The ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea‘, Kochi or Cochin is the iconic Indian port city that has been drawing traders, explorers and travelers to its shores for over 600 years. Although it has a metropolitan appeal, its rich history and tradition bring to light an old-world charm. Nurtured for centuries by foreign powers like the British, Arabs, Dutch, Chinese and Portuguese, the intriguing mix culture and the stunning medieval architecture makes Kochi stand out from the rest of the places in Kerala. And Kochi is now the world’s top trending destination according to TripAdvisor’s 2020 Traveler’s Choice Destination Awards.
It has some fabulous hideouts and getaways that are always a hit with holidaymakers, stunning historical monuments and amazing art galleries to explore, beautiful scenic locations and pristine beaches to unwind and some of the finest heritage hotels and homestays to relax. Kochi is an important center for Keralan arts and an outstanding place to watch the vibrant Kathakali and Kalaripayattu.
This fantabulous city was even ranked seventh in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2020’ top cities.
Interested to explore Kochi? Then, take a look at the list of Places To Visit In Kochi below:
A charming seaside town, Fort Kochi is the heart and soul of Kochi. It has the vibe of an ancient colonial city with its old colonial bungalows, toy-town like streets, historical fortifications, European structures, stunning churches, makeshift shacks, the beachside eateries, rows of Chinese fishing nets and picturesque beaches. Fort Kochi was ranked ninth among 25 top tourist destinations to explore in 2020 by Nat Geo Traveler India of National Geographic.
Chinese Fishing Net:
The giant cantilevered Chinese Fishing Nets, locally known as ‘Cheena Vala‘ are Kochi’s most popular sight and perhaps the most photographed sight in all of town. It was introduced to the fishermen in Kochi over 500 years ago by the Chinese explorer, Zheng He and have been in use ever since. One of the most significant cultural symbols of Kerala, the Chinese Fishing Nets displays the rich exchange of culture and ideas that existed in the Indian subcontinent at that time. It’s a fun experience watching the fishermen operating the Chinese Fishing Nets.
Mattancherry Dutch Palace:
Mattancherry Dutch Palace is one of the finest examples of Kerala style of architecture with a slight colonial touch. The grandeur of Mattancherry Dutch Palace lies in its simplicity and resembles a traditional Nalukettu style with four individual wings and a patio in between. Today, this amazing palace serves as an art gallery showcasing some of India’s best art murals and paintings which includes the murals depicting scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana and other Puranic legends and also the life-size portraits of the Kings of Cochin.
Built-in the year 1568 by the Spanish speaking Jews, the Jewish Synagogue, also known as Pardesi Synagogue is said to be one of the oldest, active synagogues in the Commonwealth of Nations. The architecture of the Jewish Synagogue is truly intriguing with the medley of European and traditional Kerala style. This stunning Synagogue is magnificently illuminated by an exquisite Belgian chandelier and the clock tower inside the Synagogue premise is so admirable. Above all, the Jewish Synagogue is a treasure trove of very rare and appreciated antiques.
Lined with antique, handicraft and spice shops, the Jew Town is a hotspot of antique lovers and shopaholics. From jewellery, crockery, Chinese urns, chandeliers, glass and ceramic products, wooden and metal figurines, statuettes, carved wooden furniture and handicraft items like wooden elephants, wall hangings, paintings, to vintage photographs, and a variety of spices, you can find everything at this tiny shopping street. The lovely colonial buildings on either side of the street add to its quaint charm.
Marine Drive is a beautiful promenade in Kochi that offers a magnificent view of the backwaters and Kochi Harbour. The amazing walkway is adorned with black-dotted, red-carpet ultra-tiles and long rows of cast-ironed benches. The stunning sunset views from the Rainbow bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge along the walkway is sure to leave you mesmerized. Marine Drive is a dreamland for shopaholics and picnickers as this place is brimming with numerous shopping malls, restaurants, and other small shops.
Santa Cruz Basilica:
The antiquity, artistic dignity, spectacular beauty and historical importance make Santa Cruz Basilica one of the best places to visit in Kochi. One of the finest and oldest churches in India, the Santa Cruz Basilica is a renowned heritage site in Kerala that reflects historical glory and pride. It is also noted as one of the eight Basilicas in India. It’s ceiling beautifully adorned with paintings showing the scenes from the Via Crucis of Christ are a real treat to the eyes.
