Places To Visit In Panjim, The Heart Of Goa

Miramar Beach - Places to visit in Panjim
Miramar Beach – Places to visit in Panjim

Panjim or Panaji, Goa has been home for me for the last few years. We tend to take our homes for granted, so did I. This post took so long to write, but I hope it would be like we say in Hindi – Der Aaye, Durust Aaye. It came late, but it came out well. Get to know about Places to visit in Panjim.

Panjim is surrounded by waters on almost all sides. On one side is Mandovi merging into the Arabian sea, on the other River Zuari. To get out of the city, you need to cross one of these rivers or walk along Mandovi till it feels like a mainland.

History of Panjim

Vegetable Market in Mario Miranda style wall murals
Vegetable Market in Mario Miranda style wall murals

Panjim is an island that got connected to Old Goa, which was the capital of Portuguese when a long causeway connected it. I am talking about the Ribandar Causeway that still connects the city to Old Goa through an arched structure in laterite stone. When I walk on this, I feel I am walking on the birth limb of Panjim.

Do you know Panjim has two roads named after two historical dates – 18th June Road and 31st January Road.

Initially, Panjim was limited to an area that we now know as Fontainhas. A lovely little area with colorful houses and heavenly bakeries. Now, it is becoming home to heritage hotels, boutiques, and designer stores. If you have seen the city in films, you have probably seen this area.

Places to visit in Panjim

Explore the following interesting heritage, landmarks, city walk, leisure, art, festivals, restaurants, museums, water sports, entertainment, beaches while visiting the city and/or Goa.

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim
Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church

This late 16th CE church with a lovely staircase sits on a hill overlooking the city. It is the most photographed and filmed part of the city and maybe the state. It is a pleasure to sit in front of it and admire the lovely structure. One of the popular places to visit in Panjim particularly during Christmas.

Maruti Temple

On another sits the saffron-colored temple dedicated to Hanuman. The temple is best seen at dusk when it is lit up and it shines like a jewel on the hill. It needs a bit of endurance to climb the steep steps leading to the Maruti temple.

Adil Shah Palace or Old Secretariat

This lovely building in quintessential yellow and white is the only Palace in Panjim. Now it is home to art exhibitions. We keep hearing the state museum will shift here, but it is yet to happen. The road that you see outside the palace was a moat around the palace.

Cabo Raj Bhawan

The official residence of the Governor of Goa is situated on the tip of a finger jutting out into the Arabian sea. Normally, you are not allowed to go inside, but on Sunday mornings, it is open for those who want to visit the church there. Try your luck – it is worth a visit. Of course, if you know the governor, invite yourself!

Cabo Raj Bhavan Goa
Cabo Raj Bhavan Goa

Update – Raj Bhavan is now open to the public with prior online booking, three days of the week – Friday to Sunday. You can go to Raj Bhavan Website and book the tour. It is priced at Rs 300/- per person and you are required to carry a Photo Id card.

The tour covers the Aushadhi Vatika or a herbal garden, the helipad, the cannon point where you can see old cannons looking into the sea. This is the west most point of Goa, so all you see around is the sea. You get to see the Raj Bhavan Museum, which is small but interesting. You get to see the Church where Dona Paula of Dona Paula’s fame is buried. Grotto and the beach are other attractions of the tour.

Mahalakshmi Temple

Unique Deepstambh at Mahalakshmi Temple
Unique Deepstambh at Mahalakshmi Temple

One of the most popular temples in Panaji is dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi. Do not miss the unique Deepstambh in brickwork here.


The city has 3 museums. Museum buffs may easily spend some time during the daytime.

Goa State Museum

Mahishasurmardini at Goa State Museum - Panaji
Mahishasurmardini at Goa State Museum

Like every state museum, this museum aims to showcase the heritage and antiquities of the state. Not the best museum you would see, but go there to see a lovely wooden Rath or Temple Chariot, the ancient Hero stones that honor the brave posthumously. The time needed is about an hour. It is indeed the Place to visit in Panjim if you like heritage and museums.

