Things to do in Kochi – A complete travel guide

Located on the beautiful Malabar Coast of India, Kochi is a city that seamlessly blends history, culture, and natural beauty. From the iconic Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi to the vibrant spice markets and the tranquil backwaters, Kochi offers a plethora of experiences for every traveller. Explore and uncover the hidden gems, savour the delectable cuisine, and immerse ourselves in the vibrant atmosphere of this enchanting city. Are you looking to embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Kochi? Book your Kochi car rental service now and make your trip hassle-free.

Table of Contents

  1. Things to do in Kochi
  2. About Kochi
  3. How to Plan a Trip to Kochi
  4. Hotels and Resorts in Kochi
  5. Road trips taken from Kochi
  6. Useful links

Whether you’re a solo traveller seeking adventure or a family in search of memorable experiences, Kochi is the perfect destination for you. This vibrant city offers a delightful mix of daytime fun and nightlife that caters to all tastes and preferences. If you explore the historic Fort Kochi during the day, where you can stroll through quaint streets, and visit ancient landmarks, the setting sun brings Kochi to life with a vibrant nightlife scene. Offering an array of options such as trendy bars, live music venues, and cultural performances. From enjoying traditional Kathakali dance to indulging in delicious local cuisine at bustling food stalls, Kochi promises unforgettable moments for all. Read on to know everything to need to do in the coastal southern city

Things to do in Kochi

Things to do by booking a cab in Kochi

Kochi beckons travellers with its intriguing blend of southern culture. This vibrant city, also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, offers a myriad of experiences waiting to be discovered. If you are travelling with your family, make sure you book a Kochi cab for comfortable travel. To make your trip a memorable one here are some general pointers on things to do in Kochi:

  • Immerse in history – Explore the historical landmarks scattered throughout the city, from ancient forts and palaces to colonial buildings that whisper tales of a bygone era.
  • Discover cultural delights – Witness vibrant cultural performances, such as Kathakali or Mohiniyattam dance, and delve into the arts and traditions that have shaped Kochi’s identity.
  • Indulge in culinary adventures – Sample the tantalizing flavours of Kerala cuisine, renowned for its aromatic spices and fresh seafood. Don’t miss the chance to try local delicacies like appam, puttu, and karimeen fry.
  • Marvel at natural wonders – Take a boat ride along the tranquil backwaters, surrounded by lush greenery and idyllic villages. Soak in the serenity and get a glimpse into the harmonious coexistence of nature and local life.
  • Explore local markets – Lose yourself in the bustling markets, filled with vibrant colours, aromatic spices, handicrafts, and textiles. Haggle with local vendors and take home unique souvenirs.
  • Connect with wildlife – Venture into the nearby wildlife sanctuaries, where you can spot rare species of birds, elephants, and other wildlife in their natural habitats.
  • Relax on pristine beaches – Unwind on the golden shores of Kochi’s beautiful beaches, basking in the warm sun, taking leisurely walks, or enjoying water sports activities.
  • Engage in festivities – Check the local calendar for festivals and events happening during your visit. Immerse yourself in the lively celebrations, witnessing the rich cultural heritage of the city.

Shopping in Kochi

Kochi, the cultural capital of Kerala, is not only famous for its stunning backwaters and historical landmarks but also for its vibrant shopping scene. From bustling street markets to modern shopping malls, this city offers a delightful retail therapy experience for every traveller. It is truly a shopaholic’s paradise, where you can indulge in a diverse range of shopping experiences. So, grab your shopping bags and let’s explore the top shopping destinations in Kochi:

