Kerala, nicknamed God’s Own Country, is a highly sought-after destination for global tourists, with hill-stations, backwaters, commercial cities, hamlets, and rich culture and heritage. From lush hill stations to scenic shores, backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries, tea gardens, waterfalls, Ayurvedic resorts, and bustling festivals, Kerala is a land of beauty and bliss, perfect for family vacations, romantic getaways, and honeymoon.
The state boasts an abundant geographical and cultural diversity, sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. There are 12 popular destinations in Kerala, along with over 100 tourist places, ranging from unending palm groves, pristine sandy beaches, sprawling tea plantations, rolling green hills, calming backwaters, to stunning art forms, amazing wildlife, beautiful temples, and tasty food.
Kerala is a marvel of natural beauty and cultural heritage, where one can indulge in ecotourism, Ayurvedic treatments, and experience the warm hospitality of its people. So, for those looking to visit this little paradise in the southern part of India, here are the best places to visit and things to experience in Kerala.
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1: Munnar (A Beautiful Hill Station)
Munnar is a popular hill station in Kerala, known for its tea plantations, valleys, and clouds. It used to be the summer capital of the British and is a great place to visit for a two-day itinerary. The town offers a romantic setting with its cute bungalows, homestays, and luxurious resorts making it one of the best honeymoon destinations in Kerala. Some of the places to stay include Chandy’s Windy Woods, Pallivasal, and The Panoramic Getaway, among others.
Tourists can engage in various activities such as plantation resort, tea estate tours, camping, and trekking at Echo Point, and spot rare species at Eravikulam National Park. Visitors can revel in the extraordinary blend of luxury and beauty at the most amazing honeymoon resorts in Munnar, including Chandy’s Windy Woods, Pallivasal, The Panoramic Getaway, Forest Glade, and Devonshire Greens. The town offers a wide range of accommodations, from cute bungalows and cozy homestays to lavish hotels and resorts, making it a romantic destination even among the top places to visit in Kerala.
The old world colonial feel adds to the town’s charm, and visitors can enjoy a good selfie drive while exploring the town’s winding narrow lanes. With its endless tea gardens, low-flying clouds, and aromatic vegetation, Munnar promises visitors an unforgettable experience.
Munnar is well connected by national highways, state highways, and rural roads. The nearest railway stations are at Ernakulam and Aluva, while the nearest airport is Cochin International Airport.
2: Alleppey (The Backwater Capital of India)
Alleppey, also known as the Venice of the East, is the perfect location for a 3-day trip itinerary in Kerala. The place offers a serene environment, with paddy fields, chapels, fishing villages, and lakes filled with water lilies. It is also one of the safest places to visit in Kerala during Covid. The place offers visitors the opportunity to experiment with new foods, with coconut and banana leaves being a particular fascination for the locals.
With its intricate grid of canals and waterways, Alleppey offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience life in a watery wonderland. Thousands of houseboats are available to take visitors on an unforgettable houseboat vacation, floating on its waters and enjoying the breath-taking beauty of the landscape. Visitors can also indulge in spiritualism by visiting the temples in the area, go shopping for souvenirs, or simply enjoy watching the sunset on the beaches.
Alleppey is known for its backwaters, making it the Backwater Capital of India. Visitors can enjoy a houseboat cruise and stay, village walks, and Ayurvedic therapies, among other things. Seated on the banks of the azure Vembanad Lake, Alleppey is one of the most popular backwater destinations in Kerala and one of the highest sought-after tourist places in Kerala.
3: Wayanad (Nature’s Abode)
Wayanad is a green tourist destination in Kerala with lush paddy fields, serene atmosphere, and rich culture. The place has small waterfalls that add to its charm and is home to some of the most refreshing forest places in Kerala. There are several places to stay such as Arayal, Banasura Hill, Wayanad Wild, and Mount Xanadu, and activities to do such as enjoying bamboo rafting in Kuruva Island, boating in Pookode Lake, camping, and cycling around town.
Located amidst the Western Ghats, Wayanad is a famous tourist destination with evergreen landscapes and blissful weather. The place offers tranquility, a magical ambiance, and a picture-perfect backdrop to satiate the emotional and physical state of mind. Wayanad is a popular destination for nature lovers, solo travelers, honeymooners, and families with children. It has countless options for adventure junkies to test their hidden adventurous skills.
Wayanad deserves a top rank in the list of places to visit in Kerala. It is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and perfect for spending time with nature and indulging in adventures. The district’s emerald beauty, misty roads, thundering waterfalls, and uninhibited wildlife welcome travelers to God’s Own Country. Trekking is the lure for adventure enthusiasts, whereas charming treehouses enchant honeymoon couples.
