Kerala Tourism Places

A Complete Guide on Kerala Tourism Places

Introduction

Popularly known as God’s own country, Kerala is a wonderful combination of places to explore – like Hill stations, backwaters, beaches and wild life. All these makes Kerala a favourite destination for all age groups. To visit any destination – one should have a sound geographical knowledge of that place. Therefore, in terms of tourism perspective and for a better understanding, Kerala tourism places can be divided into two halves – North region and South region. To have a better understanding, let’s move further and have a look at the detailed tourist map of Kerala.

List of Kerala Tourism Places Map
Kerala Tourism Places Map

List of Kerala tourism places

Basis the above map, below is a region wise list of Kerala tourism places along with the type of terrain it offers to travellers:

North Kerala tourism placesDestination TypeSouth Kerala tourism placesDestination Type
BekalBeach/ HistoricCochin/ KochiBeach/ Historic/ City
WayanadHill Station/ ForestMunnarHills
Kozhikode/ CalicutBeach/ Historic/ CityPeriyar/ ThekkadyHills/ Forest
GuruvayoorReligiousKumarakomBackwater
AthirapallyHills/ ForestAlleppeyBeach/ Backwater
  VarkalaBeach
  TrivandrumBeach/ Historic/ Capital City
  Kovalam & PoovarBeach/ Backwater
List of Kerala Tourism Places to visit

How to reach Kerala

Kerala is conveniently connected with other parts of the country and can be easily accessed via Air, Rail and Road transport.

By Air – connected via four international airports

  • Kannur – to access north Kerala tourism places
  • Kozhikode – to access north Kerala tourism places
  • Cochin/ Kochi – to access central/ south Kerala tourism places
  • Trivandrum – to access central/ south Kerala tourism places

By Rail – connected by rail with regular train services to/ fro all major cities in India

  • Kozhikode Station – to access north Kerala tourism places
  • Ernakulum Junction – to access central Kerala tourism places
  • Alappuzha Station – to access central/ south Kerala tourism places
  • Trivandrum Central – to access south Kerala tourism places

By Road – well connected by all-weather road with regular bus services to/ fro all major places in South India

Best month to visit Kerala

Kerala is a round the year destination offering some or the other unique experience in each season. This makes It important to know about all seasons, so that you can plan your visit according to your choice and preferences.

  • Winter Season – October to February

This is the best season and October to February are the best months to visit Kerala. Just after the monsoon months, the humidity and temperature levels get low and the charm of greenery could be seen all around. As this season attracts a maximum number of tourists to Kerala (both domestic and internal), it is advisable to book your stay well in advance to avoid last minute price hike or non-availability of rooms.

  • Summer Season – March to Mid-May

During summer days the temperature may go above 40 degrees making it a little difficult for sightseeing. In summers it is better to visit hill stations of Kerala – Munnar, Thekkady, Wayanad, etc. Being a lean season, many hoteliers offer attractive deals during this time.

  • Monsoon Season – May to August

Kerala experiences heavy rainfalls during monsoon. This season is best for those looking for Ayurveda treatments, nature trails and romantic getaways. Tours of coffee plantations, backwaters, tree house, spas, etc. are ideal activities during monsoon in Kerala.

Destination wise details about Kerala tourism places:

After all the basics it’s time to get a detailed insight of all the places that can be covered during your trip to Kerala.

Bekal

Kerala Tourism Places Bekal
View from Bekal Fort

A small town located on the northern side of Kerala is known for its quite beaches and historic charm. This place has been a source of attraction for tourists, nature lovers and historians for many years.

