10 Hidden Gems of Kerala Tourism That No One Talks About!

Everyone wants a piece of Kerala, of the mesmerizing backwaters and golden beaches, of the thought-provoking eco-tourism and mouthwatering cuisine, of course, of the colossal culture and amazing people. But what if we tell you that there is more to ‘God’s own land.’

What if we tell you that you can experience Kerala’s sweeping greenery, ragged mountain ranges, endless wilderness, and varied landscapes through the virtue of the local’s best-kept secrets? Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? Then, why wait, this should be the theme of your next trip, and you need to bolster your bucket list with 10 of Kerala’s secret wonderlands.

Athirapally Falls - Blessing of the water gods

Athirapally Falls

Does cascading waterfalls, sounds of nature, and a walk through the thick of woods stir your heart? Then, believe us, you need to visit Athirapally falls on your next trip to Kerala.

Often labeled as ‘the Niagara of South India,’ Athirapally is one of the most sought-after destinations for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.

This 80 feet of sheer beauty is one of the largest waterfalls in Kerala. And when clubbed with a few other attractions nearby, it accords one of the most enthralling natural experiences.

What to do here?

On your trip to Athirapally falls, do not just take pictures from afar; trek through the evergreen trails for 700 m (400 m to travel to the top of the falls and 200 m to reach the bottom) to finally witness this mammoth waterfall in its full glory.

You can club this experience with a visit to Vazhachal falls and a few other nearby falls to ensure you make the most out of this place and get a bang for your buck.

When to visit?

During the monsoon season, Athirapally Waterfall is in its full form. Even though trekking is difficult during this time because of the rain, the trail becomes so beautiful that you forget everything else. Thus, making monsoon season the best time to visit this place.

Additional Info:

Tourist Attractions nearby: Chapra Falls, Sholayar Dam, Valparai, and Malayattur Wildlife Sanctuary.

Ponmudi- The Kashmir of Kerala

Ponmudi

If you are a mountain baby who cannot get enough of hill stations, then you must add Ponmudi to your bucket list items.

Often regarded as the ‘Kashmir of Kerala’ and the ‘Golden Hill Station,’ no words can quite describe the beauty of this place.

With a temperature that is as moody as the moon, Ponmudi accounts for the best Nilgiri views near Thiruvananthapuram. Visitors can come here for a change in scenery and capture the mist-covered hills at their best.

What to do here?

In Ponmudi, you can enjoy many trekking trails and scenic landscapes. Out of these, treks to Varayadumotta, Seethatheertham, and Manachala are recommended by most travelers because of their difficulty and panoramic views.

In addition to this, stopping at Kallar River and visiting the Meenmutty Waterfalls en route to Ponmudi are some other ways to spend your sweet time here.

When to visit?

The best time to visit Ponmudi is from October to March. However, as the hill station is now a hotbed of tourists, we suggest you visit his place in October, February, and March.

Mattancherry- The cultural hub

Mattancherry

This one is for all our history lovers and culture vultures!

If you fancy age-old structures and architecture, an offbeat trip to Mattancherry from Cochin can quench your thirst for stories and architecture.

Mattancherry is the melting pot of culture that flaunts a 16th-century palace, churches, Agraharams, mosques, and even a synagogue. It is best known for its charming cafes and shops that sell antiques, crafts, and spices.

What to do here?

Take a walk in the past by visiting the Mattancherry palace and capture the rich culture of the Malabar region in its full glory. Visit the beautiful palace or shop for souvenirs and trinkets to revel in the glory of this beautiful secret spot of Cochin.

When to visit?

Winter (October to February) is the best time to seek the treasures of Mattancherry.

Additional Info:

The entry fee for the Mattancherry palace is 2 INR.

Edakkal caves- The land of scriptures

Edakkal caves

If feeling like a time traveler is the end goal of your Kerala trip, then visiting Edakkal caves would be the right thing for you to do.

Why? Edakkal is the only site in India with cave paintings dating back to the Stone Age. Here, you will come across cave paintings from the Neolithic and Mesolithic periods. Not only this, but you will also see the roots of Tamil and Brahmi scripts in this place, which should be enough of a reason to get you here.

And can we let you in on a secret? Edakkal cave is technically not a cave! It is a prehistoric rock shelter that is formed by two massive boulders!

What to do here?

The Edakkal cave experience involves a 45-minute trek through Ambukutty Mala. Throughout the trek, you will be accompanied by your guide and the smell of fresh coffee.

Upon reaching the cave, you will come across two chambers; both filled with scriptures, motifs, and paintings. You will spot multiple carvings that may look like humans, animals, and figures. However, we’d suggest you look out for a distinct image of a ‘man holding a jar cup’ to render your trip complete.

When to visit?

The best time to visit Edakkal is during the winter months- October to February.

Additional Info:

You can visit these caves from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Plus, it will cost you INR 20 to see the caves.

Thiruvalla- The religious route

Do you fancy the hints of religion and culture on your Kerala Holiday concoction? Then, visiting Thiruvalla might be one of the best decisions you will make on your next Kerala trip.

While the town has now expanded by leaps and bounds, one can quickly notice that the culture of this quaint little town is still tied to its religion.

What to do here?

Other than to revel in the small-town vibe, come here to see the exotic murals of St. George Orthodox Church. Also, witness the chief seat of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church.

To further satiate your cultural appetite, visit the majestic Sree Vallaba Temple, where Kathakali is still performed as a ritual for evening prayers.

If you are more into rural tourism, you must see Aranmula-a sleepy village famous for Aranmula Kannadi- hand-made mirrors made of polished metals.

When to visit?

Because of the festive season, November is the best time to be in Thiruvalla. However, if you plan a trip here between October and February, consider yourself sorted in terms of weather and climate.

