Stunning sea beaches of Kerala

Scenic beauty of kovalam beach with cliff in the background.

Kerala is blessed with a stunning coastline that spreads 550 km in length along the Arabian sea. I went to Kerala on March of this year and obviously, I could not visit all the beaches. However, I managed to visit few of the popular beaches in Varkala, Kovalam, Alleppey and Kochi. In this blog, I will mention some of the beaches I felt were the most scenic and worth visiting.

Varkala

Varkala is a seaside town frequented by tourists from abroad and India. Varkala Beach is also known as Papanasham Beach. The word “Papanasham” means to wash away sins and the local people believe that dipping into the waters of this beach will wash away their sins. The main attraction of Varkala is that the beach is surrounded by cliffs and one needs to climb down a series of stairs in order to reach the sea. There are numerous hotels, restaurants, shops etc on the edge of the cliff from which one can get panoramic views of the sea. The beach is considered very good for swimming and sun-bathing. Varkala is also a hub for ayurveda and yoga, as I found numerous people coming here from abroad for treatment.

Tourists enjoying themselves in Varkala beach.
Tourists enjoying themselves in Varkala beach.
Sunrise over Varkala cliff with coconut trees and sea in the background.
Sunrise over Varkala cliff with coconut trees and sea in the background.
Scenic view of Varkala cliff and sea.
Scenic view of Varkala cliff and sea.

Fishing village

There is a fishing village near to Varkala and I suggest checking it out if you want to experience the local culture. If you walk towards the Odayam beach which is on the right side of the Varkala cliff for 2 kms, you come across a fishing community. Head out early in the morning to catch a glimpse of the local fisherman catching fish in the sea.

Fishermen catching fish in the sea near Varkala
Fishermen catching fish in the sea near Varkala
Fisherman pulling fishing net containing fish from the sea.
Fisherman pulling fishing net containing fish from the sea.
A man repairing a fishing boat in the beach near Varkala.
A man repairing a fishing boat in the beach near Varkala.

How to reach

Varkala is around 45 kms from  Thiruvanthapuram and 30 kms from Kollam and can be easily reached by train. From the train station, it costs 100 rupees to reach the Varkala helipad at the cliff by tuk-tuk. A private car costs 1200 rupees from Thiruvanthapuram.

Anchuthengu 

Anchuthengu is a small town near to Varkala. To get there, you have to take a train from Varkala station and get down at the next stop which is Kadakavur. From there you can take a tuk-tuk and reach the lighthouse. There is a lighthouse in Anchuthengu, from where you can get panoramic views of the surrounding backwaters and sea from the lighthouse.

Aerial view of sea from Anchuthengu lighthouse.
Aerial view of sea from Anchuthengu lighthouse.
Aerial view of Parvathy Puthanaar canal surrounded by coconut trees in Anchuthengu, a coastal town in the Thiruvananthapuram District.
Aerial view of Parvathy Puthanaar canal surrounded by coconut trees in Anchuthengu, a coastal town in the Thiruvananthapuram District.

Kovalam 

Kovalam is a beach town, located very near to Thiruvanthapuram, around 18 kms from the city center. It has mainly three beaches – the Lighthouse Beach , Hawa Beach and Samudra Beach. Only the first two beaches are frequented by tourists, whereas the last beach does not have much tourists. There are numerous hotels, restaurants and shopping centers near the beach.  

Tourists relaxing in Kovalam beach.
Tourists relaxing in Kovalam beach.
Huge rush of tourists relaxing by the sea beach.
Huge rush of tourists relaxing by the sea beach.
Tourists relaxing in kovalam beach with a lighthouse in the background.
Tourists relaxing in kovalam beach with a lighthouse in the background.
Coconut trees overlooking the sea from the kovalam cliff.
Coconut trees overlooking the sea from the kovalam cliff.

Fishing village

There is a fishing community in these beaches and you can lots of fisherman with their boats and nets trying to catch fish in the sea.

Country boats kept at a local fishing village near Kovalam beach.
Country boats kept at a local fishing village near Kovalam beach.
A group of fishermen arranging their fishing nets after pulling it from the sea.
A group of fishermen arranging their fishing nets after pulling it from the sea.

