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Divar Island - Places to Visit in old Goa

Old Goa Travel Guide: Places to Visit & Things to Do in Old Goa (2024)

Many of us know the Indian state of Goa as the party capital of the country. The state is often termed as the travel destination for young adults who wish to let loose and party hard. Filled with serene beaches, bars, flea markets, casinos, in–house spas, resorts, and amazing clubs, it is hard to defy this image of the state, but Goa has many other different but interesting sides to itself as well. Are you an offbeat traveler and not much of a party person? If yes, then Old Goa will prove to be the perfect destination in the state for you. With a series of brilliant architectural wonders, beach sports, colonial monuments, stunning coastal scenic views, and impressive pathways, Old Goa is one beautifully painted canvas. Do you wish to know more about the place? If yes, then you have stumbled across just the right article. In this travel guide to Old Goa, we will try to answer all of your questions regarding this beautiful place. Continue reading!

History of Old Goa

Also known popularly by the name of Velha Goa among the local people, Old Goa is the former colonial capital of the state and is full of deep history. Though at present, you may see that Old Goa isn’t very densely populated but it was not always like that. Once upon a time, the region boasted to be one of the most populated places in the state. The city was built long back in the 15th century by the Bijapur administration after which it was taken over by the Portuguese. The city rose dramatically under the rule of the Portuguese from the year 1510, but the diseases like cholera and malaria resulted in epidemics which ultimately forced people to move out from the beautiful city. Hence, causing the city to be abandoned during the 17th century. It is owing to its rich history, that the place is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. Old Goa is one fascinating place to explore. Make sure to reserve at least a day or half a day to completely explore the place.

Top Places to Visit in Old Goa

As you explore and wander on the streets of Old Goa, you can still spot and sense that old historic grandeur left in the city with its towering churches, majestic convents, and beautiful cathedrals. You will notice that while some of the historical buildings of Old Goa have succumbed to the ravages of times and have turned into ruins or have been converted into museums, there are still some of the most imposing convents, scenic churches, and cathedrals of the area which are remarkably well preserved and are still in use. Some of the top places to visit in Old Goa that you should consider adding to your itinerary are as follows:

  1. Divar Island: A quaint little island located on the serene Mandovi river away from all the hustle-bustle of the main city, Divar island is one beautiful well – kept secret of old Goa. If you wish to escape the chaos of loud music, clubs, and casinos, then this is the perfect place to visit in Old Goa for you. Moreover, this beautiful hideout can be reached easily by taking a ferry from the Viceroy’s Arch. You will also be pleased to know that the region is renowned for organizing the popular Bonderam festival in the month of August. This festival is organized to celebrate the good harvest of the season. If you plan your trip carefully, then you can actually experience these vibrant celebrations. Owing to its serene natural surroundings, this is undoubtedly one of the best sightseeing attractions in Old Goa.
    1. Best Time To Visit: Many tourists prefer visiting the place in the month of August to be a part of the celebrations of the Bonderam festival.
    2. Timings: You can visit the place anytime from 8 AM till 7 PM.
  2. Basilica of Bom Jesus: Built long back in the 16th century, this church is not only considered as one of the best tourist places to visit in Old Goa but is also listed as a World Heritage Monument. Be it the iconic brick–colored brilliant construction or the rich history associated, people from all over the world come to visit the structure throughout the year. Moreover, you will also be pleased to know that on looking closely at the gilded pillars, church altar, and the walls you will notice that they all have ornate intricate inscriptions in Portuguese and Latin languages. Many photographers and history buffs frequent the place often.
    1. Best time to visit: For the best experience, schedule your trip in between the months of September and March.
    2. Timings: You can visit the place anytime from 9 AM till 6.30 PM.
  3. Fontainhas: This is a small Latin establishment located in Panjim which serves as one of the most iconic tourist places to visit in Old Goa. With its series of colorful houses and a small spring, this place not only manages to attract plenty of photographers but because of its rich heritage many history buffs also come here. It is the place for taking a heritage walk. If you are a foodie also, then you will love to relish the freshly baked goodies from the old bakeries which are located in the region. There are some other interesting attractions located in the area as well including a wishing well, the Altinho Hill, and the Chapel of Saint Sebastian. Many newlyweds and couples also visit the place for a romantic quality time.
  1. Best time to visit: Try to visit the place in between the months of September and April for a memorable experience.
  2. Timings: The place is open all the time.

Top Things to Do in Old Goa

Old Goa is one of the most interesting tourist places to visit in Goa. The region has plenty of astounding experiences to offer to its visitors for a memorable time. If you want to do something different than basking on the beach or indulging in water sports, then there are many exciting things to do in Old Goa for you. Some of the best ones are as follows:

  1. Go Cycling: If you are fond of cycling, then you will absolutely love to tour the city by paddling down the streets amidst the scenic landscapes of Old Goa. Though you can go on your own there are several guided tours available too which will get you acquainted with the utmost knowledge associated with all the tourist places.
  2. Go On A Sunset and Dinner Cruise: If you are fond of water, luxury, and scenic views, then going on a luxury cruise is one of the best things to do in Old Goa. The cruise is well–known to offer some beautiful sunset views. Enjoying yummy delicacies prepared by popular chefs, dancing to the beats of Goan music while sailing on the tranquil backwaters are some of the pros of going on a cruise.
  3. Go on the Amboli Jungle Trek: If exploring churches and studying history is not your cup of tea, then this thrilling jungle trek will definitely catch your attention. This is one of the best things to do in Old goa for all those who wish to enjoy watching the mesmerizing views of the Sahyadris and Amboli jungle from up close. This is perfect for solo as well as group travelers.

How to Reach Old Goa?

If you are troubled by the thought of facing traveling issues in reaching Old Goa, we will be pleased to tell you in this Old Goa travel guide, that you are worrying for nothing. This is one of the top tourist places in Goa which is well-connected by multiple means of transport. Some of the best ways to reach Old Goa are:

  1. By Air: The nearest airport to reach Old Goa is the Goa International Airport. This airport is located in Dabolim, at a distance of about 26 km from Old Goa. Once you reach the airport, you can easily take a cab or hire a taxi to reach your destination.
  2. By Rail: The nearest railway station to reach Old Goa is the Karmali Railway Station. This railway station is located at a distance of only 3 km from Old Goa. You can either walk or take an auto-rickshaw from the railway station to reach the city.
  3. By Road: You can easily take a bus to reach Old Goa from the Panaji bus stand which is just about 13.4 km from the city. The bus ride will approximately take you 20 minutes to reach Old Goa. You can even travel by personal vehicle.

If you wish to see something different than the modern and electrifying version of Goa, then Old Goa is the perfect tourist place to visit in Goa for you.

FAQs For Tourists Visiting Old Goa

Q1. When Was The Capital Of Goa Officially Shifted?

Ans. The capital of Goa was officially shifted to Panaji in the year 1843.

Q2. What Are The Adventure Activities To Do In Old Goa?

Ans. You can indulge in scuba diving, hiking, parasailing, white water rafting, and a lot more here.

Q3. Where Can I Shop In Old Goa?

Ans. There are many flea markets in Old goa offering a variety of pretty souvenirs at reasonable prices.

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