South India’s favorite holiday destination, Kerala is an ultimate package of backwaters, beaches, ancient towns, forests, and mountains. With its distinctive local culture and rich natural landscape, God’s Own Country is surely a place to fulfill all your travel needs. However, as vast and varied it is, a few days of vacation are never enough to see the state in its entirety. To be practical and precise, you might be able to cover the major locations within a week.
How to travel
The best place to start your trip is from Cochin, more so if you are flying in from another city/state. You can rent a car from Cochin to travel to any of the other destinations nearby or at a few hour’s drive. If you opt for a tour package, you can include the top destinations and plan a week’s itinerary, stopping at each for a day or two and move on to the next. That way, you can cover your favorite places and also save yourself from the hassle of finding a local transportation every time.
Kochi – 2 days
Cochin or Kochi is a place steeped in the history and heritage of Malabar. The ancient port town frequented by traders from China, Middle East, and Europe in the 14th century left a mark on the city’s architecture, which remains as significant sites for visitors to see even today.
Things to do-
Take a tour of Fort Kochi, the highlight of the city and an art-lover’s paradise. A perfect blend of classic and contemporary styles, the fort depicts a 1000-year old history of the land. Also visit the onsite museum housing folk art, antiques, artifacts, and other memorabilia.
Learn about Jewish influence on Kerala’s culture at the Paradesi Synagogue, who lived in the city in the early 16th century.
Visit the 16th-century St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India, also known for its remarkable architecture.
Sample local flavors at the Mullapanthal Toddy Shop. The rustic ambiance combined with the authentic Malabari food is a sheer gastronomic pleasure.
Munnar – 2 days
The hills of Munnar is the ultimate proof that Kerala is not all about the sun, sand, sea, and palm trees. The lush, rolling hills and misty tea estates will refresh you as you would expect from a mountain locale.
Things to do-
Take a trek to the Anamudi Peak, the highest point on the Western Ghats. If trekking is not your thing, then walk the nature trails around the foothills of the mountains and bask in its serene environment.
If you have time, then spend a day exploring the Eravikulam National Park, housing rare birds, plants, and endangered wild animals.
Take a quick drive to Marayoor, a little outside Munnar, to see the ancient Celtic dolmens and enjoy the drive through the seasonal Jacaranda bloom (if you travel in the right season).
Don’t miss the night drive to the Elephant Pond at Anakulam to spot the animals at their watering hole.
Alleppey – 2 days
You cannot have a Kerala holiday without exploring its backwaters. Alleppey, or now Alappuzha, is the most popular and the ultimate backwater locale.
Things to do-
Make your experience more authentic and take your vacation to the next level by staying at a houseboat for a couple of days and waking up to the views of coconut groves and the still river lapping at the boat.
Take a ride on a dinghy along the Vembanad lagoon, the largest lagoon in India and a must-see in Kerala.
Take a bike ride around the town and stop by the ancient religious like the Ambalappuzha Temple or Basilica of St. Mary at Champakulam.
Visit the local villages and enjoy a country-style meal and fresh toddy palm.
For a change of scenario, head to the Marari Beach, known for its white, sandy, palm-fringed beaches.
Vagamon – 1 day
If paintings of hills could be real, then it will look something like Vagamon. Perhaps the most serene locales in Kerala, the hill town of Vagamon is a sheer natural treasure. With velvety hills, grassy meadows, pine forests, and tea gardens, the quaint and quiet town is sure to rejuvenate you inside out.
Things to do-
Talk a bike ride or a walk down the rolling hills and breathe the crisp air and enjoy the calming vibes.
Stay at a hill resort overlooking the misty valleys or look for a luxuriant tea estate stay.
Explore the Vagamon Meadows, enveloping a huge lake, and the perfect place to find inspiration for creative souls.
Enjoy a paragliding ride or join the Annual International Paragliding Festival, held in January and February.
For a holistic and comfortable tour of this beautiful state, book a taxi in Kerala with an experienced driver. If you want a more immersive experience, plan one place at a time. But no matter how many times you visit, you will never have enough of Kerala.