Best Places to Visit in and Around Kochi (Cochin)

Beautiful pristine beaches, calm backwaters, vast stretches of tea plantations and a culture vivid and unique to self, there are myriad reasons why Kochi is such a desirable destination for tourists. Synonymous with beauty, this little gem of 'God's own country' has a great deal to offer to those who are in search of cultural and natural exploits.
However, Kochi can be a little intimidating for travellers, especially the first-timers. With its unending number of attractions, there comes a challenge of sorting out the best which we dare say, is not an easy thing to do. To help you out on that, here is our handpicked list of the best places to visit in and around Kochi. Check them out!

Places to Visit in Kochi

1. Mattancherry

Mattancherry - first place to visit in kochi

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mattancherry is a tourist spot in Kochi where Portuguese influence can be seen in abundance, particularly in the Dutch Palace. There are some other places to see as well like Jew Town which is home to a synagogue dating back to 1568, apparently India's oldest functioning synagogue. You can visit the Mattancherry Palace Museum here where you can find vivid displays of different weapons such as swords, spears etc. Once you are done visiting the mains, ensure to check out the other significant attractions like Pazhayannur Royal temple and Palliarakkavvu temple, Ram Mandir, Gowd Saraswat Brahmin temples and such.

2. Chottanikara Bhagavathy Temple

Chottanikara Bhagavathy Temple

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Situated near Ernakulam, the Chottanikkara Temple is one of the most important temples of the state due to its religious and architectural significance. It is believed to be among the finest works of the Vishwakarma Sthapathis, who have also sculpted the Sabarimala temple. This revered place is among the best places to visit in Cochin. It is dedicated to Bhagavathy, who is worshipped here in three different forms- Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga.

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3. Folklore Museum

Folklore Museum

Image Source: keralafolkloremuseum.org

The Folklore Theatre and Museum is one of the most popular places to visit in Cochin. The exteriors of the museum look like a temple and the interiors are aesthetically appealing. It houses some of the most valuable artefacts and items of ancient Kerala, providing an educational insight into its history. One of the most remarkable items on display is the collection of mural paintings by Unnis M Mani Achary. The interiors and exteriors of the museum are known to reflect unique and ancient stories through its items; some of them even date back to the 15th and 20th centuries or are more than 2000 years old.


4. Lulu Shopping Mall, Edappally

Lulu Shopping Mall, Edappally

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

It is also interesting to know that India's largest shopping mall also resides in Kochi in Edappally region. Lulu Shopping Mall owned and operated by EMKE Group. For a shopping experience in Kochi, there are lots of markets but a visit to Lulu Mall is a treat with its air conditioned niches and more than 300 food outlets, stores and restaurants. There are both international brands as well as local specialities to see in this modern complex. You will also see a premium five-star hotel (with 300 rooms) managed by JW Marriott Hotels located adjacent to it, within the mall compound.

Check Out: Places to Visit in India in May

5. Cherai Beach

Cherai Beach

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Cherai Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala and also among the popular places to visit in Cochin. Situated on the northern end of the Vypin Island, it stretches to a length of 10 km. The beach is particularly famous with photographers who take great interest in catching different frames of the golden sands and the beautifully translucent waters.Tourists from all around the globe come to this seashore to enjoy its beauty, particularly of the sunset and sun rise. There are several other tourist places in and around the Cherai Beach. Of them, the Tranquil Lake is the nearest. The other places of interest include the Gowreeswara Temple, Pallipuram Church, the Juma Masjid, the Portuguese Fort and the SahadooraBhawan.

6. Chinese Fishing Nets

Chinese Fishing Nets

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Chinese Fishing Nets have now emerged as a symbolic representation of the coast of Cochin and one of the most favoured places here. They are different from other fishing nets due to their elegant design and construction. These nets are horizontal and are held out by huge mechanical contrivances. The catch is not enormous and usually comprises of a few fish and crustaceans which is sold fresh to buyers. The beauty of them attracts tourists from all over the country and the world, specially shutterbugs!

Check out: Backwater Resorts in South India

7. Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fort Kochi, also known as Old Kochi, is situated to the south-west of Cochin. It is a part of a few water bound regions and is located close to Mattancherry. This place was a small fishing village in pre-colonial Kerala and a belonged to the Kingdom of Kochi. The city of Fort Kochi derives its name from its fort. It remained under the Portuguese influence for 160 years till the Dutch established their rule in 1683.

