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
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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
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
- Jet Ski Ride
- Yacht ride
Panjim Beaches – Places to visit in Panjim
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
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.