Head Straight to Kerala, God’s Own Country, for a Perfect Vacation
Houseboat on Kerala backwaters.
Houseboat on Kerala backwaters.(Photo: iStock)

Head Straight to Kerala, God’s Own Country, for a Perfect Vacation

From coconuts and elephants to backwaters and hill stations, Kerala truly lives up to its title – God’s Own Country. Kerala is nothing short of a paradise, and it is for this reason that it attracts a range of tourists from around the world. Apt for a romantic getaway, family vacation, fun trip with friends, honeymoon and even that soul-searching solo trip, Kerela is the paradise you must visit at least once in life.

And no, you don’t need to do your research and brainstorming because we have handpicked some of the best places you can visit in Kerala. All you need to do is pack your bags and leave! That’s easy, right?

1. Alleppey Backwaters



Sunset over backwaters. 
Sunset over backwaters. 
(Photo: iStock)

Known famously as the ‘Venice of the East’, Alleppey is the place to see in Kerala. While in Alleppey, a houseboat vacation is what you should be looking at. Why, you ask? Well, residing in the backwaters places you in the best position to observe paddy fields underneath the water, quaint chapels, ducks and water lilies. While on the boat, do not forget to relish traditional Kerala food served in banana plates.

Not just this, Alleppey is replete with other tourist locations such as Chettikulangara Bhagawathy Temple , Arthunkal Church , Krishnapuram Palace, Pathiramanal, Marari Beach.

Best time to visit: September to mid-May

2. Thekkady

Landscape of Thekkady, Kerala.  
Landscape of Thekkady, Kerala.  
(Photo: iStock)

Lush green forests and wild vegetation covered in an expanse of quietude – if this sounds like you, head straight to Thekkady. Aficionados of wildlife would certainly find this place amazing as it houses species nearing extinction. The Periyar National Park is home to elephants, lion-tailed Macaques, Nilgiri Langurs, Indian bison, and Bengal Tigers.

However, if you are looking to cover a lot of ground then Thekkady might not be the ideal place, as boating in the Thekkady lake and wildlife observation are the two dominant activities you can engage in while you’re there.

Best time to visit: November to February

3. Wayanad

Beautiful view of the Western Ghats mountain range in Wayanad district, Kerala. 
Beautiful view of the Western Ghats mountain range in Wayanad district, Kerala. 
(Photo: iStock)

Wayanad is probably the best place for sightseeing in Kerala. Endowed with calmness, adorned with scenic beauty and rich in wildlife, Wayanad offers perfect unison with nature. Located on the majestic Western Ghats, Wayanad is a sight to beckon, more so because it is untouched by human interference, and has managed to preserve its rich tribal culture over the years. A trip to Wayanad will be incomplete without staying in one of the many beautiful homestays it offers.

Popular tourist places to visit in Wayanad include Thusharagiri Waterfalls, Thirunelli Temple, Banasura Hill, Lakkidi View Point, Kabini, Papanashini River, Puliyarmala Jain Temple and Padinjarathara Dam.

Best time to visit: October to May

4. Varkala

A view of the Varkala beach. 
A view of the Varkala beach. 
(Photo: iStock)

Varkala in Kerala offers one of the best seaside experiences you could ask for. The long enticing coastline dotted with greenery and a plethora of water sports makes it an ideal place to have fun in the lap of nature. From boat riding and parasailing to jetting and horse-riding, Varkala is always brimming with activity. Sunsets are exotic, and would remain etched in your memory for a long time to come.

Varkala is also dotted with many Hindu temples, and full of luxury resorts to add just the touch of luxury you need in your vacation.

Best time to visit: August to mid-May

5. Kannur

Theyyam performance. 
Theyyam performance. 
(Photo: iStock)

The pristine beaches and Theyyam art of Kannur summon you to the land of Lord Krishna (as Kannur is known). The place also boosts of the only drive-in Beach in Asia – the Muzhappilangad. There are a number of other beaches, including Payyamballam, Meenkunnu and Ezhara beaches.

