Friday, January 21, 2011

7 Things to Do in Panaji (Panjim), Goa

Do you think Goa is all about beaches? Think again. We have compiled a list of things where beaches are only one part. Panjim offers much more than just beaches. Our “7 Things to Do Series” highlights major tourist attractions in and around Panaji. Find out things to “see and do”, where to dine and what to shop in Panaji. We recommend 2-3 days just in Panaji to ensure a relaxing and fun filled vacation to Goa.

Goa is India’s one of the most popular tourist destinations, visited by a large number of both domenstic and international tourists every year. Goa is known for its pristine beaches. Other attractions include forts, churches, temples and magnificent cathedrals. Goa’s easy going, friendly people make visitors feel at home. Panjim (Panaji) is the capital city of Goa. It is situated at the mouth of the Mandovi river and is reminiscent of a provincial Mediterranean town. More than 500 years back, it was a port of the kings of Bijapur and later on in early 16th century it became the landing stage for the Portuguese. The city can be divided into two major areas - the Old City and the news commercial hub. Panaji has a very relaxed and friendly ambience.Panaji is in the heart of Goa. As one reviewer wrote “Best place to choose for stay as it is 15kms to north and south Goa. Lot of malls and markets with excellent hotels and restaurants. Shopping lovers - This is the spot.” Another visitor to Panaji wrote “Old Goa/Panaji reminds me of Europe”

Panaji Tourist Attractions – 7 Things to do in and around Panaji

  1. Visit the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception – Overlooking Panaji’s main square (“the Church”), the church was built on a hill facing Mandovi River and is the town’s most important landmark. Portuguese sailors used to come to this place for their thanksgiving prayer after their long and treacherous voyage from Portugal. The church is “well illuminated at night and a pleasure to see. Tourists lazily sit on one of the many benches at Church square” and relax.
  2. Miramar and Dona Paula Beach – A large portion of the tourists visit Goa for its relaxing beaches. These two are the closest beaches from Panaji city center. Miramar is only 3 kms from the city center. Dona Paula is 7 kms and is near the headland that divides the estuaries of the Zuari and Mandovi river. Enjoy a nice view of the Fort Aguada across the bay. Sunset is beautiful from most of these beaches.
  3. Mandovi River Cruise – Spend an evening on one of the many sunset cruises on the Mandovi river. Some of them are organized by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation. Many of these cruises start from the Mandovi bridge and run between (6 and 7 pm). Enjoy a moonlit dinner accompanied by entertainment by Goan dancers and musicians on board of a cuise. Specialized cruise tours focusing on Goan culture, food or history are available. (See one of several Goa Packages & Tours available at
  4. Panaji Old Town – Visit the old residential quarters of Fontainhas – named after the fountain of Pheonix, a spring that was the only source of water for the area. One review said “We walked through the old streets and saw the temple at the top of a steep hill which we walked up and got great view of Panjim.” Another wrote “Old Goa/Panaji reminds me of Europe. The murals and the architecture reminds me very much of the churches I had seen in germany.. It is quite a peaceful experience.” A long term tourist to Goa wrote “ I have been in Goa for nearly a month now and the day I spent in Old Goa has been a great way to see something else than the (beautiful) beaches. The place is really well preserved (especially one of the cathedral which has just be repainted entirely ) and has been covered with gardens. Therefore walking in this huge park between the cathedrals is really a refreshing and interesting experience.”
    Another place to visit in Panaji Old Town is the Ourem Creek – The picturesque Rua de Ourem faces the Ourem Creek, offering beautiful colorful houses that dot the slopes all the way up Altino Hill.
  5. Nearby attractions – Calangute Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Goa and is just 16 km north of Panaji. The Baga Beach and the Candolim Beach are a few kilometers away from the Calangute and are far less crowded. Visit Fort Aguada near Reis Magos (about 5 km from Panaji).
  6. Dining- Venite Restaurant in Old City, Panaji is a highly rated restaurant in Panaji – This first floor restaurant, overlooking the street below, offers a wonderful ambience and server excellent European and Goan food [Source: DK Eye Witness Travel Guide for India]. Ritz Classic is the best restaurant as reviewed in Trip Advisor. One review wrote “Best food at reasonable price and good ambience” and another wrote “Delicious seafood at unbeatable price”. Try the Fish Thali which comes with fish curry, fried fish among other things. The restaurant also serves many delicious Goan dishes such as Chicken Cafarel. Ritz classic is located on a busy street on 18th June road.
  7. Shopping in Panaji – Panaji offers one of the most exciting shopping destinations in the state. “The shopping experience in Panaji is a blend of the exotic and the modern. While the local markets are a treasure trove of indigenous handicrafts, the upscale shopping malls teem with designer boutiques and international brands” Looks for Goa handicrafts during your next visit. Saturday flea market at Baga Beach is a good shopping option. Wednesday market at the nearby Anjuna beach is famous.
Hotels in Panjim (Goa hotels) - Hotel Park Plaza is one of the highly rated mid range hotels in Panjim. Prices for Goa hotels vary widely based on hotel type (resorts), facilities and most importantly the hotel location. Hotels located on or near the beach tend to be pricier than the in-town hotels. Hotel Park Plaza, Goa is a great option and is highly rated in and TripAdvisor. Rates are around Rs. 1300 during regular season. Rates for Goa hotels are usually very high during peak periods such as between Christmas and New Years. Other nearby areas such as Calangute offers more hotels. provides rates, photos, customer reviews and online booking for Goa hotels.
Tips from Visitors
  • At Church Square (Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception ) - Try tasty vegetarian snacks and meals at the Kamath Hotel (Restaurant), or traditional Goan non-vegetarian food over a quiet drink at the George Bar and Restaurant
  • Casino Royale – It is the largest floating Casino in Goa and “is definitely the classiest”. The Casino is on a ship anchored in Mandavi river (accessible from the Main Panaji Road). Apart from gambling (poker, blackjack, roulette, money wheel and more), the casino provides nice dining and entertainment options. Day package is available for Rs. 2,500
  • Goa State Museum which houses a modest collection of pre-colonial artifacts and carvings from old Hindu temples.
  • One of the better ways to travel between Panaji and Old Goa and the beaches is by the local bus. City bus makes you look closer at the wonderful variety of Goan demographics.
  • Panjim Heritage Walk - "A walk down memory lane! Starts at Tobacco Square, The Casa De Moeda (Mint House), The Tobacco house, meanders through the ward of Sao Tome, through Corte de Oeteiro to the Catholic dominated precinct of Fontainhas, Chapel Of Saint Sebastian, Welcomheritage Panjim Pousada (a restored 100 year old Hindu home), Welcomheritage The Panjim Inn (an over 100 year old Catholic home, also a heritage hostelry) and finally through the Hindu dominated ward of Mala culminating at Fonte Phoenix".
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  1. Panaji is the is most famous city in Goa
    beacause it is a capital of Goa. Panaji is famous for many interesting places like Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Miramar and Dona Paula Beach, Mandovi River Cruise, Goa State Museum and many more.