Major attractions:

  • Bekal Fort – about 300 yrs old, this is the biggest fort in Kerala
  • Chandragiri Fort – located at a distance of around 10 km from Bekal, this fort was constructed by Immadi Narasimha Yadavaraya in 1000 A.D. Travelers who are making plans to visit Bekal must visit the fort to see its amazing architecture
  • Valiyaparamba Backwaters – about 30 km south from Bekal, this is one of the less known but most scenic backwater stretches in Kerala. Sourced by four rivers and scattered with numerous small islands, Valiyaparamba has now started gaining popularity as a backwater destination.
  • Major Beaches – Bekal beach, Kappil beach and Trikkanad beach

Calicut/ Kozhikode

Kerala Tourism Places Kozhikode
Kozhikode

Erstwhile Calicut or Kozhikode is a major city in the northern part of Kerala. Kozhikode holds historic importance for being the place where Portuguese navigator Vasco Da Gama first landed and the famous spice route came into existence in 1498.

Major attractions:

  • Beaches – Kappad, Kozhikode & Beypore 
  • Religious structures – Jamaat Palli (14th Century Mosque, biggest in Kerala) & Tali Temple 
  • Sanctuary – Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary
  • Other Attractions – Pazhassirajah Museum and Thusharagiri Waterfalls

Wayanad

Kerala Tourism Places Wayanad
View of Wayanad valley

Also known as the Green paradise, Wayanad is adorned in the northern hills of Kerala. The area is very popular among tourists as it offers breathtaking views of mist capped mountains, waterfalls, nature and trekking trails. One can buy coffee, tea, spices, bamboo and herbal products.

Major attractions:

  • Edakkal Caves – are two natural rock formations, formed by a large split in a big rock. One can see some beautiful carvings inside these caves.
  • Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary – Established in 1973, the Wayanad wild life sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Rich in bio-diversity, the entire area is a notified reserve.
  • Chembra Peak – is the highest peak in this region and can be seen from almost all parts of Wayanad. The place is ideal for trekking activities and a prior is required for the same. A trek to the top point of Chemba peak will take 3 – 4 hours. On your way to the top, you will see a heart shaped lake known as ‘hridhayathadakam’, which is said to have never dried up.
  • Waterfalls – Meenmutti waterfalls, Soochipara waterfalls and Kanthanpara waterfalls

Athirapally Waterfalls

Kerala Tourism Places Athirapally
Athirapally Waterfalls

Measuring at over 80 ft. high, Athirapally falls is the most famed and major waterfall in Kerala. Located inside the Sholayar forest this waterfall is sourced by Chalakudy river. Amazing views of the river and green forest ranges makes this place perfect for walks and picnics. The place is visited by locals and tourists in equal numbers.

  • Vazhachal Falls – located 5 kms north to Athirapally falls. Sourced by Chalakudy river, this place is famous for its flora and fauna found in the surrounding forests. A must visit place for all nature lovers and bird watchers.

Cochin/ Kochi

Kerala Tourism Places Kochi
Evening view of Chinese fishing nets, Fort Kochi

A major city and the commercial capital of Kerala, Kochi is a mix of old and modern cultures.

  • Old Kochi – covering Fort Kochi and nearby areas with deep roots in history and an old-world charm
  • New or Modern Kochi – the cosmopolitan town which hosts upmarket stores, malls, restaurants, etc.

All this makes Kochi the ideal starting point for exploring Kerala.

Major attractions:

  • Fort Kochi – is known for old world charm and colonial architecture, giving insights of centuries old cultural and commercial connections with the western countries. The history of this region is very captivating as it was governed by several European powers like the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British.
    • Vasco Da Gama Square – is the ideal place to see the fishermen operating Chinese fishing nets. There is a 1 km long walkway just next to the seaside. One can walk along to get an unforgettable sight of the sea, Chinese fishing nets and sailing ships. Next you may walk down to the food street just to the Old Harbour hotel. There are numerous food stalls serving fresh seafood, tender coconut and making it a perfect place to sit and relax.
    • Chinese Fishing nets – what makes them so unique is the fact that these are fixed land installations and use coast operated lift nets for fishing. These 10-metre-high nets require up to six men to operate once fully installed.
    • Jewish Town and Synagogue – a narrow street takes you to the Jew town and synagogue. On the way you’ll find many shops which sell antique and historical artifacts. A good place to buy souvenirs. The Synagogue is said to be more than 100 yr old and is known to have a collection of many rare antiques.
    • St. Francis Church – is one of the oldest churchesconstructed by the Europeans in India. This is the burial place of the great Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama. However, his remains were later moved to his home city Lisbon.
  • Other attractions – Mattanchery/ Dutch Palace, Wondrla Amusement Park, Bolgatty Island and Lulu Mall