St Francis Church:
Considered as one of the oldest and first European churches in India,St Francis Church is distinguished for its beautiful architecture and calm and peaceful ambience. It’s a well-known landmark where the body of late legendry Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama was buried. The gabled timber-framed roof covered with tiles, the stepped pinnacle on either side of the frontage, chancel roof along with the baptism platform, book rests, offering and confessional stage, everything reflects the grandeur and charisma of the old-world and its traditions.
Kadamakkudy Island is an enchanting picturesque island destination in Kochi that rewards all its guests with a panoramic view of glittering green paddy fields, scintillating backwaters, swaying coconut trees, verdant patches of greenery, and the most admiring sunrise and sunset views. Known for its everlasting beauty, rustic charm and matchless tranquillity, the alluring Kadamakkudy Island is comprised of a cluster of 14 scenic islands, nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It serves as a live gallery of agricultural activities, fishing, prawn farming and toddy tapping and ideal for birdwatching.
Fort Kochi Beach:
A seafront beach, the lovely Fort Kochi Beach offers a paved walkway with benches and beautiful views of large Chinese Fishing Nets which is its exclusive feature. It is extremely admired by locals as well as tourists because of its pristine waters, captivating beauty and tranquil ambience. The delicious sea-food, the lighthouse, Vasco-da-Gama Square and the remains of the Fort Immanuel are its major attractions. The famous Cochin Carnival takes place on the lovely Fort Kochi Beach every year on the New Year’s Eve.
Hill Palace Museum:
The first heritage museum in Kerala, the famous Hill Palace Museum is remarkable for its history and antiquity. Built-in traditional Kerala style of architecture, it owns an archaeological museum, deer park, heritage museum, and a well-maintained pre-historic park. Set atop a hill, the Hill Palace Museum was the erstwhile residence of the Maharaja of Cochin. The magnificent Hill Palace Museum is a treasure trove of a variety of artefacts belonging to the Kochi royal family along with Chinese and Japanese art and pottery.
An exquisite example of the Kochi style of architecture, the stunning Bolghatty Palace is one of the oldest existing Dutch palaces, situated outside Holland. The Palace is surrounded by well-manicured gardens that make for a delightful spot for an evening walk. Once served as the Governor’s palace for the commander of Dutch Malabar and was the home of the British, Bolghatty Palace is now re-established as a luxury hotel.
Enclosed by the tranquil backwaters and blessed with many natural wonders, Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village is a picturesque island, which transformed as a model fishing village and tourism spot. This beautiful island destination is occupied by farmers, laborers, fishermen, and toddy tappers and the place offers a delightful glimpse of the wealthy livelihood of the villagers. An array of mangroves separate land from water that makes for a beautiful sight. Fishing and boating are the major activities at Kumbalangi.
Kerala Folklore Museum:
Kerala Folklore Museum is a three-storied architectural marvel which is constructed to preserve the splendid folklore wealth of Kerala. Each floor of the Museum is a piece of wonder that follows architectural styles of Malabar, Cochin and Travancore. Kerala’s rich cultural heritage is well-portrayed through the priceless collection of artefacts and other exhibits of the Museum. The first floor of Kerala Folklore Museum showcases costumes of different traditional dance forms of Kerala like Kathakali, Theyyam, Mohiniyattam, etc while the second floor is adorned with fascinating mural paintings.
Kerala Kathakali Centre:
Kerala Kathakali Centre, also popular as the School of Traditional Arts, is a well-organized institute that not only teaches you every aspect of traditional art forms of Kerala but also offers you an opportunity to watch vibrant Kathakali and martial arts performed by well-trained artists. It also hosts performances of classical music, traditional dance, early-morning yoga and meditation sessions, and a range of short and long term courses including Kathakali.
Willington Island is deemed as one of the biggest artificial man-made islands in India. Named after the British Viceroy of India, Lord Willington, this amazing Island is home to Kochi Naval Base of the Indian Navy, the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology and the Port of Kochi. Willington Island is a major commercial centre of Kochi where several luxurious hotels and industrial buildings are functioning.
