Kerala is among India’s top tourist destinations. The state is blessed with natural beauty and varied topography, a long coastline, scenic hills, dense forest, and stunning backwaters. It can be divided it North Kerala,Central Kerala, and South Kerala. South Kerala captures the charm of Kerala. It has some magnificent locations from unspoiled beaches to lush green landscapes. In this blog, we will show you the best South Kerala places.
Best Places to visit in South Kerala include Thiruvananthapuram, Kovalam, Pathanamthitta, Kollam, Munroe Island, Varkala, Poovar, Pommudi, Thenmala and Thangassery.
The intricate network of backwaters, epitomized by the illustrious Ashtamudi Lake offers a serene and captivating insight into Kerala’s traditional way of life, providing an unparalleled backdrop for a truly immersive travel experience.
Moreover, the lush Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, unveils its biodiversity hotspot, with over 5,000 species of flowering plants, making it a haven for eco-enthusiasts and nature admirers. The region’s unique blend of endemic and exotic flora and fauna adds to the allure of South Kerala’s natural wonders.
Lonely Planet’s Kerala travel Guide aptly notes, “South Kerala encapsulates the very essence of India’s diverse landscapes, from tranquil palm-fringed beaches to mist-clad mountains. It’s a journey that resonates deeply with travelers seeking an authentic and unforgettable encounter with India’s rich heritage.”
Looking for Best Places to visit in Kerala ? 📍 Top 12 Best Places To Visit In Kerala (with Map)
Top 10 Places to Visit in South Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram, or Trivandrum, is the capital of Kerala and is a bustling metropolis. The city has a unique blend of colonial legacy and traditional roots. The coastal city is known for its low coastal hills and undulating topography and is among the best places to visit in South Kerala .
Trading traditions in Thiruvananthapuram date back to 1000 BCE. Spices, ivory, and sandalwood were traded from here. From beaches to historical sites, Trivandrum has a lot to offer. The city has a varied architecture with Victorian and neo-Kerala influences.
The Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the heart of Trivandrum is a must-visit. Other noteworthy landmarks are Kanakakunnu Palace, Kuthiramalika Palace, several museums like the Napier Museum, and the Trivandrum Zoo. Trivandrum is a gateway to visiting famous beaches like Kovalam and Varkala.
Kovalam is a coastal town and is around 13 km from Thiruvanandram. It was previously a small fishing village. The lighthouse beach is the largest in the town and is best known for the 30-meter lighthouse. The view from the top of the lighthouse is incredible.
Two adjacent beaches are Samudra and Hawa Beach. The beaches are safe for swimming and have several water sports activities. Kovalam is also known for Ayurvedic treatments and yoga. Do not forget to enjoy the magnificent sunset from the Vizhinjam harbor.
ALSO SEE- Top 7 Best Things to do in Kovalam
Pathanamthitta can be considered one of the most spiritual and mystical South Kerala places. One of the most important pilgrimages in Kerala Sabarimala, is in the Pathanamthitta district. It is home to numerous historic temples.
Pathanamthitta is spectacularly beautiful with clear rivers, gorgeous mountain ranges, and vast coconut orchards. Three rivers pass through the town, and the rivers have carved out the amazing topography of the region into highland, middle land, and lowland.
Pathanamthitta has a distinct culture and is known for its delicate and intricate metal mirror art called AranmulaKannadi. Visit the heritage village in Vassthu Vidya Gurukulam still practices age-old Vastu Vidya.
ALSO SEE – Top 17 Famous Temples in Kerala
Kollam or Quilon is 70 km from Thiruvananthapuram and is the commercial center of the country’s cashew-producing industry. It is called the gateway to the backwaters in Kerala. Kollam is a charming town with backwaters and breathtaking scenery. It has a rich history dating back to the 9th century and is one of the oldest ports in the Arabian Sea.
Kollam is on the bank of Ashtamudi Lake and is one of the top attractions on cruises along the Alappuzha route. Ashtamudi Lake is the second-largest lake in Kerala. A cruise through coconut grooves and palm trees is a sublime experience, especially a cruise to Munro Island.
There are some spectacular temples in Kolam built in traditional Kerala architecture like Kulathapuzha, Mayanand, and Aryankavu. Jatayu’s Earth Centre, Thangassery Lighthouse, and Kollam Beach are just some of the spectacular sites around Kollam
5. Munroe Island
Munroe Island, or Mundrothuruth, is a hidden gem in the backwaters and is a group of eight islands, and is 27 km from Kollam. The islands are divided by small lakes and waterworks and are located at the intersection of the Kollada River and Ashtamudi Lake.
The area is named Munroe Island, to honor Travancore resident Colonel John Munroe, who integrated several backwater areas through canals. A canal cruise will be an unforgettable experience surrounded by natural beauty and the tranquil water of the canals. It is the perfect opportunity to unwind as you soak in the scenery and wildlife along the way.
