Varkala, a significant coastal municipality in the southern part of the Kollam district in Kerala, is located 43.5 km northwest of Thiruvananthapuram and 27.4 km southwest of Kollam. Notably, Varkala is distinguished by its unique geological feature – cliffs along the Arabian Sea, recognized as the Varkala Formation. Designated a national geological monument by the Geological Survey of India, these cliffs are protected to promote and enhance tourism. Alongside the cliffs, numerous water spouts and spas contribute to the distinctive charm of this region.

Varkala Trip Plan:

  • The duration of a standard Varkala trip varies from 3 to 5 days, allowing flexibility based on your interests and planned activities. Optimal travel times fall between late October and March, the winter season, offering pleasant weather for outdoor pursuits.
  • Varkala provides diverse accommodation choices, including beach resorts, guesthouses, and budget-friendly hotels. It’s advisable to secure reservations in advance, particularly during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability.
  • Carry essential medicines and a basic first aid kit. Stay hydrated, apply sunscreen, and exercise caution during water activities to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Develop a comprehensive budget covering accommodation, transportation, meals, and activities. Varkala caters to a range of budgets, offering options that align with your preferences and financial plans.

Let’s quickly learn about some best places to visit in Varkala.

Varkala Beach – best places to visit in Varkala

best places to visit in varkala
Varkala Beach – best places to visit in varkala

A captivating destination located approximately 10 km away from the serene and picturesque Varkala in Kerala, Papanasam Beach, also known as Varkala Beach, stands out as one of the best places to visit in Varkala. This beautiful stretch of sand is celebrated for its tranquility, setting it apart from the more commercialized beaches in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Nestled against the cliffs of Kerala, a unique geological feature found only along the flat coastline of the state, the beach offers a mesmerizing backdrop with the Arabian Sea.

Varkala serves as a central hub for neighboring places such as Attingal, Kadakkavur, Edava, Parippally, and Kili, making it an essential destination for exploration. Not only is Varkala known for its scenic beauty, but it is also famous for activities like sunbathing and swimming. The evening vistas of the sunset are particularly enchanting, creating an unforgettable experience for visitors. Numerous small restaurants and snack shops surrounding Papanasam Beach attract a diverse crowd, drawn both by the joy of the surroundings and for religious reasons.

For those planning a visit to Varkala, the best time to fully enjoy the beach and its surroundings is between late December and March. During these months, the weather is dry and sunny, with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Celsius. It is advisable to avoid traveling in April and May when the climate becomes hot and humid. Plan your trip strategically to make the most of the serene beauty and unique geological wonders that Varkala has to offer.

Google Map :

Anjengo varkala lighthouse

best places to visit in varkala
Anjengo varkala lighthouse – best places to visit in varkala

Varkala Lighthouse, a renowned landmark in the district, was constructed in the eighteenth century under British rule. Displaying exemplary colonial-style architecture, this historic structure stands at a height of approximately 130 feet, originally erected to guide ships arriving from Britain. Nowadays, it serves as a popular tourist attraction, showcasing the elegance of colonial design. Painted in striking red and white hues, visitors have the opportunity to climb the lighthouse and enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding area and the pristine shoreline.

Timing: 03:00 pm – 05:00 pm

Google Map :

Ponnumthuruthu Island

best places to visit in varkala
Ponnumthuruthu Island – best places to visit in varkala

Located near Varkala, Ponnumthuruthu Island emerges as one of the best places to visit in Varkala, offering a captivating and uninhabited retreat shaped by the Anjengo Backwaters. Encompassing around five acres, this island is celebrated for its tranquility and serves as a sanctuary for migratory birds. Accessible exclusively through a designated jetty from Nedunganda Village, approximately 20 km from Varkala, Ponnumthuruthu Island is cradled by the serene waters of Akathumuri Lake.

Enhancing its charm, the island is adorned with a century-old Shiva-Parvathi Temple, contributing to the allure of Ponnumthuruthu. Visitors are not only captivated by its breathtaking scenery and welcoming locals but also by the positive vibes that permeate the surroundings. Often referred to as the Golden Island, Ponnumthuruthu stands out as a must-visit destination in Thiruvananthapuram, enriching the overall experience for those seeking the best of Varkala’s natural and cultural wonders.

Location: Onnampalam Road, Nedungada, Vettoor-cherunniyoor, Kerala 695312.