Munnar

Kerala Tourism Places Munnar
View of Munnar tea estate

Munnar is one of the most sought-after hill destinations in Kerala. Sheer calmness, sprawling green tea estates, picturesque towns and misty valley views, give Munnar the topmost spot in the list of Kerala tourism places, especially among couples and newlyweds.

Major attractions:

  • Echo Point – known for its natural echo phenomenon, this place attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year. People generally stop here while making the trip to Top station.
  • Top station – is the highest point in Munnar and offers a magnificent view of the valley below. This is also the prime view point for the Neelakurunji flower which blooms once every 12 years.
  • Mattupetty – is also known for the dairy farm where one can see different high yielding breeds of cow.
  • Eravikulam – Eravikulam national park is the main attraction in Munnar. The region is known for its endangered inhabitant – the Nilgiri Tahr, a wild mountain goat. This Park is also home to several species of butterflies, animals and birds.
  • Other attractions – Attukad falls, Tata Tea Museum, Mattupetty dam, Lakkam Falls an Pothamedu viewpoint

Thekkady/ Periyar

Kerala Tourism Places Thekkady
Periyar tiger reserve

Thekkady is one of the major wildlife destinations in Kerala. The Periyar forests of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India and one of the oldest and largest tiger reserves in the country.

Major attractions:

  • Periyar Lake – Boat ride is one of the major attractions here. During your boat ride, if you are lucky, then you may have a unique experience of viewing wildlife up close from the safety of a boat at the lake. Here you could see animals like bison, wild elephants, deer, etc.
  • Spice plantations – Kerala is famous for its spices all over the world. Here in Thekkady and nearby areas one could see 12 different varieties of spices being grown – cinnamon, vanilla, pepper, cardamom, clove etc.
  • Kadathanadan Kathakali and Kalari centre
    • Kathakali – considered to be the oldest theatre forms in the world. All these performances are based on Hindu mythologies especially Ramayana and Mahabharata.
    • Kalari – Kalaripayatu is said to be the oldest martial arts form. Kadathanadan centre has a well-designed gallery offering the viewers a clear view of live Kalari performance from a safer distance.
  • Other attractions – Elephant Camp, Gavi forest and Vagamon (45 kms from Thekkady)

Alleppey/ Alapuzha

Kerala Tourism Places Alleppey the no. 1 tourist place in Kerala
View of houseboat cruising through backwaters of Alleppey

Also known as Venice of the east, Alleppey is said to be the no. 1 tourist place in Kerala. Alleppey offers a delightful experience with its backwaters, beaches and rustic village life.

Major attractions:

  • Houseboat – it is said that your trip to Alleppey is incomplete without a houseboat cruise or a stay. With the changing times the current generation of houseboats come equipped with all kinds of amenities as offered in a good hotel. The cruise offers a never-ending view of life in the backwaters of Alleppey
  • Other attractions – Alleppey Beach and Old Lighthouse

Kumarakom

Similar to Alleppey, Kumarakom is another backwater destination located on the same Vembanad lake in Kerala. This is more of a leisure destination and is known for some very good lakeside luxury resorts.

Major attractions:

  • Bird Sanctuary – regular visits by migratory birds make this place a haven for nature lovers and bird watchers. Apart from egret, cuckoo and wild duck, migratory bird Siberian crane is a major attraction here

Varkala

Kerala Tourism Places Varkala
Varkala beach

Varkala is a calm and quiet coastal town adjacent to the Arabian sea. The area is known for its pristine beaches, lakes, lighthouse and religious importance.

