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Where to See Portuguese Influence in Goa

Where to See Portuguese Influence in Goa

While most people associate the tiny coastal state of Goa with all-night beach parties, it’s also chock-full of glorious old colonial structures. The Portuguese influence over Goa—the last European colony in India—remains to this day, in the architecture, food, language, and traditions. Here’s where to experience Portuguese influence in Goa.   Sao Tome The Portuguese transferred their capital to the city of Panaji in 1759, which led to ample construction. While the city grew considerably in the centuries that followed, some of the older parts of town retain a distinct Portuguese flavor today. The atmospheric Sao Tome district is one such neighborhood: beautiful old houses with colorful exteriors and contrasting white trim mingle with celebrated public buildings such as the post office, formerly a tobacco trading house.

Fontainhas Also in Panaji, Fontainhas is another quintessentially Portuguese neighborhood that was reclaimed in the 18th century (many of the buildings here are from the early to mid-19th century). Highlights of this atmospheric area include the Chapel of Saint Sebastian, which houses a crucifix that once hung inside the Palace of the Inquisition in Old Goa (Velha Goa).

Basilica of Bom Jesus Before Panaji earned capital-city status, the capital of Portuguese India was situated in what’s now called Old Goa, originally built in the 1400s and later abandoned during a plague outbreak. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated for its historic churches. The most famous of these is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, created at the turn of the 17th century by Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini. This massive red church is among India’s oldest and holds the remains of St. Francis Xavier, Goa’s patron saint.

St. Catherine’s Cathedral (Sé Cathedral) The other main church in Old Goa, and certainly the most important in contemporary times, is St. Catherine’s Cathedral (Sé Cathedral), which was built at the end of the 16th century to commemorate Portugal’s military victory over Goa. It's full of old relics and religious art, and is the official seat of the archdiocese of Goa and Daman.   Fort Aguada For those with an interest in military history, Fort Aguada is worth a visit. It was built in 1612 and looks out over the Arabian Sea, just south of Sinquerim Beach. Prominent features include a long moat and a 4-story lighthouse—the largest of its kind in Asia—dating back to 1864.

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11 Tours and Activities

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Private Portuguese Heritage Tour: Se Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus and Dona Paula Beach in Goa

Private Portuguese Heritage Tour: Se Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus and Dona Paula Beach in Goa

star-4.5
11
Uncover Portuguese history and influence on this private half-day Portuguese heritage tour from Goa. Gain a deeper understanding of the state’s colonial past on visits to Se Cathedral and the Basilica of Born Jesus—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This epic tour includes a visit to the city of Panaji, where you see the impact of the Portuguese in Fontainhas, the Latin Quarter. Catch incredible views of the Arabian Sea from the Dona Paula Jetty before enjoying a traditional lunch.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$87.00
Price varies by group size
From
$87.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Cultural Tour: Ancestral Goa, Shantadurga Temple and Spice Village Including Lunch

Private Cultural Tour: Ancestral Goa, Shantadurga Temple and Spice Village Including Lunch

star-4.5
6
Experience the culture of Goa, sample its aromatic cuisine, and gain an insider’s understanding of Hindu religion on this full-day private tour. Explore Ancestral Goa with your guide and learn about efforts to preserve art, culture, and the environment. Check out two Hindu temples that showcase Portuguese influence and visit a spice village where you unlock the secrets of India’s most prized export. Hotel pickup and drop-off, as well as a traditional Indian lunch, are included.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$116.02
Price varies by group size
From
$116.02
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Village Tour, Crabbing by the River and Goan Portuguese Fusion Meal with a Local

Village Tour, Crabbing by the River and Goan Portuguese Fusion Meal with a Local

star-5
1
Great for foodies, this culinary experience takes place in a host home in the Orlim village of Goa. First, take a short walk around the village before heading to the river to catch crabs for lunch. Learn about the different cultural influences on Goan food. Plus, explore the large selection of spices and fruit trees in the garden. The meal features Goan-Portuguese fusion cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients such as fish cutlets, prawn curry, and caramel custard for dessert.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$71.47
Price varies by group size
From
$71.47
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Panjim Heritage walk with professional guide and option of pickup and drop

