A Day in Fontainhas

Fontainhas Colorful Streets

Fontainhas or the 'Fountain of Phoenix' is located in Panaji, yet far removed from the chaos and clamor of the city. Fontainhas transports me to more than 60 years ago when the Portuguese administrators resided in this area. As I walk through the old Latin Quarters of Goa, I'm surrounded by streets lined with red, green, yellow, and orange houses that cast a spell over me, beckoning me to come closer. Moving along the tiny, cramped, colorful streets, the smell ofΒ chorizo pav hangs somewhere in the distance. Further down, I come across an old gentleman, wearing a loose white striped shirt and over-sized gray pants, like straight out of a vintage poster. He casually gazes at the street from the picture-perfect balcony of his maroon-colored house. As I move on, I can't help but envy the serenity on his face. Further along, I enter an old bakery hoping to savor some yummy Goan treats. While I stuff myself with the three layered cake called bebinca, I'm amazed to learn from the owner that some of the bakeries in the area date back to over 70 years!

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A plethora of culture and heritage, Goa is often only known for it's beaches and parties. A walk through Fontainhas triggers a growing realization that Goa was ruled by the Portuguese for about 450 years. While the Hindus, fearing conversion to Christianity escaped to far-removed villages along with their temples, the Portuguese set up their headquarters in Panaji, giving birth to the Latin quarters. History comes alive here in Fontainhas, waiting for you to listen to the untold stories it has hidden within itself. Walk the lanes of this magical, often unsung place and revel in it's history.

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If you like reading this article, read Offbeat Things to do in Goa for discovering the most picturesque offbeat locations on Goa!

Urban Cafe

Urban Cafe in Fontainhas Goa

The Urban Cafe, also known as the Bombay Coffee Roasters, is a hostel and cafe serving a selection of teas and coffees. On the outside it has a colorful tiled wall, giving off a hipster feel. Inside, the seating is over two floors. While the bottom floor has a simple, minimalist white decor, the top floor has dim gray walls, comfortable couches, a wooden bench and a stand-out lighting arrangement. Although food is not served here (except some sandwiches), it is a great place to relax, utilize the WiFi to finish off your work and start the day with a refreshing cup of coffee.

Gitanjali Art Gallery

Gitanjali Art Gallery in Fontainhas Goa

A stone's throw away from the Urban Cafe is Gitanjali Art Galley, located next to Panjim Inn. Painted in contrasting maroon and white, the Gallery showcases the work of local artists and a substantial collection of Scandinavian lithographs, lino prints and etchings from the 1950s and 1960s. Β As a matter of fact, the gallery functions as a cultural space, hosting events such as poetry readings, courses on film appreciation and art discussions. The gallery is a part of the Panjim Inn Hotel. Drop-by here to soak in the stories told by the local artists though pictures.

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Walk Around and Take Pictures

Goa-Offbeat-Fontainhas

My favorite thing to do in Fontainhas, in Goa, is to capture the beauty all around and to try and appear in some of the photographs. Because the streets are lined with numerous colored walls, they offer excellent photo-taking opportunities. After you're done squealing with joy looking at the walls, do remember to click a picture with them as well. Wear bright colored clothes to give the walls some competition and make your pictures pop!

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If you like clicking pictures of beautiful sights, check out The Most Instagrammable Spots in Goa for discovering Goan places where you can get envious photographs!

Find Staircases

Colourful Staircase in Fontainhas Goa

Fontainhas and the nearby Mala have some alluring staircases, hidden within the labyrinth of the many tiny streets. The light poles and the foliage around the quiet, empty staircase give off the impression of a quaint European town. You might even find a stay cat watching you suspiciously in the background. Walk around Fontainhas to discover some of these staircases. Most of the time, you will find them empty. It's a great place to sit down and pen down your thoughts while being inspired by the beauty around you. Bonus points if you can find the peacock pattered one!

