Kerala, also known as God’s own country is a land of rich heritage, culture, incredible history and the warmest and most welcoming people. It’s true that you cannot enjoy and experience the natural beauty of Kerala in a day or two. If you are ready to take a few days off from your hectic work schedule and spend time, you should definitely plan a visit to Kerala which is endowed with lush green forests, beautiful beaches, hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries, backwaters, vegetation, spice plantation, and more. Plan your itinerary in such a way to include the must-visit places in Kerala and things to watch & do before your return.
I have picked the most popular tourist destinations of Kerala which are known for their amazing beauty and warmth. Kerala has four international airports in Kochi, Trivandrum, Kozhikode, and Kannur districts. Kochi International Airport is the most preferred airport in Kerala by most travellers since the place gives easy access to several popular tourist destinations like Munnar, Athirappally, Thekkady, Alappuzha, etc. The rustic villages, historical sights, architectural marvels, and green vegetation offer travellers a lot more to experience.
Kochi: Commercial Capital of Kerala
Let’s start from Kochi, the fashion capital of Kerala. The fabulous places to visit in the Ernakulam district include Fort Cochin, known for its elegant seaside area; British, Dutch, and Portuguese, colonial architecture; complex bamboo fishing nets at Fort Kochi Beach; Mattancherry Palace; Jewish Synagogue; St. Francis Church; Jain temple; Santacruz Basilica are the other must-experienced places in Kochi. More than just the scenic beauty, Kochi is popular for its happening life and cosmopolitan culture. When you visit Kochi, you will understand that Kochi is really an emotion or sense of intimacy for the people here. Cherai beach, Vypin beach, Fort Kochi beach, Kuzhupilly beach, Munambam, and Njarakkal Arattuvazhi are the popular beaches in the district. Apart from this, Kochi has many other unexplored and uncelebrated places hidden in the remote parts.
Located on the Malabar coast, Kozhikode is famous for its rich cultural heritage, exotic spices, historical landmarks and of course the lovely people. People who spend a few days in Kozhikode will never forget the virtues of this land and the people here. The Dutch and British influenced architecture of the cities, authentic Malabar cuisines and commercial spots make Kozhikode one of the favourite destinations in Kerala. The must-visit places in Kozhikode include Mananchira, Sweet Market Street, Kozhikode Beach, Conolly Canal, Kallayi, Tali Temple, Kappad Beach- the historic beach in which Vasco da Gama landed, Thusharagiri Waterfalls, Sarovaram Bio park, Payyoli Beach, Paragon hotel, Kozhippara Falls, and Matri Dei Cathedral. Don’t forget to buy the delicious Kozhikode halwa on your return.
Athirappally – Vazhachal Falls
Situated on the famous Chalakudy river in the Sholayar reserve forest of Thrissur district, Athirappally waterfalls should be on the top of your bucket list during the Kerala trip. Called the ‘Niagra of India’, this Bahubali waterfall is famous for film shoots and honeymoon hideaways. The endless music of this beautiful waterfall amidst the green forest is an unbeatable view for visitors. The pristine water and charm of falls will give you an enchanting experience. Vazhachal falls, which is located 5kms away from Athirappally is another don’t-miss spot where you enjoy breathtaking views along with some rare species of birds and plant life. Nothing can be more ravishing than the sight of enchanting falls from a height of 80 feet amidst the rustic forest landscape. Being here, you will feel more connected to nature.
Idukki: Spice Garden of Kerala
Have you seen the mist falling in Meesapulimala? If not, head to Idukki. Idukki is really a gem of a place with pristine beauty, untouched nature, misty rich atmosphere, green hills, wide tea garden, and impressive tourist attractions. Fascinating Munnar, enticing Thekkady, South India’s largest peak -Anamudi, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Eravikulam National Park, and many other mesmerising tourist places in Kerala come under the Idukki district. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Marayoor sandalwood forest, Idukki Arch Dam, Anayirankal Dam Reservoir, Panchalimedu, Anchuruli Waterfalls, Tea Museum, Keezharkuthu Falls, Hill View Park, etc are some of the other major attractions in Idukki.
Munnar: Kashmir of South India
Munnar is approximately 130km from Kochi. A drive to Munnar through the Western Ghats will get you to cover the most exquisite landscape, coffee and tea plantations, mist-covered hills, waterfalls etc. As one of the most beautiful hill stations in South India, the places in preferred by couples for honeymoon. You don’t have to worry about the stay in Munnar since the place houses a lot of homestays and beautiful resorts. Have your breakfast, and start exploring. Eravikulam National Park, TATA Tea Museum, Spice plantations, Cheeyappara Waterfalls, Mattuppetty dam, etc are the must-watch places in Munnar.
Thekkady, a fascinating location in the Wayanad district of Kerala, is popular for its adventure activity zones, eco-tourism, and stunning natural phenomena. On your visit to Thekkady, you should pay a visit to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, enjoy an open-jeep safari, hill or terrain trekking, forest trekking, and bamboo rafting. Don’t skip the chance to observe the wildlife wonders, nature walks, tribal visits, spice and coffee/tea plantations, etc. Plan your night stay in a nature resort in Thekkady to enjoy the most.
