Referred to as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha has always enjoyed an important place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today, it is famous for its boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Alappuzha beach is a popular picnic spot. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya Beach Park add to the attraction of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse nearby which is greatly fascinating to visitors.
Another delightful experience while in Alappuzha is a houseboat cruise. The ones you find in the backwaters of Alappuzha are in fact reworked version of Kettuvallams of olden times. The original Kettuvallams or rice barges used to carry tons of rice and spices. The Kettuvallam or 'boat with knots' was so called because the entire boat was held together with coir knots only.
Of late, houseboats come with all creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. And one can always enjoy uninterrupted views of backwater life while staying in a houseboat.
Kasaragod, the Northern most district of Kerala is renowned as the land of gods, forts, rivers, hills and beautiful beaches. The imposing fort at Bekal is one of the largest and best preserved forts in Kerala. The beautiful expanse of the shallow beach near the Bekal fort known as Bekal Fort Beach has been developed as an exotic beach location by the Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC).
Beautification: Beautification of the site includes installation of two sculptures of Theyyam created using laterite on the beach and a shed the walls of which are adorned with murals created by artisans from Nilambur. Apart from these a rock garden at the parking area has been developed where laterite boulders of various sizes have been utilised. Under the social forestry scheme, trees have been planted in the beach area.
Parking facilities: The BRDC has developed about 7000 sq. m of land for parking different types of vehicles.
Walkway: A beautiful walkway has been laid for the visiting tourists to explore the beauty of the fine coastline and enjoy the panoramic view of the Bekal Fort.
Illuminated beach: The beach gets illuminated during the evening hours so that tourists can spend more time at the beach even after the sun sets.
Resting facilities: Multi shed and Eru madam (Tree house) would provide the tourists enough facilities to take rest and enjoy the sea breeze. By using locally available materials seating arrangements have been provided for the tourists at the beach.
Toilets: Toilets have been provided for the use of tourists and eco-friendly bamboo waste bins have been provided in the entire beach site for keeping the area clean.
Children's park: A park has been developed here for children below 14 years.
In order to maintain the developed site a nominal charge of one rupee from each visitor would be collected as entry fees. A similar nominal vehicle parking fees would also be collected. The BRDC also aims to develop in future another 11 acres of land at the beach for constructing water park, theme park etc.
The BRDC was set up by the Government of Kerala to develop Bekal as a planned eco-friendly destination. The BRDC has utilised 19 acres of land for the development of the Bekal Fort Beach at a cost of approximately Rs. 25 million including land acquisition charges.
Beypore in Kozhikode
Beypore is located in Kozhikode at the mouth of the Chaliyar River. Historically, it has a special place as being one of the prominent ports and fishing harbours, and was also an important trade and maritime centre during the days of the early Arab and Chinese travellers and later the Europeans. Soon after gaining prominence as a port and trade centre, Beypore slowly began to flourish as a centre for shipbuilding, since ships were in great demand merchants from Western Asia. The shipbuilding yard at Beypore port is famous for its traditional construction of the Uruor the Arabian trading vessel. This tradition of shipbuilding is nearly 1,500 years old, and the craftsmanship of the workers here is exceptional.
Traditionally, Arabs constitute the major chunk of buyers. They place orders with their specifications and needs. Unlike modern day shipbuilding involving the development of blueprint and machinery to facilitate manufacturing of ships, here, at Beypore everything is conceived in the minds of the shipwrights, who as a team execute the highly intricate woodwork to perfection. It is an amazing aspect if one is to observe the manner in which the Uru takes shape with minimum sophistication in production. The entire team observes certain work ethics, of which discipline is the foremost. A visit to this historic place is a must in order to have a close look at some of the deft fingers and alert minds, measuring and fixing different parts of the ship to perfection.
Nearby attractions in Beypore include the fishing harbour, hardly a kilometer from the shipbuilding yard and Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, which is about 7 km from Beypore. The Kadalundi estuary is considered as a birdwatchers, paradise, due to the variety of local as well as migratory bird life. Migratory birds flock here in large numbers during February-March.
The sanctuary is spread over a group of islands in a scenic area surrounded by hillocks where the Kadalundi River flows into the Arabian Sea. The place is locally known as Kadalundi Nagaram.
Chavakkad Beach, Thrissur
Easy to access, the Chavakkad beach is famous for the Azhimukam, the confluence of river and sea. On the other side of the beach is the Ramachapadam, a vast farmland of the Ayurvedic herb, Ramacham.