Goa State Excise Museum

This is a lovely little museum located in a 400+-year-old blue building on the banks of Mandovi River. On the two floors of this museum, you walk through the history of smuggling – I call it a walk through the smugglers’ minds over the ages. Of course, it also tells you the tales of customs and taxes that exist across borders. Time Needed – 1 hour. Read my detailed blog post here.

Goa Science Centre

The Science Centre is the go-to place for school going kids. They can see magic galleries and learn about a bit of science in this museum conveniently located close to Miramar Beach.


Following are some of the cherishable experiences you may gain here.

Sunset at Dona Paula

Dona Paula is famous for its sunset. It gives you a vantage point where you only see the sky, sea, and sun. Reach 20-30 minutes ahead of sunset time and enjoy the stunning sunsets. Sunsets are particularly colorful and dramatic post monsoons in October and November.

Cruises & Water Sports in Panjim

Yacht Ride in Goa
Yacht Ride in Goa

The city offers plenty of water-based activities at the Mandovi river, estuary, and Arabian sea. You can hire a private boat to explore the backwaters of Mandovi river, birding near the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.

Most organized cruises operate in the evening – for the tourists to have fun, get sunset view, dusk view, dolphin sighting, etc.

  • Boat Ride on Mandovi
  • Dinner Cruise on Mandovi
  • Paragliding
  • Jet Ski Ride
  • Yacht ride
Popular Tourist Boat rides at Miramar beach
Popular Tourist Boat rides at Miramar beach

Panjim Beaches – Places to visit in Panjim

Miramar Beach

Colorful sky at dusk, Miramar Beach, Places to visit in Panjim, Goa
Colorful sky at dusk, Miramar Beach

Miramar beach is the most popular beach in Goa – always full of tourists. This is where I go for my evening walks when I am at home. It is a pleasure to watch the sunset here as tourists try to catch them with their cameras.

You can take hour-long boat rides from Miramar beach that take you a bit inside the sea. They promise to show you some locations that you might have seen in Hindi Films. Dinner and sunset cruises can be taken from Santa Monica Jetty.

Bambolim Beach & Siridao Beach

Sunset scene, Bambolim beach, Places to visit in Panjim
Sunset scene, Bambolim beach

This is a quieter beach mostly visited by people who stay in the high-end hotels located next to it. We always take our guests to Bambolim beach for a quiet beach experience. Though, technically it is a bay and not a beach.

It extends further to Siridao beach, which is one of our favorite places to watch the sunset as the local boys play cricket and football.

Walking Trails – Places to visit in Panjim

Fontainhas Heritage Walk

A colorful tiled wall at Fontainhas
A colorful tiled wall at Fontainhas

The Fontainhas is the oldest part of Panaji, sometimes also called the Latin Quarters. It is known for its colorful houses and steep staircases that connect it to the hill above. This is the popular heritage Place to visit in Panjim.

Read our detailed post on Fontainhas Walk

Mandovi Promenade Walk

Panaji is one of the few cities in India that is walking friendly. The main road of the city officially called D B Bhandodkar Road is a great place to walk. I would suggest starting from Kala Academy. Watch the sunset at Darya Sangam and then walk towards the Jetty point along the Mandovi River. You can stop and stroll at Forest Park or taste some street food on the way. By the time it’s dark, all the boats, signboards, and casino boats would be lit up. It is a must-see sight in the city.

Dona Paula Walk

Sunset Viewpoint Dona Paula Jetty - Places to visit in Panjim
Sunset Viewpoint Dona Paula Jetty

Dona Paula is best known for its sunset and its famous statue of Dona and Paul. However, it is a pleasure to walk on the lanes leading to the Jetty with some hidden treasures.

Read our detailed post on Dona Paula Walk

University Walk

Goa University has a lovely campus. We love to go for walks there. The best one is behind the university library. Reach the library and walk on the road that takes you behind the library. The narrow road will take you past many departments but more importantly through the many trees where you can spot many birds.


Ghodi or Horse dance performance during Shigmo
Ghodi or Horse dance performance during Shigmo

The city celebrates all major festivals, here are some special ones that we recommend.

New Year at Miramar Beach

Start your new year by witnessing the fireworks at Miramar Beach. You not only see the fireworks of Miramar but also see the panorama of fireworks on the northern beaches of the state.