Google Map :

Timings: 5:30 am to 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Kappil Lake – best places to visit in varkala

best places to visit in varkala
Kappil Lake – best places to visit in varkala

Located approximately 6 kilometers north of Varkala town, the enchanting Kappil Lake’s scenic beauty unfolds. Lined with coconut groves and trees, this serene estuary gracefully meanders before seamlessly merging into the Arabian Sea. Traverse the bridge spanning the lake to capture a mesmerizing view as it stretches towards the azure horizon. For the more adventurous souls, exploring the lake by boat offers an immersive experience in its natural splendor. The Department of Tourism facilitates this with a boat club, allowing visitors to rent pedal boats for a delightful waterway exploration. The tranquil ambiance, free from any disruptions, ensures a soothing retreat for your senses.

A train or bus journey along the Edava to Kappil route provides a picturesque glimpse of this waterway. It’s a photographer’s paradise, with every turn offering a splendid image-worthy scene. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this fantastic destination.

Location: Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala,695141, India.

Google Map :

 Timings: 12:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Varkala Cliff

best places to visit in varkala
Varkala Cliff – best places to visit in varkala

The Varkala Cliff stands as one of the best places to visit in Varkala, an arresting red laterite cliff positioned alongside the Arabian Sea, merely 4 km away from Varkala Railway Station. Renowned for its massive cluster of ancient rock formations, this 80-feet-high red laterite cliff holds significance as a testament to geological changes, reflecting unique features such as alterations in sea and soil structures, adorned with small embedded fossils.

Acknowledged by UNESCO as a potential Geopark, the Varkala Cliff proudly claims its status as India’s first geopark among the 90 geoparks globally. In a commitment to preserve its unique beauty, all mining and quarrying activities in the region have been halted, transforming the area into a litter-free zone.

Papanasam Beach, intricately divided into North Cliff and South Cliff, offers distinct experiences. The bustling North Cliff is adorned with shops, restaurants, and accommodations, while the serene South Cliff remains untouched by tourism. To truly absorb the ‘Varkala Feel,’ exploring these cliffs becomes essential, immersing oneself in the ambient sounds of worldly music resonating from cafes and the inviting calls of locals offering massages or shopping opportunities.

Google Map :

Saint Sebastian’s Pilgrim Church Moongode

best places to visit in varkala
Saint Sebastian’s Pilgrim Church Moongode – best places to visit in varkala

The Saint Sebastian Pilgrim Church is a catholic church situated in Moongode located at a distance of 7 km from Varkala Railway Station. It is one of the famous churches and a must visit place during your Varkala vacation.

Nestled along the serene shores of Varkala’s backwaters, Saint Sebastian’s Pilgrim Church stands as a prominent pilgrimage destination for Christians, offering a tranquil sanctuary amidst the picturesque surroundings.It was built by the Portuguese Missionaries and is famous for the Feast held every year in February named the feast of Saint Sebastian that is when the beautiful church is decorated into a colorful and marvelous attraction especially for the followers. The church feast is heavily visited by people of surrounding areas and hosts several competitions such as boating, games,stage shows like dance, drama, magic.

 Location: Theresa Ln, Moongode P.O, Varkala, Kerala 695144.

Google Map :

Timings: 6 am to 7 pm

Agnihotra Yoga Retreat

Agnihotra Yoga Retreat - best places to visit in varkala
Agnihotra Yoga Retreat – best places to visit in varkala

Nestled in the proximity of the renowned Varkala Beach in southern Kerala, the Agnihotra Yoga Retreat stands out as one of the best places to visit in Varkala, offering a haven for healing and rejuvenation. This ashram presents diverse opportunities, ranging from drop-in yoga classes to authentic yoga retreats and comprehensive one-month Yoga Teacher Training courses.

Constructed with organic materials, boasting a roof made of coconut leaves and a floor polished with cow dung, the Temple of Fire within the ashram resonates with Vedic mantras and daily fire rituals, fostering an energetically charged environment. The serene surroundings, adorned with birds and butterflies in the garden, contribute to a profoundly transformative atmosphere. From the moment of arrival at the Temple of Fire, the journey of rejuvenation begins in this space dedicated to spiritual studies, retreats, and healing, making Agnihotra Yoga Retreat a must-visit destination in Varkala.

Location: Secret Garden, North Cliff, Varkala, Kerala 695141

Google Map :

Timing: 6 am–6 pm

Varkala Aquarium

Varkala Aquarium- best places to visit in varkala
Varkala Aquarium- best places to visit in varkala

Varkala Aquarium is a government aquarium located in the Thiruvambadi area in Best Places to visit in Varkala.A place located at a distance of 4 km from Varkala Railway Station, Kerala. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Varkala.

