Experiencing the old world charm in Panaji, Goa – Fontainhas & Panaji Church

“Goa” the name itself paints vivid picture of happening beaches, free spirited travelers, wild parties and a vibrant carefree lifestyle.

All this while, that’s what Goa was for us too.

Our experience of Goa was limited to hopping from one beach to another, indulging in adventurous water activities, enjoying nightlife and good food. I know it’s hard to believe, but during our past 8 to 9 trips to Goa, North Goa always took precedence and we never care to explore any other part of this beautiful paradise (oh wait, we stayed in Dudhsagar once!) If you want to visit some of the most popular beaches in north Goa, check out my blog Goa – Explore the most popular beaches in North Goa

But our recent trip was different; this time we experienced a completely different facet of Goan kaleidoscope. We had many first time experiences during this short trip. To start with, we stayed in South Goa, which is way quieter, peaceful and beautiful then its northern counterpart.

And then we headed out for sight seeing exploring the popular places in Goa. Although the party animal in us was somewhere craving for the familiarity and comfort of North Goa. (Guess what one evening we took time and visited north Goa too). Sharing the feel of experiencing the old world charm in Panaji.

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Our lady of Immaculate Conception Church- Panaji, Goa

Sometime back I read about Fontainhas and I think that inspired us to experience the old world charm midst these heritage colonial quarters, which Goa has preserved for ages.

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Beautiful Heritage houses surrounding the Area

With an intention to explore some of the major tourist attractions in Goa (apart from the beaches), we visited Panaji Church and Fontainhas, both of which are located in the same vicinity. We also explored the famous Bom Jesus church in old Goa.I will soon write about it.


Narrow lanes lined with brightly colored colonial quarters exuding the past glory, transports you back into time. That’s what Fontainas is all about. A well-preserved Portuguese colony situated in the heart of Panaji, the Capital of Goa.

We spent our afternoon walking across the narrow lanes, admiring old colonial houses, some of which are rundown in the course of time but overall they are very well-preserved. The old houses/villas in Fontainhas were built in the 18th and 19th centuries in Portuguese architectural style.

Almost all the houses seem to be freshly painted with bright colors most dominating being yellow, green and blue. Roads are very neat.

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Many of the houses are converted into shops, some of them into restaurants offering delicious local as well as continental delicacies. There are art galleries too in the area. Unfortunately it was Sunday, most of the shops were closed and due to time limitation, we could not explore the restaurant. But the good part was the roads were empty and walk itself was quiet fascinating. We walked till the main road over looking the beautiful Mandavi River bustling with all its cruises and casinos.

Mandovi River - PanajiChurch of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception church Beautiful & Serene church painted in all white with characteristic asymmetrical crisscrossing stairs on either side has been one of the popular films shooting locations in Bollywood and an important landmark in Panaji. First built in 1541 as a Chapel this colonial Portuguese style church was replaced by a larger church in the 1600s . Apart from the unique stairs, the church also houses an ancient bell. This bell is considered to be the second largest of its kind in Goa. Church is built on a hilltop overlooking the market. We spent some time there basking in the beauty and serene atmosphere.

At Panaji Church

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After spending our afternoon pleasantly walking and exploring the Goan heritage, he headed to the Famous Bom Jesus church. I will share the details of it soon.

I must say Fontainhas and Panaji church are places worth exploring and experiencing, even if you love beaches. Take time out and make a visit.

Have you visited these places in Goa? How was your experience? Do share..

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59 thoughts on “Experiencing the old world charm in Panaji, Goa – Fontainhas & Panaji Church

  1. What a charming area of Goa! I never knew about the Portuguese influences and architecture. Now I know another part of Goa to visit, in addition to the beaches, on a future visit.

  2. Quite the opposite of your experience, when I went to Goa three years ago I actually stayed in Panaji. A Dutch woman whom my travel buddy and I met on the plane to Goa, upon learning that we would skip the beaches, said to us “you guys are crazy!” I did enjoy Panaji and Old Goa though, as well as the Portuguese-influenced food.

    1. Actually I too love beaches..but I love the feel of old Goa and fontainhas.dint get time to explore much..next time I will surely stay there. By the way I dint knew u visited India too..love your blogs☺

  3. O wow…Goa has some wonderful architecture and I surely want to plan my visit and see this side of the place. Can you believe if I say that I haven’t actually visited Goa, though have by-passed the place umpteen times 😀

  4. Goa is so beautiful! I love that there are old heritage buildings and modern street art side by side. Great post!

  5. I’m definitely getting colonial vibes from all the amazing pictures! And I can’t believe how many times you’ve visited – I think I’d come here first on a trip to the Indian subcontinent for sure.

    1. Thanks Suzannah. Ya I know too many times we have visited Goa ..But it’s such a pleasant place that every time we just wanna go there..Ha ha..you should surely visit Goa someday

  6. I love the architectural, beach side as well as the water adventures part of Goa. It’s the best place for all kind of travelers. Nice post.

  7. Goa looks like a beautiful place to visit! Plus a few of my favourite Australian bands have toured there, so maybe I should put it on my bucket list already!

  8. I always think of Goa as seaside relaxing holiday, i didnt realise there’s more of it! I love those colonial mansion houses and that serene church looks magnificent.. I would love to explore this area.

  9. Very stunning pictures! I have so many beautiful memories from Goa, you bought back all those. Panaji is so beautiful and charming part of goa, would love to go back soon.

  10. I love seeing this place that . I never heard of before. Hopefully, I can make it here someday.

  11. What beautiful colours on the buildings. Particularly love the greens and the oranges. Have never been to Goa but would love to visit.

  12. I’ve been to Goa a few times now but every time I see photos of others I feel I still have so much more to explore. Especially the interior Goa rather than the touristy side 🙂 Lovely photos!

  13. I have recently been to Pondicherry and I can see the similarities the Goan houses and the ones there. The church looks spectacular, I am planning a trip to Goa soon, your tips will be useful for me 🙂

  14. These are beautiful postcards from Goa! The Portuguese influence is evident. I was hoping to see a pic of the big bell 🛎.Nice post!

  15. Lovely post describing the beauty of Panjim. Glad you liked Fontainhas. And yes there is more to Goa than the beaches and shacks. Being a Goan myself, it amuses me to see how the tourist roam around the beaches in North Goa and think that’s it to Goa. Do check my recent blog to know some interesting bits about Goa.

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