Kerala rightly called God’s own country will mesmerize you with its beauty and vividness. The labyrinth of backwaters, rows of coconut trees, emerald green lands, rich culture, and scrumptious cuisine will make you fall in love with this God’s favorite land.
Kerala had been on my bucket list for so long and I was ecstatic when we finally booked our tickets. So I wanted to include the best places to visit in Kerala to our itinerary.
Kerala Tourist Places
We had about 9 days in our hand and hence chose to explore South Kerala. We were mindful of not missing the essence and culture of this beautiful state.
Our belief is that kids must learn to accept and appreciate different cultures. The best Kerala tourist places that we visited :
It won’t be wrong to call Kochi ‘the heart of Kerala’. A coastal city that brims with the history that dates to the 12th century.
Kochi developed into a major trading seaport and had travelers visiting from all over the world. This led to an amalgamation of cultures that is prevalent in its architecture, food, and art.
We landed into the Cochin International Airport and the first thing that caught our eyes was its traditional Kerala architecture.
The typical red color slanting roofs made of clay tiles and the use of timber is significant.
Another special feature is that the Cochin airport is the world’s first airport to run completely on Solar energy. There is a huge solar panel farm that you can see while exiting the airport.
There’s so much to do in Kochi –
- Art lovers and enthusiasts have an opportunity to witness the largest art exhibition of India and the biggest contemporary art festival in Asia – Kochi Biennale. The festival spans for approx 4 months starting from December with artists from all over the world displaying their creation.
- Trip to Kerala would be incomplete without experiencing Kathakali, the ancient classical dance form of Kerala. You will be awestruck to see the intricate makeup and costume.
- Fort Kochi, the island in Kochi is brimming with a confluence of art, culture, and architecture.
Delve into the history and magic of Kochi. Read about the Best places to visit in Kochi.
2. Houseboat Stay in Kumarakom/Alleppey
Backwaters are synonymous with Kerala and staying in the houseboat is the best way to experience the beauty.
Slowly cruising through the canals witnessing the tranquil beauty is relaxing and the best way to unwind.
There are many places to stay in a houseboat, but the most popular is Alleppey or called ‘ Venice of the East’. But we wanted a quiet sojourn, and hence opted for Kumarakom.
There is a wide choice of houseboats available to suit your needs and budgets.
Have ample queries regarding the houseboat stay? Read our post and get all your questions answered.
This is one place we felt in love with. Nothing fancy, but close to nature, Thekkady surely needs to be added to any Kerala itinerary.
Thekkady, mostly popular for the Periyar Tiger reserve is thronged by adventure seekers from all around the world.
But Thekkady has so much more to offer.
- Kalaripayattu Martial Art – This is the oldest martial art form of the world and dates back to the 3rd century BCE. The daredevil acts especially the ones involving fire left everyone dumbstruck. It was impressive to see the perseverance and commitment of the artists.
- Spice plantation farms – Kerala is home to rich and exotic spices in abundance. It is fascinating to see these growing in the natural form. There are many Spice plantation farms that can be visited to get in-depth insight. We loved our trip to Greenpark Spice farm and were amazed to see spices like cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, nutmeg, turmeric, coffee, etc. and learn some interesting facts.
Tip: Look around in your hotel or resort and you’ll find a spice plant in there.
- Periyar Tiger Reserve – A major National Park, home to a large population of tigers and elephants is a paradise for adventure seekers. Spread across 925 sq. km it has the beautiful Periyar lake in the park. Boat cruises on the Periyar lake is a way to spot some animals like elephants, bison, deer if lucky.
- Tea Plantations – I used to think that Munnar is the place for tea plantations in Kerala, but I was wrong. Thekkady has its own share of sprawling tea hills and famous brands. Tea lovers are in for a treat as there are many tours available to taste their favorite beverage.
- Spice shopping – Spices add a special aroma and taste to the food that makes it irresistible. And what better than fresh and high-quality spices. So a trip to Kerala would be incomplete without shopping for these jewels of the kitchen. There are many spice shops in the main market and even the spice farms that are a great place to buy.
Read our post Why add Thekkady to your Kerala itinerary? to know what all you can do at Periyar Reserve or where to shop for spices.
4. Munroe Island – An Untouched Beauty
Munroe Island, a small island nestled at the confluence of Asthamudi lake and Kallada river is a quaint place for those looking to relax and unwind.
Small houses lined by the canals, small canoes owned by each, the people here lead a simple and happy life.
This island is buzzing with homestays that let you live and eat like a local.
Want to know what to do in Munroe Island? Read our blog Munroe Island – A hidden treasure
5. The capital city of Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram or popularly called by its former name Trivandrum is the cosmopolitan city that is a perfect juxtaposition of contemporary and culture.