The Varkala Aquarium occupies a three-story structure featuring a captivating spiral staircase, strategically positioned in close proximity to Thiruvambadi Beach. The marine species are placed along the spiral stairs. The top floor has an open tank where all the species are placed. The aquarium hosts a large number of exotic species including scorpionfish, angelfish, and koi.

The Varkala Aquarium is maintained by the Kerala Fisheries Department. The aquarium is highly educational, especially for the kids, with detailed information sections. The aquarium has a 3D theater where information about more species of fish is given using 3D technology. You also see the azure waters and the scenic Varkala Cliff of the Arabian Sea from the building.

Location: Odayam Hatchery, Thiruvambadi Beach, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695141.

Google Map :

Timing: 10 am to 6:30 pm

 Entry fee: Rs. 30 per person.

Sivagiri Mutt

Sivagiri Mutt  - best places to visit in varkala
Sivagiri Mutt – best places to visit in varkala

Situated approximately 3 km from Varkala town, Sivagiri Mutt stands as one of the best places to visit in Varkala, a renowned pilgrimage site in Kerala. It serves as the central hub for the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham—an organization formed by the disciples and followers of the eminent social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru

Spread across 200 acres, the mutt’s distinctive multi-tiered white terraces beckon visitors, offering a serene ambiance. Perched on an elevated plateau, the sacred mutt holds historical significance as the place where Sree Narayana Guru took his last breath in 1928, with the hill station lock housing his Samadhi attracting numerous devotees. The Guru’s residence, showcasing his personal belongings, and the Sharada temple, where he personally consecrated the main idol of Goddess Saraswati, contribute to the spiritual allure of this pilgrimage destination.

Location: Sivagiri Mutt, Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695141

Google Map :

Timings: 5:00 am to 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Janardhana Swami Temple

Janardhana Swami Temple - best places to visit in Varkala
Janardhana Swami Temple – best places to visit in Varkala

Situated in Varkala, the Janardhana Swamy Temple stands as a prominent and widely visited pilgrimage destination, boasting a history spanning over 2000 years. Although the exact construction date remains elusive, temple inscriptions suggest a renovation carried out by Umayamma Rani during her rule in the late 17th century. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple features a four-armed idol with symbols like the Conch shell, wheel, mace, and pot. Additionally, at the sanctum entrance, painted idols of Lord Shiva, Lord Hanuman, and other deities can be observed.

Location : PARAVILA PUTHEN VEEDU, 1/531, Varkala, Kerala 695141

 Timings: Morning 5:30 am to 12:00 pm and  Evening  5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Jatayu Earth’s Center

 Jatayu Earth's Center - best places to visit in Varkala
Jatayu Earth’s Center – best places to visit in Varkala

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Kerala, India, Jatayu Earth’s Center stands as a testament to both mythological lore and contemporary tourism. This colossal sculpture and adventure park pays homage to the legendary bird Jatayu from the Indian epic Ramayana. Beyond its mythological significance, the site offers a unique blend of natural beauty, adventure, and cultural experiences.

Jatayu Earth’s Center is situated in Chadayamangalam, a quaint village in the Kollam district of Kerala, known for its serene surroundings. The site is easily accessible by road, and its strategic location allows visitors to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Western Ghats.

Activities and Attractions:

1. Jatayu Sculpture: The highlight of the site is the colossal sculpture of Jatayu, the mythical eagle from Ramayana. The sculpture, perched on a massive rock, is a sight to behold and serves as a symbol of valor and sacrifice.

2. Cable Car Ride: For a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, visitors can embark on a cable car ride. This exhilarating experience provides a bird’s eye view of the lush greenery and the nearby hills.

3. Adventure Activities: Jatayu Earth’s Center caters to adventure enthusiasts with a range of activities like rock climbing, rappelling, and zip-lining. These activities are designed to provide an adrenaline rush while surrounded by the natural beauty of the region.

4. Ayurvedic Cave Resort: The site also houses an Ayurvedic Cave Resort where visitors can rejuvenate their minds and bodies with traditional Ayurvedic treatments. The resort offers a tranquil retreat amidst nature.

Timing and Entry Fees:

  • Jatayu Earth Center operates from 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM, providing visitors with a full day of exploration.
  • The entrance fee for Jatayu Earth Centre is INR 450 per person, excluding taxes.
  • For those seeking adventure, a package of 15 activities between 10 AM and 4 PM is available at a cost of INR 1,000.
  • For enthusiasts interested in both trekking and paintball during the afternoon session from 3 PM to 6:30 PM, the combined fee is INR 1,300.
  • A comprehensive package covering 15 adventure activities and trekking from 10 AM to 6:30 PM is priced at INR 1,500.
  • For a combination of 15 adventure activities and paintball from 10 AM to 4 PM, the cost is INR 1,800.
  • For the ultimate experience encompassing all activities, paintball, and trekking from 10 AM to 6:30 PM, the fee is INR 2,300.
  • For those looking to spend the entire day indulging in various activities from 10 AM to 6:30 PM, the full-day package is available at INR 3,500.

