Kovalam is a destination which you can visit all year round. Once a sleepy little town, it has now turned into one major tourist hub. The place has gained such popularity since the seventies that it’s buzzing with tourists in all seasons. Preferred mostly by foreign nationals due to its uber chic vibes, it’s loved by Indians as well. But, the period favoured by Indians does differ a lot from the Westerners. Mostly, due to it being a beach location, the colder months are appropriate to travel there. Foreign nationals, on the other hand, find the summer months quite comfortable as they are used to a much colder climate back home.
You cannot say any specific period as to when it is the best time to visit Kovalam. A lot depends on the kind of weather which would be suitable for you. If you prefer monsoon, then Kerala is a paradise. Or else, the winters are by far the best time to visit this place. Also, there are a whole lot of traditional festivals which travellers can look up to. In the following paragraphs, we would discuss in detail the different times when you can explore this beautiful beach destination.
Also See: Top places to visit in Kovalam in 2019
Season wise travel in Kovalam
The best time to travel to Kovalam would be during winters, i.e., from October to February. And, best if you plan to visit during January as it’s the month of festivals. A list is given below on the number of happening festivals during that time. Also, the weather is quite pleasant, and travelling would be comfortable. Temperatures stay almost at around 22-degree Celsius during the day and can go down to 17 at night.
- Best places to visit: Vizhinjam Village and it’s port bustling with holiday colours, early morning and evening walks in the beaches, day trips to surrounding places to experience local culture.
- Months: October to February
- Temperatures: 17 – 22°C
Even though it may not be the best season to visit the place, monsoon still exudes its charm. The backwaters of Kovalam come alive with the fresh downpour. With lush greenery, Kovalam becomes one picturesque location.
- Best places to visit: Backwaters, taking a houseboat ride, Poovar Island and Mangrove Forests.
- Months: July to September
- Temperatures: 19 – 24°C
This is another good time, even if not best to visit Kovalam. The main reason would be the comfortable weather as monsoon would almost be coming to an end with only light showers throughout the day. Second would be the festival of Onam. You won’t get any other opportunity to experience local culture at it’s best.
- Best places to visit: The local temples celebrating Onam along with the traditional feast.
- Months: August to September
- Temperatures: 19 – 24°C
The months from March to June is definitely not a good time to plan on travelling to Kovalam. Temperatures shoot up to 28 degree Celsius during the daytime. Evenings are still comfortable. But, the good part about this season is that you get the best discounts in hotels as they receive very fewer tourists. If you are travelling to Kovalam during these months, it’s better to experience the houseboat ride. The areas around the backwaters are way cooler than the beaches. Also, the houseboats are luxurious, and you can get to have the most delicious Malabari food as well.
- Best places to visit: Staying in a houseboat, evening walk in the beaches.
- Months: March to June
- Temperatures: 22 – 28°C
Best time to visit Kovalam
Best season: Winters – October to February
By far, the best season to visit Kovalam would be between October to February. The weather is pleasant. Daytime is quite comfortable while at night, the weather is soothing. The nights can get as cold as 18-degree Celsius. Preferred mostly by foreigners, as the tropical sun of Kovalam would give that much wanted copper-tinted tan. Winter is also a good season for going on road trips hiring a bike to nearby villages and soak in the local culture. If you are travelling here with family, you can very well hire a cab at reasonable rates. But, as it’s the peak season, the prices may be on the higher side.
During the evenings, it’s the best time to take long walks along the shore, enjoying the gentle breeze blowing. A light cardigan or shawl would work wonders protecting you from the slight chill outside. But, as the weather is pleasant, it won’t dampen your trip. In winters, you can travel and explore Kovalam to your heart’s extent. Although winters are the best season to visit Kovalam for everyone, it would mostly be preferred by newly-weds. Soothing climate and seamless travelling. Also, this is the season when Kovalam hosts a number of festivals. In the following paragraphs, we have given detailed descriptions of all of them.
Quick tip: Carry light woollens as nighttime can be quite cold. Also, as it’s the peak season, you might as well pre-book your accommodation and travels. There are a lot of discounts given for bookings. Refer hotels and cabs to your fellow friends. Quite a good way to earn discounts.
Monsoon – July to September
As you know, it’s Kerala, rain showers can come down anytime during the monsoons. Sometimes the moderate and heavy showers are accompanied by thunderstorms as well. The temperature varies from 19-24 degree Celsius. If you love rains, then you should visit Kovalam during these months. Quite an enjoyable experience to visit the attractions with the gushing downpour. Kovalam turns quite breathtakingly beautiful around this time. It’s almost a cinematic view with overcast skies and a steely grey mood all over. The beaches might not be at their best during monsoon, but, the one thing to check out would be the rows and rows of coconut groves.
