Best Places to visit in Kerala

Best Places to visit in Kerala

Lush greens, rippling waters, and clear blue skies. As much as you may try to imagine it, the true beauty of Kerala can not be understood un till you visit it. Popularly known as “God’s own country”, most people know Kerala as the state with the most spectacular backwaters. While the regions winding alleys of water, canopied by evergreen water-plants is one of its biggest draws, the state has a varied topography that makes visiting its various cities a visual treat. Not only does Kerala have beautiful flora, it is also home to some of India’s most diverse fauna, that is, animals and wildlife.

This narrow state, draped over India’s western coastline is a paradise of clear beaches and green mountains, surreal backwaters and idyllic houseboats. The cool shade of its tall palm trees are perhaps only outdone by the warm and welcoming nature of its many hospitable homesteads and luxury hotels. Kerala’s cuisine is truly unparalleled, with even professional kitchen featuring the tastes of rustic authenticity. This deep rooted culture has fused inexplicably with the erstwhile British ways of living to create a community that is truly unique from all else.

Fun fact! Kerala’s dominantly spoken language Malayalam is famous as the only language in the world that is a palindrome! A palindrome is a word that is spelt the same from start to end, or end to start.

Here are 20 places in Kerala that you must visit:

  1. Alleppey
  2. Munnar
  3. Kumarakom
  4. Wayanad
  5. Kovalam
  6. Thrissur
  7. Malappuram
  8. Cochin
  9. Thekkady
  10. Thiruvananthapuram
  11. Vagamon
  12. Bekal
  13. Guruvayur
  14. Kavvayi
  15. Kuttanad
  16. Malampuzha
  17. Marari
  18. Munroe Islands
  19. Kozhikode
  20. Varkala

1. Alleppey

Alleppey

Also known by it’s anglasiced name, Allapuzha, Allepy is perhaps the most popular destination in Kerala. Every year, Alleppey attracts the most tourists due to its beautiful backwaters, abundant houseboat opportunities and its scenic panoramas. Apart from the norm, Alleppey offers a variety of backwater experiences, from walking tours to luxury restaurants afloat boats, Alleppey has something for everyone.

Alleppey combines old world charm with Keralite culture to such beauty that even the controversial British governor named it the “Venice of the East”. With wide open waters into which the sky is reflected, sunrises and sunsets at this heavenly city are like none other.

Many parts of the region feel like the colonial era, frozen in place and time. The food of the region celebrates local produce and traditional cooking techniques, many of which are not scene outside of Kerala. The narrow uneven stone pathways and well-maintained public areas reflect the respect that the region’s natives have not only for visitors, but for Mother Nature.

Visit if:
A busy city-dweller looking for an escape from the rat race of urban life

Stay for:
2-3 days

Best time to visit:

September to May, after which showers begin

Reach via:

Kochi airport, which is 53 kilometres away from the city centre

Don’t miss out on:
– Live on a houseboat
– Alappuzha beach
– Alleppey backwaters’ kayaking tours
– Vembanad Lake
– Nehru Trophy Boat Race
– Krishnapuram Palace
– White sand at Pallippuram
– Bay Island Driftwood Museum
– Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple
– Chettikulangara Devi Temple
– Devi Karunakaran Museum
– St Andrew’s Basilica Arthunkal
– Pathiramanal
– St. George Forane Church, Edathua
– Thottappally Beach
– Local spas and messages

2. Munnar

Munnar

One of the most popular hill stations in India, Munnar is a a region of endless green hills, with arranged with sprawling lines of plantations. Once the British summer capital, Munnar’s legendary tea gardens still attract tourists from all over the world. The very air in Munnar carries the fragrance of tea, with over 1.2 lakh kilometres of sprawling fields of tea. The misty mountains are almost constantly engulfed in soft clouds, making the entire atmosphere of the region cozy and reminiscent of classical paintings.

