Kerala is located in the southwestern tip of India. Above all, it is known for its tropical beaches, palm-fringed backwaters and hills of the Western Ghats. Historically, Kerala was the hub of the spice trade. Cochin (now Kochi) was and is a thriving port that has always been a melting pot of cultures and people. Kerala saw great interest from European traders, and the Portuguese, Dutch and British were all lured to this part of India, leaving a lasting impression. To the south, you find Cochin, and for many a starting point for a holiday to Kerala. A walk through Fort Cochin is a delight, as you see historic Portuguese churches, Dutch mansions and spice markets in abundance.
The backwaters surround Lake Vembanad to the south. Here, you can stay on a traditional houseboat floating through remote villages, seeing a way of life unchanged in centuries. All along the Arabian coast, you find gorgeous beaches such as Kovalam to the south and Mararikulam. To the east, you have the popular wildlife sanctuary of Periyar. As you enter the Western Ghats you find tea plantations and stunning views, best seen by a visit to Munnar. Further north explores the untouched delights of Wayanad. Furthermore, along the northern coastlines, you have even more unspoiled beaches in Bekal and Kasaragod.
Above all, Kerala is perfect for a first-time holiday to India. This is due to its relaxed way of life and shorter drives than Rajasthan. It isn’t a destination packed with things to see such as temples or forts. However, it is more about a relaxing insight into local life. This is experienced best when you take your time to slowly immerse yourself in Kerala’s distinct charms. The cuisine is a delight, and it is possibly the best place in India to experience Indian cooking. Kerala combines perfectly with the Maldives if you want a beach stay at the end, or you can easily include Tamil Nadu or Karnataka to the north if you want a longer tour in India.