Cover Photo by Saeed Siddiqui
South India has always been a famous tourist destination, offering breathtaking places to visit with your family and loved ones. The essence of South India lies in its cultural heritage, beautiful forts, and mesmerising beaches that make your vacations amazing. One such location in the southern region of the country is Kochi. Also known as Cochin, it is a port city of one of India’s coastal states, Kerala and has an intriguing trading history that predates at least 600 years. The city stands out as Kerala’s financial, commercial, and industrial capital; however, it is also a very popular tourist destination, welcoming thousands of visitors from across the globe.
Islands interconnected by ferries, landscapes for rejuvenation, cosmopolitan stores for shopping, art galleries for aesthetically appealing paintings and crafts, which are accompanied by fine dining, and classy heritage accommodations, Kochi as a tourist place offers it all. Adding to this, many heritage sites and temples also are a part of Kochi’s beauty. The city is known for Kathakali and Kalarippayattu performances, the annual Biennale Festival, and many other grandeur celebrations. Kochi is a perfect city for solo travellers, family trips, couple trips, and so on. Tourists feel a different kind of peace and happiness in Kochi’s embrace and that makes the trip even more exciting and enjoyable.
Here are the 10 best places to visit in Kochi with your family and loved ones –
Fort and Palaces
Starting the list with the magnificent forts and palaces, they boast of the history of Kochi.
1. Fort Kochi
Not a fort per se but a small seaside town, nestled in the south-western part of the main city, Fort Kochi is one of the most popular places to visit in Cochin. It has an old-world colonial charm and houses every cultural change that the town has gone through over the years. From the remnants of the British rule to the latest magnificence of the contemporary world, you can find examples of every century in Fort Kochi. You can also witness examples of Portuguese or Dutch colonialism here. With European structures, vibrantly coloured buildings, and toy-town like streets, you have a lot to explore in Fort Kochi.
2. Mattancherry Palace
A display museum, exhibiting the belongings of the Rajas (Kings) of Kochi, the Mattancherry Palace is a tourist place in Kochithat once belonged to the Portuguese. Also known as Dutch Palace, the museum will ignite the history buff in you. You will learn about the interesting history of Kochi and other parts of Kerala through artefacts and embellishments that are irreplaceable. Constructed and designed in the typical style of Kerala’s architecture, the Mattancherry Palace is divided into four wings with a central courtyard that houses a temple. The Mattancherry Palace has portraits, exhibits of Rajas of Kochi, mythological murals, and much more, making it an excellent place to visit in Kochi.
1. Folklore Museum
Started in 2009, the Folklore Museum is a place that you should visit during your trip to Kochi. It is a one-of-a-kind museum that houses beautiful forms of art, sculptures, souvenirs, and so on. The museum offers visitors an enjoyable time with live dance forms that are in ritualistic or martial art forms, which makes it the best place to see in Kochi. Apart from finding paintings that talk about the ancient temples and traditional houses of Kerala, artists can also sell their paintings and other art forms to the Folklore Museum, which are put up for display later. The Folklore Museum is a private museum that was curate by Annie George and run by the family. The museum has around 5000 artefacts that come from Malabar, depicts the Portuguese rule in Kochi, collections from Travancore, and so on. A fun family time is assured here! Make sure to include this place in your Cochin tour package.
2. Indo-Portuguese Museum
Located inside the Bishop’s House in Kochi, the Indo-Portuguese Museum has architectural relics, antique pieces, and old artefacts, belonging to the bygone era. The Bishop’s House was the residence of the Portuguese Governor and it was built in 1506. The Indo-Portuguese Museum inside the Bishop’s House has artefacts from various churches that came under Cochin’s diocese. Along with this amazing Kochi sightseeing spot, the Bishop’s House is famous for large Gothic arches, having a circular path that ends at the main entrance of the magnificent structure.
1. Marine Drive
One of the most loved and popular hangout spots in Kochi, Marine Drive oversees the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. It offers a serene time to all the visitors and picturesque sight to behold. Marine Drive is said to be an excellent place to visit in Kochi for couples. With a walkway of about 3 kilometres, it is a place where you can spend some leisure time with your family and loved ones. It stretches from Jankar Jetty in the North to the Ernakulam Boat Jetty in the South, with a few important landmarks surrounding it. Marine Drive is surely one of the must-visit places in Kochi.
2. Veeranpuzha Beach
One of the popular beaches in Kochi, the Veeranpuzha Beach has golden sandy shores that are surrounded by lovely lush greens. The beach is located closer to the fishing villages that help fishermen work comfortably without worrying about the distance. When you visit Veeranpuzha Beach, you can see fishermen working while you enjoy a relaxed rural vibe with the sunrise or sunset as the backdrop.
3. Cherai Beach
A popular place to visit near Kochi within 100 km, the Cherai Beach is nested on the northern end of the Vypin Islands in Kochi. This beach is one of the perfect merging points of the sea and backwaters that enhances the mesmeric beauty even more. It is surrounded by greenery and you can find seashells of different shapes, Chinese fishing nets, and other such beauties that depict the vibe of the sea. Adding to this, the coastline of this place to visit in Kochi is about 15 km long, making it unique from all the other beaches.
Other Places to Visit in Kochi
1. Jewish Synagogue
The oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations, let alone Kochi – the Jewish Synagogue was constructed in 1567 and is a must-visit place during your Cochin sightseeing tour. It is also known as Paradesi Synagogue or Mattancherry Synagogue, as the Mattancherry Palace and the synagogue share walls. The synagogue was constructed by Spanish-speaking Jews and houses rare antiques, gorgeous chandeliers, brass railed pulpit, Chinese hand-painted, and many more eye-pleasing artefacts and items. The place to visit in Cochin also boasts a beautiful clock tower along with spectacular architecture. Although, the synagogue was ruined in 1662 by the Portuguese but thanks to the Dutch for renovating this magnificent architecture 2 years after its destruction.
2. Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
Spread across an area of 2.74 hectares, the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary comprises 18-acres of mangroves that has become the home to various migratory birds. The bird sanctuary is one of the best places to visit in Cochin in 1 day for a relaxing time. The sanctuary has an array of densely populated species of trees and plants. A shallow tidal lake is present in the middle of the bird sanctuary that is connected to Kochi’s backwaters through a canal. The tidal lake is surrounded by thick mangrove plantations and other lush greens, giving you and your loved ones a serene time while being closer to nature’s beauty. If you want to see the migratory birds, January to March is said to be the best time to visit Cochin.
3. Vasco Da Gama Square
Vasco Da Gama was one of the most popular Portuguese explorers and with the Portuguese ruling Kochi in the bygone era, they surely have dedicated a spot to their beloved explorer. If you want to experience Kochi sightseeing in street style, Vasco Da Gama Square is your place to go. With trees acting as shades, this square is located along the Kochi beach. You can simply sit and enjoy the view while having some mouth-watering street foods, ice cream, and so on.
Kochi is a beautiful city with alluring tourist attractions that enthrals visitors and make their vacation memorable. There are a lot of things to do in Kochi and now, with Kochi tour packages, exploring the city has become even more convenient. So, what are you waiting for? Plan that family trip that you have always wanted and make memories in Kochi!