Another gift left over from colonial times, Munnar has many heritage bungalows and manors converted into home-stays for tourists, as well as a fair share of luxury hotels. In the age of digital imagery, Munnar is a beauty that is so breathtaking it cannot be captured on film. It’s elevation, 1532 meters above sea level, has rewarded tourists with panoramic views of sweeping mountains and breathtaking dawns and dusks. Its unique topography also makes it the perfect location to enjoy treks to hidden gems, deep in the forests of the region. Munnar also boasts superior road quality, making it an ideal destination for road trips.

Visit if:

Munnar’s cozy ambience and intimate lodgings make it the perfect romantic getaway or honeymooning destination.

Stay for:
2-3 days

Best time to visit:

While the region has its charms all through the year, it is best enjoyed from October to March

Reach via:
One can take a car shrive from Kochi airport, which is 143 kilometres away from the city centre. Alternatively, the closest railway station is Aluva, which is 110 kilometres away from Munnar.

Don’t miss out on:
– Stay in a tree house at Plantation Resort
– Mountain biking at Suryanelli
– Tasting tours of tea estates
– Camping at Echo Point
– Wildlife sightings at Eravikulam National Park
– Picnics at Lakkam Waterfalls
– Shikara rides on Kundala Lake
– Watersports at Mattupetty Dam
– Visit the elephants at Carmelagiri Elephant Park
– Ayurvedic therapy at spas
– Watch a Kathakali performance at Punarjani Village
– Rose Garden
– Mount Carmel Church
– Pothamedu Viewpoint
– Anamudi Peak
– Mathikettan Shola Rainforest
– Marayoor
– Thirumeni Cultural Centre

3. Kumarakom

Kumarakom

Originally a traditional village that has now expanded into a tourist-driven hamlet, Kumarakoam is sits just off Vembanad Lake, and is one of the most ideal locations to enjoy Kerala’s fine hospitality industry. Kumarakoam is known as a hub for fine cuisine and Ayurvedic spas, providing day time experiences like fishing, kayaking, house-boating, speedboating, and more! Compared to more commercialised cities in Kerala, Kumarakoam’s naturally highly bifurcated network of backwater hotels allows added privacy for those who wish to experience houseboat living and/or dining.

The area is comparatively unpopulated by tourists, which sometimes creates a language barrier for non-native visitors but the genuine warmth and readiness to help amongst the natives more than makes up for the lack of words that can be exchanged. This relatively undiscovered gem is often considered a better option for visitors than even some of Kerala’s more popular destinations. A unique travel hack, enjoy some of Kumarakoam’s most ultra-luxury experiences during the off season when many hotels have discounts going even up to 70%!

Visit if:
For travellers hoping to experience the best Kerala has to offer in a more authentic manner

Stay for:

2-3 days

Best time to visit:

September to May, all other times of the year are quite hot

Reach via:
The best way to reach Kumarakoam is via the frequent and reliable car services that ply between the city centre and Kochi Airport, which is 85 kilometres away. Alternatively, Kottayam Railway Station is just 16 kilometres away.

Don’t miss out on:
– Kumarakoam Bird Sanctuary
– Aruvikuzhy Waterfall
– Enjoy a beautiful sunset from a houseboat
– Enjoy a traditional dinner and Kathakali performance
– Visit the famous Truck Call Bar
– Enjoy Ayurveda at Maya Spa
– Enjoy a fishing trip as the locals do
– Take a trip to the original locals’ village
– Juma Masjid
– Pathiramal Island
– Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple

4. Wayanad

Wayanad

In Kerala’s dominant language Malayalam, the word “Wayanad” means “Land of paddy fields”, and there could not be a more appropriate name for this region. Fully embodying Kerala’s name, Wayanad is a Aland of godly beauty with green fields as far as the eye can see. The area’s tourism industry is robust, with a number of specially curated tours and infrastructure to constantly welcome the influx of travellers that flock to it. Its rich tribal culture is reflected by the eccentric natives and plethora of unnamed beautiful landmarks that dot its landscape.

