Kerala is a beautiful blend of beauty and lush greenery all around. The natural beauty and booming literacy are two highlights and pride of the state. Lying in the middle of the western ghats on the east, and the Arabian sea on the west, Kerala is a gift that keeps giving when it comes to pristine views and geographical standing. All this and more makes it a place to visit and experience.
So why should you visit Kerala? Let us find out things to see and do in Kerala.
Kerala is known to be the spice coast, for which it has been known, plundered and colonised, because cultures like the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and British left a strong impact and imprint on this state. From infrastructure to cultural essence, all could be found in this enigmatic land by the shore, telling us stories of the days gone past.. If you are a history buff, there are many things to do in Kerala.
Kerala is abundant in natural splendour when it comes to its geography. You will find everything that nature has to offer. The towering mountains, brimming valleys, serene rivers, breathtaking beaches and, the mesmerising backwaters are what makes it so special. The contrasting beauty is such that you will be transported from dense forests to tea and coffee plantations without travelling to another state.
With diverse flora and fauna, Kerala has been a producer of a variety of agricultural products because of which it was in the eyes of so many colonists. In the midland plains, you can find paddy fields. While in the elevated slopes, rubber, fruits, black pepper, tapioca and more. Along the coastline, there are coconut trees adding beauty and usability.
All in all, you will have many things to see and do in Kerala, so you need ample time to soak in all that it has to offer.
1. Visit Kerala’s rice bowl, Kuttanad
One of the first things to do in Kerala is to visit Kuttanad. Living up to its reputation, Kuttanad makes Kerala rich in rice production. Situated in the heart of the backwaters of Alappuzha district, this enchanting area is no less than a midnight dream. There are houseboats cruising over water to look forward to.
If you are in this beautiful district and looking for things to do in Kerala, look for ‘Toddy’. It is a local alcoholic beverage for which the area is known. The best way to travel and experience Kuttanad is via a houseboat or a boat. Soak in the views, the breeze and the countryside that will make you fall in love.
Apart from the backwaters, Alappuzha district has Vembanad lake, which predominantly stretches backwards.
2. Witness the bloom of Neelakurjini in Munnar
Who does not love a rare sight? In 2023, you will be witnessing a once-in-a-12-year bloom of the Neelakurinji flower in Eravikulam National Park. It should be amongst your top things to do in Kerala. Apart from this gorgeous sighting, Nilgiri Thar can be spotted. This is an endangered species of goat that you can see. The ticket price for entry is Rs 55 per adult. If you are travelling in February or March, you will not be able to enjoy it as the park is closed.
3. Sample tea at an estate
Munnar as a city should be on ‘your what to see in Kerala’ list. It is a popular tourist destination in Kerala, known for its rolling hills covered in tea plantations. You can visit the Kannan Devan Plantation Museum and the Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, to try and experience the tea processes and of course, tea-tasting while taking in nature. Rent a jeep for about Rs 1200-2000 and take a tour of the tea plantations.
4. Stay at a houseboat in Alleppey
Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, is known for its serene backwaters and houseboat cruises. Staying in a houseboat is a unique experience and one of the bestactivities to do in the enchanting backwaters of Alleppey.
During your houseboat stay, you'll be able to witness rural villages, and rice paddies, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Most houseboats come with a private chef who prepares delicious local cuisine for you during the cruise. You'll also be able to relax on the deck and enjoy the passing scenery.
5. Take a Shikara ride in the backwaters in Alleppey
Alleppey has many adventurous and fun Kerala activities to offer. One of them is Shikara rides. These rides offer a unique way to experience the backwaters and witness the daily life of local villagers. Be on the lookout to spot various waterbirds, such as kingfishers and herons, and may even spot some otters playing in the water.
Shikara rides usually start from the Alleppey Boat Jetty and last anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending on the tour you choose. You can also opt for longer rides that take you deeper into the backwaters, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
6. Witness the famous snake boat race in Alleppey
The snake boat race, also known as the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, should be in the top 5 things to do in Kerala. It is one of the famous and spectacular events held in Alleppey, Kerala. The race is held annually on the second Saturday of August and attracts thousands of visitors from all over India and the world.
