Varkala is a magnificent beach town in South India, precisely in the state of Kerala. The proximity to the Arabian Sea and its distinctive beaches are the factors that make the place a tourist destination as now. The red cliffs, black soil beaches, heritage churches, cafes, etc. make the town quite impressive to visit.
Moreover, a crowd of foreign tourists is also seen in the location. The significance of the city in the tourism map of the country is considerably soaring every day. There are also several Hindu and Christian pilgrim destinations in the town enhancing the flow of devotees to the place along with casual and foreign tourists.
The peculiarities of the Varkala beaches is that here hills and beaches stay adjacent to each other which is a quite rare sight. Adventure buffs are also seen visiting the location to enjoy a bunch of water sports activities such as paragliding, parasailing, and a lot more.
The springs found in this town have got several therapeutic powers and this also helps in building the curiosity of the visitors coming to the town. Ayurveda and spa centers are found in surplus in the city attracting foreigners to a great extent. Enjoy some of the gems of the destinations and experiences in the area.
Table of Contents
10 Best places to visit in Varkala
This is one of the best places to visit in Varkala. Another name for it is “Papanasham Beach. “The views and scenery possible from the cliffs near the beach are breathtakingly beautiful. You can also enjoy cafes and restaurants nearby where you can taste delicious Kerala-style seafood perfect to experiment with on a beach vacation.
Yoga students and teachers are also found near the beach giving you bits of positivity and joy while taking a stroll through the shore. The mornings of Varkala beach are worth experiencing. The beach is at a distance of 2-3KM from the nearest railway station to Varkala.
Crafts and artworks exhibited in the street side shops, mostly made using things available from the sea and the beach will definitely steal your mind. Unlike other beaches in the state of Kerala, this beach is not that crowded even though tourism is flourishing in the area. You can enjoy a perfect alone time on the beach enjoying the serenity it serves.
The natural mineral spring on the beach is another important thing to be visited. Some spiritual beliefs assure that the water on the beach of Varkala has the power to cure the sins you have committed in your life and also to detoxify yourself.
This is another beautiful natural structure you can find in Varkala. If you have already visited Varkala beach, the cliff is just 5km away from it. It is made up of red stones and is also a popular tourist attraction of the place. Amazing seaside restaurants are the major attraction of the place.
Unlike other tourist destinations, the restaurants found here are not just confined to a single local cuisine but cover almost all the popular global cuisines. Thus it becomes wholesome and caters to the interests of people visiting the place from different parts of the world.
However, fresh catches from the sea are often turned into lip-smacking dishes in restaurants here. The flea market in the location is also quite popular for shopping the things that are peculiar to the culture, heritage, and tradition of Varkala.
The ancientness of the rock formations found in the cliff area has often become a debated topic among historians and archaeologists. Certain ruins indicating an interesting lifestyle of people have also been discovered from the location. Even if the place is popularly known as “Varkala Cliff”, the Geological Survey of India has named it the “Varkala Formation”.
3-Saint Sebastian’s Pilgrim Church
This is a popular Christian pilgrim location in the coastal town of Varkala. It is among the list of best places to visit in Varkala. Since a lot of Europeans are found visiting the town, most of them are also seen visiting the church. Locals and domestic tourists also pay a visit to the church. It was the Portuguese missionaries in India who built the church during those days.
The location of church is near the backwaters of the town. The serenity and joy spirits felt in the church and its premises are quite impressive and make you visit it again and again. Religiously the church is known for Saint Sebastian’s procession. February is the month when the procession is held in the church.
It is celebrated with grand preparations and crowds. The colorful decorations and vibrance of the church during that time is worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime. During this time, the church will be crowded with both pilgrims and casual tourists alike.
The Church is also beautiful and excites our spirits during the eve of Christmas, New Year, and Easter. The church offers delicious feasts for people visiting. The church will be open for visitors anytime between 6 am to 7 pm. If you are at the Varkala railway station, you can reach the church at a distance of 7km.
Anjengo Fort is the anglicized name of the Fort of Anjuthengu. This is one of the most historically prominent locations you can visit during your Varkala vacation. The fort is built by the British people who came to the country with an intention of colonization. It was in the year 1690, that the construction of the fort got completed.
Laterite walls are the other special feature of the fort. You can also enjoy a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean from the Anjengo fort. Historians mark the fort as the very first establishment of the East India Company in the state of Kerala. The then Queen of Attingal was the one who gave the British the land to construct a fort.
There was an agreement for trade between the Queen and the officials of the English East India Company. The fort withstood countless attacks during colonial times but still remains strong after centuries.
The architecture and strategies of building the fort are the reason making it one of the best places to visit in Varkala. If you are interested to know and experience the beauty of colonial architecture, do not miss out on visiting the fort when you plan a Varkala vacation. You can also visit the backwaters and an offbeat beach near the fort.
This island in Varkala is also known by the name, “Golden Island”. Anjengo Lake is where you can find the island. Valiyapurakkal Family is the owner of this exotic island in Varkala. A Hindu temple is found on the island and it is believed to be 100 years old by historians and scholars.
The main deities of worship in the temple are the Hindu Lord, Shiva, and his wife, Goddess Parvathi. You can reach the island with a journey of 12km from the town center of Varkala. Country boats provide services for tourists to visit the island and enjoy its mesmerizing beauty.