The presence of so many beaches also makes Kannur an ideal place for water sports. Do make time for activities such as the banana boat ride, parasailing, wave runner, dolphin rides and rafting in Kannur. You are sure to come back re-energised from the vacation.

Best time to visit: July to November, January to March

6. Athirapally

Athirapally waterfalls, the place where the movie Bahubali was shot. 
Athirapally waterfalls, the place where the movie Bahubali was shot. 
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Archana Venkat)

If you are driven by the desire to explore, head straight to Athirapally. Of course, the majestic Athirapally waterfall stands tall in the region (and also happens to be the most popular tourist location) but there is so much to explore and discover. For instance, the Vazhachal waterfall located in the dense thick forests, also makes for a scenic location.

Athirapally is a visual treat, with its gigantic cascades and rare fauna species. Wildlife enthusiasts, in particular, are encouraged to take a trip to Athirapally for discovering the bounties of nature.

Best time to visit: September to January

7. Munnar

Tea plantations and river in hills in Munnar.  
Tea plantations and river in hills in Munnar.  
(Photo: iStock)

Touted as one of the best hill stations, not just in Kerala but India itself, Munnar lives up to its reputation and how! The hills enveloped in green tea farms with low-flying clouds gently resting on them, makes for a picturesque sight. A misty clout usually covers the hill station making for a unique stay, often taking you back in time.

While in Munnar, take a stroll in the sprawling tea plantations. Witness tea being picked and processed, all in front of you at the Tea Museum. Some of the other worthwhile locations include Anamudi Peak, Atukkad Waterfalls, Eravikulam National Park and Chinnakanal Waterfalls.

Best time to visit: September to May

8. Thattekad & Kochi

A beautiful bird seen in the Thattekad bird sanctuary. 
A beautiful bird seen in the Thattekad bird sanctuary. 
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@visitorkerala1)

Situated in thick forests with bamboo rafting all around, Thattekad is the retreat you need. Spoilers alert right at the spot – Thattekad is not for those who want to see and do a lot of things. Instead, it is ideal for a laid-back vacation, perfect for bird watching.

The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary boasts of a rich and diverse birdlife. While there, you can catch a glimpse of the Ashy Wood Swallow, Bronzed Drongo, Lora, Orange Minivet, Indian Cuckoo among 280 types of water and land birds.

If the ideal retreat at Thattekad makes you long for an activity, embark on a journey to Kochi from there. The distance between Thattekad and kochi is hardly 64 km and can be covered in one and a half hours. The rich culture of the city with attractions such as Fort Kochi, Jewish Synagogue, Willingdon Island, Kerala Kathakali Centre, Santa Cruz Basilica and more will leave you spoilt for choice.

Best time to visit: September to April

9. Bekal & Kasaragod

The very famous Bekal Fort.
The very famous Bekal Fort.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@LivetoTravel00)

The Bekal Fort is perhaps the most famous location in Bekal. With several Bollywood movies being shot at the Bekal Fort (including the very famous Rang de Basanti), its popularity continues to soar. The view is mesmerising and the pleasant weather conditions make it even more alluring. Ideal place to feel the wind in your hair and breeze on your face, we’d say!

Other major attractions include Ananthapura Temple, Bekal Beach, Chandragiri Fort, Nileswaram, Bekal Hole Aqua Park among others.

You can head straight to Kasaragod from Bekal as the distance between the two places is minimal. It has beautiful ashrams, temples and lakes.

Best time to visit: October to March

10. Ponmudi

Sweeping view of Ponmudi Hills.  
Sweeping view of Ponmudi Hills.  
(Photo: iStock)

A beautiful mesh of valleys, hills, forests and plantations make the architectural landscape of Ponmudi – a beautiful hill station located in Kerala. Rich in biodiversity, Ponmudi has tea gardens and natural springs. You can choose to go for quite walks or embark on a trek. Additionally, there are avenues for indulging in adventure activities such as trekking, rock climbing and mountaineering.

Other places that you could visit are Science and Technology Museum Complex, Jungle Safari and Wildlife, Agasthyarkoodam and Meenmutty Falls.

Best time to visit: November to March

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