The landscape has a range of elevation that fluctuates from 700 to 2100 meters above sea level, creating the feeling of endless green plains that are somehow bestowed by misty clouds. The dense forest shows itself as scenic green arches over roads, and many nature trails to explore. Wayanad is considered one of the most beautiful forested areas to visit in Kerala.

Visit if:
Best suited for travellers who enjoy sustainable tourism and exploration into forests. The region is also known to be very affordable if the trip is planned well and booked in advance.

Stay for:
1-2 days

Best time to visit:
For more conservative visitors, October to May is the peak tourist season. For adventurers and explorers, the monsoon season is a breathtaking experience and lasts from July to August, creating unique experiences like rainy weather treks and other activities

Reach via:

Situated 95 kilometres from Karipur International Airport at Calicut, and 72 kilometres from Kozhikode Railway station in the main part of Wayanad, the region is quite well connected.

Don’t miss out on:
– Free-trail mountain hikes
– Zip-lining through dense forests
– Picturesque tea estate tours
– Boating and kayaking on Pookode Lake
– Cycling tours of major landmarks
– Trek to the pond at Chembra Peak
– Visit the surreal Edakkal Caves
– Interact with elephants at the Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary
– Enjoy the hidden hills Vythiri Village Resort
– Trek to Neelimala View Point
– Camp alongside the boating destination of Banasura Sagar Dam
– Take a dip at Sentinel Rock’s Soochipara Falls
– Ride a bamboo raft to Kuruva Islands
– Explore Pakshipathalam Caves
– Learn the art of bamboo pressing at Uravu
– Trek through Kalladi, the Cardamom Forest
– Trek to the demon peak, Sahibkkunnu
– Enjoy the pilgrimage to the sacred Kurisumala Peak

5. Kovalam

Kovalam

Unlike most cities in Kerala, Kovalam is known more so for its beach than its backwaters or forestry. With more traditional beach-like attractions, Kovalam can be a unique break amidst a pan-Kerala vacation. Known for its legendary New Years celebrations, Kovalam also draws tourists in at different surge times of year. This beach destination is known as much for its intense massages and Ayurvedic treatments as its water sports, parasailing, and sunbathing fests. The bay on which the beach rests is almost always bustling with activities and tourists, an aesthetic chaos of merriment and celebration that adds to the charm of the region.

Visit if:
Travellers looking to end their vacation in Kerala with a bang!

Stay for:
1-2 days

Best time to visit:

September to May, New Years Eve

Reach via:

Transport to Kovalam is extremely convenient since it is only 15 kilometres from Trivandrum International Airport that has a high frequency of regular and reliable flights to all major Indian cities. Trivandrum Railway Station is also just 14 kilometres away.

Don’t miss out on:
– Vellayani Lake
– Water sports on the beach
– Lighthouse Beach seafood shacks
– The isolated Hawah Beach, previously known as Eve’s Beach
– Halcyon Castle
– Fishing at Samudra Beach where you can also visit a seaside mosque
– Karamana River boat-ride
– Kovalam Surf Club
– The lagoon at Veli Tourist Village
– Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple
– Valiyathura Pier at sunset
– Kovalam Art Gallery where the exterior is as impressive as the exhibits inside
– Aruvikkara Dam
– India’s first artificial off short coral reef
– Sunbathing at Pozhikkara Beach
– Fishing sports at Chowara Beach
– An Ayurvedic massage at the romantic Ashoka Beach
– Catamaran rides
– The iconic German Bakery

6. Thrissur

Thrissur

Known as the cultural hub of Kerala, Thrissur is home to some of the most famous celebration and festivals in the state. Its rich cultural heritage and traditional extravaganzas make it a draw for thousands of tourists every year. The scenic mountains, flowing white waters, and beautiful beaches are the shining star to this regions already many attractions.  Known as the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur is a must-visit especially during the festive seasons of Thrissur Poonam and Onam, when this quaint town transforms into a hotbed of celebration!