This is a folk festival when artists from around the country come and perform at Kala Academy for a good 10 days or so. It is a cultural riot with an equally happening market where you can buy products from across India. The cherry on this cake is the street food of India that is usually not available in the state.

Viva Goa Carnival

Celebrated in the month of Feb this is well, a carnival. The main street is full of colorful floats and there are song and dance all around. King Momo rules for 3 days and his orders are – eat, drink, and be merry.

Read more –  Viva Carnival


This is personally my favorite Goa festival. 18th June Road reverberates with traditional music. Festivities roll and the audience on both sides of the road enjoy. This is the Holi Time festival of the state.

Read More – Shigmo – The Cultural Extravaganza

Sao Joao

The onset of monsoons is celebrated by jumping into wells and well, these days into swimming pools.

Read More – Sao Joao

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with fervor in the city. Public Pandals are set up in various parks. A peculiar thing to notice in Ganesh Pandals of the city is the Matoli made with fruits, vegetables, and local herbs.

Read More – Festival Guide of Goa

Anant Chaturdashi

One of the biggest houses in the city – the Mamai Kamat house opens its doors for everyone to celebrate this festival. Any number of who come are served a multi-course meal. This is quite a unique way to celebrate this September festival.

Narkasur Chaturdashi

This is the way the city celebrates Diwali. Children get together to create the demon Narkasur only to burn it down on the last day.

IFFI – International Film Festival of India

In November, the city plays host to the biggest film festival in India. Venues like Kala Academy, ESG, and INOX theater are full of cinema lovers. The main street is decorated and the weather is just perfect to move around.

This is your chance to rub shoulders with whos who of the film industry and watch some of the world’s best cinema.

GALF – Goa Arts and Literary Festival

December brings the literature and art lovers together at ICG for 4 days. Talks, panel discussions, workshops, art exhibitions, networking, bookstores, book launches – there is so much for the literature lovers to look forward to.


The Churches of the state are a sight to see during Christmas. We usually go for a drive to see the churches and the Cribs that dot the city. It is interesting to see the creative displays every year – many of them floating in the water.

Public Spaces – Places to visit in Panjim

Sunapranta - Places to visit in Panjim

The capital of the state is always buzzing with activities that include public performances or talks. Here are some of the places you should check out:

Kala Academy

This is a well-designed Academy with multiple auditoriums. It plays host to all kinds of concerts, plays, festivals. On the banks of River Mandovi just as it merges with the Arabian Sea, it is a good place to watch the sunset or to enjoy the activities.

Check out the Kala Academy Website for the latest events.

International Center, Goa

Located near Dona Paula, ICG is home to Goa Art and Literary Festival that is held in December. The rest of the year too, it has talks, workshops, quizzes. Check out their events calendar – ICG.


This Palacious Goan house in blue and white on top of Altinho Hill is home to art shows and has a film screening every Wednesday. Their cafe is perfect for you to sit back relax or even work from. They hold an annual Sensorium festival. Check out what Sunapranta has to offer when you are visiting the city.

Goa State Library

Goa State library is not just the best public library in India. It is also home to the state’s Art & Culture department. See our detailed post on State Public Library.

Menezes Braganza Hall

This is a favorite venue for local events. Check out the local newspaper for what is happening. During the day, you can buy homemade stuff like Pickles and Sweets sold by women’s self-help groups. This long yellow building is also home to Goa Police Headquarters. The entrance to Menezes Braganza Hall has Goa’s best Azulezos paintings – handmade in Blue & White.

Menezes Braganza Hall
Menezes Braganza Hall

Read More – Azulezos – the Charming Hand Made Tiles

This long yellow building is also home to the State Police Headquarters.

Fundaco Oriente

A quaint art gallery in Fontainhas that hosts occasional talks and art shows.


Broadway Books – The best place to get books on the state or by Goan authors. They have two outlets in the city – one on 18th June road and the other in Caculo Mall – I love going to the former which has an old-world charm and a much bigger collection.

Singhbal’s Book Store – opposite the main Church Square – a lovely building in White and Blue.

Bookworm is a lovely children’s library and bookstore in Taleigao.

Of course, there is a crossword for regular bestsellers.