The snake boats, which are long, narrow, and colourful boats, are rowed by over 100 oarsmen and are accompanied by music and singing. The boats race through the Vembanad Lake, creating a mesmerising sight.
7. Take the black gold tour in Thekkady
Thekkady is located in the Idukki district of Kerala. Being one of the most frequented destinations, it should be in your list of things to do. Known for its rich natural beauty, you will experience dense green forests and spice plantations.
During the spice tour, you'll visit local spice plantations and learn about the different spices grown in the area, such as cardamom, pepper, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. You'll also have the opportunity to see how the spices are harvested, processed, and packaged, and may even get to taste some of the spices in their raw form.
8. Experience the thrill of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady, Kerala, is a protected territory known for its diverse wildlife and scenic beauty. One of the best ways to explore the sanctuary is by taking a jeep ride.
Jeep rides offer a comfortable and convenient way to see the wildlife and vegetation of the sanctuary. Your driver and guide will take you on a tour of the park, stopping at various points to observe the animals and birds in their natural habitats. Be ready to spot a variety of species, including elephants, bison, deer, monkeys, and more.
9. Climb a treehouse in Wayanad
Staying in a treehouse is a unique and adventurous experience. Wayanad, a district in Kerala is one of the best places to experience a treehouse vacation. With its rolling hills, dense forests, and tranquil lakes, Wayanad is a nature lover's paradise and a perfect thing to do.
Treehouses in Wayanad are built amid lush forests, providing an unforgettable experience of staying amidst nature. The treehouses are typically constructed from locally sourced materials and offer basic amenities like comfortable beds, attached bathrooms, and balconies overlooking the forest
10. Get The Jungle Book experience in Kodanad
Kodanad, located in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, is a scenic village that is known for its elephant rehabilitation centre and its stunning views of the surrounding hills and forests. Bathing elephants is a unique and memorable experience that is popular among tourists visiting Kodanad.
Visitors can participate in the daily bath and feeding routine of the elephants, and learn about their behaviour and habits from knowledgeable guides. This activity provides an opportunity for visitors to interact with these gentle giants and gain a deeper appreciation for these magnificent animals.
11. Live the simple life in Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village
Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village, located near Kochi in Kerala, is a unique and sustainable tourism initiative that offers visitors a chance to experience traditional village life in Kerala. The village is known for its scenic beauty, lush vegetation, and calm backwaters, and is an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
We suggest staying in traditional homestays, enjoying the rural life and indulging in activities like fishing and coir-making. You can also learn about the local culture and customs by visiting the nearby temples and churches, or by attending traditional dances and festivals.
12. Eat your heart out at Veli Tourist Village
Veli Tourist Village in Thiruvananthapuram is a scenic and peaceful spot that offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. A unique experience that this village offers is of having a special local meal. The village is known for its local seafood and traditional dishes.
Visitors can sample some of the best seafood in the region at one of the local restaurants, which serve fresh and flavourful dishes made from locally caught fish and other seafood. If you are keen then also try these traditional Kerala dishes like appam, dosa, and sambar, as well as regional specialities like chicken and mutton curries.
13. Sip on coffee in Wayanad
Wayanad is nestled in the hills of Kerala. The place is known for its lush greenery and scenic beauty, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers. One of the must-visit places in Wayanad is a coffee plantation, where visitors can learn about the history, cultivation, and processing of coffee.
Take a guided tour of the plantation, where you will be taken to see the coffee trees, learn about the different varieties of coffee grown in the region, and see how the beans are harvested, processed, and roasted. These plantations also offer tastings, allowing visitors to sample the delicious coffee produced on-site.
14. Marvel the architecture of Fort Kochi
Kochi is that side of Kerala that is home to a rich history and marvellous architecture. Fort Kochi is one such piece of architecture where you can witness the blend of European and Indian architectural styles, which reflects the region's multicultural heritage.
One of the must-visit sites in Fort Kochi is the St. Francis Church, which was built by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century and is considered to be the oldest European-built church in India. Another famous site is the Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, which was built by the Portuguese and later renovated by the Dutch. This palace is known for its stunning murals and intricate carvings, some of the best examples of traditional Indian art.