Panjim Heritage walk with professional guide and option of pickup and drop

Take a heritage walk through Panaji with an expert archaeologist guide, who will teach you all about the historical and cultural significance of the churches, temples, and typical homes of the city. This part of India is culturally unique, and your local guide will explain this so you get a better understanding of Goa. This tour is best suited to active travelers, as a moderate amount of walking is involved.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$53.34
Price varies by group size
From
$53.34
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

On a Fort Trail in Goa with an Archaeologist

On a Fort Trail in Goa with an Archaeologist

Explore the heritage of Goa with an archaeologist guide on this full-day tour of three landmark forts. Visit Reis Magos Fort, Aguada Fort, and Chapora Fort, and learn about the region's Indian and Portugese rulers in past centuries. You'll also see one of the filming locations from the popular Bollywood film 'Dil Chahta Hai' on a tour that includes lunch, entrance fees, and hotel pickup and drop-off.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$106.67
Price varies by group size
From
$106.67
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Old Goa with Lunch in a Spice Farm

Old Goa with Lunch in a Spice Farm

star-5
1
Break away from the beaches and parties and immerse yourself in Goan culture and history with this tour. Stops along the way include the gargantuan Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Se Cathedral. You'll then continue to the Sahakari Spice Farm to see local spices being grown, followed by a shopping trip in Panjim. You'll wrap your day up watching the sunset at Miramar Beach before heading to your hotel.
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  • 4 to 6 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$84.00
Price varies by group size
From
$84.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Old Goa Churches Walk

Old Goa Churches Walk

Explore the beautiful churches of Old Goa on a small-group walking tour. Goa was once a Portuguese colony which has resulted in a number of churches in the area. Visit the UNESCO-listed Basilica of Bom Jesus, the Church of St Francis of Assisi, the Se Cathedral, which is the largest church in Asia, and more as you learn about the state’s rich history from your tour guide.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$17.96
From
$17.96

Portugal trails in Goa

Portugal trails in Goa

Traces of Portuguese heritage and history are rife throughout Goa but unless you know where to look, it's sometimes difficult to find the best architecture. Orient yourself with ease during a history that transports you between the dispersed churches of Panaji (Panjim) and Old Goa with ease. Plus, exploring with a guide means that you’ll discover info that you’re unlikely to find in the guide book.
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  • 4 to 6 hours
From
$56.54
Price varies by group size
From
$56.54
Price varies by group size

Museums of South Goa with guide and lunch

Museums of South Goa with guide and lunch

Explore the many museums of South Goa to learn about its history and heritage. Visit the Chitra Goa Museum to learn about the area’s ethnography; the Bigfoot Cross Museum showcases what rural life was like through a miniature village; the Christian Art Museum features many works of Indo-Portuguese Christian art; the Museum of Archeological Survey of India displays artifacts from prehistoric times to the medieval period.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$144.00
Price varies by group size
From
$144.00
Price varies by group size

Goa Walking tour: History, Culture, Art and architecture

Goa Walking tour: History, Culture, Art and architecture

star-5
1
There is more to Goa than its beaches and nightlife. On this guided walking tour, explore its streets, busy markets, old-world architecture, and more. First, visit the local markets of Panjim, while passing landmark buildings. Then, hop into a tuk-tuk to head to the Fontainhas area to grab a beer or a feni (a spirit distilled from the cashew fruit). Plus, see a Portuguese-inspired church and visit a local art gallery.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$85.00
Price varies by group size
From
$85.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Heritage village walk in Goa - Pasoi de Assagao

Heritage village walk in Goa - Pasoi de Assagao

A quaint tour of a heritage village in Goa. Includes services of a local guide, lunch, and return hotel transfers from select locations in North Goa.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$125.34
Price varies by group size
From
$125.34
Price varies by group size