  • Lulu Mall, Edapally – Kickstarting our shopping extravaganza is Lulu Mall, the largest shopping mall in India. Sprawling across acres of space, Lulu Mall houses a wide range of national and international brands. Explore the trendy fashion boutiques, browse through the latest gadgets, and indulge in a variety of dining options. It’s a one-stop destination for all your shopping desires.
  • Broadway, Ernakulam – For a taste of the local shopping experience, head to Broadway, the bustling street market in Kochi. Known for its vibrant atmosphere and eclectic mix of shops, this market is a treasure trove of spices, textiles, accessories, and souvenirs. Haggle with the friendly shopkeepers and immerse yourself in the colourful tapestry of local life.
  • Jew Town, Neighbourhood in Kochi – Steeped in history and charm, Jew Town is a must-visit for those looking for unique shopping experiences. Explore the narrow streets lined with antique shops, spice stores, and handicraft boutiques. Don’t miss the iconic Paradesi Synagogue and pick up some exquisite jewellery or antiques as a memento of your trip.
  • MG Road, Kochi – Located in the heart of Kochi, MG Road is a shopper’s paradise. This bustling street is lined with a mix of traditional shops and modern stores. From clothing and footwear to electronics and home decor, you’ll find a wide variety of products to suit your preferences. Take a stroll along MG Road and explore the local markets, as well as branded outlets.
  • Princess Street, Fort Kochi – A hidden gem in the heart of Fort Kochi, Princess Street exudes old-world charm. This quaint street is dotted with boutique stores selling handicrafts, art, clothing, and jewellery. Explore the unique offerings, interact with local artisans, and immerse yourself in the bohemian vibes of this shopping haven.
  • Spice Markets, Mattancherry – No visit to Kochi is complete without exploring its aromatic spice markets. Head to places like the Spice Market near Mattancherry to indulge in a sensory delight. Immerse yourself in the captivating scents of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper, and buy high-quality spices to add flavour to your culinary endeavours.
  • Marine Drive, Kochi – While primarily known for its scenic beauty, Marine Drive also offers shopping opportunities. The waterfront promenade is lined with shops selling clothing, accessories, and souvenirs. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the coastline, shop for unique trinkets, and savour the stunning views of the backwaters.

Nightlife in Kochi

Marine drive, Kochi
Marine drive

Kochi’s nightlife offers a plethora of options to unwind, have fun, and create memorable experiences. As the city comes alive after dark, embrace the energy, immerse yourself in the diverse entertainment options, and let Kochi’s vibrant nightlife leave you with memories to cherish forever. From trendy bars and clubs to cultural performances and street-side delights, the city offers a diverse array of experiences for night owls and party enthusiasts. So, get ready to immerse yourself in the electrifying nightlife of Kochi. Here are some of the best spots to explore after dusk.

  • Trendy bars and clubs – Kochi boasts a thriving nightlife scene with trendy bars and clubs that cater to various tastes. From chic lounges to high-energy dance floors, there’s a venue to suit every mood. Experience the lively atmosphere, enjoy expertly crafted cocktails, and dance the night away to the beats of talented DJs.
  • Live music and performances – For a cultural and immersive experience, head to the venues hosting live music performances and cultural shows. Whether it’s a jazz band, a local rock group, or a traditional Kathakali performance, you’ll be captivated by the talent and artistry on display. Immerse yourself in the soul-stirring melodies and let the performances transport you to a world of rhythm and harmony.
  • Waterfront walks – Take a stroll along the enchanting waterfront promenades of Kochi, such as Marine Drive or Fort Kochi Beach. The gentle lapping of the waves, the cool breeze, and the twinkling city lights create a serene and romantic ambience. Enjoy a peaceful walk, engage in heartfelt conversations, or simply soak in the tranquil beauty of the surroundings.
  • Late-night street food – Kochi’s nightlife is incomplete without indulging in its delectable street food scene. As the night unfolds, the city’s food stalls come alive, offering a wide array of mouthwatering treats. From piping hot dosas and spicy biryanis to irresistible seafood delicacies, satisfy your cravings and embark on a flavoursome culinary adventure.
  • Night markets – If you’re in the mood for some late-night shopping, explore the bustling night markets of Kochi. The Marine Drive Night Market and Broadway Night Market offer a treasure trove of goodies, from clothing and accessories to handicrafts and souvenirs. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, haggle with local vendors, and take home unique mementoes of your Kochi experience.
  • Casino cruises – For those seeking a touch of glamour and excitement, Kochi offers casino cruises on its enchanting backwaters. Step aboard these floating entertainment hubs and try your luck at the gaming tables and slot machines. Enjoy live music, feast on sumptuous meals, and revel in the exciting ambience of a floating casino experience.