15. Enjoy a Theyyam performance in Kochi
Theyyam is a traditional dance form performed in the northern region of Kerala, particularly in the district of Kannur. It is considered to be one of the most important cultural expressions of the region and is an integral part of the local religious and social customs.
Theyyam is not just a dance performance but is also a form of worship and a means of connecting with the divine. It is considered to be a spiritual experience and a must-see for visitors who are interested in the culture and traditions of Kerala.
The performance of Theyyam can be experienced during the festival season in January and February. The dance is performed in front of the Theyyam shrine and involves elaborate costumes, masks, and musical accompaniment. The performers embody the spirits of the gods and goddesses and tell the story of their ancestors through their movements and expressions.
16. Birdwatch in Kumarakom
Kumarakom is a beautiful backwater town known for its breathtaking greenery, serene lagoons, and diverse wildlife, making it an ideal destination for bird-watching.
At Kumarakom, you can take a guided bird-watching tour, which takes you through the mangrove forests, paddy fields, and backwaters to catch a glimpse of a wide variety of bird species. The most commonly seen birds in Kumarakom are kingfishers, egrets, herons, cormorants, and various species of ducks and geese.
17. Take a dip in the Arabian Sea
A lesser-known fact about Varkala Beach is its spiritual significance. It is considered one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in India and a must in your things to see in Kerala. You can visit the famous Sivagiri Mutt, dedicated to the social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, and the Anjengo Fort, which offers stunning views of the Arabian Sea.
At Varkala Beach, enjoy a refreshing swim in the Arabian Sea, which offers crystal-clear waters and gentle waves. It is a great place for sunbathing, relaxing, and taking in beautiful scenery. In addition to swimming, try surfing, parasailing, and snorkelling.
18. Visit the Athirapally Falls
Athirapally Falls is a stunning waterfall. Considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in India, you can see it surrounded by tall trees and cliffs, making it an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Here, you can take a refreshing dip in the cool waters, swimming or simply standing under the falls to get drenched. The falls offer a breathtaking view and a peaceful atmosphere, making it top the list of unforgettable things to see in Kerala. Are you feeling like doing something offbeat? Try hiking, picnicking, and bird-watching.
19. Sample varieties of bananas
Bananas are a staple in Kerala, and the city of Trivandrum is no exception. The city is known for its delicious and sweet varieties of bananas. You must try these Kerala food items such as banana chips, banana fritters, and banana pancakes.
Whether you are a fan of bananas or simply looking to try some traditional local foods, a visit to Trivandrum is a must during your trip to Kerala. Do not miss the opportunity to sample the delicious cuisine of this vibrant and historic city.
20. Watch the sunset at Kovalam Beach
Kovalam Beach is known for its clear waters, soft sand, and breathtaking sunsets. It is one of the most famous beaches in Kerala. You can spend your days lounging on the sand, swimming in the ocean, or doing activities such as snorkelling, surfing, and fishing.
One of the most amazing things to do in Kerala’s Kovalam Beach is to watch the sunset. The sunsets at Kovalam Beach are stunning, with the sun slowly sinking into the horizon and casting a warm glow over the sea and the surrounding landscape.
21. Bike ride around Idukki
Idukki is a scene out of a postcard with steep towering hills, lush forests, and picturesque landscapes. If you are wondering what to do in Kerala, this is a big yes. The district is a popular destination for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers, who can explore the local area by bike.
Biking is a great way to experience the stunning scenery of Idukki, as you can pedal at your own pace and take in the sights and sounds of the local area. Many trails and roads are there that wind through the district. So pick a terrain or route depending on your skill level and interests.
Best time to visit Kerala
Kerala experiences three major seasons - summer, monsoon and winter (for a short span). The summer months are February to May. Monsoon months are June to November. Winters come only with a little drop in temperature in the range of 28-32 degrees Celsius. If you do not like extreme climates, then Kerala is best for you.
Are you still confused about vacationing in Kerala? Let us give you some more things to do in Kerala. You can eat Kerala's Sweet - Palada Pradhaman when looking for specialities to taste, be a part of Kerala’s Caravan Tour or you can explore Kerala's love for Nendrapazham.