In 1759, when repeated bouts of malaria, cholera and finally Bubonic plague overwhelmed the magnificent city of Old Goa, the colonial capital was relocated to Panaji (Panjim). Today, the narrow, winding cobblestone streets, whitewashed churches, Mediterranean-style buildings in every shade of pastel, and the easy-going attitude of the residents make Panaji a perfect home base for exploring nearby Old Goa.
Many visitors to Goa miss out on the cultural treasure that is Panaji as its crowded and polluted beaches don’t fit the bill of a Goan beach vacation, but skipping the capital city for an extra day or two on the beach is a big mistake.
To really soak up the city, plan to spend a day exploring on foot. Be sure not to miss Fontainhas, an old residential quarter and home to the Chapel of Saint Sebastian. Also check out Sao Tome, Goa’s old “Fleet Street” and the location of the General Post Office, housed within an old tobacco trading house.