Location: Jatayu Nature Park Rd, Jatayu Junction, Chadayamangalam, Kerala 691534

Google Map:

Kaduvayil Juma Masjid

Kaduvayil Juma Masjid   - best places to visit in Varkala
Kaduvayil Juma Masjid – best places to visit in Varkala

Situated between Kallambalam and Attingal, approximately 12 km from Varkala Railway Station, the religious haven of Kaduvayil Juma Masjid stands out as one of the best places to visit in Varkala. Located on NH-47, this sacred site serves as a significant pilgrimage center for Sunni Muslims and a captivating destination for tourists exploring Varkala. Managed by the Kaduvayil Muslim Jama-Ath Charitable Trust, the mosque is dedicated to the revered Muslim Saint, Kaduvayil Thangal, known for his reputed magical powers.

Often referred to as Kaduvayil Thangal Juma Masjid or Kaduvayil Palli, this mosque is an epitome of architectural beauty that transcends religious boundaries. Beyond its spiritual role, the mosque houses a substantial orphanage and a college where children pursue their education. The mosque becomes a sanctuary of tranquility, allowing visitors to momentarily escape their worldly concerns and experience a profound sense of self-surrender.

The allure of Kaduvayil Juma Masjid lies not only in its religious significance but also in its embodiment of religious harmony. Devotees and tourists of diverse religions and ethnicities congregate here to seek inner peace, offering a striking example of robust Hindu-Muslim friendship in Southern Kerala. The serene and austere ambiance creates an atmosphere where individuals can transcend differences and unite in the pursuit of spiritual solace.

For those eager to explore this unique blend of spirituality and cultural richness, the mosque welcomes visitors from 9 AM to 4 PM, providing ample time for reflection and appreciation. Notably, the entry to this sacred site is graciously free, further emphasizing the inclusive and welcoming nature of Kaduvayil Juma Masjid. As visitors step into this sacred space, they not only witness architectural marvels but also become part of a narrative that celebrates diversity, harmony, and the universal quest for inner peace.

Location: Kaduvayil Palli Bus Stop, Salem – Kochi Hwy, Kaduvayil,   Karavaram, Kerala695611.

Google Map:

Varkala Tunnel

Varkala Tunnel - best places to visit in Varkala
Varkala Tunnel – best places to visit in Varkala

Varkala, situated in the enchanting state of Kerala, is not just renowned for its unspoiled beaches and picturesque cliffside panoramas but also hosts a captivating historical treasure – the Varkala Tunnel. This tunnel, with its captivating history and coastal charm, beckons both avid history buffs and casual tourists alike.

Dating back to the 19th century, the Varkala Tunnel was a clandestine passageway strategically used by British engineers during the colonial period. Originally designed to facilitate the efficient movement of goods and materials to and from the coastal regions, the tunnel has transformed over the years into a historical artifact, recounting the tales of Kerala’s colonial legacy and silently observing the ebb and flow of historical changes.

More than just a portal to the past, the Varkala Tunnel functions as an entrance to the breathtaking coastal wonders that define Varkala’s landscape. As visitors emerge from the tunnel, a spectacular vista unfolds before them – the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea stretches out, harmonized by the majestic cliffs and golden sands that characterize Varkala’s coastal allure.

Anjengo Fort

Anjengo Fort - best places to visit in Varkala
Anjengo Fort – best places to visit in Varkala

Anjengo Fort, one of the best places to visit in Varkala, stands as a prominent historical site situated in splendid seclusion along the Varkala Beach. This grand architectural wonder is flanked by backwaters on one side, while the allure of the location is further enhanced by the presence of coconut groves lining the shores.

This historical fort holds significance as the inaugural trade settlement established by the East India Company in Kerala. Originally known as Anjuthengu, the fort derived its name from the five coconut trees that graced the surrounding area at the time of its establishment.

The tranquil ambiance enveloping the historically rich Anjengo Fort transforms it into an idyllic picnic spot. Visitors, captivated by the fort’s serene atmosphere—one of the best places to visit in Varkala—can immerse themselves in the surroundings, finding solace as they witness the age-old traditions and customs of local fishermen diligently plying their trade. The fort offers an inviting space for exploration and contemplation, providing a captivating glimpse into the historical tapestry of Varkala.

