While it’s virtually impossible to think of Goa without the beaches, Revati Upadhya tells you there’s more to this popular holiday destination.

Sandy beaches, palm tree-lined streets, shopping, tourists and beach chairs that beckon you to lounge around, a bottle of local beer in hand. Step away from all of these and check out these three spots that we can bet nobody’s told you about.

History buff

TiracolIf nothing excites you more than discovering a destination that breathes history and stories from an era long gone by, you cannot miss Tiracol Fort.

This 17th century structure atop a hill on the northern most tip of Goa is now home to a gorgeous heritage hotel. Once at the top, enjoy breath-taking views of the river and village below, explore the lovely alcoves and hideaways in the fort-hotel, relax in the courtyard or enjoy a meal at the hotel’s restaurant. Whatever you choose, Fort Tiracol will definitely keep you on your toes and hold your attention for an entire day.

Say a little prayer

Chapel2Once you’re done braving the madding crowds that throng the staid spots like the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Cathedral of St Francis of Assisi, take yourself to a quieter spot, Eastward. Located on a hillock, not far from the centre of Old Goa is the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount. Hidden in a fairly wooded area, it’s easy to miss this spot, which is probably why we’ve always found it to be a quiet and peaceful spot from where to watch the sun set over Goa. A majestic flight of stone steps lead up to the chapel, from where you can see a lush landscapes with the river winding through. The chapel, largely unused comes alive once a year for a Jazz festival in January. So if you’re planning a trip to discover some of the lesser-known places in Goa try making it here during the first month of the year.

For the peaceful nature-lover

Sunrise at DiwarIf you’ve seen the advertisements and hoardings sprinkled liberally around Goa’s most tourist heavy areas, and wondered what part of Goa was so beautifully desolate, head to Diwar Island and find out for yourself. A seven-minute ferry ride from Ribandar (Old Goa), Diwar is a village on an island that lies just North West of the Panjim mainland.

The village has some small shops and local restaurants that serve simple meals, but we think this is probably just what makes it the ideal spot for a picnic. Armed with a basket of food and a stack of your favourite books, you could spend a whole day chilling out at this island off the beaten track, and not feel time pass you by.

Ferry to Diwar Island

As you see, there is more to Goa than usually meets the eye. And for those always looking for a quiet escape, or the chance to experience something new, these spots are a great bet. Make a quick getaway from the cacophony of tourists you’re bound to encounter at the beach and come away with a whole unique set of memories of this coastal state.