Kerala is a highly sought after tourist spot in India, famous for its lush tea plantations, serene backwaters, and fragrant spice farms. Nicknamed “God’s Own Country,” Kerala offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With its diverse landscapes, from cool hilltops to sunny beaches, Kerala is a feast for the eyes. Here is a list of must-visit destinations for those exploring this tropical haven.
Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, is famous for its spectacular backwaters, a system of interconnecting canals, rivers, and lakes that cover half of Kerala. Visitors can tour the backwaters on a traditional “Kettuvallam” houseboat, savoring the flavors of local cuisine along the way. The area is also home to several historic temples and churches that add to its picturesque charm.
Getting There: The nearest airport is Cochin International, located 75 km away. The airport offers connections to major cities in India and abroad.
Accommodations: For a luxurious experience, consider renting a houseboat such as The Tharangini House Boat, JCT House Boat, or Cosy Houseboats, which start at 6,500 INR per night. If you prefer to stay on land, try The Ramada Alleppey, Citrus Retreats, or Lemon Tree Vembanad Lake Hotel, with rates ranging from 3,000-7,000 INR per night.
Kochi serves as both the cultural and economic center of Kerala and is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. From the iconic Chinese fishing nets to the abundant spice farms, Kochi offers plenty of visual delights. This city is a melting pot of diverse cultures and still holds many traditional elements to this day. With surprises around every corner, Kochi is waiting to be explored.
Getting There: Kochi is accessible by direct flights from major cities in India and around the world. The city center is approximately 29 km from the airport.
Thekkady is the proud host of the well-known Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, where visitors can witness elephants roaming in their natural habitat, embark on a trek through verdant forests, savor a picturesque boat ride on the Periyar Lake, or embark on an elephant safari for an immersive wilderness experience. As a premier destination for wildlife enthusiasts and those in search of rejuvenation amidst the misty Nilgiri Mountains, Periyar is a must-visit.
Accessibility: Thekkady/Periyar can be easily reached, being approximately 165 km from Kochi (Cochin). The Periyar Tiger Reserve boasts of convenient road and rail connections to Kochi. For those in a hurry, the quickest mode of transportation to Thekkady/Periyar from Kochi would be by car, taking around 4 hours.
Munnar is famous for its breathtaking scenery and is regarded as one of the premier tourist spots in Kerala. Located in the Western Ghats, Munnar is a major tea producer in India. The picturesque hills rising towards the skies give a revitalizing vibe. Its location between the Arabian Sea and Western Ghats makes it a distinct retreat from urban life.
Thrissur, once the capital of the Cochin Kingdom, is now referred to as the cultural hub of Kerala, owing to its abundant history of spiritual, cultural, and religious importance. Visitors can admire the many beautiful temples and churches that come alive during festivals in the city. While in Thrissur, be sure to try the delicious Vellayappam, a type of rice hopper specialty of the area.
Getting there: Thrissur does not have its own airport, but the nearest one is Kochi Airport, located 95 km away. Thrissur is easily accessible by regular trains from other major cities in India and via tourist buses.
Relax on the sandy shores of Kovalam, surrounded by an abundance of coconut trees and lush vegetation. This popular tourist destination has also become known for its Ayurvedic healing offerings, making it a perfect escape for those seeking rejuvenation.
Getting there: Kovalam is located 20 km from the nearest airport and railhead, Trivandrum. Taxis or auto-rickshaws are convenient transportation options in Kerala.
Discover the beauty of Wayanad
Wayanad, situated in the southern part of India, is a sought-after hill station recognized for its production of tea, coffee, spices such as cardamom and pepper, and other agricultural products. Visitors can explore the many natural wonders in the area, including waterfalls, caves, lakes, and dams, and enjoy the cool weather. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can spot wildlife like Spotted Deer, Bison, Cheetah, and Bears.
How to get there: The closest airport is the Calicut International Airport, 87 km from Wayanad. The nearest railway station is at Nilambur Road, 53 km away. Buses to Wayanad are available from major cities across the country.
Where to stay: There are several comfortable hotels to choose from in Wayanad, including Vythiri Village, Upavan Resort, The Woods Wayanad, and Wayanad Silver Woods Resort, priced from 2500-6500 INR per night.
Trivandrum, also known as Thiruvananthapuram, is the capital of the state and a culturally rich city. Trivandrum has a rich history marked by rule under various dynasties and has a distinctive cultural legacy in terms of its architecture and traditions that still persists. A must-visit in the city is the Kowdiar Palace, which was once the official residence of the Travancore royal family. Trivandrum is easily accessible by air, trains and major roads.
The beachfront walkway in Kozhikode.
Kozhikode, also called Calicut, is famous for its historical and cultural significance. Throughout the years, various dynasties lived there, leaving their impact on the city and earning it the nickname “City of Sculptures. Getting to Kozhikode is convenient as it is easily accessible through major airports and its railway station connects it to other cities in India.Kannur
Kannur, a former British trading center in the south, still retains its colonial heritage blended with the local flavor. Visitors can tour St. Angelo Fort, stroll the Payyamabalam Beach, witness wildlife at the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, or take a ferry ride over the Laccadive Sea. Kannur is a perfect destination for everyone.
Getting there: While Kannur International Airport is under construction, taking the train is an option. There are trains from all major cities in the country that reach Kannur, including six daily trains connecting Kannur to the capital, Trivandrum.