Visit if:

A traveller hoping to experience the traditional culture of Kerala in an affordable way

Stay for:

2-3 days

Best time to visit:

While October to March is the best time to visit, many travellers prefer the months of April to May as that is when the Thrissur Pooram Festival occurs though the temperatures are quite high

Reach via:

Thrissur is very close to Cochin International Airport

Don’t miss out on:
– Athirapally Falls
– Charpa Falls
– Vadakummnathan Temple
– Shakthan Thampura Palace
– Vazhachal Falls
– Thrissur Zoo
– Peechi Dam
– Kerala Kalamandalam
– Heritage Garden
– Vilangan Kunnu
– Chavakad Beach
– Basilica of Our Lady of Dolores
– Archeological & Art Museum
– Arattupzhu Temple
– Chalakkudy River
– Shankara Samadhi
– Thiruvambadi Krishna Temple
– Paramekavi Bhagvathy Temple
– Snehatheeram BeachMalappuram

7. Malappuram

Malappuram

Far from Kerala’s more popular backwaters, “Malappuram” literally translates to “Land a top hills” and is an incredibly fitting name fr the area. Known as one of the post picturesque hill station in Kerala, the area is famous for its endless expanse of tress, many of whom are famous teak plantations. The region is also known for heritage homes, temples, mosques and historic monuments. Situation almost 3,600 metres above sea level, this beautiful area seems to simply exist amongst the clouds, creating and aura of Godliness that is very fit for God’s own country.

Visit if:

Looking for a cool and relaxing mountainous break from Kerala’s more commercialised backwaters

Stay for:
Ideal for a day trip

Best time to visit:
Mallappuram is ideal to visit almost year round. The monsoon months of July to September create an aura of reflective beauty as far as the eye can go, accentuating the beauty of the rains. The More popular months of November and February are ideal to get away from not only the hustle and bustle but also the heat of the cities or plains.

Reach via:
Very close to Calicut International Airport

Don’t miss out on:
– Bharathapuzha River
– Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary
– Kerladeshpuram Temple
– Valiya Juma Masjid
– Nilambur Teak Museum
– Kottakkunnu
– Kadampuzha Bhagvathy Temple
– Arya Vaidya Sala Ayurvedic centre
– Thirunavaya Lava Mukunda Temple
– Alathiyoor Hanuman Temple
– The bridge at Nedumkayam in the Nilgiri Bioreserve
– Mini Ooty
– Padinharekara Beach

8. Cochin

Cochin

Historically a very important port city in India, Cochin has always been significant to Kerala’s trade and economic prosperity. Known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea and its local name Kochi, it is on the bucket list of every avid traveller. The city still holds many traces of it’s British and Portuguese past settlers. Cochin is a beautiful mess of intellectuals and traditionalists, modern innovation and deep rooted cultural dogma, cutting-age technology and spice-rich cuisine. While the city offers a diversity of culture and activities, a short drive out of it enriches the mind and body with spas, beaches and more iconic Keralite backwaters.

Visit if:
Best suited for cosmopolitans looking to experience myriad cultures, sights and experiences all at once

Stay for:

2-3 days

Best time to visit:
July to April

Reach via:
Cochin International Airport is within the city limits

Don’t miss out on:
– History Walk in Mattancherry Palace
– Explore the art form of Chinese fishing nets in in the fishing villages
– Explore Jewish culture at the Paradesi Synagogue
– Kochi Fort
– The historical St. Francis Church
– Watch a performance of the traditional dance form of Kathakali
– Shopping on Princess Street
– Indo-Portugease Museum
– Grab a bite at the iconic Kashi Art Cafe
– Get a massage at the Fort Ayurveda Spa
– Thattukada Street Food
– Take a Kalaripayattu workshop
– Visit Willingdon Island via a cruise
– Historical tour of Bolgatty Palace
– Explore Gothic Architecture and the Santa Cruz Basilica
– Pallipuram Fort
– Bishop’s House
– Wonderla Amusement Park

9. Thekkady

Thekkady

Situated amongst some of Kerala’s densest forests, Thekkady is a unique opportunity to experience Kerala’s diverse fauna in their natural environment. This region is very particular about nature preservation, and one get to see some of the rarest and close-to-extinction species of tigers, sambars, jaguars, Lion-tailed macaques as well as elephants, deer, bison and boars. Not just wildlife, the region has some of Kerala’s most spectacular trekking paths. An especially well-known path is the one from Moozhiyar to Thekkady Gavi. Here, one can experience both boating and water sports as well as wildlife observation and trekking.

