10 Magnificent Places To Visit In Old Goa With Friends And Family In 2023


Goa is the party capital of India and is often termed as one of the tourist destinations for young and restless. Parties, beach shacks, resorts with in-house spas, beach bars, flea markets and a large number of foreign tourists living in makeshift colonies enjoying a good time with guitars, seafood, and drinks – Goa has many faces! However, there is much more to Goa apart from these things. Old Goa is a stunning canvas painted with amazing architecture, colonial monuments, beach sports, cobbled pathways, and impressive coastal scenery. In the following post, we are listing some of the most fantastic places to visit in Old Goa that you can explore for an exhilarating vacation experience.

10 Awesome Places To Visit In Old Goa

Goa cannot be explored in one visit. Every time you take a trip there, dedicate to a region and explore at your own leisure. So, read all about the sightseeing places in Goa and plan a super-exciting trip to this hip city for a once in a lifetime experience.

  • Divar Island – Goa’s Best Kept Secret
  • Basilica of Bom Jesus – World Heritage Monument
  • Se Cathedral – Old Goa’s Famous Landmark
  • Tomb of St. Francis Xavier – Popular Church In Goa
  • Reis Magos Fort – One Of Goa’s Oldest Citadels
  • Fontainhas – A Small Latin Establishment
  • St. Augustine Ruins – Iberian Architecture
  • Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount – Stunning Panoramas
  • Archaeological Museum of Goa – Wonderful Backdrop Of Goan Skies 
  • Wax World Museum – Beautiful Wax Statues

1. Divar Island Goa’s Best Kept Secret

Divar Island is an unexplored island in Goa

One of the best places to see in old Goa, Divar Island is a quaint little island on the Mandovi River which is away from all the hustle bustle. It is the best beach in Old Goa, as well as a perfect hideout amidst the chaos of the world. This is one of the best-kept secrets of Old Goa and can be reached via a ferry from Viceroy’s Arch. If you plan your visit during August, you can also be a part of the Bonderam Festival which celebrates the harvest season. It is undoubtedly one of the best sightseeing places in Old Goa.

Best time to visit Divar Island: The Island can be visited throughout the year. However, many tourists plan their visit in August to witness the Bonderam festival.
Timings: 8 AM – 7 PM
Ideal for: Families, groups, solo travelers, history fanatics
How to reach Divar Island: You can board a ferry from Viceroy’s Arch in Old Goa after arriving at the Goa Airport or at the Carambolim Railway Station.

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2. Basilica Of Bom Jesus – World Heritage Monument

Beautiful Bom Jesus Church

Basilica of Bom Jesus was built in the 16th century and is one of the best tourist attractions in Goa. The iconic brick-coloured construction is visited by visitors all around the year and is a World Heritage Monument. Some of the most impressive construction elements of the Basilica are basalt pillars, black granite walls and a tiled roof with slopes. The gilded pillars, walls, and church altar have ornate inscriptions in Latin and Portuguese language, making them among the best tourist attractions in Old Goa.

Best time to visit: Best time to visit are during the months of September and March.
Timings: 9 AM – 6.30 PM
Ideal for:
 Families with kids, groups and solo travelers, nature photography, history fanatics
How to reach: It is in North Goa and one can either walk or take a rickshaw to reach. Or, a taxi can be hired.

3. Se Cathedral – Old Goa’s Famous Landmark

Church

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Se Cathedral also dates back to the 16th Century and is the largest church in Asia which is still operational. If you are visiting Goa for 3 days, then add this to your itinerary. It has Iberian architecture and the high ceilings flaunt wooden carvings and mosaic work. The walls are decorated with rich paintings and the church has the standard crucifix shape. The church is open from 7.30 am to 6 pm on weekdays and from 7.15 am to 10 am on Sundays. So, plan your visit keeping the timings in mind. There are also various amazing places to visit near Old Goa church.