How to reach

Kovalam is 18 km from Thiruvananthapuram and can be reached by bus. Public buses depart from East fort every 10 minutes and takes 45 minutes to reach Kovalam. The bus stand is very near to the beach and can be reached by foot. Similarly, if you want to get back to Thiruvananthapuram, all you have to do is get back to the same bus stand and board the bus.

Marari beach

Marari beach is famous for its white sands. The name ‘Marari’ originates from ‘Mararikulum’, a local fishing village. There are various staying options near the beach like resorts, villas and home stays or you could stay in Alleppey, like I did and visit it during the day. It is frequented by lots of tourists from abroad, but at the same time it is quite and peaceful. There are few beach shacks available offering local cuisine, which you can try. 

Tall swingy coconut trees on the white sands of marari sea beach.
Tall swingy coconut trees on the white sands of marari sea beach.
A fishing boat kept in beautiful marari sea beach in Alleppey district.
A fishing boat kept in beautiful marari sea beach in Alleppey district.

How to reach

It is 15 kms from Alleppey and can be reached by bus or train. I would recommend bus as the bus stop is quite near to the beach, also the train station is far away and trains are frequently delayed. To check bus schedules, one of the best websites I use is https://www.aanavandi.com/.

Ambedkar beach 

Vypin island in Kochi has a long coastline with a number of beaches. Cherai beach is the most famous of them all, it is good for swimming and other water activities, however I did not like it very much as it is not very good for photography. I visited an unknown beach named Ambedkar beach and I was the only tourist there. It is calm and peaceful, good for photography purposes, however swimming is not allowed nor there are any kind of activities. It depends on your taste, you may or may not enjoy it. If you want to go there, you have to use google maps to reach. Public buses ply on the main road in Vypin, and you have to get down on the stop that you feel is nearest to the beach, then turn left and keep walking by using GPS, or you can simply get a tuk -tuk and reach there. 

Rows of Casuarina trees at Ambedkar beach in Vypin island in Kochi.
Rows of Casuarina trees at Ambedkar beach in Vypin island in Kochi.
Fishing boats kept amidst Casuarina trees at Ambedkar beach in Vypin island in Kochi.
Fishing boats kept amidst Casuarina trees at Ambedkar beach in Vypin island in Kochi.

Caution

It is very easy to walk along the sea and get lost but be careful, stray dogs in Kerala are vicious. They will attack and bite you if you are not cautious. There have been many incidents of dog attacks on tourists. Also, a lot of fisherman feed these dogs and they in turn protect them by barking at strangers who come near to the fishing boat. So, if you happen to come across a pack of dogs barking at you, just turn around and leave the place immediately or you will get bitten.

When to visit

Kerala is very hot and humid, generally November to February is the main tourist season. However it can be visited whole year round.

If you are interested in knowing more about Kerala, visit my other blogs on Kochi and Alleppey.

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27 Replies to “Stunning sea beaches of Kerala”

  1. I have been to Kerala twice. Once to Kovalam and second time to Varkala. We spent a good time there. And its good to see posts from there. I love beaches..

  2. Oh, my mum used to live here! She always told me how beautiful the place was but I’ve never actually seen pictures before reading this post – Kerala is gorgeous! I’d love to visit Varkala some day – I’m super obsessed with yoga. And Marari beach sounds like such a serene place to sample local cuisine.

  3. Oh wow, you got some beautiful pictures of the beaches here. I would love to visit, it looks so beautiful here. Thanks for the advice, I think I would really keep an eye out for the dogs.

  4. Nice snaps first of all. I have been to Kovalam and Varkala and found them to be very peaceful in spite of the crowds. It does have an authentic feel to these unlike Goa!

  5. I’ve never been to any of these beaches but they all sound and look fantastic. I especially like the sound of Varkala Beach – I find the concept of washing your sins away very interesting! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. What beautiful beaches Kerala have. I knew about Goa beaches but seeing your HD images of those enchanting places have really presented to me a new picture of Indian beauty

  7. I’ve never heard about this place before but good to know that there is a beautiful beach side. Lovely pictures”

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