Visit if:
Best suited for travellers hoping to do activities literally off the beaten path

Stay for:
Ideal for a day trip

Best time to visit:
November to early-May

Reach via:

Thekkady is 136 kilometres from Madurai Airport and 114 kilometres from Kottayam Railway Station. From both these locations, a variety of costs of car rentals frequently ply.

Don’t miss out on:
– Boating tours
– Bamboo rafting
– Tour the Ramakkalmedu and Panchalimedu hill stations
– Mangaladevi Temple
– View the waterfalls from Chellerkovil
– Trek to ecotourism hotspot, Gavi
– Buy fragrant and pure spices at the local market
– Explore Pandikuzhi
– Take a Jeep safari
– Tour the local spice gardens

10. Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram

The capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram may not be the poster boy for the pictures one usually sees associated with Kerala, but it is definitely deserving of the being the economic capital of “God’s own country”. A departure from the backwaters and tea-rich mountains, Thiruvananthapuram is the hub for exotic beaches in Kerala, and the colourful fishermen’s boats that line the shores are a beautiful sight. Basis tourism, the city is one of the best places to live in India, and attracts a wide diversity of tourists.

Visit if:
A traveller looking for a variety of activities all in one destination

Stay for:
2-3 days

Best time to visit:

October to February

Reach via:

Trivandrum International Airport

Don’t miss out on:
– See the sights at Neyyar Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary
– Pay your respects at thePadmanabhaswamy Temple
– Enjoy a leisurely trip to Poovar Island
– Visit the beautiful Kanakakunna Palace
– See the panoramic views from The Observatory
– Agasthakoodam at 1868 metres above sea level
– Visitt the Zoological Park
– Take a dip at the Happy Land Water Theme Park
– Visit the Napier Museum, where the outside is just as immersive as the exhibits inside
– Shoping at Chalai Bazaar
– Karikkakom Chamundi Devi Temple
– Sri Chitra Art Gallery
– Enjoy the surrealist Magic Planet
– Shanghumukham Beach
– Priyadarshini Planetarium
– CSI Christ Church
– Kuthiramalika Palace
– Attukal Temple
– Aazhimala Siva Temple
– Vela Beach
– Akkulam Lake
– Kallar

11. Vagamon

Vagamon

One of Kerala’s best kept secret, the Vagamon hills are a hidden gem, isolated from most touristy lists of places to visit. Vagamon is so pristine, it almost looks unreal. Pictures of the region are more akin to scenic computer wallpapers than a real place, but real it is! Set amongst sprawling meadows and blankets of clear skies, the region looks like a continuous perfectly groomed magic garden. The aromatic tea plantations in the area waft fragrant winds all through the region, creating a refreshing atmosphere for all those who visit.

Visit if:
Untouched by commercialisation, Vagamon is a must-visit location for tourists looking to destress

Stay for:

Perfect for a day trip

Best time to visit:

Early-August to May

Reach via:

Kochi Airport is 94 kilometres from Vagamon, with many private car rentals plying between both locations

Don’t miss out on:
– Ulipooni Wildlife Sanctuary
– Vagamon meadows
– Pine Hill
– Kurisumala vantage point
– Vagamon Falls
– Kurisumala Ashram
– The natural rock formation at Thangalpara, rife with folklore
– Barren Hills
– Rock cut temple at Murugan Mala
– Maramala Waterfalls
– Mundakayam Ghat
– Pattumala Church

12. Bekal

Bekal

Known for the famous Bekal Fort, this region has been a shooting for many movies in the Hindi film industry, the most popular of which is Rang De Basanti. The fort sits proudly on a wide expanse of picturesque Malabar coastline, it overlooks the Arabian Sea. The fort’s dynamic setting adorned on treacherous rocks and facing contact rain tides increases its rugged beauty by manifold. The salty sea breeze and pleasant winds create an atmosphere f serenity and ease even when facing the turbulent ocean. The exotic beauty of the region coupled with its alluring sense of calm has made it one of the most popular romantic destination in Kerala.

