All About Old Goa| Places and Things to Do

If you are looking for a solo travel destination that’s full of history, culture, and beautiful architecture, then Old Goa is the perfect place to plan your next solo travel. This small town in India was once the capital of the Portuguese empire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Having said that, Old Goa brings travellers enormous fun discovering the city. From experiencing the historical and cultural touch of Portuguese to venturing its amusing off-beaten paths, Old Goa is a place to travel solo at least once in your life.

1. All about Old Goa!

Yes, this blog post is all about Old Goa. We will explore some of the best solo travel destinations in Old Goa, both famous and unfamous. I will also give you tips on making the most of your trip. So if you are thinking of venturing out of this city on your own, read on!

2. Solo travel in Old Goa

There is something about Old Goa that keeps calling out to me. Maybe it is the history, the culture, or the fact that it is relatively more unexplored compared to North Goa and South Goa. Whatever it was, I knew I had to visit this place for my solo trip. Speaking of my experience, I can say Old Goa is a beautiful canvas filled with spectacular architecture, colonial monuments, beach activities, cobblestone roads, and stunning coastal views.

3. Rome of the East

Did you know that Old Goa was known as the “Rome of the East” in the 16th century and was regarded as the most prosperous city in all of Asia? Fascinating, isn’t it? Its grandeur is still evident, with many breathtaking sites and appealing architectural motifs ready and eager to enthral history fans and culture lovers. But that is not all it has to offer. The water sports and the beaches that Goa is famous for can be explored in Old Goa too. With various entertaining activities like heritage walks, majestic cathedrals, cycle excursions, water sports, kayaking, and visiting museums, you can rest assured that your solo travel to Old Goa will be far from boring.

4. How to reach Old Goa

International travellers can take a taxi from the airport.

Getting to Old Goa is easy, regardless of where you come from. If you are flying into India, you will reach Dabolim International Airport. From there, you can either take a taxi or a bus to Old Goa. I recommend taking a taxi, as it is the easiest and fastest way to reach your destination. You can check out my article, “Is there an international airport in Goa?“, and learn everything you need about reaching Old Goa on solo travel. Since the airport is located in the old city of Goa, the travelling distance is lesser. Hence, the taxi charges will come lesser only.

Local travellers can take a train.

If you are coming from places that are day trips from Goa, like Mumbai or Pune, the best way to reach Old Goa is by taking a train from either of these cities. Once you arrive at the railway station, you can take a bus or a taxi to transit from there to Old Goa. I recommend taking a taxi as it is much faster and more comfortable. But I know that it will be pretty expensive. If you are confused about how to reach Old Goa, why don’t you check out my blog post, “How to reach Goa,” to get some clarity?

Once you are in Old Goa, there are plenty of things to see and do. No matter your interests, you will surely find something to enjoy in Old Goa. Maybe you will also fall in love with this place like I have. Now that you have all the information about how to reach Old Goa, let’s move on.

5. How Portuguese is Old Goa?

When I first travelled solo to Old Goa, I was immediately struck by how different it felt from anywhere else I had been. The architecture, food, and culture—all felt so distinctly Portuguese. And yet, as I delved deeper into Old Goa’s history, I began to realise that the city is a lot more complex than it first appears. There is a fascinating mix of cultures and religions in Old Goa.

The Portuguese founded the city in the 16th century, but over the years, it has been home to several different communities- Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and more. This diversity is reflected in the city’s architecture, a mix of Portuguese, Hindu, and Muslim influences. Old Goa is also quieter and more laid-back than other cities in India. This is one of the things I love about it—it is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.

So, if you are looking for a city that feels a little bit like Europe amid India for your solo travel, then Old Goa is the perfect place. You have the luxury of exploring places with Portugal’s influence in Goa. And do not worry about learning Portuguese. While Portuguese is Old Goa’s official language, many locals also speak English. 

