From the enthralling backwaters and serene hinterland, to lush green rainforests and captivating cities, Kerala is the wonderland that will keep you spellbound every step of the way. The vast landmass is actually packed with awe-inspiring landmarks to see and countless blood-pumping activities to partake in. The places to visit in Kerala are boundless! Each corner of Kerala is so packed with points of interest that even residents of Kerala usually take a lifetime to discover its numerous charms, let alone tourists. It’s a cabinet of natural wonders and a roller coaster ride of urbanities.

Is Kerala on your bucket list for your next holiday trip? Are you looking for things to do and the best places to visit in Kerala? Owing to its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, idyllic climate and affordable costs, Kerala is a hotspot for many tourists from around the world. No surprise that this Indian beauty is one of the most popular travel destinations in India.

There are so many attractions in the country that you could spend a lifetime there and still not see them all. So, here is a list of the top twelve inspirational places to visit which you simply can’t miss on your first, second or even third trip to Kerala.

Just check out these 12 places in Kerala and it won’t be long before your purchasing your flight ticket.

1. Munnar

Munnar rarely needs an introduction these days. It is the best hill station in Kerala and a perfect gateway for couples, families, group of friends or solo travellers. As an urban landscape, it stands shoulder to shoulder with Malaysia, as the most recognizable region with an immeasurable cultural impact. Infinite expanse of tea-plantations, green valleys, meadows and mountains combined with varied flora and fauna add to the beauty of this place. Situated at an altitude of 6000 ft in the Idukki district of Kerala, Munnar is one of the best tourist destinations in India and a favourite honeymoon destination among newlyweds. It has also won the award for the best destination for romance by Lonely Planet. Nevertheless, Munnar is a great destination for couples where everything around you is calm, magical and relaxing and furthermore you are surely surrounded by heavenly scenery.

Since this hill station is one of the most visited honeymoon destinations in India, so you might want to book early to ensure a spot on our tour.

Best time to visit in Munnar: November to February

Tourist places to visit in Munnar: Tata Tea Museum, Attukad Waterfalls, Chithirapuram View Point, Top Station, Eravikulam National Park, Mattupetty Dam, Echo Point, Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Marayoor Sandal Reserve, Kundala Lake, Tea Plantations, Anamudi Peak, Pothamedu View Point

Things to visit in Munnar: Visit tea plantations, sightseeing, boating, wildlife safari, trekking, waterfalls, Ayurveda and spa massages, authentic Kerala cuisine

2. Varkala

With no doubt, Varkala is one of the top 12 places to visit in Kerala. You could easily be forgiven for falling in love with Varkala as soon as you arrive in town. Varkala is a coastal and pilgrim town located 51 km north of Thiruvananthapuram. The famous Varakala beach has dramatic towering cliffs that stand like silent patrols, guarding the sparkling waters.

All in all, Varkala is a great place to visit in Kerala as it offers travellers the ability to explore an interesting city as well as enjoy some fantastic nature. With beaches, waterfalls and epic views, Varkala is a must do for any bushwalker, rock climber or nature lover.

Best time to visit Varkala: September to February

Tourist places to visit in Varkala: Papanasam Beach (Varkala Beach), Janardhana Temple, Sivagiri Mutt, Golden Island, Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple, Anjengo Fort, Ponnumthuruthu Island, Varkala Aquarium, Kilimanoor Palace

Things to do in Varkala: Fort and Light house, water sports, shopping sightseeing, Varkala culture center, local cuisine, aquarium, yoga

3. Wayanad

Wayanad selfies — need we say more? Nowhere quite compares to the stunning beauty of Wayanad. Wayanad is home to India’s largest earthen dam, the Banasura Sagar and two of the best wildlife sanctuaries in the country; the Muthanga wildlife sanctuary and Tholpetty wildlife sanctuary. For the tourist, Wayanad opens up an enormous opportunity to delve deeper into its history, tradition and natural beauty. Rocky hills, valleys, white water springs and wild dense forests, together with its wildlife sanctuaries and waterfalls, offer ample opportunities for adventure and recreations.

It really is heaven on earth.

Best time to visit in Wayanad: September to March

Tourist places to visit in Wayanad: Phantom Rock, Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary, Banasura Sagar Dam, Edakkal Caves, Chembra Peak, Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, Neelimala View Point, Pookot Lake, Thirunelly Temple, Wayanad Heritage Museum, Meenmutty waterfalls

Things to do in Wayanad: Tea and spice plantations, camping, nature walk, wildlife safari, sightseeing, waterfalls

4. Trivandrum

Situated on the west coast of India, Trivandrum also known as Thiruvananthapuram in the local language is undoubtedly a beautiful capital and possibly one of the most beautiful ones in the world. Trivandrum is also one of the fastest developing cities in Kerala and a major IT hub in South India. Additionally, the capital city is one of the cleanliest urban communities in India. Backwaters, tidal ponds, serene shorelines add to its appeal.

