Kerala Itinerary - 7 Days
If you are visiting India and want to explore the country beyond the popular tourist destinations, plan a trip to Kerala. One of the most beautiful states in India, Kerala is often overlooked by travelers as they exhaust their time visiting the all-time favorites – Golden Triangle, Rajasthan, Goa, Uttarakhand, etc.
Known as ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala is situated on the Malabar coast of South India. Lush green vegetation, miles & miles of scenic shoreline, sprawling tea gardens, and serpentine backwaters make Kerala a paradise for nature lovers. The state is known for its aromatic herbs & spices, colorful street art, fragrant cuisine, ayurvedic treatments, vibrant festivals, and traditional dance forms.
If you are looking for tranquility, relaxation, and solitude, then Kerala should definitely be on your list. Seven days are definitely not enough to explore Kerala in depth. But it is sufficient to capture the essence and beauty of this stunning tropical paradise.
Best time to visit Kerala
Kerala is a year-round destination but September to March is the ideal time to visit Kerala. December is one of the busiest months due to the holiday season. The weather is pleasant, humidity is negligible and you can visit all the major attractions of Kerala – backwaters, tea plantations, and beaches. April and May can be very hot and humid and best avoided. During that period, you can explore the higher altitude regions like Munnar and Wayanad that are relatively cooler. From June to August, Kerala is flooded with torrential rains, making it difficult to explore most regions of Kerala.
How to get around Kerala
All the cities, towns, and villages of Kerala are very well connected by an efficient road transport network. These buses are ideal for budget-conscious travelers. Local trains are also a convenient way to travel between major districts of Kerala, offering you stunning views of the green countryside. However, if you have the budget, the best way to travel in Kerala is by private vehicle/taxi. It gives you flexibility, saves time, and makes life much easier. Ola and Uber are available in big cities. If you want to travel a short distance within the city, auto-rickshaw are the best options.
Shopping in Kerala
Spices, Ayurvedic medicines, Mural paintings, cashew nuts, oils, tea, coffee, coir products, coconut-shell handicrafts, Kathakali Masks are a few of the products that are worth buying in Kerala. Some of these products are really good, so don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in some shopping.
Language in Kerala
Malayalam is the official language of Kerala, but English is widely spoken and understood here. Kerala has the highest literacy rate in India, but their English proficiency is quite basic. However, if you speak English, you should have no issues communicating with locals.
Must-do experiences in Kerala
- Watch a Kathakali / Theyyem Performance
- Enjoy an Ayurvedic Treatment
- Stay in a houseboat
- Cruise the backwaters
- Visit a tea-plantation
- Eat the traditional Keralan meal served on a banana leaf
- Take a spice tour
- Watch the Snake Boat Race (from July to September)
- Attend a cooking lesson
Suggested 7-day Kerala Itinerary
Kerala is very well connected to all parts of India and there are feasible options to reach major cities by train and plane. Kerala has three international airports at Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, and Kozhikode. We are starting our journey from Kochi and ending it at Thiruvananthapuram. This itinerary is designed with the assumption that you have a vehicle at your disposal. If you are using other modes of transport, make the required adjustments.
Day 1: Kochi – Munnar
Reach Kochi (Cochin) and leave straightaway for Munnar. The drive will take about 4 hours and you can enjoy the scenic views en-route. There are waterfalls and Spices garden on the way and you can stop there if you have the time. Munnar is famous for its quaint waterfalls, pristine valleys, blankets of mist, and rolling tea plantations. The charming hill-station is just perfect to have a relaxing evening and admire the spectacular panoramic views.
Day 2: Munnar
Today, we are going to explore Munnar. You can visit the Eravikulam National Park, look up a tea plantation, spend some time at one of the waterfalls, or just walk around admiring the picturesque villages. Wherever you go, you are going to be engulfed by the breathtaking manicured emerald-green tea plantations. You will be itching to stop and take pictures at every turn. In the evening, you must watch Kalaripayattu – Kerala Martial Arts, for a surreal experience.
