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Old Goa Heritage

Goa’s old capital city, Velha Goa is home of some of the best heritage monuments in the State. It houses many of the UNESCO Heritage sites, museums and plenty more. The city in it’s glory days was a vibrant trading centre before it was lost to a plague. The capital was then moved to Panaji, the current capital.  Here’s what Old Goa has in store for you.

Getting there

If you stay at the Old Goa Residency you can walk around to all the major spots. If you’re coming in from outside, Old Goa is connected via road and you can take the old scenic route via Ribandar or the super highway built recently. There are direct buses that come from Panaji or Ponda daily and stop directly in front of the Basilica de Bom Jesus.


Walk around at your own ease to the major churches such as St Cajetan Cathedral, believed to have been modelled like the St Perter’s Basilica, St Francis of Assisi Church and Convent, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, Church of Our lady of Rosary, the ruins of the Church and Monastery of St Augustine, The Chapel of St Catherine to mention a few. The Basilica de Bom Jesus houses the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier in a silver casket.


Given Old Goa’s famous heritage monuments it’s no wonder that two museums lie within the heritage precincts. The Archaeological Museum’s elaborate displays take you through Goa’s rich past. The Christian Art Museum located at the Santa Monica Convent is a rich repository of Goa’s Christian history. Here you will find remnants of old altars, religious vestments, statues and more.

Grand old Entrance at the Viceroys Arch

One of the most iconic features of Old Goa is the Viceroy’s Arch located at the old entrance from the ferry wharf. It is here that the Portuguese Viceroys once entered in full pomp and gaiety. This solid, old stone structure was built by the grandson of Vasco-da-Gama, Francisco da Gama, who became viceroy in 1597. The engravings on either side is significant. The side facing the river has an ornate deer emblem on Vasco-da-Gama’s coat of arms and on the other side a statue of St Catherine. 

Hop over to Divar Island

Endless sprawling landscapes, winding roads, skirted by beautiful homes and charming people makes Divar island a must stop these days. In the past few years, the island has become a favourite with visitors for it’s easy vibe and green hues. Crossing the river makes for a relaxed, unique experience. You can take the car or bike on the island. GTDC’s new service, B:live offers unique experience on the island on e-bikes. 

Close by, across Divar is the island of Chorao, famous for its Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.