Idyllically located 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 and dreamy beaches.
Far from the frenetic bustle of India's cities, Kerala's backwaters are India at its most tranquil and laid back. Accessed from Alleppey, just a short transfer from Cochin, this palm-fringed network of canals and lakes offers the ultimate in away-from-it-all relaxation. And, there's no better way to explore than on a houseboat, staying overnight, enjoying traditional Keralan food cooked by a private chef and watching the sun set from the deck with a glass of beer in hand. There's even the chance to hop off your houseboat for some village exploration, perhaps visiting a local family for an authentic cultural experience.
The Keralan coast
While Goa is, for many, the go-to destination for an India beach holiday, the endless stretches of sands that line Kerala's coast are, arguably, even more inviting. Swaying palms and golden sands invite endless days of sun-soaked relaxation, made all the more indulgent by the Ayurvedic health spas that take pride of place in the state's finest beachfront hotels. The beaches around Cochin and Kovalam are among the state's best.
Kerala's Hill stations
The rolling greenery of Kerala's hill stations offers a cool retreat from the heat of the coastal plains. Indeed, it was a popular summer retreat for the British Raj, and colonial bungalows can still be found dotted among the mountains. Here, tea and spice plantations make for scenic strolls and relaxing days. And, if you want to find out more, it's easy to arrange a tour in the company of a local tea expert – simply speak to our specialists who'll take care of all the details.
Keralan culture & 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 fascinating stories, and Kalarippayattu – an athletic and graceful martial art. There's also the chance to explore the state's religious history, visiting some of the many Hindu temples that dot the countryside, splashes of colour and intrigue amid the verdant landscape. And, no trip to Kerala would be complete without taking a journey through its rich culinary landscape. Expect delightfully fragranced curries and plenty of coconut, while on the coast and in the Backwaters, you'll find the freshest lobster and the biggest prawns.