperate Portuguese defence against the Hindu Marathas (1737–39).

It was then occupied by the British army in 1799 when they requisitioned Reis Magos, Cabo Raj Bhavan and Fort Aguada in anticipation of a possible attack by the French.

After the British withdrawal in 1813 the Reis Magos fort gradually lost importance, and was eventually abandoned. Like Fort Aguada nearby, the fort was turned into a prison in 1900 until it was abandoned again in 1993.

In 2011 the fort underwent extensive restoration and is now a cultural and heritage centre with exhibition spaces, including a gallery of works by cartoonist Mario Miranda, a room devoted to the history of the fort and its restoration, and an excellent exhibition on Goan history and independence. You can wander the ramparts for great views and inspect the original cannons pointing out over the Mandovi.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby North Goa attractions

1. Reis Magos Church


Reis Magos Church was built below the fortress walls in 1555, shortly after the construction of the fort itself. A Franciscan seminary was later added,…

2. Campal Gardens

0.64 MILES

The road to Miramar from Panaji runs through the Campal district. Just before you reach the Kala Academy are the strollable riverside Campal Gardens, also…

3. Miramar

0.92 MILES

Miramar, 3km southwest of the city, is Panaji’s nearest beach. The couple of kilometres of exposed sand facing Aguada Bay are hardly inspiring compared to…

4. Public Observatory

1.04 MILES

If you’re interested in gazing at the clear winter night skies over Goa, the local branch of the Association of Friends of Astronomy has a public…

5. Menezes Braganza Institute


The yellow-and-white Menezes Braganza Institute occupies part of the old buildings that were once the Portuguese army headquarters. It’s worth poking your…

6. Altinho Hill

1.13 MILES

On the hillside above Panaji is the well-to-do residential district of Altinho. Apart from good views over the city and river, the main attraction here is…

7. Mahalaxmi Temple

1.16 MILES

This modern, technicolor temple is not particularly imposing, but it’s worth a look inside as it was the first Hindu shrine established in the city during…

8. Azad Maidan

1.16 MILES

To the west of the Municipal Gardens, the grassy Azad Maidan won’t win any prizes at a flower show. Its centrepiece is a small pavilion (whose Corinthian…