If you thought Kerala only tops the travel charts for its beaches and backwaters, think again! Because, when you are in God’s Own Country, you are in for endless surprises that its nature has to offer. From velvety hills to cozy farming villages, virgin beaches to temple towns, lush plantations, and old towns, Kerala offers abundant options to choose from for a fulfilling vacation. If you are starting your trip from Kochi, you can explore the varied landscape that surrounds the state capital. Avail of a car hire in Kochi with an experienced driver and head to any of these incredible locales.
The most popular weekend getaway from the city, Munnar is no less than pure magic of nature. The beautiful town, at the foothills of the Anamudi Mountains, is packed with luxurious tea gardens, rolling hills and grassy meadows, spice plantations, and views to die for. You can take a trek to the Anamudi Peak and explore the mountainous terrain, or savor the views from Pothamedu View Point. Book a licensed and top-rated taxi from Kochi to Munnar, and drive to Marayoor to see the Celtic dolmens. And if you are traveling in spring, enjoy the ride through the winding roads lined with seasonal Jacarandas painting the horizon blue. Don’t forget to do the night drive to Elephant Pond in Anakulam to watch the modern mammoths at play.
If the backwaters of Kerala are picturesque, Kuttanad is the golden center of that picture. Proud to be the ‘Rice Bowl of India’, the peaceful village sits in the Alleppey district, at a couple of hours’ drive from Kochi. With paddy fields, lagoons, and canals, the village is as scenic as it can get. Stay at a houseboat on the backwater for the quintessential Kerala experience, or at a farm, overlooking paddy fields. If you are on time for the annual regatta event at Punnamada River, you can dive into the local culture up close and have an experience of a kind.
Synonymous with the Periyar National Park, Thekkady is a popular getaway from Kochi and tourist hotspot. Apart from the local cultural experience, Thekkady offers the best wildlife adventures in the state. The national park, one of the most significant ones in India, is a huge reserve, housing Elephants, tigers, gaur, sambar, lion-tailed macaques, and Nilgiri langurs, among other flora and fauna. Walk through the wild vegetation mixed with spice plantations, savanna grasslands, and herbal plants, or take a Jeep safari to spot exotic species, and have a complete vacation in the wild!
One of the most peaceful locales of Kerala, Vagamon is like a painting done by god himself. The rolling, velvety hills with meadows, pine forests, and tea estates, the sleepy town can reawaken your senses just by breathing its air. Although not at a high altitude, Vagamon offers the perfect weather and ultimate serenity. Wake up to the misty mornings in a valley resort or walk along the winding roads, down the steep slopes, or stop by the waterfalls. No matter what you do, Vagamon will make you feel like walking into a dream.
Beaches are not all about lazing and water sports. Sometimes, they might as well serve as a religious destination. Varkala, in the southern edges of the state, is one such place which is considered to be Kerala’s ‘Temple Town’. But that’s not all that this quaint coastal town has to offer its visitors. The clean, expansive beaches are also the hub of sea sports like swimming, parasailing, snorkeling, and windsurfing. The silvery sands and palm-lined shores make this one of the best beaches of India. The town is also known for its traditional Kerala Ayurveda therapies. You can choose to stay at one of the beach side wellness retreats or within the town, where you will find quirky cafes and interesting dining options. Another thing that makes Varkala unique is its popularity as a surfing beach. The roaring sea makes a great spot for surfers to ride the waves and explore the endless expanse of water.
If you want a deep dive into Kerala’s culture, then Thrissur is where you should be. With ancient temples of Vadakkunnathan and Guruvayoor and a land of many regional festivals, Thrissur exposes to you the rich heritage of the state. You can plan your travels during prominent local festivals like ArattupuzhaPooram, MachaduMamangam, and Kodungallur Bharani, where you can see traditional art forms, and witness the community at their colorful best. Apart from cultural contributions, Thrissur is also home to natural treasures at places like the Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary and Peechi Wildlife Sanctuary.
Also called Alappuzha, this backwater locale is a prime tourist destination that has put the state on the global travel map. Spend a weekend at a houseboat and take a dinghy ride along the Vembanad lagoon, the second largest lagoon in the country. Or bike through the villages and stop by the 1000-year old Basilica of St. Mary at Champakulam and the 13th- century Ambalappuzha Temple. And to unwind, head to the Marari beach, where lazing on the white sands, under the shade of palm groves, will wash away all your stress.