4: Kochi (Cochin)
Kochi also known as Cochin has a fascinating history dating back to the 14th century under colonial rule. As a major port city, Kochi was the center for the spice trade and had traders from various countries. Visitors can also experience the backwaters of Cochin in a grand houseboat ride through the Vembanattu Kayal. The best time to visit Cochin is from October to February when the weather is cool and pleasant.
The city has a rich history, heritage, and multi-ethnic culture reflected in its tourist sights, food, shopping, and every aspect of the town. Fort Kochi is a popular tourist place and the gateway to God’s Own Country.
With museums, palaces, synagogues, Hindu temples, churches, heritage buildings, art galleries, and beaches, Fort Kochi is a must-visit for nature lovers, history buffs, and tourists. Some of the top places to visit include the Indo-Portuguese museum, St. Francis Church, Muziris, Paradesi Synagogue, Kodanad, and Princess Street.
Festivals are a major attraction for tourists, and visitors can plan their Cochin tour to attend events like the Cochin Carnival during New Year’s, Onam Festival in August or September, and Shivaratri Mahotsavam at the Aluva Shiva temple. There is much to enjoy in Cochin, from the tranquil beauty of nature to ferry rides, bathing with elephants, Ayurvedic treatments, go-karting, shopping, and eating.
5: Kumarakom (An Enchanting Backwater Destination)
As a traveller visiting Kumarakom, you will be greeted with a sleepy village on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala that is rich in flora, fauna, and breathtaking scenery. It is a must-see location that has been featured in National Geographic Magazine. Visitors can take advantage of various leisure activities such as birdwatching at the bird sanctuary, boating and fishing at the Taj Garden Retreat, and enjoying houseboat trips that allow you to experience the cool air and beauty of the backwaters.
The migratory birds at Kumarakom are a sight to behold, and tourists can experience the rich cultural and historical diversity of the area. You can enjoy the traditional Kerala cuisine while cruising through the backwaters and take a trip to the beautiful island of Pathiramanal, or visit the 100 ft tall waterfall at Aruvikuzhi. Kumarakom is known for its divine, pristine, and serene ambience, and is a perfect destination to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The village of Kumarakom is gifted with great weather, beautiful landscapes, waterways, and lush greenery. Waterscapes, the backwater resort of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, offers independent cottages built on stilts set amidst coconut groves that provide a panoramic view of the backwaters. Kumarakom is one of the most spectacular destinations in Kerala, and visitors will have an unforgettable experience exploring the rich spectrum of cultural and historical diversity.
6: Kovalam (Kerala’s Beach Paradise)
Kovalam is a must visit on a trip to Kerala. It is an internationally renowned beach destination with three adjacent crescent beaches. The beach has calm waters ideal for sea bathing, and offers plenty of leisure activities such as sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, cultural programmes and catamaran cruising. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centres.
Accommodation facilities for tourists at Kovalam range from five star hotels to budget hotels and the choice of food available at restaurants and cafeterias range from Continental varieties to South Indian delicacies. Enjoy lip-smacking seafood and soothing Ayurvedic massages while you relax on the beach or try water sports like parasailing and snorkeling. Kovalam offers something for everyone, whether you are traveling with family, friends or your loved one.
Kovalam was once a small beautiful fishing village, but it became famous as a tourist destination in the 1930s when Europeans discovered its potential. The arrival of a mass of hippies in the seventies made Kovalam a hippy idyll providing fresh fish, fruit and toddy. Today, Kovalam is listed among the best destinations in Kerala and offers a little piece of paradise with its pleasant weather, soothing breeze, soft golden sand, and tall coconut trees.
7: Thekkady (City of Spices & Wildlife)
As a traveller who has explored Thekkady, this picturesque hill station in Kerala is a must-visit. It has something to offer for everyone, be it adventure enthusiasts, honeymooners, nature lovers, or backpackers. The place is surrounded by lush green forests, and the Periyar National Park adds to its charm by housing a wide range of exotic wildlife species.
Thekkady is the only place where one can watch wild animals from the safety of a boat. You can spot herds of elephants, tigers, and other animals and birds in their natural habitat. Besides wildlife, Thekkady is also famous for its spice plantations, which make it the ‘City of Spices.’ The aroma of spices fills the air, and you can witness the cardamom hills, which are the major producers of cardamom in Kerala.
Apart from the scenic beauty and wildlife, Thekkady also offers adventure activities like trekking and adventure tourism, which is a bonus for adrenaline junkies. You can also explore the man-made lake through boat rides and witness the breathtaking waterfalls and scenic spots amidst the lush greenery. The calmness and natural beauty of Thekkady will undoubtedly leave you mesmerized.
8: Kozhikode (Food Capital of Kerala)
Kozhikode is a perfect tourist destination in North Kerala, known for its pristine seashores, historical significance, friendly locals, and rich traditions. The city offers everything that tourists look for when on holiday, from beaches, museums, temples, churches, wildlife, sculptures, parks, and rivers.