Best time to visit: Month of March is the best time to visit Se Cathedral
Timings:
7.30 AM – 6 PM
Ideal for:
 Families, history lovers, art lovers
How to reach: Taxis or private vehicles can be hired to reach Se Cathedral Church

Suggested Read: Shopping In Goa: 18 Things You Must Buy When Exploring The Tourist Paradise

4. Tomb Of St. Francis Xavier – Popular Church In Goa

Tomb Of St. Francis Xavier

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Tomb of St. Francis Xavier is another one of the best visiting places in Old Goa and is located in one of the chapels of the Basilica of Bom Jesus. This is the tomb of a revered Portuguese saint – St. Francis Xavier. The saint was highly popular in Goa and was brought back after his death in China. The tomb is made with marble and Jasper and the remains of the Saint are publicly displayed after every ten years.

Best time to visit: NA
Timings: 8 AM – 6 PM
Ideal for:
Families, groups, solo travelers, history fanatics
How to reach: Taxis or private vehicles can be hired to reach Se Cathedral Church


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5. Reis Magos Fort – One Of Goa’s Oldest Citadels

Oldest fort

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One of best the tourist places in old Goa, Reis Magos Fort is an amazing hideout to explore a relaxed day away from the humdrum of city life. The Fort was built in 1707 on the mouth of Mandovi River and is one of the oldest citadels of Old Goa. Visiting this attraction is one of the most offbeat things to do in Goa. The bright red lateritic walls and tall minarets are easily visible from all over the Bardez Taluk. The Reis Magos Church is also located nearby which is also among the places to visit in Old Goa.

Best time to visit: NA
Timings:
9.30 AM – 5 PM
Ideal for: Families, photography lovers, history fanatics
How to reach: One can either walk or take a rickshaw to reach. Or, a taxi can be hired.

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6. Fontainhas – A Small Latin Establishment

Fontainhas

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Fontainhas is a small Latin establishment in Panjim that is one of the most iconic old Goa tourist places. This is undoubtedly the best heritage walk destination here with lots of colorful houses and a small spring to admire. One of the must-do activities here is to enjoy the freshly baked goodies from the old bakeries located here. Other attractions of the area are – a wishing well, Chapel of St. Sebastian and Altinho Hill. It is indeed one of the most romantic places in Goa for couples.

Best time to visit Fontainhas: September to April
Timings: Open 24 hours
Ideal for: Families, couples, history lovers, solo travelers
How to reach: This place can be reached by either taxi, or driving your vehicle.

7. St. Augustine Ruins – Iberian Architecture

oldest fort

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St. Augustine Ruins site is also one of the most famous places to visit in Old Goa which is also one of the most iconic historic sites in Goa. The tower was originally 46 m high and was built in the 17th century. The church architecture is Iberian and ranks among the top three Iberian buildings in the world. As of now, the building stands in ruins because of a lack of maintenance.

Best time to visit St. Augustine Ruins: Winters
Timings: 9 AM – 5 PM
Ideal for: Day excursion, families, groups, day picnics
How to reach: Reaching this site is fairly easy and can be reached either by driving your vehicle, or taking a taxi or rickshaw

Suggested Read: 16 Best Forts In Goa Every History-Lover Must Visit

8. Chapel Of Our Lady Of The Mount – Stunning Panoramas

Chapel Of Our Lady Of The Mount

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Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount is among the historical places in Old Goa and is a perfect destination for enjoying an exciting day out with your family or friends. The church sits atop a hill and offers an exciting opportunity to climb it. The chapel offers a stunning view of Divar Island, Chorao and Mandovi River. Church of St. Cajetan is located nearby and can be explored on the same day. places to visit in Old Goa.

Best time to visit: The month of September is the best time to visit
Timings: 9 AM – 7 PM (Open till midnight on Sundays)
Ideal for: Families, groups, and solo travelers, history fanatics
How to reach: Taxis or private vehicles can be hired to reach this place

9. Archaeological Museum – Wonderful Backdrop Of Goan Skies

this museum is a treasure place

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Standing against the wonderful backdrop of Goan skies and lots of greenery nearby, the Archaeological Museum of Goa houses pieces from early historic, prehistoric and late medieval periods. Apart from the collection of the Museum offers a stunning facade and amazing opportunities for photography. There are various statues and sculptures as well.

