Places to visit in Panaji/ Panjim, Basilica of Bom Jesus

7 Best Things To Do In Panaji, #GoaBeyondBeaches

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Panaji or Panjim, the capital city of Goa, has plenty of things to do beyond its famous beaches. The various attractions and activities are a testament to the previous statement. Residing on the banks of the Mandovi River, Panaji is a vibrant and charming city with a rich history and culture. The city has a mix of Portuguese and Indian influences reflected in its architecture and food.

We’ve got you covered if you’re wondering what places you can visit and enjoy while in Panaji. Here are the seven best things to do in Panaji or Panjim.

Top Things To Do In Panaji

Best Time To Visit Panaji, Goa

Panaji can be visited during any month of the year. However, the post-monsoon and winter months (between September and January) are ideal times to explore the place. After all, you don’t have to worry much about the rain and can wander around in a pleasant climate. 

Languages Spoken

People in the region speak Konkani. Being a touristy place, almost all the people can converse in Hindi and English. So communication should be easy. 

Network Availability

Both Airtel and Jio have very good connectivity and reliable 4G internet services in Panaji. 

ATM Availability

The town has numerous ATMs spread across. Online payments are also predominantly accepted in all shops.

How To Reach Panaji?

By Air

Goa International Airport (IATA code: GOI, 25 Km) is located very near the capital city, Panaji. Just outside the airport, government buses are available frequently. You can also hire private taxis from the airport.

By Rail

Vasco Da Gama Railway Station (station code: VSG, 26 Km) is the nearest railway station. The station is well-connected to cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Velankanni, Patna, Mumbai, etc. 

Alternatively, you can reach Madgaon railway station (station code: MAO, 36 Km). From there, head to the Margao bus stand by auto or taxi. From the Margao bus stand, there are frequent buses available to Panaji.

By Road

Panaji being the capital city is well connected by roadways. Frequent buses are available from different parts of Goa to Panaji and vice versa. 

To Roam Around

The places mentioned are not well-connected by buses. The best way to commute to different sites is by using your own vehicle or by renting one. You can also hire four-wheelers on a daily basis.

There are several bike rentals near the Panaji bus stand. You can call them directly, go in person, and hire the two-wheelers and four-wheelers of your choice. Use your bargaining skills, as the rates vary depending on the demand and seasons.

Related: How to rent two-wheelers in India?

Note: Ola and Uber’s services are not available.

Where To Stay In Panaji/ Panjim?

Panaji, the capital city, has numerous places you can explore and you must stay here for at least a day. For your stay, we have a few recommendations that vary in terms of budget and experience.


Where To Eat?

There are numerous eateries in Panaji and you have a wide variety of dishes to choose from, be it continental, Italian, German, regional, etc. From local eatery joints to branded food chains, Panaji has everything.

Note: Online food delivery services like Zomato and Swiggy are available.

Best Things To Do In Panaji/ Panjim

1. Walk The Latin Quarter AKA Fontainhas

Backpacking across Goa - how to dress and what to wear in Goa

Fontainhas is an area in Panjim where you’ll see charming homes and buildings and is a retreat for anyone who loves good architecture. The narrow streets have various colorful constructions that will leave you mesmerized. The quaint lanes have cafes where you can enjoy the food and almost every other building in the place acts as a backdrop for a Gram-worthy photo. Some of the buildings in Fontainhas have balconies with wrought-iron railings and walls with colored tiles.

With many boutique hotels, art galleries, and restaurants opening up in the area, Fontainhas has become a thriving tourist destination in Goa.

2. Go On Church Hopping

Church hopping at Old Goa

Old Goa or Velha Goa is a historic town located about 10 km from Panaji. It was the capital of Portuguese India from the 16th to the 18th century, and today it is home to one of the UNESCO world heritage sites known for its picturesque churches and other historic buildings.

A trip to Goa is incomplete without visiting these beautiful spiritual places of old Goa. We went on a spree and visited numerous churches. The places were so fascinating we wrote an exclusive guide on churches in old Goa.

3. Play In A Casino

casino in Panaji

Along the Mandovi River in Panjim, several casinos can be found with a lot of entertainment activities. Featuring restaurants and bars, they offer a range of games including roulette, baccarat, blackjack, slot machines, and poker to name a few. The experience is fun and one must definitely visit them once irrespective of the taboo around the subject. Just go in, have a gala time, and head on your way. It is important to note that visitors must be at least 21 years old to enter the casinos.

4. Go On A Goan Feni & Tapas Food Trail

Goan Feni is a popular alcoholic drink that is made from fermented cashew fruit or coconut sap. It is a traditional drink in Goa, and it is often enjoyed during festivals and other celebrations. The strong spirit has an alcohol content ranging from 40 to 43 percent. 

The tapas dishes are often a fusion of Spanish and Indian cuisine and may include dishes such as prawn skewers, chicken tikka, and vegetable fritters. Tapas are often served with Feni or other alcoholic drinks, making for a great culinary and drinking experience in Goa.

5. Tour Divar Island And Chorao Island

Ferry service at Goa

Divar Island is a tranquil and scenic island popular for its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere. The island is accessible by ferry from Old Goa and offers visitors a chance to experience a laid-back way of life away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The island is known for its picturesque villages, historic churches, and serene natural landscapes, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and photographers.

Chorao Island, on the other hand, is known for the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, home to a variety of bird species, including kingfishers, herons, and egrets. The island is accessible by ferry from Ribandar, and visitors can take a boat ride through the mangrove forests to spot birds and other wildlife. Chorao Island also has several churches and temples with an incredible past, as well as a traditional Goan village vibe. The isle is perfect for those interested in the culture and heritage of the region.

Both Divar Island and Chorao Island are easily accessible from Panaji and are popular day trip destinations for visitors to Goa.

6. Eat At Joseph’s Bar

Joseph bar, Panaji

St. Joseph’s Bar is particularly popular among locals and is known for its lively atmosphere and friendly regulars. Serving for more than 60 years, the bar is a great place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing or meeting new people and making new friends.

The bar is also an amazing spot for tasting the local beer Susegao and a locally made glass of Kombucha (Borécha). Located in the heart of the city in Fontainhas, it is a hotspot for tourists who want a casual drink or a few quick bites. Be sure to try some of the city’s specialties which blend Indian and Portuguese flavors, such as vindaloo, xacuti, and bebinca.

7. Dona Paula View Point

Dona Paula, Goa

The village once called Oddavell got its name changed after Dona Paula, a Portuguese woman who worked towards the upliftment of the villagers. The viewpoint offers stunning views of the Arabian Sea and Mormugao Harbour. Several benches and seating areas are available at the viewpoint, built just for you to enjoy the sunset, making it an excellent picnic spot. If you’re someone who likes to be enveloped by the serenity of nature, this must be on your list. The Dona Paula beach is also located nearby, in case you want to dip your feet in the water.

Another notable aspect of the Dona Paula View Point is the Knox statues. The locals and tour guides always tell that the statue is of Dona Paula. However, interestingly, according to author Heta Pandit, the statue is of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Knox. In her book, “Walking in Goa” she mentions how a Dutch sculptress, Yrse Von Leistner, carved the sculptures of the couple because she was in awe of the two philosophers.

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