The beauty of Kovalam takes a complete turn with the rains pouring down and washing away the lush greenery. Occasionally, when the sun would peep from behind the clouds, you would be greeted with mesmerising views of fresh greenery. Taking a houseboat ride is although not recommended at all during this time. But, if the rains are not that heavy and just drizzles, a boat ride on the backwaters would be like a slice of heaven. Monsoon can be called as the best season to visit if you are an artist, writer or photographer. It’s a complete visual treat for the creative lot out there. Also, if you want to taste fresh seafood, then this is the time. You would get delicious seafood during the other seasons as well, but, as it’s a monsoon, the quality would always be good.
Quick tip: Monsoon is not the recommended season for travelling to Kovalam. But, if you are looking for a unique view of the place, do give it a shot. Also, you would get some discounts on the best hotels as they don’t receive many tourists during this time. There is no need to book in advance as hotels are mainly empty during this time.
Summer – March to June
Summer expects and has very fewer visitors in Kovalam. Although, the weather of Kovalam is quite moderate throughout the year. But, if you are looking out for that tranquillity and peace, then this is the ideal time to visit this place. On normal times, Lighthouse Beach is overcrowded with tourists, even during evenings. While in these months, the beach is quite peaceful and you can actually take long evening walks there. Avoid going out to the beaches during the daytime but, in the evenings, you can very well laze around or take a stroll.
And, if you want to avoid the beaches completely, then there’s always the houseboat. Do not plan for an extended vacation during summer. But, two or three days in a luxurious houseboat with heavenly Malabari food is something you shouldn’t miss. The evenings are balmy, and you would feel the breeze cocooning you with its warmth while you laze around in royalty!
Also Read: Top things to do in Kovalam this summer
Quick Tip: There are hotels which you can book on spot and avail awesome discounts. There is no need for pre-booking as it’s the off-season. You can book just a week before. Summer is the time when you would get the best deals in accommodation and that too in the best hotels. Carry summer friendly accessories and wear light cotton.
Festivals and popular activities in Kovalam
1) Great Elephant Race
The month of January and technically the best time to visit Kovalam has some of the best festivals. The Great Elephant Race, organised by the tourism department of Kerala is one spectacular event. It takes place on the 17th of January every year and lasts for four days. Precisely, 101 elephants are adorned with fineries, and they march from Thrissur and reach Trivandrum on the fourth day. They halt on the way at Kochi and Alleppey. Considered as an auspicious event and it’s holy to seek blessings from the passing elephants and feed them with own hands.
The concluding location of the festival is at Kovalam Beach where various cultural activities are organised on that day. Boat races and folk art are also conducted during the Elephant Race for tourists. This way, tourists can gain more information about the tradition and culture of Kerala. The Elephant Race is one of the most vibrant festivals that take place in Kovalam. If you are visiting Kovalam in winter, make sure to come at this time. This festival is highly recommended for journalists or photographers. Even families can come around if you have a keen interest in history and culture. It’s not much advisable as the place turns bit overcrowded, and kids may not find it very entertaining.
- Duration: 4 days
- Entry Fees: Free entry.
Quick tip: Carry your own camera even if you are just a travel enthusiast and not a photographer. You would get to document some of the best pictures of this festival. And, if you are just coming down for this festival, carry light luggage. Just one backpack would be enough.
2) Kerala Village Festival
Also known as the Gramam Village Fair, it’s a 10-day long fair occurring in January. In these ten days tradition, art, culture, history and food – all blend to be a spectacle. Of unrestrained joy and festivity! The best part about the festival is its a unique concept. Artisans from various parts of Kerala are called over and given the task to re-create the bygone days of rural Kerala. The forms mainly showcase culture, traditions, music and dance. Kathakali, Thiruvathirakali, and Mohiniattam are the most seen dance forms there. Artisans also create the thatched houses which are popularly known as the Nalukettu Houses. There are also traditional upper-class houses known as the Tharavadu or Quadrangular Mansions. Made of wood and tile having open courtyards, dormer windows, they show the typical Keralite Village Mansion.
Simplicity exudes through the work of the artisans, and that is what makes the work stand out. The other artefacts which are kept on display are the teakwood furniture, rustic jewellery, sandalwood crafts and so on. For a whole week, tourists are left enthralled with the unparalleled work of these local artisans. There’s also a kind of flower decoration called “Pookalam” which makes the huts look even more beautiful. This can be regarded as one of the best time to visit Kovalam for photographers and art and culture lovers. Families can visit and enjoy there as well as it would help to enlighten kids about history and culture.