6. How to get around Old Goa

No single mode of transport will take you around Old Goa. You need to choose the best mode of transport that best suits your budget and interests. That said, let me share some suggestions based on my experience.

Scooter – your best companion

Old Goa is relatively small, so getting around won’t be hard. Therefore, the best way to explore Old Goa is by scooter. Scooters are available for hire at the tourist office and other tourist locations. You can find one nearby the airport and railway station as well. When exploring Old Goa by bike, you can see everything without worrying about traffic jams or getting stuck behind slow-moving vehicles. The best part about biking in Old Goa is that you can make stops at places of interest and get off your bike whenever you want. Plus, you don’t have to worry about missing a bus or not getting an expensive taxi ride. If you are doubtful whether bike travel is safe, why don’t you check out my article “Is it safe to explore goa by bike?“? 

Auto/Taxi for a relaxed travelling

If you don’t know how to ride a bike or are looking for a more relaxed way of exploring, hire an auto-rickshaw or taxi. It is also possible to rent a car while in old Goa, but I would advise against it as it will cost more than you would normally spend on public transportation. Many friends asked me if Uber was available in Goa after my solo travel to Old Goa. Suppose you are also one of the people who swear by cab services like Ola and Uber. Here is the happy news. Uber is available in Goa.

7. Must visit places in Old Goa

Goa has a lot to offer regarding sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. If you have only a short time between the flight and the first cab ride, then these are the places I recommend not missing on your solo travel in Old Goa.


Old Goa is home to some of the most beautiful churches in India. These churches were built by the Portuguese during their colonial rule and are still in use today. If you want to visit places of Portugal influence in Goa, churches are an ideal option. Some of the most popular churches to visit include the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which houses the remains of St. Francis Xavier. I hope you don’t want to regret not visiting these must-visit churches when you were so close to travelling to Old Goa. 

Reis Magos Fort

The Reis Magos Fort is one of the must-visit forts in Goa. The Portuguese built this fort in the 16th century, one of India’s most well-preserved fortifications. The views from the top of the fort are stunning, and it is a great place to get a sense of the history of Old Goa. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby, so you can easily take a break from exploring and relax with a cup of coffee or a meal.

Fontainhas: the Latin quarters of Goa

If you are interested in exploring Old Goa’s Latin Quarter, Fontainhas is a must-see. This vibrant neighbourhood is full of colourful houses, colonial-era architecture, cobbled streets, lively cafes, and bars with friendly locals. It is the perfect place to wander around and explore at your own pace.

Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

There are many reasons why Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary should be on the top of your list of places to visit in Old Goa. It is one of the most popular bird sanctuaries in the country and is home to a wide variety of bird species. It is located just a few kilometres from the city centre of Old Goa and is easily accessible by public transport. The sanctuary is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and there is no entry fee. Several walking trails through the sanctuary make it the perfect place to spend a few hours exploring. The area also has several restaurants and cafes, making it the perfect place to stop for a bite. Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a visual treat for solo female travellers looking to see a wildlife sanctuary in Old Goa during solo travel. 

Spice plantation (Savoi plantation)

Savoi plantation is one of the most popular spice plantations in Old Goa, and it offers a truly unique experience. The plantation is full of spices, from cardamom to cloves, and the air is thick with their scent. It’s a peaceful, calming place and the perfect spot to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Plus, you will learn about the different stages of production, from harvesting to drying.

Dona Paula village

People have been drawn to Dona Paula for various reasons, including the enigma surrounding its name, the National Institute of Oceanography, and the area’s pristine natural beauty. Without a doubt, this location will also rule your heart, particularly if you love the outdoors. So be sure to visit this place on your solo travel to Old Goa. Check out my blog post, “Why should you visit Dona Paula in Goa?” to know more about this tremendous beauty of Old Goa.


Panjim is a must-visit destination in Old Goa. We can say that Panjim translates to Old Goa. As a rule of thumb, solo travellers have to visit Panjim if they want to experience the historic charm of Old Goa. And as a solo female traveller, you can explore the city at your own pace and take in the sights and sounds of this spirited place. There are plenty of things to see and do in Panjim, from visiting the churches and museums to strolling through the markets and taking in the views from the forts.