Cherai Beach, Kochi
Cherai Beach, a picturesque beach, located on the north-end of the Vypeen Island is ideal for swimming. Lined with luscious green coconut groves and paddy fields, this sandy beach is a unique combination of the sea and the backwaters, studded with seashells of various hues and shapes. Dolphines are occasionally seen here. Thick coconut groves and Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront are added attractions.
Chowara Beach, Kovalam
Chowara, a fishing hamlet near to Kovalam has many picturesque spots. The Chowara Ayyappa Temple atop a hill overlooks the Chowara beach and offers an amazing view of the beach below. Chowara is also home to the ancient Analothbhava Matha Church.
The Azhimalathara Beach here is identified as the only place where the sea recedes from the coast and does not eat into the beach during the monsoon
Kanwatheertha Beach, Kasaragod
A large swimming pool-like formation of the sea on the vast beach is the main attraction at Kanwatheertha Beach in Manjeswaram, Kasaragod. The beach is situated about 33 km from Kasaragod.
Kappad beach, Kozhikode
For the people of Kozhikode, this pleasant stretch of rock-studded beach is Kappakkadavu. To the tourist it is one of the most charming of Kerala's beaches. Kappad finds mention in history and geography texts as the gateway to the Malabar Coast. Here, 501 years ago on 27th May 1498, 170 men led by the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) sailed in and stepped into Kerala to create a new chapter in history; the story of a long and tumultuous socio-political relationship between India and Europe.
It was the spices and wealth of Malabar that first brought the Arabs, the Phoenicans, the Greeks, the Romans, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English to Kerala. Kappad has witnessed many such landings. Kozhikode was then the most important trade centre of the Malabar region and the Zamorins who ruled this mighty land were powerful and shrewd. Though the Portuguese were welcomed in Kozhikode they were not too well encouraged or entertained for long by the Zamorins, which might be the reason they shifted their base to Kochi and Kollam towards south.
Today only a little stone monument is left at the Kappad beach to speak of its great historic importance. On the rocks nearby is a temple believed to be 800 years old.
To the tourist, this little seafaring town is a haven. The best route to Kappad is along the backwaters. Unspoilt and uncrowded, the picturesque backwaters of Kozhikode offer a bewitching experience. A ride down the backwaters through the Korappuzha river brings you to the beach.
Kappil Beach, Kasaragod
For those who prefer Thoreau to Harold Robbins, the secluded and relatively unexplored Kappil Beach should prove idyllic. Remote and secluded, this beach is fast becoming a major tourist attraction. The Kodi Cliff nearby offers a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea and 2 km away is the Pallikunnam Temple. The beach is situated about 6 km from Bekal Fort. The beach is one of the cleanest and unpolluted beaches of Kerala.
Kizhunna Beach, Kannur
Located about 11 km from Kannur is the Kizhunna Beach. This beautiful stretch of sand is one of the most secluded beaches in Kerala.
Kolavi Palam Beach, Payyoli
Kolavi Palam Beach at Payyoli is yet another beautiful stretch of golden sands, with shallow waters, that border Velliyamkallu. The sea, here, is ideal for swimming.
During November - December, hordes of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles come in to lay eggs. There is a nature conservation centre, ‘Theeram’, started by the fishermen to save these turtles.
Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favourite haunt of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing.
The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centres.
Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, is just 16 km away from Kovalam and getting there is no hassle. But if you are on holiday it is better to stay in Kovalam and visit the city.
The City of Thiruvananthapuram has interesting places to see like the Napier Museum, the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Ponmudi hill station etc. SMSM Institute, a State owned handicrafts emporium, is the ideal place to pick up ethnic curios and other articles.
Kozhikode, the most important region of Malabar in yesteryears, was the capital of the powerful Zamorins and also a prominent trade and commerce center. It was here at Kappad that Vasco Da Gama landed in his search for the spices of the Orient. Today the serene beaches, lush green countryside, historic sites, all combine to make this a popular tourist destination filled with a warm ambience.