Visit if:

Travellers looking for a romantic getaway or honeymooning spot that is luxe but not over the top

Stay for:
1-2 days

Best time to visit:
From September to May, after which the monsoon season hits and the area slows down for a few months

Reach via:
While transport to Bekal may not be ideal, the location is well worth it. The closest airport is Bajpe Airport which is 72 kilometres away. The closest train connectivity is Kasaragod Railway Station which is just 12 kilometres from Bekal. We recommend pre-booking a car rental service to the lodgings.

Don’t miss out on:
– Bekal Fort tours
– Bekal beach
– Nityanand Ashram Caves
– Bekal Hole Aqua Park
– Chandragiri Fort
– Valiyaparamba Backwaters
– Sunsets at Kappil Beach
– Ananthapura Lake Temple
– Department of Archeology’s Nileswaram centre
– An evening at The Taj, Bekal
– Mallikarjuna Temple
– Pallikere Beach

13. Guruvayur

Guruvayur

One of the post spiritual and religious spots in Kerala, Guruvayur lies in the Thrissur district and welcomes thousands of devotees and tourists every season. The small quaint town is a hidden gem in the state, and does not often feature when talking about Kerala. The town is yet to be touched by mass commercialisation, making it a perfect spot to visit soon!

Visit if:
A traveller seeking spirituality or hoping to experience Kerala’s more traditional, untouched culture and traditions

Stay for:

1-2 days

Best time to visit:

October to March, while the temperatures are still cool

Reach via:
Cochin International Airport is just 87 kilometres away

Don’t miss out on:
– The main Guruvayur Temple
– Play with the animal residents at the Elephant Camp Sanctuary
– Chamundeshwari Temple
– Chavakkad Beach
– Palayur Church
– Mammiyur Mahadeva Temple
– Statues of Maraprabhu and Guruyaur Kesavan
– Thiru Venkatachalapathy Temple
– Sree Parthasarathy Temple
– Punnathur Kotta
– Chowalloor Shiva temple
– Parthasarathy Temple
– Devaswom Museum
– Karikanyaka Temple

14. Kavvayi

Kavvayi

The third largest backwaters in Kerala, the Kavvayi Backwaters, locally known as Kavvayi Kayal are the best backwaters to visit, if you only have time for one. A perfect combination of aesthetics and lack of tourists, these scenic landscapes are guaranteed to leave you awe-struck. The Kavvayi Backwaters lie at the confluence of River Kavvayi and its three tributaries; Kuppithodu, Konkol and Kenyan. These many winding tributaries create a dene network of islands, connected by the overgrown mangroves in the area. Besides the traditional wooden boats, there are also many opportunities for more comfortable cruises through the area. The Holy Snakes Forest on the Edayilakadu Island is one of the primary attractions here.

Visit if:
Looking for a quick getaway to a scenic and serene atmosphere

Stay for:
A day trip of a few hours

Best time to visit:
October to March for the most pleasant weather

Reach via:
Very close to Calicut International Airport, and Kozhikode as well as Payyanur Railway Station

Don’t miss out on:
– Peralassery
– Theyyam festival
– Payyambalam Beach
– Muzhappilangad Beach
– St. Angelo Fort
– Kannur Lighthouse
– Parassinikkadavu Snake Park
– Baby Beach
– Palakkayam Thattu
– The lower fields of Madayipara
– Ezhimala
– Pythal Mala peak
– Muthappan Temple
– Moonu Pettumma Palli mosque, also known as the Kattile Palli and the Katie Palli Cerca festival
– Vismaya Water Park
– Mappila Bay

15. Kuttanad

Kuttanad

Nestled in Alappuzha, Kuttanad is an opportunity to experience Keralite culture, no frills no fancies. This charming little places is one of the most beautiful in Kerala, with rural landscapes, charming villages and pristine backwaters.