Day 3: Munnar – Thekkady
You should start early as it takes 3-4 hours to reach Thekkady from Munnar. Thekkady is the center for visiting Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park. Spread over 300 square miles, Periyar National Park is home to species like tiger, elephant, bison, deer, and langurs. There is a scenic lake at the heart of the sanctuary. You can explore the sanctuary, enjoy a lake cruise, and admire the elephants frolicking in the lake. If you want to spend the night in the jungle, there are a few lodgings inside the Periyar Reserve.
Day 4: Thekkady – Kumarakom/Alleppey
Kerala is known for its scenic backwaters – an interlinking network of brackish lagoons, canals, and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian sea coast. Most of the travelers visiting Kerala have one activity on their bucket list – to cruise along the enchanting backwater regions of Kerala. Kumarakom and Alleppey are the two best locations to explore the backwaters. They are two corners of the Vembanad Lake but provide different experiences. Alleppey is a town-based destination whereas Kumarakom is a group of small islets. You can choose any one of them.
Drive from Thekkady to Alleppey (Alappuzha) will take nearly 5 hours. Alleppey, also known as the ‘Venice of the East’, is popular for the tranquil houseboat cruises. So, if you are interested in spending the night on a houseboat, Alleppey has more choices. Alleppey has rows of houses facing the canal which gives you a closer look at life in the tropical villages. You can float on a houseboat amidst stunning views, palm-fringed coasts, abundant greenery, and the maze of winding canals and waterways. Alleppey also has several beaches, temples, spas, and wellness centers, that you can visit during your stay.
If you opt for Kumarakom, it would take you three hours to reach your destination from Thekkady. It is known for mangrove-colored lagoons, bird sanctuary, green paddy fields, and coconut groves. Located in the background of Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is less crowded than Alleppey and has some of the best luxury resorts in Kerala. Few of the resorts offer a package with a night at a houseboat. Taking a sunset cruise on the serene backwaters is highly recommended.
Day 5: Kumarakom/Alleppey
You have the entire day to enjoy the various attractions of your chosen location – Kumarakom or Alleppey. You don’t have to rush around ticking attractions off your list. These places are perfect to indulge in the famed ayurvedic treatments, taste the delectable cuisine, practice yoga, and rejuvenate yourselves.
Day 6: Kumarakom/Alleppey – Kovalam
Drive to Kovalam from Alleppey / Kumarakom will take approximately 4/4.5 hrs. respectively. It is time to explore the beautiful beaches of Kerala and what better place than Kovalam? The beaches of Kovalam are in demand due to low tidal waves and shallow waters which makes it ideal for sea bathing. You can spend a day here visiting the Lighthouse and the spectacular crescent beaches – Kovalam beach, Lighthouse beach, and Samudra beach. You have the option to stay at some plush beachside resort for the day.
Day 7: Thiruvanthapuram
The capital city of Kerala, Thiruvanthapuram, is just 16 km away from Kovalam. If you want, you can explore a few interesting places in Thiruvanthapuram – Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Napier Museum, Observatory, etc.
This also brings us to the end of the 7-day Kerala Itinerary. You can head back to your next destination from Thiruvanthapuram. The suggested itinerary is just a guide and you can easily change it to suit yourself.
Alternative itineraries for Kerala
If you don’t want to rush things, you can skip Thekkady and spent more time in Munnar or the tranquil backwaters. It would take you 4-5 hours to reach Kumarakom/Alleppey directly from Munnar. Your itinerary would be Kochi-Munnar-Kumarakom/Alleppey-Kovalam-Thiruvanthapuram.
In case you are not interested in Kovalam, you can head back to Kochi from Alleppey/Kumarakom and take the return flight from Kochi. It takes approximately two hours to reach Kochi from the backwater region. The suggested itinerary without visiting Kovalam can be Kochi-Munnar-Thekkady-Kumarakom/Alleppey-Kochi
Looking to spend more time in Kerala? There are many other places which you can visit in Kerala – Trivandrum, Varkala, Bekal, Kanyakumari, Malabar, Thrissur, Kannur, Wayanad, and more.