However, what we recommend is a visit to Goa State Library, Saraswati Library on June 18th Road, and a 100+-year-old reading room in Fontainhas.


This is where you can go to pick up your Panaji Souvenirs.

  • Mario Miranda Gallery near Panaji Church
  • Wendell Rodricks Boutique in Campal
  • Zantye for Cashew and Kokum Sherbet
  • Municipal Market / Fish Market – more for street photography
  • 18th June Road – for anything under the sun

Read  more – Best Goa Souvenirs to Buy

Restaurants in the city

  • Black Sheep Bistro for local fusion food
  • Hotel Fidalgo Restaurants
  • Fish Curry, the Goan cuisine at Ritz Classic
  • Goenchin – locals love it. Don’t ask me why!

Read More – Vegetarian Fine Dining Restaurants

Cafes in the city

  • Cafe Bodega at Sunapranta
  • Cafe Basil at Tonca for some college-style food
  • The Cafe Tato – for Goan snacks
  • Cafe Real – old world charm coffee house
  • Cafe Central – Ask for Mushroom Samosa
  • The Cafe Bhonsle – for Maharashtrian snacks

Hotels in Panaji

High-End Hotels

  • Cidade De Goa – If you want a true Goan feel next to an idyllic beach
  • Marriott Resort & Spa – for the best sea view lobby
  • Grand Hyatt – with an almost private beach

Mid-Range Hotels

  • Fortune Miramar – Business Hotel with a feel of Leisure
  • Panaji Inn – live in the heritage precincts of Panaji
  • Vivanta by Taj – in the heart of the city

Budget Hotels

  • Hotel Mandovi – the old world charm and river view
  • Panaji Residency by the state tourism
  • Miramar Residency by the state tourism

If you have a question about Places to visit in Panjim, feel free to ask us in the comments!


  1. Years back I came to Panjim with my family. After that I have only been to the other side of Goa. Your book recommendations are fab 🙂 I have bookmarked for future Goa travels and hope we can connect someday in person?? what does Sunapranta mean?

    • Ishita, as and when you come to Goa, would take you around for a heritage walk.

      Suna means golden and Apranta means beyond the Prant or limits of the kingdom. Sunaprant is a local word used to describe Goa meaning Golden region.

      Go has the best public library in India – I sometimes go and work from there. It is a must visit for all Bibliophiles.

  2. Unique information which i have never known before about this place. Pictures look amazing. Very informative article.

  3. Nice and precise. You covered almost everything there is. Maybe the kids parks, I would add. And the mall ???? Also a few more places to eat like viva Panjim and venite in the fontainhas area.

    • Thanks, Kuheli. Kids parks – yes can be added. Shopping mall – I would skip, there is nothing for a traveler there. I have written places that I have tried myself. The restaurants will get added as I visit them.

  4. hi, we are planning to be in aldona for 3 nights starting 18th oct 2017- staying in a homestay. was keen to do my bit of building excitement for my kids by mixing fun and education. I know that Goa has a rich history and it will be worth discovering it at least now (der aaye durust aaye). A friend recommended Panjim, Fontanhas. ferry across the mandovi and Reis Margos. The walk mentioned in your blog seems very interesting. Please let me know if you can help.

  5. I have only been to the state library because of my continued visits to the FRRO which is the whole police station complex. I was always in awe of the tile art on the wall and it’s definitely an insider tip for those who want to see more of the Portuguese side. Otherwise, I enjoy Miramar too, just to hang out and there are a few lovely boutiques there. Ultimately my husband family has got a few relations in Miramar and that’s why we would go there more frequently in the past.

    • Helene, now you should come more often to Miramar, for we live close to it. I love visiting the library – sometimes I work from there and it is like having a huge co-working space to yourself.

  6. My sister had her destination wedding in Goa and it was absolutely stunning. I was so sad to leave because I wanted to explore the area properly! The food was amazing, the people were so incredibly friendly, and it had the most wonderful vibes. This post has made me want to return even more – I’ll definitely be visiting some of the places you’ve mentioned!

  7. Wow, what an informative blog post – you really covered all the bases! It actually makes me really disappointed in myself because I visited Goa a few years back and I don’t think I saw any of the amazing sights that you have listed. And the festivals – I’m DEFINITELY going to have to go back to check out those!

