Since the 1930s, Kovalam has become a favourite haunt for tourists. What was once laidback little town by the Arabian Sea, now has transformed into one hip beach town. Buzzing with tourists from anywhere and everywhere. Did you know the meaning of Kovalam? Well, it means a grove of coconut trees in the local language. And, staying true to its name, this trendy tourist spot is dotted with rows and rows of coconut trees. Swaying in the sea breeze against bright blue skies is one of the most spectacular sights to behold.
However, you should not mistake it just for a pretty little beach town. Kovalam has this whole lot of activities for all age-groups. You may be a family with kids, a newly-wed couple or a solo traveller. The town is buzzing with exciting things to do. For adventure lovers, there are a variety of water sports to keep you entertained. While for kids, there are loads of activities as well. If you are a foodie, then Kovalam is the gastronomical paradise you’ve been looking for. Also, there are options for the art lover in you. So, it’s time, you go out and explore. And, that’s where we are making things a bit easier for you. Below, we have given a detailed description of the best time to visit and a complete list of things to do in Kovalam!
Also Read: Best time to visit Kovalam
Group activities in Kovalam
Kovalam is one amazing tourist spot. With hundreds of options available to keep the travellers entertained, one can never get bored while there. Along with activities for the individuals, there are quite a few options available for groups.
Kovalam is known for its famous water sports, and Scuba Diving is one of them. Bond Safari Scuba Diving gives options for groups as well. Experienced divers would accompany you.
- Fees: INR 5000 – INR 7000 per person (groups will get discounts)
- Duration: 3 hours.
- Best months: January – May.
Yet another best water activity offered in Kovalam. And, when done in a group of 2 or 3, it becomes more enjoyable.
Quick tip: Wear dry round neck sleeved T-shirts with shorts or tights.
- Fees: INR 1300 – INR 1500 per person (groups will get discounts)
- Duration: 2 hours.
- Best months: November – February.
Camping on Kovalam Beach
A beautiful experience much-loved by adventure lovers and youngsters. And, when you are with a group, the happiness doubles.
- Fees: INR 2299 per adult
- Duration: Overnight. The excursion starts at 5:30 pm.
- Best months: November – February.
Sailing on the beautiful backwaters of Kerala is a lovely experience after all. Who wouldn’t love to have that? There are various organisations offering individual and group tours. Catamaran Sailing along with your friends or family members is an enjoyable experience.
- Fees: INR 500 – INR 700 per person
- Duration: 1-2 hours
- Best months: November – February.
Also See: Best places to visit in Kovalam
Best things to do in Kovalam
Most happening and the most crowded beach in all of Kovalam. Erected on the Kurukumal Hill, it’s a 30m tall lighthouse. Situated along the beach, the lighthouse acts as a landmark, and that’s how it got the name. adventure lovers often take the 140 steps stairway to reach an observation area and admire the view of Poovar village on one side and Beemapalli Mosque on the other.
This beach was once a quiet 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 will have to walk up to the headland for a better view. Along the beaches’ promenade, numerous tiny shops offer you souvenirs and other stuff. It’s an excellent place to visit before sunrise and during sunset.
- Recommended for: Nature lovers, swimmers, families, beach lovers.
- Things to do: Take a boat ride, enjoy the sunset and go for a stroll.
Quick tip: Enjoy local seafood at the Malabar Cafe located right on top of the hill. This would be one of the top things to do 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 here for their daily business. They depend entirely 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 which is 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.
- Recommended for: Travel writers, avid travellers, youngsters.
- Things to do: One of the best beaches if you are looking to relax and rejuvenate. Go down to the beach during sunset and stay until evening. The simple sight of sea waves touching the shore on a moonlit night is quite amazing. Here, you would also get to experience the lives of the local fishermen.
With a spell-binding 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 its serenity, 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 tranquillity of this beach. Mainly because of the enormous 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 preferred by local fishermen. You might also get to see some wooden fishing vessels and view of ships far away from the horizon.
- Recommended for: Honeymoon couples and couples.
- Things to do: Sit on the sea wall and appreciate the majestic view. Go for sunbathing. Gaze at the waves. View the stunning sunrise and sunset.
Quick Tip: couples and newly-weds mostly prefer Samudra Beach for peace and tranquillity. 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 Valiya Koli Thampuran. Constructed as a summer retreat, this castle 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, an 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 this tourist attraction.
- Recommended for: Art and architecture lovers, photographers, families.
- Visiting Time: Open 24 X 7.
- Entry Fee: Free
- Things to do: Tourists mostly visit this place to admire the architecture and cultural heritage. Avail the gourmet dining there. Spend a night in the castle and laze around in the sprawling courtyard.
