Since the 1930’s, Kovalam has become a favourite haunt for tourists. Both within India and needless to say, the internationally renowned place is a favorite among foreign nationals as well. Famous for its pristine beaches, it’s quite popular due to the low tidal waves, crystal clear water and shallow depth. Stretching for hundreds of meters, the shallow waters are ideal for swimming. With the arrival of masses of hippies in the seventies, Kovalam as a tourist destination came into the limelight. So, what was once an uninhibited fishing village then, has now turned into one tourist hub.
With several places to visit in Kovalam, you may need a good long time to even plan out your itinerary. The place has 3 major beaches and a 17 Km coastline. And, the most popular beach would be the Lighthouse Beach. Also, the beaches have steep palm-covered areas wherein you would find various shops. If you are travelling in a group, tourist taxis are the best way to get around. Or if you are travelling alone, you really should hire a bike. It will give you the freedom to roam around. Now let’s talk about the major attractions of Kovalam.
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BEST TIME TO VISIT KOVALAM:
Although, Kovalam is a famous beach destination, there are certain months when travelling is recommended. Below you would find the details as to when it is best to travel and how.
- October to February: The best months to visit Kovalam is undoubtedly from 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. It’s better to carry light cottons and woolens if you are travelling this time to Kovalam.
- 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 24-28 degree celsius. If you love rains, then you should definitely visit Kovalam during these months. Quite an enjoyable experience to visit the attractions with gushing downpour.
- March to June: Summer expects and has very less visitors in Kovalam. The weather is quite hot during these months and without rainfall, travelling is not very pleasant. As the hotels receive very less visitors during this time, you can get really good discounts.
HOW TO REACH KOVALAM
Kovalam is situated near to the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram. This makes it an easily accessible destination in Kerala. Quite well-connected with buses and cabs from Trivandrum, which is in turn easily well-connected with the other cities of Kerala. Here are few details of how you can travel to Kovalam through the required means of transport.
- By air: Trivandrum International Airport is the nearest airport from Kovalam. Located around 15 kms away, you can reach Kovalam from airport by a cab.
- By road: Many buses and volvos are provided by Kerala State Road Transportation Services. They are luxurious and easily affordable. Also, the road till Kovalam is a nature’s bounty in real. You would get to enjoy a really beautiful sight driving down there.
- By rail: The nearest railway station located at about 12 kms away is Trivandrum. It is well-connected to the other cities. And, there are several trains which would take you to Kovalam from Trivandrum.
DISTANCE OF KOVALAM FROM ALL MAJOR CITIES IN INDIA
- Bangalore to Kovalam – 723.5 km/ 12 hours 39 minutes (by road)
- Mumbai to Kovalam – 1714.8 km/ 28 hours (by road)
- Delhi to Kovalam – 2900.9 km/ 47 hours (by road)
- Chennai to Kovalam – 766.2 km/ 13 hours 8 minutes (by road)
- Kolkata to Kovalam – 1669.3 km/ 31 hours (by road)
PLACES TO EAT IN KOVALAM
When it comes to food, Kovalam has some of the best varieties ofsea-food to offer. Be it any local or foreign tourists, the cuisine of this beach city is loved by all. Let’s take a look at some of the best eateries around the place.
- Waves Restaurant and German Bakery – Take in the perfect view of sea and sand along with finger-licking treats on plate. It’s quite a hub among the travellers with it’s sea-views and well-executed menu. Thai curries, German sausages, pizza and seafood are a must-try here.
- Malabar Cafe – Located right on top of the Lighthouse Beach, it’s hard to miss this place. Mainly a seafood restaurant, it’s very well a seafood lover’s paradise. Curries, local seafood specialties and pasta are the anytime winners here.
- Rock Cafe – Located near the Lighthouse Beach, it’s a simple seaside restaurant with the typical old-world charm. It’s a winner with the tourists for the check-print tablecloths and fresh cooking. Do try out the local lobsters, tiger prawns and mussels.
- Seabee Restaurant – Located near the Vizhinjam Harbour, it’s a multi-cuisine restaurant. The cuisine here is a delectable spread of Indian, Chinese, Continental and seafood specialties.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN KOVALAM
Most happening and the most crowded beach in all of Kovalam. Erected on the Kurukumal Hill, it’s a 30 Meters tall lighthouse. Just situated right along the beach, it acts as a landmark, and that’s how it got the name. If you are a lover of adventure, there’s a stairway to reach an observation area with over 140 steps. Climb that to reach the area and admire the view of village Poovar one side and Beemapalli Mosque on the other. The best part about this beach is that the shoreline is crescent shaped and is dotted with various hotels and restaurants.