Places to visit in Kochi

Kochi, a city steeped in history and brimming with cultural treasures, offer an array of attractions that are a must-visit for every traveller. Let’s embark on a journey to discover the top places to explore in Kochi, along with their entry fees and working hours, ensuring you make the most of your visit.

  • Fort Kochi – Step back in time as you wander through the historic lanes of Fort Kochi. Admire the iconic Chinese fishing nets and explore the well-preserved colonial architecture, including St. Francis Church and Santa Cruz Basilica.
    • Entry fees: Nil
    • Working hours: 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Mattancherry Palace – Immerse yourself in the regal aura of Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace. Marvel at the exquisite murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana and the lives of Kochi’s erstwhile rulers. 
    • Entry fee: INR 5 for Indian nationals and INR 100 for foreign tourists. 
    • Working hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Jew Town and Synagogue – Explore the fascinating Jew Town, known for its spice markets and antique shops. Visit the iconic Paradesi Synagogue, a testament to Kochi’s multicultural heritage. 
    • Entry fee: INR 5 
    • Working hours: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, except on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Kerala Folklore Museum – Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Kerala at the Kerala Folklore Museum. Discover a vast collection of artefacts, costumes, and traditional art forms. 
    • Entry fees: INR 100 for Indian nationals and INR 200 for foreign tourists.
    • Working hours: 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM.
  • Cherai Beach – Escape to the serene shores of Cherai Beach, where you can relax and soak in the tranquil ambience. Witness the breathtaking sunset over the Arabian Sea, creating a magical backdrop for your visit.
    • Entry fees: Nil
    • Working hours: Open all-day
  • Backwater Cruises – Experience the enchanting backwaters of Kochi on a memorable cruise. Various tour operators offer different packages at varying prices. It’s advisable to check with the respective operators for entry fees and working hours. They may vary depending on the type and duration of the cruise.
  • Hill Palace Museum – Delve into the regal past of Kochi at the Hill Palace Museum. Explore the magnificent complex housing a remarkable collection of artefacts and artwork. 
    • Entry fee: INR 30 for Indian nationals and INR 150 for foreign tourists. 
    • Working hours: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, except on Mondays.
  • Marine Drive – Enjoy a stroll along the picturesque promenade of Marine Drive, offering breathtaking views of Kochi’s backwaters. 
    • Entry fees: Nil
    • Working hours: Open all-day

Places to visit near Kochi

While Kochi itself is a vibrant and captivating city, the surrounding areas offer a plethora of diverse experiences and natural wonders. If you find yourself in Kochi and wish to escape the city’s hustle and bustle for a while, you’re in luck! In this blog section, we will explore some of the top places to visit near Kochi. Each offers unique experiences and enchanting natural beauty.

