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This post contains a guide to Fontainhas, Goa - the Old Latin Quarters of Goa. It also includes a list of things to do in Fontainhas as well as the Fontainhas restaurants and cafes.
Fontainhas, Goa or the 'Fountain of Phoenix' is located in Panjim city, yet far removed from the chaos and clamour of the city. Fontainhas will transport you to more than 60 years ago when the Portuguese administrators resided in this area. As you walk through the old Latin Quarters of Goa, you'll be surrounded by streets lined with red, green, yellow, and orange houses. In these tiny streets, you'll come across vintage postcard-perfect scenes of little bakeries and old world charm.
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A plethora of culture and heritage, Goa is often only known for its beaches and parties. However, a walk through Fontainhas, Goa triggers a growing realization that there's a whole other side to this popular state. 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.
How to Reach Fontainhas, Goa
Fontainhas is located in the capital city of Goa - Panjim or Panaji. You can explore Fontainhas within a couple of hours whenever you're visiting Panjim. If you take a local bus from the Kadamba bus stand in Panjim, get down at the first stop which is called 'Old Secretariat' in the city. From here, walk a few steps towards 'Caravela Cafe and Bistro'. You will already notice colourful houses ahead of you. Thus keep walking further in that lane and voila! You're in Fontainhas.
Alternately, from the Kadamba bus stand in Panjim, you can even walk to the old Latin Quarters of Goa. Take the small bridge that takes you to a main road which contains restaurants such as Down The Road and Route 66. Fontainhas is in the lane behind that main road. It's a 10 minute walk from the Panjim KTC bus stand to Fontainhas, Goa.
Fontainhas Goa Map
Things to do in Fontainhas
1. Find Staircases in Fontainhas
Fontainhas and the nearby Mala areas have some captivating staircases, hidden within the labyrinth of the tiny streets. The street light poles and the foliage around the quiet, empty staircases give off the impression of a quaint European town. You might even find a stray cat or two 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!
2. Panjim Inn and Gitanjali Art Gallery
Both Gitanjali Art Gallery and Panjim Inn are just a stone's throw away from the famous Urban Cafe. Painted in contrasting maroon and white, the Gallery showcases the work of local artists and houses a great art collection. As a matter of fact, the gallery functions as a cultural space, hosting events on a regular basis 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.
3. Visit the St Sebastian's Chapel
While Fontainhas is spread out over a decently sized area, consider St Sebastian's Chapel to be the heart of Fontainhas. This chapel is in close proximity to all the Fontainhas cafes, restaurants as well as sights. The peacock staircase is to the left of this chapel whereas a nice little ramen place called Mamarama is to its left. The chapel is also just a few meters from Urban cafe. You cannot miss visiting this chapel of all the things to do in Fontainhas.
4. Take a Fontainhas Heritage Walk
A Fontainhas, Goa heritage walk can help you soak in all the colors of the houses and understand the history of the Latin quarters of Goa. One of my favorite things to do in Fontainhas is to capture the beauty all around. Because the streets are lined with numerous colored walls, they offer excellent photo-taking opportunities. Wear bright colored clothes to give the walls some competition and make your pictures pop! That being said you can even book Fontainhas Heritage Walk tours on Airbnb or other booking websites.
5. Photograph the Lanes of Fontainhas
One of the best and most popular things to do in Fontainhas is to photograph the charming streets. You will find the most photogenic spots near the St Sebastian's Chapel, Panjim Inn(shown above) and near the Urban Cafe as well. Spend a whole day walking around Fontainhas to discover the best spots to take a picture for the gram! If you want some photo inspiration, head over to my Instagram handle(@thespicyjourney) to see and save some awesome pics of Fontainhas.
6. Half-Day Trip to Old Goa
If you've covered all of Fontainhas are visit to see more of Goa, head over to the nearby Old Goa. Fontainhas to Old Goa is a mere distance of 9.6 km which can be easily covered by cab, motorbike or even by bus. You can take a bus from the Panaji KTC bus stand that will drop you directly to Old Goa. Here, spend half a day exploring the many famous as well as offbeat Old Goa attractions.
Cafes and Restaurants in Fontainhas, Goa
Urban Cafe aka Bombay Coffee Roasters
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. Keep in mind, that if you stay here, you can get a complimentary breakfast (pictured above).
Caravela Cafe and Bistro
Caravela Cafe and Bistro, located on one end of Fontainhas is one of my favourite go-to breakfast places. Their extensive breakfast menu consists of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian set breakfasts, pancakes, Indian breakfast items, eggs to order and a variety of juices and coffee. If you're ever in Panjim for breakfast, definitely drop by Caravela cafe for a satisfying meal.
Fontainhas has the most amazing restaurants and cafes, such as Blue Tokai. Now this is actually a chain that is located in some other big cities as well. While their food consists of a small selection of sandwiches and deserts, they are known for their coffee. The coffee menu at Blue Tokai is quite impressive, as it is intimidating. Come here if you're a coffee connoisseur who enjoys sipping their coffee in a large courtyard located at one of of Fontainhas, Goa.
Confetaria 31 De Janerio
While the Fontainhas cafes are beautiful and appealing, the bakeries in Fontainhas just as alluring. Take Confetaria 31 De Janerio as an example. This popular bakery has been run by a family for ages. Apart from a wide selection of pastries, they also serve some Goa delicacies. Not to mention how quaint their seating looks. It's hard to locate this bakery so use Google maps to reach here.
Where to Stay in Fontainhas, Goa
The wall of Old Quarter by the Hostel Crowd
Fontainhas has some really good hotels, hostels as well as boutique stays. Panjim Inn happens to be the most popular stay option in Fontainhas. On the other hand, there's even a popular hostel in the area, Old Quarter by the HostelCrowd.
Check the availability of Fontainhas hotels via the links below: