OT Travel Itinerary: A 7-Day Guide To Kerala In The Monsoon

There's no perfect time to visit Kerala since it welcomes visitors all year long. Plan a seven-day vacation to "God's own country" with this itinerary
Places to visit in Kerala
A bird's-eye view of houseboats in AlappuzhaSanjeev Mohapatra/Shutterstock

The palm-fringed emerald waters, dazzling forests, and sprawling plantations of Kerala coupled with its long cultural history make the state a must-visit destination throughout the year. Simply put, there is no bad time to visit this southern Indian state because of the variety of experiences it offers like backwater cruises, wildlife and bird sanctuaries, tours of tea, coffee spice plantations, dance performances of Mohiniyattam and Kathakali, Ayurvedic centres, and mouthwateringly delicious meals, to name a few. Also, its people are some of the friendliest you will encounter anywhere in the world.

Here then is your seven-day trip to “God’s own country.”

Day 1


The Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi
The Chinese fishing nets at Fort KochiDRAWzdova/Shutterstock

Arrive at the Cochin International Airport and start your trip with a visit to the Fort Kochi area. Here you will find a mix of old houses built by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, starting from 1516. The St Francis Church was built in 1503 by the Portuguese to function as a space for Catholic worshippers. The Santa Cruz Basilica, also built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, was later destroyed by the British and rebuilt near the end of 19th century. Perhaps the most popular attraction is the group of Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront, believed to have been introduced by Chinese traders in the early 14th century.


Inside the Museum of Kerala History
Inside the Museum of Kerala Historykeralamuseum/Facebook

Next, head indoors to the Museum of Kerala History. It has three galleries: one on history, the Dolls Museum and the Gallery of Contemporary Indian Art. The first showcases Kerala’s rich past through a light and sound show. The life-size tableaus highlight the stories of the people and events that changed the fortunes of this lush land. The Dolls Museum is a collection of dolls dressed in full traditional attire from all corners of India. The Gallery of Contemporary Indian Art features works by Indian artists from the past century such as Raja Ravi Varma, M.F. Husain, Abanindranath Tagore, F.N. Souza, Jamini Roy and B. Prabha.

Follow this up with a visit (or swim) at Cherai Beach. It is known for its dolphin sightings but whether you see the marine mammals or not, the beach is the perfect place to relax as it attracts fewer crowds. Lunch at the Chilli Out Café where you can eat continental and fusion dishes like fish Veracruzana, Pallippuram pork chops and amêijoas à bulhão pato.


A Kathakali dancer in Kochi
A Kathakali dancer in KochiRichard Juilliart/Shutterstock

Head to the Kadamakkudy Lake Viewpoint around sunset to see the beautiful hues of the sky. There are boat trips for visitors to avail of. Dine on fish-based dishes like cardamom-fried carp.

Follow this up with a Kathakali performance at the Kerala Kathakali Centre or at the Cochin Cultural Centre. The dance form is distinguished by its elaborately colourful make-up and costumes of the traditional male dancers.

Day 2


The Cheeyappara Waterfall
The Cheeyappara WaterfallMarisa Estivill/Shutterstock

Embark on a four-hour drive to Munnar, 124km from Kochi. On your way there, stop at the Cheeyappara (a seven-tiered waterfall) and Valara waterfalls. They offer one of the best hiking trails in the Idukki district. Both falls are located amid lush greenery, which makes the monsoon an excellent time to see them.


The Tea Museum of Munnar
The Tea Museum of MunnarEric Al/Shutterstock

Have lunch at the iconic Kolukkumalai Tea Estate. It started production in the early 1900s and continues to produce tea using time-tested methods. They offer tours of their factory and tea gardens for visitors and guests.

Next, squeeze in a visit to the Tea Museum, which ensures that the legacy of tea plantation workers is recognised publicly. Visitors learn about the history and growth of tea estates in the area, and the various stages of tea processing. You will find a real-life tea roller and a rail engine wheel of the Kundale Valley Light Railway at the museum. Furthermore, there is a demonstration room for a tea-tasting experience where visitors can sample different varieties of tea.


Riding a jet ski at Mattupetty Dam
Riding a jet ski at Mattupetty DamPREJU SURESH/Shutterstock

Head to the Mattupetty Dam in the evening. The area is a beautiful picnic spot that regularly attracts visitors. There are boat rides you can go on but what catches the eye is the view of the valley from here. Relax and enjoy the beautiful weather and the breathtaking scenery.

