Kerala , known as Gods Own Country has some of the best tourist destinations in India for any kind holiday. It is the land of coconuts, backwaters, elephantsand the land of rich cultures and traditions, and has been one of the most sought after places by travelers from all around the world which was also recommended by Lonely Planet as one of the must visit family destinations to visit.
It is without doubt one of the most beautiful places on earth and that’s why it is known as’Gods Own Country’. From the stunning beaches along the Malabar Coast to the maze of backwater canals cutting through huge rice fields to the glorious rolling hillside tea plantations in the Western Ghats, Kerala’s landscapes are almost as diverse as its people and the culture and history of the people of Kerala is a major factor in attracting the tourists. If you are planning to visit Kerala, here is a selection of the best places to visit in Kerala curated by the holiday experts in Iris Holidays.
Kerala , is one of the most awesome tourist locations in the world and that’s why it is known as ‘Gods Own Country’.Kerala has some of the best destinations in the world for any type family vacation or holiday or honeymoon. It is the area of rich cultures, traditions and folk dances and is also the land of elephants, coconuts, backwaters and unique local cuisine.
From the awesome seashores along the Malabar Shore to the labyrinth of backwater pathways in Alleppey and Kumarakom to the fantastic verdant hillside tea gardens in Munnar, Kerala’s scenery are almost as different and unique as its individuals and the lifestyle and record of the individuals of Kerala is a significant component in gaining the visitors from all over the world.
If you are preparing to check out Kerala, here is a selection of the Top 15 places to visit in Kerala curated by the expert holiday professionals in Iris Holidays.
ALSO SEE Best Time to Visit Kerala
Alphabetical list of best places to visit in Kerala
Alleppey is well known for the backwater trips on houseboats and always comes on top among the best destinations to check out in Kerala, simply because it is a exclusive encounter that you cannot get anywhere else on the globe. Alleppey was described as the one of the locations known as ‘Venice of the East’ by Lors Curzon. A houseboat vacation along the natural backwaters in Alleppey provides a chance to observe landscapes attractions like lavish paddy areas below the water levels, small chapels, fishing with netting, ducks in water, water lilies etc, sure to remain etched in your mind forever. A vacation along the pathways with conventional Kerala food provided in a bananas leaves is fascinating with a meditative spell that is weaving a feeling of calmness and beauty around you . All months from Sept to May are fun to check out and go to Alleppey which has few of the best backwater trips in Kerala. Some other tourist destinations in Alleppey are Chettikulangara Bhagawathy Temple , Arthunkal Church , Krishnapuram Palace, Pathiramanal, Marari Beach, Sri Krishna Temple in Ambalappuzha etc other than the beach in Alleppey which may be among the closest encounters to Arabian Sea. All months from September to May are good time to visit and go to Alleppey which has few of the best backwater tours in Kerala. All months from September to May are good time to visit and go to Alleppey which has few of the best backwater tours in Kerala.
Munnar is the most popular hill station in South India and one of the best places to see in Kerala. It has exclusive views of extreme mountain slopes which are covered with about 80,000 miles of green tea farms like organic bedding over mountains which offer views of low-flying clouds and misty valleys. Munnar is usually cold and relaxed and gives you a incredible sensation, with the dense spray around you in the center of the organic tea farms. Munnar was once the summer season of the erstwhile English and English settlers found that the elevation, slope and alignment of the hills were particularly designed for the farming of tea. The modern end result is the lavish organic mountains decorated by tea gardens which is the sight to look out for in modern Munnar. There are also lot of waterfalls and hiking routes in Munnar for the adventure seeking guests. With its drowsy little bungalows, bungalows, old play areas and tea factories, Munnar is one of those unique hill stations in India with an old world colonial feel to the area.
If you have craved to stay in a small village in Kerala for enjoying the backwaters, sipping on tender coconut water, tasting some authentic Kerala food and experiencing the warmth of fresh air, Kumarakom is the place you should be in when you travel to Kerala. Situated near the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a sleepy little hamlet with exotic scenery and rare flora and fauna. The place offers boating, house boat cruising, fishing and sightseeing. Canals, waterways and lakes decorated with lilies and lined with coconut groves, green paddy fields and mangrove forests will be quite tempting for any visitor to have a stress relieving vacation. Kumarakom is situated near to Ayemenem town where the popular book The God of Small Things was set is the most awesome position in Kerala (arguably) providing you the most delightful Kerala food. Sailing through the relaxed wealthy waters of Kumarakom in an experience in Kerala in itself. Spread across 14 acres, the sanctuary accommodates varieties of birds including teal, wild duck, egrets, herons, cuckoo, waterfowl, darters and also migratory birds. The place offers boat trip around the islands giving you a breathtaking experience of watching the birds and the nature’s beauty. The sanctuary is open for public daily from 6AM to 6PM.Checkout our post on Kumarakom Village and the houseboat experience in Kumarakom.
