Kerala’s reputation as a tourist destination is well known. However, the coastal city of Varkala is often eclipsed by places like Wayanad, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. If you want to immerse yourself in the best that Kerala has to offer, then this is where you should come.
High cliffs bordering Varkala Beach, one of the most popular beaches in the state, and uninhabited islands like Ponnumthuruthu Island known for its pristine beauty are some of the attractions here. Take a trip down south to this little slice of heaven and explore the best places to visit in Varkala.
20 places to visit in Varkala
From beaches to lakes,nd temples to backwaters, check out the best places to visit in Varkala. Choose the best one for your trip and click pictures for memories. Make lots of memories from your visit to this beautiful place and explore the places to visit in and around Varkala.
The Varkala sightseeing tour should begin with Varkala Beach, which is one of the most popular attractions in the city. What sets it apart from other beaches are the striking cliffs that abut one end. In fact, the town is the only place in this part of Kerala that has cliffs near the Arabian Sea.
The striking formation is known as the Varkala Formation. Apart from the spectacular view from the top, there are also spas and water spigots which are considered holy and curative to look at.
There are other places to visit in Varkala Beach, including the Janardhana Swamy Temple, a 2000-year-old religious institution dedicated to Vishnu, and the Sivagiri Math, an ashram built by Sree Narayana Guru more than 100 years ago. It is also one of the most popular Varkala tourist places that people visit.
Kappil Beach is one of the best places to see in Varkala where Kappil Lake meets the Arabian Sea. The lake is just across and separated by a causeway. The beach isn’t huge, but the cliffs and palm trees create a little paradise and provide many opportunities for shutterbugs to get out their cameras.
To better understand how beautiful Kappil Beach and Kappil Lake are, check out the photos with a bird’s eye view. The calm lake on one side and the raging sea on the other make for a stunning contrast.
When you have visited both sides of the area, you can head to Vettekkada Beach, which is a short distance away. It’s charming and secluded – perfect for travelers looking for a little ‘me’ time.
Kappil Lake Varkala is one of the top places to visit in Kerala. It is serene and extremely picturesque, with coconut trees and calm waters, creating an instant getaway. It is about six kilometers from Varkala town, so you can head here any time you want to get away from the noise.
Boats on rent are available here so that you can explore the beautiful waterways. Be sure to carry a camera and take pictures of the nearby palm trees. You should also walk on the bridge that is built across the lake. The views of the water stretching to the horizon are stunning and make it one of the best Varkala sightseeing places.
20 km from Varkala is Ponnumthuruthu Island, an uninhabited green space that is perfect for nature walks and bird watching. It is one of the most popular places to visit in and around Varkala.
Migratory birds stop here and if you have a fondness for our feathered friends, bring a pair of binoculars and enjoy watching them go about their business. The island also has a century-old temple dedicated to Shiva and Parvati.
The only way to reach here is by hiring a boat from Nedunganda village. You can plan a day trip and spend a few hours exploring the island and picnicking before heading back to Varkala town.
Anchuthengu and Anjengo Fort
Old and rich in history, the Anjengo Fort was built by the East India Company in the late 17th century. It was gifted to the company by the queen of Attingal. According to local legend, the British had a hard time pronouncing the town of Anchuthengu where the fort was built and called it Anjengo instead. The place is also surrounded by some of the best islands in Kerala.
Today, Anchuthengu and Anjengo Fort are some of the most popular Varkala places to visit. The town has old structures including a century-old convent and soldiers’ graves. Walking the streets, it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped into the past. The feel of the old world is understood very well.
Janardhana Swami Temple
2,000 years old and still standing strong, the Janardhana Swamy Temple is a place of worship for followers of Vishnu. Often referred to as the Varanasi of the South, it is situated on a hillock on the way to Varkala beach and is counted among the top Varkala sightseeing places. You can see it on the way. A banyan tree stands in the grounds of this Varkala temple and the bottom is decorated with sculptures. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the inner sanctum, but you can explore the grounds and see the temple façade.
A 10-day festival known as Aratu is held each year from March to April and includes traditional dances that last through the night. If you wish to witness these and other colorful processions, then plan your holiday during this time.
The hermitage and mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru, Sivagiri Mutt, is situated atop the Sivagiri Hills and is a popular Varkala sightseeing spot. It is believed that it was from here that the social reformer attained enlightenment. You can expect to see a steady flow of devotees numbering in the thousands during the Sivagiri pilgrimage that takes place from December 30 to January 1.
The rituals observed during this period are different from other religious pilgrimages. Devotees are required to purify themselves based on the Buddha’s principles of mind, body, food, word and deed.
Located just a few kilometers away, Odayam Beach is a pure stretch of soft sand sandwiched between the beautiful Thiruvambadi beach and the cliff beach. For travelers looking to explore the peaceful side of this coastal town, Odayam Beach is one of the best places to visit in Varkala. And for those who are eager to explore the hippest side of Kerala, this is the right place.
Considered a pilgrimage site, where lakhs of travelers visit every year to pay homage to the departed souls, VIVID Corp. in Bali Mandapam Varkala. It is one of the major and biggest projects of Dedicated to performing the rituals of Vavu Bali in the most sacred Papanasam river, Bali Mandapam is one of the must visit attractions on your next visit to Varkala.
Edava Vettakkada Beach
Nestled between the two grand cities of Varkala in the south and Paravur city in the north, Edva is a quaint little town in Thiruvananthapuram district overlooking the mighty Arabian Sea. Home to serene backwaters, cliffs, canals, lakes and extended beaches, it is one of the best places to visit in Varkala.
Built in 1684 by the British to help ships coming from Britain with navigation, the Varkala Lighthouse is today a famous landmark in the beach town and one of the best places to visit in Varkala. Perched at a height of 130 metres, the lighthouse tower offers spectacular panoramic views of the coast. People come here to spend a nice evening or have a picnic. It is also a famous spot for photographers. Make sure to bring your DSLR while visiting Varkala Lighthouse.
A popular religious place in Varkala, this ancient temple dates back to 2000 years. The temple is situated very near to Varkala beach. So, it is very easy to spot it. People come here to worship Lord Vishnu. If you are taking a walk near the beach, you can have a small glimpse of the temple. This is one of the best offbeat Varkala tourist places that you must visit.
Varkala Tunnel – An Alternative to Boating
Have you heard about Varkala tunnel? If not, make it a point to visit this place next time on your trip. It was built in 1867 by Sir Madhav Rao, who was then the Diwan of Travancore. Believe it or not, this tunnel took 14 years to build. It was built as a staging post for traders before embarking on their journey to Thiruvananthapuram. The tunnel is an impressive example of architecture. If possible, take a boat ride through the tunnel which will remind you of a gondola ride in Venice.
Chilkur Beach is located at a distance of 15 km from Varkala, but what makes this beach worth visiting is its casuarina groves. If you ever get bored of the beaches in Varkala, which is very unlikely, you can drive to this place. Even the road to this beach is beautiful and grand. You pass through charming coastal villages where you can catch a glimpse of seaside traditions. The serene atmosphere of this place will compel you to stay here forever. It is one of the best places for picnic in Varkala.
The Varkala Aquarium, located between Black Beach and Odayam Beach, displays a large variety of fish and other aquatic creatures. If you are a sea lover then you can include this place in your list to visit. It is worth visiting in your spare time. The aquarium also runs 3D shows where information about fish and other marine species is given. It is an ideal place to visit with your kids.