A little further up (7km) is Echo Point, known for its natural echo phenomenon. Situated at approximately 182m above sea level, people love taking a walk in the lush greenery which surrounds this place. It also makes for an ideal picnic spot.

Day 3


Nilgiri tahr in Munnar
Nilgiri tahr in MunnarJimmy Kamballur/Shutterstock

Today will be about Eravikulam National Park, the home and sanctuary of the Nilgiri tahr. The terrain consists of high-altitude grasslands interspersed with sholas. Among the diverse flora and fauna, the park is home to the special Neelakurinji flowers that bloom once every 12 years. The next sighting is expected to be in 2030 so mark your calendar. In addition to the Nilgiri tahr, visitors can be treated to the sight of chital, lion-tailed macaques, gaur, wild boar, dhole, the Indian leopard, the black-and-orange flycatcher, the Nilgiri wood pigeon and the Palani laughingthrush, among several other species. The park also boasts South India's highest peak, Anamudi, at 2,695m.


Boating on Kundala Lake
Boating on Kundala LakeSachin Dharod/Shutterstock

Next, take a tranquil boat ride on Kundala Lake. There are tea plantations and a reservoir for visitors to check out. It is the perfect spot to catch your breath and soak in some of the finest visuals in the Munnar region.


Sunset from the Top Station Viewpoint
Sunset from the Top Station ViewpointMr-Nair/Shutterstock

Wrap up your Munnar trip with a sunset view at the Top Station Viewpoint, which provides visitors with far-reaching sights of the Western Ghats. Twilight is the best time to catch the golden rays of the sun painting the sky in a variety of colours. Gazing at the valleys and forests from here creates an internal peace that you will latch onto for days.

Day 4

Morning And Afternoon

A boat safari cruises through Periyar National Park
A boat safari cruises through Periyar National ParkAnurag Kr/Shutterstock

Another road trip beckons, this time to Thekkady, which is approximately 86km away. Make your way straight to Periyar National Park which is located in the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of the Western Ghats along the border with Tamil Nadu. The park is renowned for its elephant and tiger safaris but visitors can opt for a boat safari to marvel at elephants, wild boar and sambar from atop the upper deck. There are a range of ecosystems present in the park’s boundaries like tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests, montane grasslands, montane savannas, man-made stands of eucalyptus, wetlands, lake, and river ecosystems. Time spent here reconnects you with the more-than-human world and allows you to tap into the primeval relationships that existed between humans and nonhuman organisms tens of thousands of years ago.


Kalaripayattu is the oldest form of martial arts dating back to at least 3,000 years ago
Kalaripayattu is the oldest form of martial arts dating back to at least 3,000 years agoAshwin pk/Shutterstock

Visit spice plantations in the evening. Thekkady is famous for its spices such as cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, to name a few. Spice plantation tours offer visitors a unique experience into the world of spices where they can learn about the cultivation, harvesting and processing of different varieties. Choose from Abraham’s Spice Garden, Green Park Spices and the Murikaddy district.

Alternatively, you can catch a performance of Kalaripayattu—the oldest form of martial arts dating back to at least 3,000 years ago—at the Kadathandan Kalari and Navarasa Kathakali Centre.  

Day 5

A houseboat in Alappuzha
A houseboat in Alappuzhasaiko3p/Shutterstock

Go back to coastal Kerala with a drive to Alappuzha, 138km away. It is famous for its serene backwaters which means you will be spending your time here on a houseboat. Relax after four hectic days of moving hither and thither. If you want to check out the sights of Alappuzha, consider the International Coir Museum, the Punnamada Lake, the Alappuzha Lighthouse, Alleppey Beach and the Revi Karunakaran Memorial Museum. Eat your meals on the houseboat.

Day 6


The Kerala Arts and Crafts Village celebrates and preserves the traditional, folk and ethnic arts, crafts and performing traditions of Kerala
The Kerala Arts and Crafts Village celebrates and preserves the traditional, folk and ethnic arts, crafts and performing traditions of KeralaAjayTvm/Shutterstock

Head to Kovalam, 171km away, the next morning. Start with a visit to the Kerala Arts and Crafts Village. It celebrates and preserves the traditional, folk and ethnic arts, crafts and performing traditions of Kerala. The space has studios where artisans can be seen plying their trade, hence visitors get a first-hand experience of the intricate work involved in finishing each artefact. The finished products are put up for sale which makes them authentic souvenirs to take back home with you.


