A slim state situated on the southwestern coast of India, Kerala offers hundreds of miles of coastline on the Arabian Sea, with the relaxed, easygoing pace of a true beachside getaway. The name means ‘Land of Coconuts', but the region is perhaps better known as ‘God's Own Country', with a landscape of endless palm groves, relaxed rivers, emerald backwaters, dream beaches and fresh, spicy cuisine. In Kerala India has preserved a deep soul that generations of travellers have fallen in love with, in part because it retains the feeling of a secret spot, a proud place with a sense of its own history. This is the home of Kathakali dance, with its colourful masks and vibrant stories, seafood to make the most experienced connoisseur's mouth water, hotels of unmatched comfort and hospitality and wildlife, from tigers to elephants.
Ayurvedic health resorts abound, from the beaches to the lush green hill stations. If you choose to indulge, you'll discover a world of gentle healing with aromatic oils. And if you want to discover the tea plantations on your tour of Kerala, head to Munnar or Chinnakanal to explore how this iconic Indian export is grown, while putting yourself in a landscape of impossibly green and fragrant hillsides. As you journey across the state, watch for celebrated athletes who draw their swords to practice the ancient art of Kalarippayattu, a lively and graceful martial art. Or explore the many Hindu temples that dot the land, giving the region some of its distinct and longstanding character.
Top itineraries in Kerala
India's southern coast, bordered by the sparking waters of the Arabian Sea and the evergreen mountains of the Western Ghats, is blessed by a perfect climate, verdant foliage and a slower pace of life.
Top places to stay in Kerala
When the serene, blue-green beauty of Kerala’s ‘backwaters’ began to attract Western travellers a decade or so ago, a rash of new resorts sprang up in the south exploiting the successful ‘wooden-cottage-in-palm-grove’ formula. But this addition on the quieter shores of Lake Vembanad is a cut above …
This stylish and exclusive boutique hotel is about 15 minutes' drive from Kovalam. Surrounded by lush greenery, and on the Arabian Sea, Surya Samudra effortlessly blends weathered wood with old charm and modern day comfort.
The Leela Kovalam is set high on a cliff-top, with sweeping views of pristine beaches. It’s the ultimate beach resort for those seeking respite from modern life.
Where to go in Kerala
Kovalam is Kerala's most developed beach resort, with four main stretches of beach separated by a rocky promontory, which has created a beautifully calm bay, ideal for sea bathing.
The town of Kumily is the gateway to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the largest and most visited wildlife reserves in India.
Vast jungles and sprawling tea plantations cover the hills surrounding Munnar, in the Western Ghats region.
When to go to Kerala
As with much of India, the best time to visit Kerala and its surrounding southern states is during the dry winter months. From November to March, the coastal resorts of Goa and Kerala bask in almost constant sunshine and temperatures hover around the mid to high twenties. The hill stations of the Western Ghats are cooler, so it’s worth packing something warm. In Tamil Nadu, the dry season starts slightly later, with the monsoon extending through to November.
Meet our Kerala experts
Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0798Meet the team