To know the greener side of Kerala, one must visit Wayanad which translates to the land of paddy fields in Local language Malayalam. It won’t be irrelevant to call it the ‘Green Paradise’ if you are planning for a sightseeing in Kerala. Calm and quiet, enriched with scenic beauty, tradition and wildlife, Wayanad is a blend of nature and heaven together and is one of the best places to visit in Kerala during summer. Wayanad is also famous for the richness it holds in the tribal heritage and agricultural abundance. Observing the lifestyle of over fifty tribes dwelling in this region will be a mind-blowing experience. The place is least populated when compared to other districts in Kerala, but the exoticness and landscape make it a must visit destination in the God’s own country. Wayanad all together has many exotic locations in and around the district like edakkal caves, banasura sagar dam, Wayanad Wildlife Santuary, Lakkidi, Tusharagiri Waterfalls, Kalpetta, and Sentinel Rockfalls. Checkout an article on Wayanad Tourism and an experience in the hills of Northern Wayanad.
ALSO SEE – Tourist Places in Wayanad
Periyar Wildlife sanctuary in Thekkady is a popular wild life sanctuary preserving various species of animals including elephants, tigers, sambars, gaurs and the very rare lion tailed macaques. The forest is situated on the banks of the lake, Periyar. Of the 777 sq kms of area, 360 sq km has been taken up bythe thick evergreen forest. Thekkady’s scenic beauty along with its wildlife has been attracting tourists and visitors from all over the world for years. Probably the best position in Kerala to see wildlife while doing a boat trip trip in Thekkady lake. From the mighty Indian elephant to the Great Indian tiger to leopards, boars, bisons, deers etc Thekkady has it all that a wild life sanctuary has. The tourism department provides going up the right into the middle of the jungles either on feet or on top of elephants. If you want some more awesome adventure,you can take the path from Moozhiyar to Thekkadi via Gavi spinning through the thickest wooded miles of Kerala. Elephants are a common sight in Thekkady and boating is the favortie past time for most tourist who visits Thekkady. Checkout Thekkady Boatimings and Things to do in Thekkady Tourism .
ALSO SEE – Bamboo rafting in thekkady
Cochin is in central kerala and it is easy to get to most of the tourist places in Kerala from Kochi , the primary reason because of which Kochi is the starting point for most of the Kerala tour packages. Though the tourist destination is known as Kochi, it is a part of Ernakulam which is a beautiful district located on the coast of the Arabian Sea and must see place to go in Kerala. Ernakulam city is quite fast and modern and the old art of city is theFort Kochi with a mix of british, portugese and dutch cultures spread all across. Though Ernakulam is also known as Cochin, the latter is an interesting city in the district often known as the commercial capital of Kerala. Ernakulam is also titled as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’ as it is one of the finest natural harbors in the world. In the past, Dutch, Portuguese, Arabs, Chinese and the British have visited here and left their impressions in the town. Today, Ernakulam is as a booming metropolis city in Kerala with many industrial buildings and IT hubs taking shape in and around it.
Just 8 kilometers away from the Ernakulam town is a historic place of Fort Cochin which has some beautiful impressions of the foreign heritage. The place used to be a Municipal town for more than a century and is now one of the major urban elements of the present day Cochin; Ernakulam is another and Mattancherry forms the third element. One can find old English, Dutch and Portuguese houses and buildings in both Fort Cochin and Mattancherry that take us back to those colonial periods. Besides those beautifully laden busy streets and shops, there are a few places in Fort Cochin as well as Mattancherry that attract tourists, mostly foreigners like Chinese Fishing Nets, Jewish Synagogue, Dutch Cemetery, Mattancherry Palace and so on.
