Call us today on 020 7644 1755

Meet Old Goa, Rome of the East

Duration: Full Day

meet old goa, rome of the east

Step back in time during your holiday in Goa as you spend a memorable day exploring Old Goa on the banks of the Mandovi River. This historic part of Goa, India’s smallest state, was under the rule of the Portuguese Empire for 450 years and it is often described as 'The Rome of the East'. Now listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town is famous for its beautiful convents, churches and cathedrals, some of which date back to the 16th century. This fascinating cultural tour will enable you to see some of the best examples of Portuguese colonial architecture in India.

The history of Old Goa actually dates back to the 3rd century BC when it formed part of the Mauryan Empire. After changing hands numerous times over the centuries, the city was finally taken over by the Portuguese in 1510, led by Alfonso de Albuquerque who was determined to take control of the spice route from the East. The fortunes made from the spice trade led to Goa's “golden age” and the rise of the largest city in the East.

Old Goa was the Portuguese colonial capital of Goa until 1845. When the city was struck with disease and death, the capital was moved down the river to Panaji (otherwise known as Panjim). The town finally gained independence from the Portuguese in 1961. Visitors are drawn to the area because of its unique cultural heritage and beautiful historical architecture, which includes many churches, cathedrals, museums and monuments.

This tour will reveal some of the highlights such as Se Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Asia, and the Basilica of Bom Jesus, one of the most beautiful churches in Old Goa and an excellent example of Baroque architecture in India. The church is dedicated to the infant Jesus and has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage Monument. It is also particularly famous for enshrining the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa.

Other monuments of interest include the Convent of St. Monica, India's largest nunnery, and Viceroy's Arch, built by Viceroy Francisco da Gama, the grandson of Vasco da Gama. There are also many other historical monuments, churches and ruins scattered throughout the town which are well worth visiting.

We will also make a visit to the current capital of Panaji. Once a small fishing village, this charming town is now the educational, commercial and cultural centre of Goa. You will see a wide range of enchanting colonial villas and beautiful buildings here, many of which were built in Portuguese Baroque style. The paved squares and narrow cobbled streets, lined with quaint old taverns, cafés and old houses with red-tiled roofs and protruding balconies, are reminiscent of any small Portuguese town.

The day ends with a sunset cruise down the Mandovi River, where you will be entertained with singing and dancing from professional dance troupes as the sun goes down. This unforgettable tour will give you a wonderful insight into Goa’s rich heritage.

India Holidays Browse all

Best Value

From £1079 per person
india golden triangle and beyond + marina byblos hotel

India Golden Triangle and Beyond + Marina Byblos Hotel

Overview India can make a strong claim to be the most exciting and rewarding travel destination in the world. From...

From £1079 per person
india golden triangle and beyond + hilton abu dhabi

India Golden Triangle and Beyond + Hilton Abu Dhabi

Overview India can make a strong claim to be the most exciting and rewarding travel destination in the world. From...

From £1089 per person
india golden triangle and beyond + rove downtown dubai

India Golden Triangle and Beyond + Rove Downtown Dubai

Overview India can make a strong claim to be the most exciting and rewarding travel destination in the world. From...

From £1099 per person
glimpses of kerala + crowne plaza yas island

Glimpses of Kerala + Crowne Plaza Yas Island

Tour Overview With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 m in the east and networked by 44...

From £1099 per person
superior golden triangle + hyatt regency dubai

Superior Golden Triangle + Hyatt Regency Dubai

India is one of the most exciting and rewarding travel destination in the world. From the colourful and vibrant cities...

From £1109 per person
superior golden triangle + sheraton abu dhabi hotel and resort

Superior Golden Triangle + Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort

India is one of the most exciting and rewarding travel destination in the world. From the colourful and vibrant cities...

Talk to a specialist

hamish

Call 020 7644 1755 to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.

Opening hours 09:00 - 20:00 GMT

Related articles for India

Life Full Joy list their ten best reasons to travel to India

Few countries pack as much history, culture, and diversity into one place as India. A vast county known for its spicy cuisine and incredible architecture, one trip is hardly enough to experience the entire subcontinent, but blogger Life Full Joy has compiled a list of the top ten reasons to visit India, a guide of sorts to essential travel experiences to have in the country.

RCI holiday exchange now affiliated with Hard Rock Hotel Goa

India's first music memorabilia resort is now affiliated with one of the largest holiday exchanges in the world. The Hard Rock Hotel Goa and RCI recently announced an affiliation, giving members access to hundreds of properties around the world including the Hard Rock located near popular Calangute Beach.

Top 10 India hostels from Varkala to Varanasi as ranked by Nat Geo Traveller

The landscape of affordable hostels in India has been changing over the last few years, moving away from dingy, musty and dark rooms to quirky, stylish lodgings that are on par with their European counterparts. A recent article published on Nat Geo traveller ranks the top 10 India hostels from Varkala to Varanasi. Read on to find out who made the list.