The capital of Kerala has really a lot to offer not only to its first-time visitors but also to its returners.

Best time to visit Trivandrum: October to February

Tourist places to visit in Trivandrum: Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Agasthyakoodam, Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum, Kovalam Beach, Poovar Island, Ponmudi, Shanghumukham Beach, Neyyar Dam, Padmanabhapuram Palace, Napier Museum

Things to do in Trivandrum: Pilgrim centres, beaches, wild life sanctuaries, hill stations, sightseeing, shopping

5. Alleppey (Allappuzha)

You cannot visit Kerala and miss a chance to go cruising on the backwaters! That is why you must head off to Alleppey, one of the best places to visit in Kerala year-round for its spectacular backwaters. Popularly known as the ‘Venice of East’, Alleppey (Alappuzha) is famed for its tranquil backwaters and fishing harbours. If you’re yearning for some peace and quiet after indulging in the bustle of Kerala’s big cities, locals recommend paying Alleppey a visit.

For a really authentic adventure book one of the houseboat cruises – this offers an emotive journey into the heart of the God’s own country, Kerala.

Best time to visit Alleppey: September to February  

Tourist places to visit in Alleppey: Alapuzzha Beach, Alappuzha Lighthouse, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, St Andrew’s Church, Kumarakom Backwaters, Marari Beach, Pathiramanal Island, Punnamada Lake, Sree Krishna Swamy Temple

Things to do in Alleppey: Houseboat cruise, rejuvenate with Ayurveda massages, savor authentic Kerala cuisines like Uduppi breakfast, watching Snake boat race and Elephant parade, birdwatching, sightseeing

6. Kochi (Cochin)

Kerala is one of the most diverse states in the country, and Kochi reflects that in its coastal beauty, multiculturalism, cuisine and ethos that blends modernity with tradition, while harboring back to an old-world colonial spirit. Few of the city’s highlights are Fort Kochi, St. Francis Church, the Jewish synagogues and the massive cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that dot the coast. Of course, there are many other sights to attract you to the great city of Kerala, but the Chinese Fishing Net is probably the most iconic. It’s so well-preserved that wandering the city streets feels like stepping back in time.

Best time to visit Kochi: October to March

Tourist places in Kochi: Mattancherry Palace, Fort Kochi, Cherai Beach, Bolghatty & Vypeen Islands, Malayattoor, Lulu Shopping Mall, Marine Drive, Hill Palace Museum, Pardesi Synagogue, Willingdon Island

Things to do in Kochi: Shop for spices, banana chips, watch Kathakali traditional dance performance, toss a Chinese fishing net, enjoy Ayurveda spa treatment, take a ferry ride

7. Kumarakom

Kumarakom looks like a tiny town that has been taken straight out of a fairy-tale book. Nestled on the on the quiet shores of Lake Vembanad, exploring this place is a beautiful experience. Boasting a labyrinth of lakes, canals and rivulets and home to varied wildlife, Kumarakom is a place you will want to visit more than once in your lifetime. It’s hard to point out a specific area on this fascinating land, simply because every square inch of it is so wondrous. Therefore, if you are planning to visit Kerala, Kumarakom should definitely be on your list of the top places to visit in Kerala.

Don’t just visit Kumarakom for a day.  Stay a night or two and, sit back and breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the tranquility of this beautiful Vembanad Lake.

Best time to visit Kumarakom: September to March

Tourist places to visit in Kumarakom: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Pathiramanal Island, Vembanad Lake, Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls, Kumarakom Backwaters, Juma Masjid, Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Bay Island Driftwood Museum

Things to do in Kumarakom: Boating, fishing, sightseeing, bird spotting, waterfalls, explore village life   

8. Thekkady

There couldn’t be a list of inspirational tourist destinations in Kerala without mentioning Thekkady. Located in the central part of Kerala, Thekkady is a popular hill station and home to one of the largest Tiger Reserves in the country. The variety between the mountains and sea provides the visitors with some breathtaking views. In addition to the most beautiful and mind soothing view, the aromas and the fresh sea air also adds on to the beauty. Hence this is one of the ideal spots to be at if in Kerala.

If you’re visiting Thekkady, an excursion to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve is considered an obligatory rite of passage.

Best time to visit Thekkady: October to February   

Tourist places in Thekkady: Periyar Lake, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve, Gavi Forest, Vandiperiyar, Kadathanadan Kalari Centre, Mangala Devi Kannahi Temple, Murikkady

Things to do in Thekkady: Wildlife safari, elephant ride, visit spice plantations, trekking, tribal dance and museum, nature walk      

9. Kozhikode

Also known as Calicut, Kozhikode, the multi-cultured coastline city of Kerala, is all about gorgeous natural beauty. For ravishing scenery, lush green rainforests and quint villages oozing storybook charm, it’s hard to beat Kozhikode.

