Golden-sand beaches edge Kerala's coastline, fringed by palms and washed by the Arabian Sea. The southern beaches are the busiest, while less-discovered, wilder choices await in the north.
Most established of all the resorts along the coast is Kovalam, in the south, with two perfect crescents of beach. Once a quiet fishing village, it's now overlooked by a town that's almost entirely made up of hotels, fronted by a promenade and a strip of restaurants. If you're looking for something less built up: south of here are some lovely beaches, clustered in the area around Pulinkudi and Chowara.
Further north is Varkala, which straggles along its dramatic, streaked russet-and-gold cliffs. This has an entirely different flavour, with accommodation mostly in small guesthouses and homestays and a long line of laid-back cafes and restaurants.
There are also some fine beaches around the historic port of Fort Cochin. Best is Cherai Beach, a lovely stretch of white sand, with miles of lazy backwaters only a few hundred metres from the seafront.
And for the tropical desert island experience, there are the islands of Lakshadweep, a palm-covered archipelago 300km off the coast of Kerala.
Heading even further north, there are still deserted beaches along the coast, particularly around Bekal, and some stunning caramel-coloured beaches backed by palms close to the town of Kannur.
Beach Tours in Kerala
Sea Change: Stories of Kerala India Beaches
Behind every beautiful beach in the state, are stories that are equally beautiful. Stories inspired by the land, life and nature. Like that of the six fishermen in Payyoli beach in Kozhikode, who started an organization to save the rare Olive Ridley turtle. Or like the group of women at Kovalam who contribute to the empowerment of the local community, as part of Zero Waste Kovalam, a unique garbage disposal initiative.
Every seashell on Kerala's historic shores has a story to tell. Stories of Chinese traders, Dutch seamen and Portuguese like Vasco da Gama who landed here 1489. Stories of wars fought, lives lost and empires built. Stories that carry that sent of spices and resonated with rustle of silks.
Cool Spells: Activities in Kerala Beach Vacation
Kerala has a 600 km long shoreline, studded with the most delightful beaches-some steeped, some spirited...
Refreshing Worlds: Kerala Beach Holidays
Kerala beach holidays are an experience of God's Own Country shaped by spectacular beaches, each singular in setting and character. The beaches are accentuated by high cliffs and old piers, quaint villages and ancient temples, beach drivers and country boat rides. Come; discover a new world of simple delights.
With one of India's longest shorelines, Kerala is blessed with rich seafood cuisine. Lobsters, tiger prawns, crabs and a whole range of exotic delicacies cooked in the traditional Kerala style await the traveller here.
South Kerala Beaches: Trivandrum and Kollam
16 km south of Trivandrum, this internationally renowned destination comprises three adjacent crescent-shaped beaches, of which the southernmost known as the Lighthouse Beach, is the most popular. Kovalam offers a variety of activities including snorkelling, catamaran rides etc.
8 km from centre of Trivandrum, this beach has an indoor recreation club, the matsya kanyaka (a gigantic 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid) and a restaurant shaped like a starfish.
8 km south of Kovalam: Pristine and serene, this fishing hamlet is an unending stretch of white, sandy beaches.
12 km south of Kovalam: An isolated but spectacular beach, Poovar is situated close to the Neyyar River estuary.
45 km north of Trivandrum: A beach destination, it is also an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. The Papanasham Beach fringed by red laterite cliffs, cool mineral springs, serene backwaters, the 2000- year-old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple, a century old tunnel and a Nature Cure centre are the key attractions here.
(53 km north of Trivandrum and 16 km south of Kollam: A confluence of the sea, river and the backwaters, this secluded spot near Varkala is worth visiting.
(6km north of Kollam) This secluded beach is a beautiful picnic spot.
Central Kerala Beaches: Cochin, Alleppey and Thrissur
3.5 km from Alappuzha town: A 137-year-old pier which extends into the sea and an old lighthouse add to the attractions of the beach.
Fort Kochi Beach
At Fort Kochi: Overlooking the Arabian Sea, with its legendary Chinese fishing nets dotting the foreground, Fort Kochi Beach offers views of spectacular sunsets. Waterfront stalls serving fresh catch prepared according to taste are the main attractions here.
21 km from Ernakulam: This lovely beach bordering Vypeen Island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occasionally spotted here. A typical Kerala village nearby, with paddy fields and coconut groves is an added attraction.
24 km from Thrissur: Fringed by palm trees, this picturesque beach is hot spot of picnickers.
North Kerala Beaches: Calicut, Malappuaram, Kannur and Kasargod
5 km from Chemravattom, Ponnani: Famous for bird watching, the beach also offers a breathtaking view of the confluence of the Bharathapuzha, the Tirur Puzha and the Arabian Sea.
40 km from Malappuram: A beach resort set in the midst of a coconut grove is the main attraction here.
1/2 km from Calicut city: This beach is a favourite haunt of sunset viewers. Adding to its natural beauty is the old-world charm retained by the ancient lighthouse and the two crumbling piers, each more than a hundred years old.
10 km south of Calicut: One of the prominent ports and a maritime trading centre of ancient Kerala. Beypore is famous for its boat building yard where the Uru (Arabian trading vessel) is constructed.
16 km north of Calicut: This is the historic beach where Vasco da Gama landed on the 27th of May 1498, with 170 men in three vessels. The rock-studded beach is locally known as Kappakadavu.
38 km north of Calicut: The shallow waters of this beautiful beach are ideal for swimming. During November- December, hordes of the endangered Olive Ridley turtle come in to lay eggs.
52 km north of Calicut: This beach at Vdakara where the Kottakal River merges into the sea is stunningly beautiful and is a favourite spot for locals and tourists.
2 km from Kannur town: This beach is famous for its flat laterite cliffs that jut out into the sea. The well-laid gardens and the massive landscaped sculpture of Mother and Child make it extremely captivating. The nearby Baby Beach is delightfully quiet.
Kizhunna Ezhara Beach
11 km south of Kannur: This beautiful stretch of sand is one of the most secluded beaches in Kerala.
12 km north of Kannur: Uncrowded, the beach is a tourist paradise, with golden sand and surf.
15 km south of Kannur: A swimmers paradise, this is Kerala's only drive-in beach. Adventure sports like paragliding and parasailing are possible here.
1 km from Bekal Fort: Also known as the Bekal Fort Beach, this shallow beach offers a spectacular view of the fort and has ample facilities for recreation.
2 km from Bekal Fort: Remote and secluded, this beach is fast becoming a major tourist spot. The nearby Kodi Cliff offers a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea.
3 km from Manjeswaram: A large swimming pool-like formation of the sea on the vast beach is the main attraction here.
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