There are also dance performances which take place during festivals like Pulikali, Villupattu, Theyyam, and Thullal.
- Duration: 10 days.
- Entry Fee: Free entry.
Quick tip: Do try out the best traditional Malabari food during this time. Savour delicacies like “Puttu” and “Kadala”
3) Food Festival in Kovalam
It’s a three-day food festival held in the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology. Starts from 20 January and continues for three days. Celebrated with much enthusiasm and exuberance, this festival is popularly known as Fandango. Under the strict supervision of the Union Ministry of Tourism, the festival is organized on a large scale. This festival draws a large number of tourists from far and wide. Imagine getting to taste the lip smacking traditional food from a large spread of dishes.
The campus is quite huge, and during the festival, it gives space to almost ten stalls which are named after the exotic Kerala cuisine. Also, to add some sparkle, the organizers arrange for various cultural activities to keep the guests entertained. The festival was originally started to display the culinary and managerial skills of the management students. But with time, it spread over and caught the attention of the native population as well as tourists. It’s like experiencing food along with the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. This festival is highly recommended for foodies, food enthusiasts and aspiring chefs. Also, people who love writing on food or documenting would find a whole lot of content right there.
- Duration: 3 days.
- Entry Fee: INR 300 – INR 400 (might vary)
Known as the harvest festival it’s one of the most pious and wonderful celebrations done in Kerala. This festival happens during the months from August to September. During the monsoons. Another good reason to visit Kovalam at that time!
People living in the areas of backwaters go out with their boats to celebrate the occasion. After three months of heavy rain, the sky gets bright and clear blue. As for the trees, they are lush green. Flowers are in full bloom, and Kerala transforms into a sheer beauty! Women dressed in finery create the traditional Rangolis and Pookkalam in front of their houses. People visit various temples, and there are special provisions for the tourists to offer them the traditional Onam feast. During this time, locals and tourists alike enjoy the different types of dance forms like Thumbi Thullal and Thiruvathira Kali. Rejoiced for ten whole days, Atham is the first day, and Thiruvonam is the concluding day. People feast on the traditional avail, payasams and appadums on banana leaves. The highlight of this event is the traditional boat race in the backwaters like Vallomkali.
This festival is a favourite among locals, tourists and especially avid travellers who love to document new places and cultures. It’s even better if you are having any relative or acquaintance living in Kerala or from Kerala. Visiting Kovalam during this time is something which would be a great experience for sure. Photographers and travel writers are highly recommended to experience the festival of Onam. Best, if it can be experienced in the abode of a local.
- Duration: 10 days.
Quick tip: You should wear the traditional attire of Kerala to blend in the crowd if you are visiting during this festival. That way, locals would associate more with you and you would be greeted with a warm welcome.
5) Nishagandhi Dance Festival
Every year in February, the Nishagandhi open-air theatre conducts the Nishagandhi Dance Festival. Renowned dancers from all parts of India come around and gather to give group and individual performances. The various dance forms include Mohiniyattam, Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri and modern ballet. Other folk forms of dance are also performed. Connoisseurs of dance from various parts of India travel this time to Kovalam to witness this spectacle.
Organised by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, it is usually accompanied by vocal, instrumental or fusion music. Various traditional handicrafts and cuisines of Kerala are displayed in the adjacent Sooryakanthi Fair Ground. Souvenirs made of bamboo, clay, and coconut products are exhibited there as well.
- Duration: 21-27 February
- Visiting hours: 6 pm till midnight.
- Entry Fee: Free
6) Swathi Thirunal Music Festival
A music celebration happening seven days in length, is held yearly in January. The royal ‘Kuthira Malika’ residence complex hosts the festival. The evenings in those seven days of the January are yellow and full of melody. Although the world outside would be noisy and cacophonic, as you step inside the premises, you completely shut down. This festival has been quietly growing on the side along with the booming Kerala tourism. People other than the locals and music lovers have started to take notice of the beautiful tunes.
Since 1999, Rama Varma, a pupil of the legendary Swathi Thirunal has been conducting this music festival in his honour. The many songs composed by Swathi Thirunal composed in Carnatic and Hindustani would be sung.
- Duration: 6-12 February
- Visiting hours: 6 pm till midnight.
- Entry Fee: Free
Kovalam is a melting pot of different activities. No traveller can go with a disappointed face or empty memories. For art lovers, there are galleries and various cultural festivals. As for adventure lovers, there are multiple water sports and activities. There’s everything for all. So, if you are planning on your next trip, then do check out our blog for the best time to visit Kovalam!
Further Read: What makes Kerala a hotspot for food lovers