A Walking Tour of Panjim
City guide | Best places in Panjim to sleep, eat, shop & explore on foot
Having first moved to Panjim back in 2012, I’ve since established a bit of a routine when it comes to spending a day in the state’s capital city or introducing it to a friend for the very first time. Situated along the banks of the Mandovi river a 30-minute drive from the airport, the city of Panjim boasts a beautiful old quarter with narrow lanes and unforgettable architecture, a bustling municipal market, plenty of art galleries, cafes and quality restaurants along with a slew of great shops selling both local and international wares. And with the 5th annual CUAsia – Asia’s largest Co-working Unconference being held at 91Springboard, Goa’s largest Co-working office this week Feb. 20-24th – what better time to celebrate the city of Panjim and to get out and explore!
So put on a good pair of shoes and follow along with the map below or better yet, ditch the mobile and get your hands on a copy of a Locus City Card. The Mumbai based company has been designing beautiful hardcopy neighbourhood maps for nearly a decade across various cities in India and recently launched their first Goa edition (Panjim + several areas of North Goa) in December 2018. First, check in with your hotel to see if they stock them and if not, stop in at any number of their participating retailers to pick up a copy of your own. Carefully crafted & curated, these pocket sized maps are the perfect side kick and souvenir from your visit to Goa.
Start at the Panjim post office, a convenient location not far from the main bus station and the ideal meeting point leading into Fontainhas. For coffee drinkers, make a quick stop at Blue Tokai (where you can also grab your Locus Map). Take a moment to browse through the adjacent shop, O.M.O., which on Sunday’s also hosts a weekly organic vegetable market. From here you can slowly wind your way through the quiet lanes, snapping photos all the way to Gitanjali Art Gallery. After a bit of artistc intake, loop back towards the St. Sebastian Chapel and head up the rainbow painted staircase to Altinho Hill. You’ll pass the Panjim court offices and come to a stretch of road with one of the best view’s of the city. As the road begins to descend, you’ll find the Portuguese Consulate to your left and another large staircase ahead. Climb the steps to reach Sunaparanta, your lunch time destination. After a delicious and healthy meal, another coffee or tea and some time spent exploring their latest exhibition, stroll back down Agnelo Road to the Immaculate Conception Church. Now more or less in the heart of the city, follow your map to find several boutiques, a bustling municipal market and the Mandovi riverside promenade. The Campal gardens is another wonderful spot to explore. Perfectly placed between the Dayanand Mandodkar Marg and the river, this is the ideal spot to bring your kids, catch the sun set and forget you’re in a city at all. From here turn back towards city centre via St. Oroiaso Garden and surrounding neighbourhood where you’ll find some of the most stunning houses of Panjim. Over the bridge on 18th June Rd, passed 91Springboard and Broadway books, turn left at MG Road and make your way to Naturals Ice Cream for a much deserved scoop. Of course these are only our suggestions, you can create your own route using the full listing of places marked in your map or read on for more of our favourites below. And while you’re out, tag your photos on instagram @goa so we too can follow along!
Now if you are not in the mood to walk, or the weather is simply too hot or too rainy, there are of course other options to explore. Rickshaws are certainly available, however as no one works by the metre here prices can be a tad unpredictable. Better to simply hire a scooter for the duration of your stay, especially if you intend to head North or South to the beach afterwards. Another option, and one that again depends on the weather and your liking to physical exertion, is to jump on a cycle and explore the city and surrounding area either with a group or on your own. For this, the folks at Bicycle Trip Goa are a sure bet for both quality and comfort. And once you’re ready to step out of the city, here’s a guide to a ton of other great places to visit.
Stay | Where to sleep in Panjim
Panjim Inn ($$$) – classic heritage hotel in the heart of the old quarter
Mateus ($$$) – boutique hotel with well designed rooms + complimentary breakfast
Afonso Guesthouse – ($$) family run guesthouse with all sorts of Goan charm
Marquito’s Guesthouse – ($) affordable guesthouse with modern AC / non-AC rooms
Old Quarter | The Hostel Crowd – ($) Budget friendly hostel with onsite cafe
Food | Where to eat & drink in Panjim
Black Sheep Bistro – Globally inspired, locally created cuisine
Viva Panjim – classic Goan cuisine in an old Fontainhas house
Sanyog Veg Restaurant – Pure veg restaurant with the best dosas in town
Hospedaria Venite – quirky & artfully decorated bar + restaurant
Blue Tokai – next to O.M.O, best for coffee & light snacks
Cafe Bodega (at Sunaparanta) – found atop Altinho hill, beautiful courtyard cafe
Joseph’s Bar -our favourite local hang out on a small side street in Fontainhas
Soho Fontainhas – the newest addition to Panjim’s nightlife
Thai n Wok – authentic and delicious
Shop | Where to find great shopping in Panjim
O.M.O – great little boutique stocking all sorts of fashion / accessories
Velha Goa Gallery – Your source for beautiful Goan tiles
Marcou Artifacts – Great gift shop for locally made ceramics
Sacha’s Shop – Effortlessly charming, eclectically in the heart of Panjim
Mario Miranda Gallery – shelves full of goodies inspired by the great Goan illustrator
Audiophile Goa – a mecca for vinyl & music lovers
Wendell Rodricks – Internationally recognized Goan designer, shop + studio
Fab India – for everything you could possibly need home / fashion / food
Paperworks – a treasure trove of handmade paper, stationary and other such things
Broadway Book Centre – found on the 2nd floor across from the 91Springboard offices
Explore | What to see & do in Panjim
Attend the 2019 Exhibition of Cartoonists & Illustrators of Goa held Feb 21st – 24th at Kala Academy – Panjim’s central culture & event space hosting regular exhibitions + performances. Or sign up for a professional doodling workshop with artist Tejo Guna at Blue Tokai this Saturday, Feb 23rd – 11am-1pm & 3-5pm. Cost of Rs. 800 + taxes, materials included.
Gitanjali Art Gallery – regular revolving exhibitions next to Panjim Inn
Sunaparanta – well run & beautifully situated gallery with onsite cafe + events
Panjim Municipal Market – bustling centre for all your daily needs
Campal Gardens – the city’s largest park perfectly situated along the Mandovi
photo @kaushal.palekarSt. Sebastian Chapel
photo @mumbai_canon_boyPhoto exhibition at Sunaparanta Centre for the ArtsMateus Boutique Hotel, Fontainhasphoto @anish_araujo_productions_Panjim Promenade at Sunsetphoto @hemantchandwani