The best time to visit is between October and February when the weather is pleasant. Kozhikode is also famous for traditional art forms of the Muslim communities of Malabar, temple-based art forms, and folk songs that celebrate the martial art of Kerala.
Kozhikode is a peaceful city with beautiful backwaters, tranquil beaches, and lush greenery, making it a charming weekend getaway for locals and travellers. The city has a rich history as Vasco-de-Gama first set foot in India here, and it was a mighty seaport where traders from Arabia, China, and Africa once converged.
Kozhikode is also the food capital of Kerala, with mouth-watering dishes like Kozhikkodan Biriyani, Sulaimani, and others served with love. The city celebrates festivals like Onam, Vishu, Eid, and Christmas with equal pomp and joy.
9: Idukki (The Gem of Western Ghats)
Idukki is a nature-rich district in Kerala that boasts diverse tourist attractions. It includes wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, dams, spice plantations, mountain treks, and elephant rides. It is home to popular tourist destinations like Munnar, Thekkady, Anamudi, Eravikulam National Park, and Periyar Tiger Reserve. The district is surrounded by cascading waterfalls, tea gardens, and rolling green hills, making it an ideal destination for a honeymoon or family holiday.
Idukki is a gem in the lap of the Western Ghats and attracts visitors from all over the world. The district is home to many natural marvels like Anamudi and captivating sanctuaries and spice gardens, making it a must-visit for nature lovers. The popular tourist spots in Kerala like Munnar, Vagamon, Ramakkalmedu, Marayur, and Thekkady are located within this district.
Idukki is the perfect destination for relaxation and rejuvenation. It is nestled amidst verdant hills and forests, surrounded by tea and spice plantations. The district is famous for its stunning natural aura and attractions, making it a popular spot for treks, nature walks, and bird watching.
10: Vagamon (The Perfect Summer Destination)
Vagamon is a picturesque hill station situated on the Idukki-Kottayam border, offering beautiful gardens, meadows, and tea gardens. The town is an ideal tourist destination with an elevation of 1100 metres above sea level, surrounded by greenery, deep valleys and dales. The place is a haven of equanimity with religious mysticism and European legacies, including the Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill, and Kurisumala, which are a mark of religious harmony.
Vagamon is a tiny plantation township in Central Travancore, with lush green hills, breathtaking ravines, and meandering rivulets, making it a perfect tourist place surrounded by tea gardens, fresh cool air, murmuring Pine forest, small waterfalls, and attractive meadows. The town offers an extraordinary experience with a meandering road cut in solid rock lined with pine forests.
For adventure seekers, there is an option of trekking, para gliding, or rock climbing. The hill station also has a chain of 3 beautiful hills called Thangal hill, Murugan hill and Kurismala that give an enchanting feel to this beautiful hill station. Besides being abundant in natural beauty, the place also offers space for spiritual activities, making it a perfect place for meditation.
11: Munroe Island (Sinking Island of Kerala)
Munroe Island, also known as Mundrothuruthu, is an unexplored destination in the Kollam district of Kerala. It consists of a cluster of eight beautiful islets connected by canals. It is named after Resident Colonel John Munroe, who integrated several backwater regions by digging canals. The island is a peaceful getaway from modern life and offers canal cruises and the famous Kallada Boat Race held during the Onam festival.
Munroe Island is located at the confluence of the Kallada river and Ashtamudi lake and is surrounded by coconut plantations, narrow canals, lagoons, and mangrove forests. It is a popular tourist destination in Kerala, with the best time to visit being throughout the year due to the pleasant coastal weather. The canal cruise, operated by the District Tourism Promotion Council, is a must-do activity and costs INR 500 per person.
The island is ideal for family vacations, honeymoon trips, backpacking trails, or casual holidays. It is a hidden pearl in the backwaters that showcases the scenic rural landscape of Kerala, offering a unique and tranquil setting away from the chaos of modern life. The monsoon season from June to September should be avoided due to hot and humid weather.
12: Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)
Thiruvananthapuram, also known as Trivandrum, is the capital of the state of Kerala. It is renowned for its beaches, backwaters, and hill stations, making it a popular tourist destination for both Indian and foreign visitors. It is also considered one of the cleanest and calmest cities in India.
The city has many historic buildings and museums, including the revered Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, which is a source of spiritual bliss for visitors. Meanwhile, tourists can also enjoy water sports and get a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the local society. Thiruvananthapuram is among the greenest cities in India and is rapidly modernizing, while also preserving its ancient history and culture.
There are many places to stay in the city, such as The Raviz Kovalam, Hilton Garden Inn, and Hycinth Hotels. Thiruvananthapuram is one of the most beautiful cities in India and attracts tourists from all walks of life who want to explore its rich culture and natural beauty.
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