• old goa guide

Old Goa Places to Visit (or to skip)

When it comes to Goa there are very few “tourist” attractions, but one is called Old Goa. If you’re going to be here for a short time I don’t recommend seeing Old Goa and actually have only gone once, which was after a year of living here when Colleen who blogs at Colleen Brynn Travels visited me.

I thought it was more of a tiny little town but actually it’s a square with a couple old Portuguese churches which admittedly have a lot of history (I actually enjoy sharing history on Hippie in Heels but only topics I’m interested in.. and well, I can’t be bothered on this topic.. ah, how many people will this offend!), cute stray dogs, and mass amounts of street vendors selling junk rather than typical tourist gifts you see on the beach. There were a lot of tourists here and it’s so far the only place I’ve been in Goa where you should dress modest like the rest of India wishes.

Don’t forget to pick up my Insider Guide to Goa and my Guide to India

General Goa Travel Tips

Old Goa

Other than Old Goa, another architectural place to maybe take a tour of is Panjim, the capital. The architecture is very European. I love the way the streets are angled like in Paris.

Overall it’s not much to see and although a little interesting I feel like Goa is known for it’s beaches, jungles, and nightlife (and nothing else) for a reason: the touristy things like buildings and museums aren’t that great in comparison to other places.

I suggest only coming to Old Goa if you  have lots of time on your hands or if you have never been to Europe. My parents will visit in December for at least 10 days and I’m not going to bother taking them here. I actually don’t mean to offend any Goans or people who love Old Goa, but as I’ve said many times, I write on here what I would tell a friend visiting.

If you’ve seen great architecture before you might find it a little boring here. I could go on and on about how the European influence that left just recently means there are tons of Christians in Goa, but I really doubt you all are interested! There is so much more to Goa, which is what I’m writing about on here all the time. Make sure to check out my ultimate guide to Goa to get some ideas.

A sneak peak to Old Goa places to visit:

old goa guide

old goa guide

old goa guide

old goa guide

If you want to take photos with Indian locals or tourists, just ask and most likely they will agree to it and want one on their phone too. Often times they will ask you before you have a chance to ask! Some of my favorite photos are with random groups like this.

old goa guide

old goa guide

old goa guide

old goa guide

old goa guide

and starting here we have a few clicks from Panjim…

old goa guide

old goa guide

old goa guide

This is the main Christian church in Panjim: Church of Our Lady the Immaculate Conception

old goa guide

old goa guide

For more tips on Goa check out my 170-page e-book, Insider’s Guide to Goa. After five years of living in Goa, I am confident this book is the most comprehensive, up-to-date guide to Goa plus it has all my secrets inside. Click here to buy it now.


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Myriam @OffToWanderland July 9, 2014 at 9:24 am - Reply

    This is a great advice!

    I usually have the habit of visiting the “Old town” of any town I visit to fill up my culture and history batteries and then…. head out in the other parts for cheap food/accommodations and blend with the population :)

    Old Goa will then be the first exception to my pattern :)

    It will be so much fun to visit those places in real life after seeing them in pictures on your blog. Cannot wait!

    Much love from a fellow globetrotter :)

    Myriam @OffToWanderland

    • Rachel Jones July 11, 2014 at 3:52 am - Reply

      Yeah I mean I don’t want people to not go because I didn’t like it, but if you’ve seen this kind of thing it’s not really worth the time!

  2. Alex, Speaking Denglish July 9, 2014 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Now I’m interested to hear where you’ll be taking your parents!

    • Rachel Jones July 11, 2014 at 3:55 am - Reply

      well, i want them to see bombay first so they can have serious culture shock! I don’t think they’d want much more than a couple days there. then we come down to goa and do the chill beach scene, they only have 10 days because are both teaching and only have christmas break off. :(

  3. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown July 9, 2014 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Quite the entrance to that Christian church!! Always good to hear where to skip. I never picture anything like Old Goa when I think of Goa… I guess mainly cause it’s been in my head as a surfing destination for years, so I mostly picture the beach!

    • Rachel Jones July 11, 2014 at 3:56 am - Reply

      Yeah for sure, not a lot of people go here and its usually indian tourists you travel mainly domestically because they won’t have seen such european architecture. western tourists tend to skip!

  4. Justine July 9, 2014 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    I appreciate your honesty about which places to skip. Ha, I love how all the stray dogs are just lounging in front of the church entrance. Too funny :)

    • Rachel Jones July 11, 2014 at 3:56 am - Reply

      yes they were so cute! a little skinny but sadly im getting used to seeing that :(

  5. Katie July 10, 2014 at 9:18 am - Reply

    I’m headed to India next April (hopefully), so I’ll be reading up on your stuff a lot! I love the honesty. Old Goa reminds me a lot of Kota in Jakarta – we got there and we’re like – is this it? haha

  6. Renuka July 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Lovely photos! I remember visiting all the famous beaches, churches and temples in Goa when I visited it 15 years ago!

  7. john obrien July 10, 2014 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    no matter how many times one explores goa there always seems to be an elusive area to find.as always you are helpful.

  8. Agness July 10, 2014 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    This place looks like it’s filled with hospitable and smiley locals who are always there to guide you. Have you met Colleen in person? So awesome! I often read her blog and follow her adventures on social media channels. Lovely girl!! <3

    • Rachel Jones July 11, 2014 at 4:00 am - Reply

      Yes colleen came and stayed for like 4-5 days and it was SO fun!! she’s the sweetest!

  9. Empty Rucksack July 10, 2014 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    Your most valid point is that its charming if one hasn’t seen Europe, and after 2 weeks in Arambol panjim feels nice, we went there to watch a movie on our anniversary

    • Rachel Jones July 11, 2014 at 4:01 am - Reply

      I do love the movie theatre! I think I’m going next week to see The Fault in Our Stars! I’ll probs have to get a subway too ;) can’t help it!

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