India is a beautiful country. There are enchanting locations from its head to toe. Kashmir in the North has been the fancy of everyone around the world for a very long time but no more. Anyone now visiting India never flinches to have Kerala on their list. And why wouldn’t it be? For those visiting, here’s the ultimate Kerala travel guide to help plan your trip to this beautiful region.

Kerala is a wondrous state and accommodates so many physical features ranging from the seas, the mountains and everything in-between. So, when you are visiting Kerala the next time, make sure you are not missing on any of the below-listed places.

Kerala Travel Guide

Our Kerala travel guide includes how to get to Kerala as well as the best places to visit in Kerala, including the not-to-miss Kerala beaches!

Getting to Kerala

A very important thing to take care of, while travelling in Kerala is the airport connectivity. The 2 major airports in the state are in Kochi in the North and Thiruvananthapuram in the South. So either you start your trip from the North going towards the South or the other way round.  This way you’ll be able to cover more places and use the time at your hand in the most optimum manner. You can view the Indian Railways schedule and book your tickets here, or search below.

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Tourism in Kerala

It is one of those fully absorbing places that are highly praised for its excellent tourism infrastructure. You can enjoy being in the midst of wildlife sanctuaries, bird sanctuaries, lakes, hill stations as well as enjoy rich cultural festivals. You’ll be amazed at the outstanding structural design, villages and polite natives. 
 
Vacationers also come here to resuscitate themselves at Ayurvedic Treatment & Spa Center. In fact, the whole state is a picture-perfect tourist destination. On the other hand Kerala is more than tourist spot; it is also a destination used for divine and intellectual exploration.

View some of the most popular Kerala tourism places and the activities that you can get up to here.

Nature in Kerala

On your tour of Kerala you will learn why the state is known as “God’s Own Country”.

The rich culture and heritage of Kerala also attract nature lovers from all over the world. Once you step into this charming paradise, all other things will appear dull and fading. The good part is that you can enjoy all this abundance without making any big hole in your pocket.
 
You can explore the backwaters of Alleppey (read more about things to do in Alleppey), beaches of Varkala, deep and dense forests of Thekkady, and the tea gardens of Munnar. The cool and crispy feel of this beautiful hill town called Munnar offers a perfect view to its tourists. Enjoy a hot cup of tea and overwhelm the sweet smell of pleasing surroundings.
 
Apart from these, you can visit harbors of Cochin, Kumarakom and incredible Wayanad.  The extensive mountains and thick and profound forests will give you an out-of-the-world and one-of-a-kind experience.

Kerala Travel Guide: Best places to visit in Kerala

Since there are so many beautiful Kerala destinations for its visitors, how about having a look at some of them? Yes, just dive into some of the most popular and enjoyed places of this paradise!

Kochi

Kochi, also known as Cochin, is a port city in Ernakulam district of Kerala state. It is one of the popular tourist places in Kerala and also a good place for a Kerala Backwaters trip. The city of Kochi is the right amalgamation of the words ancient and modern. The dockyards with huge ships are a sight to see. One can cruise around the city to take a tour of it.  The main spots are the Mattancherry Palace, Jew town Willingdon Island, Fort Kochi, Marine Drive, Bolgatty Palace, St.Francis Church etc.

If here, you must witness the Chinese fishing nets at work.  Walk the lanes of Jew town and enrich in the Jewish and Portuguese influences this place has. You should also visit the Lulu Shopping mall.

Search for accommodation in Kochi.

Munnar

The next destination you can cover is the surreal hill station of Munnar. Munnar is one of the most famous hill stations in Kerala located in Idukki district. Also known as the Switzerland of South India, Munnar is one of the best summer destinations in India and also one of the top places to visit in Kerala.

The high rise mountains are covered in tea plantations. Just sit in the balcony of your hotel and watch the painting like scenery unfold in front of your eyes. Rose garden, Kundala Dam lake, Echo point, Kanan Devan Tea museums are a few of the many places you must visit.

At the tea museums, tourists are shown how tea is made and the various processes involved in its production. You can buy a lot of spices, essential oils, teas amongst other souvenirs. It’s also popular to do a bicycle tour in Munnar.

Look for accommodation in Munnar.

Kerala travel guide - Munnar, India
The tea plantations in Munnar, India

Allepey

This Kerala destination is included on all Kerala travel guides – and you can’t skip it when visiting the region!

