Few places on earth are as beautiful as Kerala. Sandwiched between the Arabian Sea on the west and Western Ghats on the east, this South Indian state is blessed with incredible scenery. When you think of Kerala tourism, the backwaters and the houseboats cruising through them are the first images that come to mind. Kerala has lovely beaches too and at least some of them are among the best in Asia.
Kerala beaches cater to every type of tourists. Some of them are almost deserted – ideal for people who would like to spend some time all by themselves counting the waves. Others like Kovalam and Varkala are quite busy.
Kerala beaches are some of the best in Asia. Can’t decide which beach to visit? This quick guide will point you in the right direction.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Kerala beaches is from December to March. Monsoons (June to September) are not exactly a good time because the sea can become rough during this season. On the bright side, you will get some fantastic off-season discounts during the rainy season.
1. Kovalam beach
Those of you who love action will find it at Kovalam beach. It is the most popular and the busiest beach in the state and is often compared to Goa’s Baga and Calangute beaches. Kovalam has several strategic advantages too. It is close to Thiruvanantapuram, the capital of Kerala. The Kovalam beach is actually made up of three bays – Lighthouse beach, Hawa Beach and Crescent Beach. Of these, Lighthouse is the busiest and the biggest. Open air restaurants line the promenades of Lighthouse. The Hawa Beach is called so because topless sunbathing is permitted here. Kovalam has shallow waters and low tidal waves. It shot into limelight when a large number of hippies arrived here in the 1970s. Thus began Kovalam’s transformation from a traditional fishing village into one of the most famous beaches in India. Kovalam is a famous surfing destination in India. However, it is very busy. If you are looking to spend some quiet moments relaxing, a better option is the nearby Samudra beach.
2. Varkala Beach
In terms of facilities and ambiance, Varkala beach is the best beach in Kerala. It has been seeing a steady increase in the number of tourists each year. Even so, it is not as crowded as Kovalam beach. Another thing that works in favor of Varkala Beach is its stunning scenery. It lies at the bottom of a long cliff. You will absolutely enjoy standing on the cliff watching the waves beating against it. The Varkala Beach sees a number of foreign tourists and honeymooning couples.
3. Marari Beach
Marari beach is not far from Alappuzha, the epicenter of Kerala’s houseboat tourism. It is a tranquil place perfect for spending some quiet moments with oneself. Marari is a sleepy fishing village. Coconut palms line the white sandy shores of this beach. Perhaps the biggest attraction of Marari is that it is a secluded beach famous for its peace and quiet. Marari has endless miles of coconut trees and sand. It is still a virgin territory that provides more than a glimpse into the workings of traditional Kerala fishing communities.
4. Alappuzha Beach
Alappuzha attracts a large number of tourists because of its backwaters and houseboat tourism. Alappuzha beach is also famous. The pier at this beach was built about 140 years ago. It is a popular tourist place. There is a lighthouse here. The Vijaya Beach Park also provides several entertainment facilities.
5. Kannur Beach
If you would like to go off the beaten track, Kannur in northern Kerala should be on your itinerary. The district has several secluded beaches. However, Kannur’s biggest claim to fame is its ritual dance performance called Theyyam. The theyyam season is from October to May. Beaches in Kannur are delightful, inexpensive and laidback. Muzhappilangad Drive-In Beach is in Kannur district. Here tourists can drive all the way to the beach along 4 kilometers of sand.
6. Bekal Beach
Bekal Beach is only about an hour’s drive from Mangalore airport. The town is also famous for its port which is the largest in Kerala. Bekal has some unspoiled beaches. Tata group owns a gorgeous resort here – Taj Vivanta.
7. Cherai Beach
If your itinerary includes Kochi, make a side trip to the 10 kilometer long Cherai beach. The beach is part of Vypeen Island. You have to take a ferry from Kochi to Vypeen. And from there a bus or rickshaw ride through the rice fields and villages will take you to Cherai Beach. Recently a new walkway was added to the main beach. Explore the surrounding areas to get incredible views.
8. Vizhinjam Beach
Vizhinjam is only about 3 kilometers from Kovalam. It is a famous fishing harbor where you can find local fishermen venturing into the sea at dawn. Unlike Kovalam which is touristy, Vizhinjam has a rustic charm to it. There is a marine aquarium at Vizhinjam. The rock cut temple built in the 18th century is another attraction.