Ernakulam Mahadeva Temple:
Built-in typical Kerala style of architecture, Ernakulam Mahadeva Temple also called Ernakulathappan Temple is one of the historic temples in Kochi that belongs to the Chera dynasty. The presiding deity of Ernakulam Mahadeva Temple is Lord Shiva in the form of Gourisankara. Unlike other Shiva temples, the deity of Ernakulam Mahadeva Temple faces the Arabian sea towards the West. This magnificent temple is popularly known as the Ernakulathappan Temple.
The exquisitely beautiful Edappally Church, also known as St. George’s Syro Malabar Forane Church is counted as the richest Catholic Shrine in Kerala. It is Asia’s largest shrine to Saint George noted for its visually arresting interiors adorned with a spectacular mural of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Edappally Church has a miraculous holy well with water that possess curative powers and the Church attracts millions of devotees from all over the world.
One of the most renowned pilgrim destinations in Kerala, the Chottanikkara Temple is remarkable for its amazing architecture which stands as the ultimate testimonial for the ancient Vishwakarma sthapathis (wooden sculpture). The presiding deity of Chottanikkara Temple is Goddess Lakshmi Devi who is fondly called as Chottanikkara Amma. This temple is so famous among the devotees due to the healing powers of the Goddess, especially in mental illness and disorder.
A beautiful place blessed with natural bounties, Malayattoor has gained its fame across the globe for the priceless missionary work of one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ, Apostle St. Thomas. The major attraction of Malayattoor is the ancient Catholic Church, dedicated to Apostle St. Thomas which a renowned Christian pilgrimage centre. This lovely church is adorned with the Greco-Roman style of architecture.
Koonan Kurishu Old Syrian Church:
St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurishu Old Syrian Church is one of the most revered pilgrim centres in Kochi where the Coonan Cross Oath, the attempt to resist colonialism and western invasion in India first took place and holy relics of St. George was installed. The Koonan Kurishu Church belongs to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and it was declared as a historic monument as well as a pilgrim centre, considering its historical importance.
The Indo-Portuguese Museum is an exemplar of the harmony that exists between two countries and two cultures. It is the highest visited museums in Kerala that paves the way to revisit the rich history of the state as well as to explore the vibrant heritage of Indo-Portuguese art, architecture and culture through the various artefacts displayed here. The 16th-century teak altar from the Church of Our Lady and the 19th-century chasuble from the Bishop’s House, Fort Kochi are the most notable exhibits of this Museum.
Indian Naval Maritime Museum:
A treasure house of a unique collection of naval arms and missiles, the Indian Naval Maritime Museum is one of the most astounding naval places in South India. The Museum gives you a glimpse of the great maritime heritage of the Indian navy in the museum that dates back to Kerala’s trade links with Arabs during Indus Valley Civilization, its popular maritime heroes like the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama and the Indian sailor Kunjali Maraikar as well as the settlement of India sub-continent by European powers.
Museum of Kerala History, Edappally:
Established by the entrepreneur and philanthropist R. Madhavan Nayar in 1986, Museum of Kerala History, Edappally is one of the oldest history and art museums in Kochi. Also known as Kerala Museum, it boasts of three galleries namely, Museum of Kerala History, the Dolls Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art. The history of the state of Kerala is well-portrayed through the life-size figures of historical episodes and personalities from the state displayed at the museum.
Paliam Palace was once the residence of the Paliath Achans, who were the prime ministers to the Maharajas of Kochi. This beautiful Palace was built more than four hundred years ago whose architecture is a hybrid of Kerala and Dutch styles. It is now transformed into a historic museum where the stages of evolution of Kochi Kingdom and the importance of the Paliam family as well as the life of nobility in the ‘Post-Swaroopam period’ constitute the theme of this museum.
Kashi Art Gallery:
A favourite haunt of art lovers, the Kashi Art Gallery is the pioneer of Fort Kochi’s art revival. This stunning Art Gallery is beautifully set-up in a creatively restored Dutch heritage house which is attached to one of Kerala’s most fabulous cafes. It displays magnificent contemporary art of great artists like Zakir Hussein, Anant Joshi, NN Rimzon, Valsan Koorma Kolleri and Sosa Joseph.
Vasco da Gama Square:
A spellbinding narrow promenade with a fascinating history, Vasco-da-Gama Square is an ideal place to watch fishermen operate the huge Chinese Fishing Nets that indicates a legacy of its glorious past. What makes Vasco-da-Gama Square so special is that you can find here synagogues, mosques, churches and temples located side by side. Vasco-da-Gama Square is dotted with numerous stalls serving fresh delicious seafood and tender coconut where one can spend a relaxed evening.