Thiruvananthapuram which is the capital city of Kerala is a blend of serenity and city life.Thiruvananthapuram means The City of Lord Anantha is of historical importance and has many stories to unfold. Thiruvananthapuram owes a lot to Padmanabha Swamy Temple – for the charm, fame and the name. This huge temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu situates in the heart of the city, East Fort. A mix of Dravidian and Kerala architectural style, the Padmanabha Swamy Temple is the right place for art lovers as it holds many ancient stone carvings and mural paintings. The divine idol of Lord Vishnu reclining on the Serpent Anantha is yet another treat to the eyes.
Being the largest and the most populous city in Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram has people from various parts of the state living here in social, religious and cultural harmony. The city also holds India’s first IT Park and Asia’s third largest, Technopark, making it a land of technology as well. As large as it is, Thiruvananthapuram has many breathtaking locations, of which some must-visits are Kuthiramalika Palace Museum , Napier Museum , Ponmudi, Kovalam, Veli Tourist Village and ThenmalaSri Padmanabhaswamy Temple which is the riches temple in the world is also in trivandrum. .
Varkala in Kerala is a amazing beach with a little seaside and a high high cliff part which is complete of action and is among the best seaside places in Kerala . 51 miles away from Thiruvananthapuram, on its northern side, Varkala has the appeal and potential to entice guests from all over the world with its natural charm and high cliffs. The seaside is quite well-known among people from other countries as its journey and enjoyment provides many interesting activities such as sun bathing, boat riding, surfing and ayurvedic massages. Varkala also is unique as a important pilgrim of the Hindus and the beach called Papanasham which translates into was away your sins is supposed to be the best place to look at the sunset. The long unique seaside places, amazing resorts, fresh air etc attracts the guests to Varkala, who wish to have a less crowded beach vacation than that in near by Kovalam. The unique and amazing destinations of varkala is one of the best cases for the appeal of God’s Own Country. Varkala seaside is about one range long and divided into two. The northern end is for sun worshippers & the south east end is for Hindu lovers and the varkala tourist sightseeing include attractions like Varkala Beach, Janardhana Temple , Sivagiri Mutt and Kappil Lake.
ALSO SEE – Best Beach Resorts in Kerala
Rated as among the best beaches in India even before Kerala Tourism shot into prominence Kovalam is the favorite option of many tourists in Kerala for relaxing in the sun, ayurvedic treatments and powerful strong deep massages. The crescent shaped beach has a light house on its southern side, which provides an excellent view of the city especially the moon-shaped beach and the Vizhinjam mosque. Kovalam which is derived from cocnut trees is 16 kms away from Trivandrum. The mild home provide an awesome perspective of the moon-shaped beach and the Vizhinjam mosque. To the northern of Kovalam is the Samudra beach and Hawah beach is in the middle of Kovalam. The rocky formations mixes with the calm blue bay to turn the bay into a exclusive aquarelle on moonlit evenings. Three beaches at Kovalam are divided the rocky formations that is projecting out to the sea. The bigger one is known as Light House Beach and the second biggest in the Hawah beach.Check out Tourist Places near Kovalam Beach and a weekend holiday experience in Kovalam.
ALSO SEE –Kovalam or Varkala
Across the Idukki-Kottayam border, there is an enchanting hill station called Vagamon, pulling visitors and tourists across the world to feel the nature’s rhythm in wild. Studded with meadows, gardens, dales, tea plantations and valleys, Vagamon is a promising hill station holiday retreat in India. Mystic hills, perfectly maintained lawns and fresh air are quite enough to make your visit ravishing. What makes Vagamon extraordinary is a chain of hills contemplating religious harmony – Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala. Vagamon is one of those places that have to be experienced live than just read about and is rated among the best hill stations in India.
ALSO SEE Vagamon Tourism Destinations
In Kasargod district of Kerala, locates a place called Bekal with beauty engraved all over. The Bekal Fort enhanced with the Arabian Sea is definitely one of the most significant tourist attractions. Film directors’ favorite, the Fort has also done a major role in enriching various Indian movies, especially their songs. In Kerala, Bekal Fort is the best preserved and the largest among its kind. This giant keyhole shape fort with the excellence of the sea surrounding it, greenery view from the top of the fort and the cool breeze sets an exotic feel. The Anjaneya temple located at its entrance is another attraction of the Fort.