This beach was once quite fisherman’s port, it became a popular tourist spot during the seventies. Take a stroll through the shoreline or a swim across in the fascinating equatorial water. The Lighthouse is a red and white structure and you should walk up till the headland for a better view. Along the beache’s promenade, there are lined shops waiting to offer you souvenirs and other stuff.
Things to do: There are a variety of beach sports to keep the tourists entertained. Swimming, paragliding, surfing, parasailing. Indulge in the beach sports and also take a walk along the beach to enjoy sunset.
Quick tip: Enjoy local seafood at the Malabar Cafe located right on top of the hill. Details are given below under the section ‘Places to eat in Kovalam
Also known as the Eve’s Beach, it lies just opposite to the Lighthouse Beach. Early in the morning, the beach is crowded with local fishermen who come there for their daily business. They depend completely on the sea for their livelihood. A stroll along the shoreline and you would get to hear these locals chanting and singing in their native language. Creates quite a soothing treat for the visitors there.
Claimed to be one of the most beautiful beaches of Kovalam, it is separated from the others by foreland of Edakkalu. The stack of palm grooves exudes a unique elegance to the place. Just like most of the beaches there, it provides a mesmerizing sunset view.
Things to do: The beach offers activities like parasailing, paragliding, swimming, boat sailing and windsurfing. One of the best beaches if you are looking to relax and rejuvenate. Go down to the beach during sunset and stay over past evening. The simple sight of sea waves touching the shore on a moonlit night is quite amazing.
With a spellbinding beauty, this is one of the silent and secluded beaches of all. It’s a scenic jewel to Kovalam, and is located to the north most region of Kovalam Beach. Preferred mostly by tourists for it’s silent feature, the beach never has the typical noisy rushes and howls. Enjoy complete privacy here along with relaxing and if time permits, enjoying the sunset as well. The rapid bloom of tourism has not been able to penetrate the tranquility of this beach. Mainly because of the huge ridge present in between the north and south coastlines, the beach has remained unnoticed.
Due to the peaceful nature of this beach, this side of the shoreline is also preferred by local fishermen. You might also get to see some wooden fishing vessels and view of ships far away from the horizon.
Things to do: Simply sit on the sea well and appreciate the majestic view. Go for sunbathing. Gaze at the waves. View the stunning sunrise and sunset.
Quick Tip: Samudra Beach is mostly preferred by couples and newly-weds for the peace and tranquility. There are quite a few hotels and resorts facing the seashore. Do opt to stay on one of those for a peaceful vacation.
Also known as the Napier Museum, it was built in 1932 by Shri Rama Varma ValiyaKoli Thampuran. Constructed as a summer retreat, this palace was sold to the Kerala Government in 1964. Halcyon Castle has now been transformed into a luxury 5-star hotel and is run by Ravi Pillai, a NRI businessman. It’s one of the most visited tourist places in Kovalam. Traditional architecture blended well with expansive lawns is the key highlights of the place.
Things to do: Tourists mostly visit this place to admire the architecture and cultural heritage. Vail the gourmet dining there. Spend a night in the castle and laze around in the sprawling courtyard.
Originating from the southern part of Sahyadri range, it predominantly flows through Karmana. This river is considered as a typical stream of peninsular India – broad and gentle. It merges with the Arabian Sea near Kovalam, after flowing for almost 66 Km westward. If you go towards the catchment area of the river, it mainly consists of forests. Along with that, you would be able to see dry land crops such as pepper, coconut and rice. Also, the river has two important dams – Aruvikkara Dam and Peppara Dam. Quite a lot of bridges are built above this river. The largest would be where NH-47 crosses it. With the beautiful Kerala backwaters as the backdrop, it is one of the popular tourist places for leisure and relaxation.
Things to do: Kayaking, houseboat cruises and canoe riding.
A must visit prominent freshwater lake in Kovalam. It’s one of the largest and ranks the top of best places to visit in and around Kovalam. It’s a unique biome comprising a wide plethora of flora and fauna. Located just 7 kms away from the city, a picturesque road in the form of a causeway intersects the lake.
It’s also considered as a popular picnic spot among tourists as well as locals. This lake and the surroundings bustle with activity during the festivities of Onam. During that time, the traditional boat race is organized as well. Mostly flooded and fed by rainwaters, this lake is locally known as the ‘Vellayani Kayal’. The lake water is also used for irrigation purposes and for drinking.