A 5-hour drive from Munnar will bring you to the Venice of East, Alleppey. The Kerala backwaters are simply beautiful. Alappuzha or Alleppey is situated on the shores of Arabian Sea close to the banks of Vembanad Lake. Popularly known as the ‘Venice of the East’, Alleppey tops the list of best tourist places in Kerala. Along with Kumarakom, Alappuzha is among the most famous destinations of Backwaters of Kerala.

Alleppey enjoys a prominent place in the list of the finest tourist places in Kerala. The houseboat stays, backwoods tours and peaceful beauty of this place fascinate a good number of people to its land. In fact, it will not be wrong to say that it is one of the most famous spot to taste Kerala’s backwaters.

The depiction of Lord Curzon about this place Alleppey as Venice of East is not at all an overstatement. A houseboat holiday is what tourists look for on visit to this land. Different areas of lovely paddy fields, old-fashioned sanctuaries, lakes full with water lilies and interesting fishing hamlets make Alleppey one of the finest places to visit in Kerala.

Kuttanad, Alappuzha Beach, Mannarasala, Chettikulangara Devi Temple, Mullakkal Temple and Krishnapuram Palace are the some popular tourist places in Alleppey.

Search for accommodation (including houseboats) in Alleppey.

Kerala Travel Guide - Alleppey
Houseboat in Alleppey, Kerala

Kovalam

A 5-hour drive from Alleppey will bring you to the clean and pristine beaches of Kovalam. Kovalam, on the shores of the Arabian Sea, is one of the most famous beaches in Kerala and also one of the most popular places for sightseeing in Kerala. The beautiful Kovalam Beach is also known as the ‘Paradise of the South’. Kovalam is literally filled with endless coconut trees, breathtaking views while approaching the beach.

For anybody tired from Goa, this is the perfect destination to unwind. Two beaches namely Havah beach and Lighthouse beach are the highlights of Kovalam. Just chill and enjoy the beach vibe at the any of the best beach resorts in Kerala.

Lighthouse Beach, Vizhinjam Mosque, Samudra Beach, and Eve’s Beach are the top places to visit in Kovalam. Kovalam is also famous for Ayurvedic massages and many yoga resorts.

After Kovalam, head to Thiruvananthapuram. Visit the Pothy’s mall and don’t miss to watch the Kathakali performances.

Kumarakom

Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the famous Vembanad Lake in the beautiful state of Kerala. Mapped near Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a peaceful little hamlet along with interesting scenaries, ever pleasant weather and arresting flora and fauna. You can experience a mix of everything here: authentic Kerala cuisines, backwoods, fresh gusty air, warmness of Keralite and delicious fresh coconuts.

Also known as the Queen of Vembanad, Kumarakom is the most famous Kerala Backwaters destination and is among the best places to experience Kerala Tourism. A houseboat cruise along the backwaters of Vembanad Lake is really an amazing experience. The Bird Kumarakom Sanctuary, Vaikom, Pathiramanal Island, Aranmula Temple and Erumeli are the popular Kumarakom tourist places. There are also loads of accommodation options in Kumarakom.

Thekkady

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India, is located at Thekkady in Kerala. The park was established in 1950 and was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 1978.

The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam adds to the charm of the park. Thekkady is famous for Asian Elephants, Tigers, Gaurs, Sambars, Wild Boars, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Civet, Nilgiri Tahr, etc.Murikkady, Chellar Kovil, Mangala Devi Temple, Suruli Falls and Pullumedu are the popular tourist places in Thekkady.

Wayanad

Wayanad is one of the marvelous hill stations in Kerala and also one of the popular tourist places to visit in Kerala. Kalpetta, Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady are the largest towns and are the base stations to visit different parts of the Wayanad district.

Blessed with several rain forests, Wayanad is also a wonderful monsoon destination in India. Meenmutty Falls, Soochipara Falls, Pookote Lake, Banasura Sagar dam, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Brahmagiri, Chembra Peak, Lakkidi and Edakkal Caves are the best places to visit in Wayanad.

Hill stations in Kerala, India
Hill stations in Kerala, India

Trivandrum

Trivandrum,the capital city of Kerala, is one of the popular tourist places in Kerala. Also known as Thiruvananthapuram, it is considered as one of the cleanest cities in India.

Trivandrum is famous for its alluring tourist spots including beaches, historic monuments, lakes, unexplored mountain ranges etc.

Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Napier Museum, Kanakakkunnu Palace, Science and Technology Museum, Kowdiar Palace, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Thiruvananthapuram Zoo are some of the top tourist places in Trivandrum.

Thrissur

Thrissur or Trichur is the cultural capital of Kerala and also one of the famous pilgrimage sites in Kerala. Thrissur hosts the world famous Thrissur Pooram held in the month of April / May.

This festival is the most colorful and spectacular temple festival of Kerala. UNESCO has awarded Thrissur Pooram as the most spectacular festival in the world.

The Vadakkunathan temple, Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple, Paramekkavu Temple,Guruvayur Temple, Athirapally Falls, Peechi Dam & Sanctuary, Thrissur Zoo, Vilangankunnu and Shakthan Thampuran Palace are the top places to visit in Thrissur.

Athirapally

Athirapally Waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in India and one of the top tourist places in Kerala. Formed over Chalakudy River, the waterfall drops from a height of 80 feet through several streams offering great scenic beauty.

In rainy season, the water flow is full and all the streams join together and appear like Niagara Falls. This is the biggest waterfalls in Kerala. The Vazhachal Waterfalls, Chapra falls and Sholayar Dam, Valparai are the nearest attractions to Athirapally. 

Kerala Travel Guide: Top beaches in Kerala

While Kerala is renowned for its backwaters and hill stations, there are also some beautiful beaches in Kerala. Alleppey Beach, Varkala Beach, Bekal Beach, Cherai Beach and Kozhikode Beach are the famous beaches in Kerala apart from Kovalam Beach. 

Bekal Beach

Bekal Fort Beach is an attractive and charming beach that lies in the Kasaragod district of Kerala. The beach is popular for its backwaters, forts and scenic beauty. The beautiful stretch of the shallow beach has been developed as an exotic beach location by the Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC). The beach offers an amazing view of the grand Bekal Fort which stands on the shores of the Arabian Sea. Bekal beach became a major holiday destination and one of the most renowned beaches of Kerala.

Kerala travel guide, India
Sunrise in Kerala

Varkala Beach

Varkala is a popular beach town as well as a place for pilgrimage in Kerala. Also known as Papanasam Beach, Varkala Beach is one of the top and beautiful Kerala Beaches and also one of the top tourist places in Kerala. One of the highlights of this beach is the cliffs that are adjacent to the sea and from which mineral water pours out containing important medicinal properties. The beach also offers adventurous sports activities like water skiing and surfing. One can also visit the 2,000 year old Sri Janardhana Swamy Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the nature care center on the beach.

Kozhikode Beach

Kozhikode Beach is one of the most popular beaches and the major tourist places in Kerala. Kozhikode Beach is blessed with wonderful scenery and peaceful, refreshing ambiance. The sound of the gushing waves, the mighty Arabian Sea and the clean azure waters, attracts tourists from all around. The old lighthouse and two crumbling piers that run into the sea, adds the beauty of the beach and retain its old world charm. The beach offers common activities like sunbathing, windsurfing, para- sailing, beach walking, fishing, etc.

Beaches in Kerala - Kozhikode Beach, India
Kozhikode Beach in Kerala

Cherai Beach

Cherai Beach with its stunning beauty has become a hugely popular tourist attraction, located on the north-end of the Vypeen Island in Kochi. It is also called as the Golden Beach of Kerala and the Princess of Arabian Sea. The far end of Cherai Beach is lined with Chinese fishing nets which offer a pleasing view. The beach offers various water sports activities like water scooters, speed boats, snorkeling and canoe ride. Cherai Beach is famous among the people in Kochi and the must visit place in Kerala.

Alleppey Beach

Alappuzha Beach, also known as Alleppey Beach is one of the top places to visit in and is one of the top attractions of Kerala.  Often referred as ‘Venice of East’, Alleppey is one of the popular destinations of Kerala Backwaters. The beach of Alleppey is also perfect for various water sports activities such as a motorboat cruise, surfing, diving, para-sailing and swimming in the blue waters of the Arabian Sea.

This beach is also popular for the grand event of Nehru Trophy Boat Race that takes place every year in the month of August.

Beaches in Kerala, India
Beaches in Kerala, India

That’s our comprehensive Kerala travel guide. Now that you know about the best places to visit in Kerala, you can start planning your Kerala itinerary.

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  • Bridget Langer