ALSO SEE The Lalit Bekal – Resort Experience
Just 52 miles away from Palakkad, Nelliampathy is one of the best hill stations in India you would never want to skip out of your itinerary. Evergreen jungles, lemon, tea, java and cardamom farms rich with awesome valleys and misty mountains makes Nelliampathy a fascinating place to visit and enjoy. The awesome environment and the nature’s miracle improve the whole encounter. Nelliampathy, often known as as ‘Poor man’s Ooty’ is also popular for the hiking paths and adventure experiences it offers. Take a drive through those thrilling hairpin turns and experience the wealth of characteristics at Nelliampathy.
ALSO SEE Nelliyampathy Tourist Places
Kozhikode also known as Calicut is famous for its historical, cultural, educational and culinary excellence. Calicut used to be the main trading center in the past between Kerala and the rest of the world. Vasco da Gama in his search for spices and other trades came to Calicut first, who was later followed by the English and Dutch. Today, Calicut is one of the most active commercial cities in Kerala. The National Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management have their campuses here in Calicut offering higher and sophisticated education to the deserving candidates. Another notable thing about Calicut is the authentic Malabar food it serves. Some mouthwatering delicacies such as Dum Biriyani, Kalummakaya and Chatti pathiri, and the yummiest halwa varieties are loved by the locals and the tourists alike.
ALSO SEE Tourist Places in Kozhikode
Malampuzha is a beautiful township located around 10 kilometers away from Palakkad town. The second longest river in Kerala, Bharathapuzha nurtures Malampuzha and the place is famous for its greenery and picturesque view. It is a blend of natural beauty and various man-made amusements. Malampuzha’s charm is spread over various smaller areas that give an enthralling experience to the tourists. Some of them are mentioned below.
Thrissur originally known as ‘Thirusivapperoor’ is the cultural capital of Kerala. Its cultural, religious and spiritual abundance has been historically recorded and is still preserved. The city is also denoted as the ‘Golden capital of Kerala’ because of the surprisingly high sales of gold happening here every year. In fact, there will be no other district in Kerala that would be doing consistently well in business over years. Talking about its cultural extravaganza, one must mention the mother of all poorams, the Thrissur pooram that is celebrated every year without fail. Held in April-May, Thrissur pooram is colorfully spectacular and pulls in a large number of tourists from all over the world to the city only to watch this festival.
ALSO SEE Elephants of Kerala
Ashtamudi translates into eight channels and translates in local language as a lake with eight branches and is the second longest lake in Kerala stretching a distance of 16 kilometers finally merging into the sea at the estuary in Neendakara in Kollam. The backwater cruise between Ashtamudi and Alleppey is considered to be the longest in Kerala and is the best experience to intimately experience the best backwaters in Kerala . Ashtamudi lake is the best place to enjoy the serene beauty of the coconut groves and palm trees along the banks the backaters and is less crowded unlike Alleppey. Munroe Island (Munroethuruth) which is located at the confluence of Kallada river and Ashtamudi lake is a cluster of eight tiny islands is named in honour of Resident Colonel John Munro who oversaw the land restoration efforts in Kallada river adjoining the Ashtamudi lake. When you enjoy a cruise in Ashtamudi lake you can enjoy the sightings of Chinese fishing nets which is locally known as cheena vala which is used for fishing and other activities like coconut husk retting used to produce coir products and the canoe from which the ripples from the oar spreads out in the backwaters.
If the National Geographic Traveler Magazine had included Kerala among the ‘Ten Paradises in the world’, then that could be one of the wisest choices ever. Clearly one of the most beautiful and serene states in India, Kerala has everything a tourist is looking for. If you think Puttu and Kadala for breakfast or entertaining yourself with a session of ‘Kathakali’ can make your day in Kerala, then you should know that there are many more interesting things awaiting in this coastal region that are worth your time, money and energy. The stupendous greenery, coconut tree fringed canals, palm swaying lakesides, green-clad hill stations, exotic wildlife, calm beaches, crystal clear waterfalls, Ayurvedic heritage, artistic history, cultural extravaganza; not to miss out the delightful Kerala cuisine that stands class apart from any other national or International cuisine.– the soul of Kerala is way beyond words.
Widely distributed as fourteen districts, every nook and corner of Kerala has something that is worth exploring. Of the many attractions, here is a list of top 15 tourist places in Kerala (in no particular order) which will make you understand why Kerala is one of the top tourist destinations in India after all!