This beach is located at a distance of approximately 10 km from Kovalam and is famous, or it’s fishing spots. Here, on this beach, the sands are golden and sheltered by the rows and rows of coconut trees. Inhabited by a fishing village, the shelter of coconut trees secrets the existence of the same. Tourists need to go and explore this lesser-known location as there are quite a few hidden gems right there.
The beach is also home to a beautiful old-fashioned village. 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 a spectacular view of the shores from the temple. If you are travelling to Kovalam between November to January, make sure to attend a festival. It’s a yearly occurring 56-day long festival beginning from November 15 and ending on January 15.
- Recommended for: Avid travelers, families, photographers, travel writers, youngsters.
- Things to do: Take a stroll, enjoy local seafood, visit the temple and experience traditional Ayurveda.
This beach is located at the southernmost part of Malabar Coast. Away from the hustle and bustle of the Lighthouse Beach, this is in continuity with the Samudra Beach. Just like Samudra, Ashoka Beach is secluded and silent as well. The commercialisation and downpour of visitors hasn’t yet affected this place due to its distance from the city.
Geographically, a large peninsula distinguishes this beach from the more crowded southern part of Kovalam. Many tourists who come to know of this beach drop by to experience the tranquillity of the place. The absolute calm and virgin quality of the beach attracts tourists to this location.
- Recommended for: Couples and newly-weds, youngsters.
- Things to do: Enjoy some peaceful time and take a stroll through the extended shoreline.
Located 3 km south of Kovalam, this village is easily accessible. You can take any local transport and go down there. Along with being a village, it’s also a port. The port is full of colourful boats, and the town offers you a thousand options galore to enjoy. Recent excavations have revealed that once it was a flourishing port and carried out maritime trade during the Roman Period.
The Vizhinjam marine aquarium houses a rich diversity of marine animals. There’s also the fishing harbour which is a prime attraction of this location. You can say, it’s one of the busiest fishing harbours in Trivandrum which is buzzing with activities all day long. A conservation plant here converts 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. Certainly one of the most amazing things to do in Kovalam.
- Recommended for: Photographers, avid travelers, travel writers, adventure lovers, youngsters.
- Things to do: Explore the beaches, the port, fishing harbour and experience traditional Ayurvedic healing.
Cruise through the backwaters
One of the best things to do in Kovalam. Just 12 km away from the city of Kovalam, there’s the Karamana River. A pristine spot with a spectacular view of the backwaters. There’s a boat club which offers a variety of cruises – canoe rides to jaunts in kettuvallams. Cruising through the backwaters is one experience you can’t afford to miss when you are in Kerala. Sailing through the pristine waters which borrow the blue and green shade from the surroundings offers an out-worldly experience.
You would get to see the lined coconut groves, mangrove island, tiny villages protected by the shade of trees and beaches here and there. Traditionally, the backwaters are availed by the locals there. Many daily activities are carried out right here like transport, fishing and agriculture. Most of the backwater trips vary from taking 4-6 hours in total which also includes round trip.
- Recommended for: Families, Couples and Honeymoon activities.
- Duration: 8 am – 6 pm
- Entry Fees: INR 1500 – INR 7000 for two people (Price would vary depending on the type of boat and facilities and also the timings. Rates during sunset tour would be much higher.)
- Things to do: Enjoy the spectacular Kerala views while cruising along and soak in the soothing sunset.
Also Read: Places to visit in Alleppey Backwaters
Kovalam Art Gallery
The art gallery is located at proximity to Hawah Beach. If you are an avid lover of art, you should visit this place for sure. One of the most amazing things to do in Kovalam is to visit this art gallery. It is home to some of the most intricately painted portraits and artifacts. 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 artifacts on display in the gallery.
- Recommended for: Art and history lovers, photographers, artists, families, youngsters.
- Duration: 10 am – 4 pm
- Entry Fees: Free
- Things to do: After visiting the gallery, you should take a tour of the beaches and savour on the lip-smacking seafood delicacies available there.
Spend a night in the houseboat
Extend your stay in the houseboat by spending one entire night there. Floating in the peaceful backwaters, and enjoying the moonlit sky and surrounded by coconut groves. It’s an entirely different feeling altogether. Best, if you spend one night in the luxurious houseboat in Ashtamudi Lake or Karamana River.
And, the best part of spending one night in the houseboat would be the lip-smacking Malabari food. You will be spoilt for choice out here. Such is the array of dishes.
- Recommended for: Families, Couples and Honeymoon activities.
- Duration: 6 pm – 8 am (Overnight stay. Houseboats generally have the pickup and drop facilities from hotels.)
- Entry Fees: INR 8000 – INR 10000/ One Bedroom.
INR 12000 – INR 18000/ Two Bedrooms.