With the world’s richest temple at one side and Space Center on other, with Technocity on one side and heritage buildings on the other, it is a unique mix.
This city is great for kids as well, with the World’s first Magic theme park.
Tourist Places in Trivandrum
- Padmanabhaswamy temple – Being the World’s richest temple with deposits worth $22 billion, it makes it worth visiting. But with strict dress code and timings, it does take some planning to be able to visit.
- Kerala State Science museum & Priyadarsini Planetarium – If you are traveling with kids, we would recommend taking them to the museum. With multiple exhibits that intrigue the kids and instill the spark for science.
There is a planetarium on the premises that has exhibits and shows to take the kids into the magic world of outer space.
The 5D theater is an experience everyone will cherish.
If you are visiting on Thursday or Friday, try and visit the Night sky observatory to see the planets and stars through the telescope.
Note: The prerequisite for night sky observatory is clear skies.
The kids were disappointed as we missed watching the heavenly bodies due to cloudy skies.
Drawback: The shows at the planetarium and 5D theater are in Malayalam.
Do you need to know how to plan a visit the Padmanabhaswamy temple? Read this.
- Thiruvananthapuram zoo – Boasting of being the oldest zoo and Botanical gardens in India, Trivandrum zoo is a delight for kids. There are about 82 species of animals from all over the world including the Lions, tigers, elephants, rhinoceros and even giraffes. The ‘Reptile house’ has many varieties of venomous and non-venomous snakes including Anacondas.
- Magic Planet theme park – A fun place that should not be missed in Trivandrum is the World’s first magic theme park – Magic Planet. From circus, street magic to world-class illusion acts will leave you awestruck. You definitely need to spend the whole day to make the most. It will give you an opportunity to be kids with your kids.
Do you want to visit the Disneyland of India? Plan a trip to Magic Planet Trivandrum – First of a kind theme park in the world
Even though not a part of Kerala, but Kanyakumari makes a great day trip from Trivandrum. A 2-hour drive takes you to the Southernmost tip of India.
This is so special as it is the only place in the world with a confluence of 3 seas.
Kanyakumari holds a spiritual significance to Indians with the Kanyakumari temple and Vivekananda Rock Memorial being visited by tourists all over the world.
Planning a trip to southernmost tip of India? Read Kanyakumari, India – World’s Only Confluence of Three Seas
If you want to get some essence of this beautiful state then at least spend a week to 10 days.
We planned to spend 9 days. Kerala may seem a small state on the map but has so much to offer that you always feel short of time.
There can be many different itineraries depending upon your choice.
But I believe that a trip to Kerala would be incomplete without including a stay in houseboat in the backwaters, watching the Kathakali performance, paying a visit to the world’s richest temple, shopping for fresh spices and of course indulging in the authentic cuisine.
The itinerary we followed was majorly exploring enchanting South Kerala:
- 1 day in Kochi
- 1 day stay in houseboat in Kumarakom
- 3 days in Thekkady
- 1 day in Munroe Island
- 2 days in Trivandrum
- 1 day in Kanyakumari
Kerala itinerary option 2 can be:
- 2 days in Kochi
- 2 day in Munnar
- 1 day in Alleppey/ Kumarakom (preferably in houseboat)
- 1 day in Varkala
- 2 days in Trivandrum
- 1 day in Kanyakumari
Kerala itinerary option 3 can be:
- 2 days in Kochi
- 2 days in Munnar
- 1 day in Alleppey
- 2 days in Kovalam
There can be many more Kerala itinerary options including a few or all out of the best places to visit in Kerala.
Highly Recommended for Kerala Trip:
- If we would have changed anything about our itinerary, we would have definitely added Varkala beach to our list of best places to visit in Kerala. We visited the beach for a few hours and loved this black sand beach down a huge cliff. It was so neat and well maintained with lifeguards and policemen on duty.
- If traveling with kids, spend a day at the Magic Planet, a unique theme park in Trivandrum.
- We were running short of time and hence could not visit the Jatayu Earth’s Center in Kollam and would recommend visiting.
- Since Kerala is a land of spices, it is an insight to visit a Spice Farm.
- Kerala is a state that has history and culture dating back centuries. Hence watching a Kathakali dance performance and Kalaripayattu martial art is a must.
- How can we even forget the scrumptious Kerala cuisine that has a dominance of coconut? Being a coastal place, seafood is also a specialty.
Have you visited Kerala, God’s own country? What are your best places to visit in Kerala? Do share your memorable moments with us. We love to hear them. It might excite us to plan our second trip to Kerala.
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