Discover Goa’s colorful history on this private half-day tour. Learn about the heavy influence Portuguese rule had on this region’s religion and architecture from your expert guide’s interesting commentary about all the places you see. After pickup from your Goa hotel in the morning by private, air-conditioned vehicle, your guide will take you to the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds the remains of the Catholic missionary St Francis Xavier.
Enter the church and walk on the marble floor inlaid with precious stones. Admire the exquisite paintings adorning the walls that depict scenes from St Francis Xavier’s life and see the mausoleum that contains his silver casket. Follow your guide upstairs to the art gallery to see beautiful surrealist paintings from Goan painter Dom Martin.
Walk to the nearby Se Cathedral, also known as the Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina, dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria, a Christian saint who was martyred in the early 4th century by a Roman emperor for her devout dedication to Christianity. Marvel at the facade’s Portuguese Gothic-style architecture before entering the church with your guide to see the Golden Bell, one of the largest bells in Goa.
Re-board the vehicle and head 15 minutes to the city of Panaji to visit the historic neighborhood of Fontainhas, known as the Latin Quarter. Discover the area’s Portuguese influences as you walk with your guide down narrow streets and past old, colorful villas. Visit the small St Sebastian Chapel and see several statues of historical figures including the Roman Catholic monk Abade Faria.
Then, drive to the Dona Paula Jetty, a secluded bay where you can enjoy gorgeous views of the Mormugao Harbour and the point where the Mandovi River and Zuari River meet the Arabian Sea. Feel the gentle sea breeze and enjoy the romantic atmosphere of this hidden treasure before exploring a small local market along the waterway.
After your tour, you can choose to stop at the popular O’Coquerio restaurant for lunch (own expense). Enjoy traditional Portuguese and Goan dishes and try their famous pomfret recheiado (fish stuffed with red masala). Then, settle in your comfortable vehicle for the drive back to your hotel.