  8. Wow that a really complete list ! Really nice put down, Panjim sure seems like a great place to visit, I had no idea they were so much to do, always nice to learn more ! 🙂

  9. I think ‘Der Aaye, Durust Aaye’ needs to be my new motto in life, I love it! Panjim sounds like an incredible place, I hope I’ll get to visit someday. The heritage walk looks very beautiful, I would love to see those colourful houses and steep staircases in person.

  10. Goa, and now Panjim, has been on my travel bucket list for a while. I would love to do the Fontainhas heritage walk and check out the beaches at sunset. It looks like one should plan at least a couple of days to experience all of Panjim.

  11. Exceptionally well written content to say the least..Panjim indeed is the heart of Goa..Informative at the same time. Personally I feel private and custom tours at Panjim always come up with best results for it’s personalized and brings in comfort for the tourist.

  12. I love how colorful everything is. Just screams of LIFE! This is so very comprehensive and I love that you put all your love into writing about a place you call home.

  13. Oh my there is so much to do there! That Excise Museum, all about smuggling, it sounds really interesting. So cool to know this place celebrates its history so much. I dream about coming here someday.

  14. I feel like sometimes the places we know best are the bardest to write about, but I am so glad you did. Between the beaches and views and museums and architecture, I feel like I would never get bored here. Love the Portugese inspired buildings and have been dying to go since my friend said she grew up there!! Thanks for a great share!

    • Kelly, we came here with the intention to live for a year, but it will be 4 years in January and we want to live nowhere else. Panaji has a perfect balance of nature, heritage, culture, happening events despite being a small town.

  15. You are so right that we take our homeland for granted. If one explores, can really be surprised with what your own city has to offer. You have covered everything in your post. I love Goa and bought a house in Goa recently though not sure if I will live there. Those pictures of sunset are simply magnetic. A great amalgamation of nature, heritage and that awesome laid back feel.

  16. I’m actually really sad that I missed out on Goa while in India. I hear it’s absolutely beautiful and has the best vibes! Definitely an excuse for me to head back 🙂

  17. Good informative blog. We have moved to panjim from mumbai since a year now. There is so much that we haven’t covered. I would like to add forest garden next to kala Acadamy to the list. Its really nice place specially for kids and evening walk. And cafe George opp panjim church for authentic goan food.

    • Thank you, Pritam. Bhagwan Mahavir Park is the Forest Garden 🙂 I will try Cafe George and add it to the post. Thank you for adding. Do let us know anything else you discover in Panjim that we can add to the post.

      We moved here almost 4 years back but are still discovering this small city.

  18. My partner and spent a few nights in Panji in August this year and we both fell in live with it! He’s from Udaipur in Rajasthan and had never been before, and I’m from Australia and I went to Panji 6 years ago, but I didn’t go to Fontainhas – I don’t know why. We had a beer at two lovely bars – Hotel Venite and Joseph’s Bar. We loved Panji! …but I wish I had seen your post before we went. I’ve saved it to read for the next time we go!

  19. Goa is a beautiful destination and known for its beautiful beaches. You shared a well-explained post about it. Panjim is the capital city and its things are good to enjoy and stunning photos you shared.

  20. Nice and great you are giving good knowledge about Panjim, its wonderful place to visit and enjoy life with family & friends. I have bookmarked your blog for more information. You are great full of Knowledge.

  21. Heavenly place, I stayed for a year at Miramar beach area. Most peaceful and calm area. Once we step in not possible to step back.

  22. Nice presentation but I find missing a map indicating the various sites. Would save time (enquiring where),would save money (would not need to hire rickshaw or taxi) because you could do it on your own.

  23. Unique information which I really don’t know about this earlier. It’s very nice post also the way you define the beautiful picture’s it’s looking awesome.

  24. Nice Post!! I really appreciated with you, Thank you for sharing your info with us. Rent My Bike is a well known for their Bike Rental Service in all over Goa with well maintain bikes and 24hrs of service. There is a reasonable price and quick assistance so for booking Bike rental service in Goa call us at our booking number 7303338800


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here