Vagamon is one of the beautiful must-visit places in Kerala that is notable for its green velvet hills, mystic climate, lush green beauty, and serene atmosphere. The chain of three hills – Murugan, Kurishumal, and Thangal stay as models of Hindu, Muslim, and Christian harmony. Untouched by urban influences, this quaint place is best for adventure junkies to indulge in trekking, paragliding, mountaineering and rock climbing.
Wayanad: the Hill District of Kerala
Wayanad, the land of holy trails is well-known for its perfect blend of natural beauty and man-made heritage. A visit to Wayanad will be a truly unforgettable experience -its wonderful traditions, tribal heritage, calm beauty, charming nature, lush green vegetation, refreshing forest areas, and myriads of small waterfalls make this place one of the must-visit tourist places in Kerala. Banasura Hill, Lakkidi View Point, Thirunelli Temple, Kuruva Island, Puliyarmala Jain Temple, Papanasini River, Thusharagiri Waterfalls, and Kabini are some of the major attractions that you should not miss visiting. On your stay in Wayanad, don’t miss to enjoy camping, boating, cycling, river rafting, and trekking.
Kumarakom, a quiet hamlet with its tranquil atmosphere, pleasant beauty, exotic flora and fauna, alluring backwater background, and delightfully delicious Kerala food is one of the best places everyone would like to visit in Kerala. The tempting Vembanad lake, waterways, coconut grooves, fresh paddy fields, thick mangrove forests, and unpolluted fresh air add more glamour to visit. Kumarakom bird sanctuary, which is home to many migratory bird species, is another must-visit destination in Kerala.
Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey is famous for its backwaters, cruise in houseboats, seafood, toddy, and authentic rustic life. You just take a 5-6 hours houseboat trip and relish the beauty of the lakes, fishing activities, local cuisine, etc. Mararikulam beach, known as the turtle beach in Alappuzha is a must-visit here. Repose on the golden beach and soak in the tropical sun. You can also rejuvenate in an Ayurvedic spa for a relaxing holiday getaway in Alappuzha.
Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala is a labyrinth of shimmering waterways, canals, streams, lakes, flashy paddy fields, rustic villages, and tropical greenery. Chartering a houseboat is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Kuttanad. Located below sea level, Kuttanad’s lush green farmlands, ducks waddling, acres of backwaters, toddy shops, and ferries will help you escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
If you are a beach lover, Marari is the perfect place in Kerala to relish the beauty of the seaside. The beautiful white sand beach along with its gorgeous sunset view is one that you should not miss in Alappuzha. Pamper in sun-basking and some beach activities for better relaxation.
Munroe island located at the confluence of Ashtamudi Lake and River Kallada in Kollam district is popular for canal cruises in Kerala. Named after Colonel Munroe, this island is rich in coconut plantations, narrow canals, mangrove forests, and lagoons. Plan a trip to Munroe Island and enjoy swaying on a traditional ‘vallam’ for a delightful experience.
Nelliyampathy, the enchanting hill station in Palakkad is located at a height of 467 to 1,572 m above sea level. Seethargundu viewpoint is one of the spectacular locations near Nelliyampathy Hills. Nelliyampathy is home to many wild animals and is a favourite spot for nature lovers as well as photographers. Popular for trekking, Nelliyampathy is near to several sightseeing points such as Parambikulam, Victoria Church Hills, Karappara Dam, Tea/Cardamon/Coffee plantations, Pothundy earth dam, vegetable farms, and more. You would love the serene beauty of this hill station.
If you are in Kerala, a drive to Ponmudi hills in Trivandrum would be the best choice to escape from the stressful life. The hill slopes wrapped in the mist is a fantastic view for the visitor. Covered in mountain flowers and wild Orchids, the place nestles exotic butterflies as well. On the way, you can stop over at the dazzling Kallar River, which flows parallel to the road. Ponmudi offers exquisite trekking trails for great excitement. Trekking to Varayadu Motta, the most popular trekking trail in Ponmudi gives a picturesque view of the hills along with the Nilgiri Tahrs.
Varkala located in the Trivandrum district is one of the incredible places to visit in Kerala. The influx of foreign and domestic tourists itself is a testament to its popularity as an amazing tourist destination in Kerala. The enticing cliff and coastline offer a panoramic view for visitors. Varkala beach is popular for horse riding and water sports activities like boat riding, surfing, parasailing, and jetting in Kerala. The unmatched beauty of the beach during sunsets, homestays, resorts, party clubs and hues of nightlife add more vigour and beauty to the place.
Kovalam is celebrated for its gorgeous beaches that are visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists from across the world. The place is popular for its sunbathing fest, Ayurvedic spa, and cultural diversity. The major attractions in the nearby location include Kanyakumari, a coastal town in the state of Tamil Nadu on India’s southern tip, Padmanabhaswamy temple, Museum, Zoo, Napier temple, The Lighthouse, Samudra Beach, Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple, Vizhinjam Marine Aquarium, Vizhinjam Fishing Harbor, Vellayani Lake, Karamana River, Halcyon Castle, and plenty of other phenomenal places.
So, you got the list of places to visit in Kerala. Ready to immerse in the beauty of Kerala? Then, now is the time to relinquish in the magnificence of Kerala. No matter where you visit, these places Kerala will surely give you an unmatchable experience!