Major attractions:

  • Papanasam or Varkala Beach – known for its natural spring with medicinal properties, this beach attracts many visitors. It is believed that a holy dip in the waters helps in removing body impurities and human souls from all sins.
  • Other attractions – Janardhana Swami Temple, Varkala Lighthouse, Varkala Cliff and Watersports

Trivandrum/ Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala Tourism Places Trivandrum
Evening view of Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, Trivandrum

The capital city of Kerala, Trivandrum is an interesting mix of strong colonial heritage and modernisation. Trivandrum is full of scenic places and offers a huge variety of attractions.

Major attractions:

  • Padmanabhaswamy Temple – dedicated to Lord Vishnu this temple also known as Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple. The highlight here is the 3-dimensional view of Lord Vishnu reclining grandly on the serpent Anantha.
  • Puthen Malika Palace (The Horse Palace) – The palace contains paintings and artifacts of 18th century Kerala life. Things like white marble sculptures, Belgian mirrors, Kathakali figures and paintings can be seen here.
  • Napier Museum – The museum has a collection of historical and modern artifacts like –ornaments, coins, ivory carvings and life-size figures of Kathakali dancers. It also has a famous collection of 8th-18th century south Indian bronze.
  • Ponmudi –  A small hill station located about 55 kms north of Trivandrum. The region is rich in natural beauty with variety of flowers, springs, rivulets, spice and tea plantations. Cool weather conditions and appealing natural beauty makes Ponmudi an ideal weekend getaway.
  • Other attractions – Trivandrum Zoo, Shanghumugham Beach and Attukal Bhagawati temple

Kovalam

Kerala Tourism Places Kovalam
Kovalam light house

16 kms south from Trivandrum is the popular beach destination of Kerala – Kovalam. Accommodation facilities are much better in Kovalam as compared to Trivandrum, so it is advisable to book a stay in Kovalam and do a day excursion of Trivandrum.

Major attractions:

  • Kovalam Beach – the 17 kms long Kovalam beach consists of three beautiful beaches – Hawa beach, Lighthouse beach and Samudra beach.
  • Vizhinjam Lighthouse – offers an unforgettable view of Kovalam and Arabian sea shore
  • Other attractions – Azhimala temple, Azhimala Cliff and Vizhinjam Beach

Poovar

Poovar is a small coastal village located 15 kms south of Kovalam. The area is famous for its backwaters, beaches, beautiful estuaries and luxury resorts. Poovar Beach offers travellers a delightful view of the formation of backwaters.

Best Kerala Tour Plans

4 nights/ 5 days: Arrive Cochin > 2N Munnar > 1N Thekkady > 1N Alleppey/ Kumarakom > Depart Cochin

5 nights/ 6 days: Arrive Cochin > 1N Cochin > 2N Munnar > 1N Thekkady > 1N Alleppey/ Kumarakom > Depart Cochin

7 nights/ 8 days: Arrive Cochin > 2N Munnar > 1N Thekkady > 1N Alleppey/ Kumarakom > 2N Kovalam > 1N Cochin > Depart Cochin

8 nights/ 9 days: Arrive Cochin > 1N Athirapally > 2N Munnar > 1N Thekkady > 1N Alleppey/ Kumarakom > 2N Kovalam > 1N Cochin > Depart Cochin

Conclusion

Pleasant weather conditions, pristine beaches, serene backwaters, hills and striking wildlife makes Kerala a land of diverse tourist opportunities. One of the most interesting part of visiting Kerala is that every 3 – 4 hrs drive will take you to a different kind of terrain. This really makes it difficult to decide which part of Kerala is the best. Owing to all these factors, Kerala is considered to be one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Asia. I hope the above information was useful and helped you in knowing more about Kerala Tourism Places.

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