8. Shopping in Old Goa

If you are looking for a unique shopping experience, Old Goa is the signature place to do authentic shopping in Goa. This historic district is full of charming shops and boutiques, selling everything from traditional Indian clothes and spices to handmade jewellery and souvenirs. Even if you are not looking to buy anything, it is fun to wander the streets, enjoying the locals’ vibe. For the best shopping experience, go to the local markets in Goa. As part of your shopping experience, you can steal some original branded apparel for the best prices at thrifting places in Old Goa. There are many beautiful thrifting places to help you in this regard. 

Unique and memorable items to buy in Old Goa

Things to buy in Old Goa

  • Apparel

  • Spices

  • Homemade pickles

  • Cashew nuts

  • Artwork by Mario Miranda

  • Shell and silver jewellery

  • Handicrafts

There are considerable things to buy in Old Goa, depending on your interests. Shopping would not be complete without buying some souvenirs, right? There are plenty of shops that sell traditional Indian clothing, as well as handicrafts and other trinkets. You can also buy spices and herbal remedies from the many markets in Old Goa. Be sure to bargain with the vendors to get the best price! If you are interested in history, you can purchase books and maps of Old Goa at the local bookstores. There are also many art galleries and shops selling paintings and sculptures. Whatever you decide to buy, Old Goa is a great place to find unique and memorable items! If you are wondering what to bring home from your solo trip to Old Goa, check out my article “What are the unique souvenirs you can buy in Goa?” to get some ideas.

9. Picturesque places in Old Goa

The spectacular Parra road view

Whether for Instagram, Facebook, or just to share with your friends and family, taking selfies in picturesque places is certainly the trend when you travel, right? Parra road in Old Goa is well known for its picturesque road lined with coconut palms, which frequently act as a backdrop in several Bollywood films, including the Shahrukh Khan-starring film “Dear Zindagi.” During your solo trip to Old Goa, don’t forget to click a selfie in this brag-worthy place.

The majestic panoramic view from The Chapel of Our Lady

The Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount is what one might refer to as a hidden treasure because of its understated exteriors, opulent interiors, and wealth of historical significance. At sunset, its simple whitewashed walls provide a lovely scene, and the vista from its perch is simply breathtaking. It looks out over the expanse of the Mandovi river and the islands of Devar and Chorao since it is perched atop the Monte next to the Church of St. Cajetan. Be sure to get a click in this place which has also been used as a backdrop in many Bollywood films.

10. Offbeat places in Old Goa

things to do in old goa

If you are looking for something different to do during your solo travel to Old Goa, let me tell you about some offbeat places in Old Goa that are worth visiting.


Divar Island, a charming tiny island on the Mandovi River, is one of the nicest sites to view in old Goa because it is far from the city’s bustle. Amidst the tumult of the world, it is the ideal hiding place. You may take a ferry from Viceroy’s Arch to get to one of Old Goa’s best-kept secrets, Divar Island. If you schedule your trip in August, you can participate in the Bonderam Festival, which honours the harvest season.

Archaeological Museum of Goa

The Archaeological Museum of Goa houses artefacts from early, prehistoric, and late medieval periods while standing against the gorgeous backdrop of Goan skies and plenty of local flora. The museum offers incredible photo opportunities in addition to its impressive façade. Numerous statues and sculptures are also present for you to see.

Wax World Museum

One of India’s few largest wax museums, the Wax World Museum, is located in Old Goa. The location is home to a sizable collection of thirty life-size paraffin statues. Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi are two of the most well-known statues in this location. The sculpture of Jesus Christ’s Last Supper, however, is a piece of art that draws a lot of tourists. Inside the museum, photography is not permitted. But you can purchase some souvenirs from the gift shop inside as a reminder of your solo travel to Old Goa.