Visit if:

Best suited for those escaping the negatives of urban city life

Stay for:

Ideal for a day trip

Best time to visit:

October to March when the weather is at its most pleasant

Reach via:

Cochin International Airport

Don’t miss out on:
– enjoy a traditional boat ride on Punnamada Lake
– Pampa River
– Panoramic views of the water and greenery

16. Malampuzha

Malampuzha

A village in Palakkad, Malampuzha is known as India’s spice capital. Famous for its resplendent green beauty, flowing water and serenity, this region represents Kerala at its finest. The picture perfect area is home to many scenic views and relaxing experiences.

Visit if:
A family looking for an affordable, calm vacation spot

Stay for:
1-2 days

Best time to visit:

August to April

Reach via:

Coimbatore International Airport is just 55 kilometres away and the even closer Palakkad Railway Station is just 8 kilometres away

Don’t miss out on:
– Visit the colourful Arulmigu Patteswarar Swamy Temple
– Pay your respects at the Eachanari Vinayagar Temple
– Enjoy a calming dat at the Vaidyagrama Healing Village
– Take a scenic drive to Kava
– Vaidehi Waterfall
– Take a dip at Sengupathi Falls

17. Marari

Marari

Close to Alleppey in the same distract, Marari is paradise on Earth for those that love the beach. A beach so clear and pristine that it could rival almost any international standard for picturesque coastline, it has even received the name of “The Hammock Beaches” by The national Geographic. One can enjoy a wide variety of beach activities on its white sands. Because it is still a relatively less known location in Kerala, it is often free of commercialised sellers and swarms of tourists.

Visit if:

Best suited for travellers hoping to enjoy an international quality beach free of pesky signs of commercialisation or overpopulation

Stay for:
Ideal for a day trip

Best time to visit:

September to May as in it raining outside of that time bracket

Reach via:

Just a 90 kilometres drive from Cochin Airport, and a 3 kilometres journey from Mararikulam Railway Station

Don’t miss out on:
– Enjoy sunbathing at the beach
– Visit one of the many Ayurveda centres
– Mararikulam Beach
– Enjoy a traditional boat tour
– Kayak through the inner canals
– Visit the Marari Yoga and Kalarippayattu Flow Centre
– Stay on a houseboat
– St. Andrew’s Basilica Arthunkal
– Visit the Alapuzha Lighthouse

18. Munroe Islands

Munroe Islands

At the intersection or confluence of the Ashtamudi Lake and River Kallada, Munroe Islands are a hidden gem in Kerala. 27 kilometres from Kollam, the islands are a popular spot for canal cruises in Kerala. Visiting the islands feels like a complete departure from urbanised life. The bucolic countryside style of living entails thatched houses, coconut plantations as far as the eye can see, narrow canals that even the locals use for transportation, mangroves and pure lagoons. Every September, the islands attract thousands of tourists who come to view the famous Kallada Boat Race.

The canal cruise that frequents this are is run by the District Tourism Promotion Council. It is recommended to book tickets for the same in advance, as the cruise operates only twice daily, in the morning and afternoon. The cruise is for the affordable price of INR 500, per person.