  • Munnar – Located around 130 kilometres away from Kochi, Munnar is a picturesque hill station nestled in the Western Ghats. Known for its sprawling tea plantations, misty valleys, and pleasant climate, Munnar is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Don’t miss a visit to the Eravikulam National Park, where you can spot the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, or indulge in a serene boat ride at the Mattupetty Dam.
  • Alleppey (Alappuzha) – Alleppey, situated approximately 53 kilometres from Kochi, is renowned for its backwaters, houseboats, and tranquil canals. A visit to this enchanting destination allows you to witness the unique ecosystem and rural lifestyle of Kerala. Embark on a houseboat cruise along the backwaters, savour the flavours of traditional Kerala cuisine, and immerse yourself in the serenity of this magical place.
  • Athirappilly and Vazhachal Waterfalls – For those seeking a rendezvous with nature’s raw beauty, the Athirappilly and Vazhachal Waterfalls are a must-visit. Located about 70 kilometres from Kochi, these cascading waterfalls are nestled amidst lush greenery and offer a mesmerizing sight. The sheer volume and thunderous roar of the waterfalls will leave you in awe and provide ample opportunities for photography and rejuvenation.
  • Thattekad Bird Sanctuary – If you’re a bird lover or simply enjoy spending time in nature, the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary should be on your itinerary. Located around 60 kilometres from Kochi, this sanctuary is home to a rich variety of resident and migratory birds. Embark on a guided bird-watching tour and keep an eye out for species. This includes Indian Pitta, Malabar Grey Hornbill, and Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher. If you are a birdwatching enthusiast read our blog on the best birdwatching spots in India.
  • Chottanikkara Temple – Located at a distance of around 17 kilometres from Kochi is this modest temple of the Hindu mother goddess Bhagavati, a form of Mahalakshmi. Known for its divine presence and spiritual ambience, the temple attracts devotees seeking blessings, healing, and fulfilment of their wishes. The temple is also known for healing mental illnesses. Would you like to check out more such spiritual places in Kerala? Check out our blog about the most revered spiritual places in Kerala.

Savaari customer verified: Places to eat in Kochi

Kochi’s culinary landscape is a treasure trove of flavours and experiences. From traditional Malabari cuisine to international fusion delights, the city caters to every food lover’s cravings. Whether you’re a seafood aficionado or a fan of spicy curries, the diverse range of restaurants in Kochi ensures a memorable dining experience. So, embark on a culinary journey through these recommended eateries and let your taste buds revel in the flavours of Kochi’s gastronomic offerings.

  • Malabar Café, Fort Kochi – Located in the heart of Fort Kochi, Malabar Café is known for its authentic Malabari cuisine. Indulge in their flavorful Chicken Biryani, delectable Fish Moilee, and creamy Malabar Parotta. The restaurant’s charming ambience and warm hospitality make it a favourite among locals and tourists alike.
  • Grand Pavilion, MG Road, Kochi – Grand Pavilion is a multi-cuisine restaurant that offers an extensive menu with dishes from various cuisines. Try their Chicken Chettinad, a spicy and aromatic South Indian curry, or savour their Tandoori Platter, featuring a selection of succulent kebabs. Don’t forget to end your meal with their mouthwatering Gulab Jamun dessert.
  • Fusion Bay, Panampilly Nagar, Kochi – As the name suggests, Fusion Bay offers a fusion of global flavours with a focus on seafood. Treat yourself to their signature dish, the Fusion Bay Lobster, prepared with a unique blend of spices and served with fragrant rice. The restaurant’s spectacular view of the backwaters adds to the dining experience.
  • The Rice Boat, Willingdon Island, Kochi – Situated within the Vivanta by Taj – Malabar Hotel, The Rice Boat is renowned for its backwater dining experience. Feast on their delectable Karimeen Pollichathu, a traditional Kerala delicacy featuring marinated pearl spot fish cooked in banana leaf. The restaurant’s elegant setting and impeccable service make it an ideal choice for a special occasion.
  • Pepper House Café, Fort Kochi – Nestled in a restored heritage building, Pepper House Café offers a unique blend of art and cuisine. Enjoy their flavorful Chicken Roast, accompanied by appam (rice pancakes), or relish their delicious Mushroom and Cheese Sandwich. The café also hosts art exhibitions, creating a cultural and culinary haven for visitors.
  • Qissa Café, Kadavanthra, Kochi – Qissa Café is a cosy eatery that offers a fusion menu blending Indian and international flavours. Don’t miss their Butter Chicken Lasagna, a tantalizing twist on two beloved dishes, or indulge in their indulgent Nutella Pancakes. 