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  3. hi there. nice site. you have shared useful information. keep up the good work! this blog is really interesting and gives good details.

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  8. Spiritual India, rich in holy places, traditions and rituals, offers much for those seeking knowledge and awareness.

  9. yes, Goa is an exotic holiday destination in India.
    and thanks for sharing the information about attractions of Panaji.

  10. I really liked the way of writing in your blog. This article is so impressive for the tourist. Try to post best information's like this always. Thanks for sharing. See more information about India Travel Tips .

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  12. Wow great posting. Thanks for sharing information about things to do in Panaji. If u are interested to see Things to do/see in India here.

  13. Hi..your post is very useful and interesting. I liked it very much and felt beneficial for all..I am panning to visit br hills resort and also bandipur resorts this weekend with my family. because their facilites,sevices offered at low cost,Wildlife Safari really really awesome..

  14. I really liked the way of writing in your blog Post with awesome shot and brilliant description are ... Do you think Goa is all about beaches? Think again. We have compiled a list of things where beaches are only one part. Panjim offers much more than just beaches. This celebratory mood that start around a week before Christmas continues till the New Year. New Year celebrations have gathered great reputation in Goa, with its great party culture and club culture New Year’s is celebrated in the best way possible in Goa. For more information visit :

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  18. Great detailed information, I ll be visiting you more frequently, here is very interesting information.

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  19. Thank you for sharing this amazing post on Goa. Goa is a city famous for its beaches and nightlife. It is very obvious question to ask what is famous in Goa for shopping but Goa is more about enjoying the stay than about collecting souvenirs .

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  21. Useful information, thank you!

  22. Goa is an amazing tourist destination full of beaches, resorts, shopping malls etc.

  23. It is advisable go there for an early hike to avoid too much exposure to the sun.


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