Serene cottages hidden in dense jungles, lush countryside landscapes, narrow lanes and winding uphill slopes- Velha is where culture, history and tradition come together in a picture-perfect setting. Velha Goa, also known as Old Goa, is where you need to head to for a break from the modern, everyday life in Goa. Get away from the beaches and crowded lanes, rent a two-wheeler, and explore the winding lanes of Old Goa with the help of this travel guide.
Explore Velha Goa's Homestays, Churches & Tourist Attractions With This Guide
Things To Do In Velha Goa
Velha was built by the Bijapur Sultanate, and was the former capital of Portuguese India in the 18th century. When the plague hit the town, residents moved on to Panaji and Divar island, and that is when Panaji was declared as the new capital of the state. Velha was known for its European splendor, abundant in churches and Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
Today, thanks to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) we can get a glimpse into this period in history at the churches and UNESCO World Heritage Sites that remain around Velha. This side of Goa is all about beautiful churches, building, ruins and towers, and lush green landscapes that continue to charm tourists from all over the world.
Velha has retained churches and convents that include the impressive Cathedral of St Catherine and the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The Museum of Christian Art is a great place to understand the religious heritage of Goa and is a must visit for all those who love history, religion and architecture.
Stop by at St. Augustine’s Tower, a world heritage site, to marvel at the grandeur of the ruins. If religious history fascinates you, you can also visit Cathedral of Santa Catarina and Convent of St. Francis of Assisi. On the first Monday of Easter week, at St Andrew’s Church you can witness the procession of All Saints of the Franciscan Third Order, the only of its kind outside Rome, where 26 life size effigies of saints, popes, kings, martyrs, queens and cardinals are paraded.
Velha is also where you can enjoy road trips on narrow winding lanes, through dense jungles and hilly slopes. While it’s convenient to travel by car, we recommend hiring a two-wheeler to experience the refreshing vibe of this trip through all that dense greenery. Make sure you wear your helmets!
A lot of the religious places in Old Goa prohibit use of camera to click pictures of people but you can shoot the architecture. Make sure you’re dressed conservatively with knees and shoulders covered when visiting cathedrals.
Places To Stay In Velha Goa
Velha has limited yet bespoke and gorgeous options to stay at. For budget stays, there are a lot of options available on OYO. If you’re looking for a quiet, understated but a luxurious resort, we wholeheartedly recommend The Postcard Hotel in Velha. Lakeview Greens Villa offers a 5BHK and is another option for those travelling in a large group. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, Casa Menezes is another Goan homestay that’s as hospitable as it’s Instagram worthy.
Places To Eat In Velha Goa
There are not too many places to eat at, but you will find a lot of options in Panjim (Black Sheep Bistro, Venite, Fisherman’s Wharf, Kokni Kanteen, Mum’s Kitchen, Route 66, Caravela Cafe and Ritz Classic are our favourites) which lies only 12km away. The hidden gems in Velha include 304 Kitchen and Tavern where you can stop by to relish local and authentic flavours of fresh seafood. We hear the pork curry and rice balls are a hit with travellers, and the road trip to this restaurant is quite a scenic one too! Lake View Restaurant & Bar offers gorgeous views of the lake, soul-comforting local cuisine and excellent service.
Every once in a while, we also like treating ourselves to wholesome, ghee-laden Rajasthani and North Indian food at Rasoda.