Old Goa Travel Guide

Old Goa, situated in North Goa, Western India, is a stunning place to explore India's rich history, culture, food, and traditions. This guide covers everything you need to know about Old Goa, including major attractions, best things to do, where to stay, safety tips, and much more!

A Comprehensive Travel Guide to Old Goa

Old Goa, situated in North Goa, Western India, is a stunning place to explore India’s rich history, culture, food, and traditions. The region is famous for its ancient churches, cathedrals, temples, museums, and natural beauty that attracts tourists worldwide.

In this travel guide, we will cover everything you need to know about Old Goa, including major attractions, best things to do, where to stay, safety tips, and much more!

List of Places to Visit in Old Goa

Old Goa is a small region that can be entirely explored in 2-3 days. Here’s a list of some of the best places to visit in Old Goa:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  1. Basilica of Bom Jesus
  2. Se Cathedral
  3. Church of St. Francis of Assisi
  4. Archaeological Museum of Old Goa
  5. Museum of Christian Art
  6. Convent and Church of St. Monica
  7. Chapel of St. Catherine
  8. Viceroy’s Arch

Natural Attractions of Old Goa: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  1. Mandovi River
  2. Divar Island
  3. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
  4. Mount Holy Cross
  5. Kala Academy

Hiking/Biking Routes of Old Goa

Old Goa is an excellent destination for hiking and biking enthusiasts. Here are some of the best routes to explore on foot or bike:

  1. Divar Island Circuit
  2. Chorao Island Circuit
  3. Karmali-Taleigao Circuit

Best Things to Do in Old Goa: Activities and Tours

There are several exciting activities and tours that you can enjoy in Old Goa. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  1. Go on a heritage walk to explore the ancient churches and cathedrals.
  2. Take a bird-watching tour to Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
  3. Enjoy a sunset cruise on the Mandovi River.
  4. Take a cooking class to learn about Goan cuisine.
  5. Take a day trip to nearby cities like Panaji, Mapusa or Margao.

Week-Long Itinerary for Old Goa

Here’s a sample week-long itinerary for Old Goa:

Day Activity
1 Explore the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the surrounding churches.
2 Visit Divar Island and take a cycling tour.
3 Visit Kala Academy and take a sunset cruise on the Mandovi River.
4 Take a guided bird-watching tour of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
5 Visit the Archaeological Museum of Old Goa and the Museum of Christian Art.
6 Take a cooking class and learn to make local Goan cuisine.
7 Do a day trip to nearby cities like Panaji or Margao.

Food and Drink Scene of Old Goa

If you’re a foodie, you’re in for a treat in Old Goa. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  1. Xacuti - A spicy chicken or beef curry made with roasted coconut.
  2. Fish Curry and Rice - A traditional Goan dish with fish cooked in coconut milk.
  3. Sorpotel - A spicy pork and liver curry.
  4. Cafreal - Spicy, marinated chicken or goat cooked in a green masala.
  5. Bebinca - A traditional Goan dessert made with coconut milk, flour, sugar, and ghee.

Local Beverages

  1. Feni - A local Goan spirit made from fermented cashew juice or coconut sap.
  2. Kingfisher Beer - A popular local beer in India.
  3. Kokum Juice - A refreshing local drink made from the fruit of a tropical tree.

Where to Stay in Old Goa: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Old Goa has several budget-friendly hotels, hostels, and guesthouses that offer comfortable accommodation.

Some of the best options include:

  1. Reis Magos Fort - This heritage homestay offers stunning views of the Mandovi River and is located just 4km from Old Goa.
  2. Pinto Rosario Square Resort and Spa - A 4-star resort located just 1km from Old Goa.
  3. Old Goa Residency - A budget-friendly hotel located in the heart of Old Goa.

What to Buy in Old Goa: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

If you’re looking to buy souvenirs or local products to take back home, there are plenty of options in Old Goa. Here are some popular items:

  1. Cashew Nuts - Goa is famous for its cashew nuts, which are available in various flavours.
  2. Spices - Goa is also known for its excellent range of spices.
  3. Handicrafts - You can find several handicraft shops in Old Goa selling items like pottery, terracotta, and brassware.
  4. Feni - If you’re a fan of the local spirit, you can buy a bottle of Feni from a local liquor store.

Local Culture and Customs of Old Goa

Goa has a rich cultural heritage and a mix of Indian and Portuguese influence. The people of Goa are friendly, warm, and welcoming to tourists.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the local culture and customs:

  • Dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and churches.
  • Remove your shoes before entering a temple or someone’s home.
  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Avoid taking pictures of people without their consent.
  • Bargaining is common in local markets and bazaars.

Best Time to Visit Old Goa

The best time to visit Old Goa is between October and March when the weather is cool and pleasant. The temperature during these months ranges from 15-30 degrees Celsius, making it perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

Do’s and Don’ts of Old Goa

Here are some essential do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while travelling in Old Goa:


  • Be respectful towards locals, customs, and traditions.
  • Dress modestly and appropriately, especially when visiting temples and churches.
  • Try local cuisine and beverages.
  • Take guided tours to explore the region’s history and culture.
  • Carry a sunhat, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes.


  • Go topless or wear bikinis on public beaches.
  • Consume drugs or any illegal substances.
  • Engage in any illegal or immoral activity.
  • Drink and drive.

Safety and Health

Old Goa is a safe region for tourists; however, it’s always recommended to take necessary precautions and follow the basic safety guidelines.

Safety in Old Goa

  • Keep your valuables like passport, wallets, and cameras close to you at all times.
  • Avoid travelling in isolated areas after dark.
  • Be cautious of pickpockets and scams targeting tourists.
  • Follow traffic rules and be cautious while crossing roads.

Health in Old Goa

  • Drink only bottled water and avoid drinking tap water.
  • Carry insect repellent and use it regularly.
  • Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Stay hydrated and carry a water bottle with you.

Getting to Old Goa: Transportation Options and Logistics

Getting to Old Goa is easy, with several transportation options available:

Airports Near Old Goa

  • Goa International Airport is the nearest airport and is located about 29km from Old Goa.

Bus Stations Near Old Goa

  • Kadamba Bus Terminal Panaji is the nearest bus station, located about 9km from Old Goa.

Other Options

  • Taxis and rented cars are also available from the airport and bus stations.
  • If you’re going to explore Panaji, take a ferry from Old Goa to Panaji.

How to Get Around in Old Goa

The best way to explore Old Goa is on foot or by bike. You can also take a guided tour or hire a taxi or car to explore the region.

Where to Go Next from Old Goa: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Old Goa is an excellent base to explore other destinations in Goa. Here are some nearby destinations and excursions that you can make from Old Goa:

  1. Panaji - The capital of Goa is just 9km from Old Goa and is known for its Portuguese-style architecture and stunning waterfront views.
  2. Anjuna Beach - A popular beach paradise that’s just an hour’s drive from Old Goa.
  3. Dudhsagar Falls - A stunning waterfall located about 80km from Old Goa.


Old Goa is a charming destination that offers a perfect mix of history, culture, natural beauty, and delicious food. We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Old Goa and makes your visit a memorable one!