Exploring Goa Beyond Beaches: the Colorful Neighborhood of Fontainhas

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Goa is our family favourite holiday desitnation. It is a place I love to go and unwind. During our latest Goa visit, the kids stayed with us for a week and then off we sent them to Mumbai to their Grandmom. My husband and I had 2 days all for ourselves.

This post is all about us leisurely walking in the streets of the colorful neighbourhood of Fontainhas in Goa.

This post is written by my team writer Amandeep, while all the images are mine.

I hope you enjoy this colourful and informative post on Fontainhas.

Don’t miss these awesome places to visit in Goa for a diverse mix of beaches, adventure activities, parties, nature, museums, spice plantations and history: Your Essential Guide to Goa: 13 Incredible Experiences Beyond The Beaches.

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel
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Goa is famous for its beaches, night-life, hippie-culture, parties and fun. If you are the kind of person who wants to explore another side of Goa that is different but equally beautiful, or if you wish to stay away from areas that are swarmed by tourists, Fontainhas is the place for you. 

Fontainhas (pronounced Fonta-in-yash) is a part of Old Panjim.

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel
This photo is from my visit in 2019 (see image above)

It lies at a distance of around 28 Kms from Goa International Airport. Fontainhas is mainly a residential area in the city of Panjim, the capital of Goa. Located at the foot of the Altinho Hills, it is also known as Latin Quarters. 

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel
This photo of the same building is from my visit in 2018 (see image below)

This is the place to be at for experiencing the offbeat Goa.

You would feel transported into some other time.

Goa was a Portuguese colony during the period 1510 to 1961. The influence of the Portuguese culture is quite evident in this area. Four centuries is quite a lot of time to leave a mark on the culture, architecture and cuisine of a place. 

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

The name ‘Fontainhas’ is as unique as this place. It is derived from ‘Fonte Phoenix’, meaning ‘Fountain of Phoenix’ which was a water reservoir built long ago.

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

The first thing that would notice here is the colorful houses all around. Many of these also function as cafes, restaurants and guest-houses etc.

I wondered about these colorful buildings that had so many ornamental windows decorated with shells.

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

Later on, I read somewhere that during old times under Portugal rule, the houses of the rich people had balconies in windows with thin polished oyster shells set in lattice work.

These shells allow light to enter and add to the aesthetic of the place. 

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

Small statues of roosters and soldiers can be seen near the windows of some houses.

Rooster is the unofficial symbol of Portugal which symbolises integrity, honesty, trust and honour.

Portuguese houses have these roosters that are believed to bring good luck. Statues of soldiers on a house show that the house belonged to a freedom fighter. 

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

This place can easily be explored by walking. In fact, walking is the best way to travel around here. Buildings painted in various bright shades of red, yellow, green, blue make this place look like one straight out of the stories.

The houses look freshly painted and lanes are clean. It is said that earlier residents were mandated by law to paint their houses every year.

Apparently that is still being followed by the locals adding bright hues to this place.

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

Small plants in the streets, outside doors, oyster shell windows, artistic houses, all make it a charming little town.

There is not much traffic in the area and you can lazily stroll around witnessing the local life. It is safe to walk around alone or you can join some organised walks.

It is better to start early in the morning if you want to have a lot of amazing shots to share on you social media accounts.

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

You would find many nooks and corners around here to take insta worthy images. Colourful picturesque houses, windows, doors, allies, lanes, staircases, make a great backdrop for photography.

This is an amazing place for photographers and  architecture enthusiasts. Fontainhas has been declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone.

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

You would come across many cafes, bakeries and restaurants here where you can try various local delicacies. There are some  shops that sell local artefacts. If you are interested in art, you can visit Gitanjali Gallery.

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

Books lovers can head to ‘Bookworm’ which is an open library with a good collection of books for children and adults.

You can start your walk from the Post Office or Tobacco Square. This area used to be a depot for trading tobacco and that is how it got its name.

Walking on the Rua 31 de Janeiro Road (the 31st January Road) you would all houses painted in different shades.

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

It is probably the most vibrant street in the area. On 31st January 1640, Portugal attained freedom from Spain and that is the story behind this unique name of this street. 

A famous bakery named 31st January is 100 years old  and sells freshly baked delicacies. You must try it when visiting Fontainhas.

The Museum of Goa (MOG) in Pilerne, North Goa is an Eclectic Museum of Art. Click to read more on Museum of Goa timings, entry fee and explore Goa’s history through the lens of Contemporary Art: Museum of Goa – A mélange of art and nature!

St Sebastian Chapel

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

St Sebastian Chapel is located at the southern end of Fontainhas. This white colored building, built in 1818, looks serene amongst the other colorful ones in the area.

At this church, Jesus on the crucifix is depicted with his eyes open, which is unusual.

There is a heritage house that has a red colored wishing well with two roosters on it. You may spend some peaceful time here and make a wish if you want.

Maruti Mandir

The old world charm of this place and peaceful ambience are best experienced slow. 

At some distance from the Fountain of Phoenix, up on a hill, there is a Hanuman temple known as Maruti Mandir. Your eyes can’t miss this bright orange colored temple.

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

This church was built in 1541 in the Portuguese Baroque style. Its pristine white structure looks more beautiful in the evening. This church is a famous landmark in Goa and visited by many tourists regularly.

The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

It is highly recommended to stay in Fontainhas for a night or two if you want to experience living in a bygone era.

Read about Breathtakingly Beautiful Tourist Places In India You Must Visit Before You Die. Right from awesome forts and temples, to stunning caves, mountains, deserts and islands: 30 Breathtaking Tourist places in india you must Visit in 2019.

Places to stay in Fontainhas

Old Quarter by thehostelcrowd

This is a simple, minimalist hostel that offers comfortable stay at a good price. Facilities offered here include free wifi, lockers, ticker service, laundry, bicycle rental.

There is an in-house snack bar that serves Indian delights. The hostel offers mixed dormitory, female dormitory and private rooms.

Click here for latest prices, reviews, data availability and booking.

Mateus Boutique Hotel

This Boutique Hotel is located at Rua 31 de Janeiro Road. This 3-star property is popular among the guests for its amazing ambience, cleanliness and great staff.

Non-smoking rooms, free wifi, ATM on site, safety deposit box are some of the facilities offered.

Click here for latest prices, reviews, data availability and booking.

WelcomHeritage Panjim Pousada

This property is a beautiful epitome of the old local culture and architecture. If you want to experience staying in a traditional Goan property, then this is the right place for you.

It offers family rooms, free wifi, non-smoking rooms, bar and restaurant.

The property is located at a walking distance from the Goa State Museum and Immaculate Conception Church.

Click here for latest prices, reviews, data availability and booking.

For your next holiday, go off the beaten track and enjoy another side of Goa in Fontainhas. Choose slow travel, stroll in the lanes, take plenty of colorful pictures, listen to the stories told by the locals and relish some freshly baked stuff!

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The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel
The Portuguese heritage of Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a main attraction in capital city, Panjim. Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone in 1984. You'll be transported back in time as you wander past colorful old Portuguese homes, belonging to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. Narrow winding streets and lanes, quaint shops, art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants give it undeniable character #lighttravelaction #offbeatindia #goaindia #goaphotographyideas #goatravel

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