Kozhikode Beach is a favourite haunt of sunset viewers, it is also a good place for trying out seafood delicacies like kallumekaya (mussels), available at the numerous stalls lining the promenade. At dawn, a walk along Dolphin’s Point will reward you with a sight of playful dolphins. Adding to its natural beauty is the old world charm retained by the old lighthouse and the two crumbling piers that run into the sea, each more than a hundred years old. Entertainment facilities such as the Lions Park for children and the marine water aquarium are added attractions. The aquarium is open on all days from 0800 to 2000 hrs.
Kuzhupilly Beach near Vypeen
Kuzhupilly beach, located in Vypeen or Vypin, this white, sandy beach is ideal for swimming. The backwaters nearby are an added charm, as are the paddy fields and coconut groves on the way to the beach, where kite festivals are ocassionally held.
Meenkunnu Beach, Kannur
Meenkunnu beach, about 10 km from Kannur town, is located in Azhikode. An uncrowded, the beach is a tourists' paradise, with golden sand and surf.
Munambam Beach, Ernakulam
Munambam beach is a beautiful, long beach near Munambam Fishing Harbour at the northern end of Vypeen. Ideal for kite flying, the beach also has many village homestays nearby. Munambam beach is situated at Vypeen in Ernakulam, Kerala.
Kerala’s only drive-in beach, the Muzhappilangad beach which stretches across four kilometres of sand where one can drive down the entire length. The drive is ideal for sampling the famed Malabar cuisine from the many eateries in the immediate hinterland. Black rocks protect this long, clean beach from the currents of the deep, making its shallow waters a swimmer’s paradise.
Adventure sports like paragliding, parasailing and microlite flights are possible at the Muzhappilangad Beach in Thalassery. Other attractions include water sports, power boating or a simple catamaran ride.
Nattika Beach, Thrissur
A traditional fisherman’s village, Nattika beach shot to fame after becoming the location for one of the most famous Malayalam films, Chemmeen. Attractions include backwater cruises, country boat rides, elephant rides, cultural performances etc.
Neendakara Beach, Kollam
Neendakara is a famous fishing harbour located around 8 km from Kollam district of Kerala, India. From here you can see the Ashtamudi Lake joining the sea from the Neendakara Bridge and also the Chinese fishing nets silhouetted against the sky.
Padinjarekkara Beach is located 17 km from Tirur town and 45 km from Malappuram headquarters. Situated at the end of the Tipu Sultan road near Ponnani in Malappuram district in Kerala, this beach offers a breathtaking view of the confluence of the Bharathapuzha, the Tirur Puzha and the Arabian Sea. Tourists can enjoy a ride on water scooters or speed boats and also munch on tidbits at floating coffee shop. The beach is famous for bird watching, as migratory birds are often spotted here. You can also find an amenity centre, an amphi-theatre and ecoshops.
Papanasham Beach, Varkala
Papanasham Beach is located 10 meters from Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. A dip in the Papanasham sea is considered holy. A remarkable feature here is the long stretch of red laterite cliffs fringing the beach. The cliff-top is an ideal place to watch the spectacular sunset. A natural spring, said to have curative properties, originates from the cliff.
Payyambalam Beach, Kannur
Quiet, secluded, this beautiful stretch of sand and surf is the best locale for a relaxed evening. The Payyambalam beach is a popular picnic spot of the local people and holds much potential for development into a tourist resort.
The rest of the land - Kannur - is equally fascinating to explore. Being the cradle of ageless folk arts like Theyyam and folk music, Kannur has always remained a land of ageless charms.
However, if you decide to hide away at this beach destination, your stay should be arranged in the town 2 km away. Comfortable accommodation is available.
Poovar Beach, Thiruvananthapuram
Located 12 km south of Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala, Poovar is an isolated but spectacular beach. It is situated close to the Neyyar River estuary. A trading port in its early days, it is today an important tourist destination.
Samudra Beach, Thiruvananthapuram
Lying to the north of the Ashok Beach, the Samudra Beach at Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, can be accessed only by taking a detour past Kovalam Junction. It is an awesome sight to watch the waves crash on the rocks below as you walk along the stretch of sea wall here.
Shankhumugham Beach, Thiruvananthapuram
Just 7 km from the city of Thiruvananthapuram, the Shankhumugham beach is a favourite haunt for people coming to watch sunsets. The beach is adjacent to the Trivandrum International Airport and Veli Tourist Village.
An indoor recreation club, the matsya kanyaka (a gigantic, 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid), a restaurant and a children's park are some of the attractions at the Shankhumugham beach.