Built by the Portuguese in the year 1503, the Pallipuram Fort is considered as the oldest surviving European monument in India. It is a gigantic hexagonal structure whose splendour and rich history attracts millions of tourists from all across the world. Also known as Ayikotta or Alikotta, the magnificent Pallipuram Fort is a well-known heritage site of Kochi that foretells its majestic past.
Cherai Beach and Vypin Beach:
Cherai Beach is one of the most visited beaches in Kochi with pristine shores and shallow waters where dolphins are spotted occasionally. One can enjoy the enticing sight of giant Chinese Fishing nets from this Beach. Vypin Beach attracts beach bums with its sandy shores in the backdrop of paddy fields and coconut groves. Its shallow waters make it a swimmer’s paradise.
A pristine splendour with white sandy shores, the Kuzhuppilly Beach is an ideal spot for swimming. The luscious green paddy fields and towering coconut groves on the way to the beach is a visual delight and the dazzling backwaters nearby add to its charm. It is relatively less crowded compared to other beaches in Kochi and offers a tranquil ambience.
Andhakaranazhi Beach is a spellbinding beach location filled with coastal beauty and full of natural abundance. The most captivating part of Andhakaranazhi Beach is the narrow strip of land with the backwaters of Alleppey on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other. The long aerial walkway at the beach that extends up to the sea wall the most serene and breathtaking sunset views.
Bolghatty Island and Vypin Island:
A scenic island destination with a picturesque landscape, the beautiful Bolghatty Island is famed for its eponymous palace, the stunning Bolghatty Palace. It is the location where the Kochi International Marina situates. Vypin Island is a bustling tourist attraction that allures trekking aficionados and adventure seekers. The Pallipuram Fort, the oldest existing European fort in India is the major crowd puller here.
Connected to the mainland by the Goshree Bridges with the magnificent Bolghatty Palace on the west, the Vallarpadam Island is a beautiful island that forms a part of Kochi. It houses Kochi International Container Transshipment Terminal, also known as the Vallarpadam Terminal. The famous Catholic pilgrim centre, the Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, popular as Vallarpadam Church, is a major attraction here.
With a towering height of about 46 meters, the Vypin Lighthouse or the Cochin Lighthouse is the tallest in Kerala. Although the current Lighthouse has been in operation since 1979, it has a long history that dates back to 1839 when it was shifted from Fort Kochi to Puthuvype. The Vypin Lighthouse offers panoramic views of the city, the mighty Arabian Sea and the beautiful backwaters.
Kodanand Elephant Training Centre:
The largest elephant training centres in Kerala, the Kodanand Elephant Training Centre provides habitat and training for stranded adult and baby elephants which are rescued from the forest regions across Kerala. It is situated on the banks of Periyar River and is noted for its elephant rescue centre – ‘Elephant Kraal’, as well as the small wildlife park which inhabits deer and other wildlife animals.
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary:
Better known as the “Green Lung of Kochi”, the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is an ecologically sensitive area which is abundant with a variety of migratory bird species and vast mangrove vegetation. It is a favourite haunt of bird lovers and nature enthusiasts where they can enjoy birdwatching as well as explore nature through the free nature camp organized here.
Wonder La Amusement Park:
One of the largest amusement parks in Kerala, Wonder La Amusement Park is the top picnic spots in Kerala. This amusement park entertains its visitors with exciting land and water rides including kids rides, daring rides, 3D films, and many more. The wave pool, wonder splash, Balarama cave, boomerang, super jumper, maverick, are among the most fascinating rides at Wonder La.
Lulu Shopping Mall, Edappally:
One of the largest malls in the Indian sub-continent, Lulu Shopping Mall, Edappally is a one-stop-shop for shopping, food and entertainment. An ideal place to shop for international brands, electronic home appliances, fashion accessories, Lulu Mall also boasts of a multiplex, ice skating rink, bowling alley, family entertainment zones, multi-cuisine restaurants, and food courts serves dishes from traditional Kerala cuisines to original Arabic delicacies.
The world’s #1 trending destination, Kochi awaits to welcome you all. So, get set and pack your bags to explore incredible Kochi with your family and friends.
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