The Vizhinjam Rock-Cut Cave
The Vizhinjam Rock-Cut CaveSISYPHUS_zirix/Shutterstock

Next, check out the Vizhinjam Rock-Cut Cave. Considered to be the smallest rock-cut shrine in southern India, the cave dates back to the 8th century and houses unfinished sculptures of Shiva and Parvati. This rock-cut cave is now a protected monument under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Time to hit the beach. Visit the Vizhinjam Lighthouse with its iconic red and white bands. Standing at a height of 36m, visitors can climb up its spiral staircase for vertigo-inducing, palm-drenched views of the coastline.

Afterwards, head to Kovalam Beach. This internationally-renowned beach has been a favourite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for leisure activities. You can swim, get an herbal massage, do some yoga, surf, eat, enjoy cultural programs and cruise on a catamaran in its waters.


Samudra Beach
Samudra BeachElena Odareeva/Shutterstock

Wrap up your day with a trip to the nearby Samudra Beach. Its secluded vibe, well-maintained coastline and a plethora of eating options will help you wind down with ease. Watch the sun go down and take a stroll on its sandy beaches.

Day 7


The Kanakakkunnu Palace
The Kanakakkunnu PalaceNesru Markmedia/Shutterstock

For your final day in Kerala, make your way to the capital of Thiruvananthapuram. Start by visiting the Napier Museum. It was named after Lord Napier, the then Governor General of Madras during the 1870s. The musuem is one of the oldest art and natural history museums in the country. It has a unique collection of more than 550 exhibits of historical and archeological value. There are antique bronzes, exquisite wooden sculptures and carvings, stunning stone sculptures, magnificent ivory carvings, ancient coins, royal collectables, and other historic items. It also houses Japanese shadow play leather, burial urns, Kathakali models, and so on. What will grab your attention first though is its architecture; it has a Indo-Saracenic structure with Gothic roofs and minarets.

Next, check out the Kanakakkunnu Palace. Located in the heart of the city, it hosts a multitude of cultural events, seminars and programs. Its proximity to several important tourist sites, including the Napier Museum and Trivandrum Zoo, has made it an important part of the daily workings of the city. It was constructed to serve as a guesthouse; the red-bricked structure is made of white stone dressings and is an amalgam of Keralite and Gothic architecture. Its structural beauty is complemented by meadows, groves and flowering shrubs.


The Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The Padmanabhaswamy TempleDmytro Gilitukha/Shutterstock

Head to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, one of 108 sacred Vishnu temples or “Divya Desams” in India which dates back to the 8th century. Its architecture is a blend of the Keralite and Dravidian styles. The temple interiors are adorned by beautiful paintings and murals. They include life-size images of Vishnu in the reclining posture, the Narasimha Swamy (his half-lion, half-man incarnation), Ganesh and Gaja Lakshmi. There are references to the temple in texts like the “Puranas.”

After the temple visit, go to the Anjengo/Anchuthengu Fort. This 17th-century fort is regarded as one of the earliest signs of British settlement in India. It is made out of laterite concrete and was used as a signalling station for ships arriving from England. Its establishment marked a significant chapter in the history of trade and communication for the British. This square fort has four bastions which you can access from a flight of stairs at each corner. Walk along the fort walls for a breathtakingly beautiful bird’s-eye view of the seaside village which is located here.


Visitors on pedal boats at the Veli Tourist Village
Visitors on pedal boats at the Veli Tourist Villagekeralatourism.org/Website

For your final evening, check out the Veli Tourist Village. It is a popular picnic and boating spot for visitors. There’s also a landscaped garden on the southern banks of the lagoon and a floating bridge which connects the garden with the beach. Eat at the floating café, look at the sculptures which adorn the garden (the conch sculpture by Kanayi Kunhiraman is a stand-out) and hop onto a solar-powered miniature train while you’re here. Alternatively, you can hire a pedal boat for your leisure.

Getting There

Land at Cochin International Airport (COK) or get down at the Ernakulam Junction Railway Station (ERS) in Kerala.

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