Thaikadappuram Beach, Kasaragod
Near Nileshwaram in Kasaragod district of Kerala, the Thaikadappuram beach is famous for the rare Olive Ridley Turtles that visit during the rainy season to lay eggs. Activists of Neythal, a non-governmental organisation, run an Olive Ridley breeding centre here. September to January is the ideal time to visit the beach. It is located 40 km south of Kasaragod.
Thalikulam Snehatheeram Beach, Thrissur
Located 25 km from Thrissur in the state of Kerala, the Thalikulam Snehatheeram Beach is a perfect picnic spot to spend the day or evening. Visitors can enjoy the sandy shore, the beach park and lovely sunsets.
Thirumullavaram beach, Kollam
Thirumullavaram Beach is located 6 km north of Kollam in the state of Kerala. It is a secluded beach and a beautiful picnic centre. About one and a half kilometre into the sea is the Nyarazhcha Para, literally Sunday Rock, that can be seen from the shore at low tide. And near the beach is a Mahavishnu Temple.
Thiruvambady Beach near Varkala
Located1 km from Thiruvambady Road in Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, the Thiruvambady Beach is a calm and serene destination. This solitary beach is adjacent to the North Cliff in Varkala. Thiruvambady or the Black Sand Beach is an ideal place for those seeking peace and solitude and can be easily reached by climbing down the cliff or driving down a kilometre.
Vadakara Sand Banks Beach, Kozhikode
Vadakara Sand Banks is an attractive beach stretch that supplements the seaside beauty of Vadakara in the Kozhikode district, situated in north Kerala. This beach where the Kottakkal River meets the Arabian Sea is a stunningly beautiful beach. It is a great spot to enjoy beautiful sunsets, frequented by locals as well as tourists.
Vadakara is famous as the birth place of Thacholi Othenan, the legendary hero of the Vadakkanpattu (ballads of North Malabar). Lokanarkavu is one of the famous temples associated with Thacholi Othenan and there is also a temple in memory of the legendary Thacholi Othenan, known as Thacholi Manikkothu Kavu temple. The martial art form of Kalarippayattu has the largest number of exponents in Vadakara.
Vakkad Beach and Tirur Puzha, Malappuram
A boat cruise down the Tirur river starting from Aanamala and gliding through the backwaters to the estuary in Ponnani, where the river flows into the sea through Vakkad Beach is a delightful experience. Vakkad Beach is situated near Ponnani in Malappuram district, Kerala.
Tirur Puzha - Flowing through Malappuram District, this beautiful river reaches the sea through the Vakkad Beach. A boat cruise down the river starting from Ettrikadavu through the backwaters is a delightful experience. In addition to the stunning natural beauty, you can also see flocks of migratory birds and experience the simple ways of life by the banks of the river.
Valiathura Beach, Thiruvananthapuram
Located near Shankhumugham, the Valiathura Beach was once the only port along the South Kerala coast. It is situated 10 km away from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. During monsoons, fishermen carry their catamarans to the edge of the Valiathura Pier which is 703 ft long, throw them into the sea, then jump in and swim to it.
Vallikunnu Beach, Malappuram
Serene, secluded and spellbinding, Kerala has some of the best beaches in the world. Ride the surf, get a tan, build sandcastles or simply sift sand through your toes at the Vallikkunnu beach in Malappuram district. Anything you do here will relax you and help you unwind. A beach resort set in the middle of a coconut grove is the main attraction here, along with the Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary just a short distance away.
Location: 51 km north of Thiruvananthapuram city in Thiruvananthapuram district and 37 km south of Kollam, south Kerala.
Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like a beautiful beach, a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Ashramam - Sivagiri Mutt a little distance from the beach.
The Papanasam beach (also called as Varkala beach), which is ten kilometers away from Varkala, is renowned for the natural spring. It is considered to have medicinal and curative properties. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name 'Papanasam beach'.
A two thousand year old shrine the Janardhanaswamy Temple stands on the cliffs overlooking the beach, a short distance away. The Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the great Hindu reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru (1856 - 1928) is also close by. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days - 30th December to 1st January. Sree Narayana Guru propagated the ideology: "one caste, one religion and one god", in a society torn by the taboos of caste system.
Varkala offers excellent accommodation facilities for tourists and is fast becoming a popular health resort with many Ayurvedic massage centres.
Attractions: Beach, mineral water springs, the Sivagiri Mutt and a 2000-year- old Vishnu Temple.