About Kochi

Chinese fishing net

Located on the southwestern coast of India in the state of Kerala, Kochi is a vibrant city that captivates visitors with its rich history, scenic beauty, and cultural heritage. The city is known as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea.” Kochi has been a significant port city for centuries, attracting traders and explorers from around the world. Today, it stands as a bustling metropolis that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity, offering a myriad of attractions and experiences for tourists to enjoy.

History of Kochi

Kochi’s history is intertwined with the fortunes of various empires and colonial powers. It traces its roots back to the 14th century when it was a fishing village ruled by the Kingdom of Kochi. Over time, the city came under the influence of the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, each leaving their distinct mark on its culture and architecture. The spice trade flourished here, attracting traders from Europe, the Middle East, and China. The arrival of Vasco da Gama in 1498 marked the beginning of Kochi’s prominence as a major port city, eventually leading to its growth into a cosmopolitan hub and one of India’s fastest-growing cities.

Lesser-known facts about Kochi

Kochi’s allure lies not only in its history but also in its vibrant present. The city’s cultural tapestry, architectural splendour, and thriving art scene make it a destination for travellers seeking a blend of tradition and modernity.

  • Syncretic cultural heritage – Kochi boasts a diverse cultural heritage influenced by various communities, including Hindus, Christians, Jews, and Muslims. This amalgamation of traditions can be seen in the city’s architecture, festivals, and cuisines.
  • Chinese fishing nets – Kochi is famous for its iconic Chinese fishing nets, locally known as “Cheena Vala.” These massive nets, believed to have been introduced by Chinese traders, are operated using a unique mechanism and continue to be a popular attraction for tourists.
  • Fort Kochi – This historic neighbourhood in Kochi showcases a blend of colonial architecture, including Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences. Strolling through its charming streets, visitors can explore landmarks such as St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India, and the picturesque Santa Cruz Basilica.
  • Kathakali – Kochi is a hub for the classical Indian dance form known as Kathakali. Visitors can witness mesmerizing performances that combine vibrant costumes, intricate makeup, and expressive storytelling.
  • Pepper and spice trade – Kochi played a pivotal role in the historic spice trade, particularly in the export of pepper. The city’s strategic location made it a vital trading centre, attracting merchants from different parts of the globe.

How to plan a trip to Kochi

The city view of Kochi

If you’re considering a trip to Kochi, you’re in for a delightful experience filled with history, culture, and culinary delights. To make the most of your visit, it’s helpful to plan. Start by deciding on the best time to visit Kochi, which is typically during the winter months from November to February when the weather is pleasant. Next, book your accommodations in advance, considering options in the Fort Kochi area for a taste of the city’s colonial charm or choosing a hotel in the bustling city centre for convenient access to attractions.

Make a list of must-visit landmarks such as the Mattancherry Palace, Jewish Synagogue, and Chinese fishing nets, and consider taking a backwater cruise to explore the scenic waterways. Don’t forget to indulge in Kochi’s diverse cuisine, from fresh seafood to aromatic Kerala delicacies. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or a foodie, planning your trip to Kochi ensures a memorable and enriching experience in this city.

Here are other ways to reach Kochi

By air – Kochi is served by the Cochin International Airport, one of the busiest airports in India. It operates regular domestic and international flights, making it an easily accessible destination for travellers. From major Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, you can find direct flights to Kochi. Several international airlines also offer direct flights from cities across the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Upon arrival, book a Kochi airport taxi, since the airport is well-connected to the city centre by taxis and airport shuttle services.

By train – Kochi has a well-established rail network with two major railway stations: Ernakulam Junction (South) and Ernakulam Town (North). These stations are connected to major cities across India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, and Kolkata. Several long-distance trains and express trains operate to and from Kochi, making it a convenient option for those who prefer rail travel. Once you reach the railway station, you can hire a taxi, auto-rickshaw, or use public transportation to reach your desired destination within Kochi.