The island is not inhabited by humans even though the temple is situated in the place. This seclusion is what makes the island worth visiting. Nedunganda village is where you should go to board the boat to visit the island. The rustic vibes and the enchanting scenery possible from the location of the island attract a lot of tourists to the location.
Backpackers and groups of friends are mostly seen visiting this island. The boat journey to the island is also worth experiencing through the mangroves of the lake. The boating can take an average of 30 minutes to reach the island.
Odayam beach is also an offbeat beach located on the outskirts of Varkala town. However, you can reach the location from the Varkala railway station at a distance of 4km. The beach is secluded and hence making it a perfect hangout spot for backpackers who would like to enjoy the serenity of the beach.
Thiruvambadi beach and Cliff beach are nearby to the beach of Odayam. Spectacular views are also possible from the location. The sunrise and sunset views from the beach are quite popular among the tourists who have visited the place. Many vibe-matching resorts and homestays are also available nearby the beach making it ideal for you to indulge in the solo spirits for a whole day if you wish.
A stroll through the sand of the Odayam beach would be extremely relaxing and refreshing. Delicious food and drinks are also available in the location making it possible to halt in the place with all the amenities you are in need of. You can also witness the locals fishing in the waters and spend some engaging time interacting with them. Thus it also becomes a spot to mingle with the local lifestyle and culture of the people of Varkala.
This is a Hindu pilgrimage location found in Varkala with comparatively bigger crowds. The place provides accommodation facilities to those who wish to stay there. It includes a grand huge prayer hall capable to accommodate a whole lot of devotees. The decorated temples are the other main attractions of the place.
This religious center is situated amidst the lush green trees providing a calming effect inside it. The main figure of worship in the center is the social activist, Sree Narayana Guru. His teachings and ideologies are transferred to the devotees and visitors coming to the center.
The center is maintained and regulated by the authority called the Sree Narayana Dharma Sanghom Trust. The founding year of the trust is 1928. Peace, righteousness, and justice are the prime ideologies followed by the inhabitants and devotees of the center. “One Caste, One Religion, and One God for Man” is the most important saying by Sree Narayana Guru.
The teachers of the center stick to these principles to build a better side of humanity. You can also find the “Samadhi”, the resting position of Sree Narayana Guru in the location. The mountains of Sivagiri are another prominent feature of the place. The center has been here in the place since the year, 1904.
This is also another secluded beach in the coastal town of Varkala. It is located on the North Cliff side of the town. The beach is also referred to as “Black Sand Beach”. This is because of the rare black sand found on the shores of the ocean here. Serenity is the most important feeling you will get from the beach.
Gentle tides will help you relax in the surroundings in the best mood. The locals you will find on the beach and its premises would be highly friendly and corporative. Strolling through the beach is highly recommended. During the season times that is during the New Year and X-Mas times, you will find an increased number of occupants on the beachside. It is regarded as one of the best places to visit in Varkala when it comes to beaches.
There are a lot of resorts and holiday homes nearby the beach. You can select any one of them according to your preferences in moods since there are a couple of them hitting you with French architecture, some with colonial vibes, and also some with the typical Travancore settings. Cottage stays are also available in the location giving you the rustic experience if you would like to spend some time with the unadulterated nature of the coastal region.
Kappil Lake is a picturesque destination for your Varkala vacation. You should travel a distance of 8km from the main center of Varkala to the north to reach the destination of Kappil Lake. The lake and its surrounding are filled with groves of coconut and hence extremely shady and cool. You can also see the beautiful sight of the estuary getting synced with the Arabian Sea.
There is also a bridge across the lake and you should never miss out on taking a walk through the bridge since the views there are spectacular. This is an opportunity where you can enjoy both the beauty of backwaters and the ocean at the same time. You can also enjoy boating in the country boats seen in the location.
Locals engaged in fishing are also another calming village visual you can enjoy in the location. Since the location is quite far away from the hustle and bustle of the happening tourism in the city, the serenity and feel of the place are quite matchless and worth experiencing. It is better to visit the location afternoon to enjoy the maximum of the place. The clear blue sky of the place is also a calming view to watch from the bridge.
This is one of the most pristine beaches you can ever find in the town of Varkala. Just like the location of Kappil Lake and Kappil Beach, here also you will be able to see the beach and the backwaters merging. The blue lagoon that demarcates the ocean from the backwaters has been attracting tourists to the location of the beach in great numbers.
The best time to enjoy the beauty of the estuary and the place is the monsoon months of the year. Most people visiting the beach and the estuary are seeking peace and the beauty of solitude. Moreover, adventure enthusiasts also find the place much more interesting since there are a number of agencies providing surfing and other activities in the location.
You can visit the place anytime between sunset and sunrise. The presence of the estuary and the atmosphere make the place the best to enjoy beautiful sunrise and sunsets in your Varkala holidays. You can reach the beach at just a distance of 5km from the railway station of Varkala.
Best time to visit Varkala
October to February
How to reach Varkala?
Trivandrum International Airport
Nearest railway station
Varkala Sivagiri Railway Station (VAK)
This flourishing hippie paradise in the South Indian state of Kerala can be best loved by those who are seeking a serene beach experience. History, heritage, tradition, spirituality, etc. can be enjoyed from the location. Can be regarded as one of the best beach vacations possible in Kerala.
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