The city was once called the ‘City of Spices’ for its part as a chief trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode in Kerala offers visitors a chance to blend into its ancient and cultural past. With a large number of beaches, waterfalls and adventure activities, Kozhikode is one among the best city of tourist attractions in Kerala. Be it winter or summer, it offers a memorable vacation packed with a number of activities.

Best time to visit Kozhikode: October to March

Tourist places to visit in Kozhikode: Beypore Beach, Thusharagiri Waterfalls, Thali Temple, S.M. Street (Sweet Meat Street or the Mittai Therivu), Kakkayam Dam, Mananchira Square, Kariyathumpara, Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, Mishkal Mosque, Regional Science Centre and Planetarium, Thikkoti Lighthouse, Sarovaram Bio Park

Things to do in Kozhikode: Explore backwaters, beach hopping, nature walk, bird spotting, waterfalls, trekking

10. Idukki

Located in the south Indian state of Kerala, Idukki surprises its visitors with its charm and beauty and has a cooler climate than most other districts of Kerala. The rigid valleys, winding streams, and the enchanting rivers of Periyar, Thalayar and Thodupuzhayar and their offshoots make Idukki a must visit destination in Kerala. Being the second largest district in Kerala, more than 95% of its area is covered by emerald green forests and rugged mountains. Boasting plentiful tourist attractions like hill stations, wild life sanctuaries, elephant rides, spice plantations and mountain treks, Idukki must be part of your itinerary planning.

For a chance to experience massive fun and excitement, explore the backwaters and you’ll see Idukki’s natural beauty and charm from the water.

Best time to visit Idukki: October to February

Tourist places to visit in Idukki: Idukki Arch Dam, Thommankuthu Waterfalls, Ramakkalmedu, Ervikulam National Park, Anayirankal Dam Reserve, Sita Devi Lake, Panchalimedu, Cheeyappara Waterfalls, Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, Meesapulimala, Nedumkandam Hills

Things to do in Idukki: Bird spotting, water sports, plantation tour, waterfalls, trekking, sightseeing

11. Kannur

Nestled in the southern tip of India, Kannur is a charming coastal city with gorgeous beaches, lovely parks, and lots of entertaining opportunities. Formerly known as Cannanore or Portuguese name Cananor, this city is a delightful place to visit for all seasons. Kannur is well-known for its native art form “Theyyam”, which is unlike any other dance form, a ritual performed in ancient shrines. Muzhappilangad Beach and Payyambalam Beach, the longest drive-in beaches in Asia are the major tourist attractions of Kannur. Interestingly, Asia’s largest and the world’s third largest Naval Academy is situated at Ezhimala, Kannur.

Best time to visit Kannur: November to February

Tourist places to visit in Kannur: St. Angelo Fort, Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach, Kannur Beach, Arakkal Museum, Mappila Bay, Kannur Lighthouse, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Parassinikkadavu Snake Park

Things to do in Kannur: watch a Theyyam Performance, wildlife safari, adventure activities like wave runner, banana boat ride, Paithalmala trekking, boating, sightseeing

12. Kasargod

If you’re planning a trip to Kerala, you shouldn’t leave Kasargod off your list. It is so beautiful and there is so much to see and do here that you could easily spend a few days staying in this picturesque town.

Snuggled in the northernmost state of Kerala, Kasaragod is a place that is just waiting to be explored. It is blessed with virgin beaches, strategic forts, architecturally distinctive temples, pristine backwaters, cultural and historically discoveries and offers the best of greenery and natural beauty as it is surrounded by three forest districts, namely Dakshin Kannada, Kannur and Kodagu.

Due to its peaceful atmosphere, divine green beauty, calm waterways and the superb views of the Western Ghats & the Arabian Sea, Kasargod draws countless tourists every season from all over the world. The highlights of the region is the Bekal Fort, the biggest fort in the entire state of Kerala imposing circular boundary that spreads to over 40 acre of land running into the Arabian sea.

Best time to visit Kasargod: September to January

Tourist Places to visit in Kasargod: Bekal Fort (fort, beach & Water Park), Madhur Temple, Kottancheri Hills, Ranipuram Hill Station, Ananthapura Temple, Chandragiri Fort

Things to do in Kasargod: Forts, trekking, Valiyaparamba backwaters, beaches, temple visits, cultural experiences

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Kerala!

There are an infinite number of great places to visit in Kerala but these are definitely our top twelve. Incorporating one, a few or all into your Kerala holiday will help make your experience memorable. From the outback to the coast and everywhere in between, get closer to the real Kerala with our super saver all-inclusive Kerala tour packages.

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