Thrissur- The city of many faiths.

Thrissur

Next on our list is the oldest city on the West Coast, which is believed to be built by Lord Parasurama (6th incarnation of lord Vishnu).

At first glance, you may feel that the city won’t be able to offer you an impressive fleet. However, Thrissur's name is written in gold for being the hotbed of Kerala’s impalpable culture.

Thrissur is a city of many faiths. It has survived the ravages of time, and as a result, its heritage is highly influenced by Indians, Europeans, and Arabs. The city is famous for its temples, over-the-top festivals, and of course, its deeply rooted culture.

What to do here?

Thrissur is practically built around the massive Shiva Temple- Vadakkunnathan. So, it is obvious that it is the most important place to see here. Besides this, you can also visit beaches, art centers, palaces, and a few other areas of religious relevance.

Editor’s note: Thrissur does experience a significant influx of tourists all year round. People especially like to visit the city during the Poorams or Temple festivals to capture its spectacle of folk-art performances and heritage tours of the city. In addition to this, you can also visit the city during its much-revered film festival.

When to visit?

If you wish to make the most out of your Thrissur trip, visit it during the winter months (October- February) when the weather is pleasant for sightseeing.

Kollam- Nature’s best-kept secret

Kollam

The gateway to Kerala’s beautiful backwaters- Kollam is a treasure trove of landscapes. It boasts of the sea, lakes, mountains, rivers, forests, and vast green fields, offering travelers nothing but an enthralling experience.

Often referred to as the ‘wonderland of Kerala,’ Kollam is fancied by both nature lovers and pilgrims alike. The district offers tourists the best of Malabar spices and boasts the remnants of history through its structures and temples.

What to do here?

For starters, book yourself a beautiful 8-hour boat trip, the longest of its kind, between Kollam and Alappuzha for a once-in-a-lifetime backwater experience.

If it is the history that piques your interest, you can visit Jatayu’s Earth Center, Amritapuri, and Thevally palace to bask in the glory of the city’s rich heritage.

When to visit?

Travelers can visit Kollam all year long, but a trip during the winter months is ideal as the weather is quite pleasant for sightseeing during this time.

Pathanamthitta- The real melting pot of culture.

If your definition of an off-the-beaten-path inclines more toward scenery, religion, and culture, this is your Destination!

Pathanamthitta is any traveler’s paradise. It is one of the smallest districts of Kerala, and despite its size, it brims with shrines, heritage sites, and art centers. It is also one of those destinations where you can experience it all!- the beaches lined with coconut trees, cascading waterfalls, and tall lush hills stretching through the western ghats.

What to do here?

Do it all! Visit the famous Sabrimala temple, and take part in the local festivities, including 'Makaravilakku' (mid-January), 'Mandalapooja' (between November and December), and 'Vishu Vilakku' (April).

Or simply head to Vaasthu Vidya Gurukulam to experience the preserved art form of classical mural paintings.

If that is not enough, you can even take a guided tour of the Konni Forest Reserve to witness its lush plantations and visit its elephant training center.

When to visit?

Like every other destination in Kerala, the Winter season is the best time to visit the destination. As summers are hot and humid, visiting Pathanamthitta during that time is not suggested.

The Silent Valley National Park

Silent Valley National Park

Are you a nature lover? Do you feel more at home while out there exploring nature's wonders? Then, we are sure you will love the UNESCO World Heritage site- The Silent Valley National Forest.

The valley was named as such by Britishers because of the lack of cicadas (Cheeveedu in Malayalam) in the forest. It is famous for its lion-tailed macaques and 142 types of birds, 730 ranges of insects, and 34 species of mammals. No wonder why it is called a ‘botanist’s treasure trove.’

What to do here?

Sign up for a 5-hour bumpy ride through the thick and thins of Kerala Forest to explore the indigenous flora and fauna.

While at it, do not forget to climb up the watch tower to get a panoramic view of the evergreen forest, the hills, and the Kunthi river.

When to Visit?

The valley is a treat all year round. However, if you ask us the best time, it would be October to January.

Entry Fee:

Foreigner: Rs 250 /
Still Camera: Rs 50 /-
Video Camera: Rs 200 /-
Guide: Rs 150 /-.

Nelliyampathy

Nelliyampathy

Finally, we have Nelliyampathy from Palakkad on our top 10 list because of its sheer beauty and wilderness.

Famous for lush greenery and curvy hills, Nelliampathy nestles at the height of 467m from the sea level.

The town is blessed with nature’s very best. We are sure its awe-inspiring viewpoints will make a permanent home in your memory once you come across them.

What to do here?

Nelliampathy is best known for its bio-farming and vast tea estates. Come here to trek amid the beauty of nature and to see over 200 species of birds and 90+species of butterflies in its beautiful evergreen forests. If that is not enough to help with your hunger for travel, do explore the orange farms of the area.

When to visit?

Visit this town between September and February to make the most of your trip here. During summers, the temperature can get as high as 33 degrees and fall up to 15 degrees in winter. That is why visiting Nelliyampathy during September makes the most sense for travelers.

And that’s it! That was our extensive top 10 list for the hidden gems of Kerala Tourism. If you have any more suggestions for our list, do not hesitate to drop us a comment. Also, if you wish to cover some of these destinations on your next Kerala trip, contact our experts today; they will help you get the best deal possible!
Chainika Dhaila

Chainika Dhaila - Content Writer

An engineer by education and writer by choice. She is a globetrotter with a pure desi heart.

Her notion spree runs faster than a jet when she entangles herself with the thread of any culture. Her zeal for writing originates from her love for reading and trust us! She is a complete Potterhead.

Write a Review