Discovering the mesmerizing city of Kochi can be a life-changing experience if done right. I say it with my own experience which changed my perception towards life and travelling. The simplicity and sheer beauty that exudes from every nook and corner of Kochi are breathtaking to watch. Lovingly still known as Cochin, this city is rightly termed as “Queen of the Sea” for its marvellous backwaters, quaint beaches, and the famous Chinese nets! I had planned my trip during October which was perfect weather-wise. The city is alive with fun-filled activities at the time of the year as the rains are fairly mild. Thus, the ultimate goal was to soak in as much of Kochi as I could within a week. So, with my Cochin tour package ready in place and bags packed, I headed to the city which changed a part of me.
Below are my top 12 sightseeing places in Cochin which you need to visit:
1. Visit the Fort Kochi area
On my first Malabari morning, I quickly browsed through my Cochin sightseeing itinerary and drove to the first stop – Fort Kochi. My excitement was at its peak since I had heard so many good things about it. Essentially, it comprises of historical monuments from the Portuguese and the British colonial eras. Visiting this region is a good way to start your Cochin city sightseeing as it helps you engage with the local people, food, and culture. If your visit is short, then make sure that a one-day sightseeing tour in Cochin is dedicated to Fort Kochi.
2. Historical Walk in Mattanchery
Another locality that is must-visit while taking a sightseeing tour in Kochi is the locality of Mattancherry. This region is very popular among tourists for historical points like the Mattancherry Palace Museum, temples such as Pazhayannur Bhagavathy, Palliarakkavvu, Ram Mandir, etc. Besides these, the region brings in an insight into the local sightseeing spots of Cochin which can only be discovered on foot.
3. The Spell of Bolgatty Palace
Since Kochi has a rich Dutch history, it is imperative to visit the Bogatty Palace situated on Bolgatty Island. Now a heritage hotel property, the rich Dutch architecture is still preserved for tourists to soak in. For a scenic view of the sea with delectable Malabari food, this place is an ideal choice!
4. Awe at nature’s most precious gifts
The next spot for sightseeing in Cochin city is its well-maintained Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary set right in the middle of the city. The famous mangroves of Kerala and its varieties can be found here along with a number of migrating birds like brahminy kite, common redshank, and white-breasted waterhen. Alongside these, there is also the presence of a wide range of other animals including Eurasian otter, Indian flying-fox, painted bat, exotic butterflies, etc.
5. The Magic of Marine Drive
One of the most popular places in Kochi is the Marine Drive that has shopping malls, restaurants, and local markets. If you’re looking for a relaxed evening with friends, strolling around the promenade can be a very refreshing experience for the mind and soul! Since it is facing the backwaters, the cool breeze and friendly locals will help you unwind in the best possible way. Thus, make sure you have this one checked in your sightseeing itinerary of Cochin.
6. Worship at Chottanikkara Temple
In the southern suburbs of Cochin is the highly revered Chottanikkara Temple dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. While cruising through your local sightseeing tour in Cochin, this temple should be visited at the beginning of the day to witness the Saraswati aarti. A very unique practice of this temple is that all three Goddesses, namely, Lakshmi, Durga, and Saraswati are worshipped here. The classical Kerala music along with sweet-smelling flowers can make for a good start to your day.
7. The Roman Capital of Cochin
An archaic church that should a part of your local sightseeing in Cochin is Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica. Depicting the truest form of gothic architecture, this church’s historic significance is worth learning about. Holding a stronghold in the current times, it is still serving as the official Roman Catholic Diocese of Cochin.
8. Discover Jew Town
An unusual township of Jews in Kerala is something that you need to discover during your sightseeing tour in Kochi. The Jewish Synagogue also is known as Paradesi Synagogue located in Old Cochin or Jew Town and has a quaint charm due to its rare antiques, enchanting chandeliers, and hand-painted blue willow tiles.
9. Visit the Oldest Church of India
While planning out my Kochi sightseeing tour, I made sure that St. Francis Church was a part of it. So, why is it so significant? Primarily because it is the oldest church in India and Vasco Da Gama’s remains were originally buried here. Its simplicity, European architecture, and ancient paintings add to its old-world charm which should not be missed by anyone booking a sightseeing tour in Cochin.
10. Unwind at Veeranpuzha Lake
When it comes to Veeranpuzha Lake, serenity is the first word and emotion that comes to mind. A hidden treasure of the city, this lake brings solace with its natural beauty and scenic views overlooking paddy cultivation in Kochi. While monsoon is the best time to visit this place as the lake is in its full bloom, the region encircling the lake is buzzing with cultural festivals all year round. Take a stroll around the lakeside or set up a picnic with your family, this tourist spot is a must-have in your sightseeing tour in Cochin.
11. Relive the History of Kerala
While the Kerala Museum in itself a popular tourist spot in Cochin but its special gallery of Kerala History is laden with artefacts specially curated in 36 diorama depicting historical episodes of Kerala. There is also an enchanting light and sound show organized at the gallery every evening. Interestingly, Parasurama’s statue, the sage who is said to have discovered the land of Kerala, is also found outside the entrance.
12. Marvel at Chinese Fishing Nets
Locally known as Cheena Vala, the Chinese Fishing Nets is located at Fort Vypin in Kochi. For those interested in understanding the workings of giant fishing nets, the real show can be observed either at dawn or right after dusk every day. The humongous fishing nets are made of bamboo and teak which are suspended in air, almost too dramatically, for the audience to awe at. A true delight for photographers and fishing enthusiasts, this one’s a peculiar experience that you must have during your sightseeing tour in Cochin.
Take note that I also gorged on the most authentic Malabari delicacies which further enriched my time in Kochi. The culture, people, and local traditions are all part of this beautiful journey, and the experiences you’ll have here, marvellous!