By road – Kochi is well-connected to nearby cities and states via an extensive road network. National Highway 66 (previously NH 47) and National Highway 544 (previously NH 49) are the main highways that connect Kochi to major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. If you prefer a road trip or are travelling from nearby cities, you can opt for state-run buses, private buses, or hire a taxi. The journey to Kochi by road offers scenic views of the picturesque Kerala landscape. We recommend booking a Savaari taxi from Bangalore to Kochi for a comfortable commute as you enjoy the lush green ghats on the way.

By sea – For those seeking a unique and leisurely mode of transport, Kochi can also be reached by sea. The city has a major seaport called Cochin Port, which welcomes cruise ships and passenger vessels from various international and domestic destinations. Several luxury cruise liners offer itineraries that include Kochi as a port of call. If you’re arriving by sea, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the charm of Kochi’s waterfront and admire the fishermen at work.

Best time to visit Kochi


The best time to visit Kochi is during the winter months from November to February. During this time, the weather is pleasant and mild, with temperatures ranging from 23°C to 32°C (73°F to 90°F). The humidity is relatively low, making it more comfortable for exploring the city and its attractions. The winter season also coincides with several festivals and event, such as the Cochin Carnival and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, adding a vibrant touch to your visit. It’s important to note that winter is considered the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher hotel prices. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in the colder months of October and March when the weather is still pleasant, and the tourist influx is relatively lower. Overall, the winter season offers the ideal blend of favourable weather, cultural festivities, and an opportunity to explore Kochi’s rich heritage.

Places to stay in Kochi

Whether you’re seeking luxury, boutique charm, or budget-friendly options, Kochi offers a wide range of accommodation choices to suit every preference. From heritage hotels in Fort Kochi to modern resorts along the coastline, the city provides a diverse array of places to stay. Join us as we explore some of the top accommodations in Kochi, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay during your visit.

Places to Stay Approximate Distance  Contact Number
Fragrant Nature Kochi 3.5 km Approximate distance from city centre +91 484 222 6550
Brunton Boatyard 0.7 km Approximate distance from city centre +91 484 221 5461
Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty 5 km Approximate distance from city centre +91 484 266 1234
Forte Kochi 0.2 km Approximate distance from city centre +91 484 221 7101
Radisson Blu Kochi 3.5 km Approximate distance from city centre +91 484 412 9999

Savaari customer verified: Highest road trips taken from Kochi

The city’s strategic location offers access to scenic routes that take you through picturesque landscapes, breathtaking mountain ranges, and high-altitude destinations. If you’re an adventure seeker with a love for the open road, join us as we explore some of the highest road trips that can be taken from Kochi. Looking to book a ride? Use Savaari and get ready to embark on a journey of adrenaline, stunning vistas, and unforgettable memories.

Kochi to Destination Distance
Kochi to Munnar 130 km
Kochi to Thekkady 160 km
Kochi to Wayanad 270 km
Kochi to Ooty 270 km
Kochi to Valparai 150 km

A journey to Kochi is an enchanting adventure that captures the essence of Kerala’s diverse beauty and cultural heritage. From the rich history of Fort Kochi to the tranquil backwaters and vibrant city life, Kochi offers a tapestry of experiences that leave a lasting impression. Whether strolling through the charming streets, savouring the flavours of local cuisine, or immersing oneself in the rich traditions and art forms, Kochi unveils a world of wonders waiting to be explored. 

Want to make your trip better? Download the Savaari app and make your local travel hassle-free with a local driver. He can guide you to explore the hidden gems, interest you in local folklore and guide you to the best food joints in the city.  

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Shabari Shankar

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Historical Hues & Harbor Views - Things to do in Kochi
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Historical Hues & Harbor Views - Things to do in Kochi
Travelling in Kochi is an exciting experience as a visitor. Here are a few things to do in Kochi. Plan your trip now with our travel guide!
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A Self-professed addict to travelling and photography. Aiming to aspire travelers across the world to fulfil their travel dreams.

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