Panaji, located at the mouth of the Mandovi river, is the capital city of Goa. It has its own charm, a river flowing along one side of the city, some areas which are low-rise and red-roofed, and even a Portuguese Quarter at the eastern end of town.
Margao, often called the commercial capital of Goa, is the capital of the southern taluka of Salcete and also of the South Goa district. Because of its location, it serves as a service and transport hub to all the areas of South Goa.
Mapusa (pronounced as Mapsa by the locals) is Goa's third largest town and the capital of the northern Bardez taluka. It is mainly a market town for the surrounding beach areas of Calangute, Candolim, Anjuna and Baga among others.
Ponda lies about 28 kms south-east of Panaji and 17 kms north-east of Margao. The town was born after the Portuguese took over the area in 1791 from the Raja of Sonda and annexed it along with Quepem, Canacona and Sanguem forming the New Conquests.
The industrial town of Vasco da Gama, named after the Portuguese voyager, is around 30 kms away from the capital city of Panaji and is spread around the base of the peninsula which leads to the Mormugao harbour.