You can visit the Munroe museum or tour the island on a bicycle. You can witness the famous Kallada Boat Race held during the ten-day Onam festival.
Varkala is a quaint coastal town located in Southern Kerala and is one of the best South Kerala places. It is best known for the spectacular 15 m cliffs overlooking the Arabian Sea, pristine beaches, hills, lakes, forts, lighthouses, natural fisheries, and springs. The hippie culture and laid-back lifestyles.
ALSO SEE – Kovalam or Varkala
Vishnu Temple, Janardana Swami Temple, Chilakoor Beach, and Varkala Lighthouse are prominent attractions in Varkala. Other places of interest are Varkala Cliff and Varkala Beach to historical Sivagiri Mutt, tranquil Kappil Lake, and Anchuthengu and Anjengo Fort ruins.
Tourists can participate in sports like scuba diving, banana boating, parasailing, and jet skiing. Alternatively, you can watch the mesmerizing traditional Kathakali dance performance held at local festivals. You must experience rejuvenating yoga sessions and Ayurvedic therapies.
Poovar is a beautiful fishing town with golden sand and stunning backwaters at 27 km from 5. It is estuary is between the Arabian Sea and the Neyyar River. It is close to the natural harbor, Vizhinjam.
Poovar was an important trading center for sandalwood, timber, ivory, and spices. Poovar Beach is remote and is accessible by boat. The beach offers a picturesque view of Kerala’s backwaters with golden sand. The beach is the ideal location to play beach volleyball or swim.
Other famous landmarks around Poovar are Thiraparrappu Falls and Vinzhimjam. You can take boat rides to explore the neighboring fishing villages and mangrove forests or watch the sunset. It is the perfect place to learn more about the fishing communities of Kerala.
Ponmudi, or golden peak, is a stunning hill station 53 km from Thiruvananthapuram. It is one of the best weekend gateways from Trivandrum. Ponmudi is also called the Ooty of South Kerala or Kashmir of Kerala. The hill station is at an altitude of 1100 m and is a popular honeymoon destination.
The drive to the hill station is spectacular, with tea and spice plantations on the way. Ponmudi is divided into upper and lower Ponmudi. Upper Ponmudi has a more ecotourism focus.
The region is home to mountain wildflowers, exquisite orchids, rare butterflies, and small rivers. Some of the best places to visit near Ponmudi are Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Agasthyakoodam, Mankkayam Falls, Varayattumotta, and the Nayyar Dam.
There are several trekking routes around the hill station, alternatively, you can try paragliding or rafting.
Extending to the fascinating hill ranges of Trivandrum, Kollam, and Pathanamthitta, Thenmala is a dam and eco tourism destinatuion. A tourist destination on the eastern side of the Kollam district, Thenmala houses the first eco-tourism centre in India.
Thenmala, which means ‘Honey Hill’ is one of the hidden gems of Kerala. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thenmala has India’s first planned eco-tourism destination, which is divided into three zones, Culture Zone, Leisure Zone and Adventure Zone where you can enjoy distinct experiences amidst lush greenery.
Thenmala is one of the best places to visit in Kerala for one day from Trivandrum. Nature trails, mountain biking, boating, camping, sculpture gardens, butterfly safaris and more are a joy for adventure and nature seekers. The Palaruvi waterfalls nearby offer an enthralling view and there is also a deer rehabilitation to explore. With responsible tourism on the rise, a visit to Thenmala becomes a must-do on every traveller’s list of places to visit in Kerala.
ALSO SEE – Top 8 Hill Stations in Kerala
Thangassery is a scenic sea side town and fishing village. It is famous for a long beach, an ancient Portuguese Port, 18th-century churches. and a ship that was washed ashore.
ALSO SEE – Top 10 Beaches In Kerala
Thangassery is a famous tourist spot in Kollam District and was an ancient port of pepper trade. Thangassery was first colonised by Portuguese, Dutch and later British. Thangasseri has an Anglo-Indian character, though there are few Anglo-Indians in the population because of the colonial influence.
Thangasseri is a quaint fishermen seaside village with a long beach and a 144 feet tall lighthouse that was built to warn fishermen about the reefs on the coast. The shore also has the ruins of the Dutch and Portuguese Forts and the Portuguese Cathedral has a long metallic cross on top which is one of the longest in Asia.
In conclusion, the southern region of Kerala stands as a mesmerizing tapestry of attractions that weave together the essence of India’s cultural, natural, and historical heritage.As explorers traverse this enchanting region, they are transported through a kaleidoscope of experiences – from the bustling beaches of Kovalam to the historic splendor of Fort Kochi. South Kerala’s timeless charm, coupled with its warm hospitality, beckons wanderers to indulge in a voyage that promises a profound connection with the heart and soul of this captivating corner of India.