Best time to visit: Around the year
Timings:
10 AM – 5 PM
Ideal for: Families, day excursions, photography, history fanatics
How to reach: Located close to Panaji, this museum can be reached by either taxi, or driving your vehicle

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10. Wax World Museum – Beautiful Wax Statues

Wax World Museum in Old Goa is a large and among India’s few wax museums.

Image Credit: Softhunterdevil for Wikimedia commons

Wax World Museum in Old Goa is a large and among India’s few wax museums. The place houses an expansive collection of 30 life-size paraffin statues. Some of the most famous statues here are of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. But one artwork that attracts a large number of tourists is the sculpture of Jesus Christ’s Last Supper. There is a guided tour available that can be availed in English and Hindi language. Photography is not allowed inside the museum. You can buy souvenirs from the gift shop to help you remember the visit. It is one of the best places to visit in Old Goa.

Best time to visit: Around the year
Timings: 9.30 AM – 7 PM
Ideal for: Families, Friends, solo, group
How to reach: Located close to Panaji, this museum can be reached by either taxi, or driving your vehicle

Further Read: Christmas Celebration In Goa Is The Perfect Way To Soak In The Festivities

We hope our list of the best places to visit in Old Goa helps you plan a great vacation to Goa, India’s most charming coastal paradise. Include all of them in your itinerary for a surreal and offbeat experience of exploring Goa. Keep traveling and keep making memories!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Old Goa

What’s the best way to experience Old Goa?

Also called North Goa, Old Goa allows you to indulge in numerous experiences. You can start by exploring the best beaches where you may also try water sports. Since there are numerous churches, you can check out the most popular ones like Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, and more. Besides this, there are numerous historical sites to explore. If you are a party person, make sure to enjoy the nightlife of Goa while heading to some of the best bars and clubs.

What are some of the best things to do in Old Goa?

Old Goa is a historical place that has a vast array of tourist attractions to explore. Some of the most notable things to do in Old Goa are:
1. Heritage walks
2. Visiting cathedrals and chapels
3. Cycle tours
4. Water sports
5. Kayaking
6. Visiting museums
7. Crocodile Spotting

Can I plan a visit to Goa during Covid times?

Yes, you can plan a trip to Goa during the current Covid situation. However, you need to take all the safety measures and abide by government protocols. Keep wearing a mask when surrounded by people or when going out, maintain the required social distance, and don’t forget to sanitize your hands at certain intervals.

What are some of the places to visit in Old Goa?

The best old Goa tourist places are:
1. Fontainhas
2. Divar Island
3. Se Cathedral
4. Basilica of Bom Jesus
5. Reis Magos Fort
6. Archaeological museum
7. Saint Augustine Ruins
8. Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount

What are some famous churches to visit in Old Goa?

There are many chapels and churches in Goa, the best ones are:
1. Bom Jesus Basilica
2. Se Cathedral
3. Chapel of St. Catherine
4. Church of Lady of Rosary
5. Chapel of St. Francis Xavier
6. Church of St. Francis Assisi
7. Church of St. Cajetan
8. Mount Mary Church
9. Church of St. Augustine

How do I get to Divar Island?

The Divar Island can be reached via ferry only. There are three ferry services that are free. The most popular one is from the Viceroy’s Arch.

What are the things to do on Divar Island?

You can enjoy a lot of activities on Divar Island, such as:
1. Sightseeing in the scenic villages
2. Exploring the ruins of the abandoned city
3. Ruins of Kadamba Dynasty in Piedade
4. Visiting the churches

Can I stay on Divar Island?

Yes, there are many villas on the island that are available for tourists at affordable prices and offer a perfect mix of modern facilities and traditional designs.

What is special about Old Goa?

Old Goa is famous for housing many heritage monuments such as the Basilica of Bom Jesus. It was developed in 1605 and represents an amazing example of Baroque architecture.

What is the capital of Old Goa?

The capital of Old Goa is Velha Goa which houses various UNESCO Heritage Sites and welcomes tourists from far and wide to experience its rich history and culture.



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