Things to do: Boat Riding and visit the Durga Temple nearby. Witness the famous Onam festival as well.
A 214 meter long jetty, located near Valiyathura, it appeals to most of the tourists for it’s lovely views of Malabar Coast and the Arabian Sea. It’s an ideal place to take a relaxing walk. Serene and away from the urban chores, it was once used by the fishermen during high tides.
Things to do: Admire and capture the sunset. Take a walk post sunset to enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
Undoubtedly a paradise for nature lovers, you should visit the adjoining Wildlife Sanctuary to witness different species of animals. The dam is picturesque and located amidst the lush greenery of the Western Ghats. It makes a perfect tourist spot to escape the crowded city life. All thanks to it’s placement, it formed a beautiful lake which serves as an ideal picnic spot. Neyyar Dam stretches from Thiruvananthapuram district ‘Neyyatinkara Taluk’ to ‘Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve’ in Tamil Nadu.
Things to do: Go boating in the Dam Lake. Visit the wildlife Safari. Spend half a day in this picnic spot with family.
One of the most popular picnic spots in Kovalam, it is located on the banks of Karamana River. The lake water is home to a variety of fishes and marine life. Here the fish are considered sacred and feeding them is believed to cure you of any skin ailments.
Things to do: Feed the fish over there. Go for boating and enjoy the scenic surroundings there.
Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple
As old as the 18th century, this temple is located in the outskirts of Kovalam. The cave is made of granite and encloses a one-celled shrine with a loose sculpture of Vinandhara Dakshinamurthi. The outer wall of the cave is adorned with half-complete reliefs of the Hindu God Shiva with Goddess Parvathi.
Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple
Said to be almost 2000 years old, this temple is located on the banks of Karamana River. A unique temple, dedicated to Parasurama, it’s a holy site for ancestor worship. Here, people fast and offer prayers for the departed souls.
Shri Padmanabhswamy Temple
It’s a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is more than a century old. What’s eye-catching about this temple is the Dravidian and Keralite architecture. There’s a stone slab which presents as the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The interiors of the temple are an amazing sight with full of exquisitely crafted murals and paintings. Also, the flag post of the temple is 80 feet high and covered in sheets of gold.
A beautiful sunset point and a natural beauty for all nature lovers. Edakallu is considered as a nature’s paradise due to its shimmering beaches and vivid waters. This place offers the most beautiful sunset in Kovalam, which can be well compared to the picture perfect paintings you get to see in art galleries. Evenings are the best time to visit this place.
This beach is famous or it’s fishing spots. There’s also an Ayurvedic Resort nearby, which you should visit for an amazing ayurvedic experience. The Chowara Ayappa Temple is the highlight of this beach. Situated on a hilltop, it gives an amazing view of the shores from the temple.
Along with being a village, it’s also a port. The port is full of colourful boats and the village offers you a thousand options galore to enjoy. There’s the Vizhinjam marine aquarium housing rich marine animals. There’s also the fishing harbour which is a prime attraction of this location. A conservation plant here coverts sea wave energy into electricity. Also, the Vizhinjam Lighthouse offers a beautiful view of the evening sea and the setting sun rays falling on water.
Things to do: Swimming and Photography.
This is another silent and secluded beach in Kovalam, quite away from the crowds of Lighthouse Beach. It’s serenity and isolation from the city makes it a popular place for tourists who would like to enjoy some quiet.
Kovalam Juma Masjid
Considered as one of the most important travel destinations in Kovalam, it is famous for its location at Asoka Beach. The masjid attracts tourists because of the intricate Mughal architecture.
Kovalam Art Gallery
The art gallery is located at close proximity to the Hawah Beach. If you are an avid lover of art, you should visit this place for sure. It is home to some of the most intricately painted portraits and artefacts. A rare collection of fresco paintings and art is also kept there in the gallery. You would also find a wide variety of traditional Indian art and artefacts being displayed in the gallery.
Things to do: Post visiting the gallery, you should take a tour of the beaches and savour on the lip-smacking seafood delicacies available there.
If you truly would love to experience sun, sea and sand in a different way, Kovalam is one real good destination for you. If you are expecting a replica of Goa, then there’s a pleasant surprise awaiting you. The atmosphere here is more pleasant and relaxing. Kovalam is one of the best places to unwind and relax if you are looking for a mini vacation!
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