There are several places of interest in and around such as Indo-Portuguese Museum, Chinese Fishing Nets, Dutch Cemetery, St Francis Church and Santa Cruz Basilica. The Fort Kochi is one of the best places to visit in Cochin.

8. Marine Drive

Marine Drive

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Marine Drive as its name suggests in not a driveway through which vehicles can be driven, but a scenic promenade in Ernakulam which has the rainbow bridge that has become a symbol of Ernakulam. The Marine Drive was built on the land reclaimed from backwaters and the initial plan was to build a beautiful road along the coast line but the coastline rules prohibited it because of which the road was converted to a walkway which also has a Chinese Fishing net bridge as well. Private Boat operators offer hourly cruises starting from Marine Drive that goes through Cochin Harbour, Bolgatty and other places around. The GCDA Shopping Complex near Marine drive is the first mall in Kochi and is a major shopping arcade in Ernakulam city.

Places to Visit Around Kochi

9. Kodanand Elephant Training Centre

Kodanand Elephant Training Centre

Image Source: VnGrijl/flickr.com

Kodanad Elephant Training Center, which is a rural riverside village located near Periyar river is another must visit place if you are travelling to Kerala with children. Watching elephants at an arm's length is a wonderful experience and all part of coming to a beautiful place like Kerala. Kodanad is among the Ecotourism destination projects of Govt of India and currently is an Elephant rescue centre for captured Elephants from the forests in the adjoining mountains. It is a mere 42 kilometeres of the city and can be easily visited on holidays.

10. Athirapally Falls

Athirapally Falls

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Situated on the River Chalakudy, the Athirapally Falls is a 24-metre waterfall. It was also called the Niagara Falls of India. The Chalakudy River originates in the Anamudi mountains in the Western Ghats and is about 145 km long. The otherwise smoothly flowing river becomes turbulent as it nears Athirapally. On reaching here, the river moves around huge rocks and cascades down in three separate plumes. The area around the falls abounds in flora and fauna. Some of the commonly found animals in the region include lion-tailed macaque, sambar, bison, leopard, tigers and Asiatic elephants.It's an ideal day trip from Kochi!

Distance from Cochin: 70 Kms

Check out: Waterfalls in India During Monsoon

11. Allepey

Allepey

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Famous for the backwaters in Kerala, the city of Alleppey is also known for its beaches, temples, boat races and Ayurvedic spa and wellness centers. Dotting the coastline of the Arabian Sea, Alleppey is the oldest planned backwater town of Kerala. This place is famous for its numerous rivers crisscrossing the Sea and is home to many canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons. Alleppey is often referred to as the Venice of India. The backwaters coupled with houseboats and the tropical village life makes Alleppey worth a visit on a weekend.

Distance from Cochin: 53 Kms

Check out: Luxury Places to Stay in Alleppey and Kochi

12. Kumarakom

Kumarakom

Image Source: Sarath Kuchi/flickr.com

Situated on the banks of Vembanad Lake, Kerala's largest lake, Kumarakom is a cluster of many small man-made islands reclaimed from the lake. Part of the Kuttanad region, Kumarakom offers opportunities for activities like boating and fishing. There are independent cottages built on stilts, set amidst coconut groves and panoramic view of the backwaters. The Kumarakom bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise.

Distance from Cochin: 56 Kms

13. Kovalam

Kovalam

Image Source: Mehul Antani/flickr.com

An idyllic village along the coastlines of the Arabian Sea, Kovalam is most famous for its three pristine beaches with shallow waters and low tidal waves where one can go surfing, wooden and motor boat riding. Kovalam shot to fame with its hippie culture in the early seventies and still sees the influx of tourists from Israel and Europe.  Ayurvedic treatments are one of its most popular indulgences along with yoga, meditation as well as other cultural activities. Kovalam perhaps comes full circle as it is also a shopping destination given the rich spices, wooden statues and handicrafts.

Distance from Cochin: 224 Kms

Check out all the amazing destinations listed above and make your trip to Kochi a memorable one!
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TAGS : places to visit in Kochi, tourist destinations near cochin, places to visit in south india, best beaches in india
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
NIKITA DAS NIKITA DAS

A nomadic soul in the quest of self-realization, Nikita lives on the mantra - 'As you sow, so shall you reap'. Adorable for few, downright crazy for others, she has many layers that she is yet to embrace. To her, life is a beautiful gift which is meant to be lived fully. Ever adventurous, her bold self has inspired her to crave the impossible and venture into the unknown, which when mixed with a dash of luck and lots of resilience makes the journey worthwhile. Her writing in its entirety is a true reflection of her budding self.

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