Visit if:

Best suited for travellers who’re looking for a relaxing day out on the water

Stay for:
Ideal for a brief day trip

Best time to visit:
Throughout the year, except monsoon, that is September to March

Reach via:
Via cruise from Kollam, or through the Munroe Island Railway Station

Don’t miss out on:
– Backwaters canoe tours
– Thangassery Lighthouse
– Sasthamkotta Lake
– Thirumullavaram Beach
– Off trading with the Despatch Riders
– Mahatma Gandhi Beach
– Soukhyasanthi Ayurveda Centre

19. Kozhikode

Kozhikode

Many people know Kozhikode more popularly by its anglicised name, Calicut. One of the first places the early British tradesmen and Dutch sailors arrived and lived, they definitely made their mark and many aspects of local culture and architecture still have very strong British and Sutch influences. The area has an abundant selection of cultural, historical and heritage sites as well as educational institutes.

Apart from he culture and architecture, Kozhikode is perhaps most popularly known for its cuisine and love for food. The regions many spice plantations, spice markets and fresh produce have created a strong cultural leaning towards good, authentic Malabar cuisine, an aspect that draws many tourists to the area. When in Calicut, be sure to sample a variety of local dishes like Dum Biryani, Kallummakkaya, Chatti Pathiri and Dal Halwa.

Visit if:

Best suited for foodies who enjoy historical tours and experiences.

Stay for:
2-3 days

Best time to visit:

September to May, before and after which the monsoon season is unrelenting and uncooperative

Reach via:
The region has very good connectivity, with Calicut’s Karipur International Airport just 28 kilometres from the city centre and Kozhikode’s own railway station within the city limits.

Don’t miss out on:

– Backwater cruises
– Kozhippara Falls
– Thusharagiri Waterfall
– Thikkoti Light House
– Beypore port town tour
– Lush greenery ay Kakkayam dam site
– Lion’s Park
– Shopping on Mithai Theravu (Sweet Street)
– Walk along the manmade pond in Mananchira Square
– Seafood selection at Elathur village
– Vellari Mala
– The giant and scenic Peruvannamuzhi Dam
– Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary
– Matri Dei Cathedral
– Mishkal Palli Mosque
– Regional Science Centre & Planetarium
– Indian Business Museum
– Uru Shipyard
– Payyoli Beach

20. Varkala

Varkala

One of the best seaside location in Kerala, Varkala is along the beautiful Malabar coastline, flanked by the sea on one side and giant cliffs on the other. The lush greenery of the cliffs acts as a scenic backdrop to breathtaking sunsets. The relatively untouched and less explored beach is popular for a number of water related adventure sports like boat riding, parasailing, surfing, jet-skiing, and horse back riding. The region is also a spiritual site for many Hindu travellers and historical explorers, visiting the area on pilgrimage through its many holy temples.

The region is also known for its large and varied selection of hotels and lodgings. For highly affordable shack living to über luxuries resorts, Varkala truly has it all.

Visit if:
Looking for affordable beach experiences without the commercialised of other popular spots in India. Also frequented by non-Indians looking for an offbeat luxury experience.

Stay for:
1-2 days

Best time to visit:

August to mid-May

Reach via:

Perhaps a reason for it’s large number of foreign travellers, the beach is only 53 kilometres from Trivandrum International Airport, with a large volume of car rental options to and fro. The Varkala Sivagiri Railways Station is also well within the city limits.

Don’t miss out on:
– Water sports at the beach
– Edava Beach
– Thiruvambadi Beach
– Anjengo Fort
– The ashram of Shri Narayana Guru, Sivagiri Mutt
– Ponnumthuruthu
– Janardhanaswamy Temple and its Arattu Festival
– Varkala Cliff tour
– Stunning arch at the Vishnu Temple
– Kaduvayli Juma Masjid
– Varkala Lighthouse grounds
– Saint Sebastian’s Pilgrim Church Moongode
– Sarkara Devi Temple
– Casuarina groves and sunsets at Chilakoor Beach
– The famous Darjeeling Cafe and InDa Cafe

In the coastline cities open paddy fields, picturesque churches, and strolling fishermen and women dot the landscape as often as tall coconut trees and banana plants do while Kerala’s mountainous cities leave you spell-bound.

In the state of Kerala, everyone functions at a leisurely pace afforded only to those who have the privilege of living amongst such beauty. Kerala is a trip that everyone must do!

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