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Lunch at Barrels and Bones

Barrels and Bones Restaurant in Fontainhas Goa

Panjim has some of the most excellent restaurants in Goa. While some offer delectable food, some of those restaurants are made famous for their ambiance. Fortunately, Barrels and Bones offers both. This restaurant creates a simulating atmosphere with it's textured white walls dotted with vintage posters and the scrumptious American and Continental dishes. It's one of the best steak houses in Goa, if not the best. Their cocktails served here are as stellar as the food. It is the perfect spot to grab lunch while in Fontainhas. Read about my favoriteΒ restaurants in Panaji. You can read my review of Barrels and Bones by clicking the Zomato link below.

Barrels & Bones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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24 Comments

  1. Pingback: Offbeat things to do in Goa - The Spicy Journey

  2. Pingback: Panjim Food Guide: Restaurants and Cafes in Panaji City - The Spicy Journey

  3. I wish I had known about this cute area when I was in India!

    1. There’s always a next time Lola πŸ™‚

  4. The more I travel the more I learn about the Portuguese heritage of SO many places you wouldn’t expect! Goa is on my list and Fontainhas looks right up my street, that staircase is so pretty and would be great for photos!!

    1. The staircase is my fav bit! Would be happy to show you around whenever you’re in Goa πŸ™‚

  5. Great post! Love your storytelling. Plus it sounds like fun to walk around and take photos, Keep up the great work <3 Happy travels!

    1. Thanks a lot Taylor!! It most definitely was fun πŸ™‚

  6. This looks like an incredible place to visit. I’m loving all of your photos – so colorful and full of life! Great depiction.

    1. Thanks a lot Amy πŸ™‚ I love colourful places like this one !!

  7. Such lovely photos! I love all the vibrant colors, I would spend half my day just walking around taking pictures lol. P.S. your shoes that you’re wearing with the jeans and yellow top are amaaaazing! Do you remember where you got them??

    1. Hey Anna! It’s from an Indian website called Street Style Store. They sell amazing footwear at a ridiculously low cost. This one cost Rs 500 (USD 7.60). If you’re ever in India, you can order from them!

  8. What a cute, quaint, and colorful town! All of my clothes are either black or dark so I wouldn’t be able to match. But I love your yellow outfits with the yellow background! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks a lot Eva πŸ™‚ My parents tell me I wear too much black so I bought myself a bunch of colorful outfits πŸ˜›

  9. This is the kind of places I would fall in love with. Fontainhas looks so special with its history and heritage. It’s fun to be at the popular sites but its incredible to really engage with the place and the people. Thanks for sharing.d

    1. Totally agree with you Jyoti ! It’s a whole other experience to visit the lesser known places that are reminiscent of the history and culture of a place πŸ™‚

  10. I’ll be honest, inspite having gone to Goa 8 times till now, I’ve not heard about Fontainhas and what it had to offer. I am definitely pinning this for next time because i am tired of going to same shacks on the beaches. Lovely article πŸ™‚

    1. I’m glad you’re going beyond the beaches! Goa has a lot to offer, if you’re ready to dive into the art and culture!

  11. Fontainhas was a dream, really! Even the beaches didn’t entice me as much as this neighbourhood did. So vibrant, and so imbued with character.
    https://tbbtravels.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/fontainhas-panaji-walking-tour/

    1. I liked that you included a map, Mohana! It can be quite handy for a newcomer. I totally agree with you. I prefer art and history over crowded beaches any day!

  12. Wow! That’s a very unique side to Goa! I have always known the party side of it, even after 4 visits. This place calls for another one, for the love of culture and beautiful colors! And those stairs.. damn! That’s pure work of art ❀️❀️ Loved your post 😍

    1. Goa is always a good idea Kanika! On your next visit you can explore the Goa that locals love!

  13. Great story and a lovely area to explore. The combination of great food, amazing architecture is my kind of thing. Great colorful shot with the stairs. Thanks for the introduction to Fountain of Phoenix area.

  14. Pingback: The Most Instagrammable Spots in Goa - The Spicy Journey

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