Safa Masjid

One of the oldest mosques in Goa is the Safa Masjid, also known as the Safa Shahouri Masjid. Goa had about 27 mosques during the Adil Shah kingdom in the sixteenth century. Between 1560 and 1812, the Portuguese Inquisition demolished most of these mosques. On the other hand, the Safa Masjid was unharmed and stood tall to tell its story. Safa Masjid’s main attraction is the largest laterite stone masonry tank with turquoise water. It is situated inside the mosque complex. The tank features more than 40 hammams constructed in the Mihrab architectural style. This place is a heaven for both history and architectural lovers.

11. Best time to visit

things to do in old goa

Depending on your budget and interest, you must decide which time suits your needs the best. I will put out the facts that help you decide the best time for solo travel to Old Goa. Old Goa experiences its most pleasant weather in January, February, March, April, May, October,

November and December. It has dry seasons in January, February, March, and April. It rains the most in July. All year round, the sea is warm enough for swimming.

If you want to avoid burning a hole in your wallet, stay away from Old Goa during shoulder seasons, weekends and holidays. This is when hotels and other tourist attractions raise their prices to earn by taking advantage of the high demand. 

12. How to spend a day in Old Goa

You can start your day at the Se Cathedral, one of the most iconic landmarks in Old Goa, built in the 16th century. It is also one of the largest churches in Asia, so it is worth a visit!

After visiting the Se Cathedral, go to the ruins of St. Augustine’s Tower. This tower was once part of a grand monastery, but today only the ruins remain. Nevertheless, it is still a fascinating place to explore and learn about Old Goa’s history.

Then you should head to Parra road to take a memorable picture in the stunning backdrop. After which, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Goa. For the rest of the afternoon, visit the Savoi spice plantation. It will be an educational tour on spices.

Start the evening visiting Reis Magos Fort. Reserve the rest of your time for Panjim. No visit to Old Goa is complete without exploring the market. Complete your travel by shopping at Panjim and collecting souvenirs.

One Day Itinerary in Old Goa


  • Se Cathedral

  • St. Augustine's Tower

  • Parra road


  • Archaeological Museum of Goa

  • Savoi spice plantation


  • Reis Magos Fort

  • Panjim

13. Find your interest and budget. Plan your itinerary.

things to do in old goa

First, plan your mode of transportation. Then see which places are nearby to each other. For example, if you are a Nature lover, you can start by visiting Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and continue locating the destinations closer. When you are planning an itinerary, it is important to keep your interest and budget in mind. That way, you can make the most of your solo travel to Old Goa. Go through the must-visit places I have listed above to get a clear idea of where to start your itinerary. That said, depending on your will, you can extend your travel days.

Meeting people around the world and getting to experience the western culture is the best thing about Old Goa!

So there you have everything you need to know about Old Goa. Sure, Old Goa has a lot to amuse solo travellers, from its rich history and spice plantations to its beautiful architecture. It is where solo travellers gather and a hub to meet foreign travellers. I hope this will keep you excited until your solo trip to Old Goa. In case of any queries, post them in the comments below. Godspeed Ladies!

If you found this article useful, you can also check out my article,

>> My Ultimate Solo Travel Guide to Goa, India

14. FAQs

1. Can I travel to Old Goa by flight?

Yes, you can travel to Old Goa by flight. The city’s international airport, Dabolim, is located there.

2. What was the currency used in Old Goa?

Like in every other region of India, rupees are the official currency in Old Goa. In Old Goa, you can easily locate a lot of locations to exchange currencies.

3. Is travelling to Old Goa expensive?

No, travelling to Old Goa is not expensive. You can explore Old Goa on a budget with the right transportation planning.

4. Is Goa open for tourism now?

Yes, Goa is open for tourism now. You can read more on that here.

5. What is the best mode of transportation to get around Old Goa?

Scooters and taxis are the best mode of transportation to get around Old Goa.


An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.

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