- Things to do: Relish the spectacular moonlit night and treat yourself to the best of Malabari food.
Overlooking the stunning Lighthouse Beach is the famous German Bakery. You go to Kovalam, and you are bound to try out the delicacies there. Quite hard to miss. Exploring the array of dishes here is one of the top best things to do in Kovalam. You can also enjoy candle-lit sitting arrangements in the evening if you are travelling with your partner.
The place is usually bustling with foreign nationals and Indians alike. It is highly recommended to try out fresh bread, croissants, pastries, French Press coffee for breakfast. The dinner menu is equally delicious; Thai curries, German sausage, pizza and local seafood.
- Recommended for: Youngsters, avid travelers, food enthusiasts, families.
- Visiting timings: 7:30 am – 11:30 pm.
- Rates: INR 500 – INR 700 for 2 persons.
- Things to do: Try out the Malabar Fruit Flambe, pastries, pancakes, milkshakes and shrimp biryani.
Ayurveda Treatments and Therapies
Ayurveda is a traditional treatment procedure in our culture, and Kerala is the best-known place to follow the same. So, when you are in Kerala, why not experience the magic of this ancient healing formula? There are standalone Ayurvedic units as well as the ones associated with hotels. Pamper your body with popular therapies such as Shirodhara, Kizhi, Thalapothical, Vashti, Kativashti and so on.
- Recommended for: Youngsters, avid travelers, foreign tourists.
- Rates: INR 1500 – INR 7000 for 1 hour depending on location.
- Things to do: Indulge yourself in all of the well-known Ayurvedic therapies and get back rejuvenated.
Kovalam offers its visitors with a huge number of water activities. And, they are super exciting as well. The energy of the place is such that even the most non-athletic person would want to go out and try some of them. With the increase in the number of foreign nationals visiting Kovalam, the authorities did have to take their tourism a notch up higher.
- Recommended for: Youngsters, avid travelers, adventure lovers.
- Duration: Parasailing – 10-15 minutes, Snorkelling – Approx 30 minutes, Jet Skiing – 15-20 minutes.
- Sports Fees: Parasailing – INR 1000, Paragliding – INR 3500 – INR 4500, Snorkelling – Approx 2500 per dive, Jet Skiing – INR 450 onwards.
- Things to do: Swimming, paragliding, water skiing, parasailing, water boats and so on.
Strong tides on Hawah Beach and a catamaran ride on that. That’s one thing you should try out. A traditional wooden boat is rowed with bamboo paddles and takes you through the gushing waters. You get to see the tiny fishing villages and soak in the Kerala breeze. You can also plan boating in the Vellayani Lake to admire the picturesque beauty in the surroundings while sailing.
These wooden boat rides or the catamaran rides give you the experience of seeing the serene and calm waters. Riding on these boats are an incredible way to get a good long glimpse of the Kovalam shore. The best thing is that you are not required to paddle the boat, but, enjoy the surrounding beauty. Just before the sun rises, it’s the best time to go out on these boat rides and explore. Morning gives you that tranquillity and calm to experience the perfect beauty of the Kerala backwaters. As the day progresses, it might become difficult with the temperature as well as continuous crowd pouring in to do the same.
- Recommended for: Youngsters, avid travelers, adventure lovers, nature lovers, families.
- Duration: 1 – 2 hours.
- Fees: INR 500 – INR 700.
- Things to do: Enjoy the serene beauty of Kerala during the strong tides of Hawah Beach on a catamaran ride.
Attend the Gramam Village Fair
If you are planning a vacation in January, then this should be on your list of things to do in Kovalam. A 10-day long vibrant and unique festival, thousands of people from all over come to experience the pomp and show. They make merriment and dance to the tunes of local music. Artisans recreate and remodel the typical Kerala villages. Kathakali, Thiruvathirakali, and Mohiniattam are the most seen dance forms there that mainly depict the culture, traditions, music and dance.
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. If you want souvenirs to take back home, then you would be spoilt for choice. Teakwood furniture, sandalwood showpieces, ethnic jewellery, spice boxes and many such exquisite items are kept on display there.
- Recommended for: Youngsters, avid travelers, adventure lovers, families, art and history lovers, photographers.
- Duration: 10 days in January
- Entry Fees: Free.
- Things to do: Do enjoy the local food down there. There will be some delicious spreads, and you might fall in love with the traditional village titbits. Enjoy the music and dance, and you might take a step or two. And, take home some beautiful souvenirs.
Being one of the most vibrant locations in India, when you talk about Kerala, you need to be quite specific. Kerala is a sum of many beautiful places. For the mountain lovers to the beach lovers, there’s everything this state can provide. And, the above was just a glimpse of one such place and what it has in store for travellers.
Further Read: Top places to visit in Munnar