Kerala beaches Travel Guide
About Kerala beaches
The sun-drenched state of Kerala offers a mix of beautiful sandy beaches, historic colonial towns, lush forests and tranquil hill stations.
Stretching for almost 600km (373 miles), Kerala is blessed with a picture-perfect coastline that's peppered with stunning beaches. The length of the state means that there's a huge variety of beaches to choose from ranging from unspoiled secluded bays to bigger beach resorts with plenty of facilities that are popular with families.
Located close to the state capital, the beautiful Kovalam Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the state and attracts thousands of sun seekers to its four separate coves. Another popular beach close to the capital is Varkala which is famous for the Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the nearby Nature Care Centre.
Other popular beaches well worth seeking out include Thanagasseri Beach, Cheria Beach, Tanur Beach, Padinharekara Beach, Beypore Beach and Kappad Beach. But if quiet seclusion is what you're after, you don't usually have to walk far from the resort centre to find a stretch of sand that you can claim all to yourself.
Beyond the beach:
Beautiful beaches are only part of Kerala's charms and visitors should not miss the opportunity to explore inland to enjoy a variety of visits and activities ranging from jungle treks and elephant safaris to tours of colonial mansions and religious sites.
Kerala's historic towns and cities are great places to learn more about the state's colonial history and provide a fascinating contrast to laidback village life along the coast. Of particular note is the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram and the town of Cochin; the latter stakes its claim in the history books as one of Europe's first Indian colonies.
Kerala's eastern border is dominated by the impressive Western Ghats mountain range, which has historically provided a natural defence from inland invaders. Lying at the heart of this rugged region is Anaimudi which, at 2,652m (8,840ft), is the highest peak in Southern India.
Kerala doesn't really have attractions specifically for children, but there's plenty to see and do here to keep families entertained.
Watersports are popular and many of the bigger resorts offer facilities such as jet-ski hire and parasailing. But visitors should be aware that the sea can be quite rough and is renowned for its strong currents.
The Periyar Wildlife Reserve close to Kumily is rightly one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state. Established in 1934, the reserve is home to many native species including Indian tigers, sloth bears, monkeys, deer, bison, kingfishers and huge herds of elephants.
The state is also famed for its rivers and waterways and a boat tour exploring the villages and communities that live in these lush areas is the highlight of many people's stay in Kerala. The triangular circuit in the south between Kollam, Alappuzha and Kottayam is the most popular but other quieter routes are also possible; the northern district of Kasaragode has a good reputation for relaxed, authentic tours.
There's so much to see and do in this vibrant state that it is unlikely that visitors on a normal length holiday will have time to explore beyond Kerala itself. But, with internal flights, the cities of Bangalore and Chennai (Madras) make for fascinating excursions.