Timings: 9:00 am to 6:30 pm.

Location: Anchuthengu, Kerala 695309

Google Map:

Mangrove Forest Kayaking

Mangrove Forest Kayaking - best places to visit in Varkala
Mangrove Forest Kayaking – best places to visit in Varkala

Paravur, situated in the Kollam district of Kerala, stands out as a scenic coastal town celebrated for its expansive mangrove ecosystem. The intricate network of waterways, tidal creeks, and verdant surroundings establishes a peaceful and richly biodiverse setting, creating an optimal backdrop for immersive kayaking adventures. Beyond their ecological significance, the mangroves serve as a natural shield against coastal erosion, adding to the town’s environmental resilience.

Embarking on a kayaking expedition through Paravur’s mangrove forest is akin to stepping into an enchanting realm where tranquility and nature’s symphony seamlessly converge. Paddling through narrow water channels surrounded by the dense canopy of mangrove foliage creates a captivating tunnel-like effect, heightening the overall allure of the experience. The calm waters mirror the vibrant greenery above, crafting a serene and visually striking ambiance.

Twice daily, at 6:30 am and 3:00 pm, a perfect synthesis of serenity and adventure awaits. These expeditions, spanning approximately 3 to 4 hours, provide participants with the opportunity to absorb breathtaking views, inhale the distinct essence of the mangrove forest, and craft memories that will endure a lifetime. It’s important to note that the actual duration may vary based on prevailing weather conditions.

All of this is available at a reasonable price of ₹990.00, making the kayaking adventure in the mangrove forest of Paravur an accessible and unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Location: Nedungolam, Paravoor, Kerala 691334

Google Map:

 Varkala Trip – best places to visit in Varkala

Finally, a trip to best places to visit in Varkala promises an enriching and diverse experience, blending the tranquility of pristine beaches, the architectural marvel of landmarks like Varkala Lighthouse, the natural charm of Ponnumthuruthu Island, and the serene beauty of Kappil Lake. The destination offers a perfect blend of cultural, spiritual, and recreational activities, making it an ideal retreat for those seeking a rejuvenating getaway. Whether exploring the geological wonders of the Varkala Formation or finding solace at the Agnihotra Yoga Retreat, each moment in Varkala unfolds a unique facet of Kerala’s beauty. The vibrant local culture, friendly ambiance, and breathtaking landscapes make Varkala a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a harmonious blend of nature and culture.

How to reach Varkala?

By Air: Varkala is conveniently connected to Thiruvananthapuram, with the nearest airport located approximately 45 km away from the beach town. Thiruvananthapuram Airport operates numerous domestic and international flights, linking it to major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. Additionally, it offers flights to various destinations in the Middle East. Travelers can avail of pre-paid taxis from the airport to reach Varkala.

By Train: Positioned along the railway line linking Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam, Varkala has its own railway station called Varkala Sivagiri, though not all trains include it as a stop. Thiruvananthapuram stands as the main railhead near Varkala, providing extensive rail connectivity to key Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Bengaluru. For convenient travel to Varkala, taxis can be easily hired from the Thiruvananthapuram railway station.

  By Road: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates regular bus services from Thiruvananthapuram to Varkala. For those traveling from Kochi, taking a bus to Thiruvananthapuram and then catching a connecting bus to Varkala from Attingal is a viable option. It’s worth noting that buses can be crowded, and the journey may be somewhat tiresome.

How to reach Varkala from Bangalore?

  1. By Air:
    • The nearest airport to Varkala is Trivandrum International Airport (Thiruvananthapuram), which is approximately 40 kilometers away.
    • You can book a direct flight from Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) in Bangalore to Trivandrum. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or use public transportation to reach Varkala.
  2. By Train:
    • Varkala is equipped with its own railway station, known as Varkala Sivagiri Railway Station. Trains connecting Bangalore to Varkala have both daytime and overnight options, with the journey typically spanning 12-14 hours. Choose from a variety of train schedules based on your preferences and travel needs.
  3. By Road:
    • Varkala is well-connected by road, and you can opt for a bus or hire a taxi.
    • The distance between Bangalore and Varkala is approximately 700 kilometers, and the journey by road takes around 12-14 hours, depending on the traffic and the route taken.
  4. By Bus:
    • You can also take a bus from Bangalore to Varkala. There are both government and private buses plying on this route.
    • The bus journey may take around 14-16 hours, and it’s advisable to book tickets in advance.


Varkala stands out as a gem among India’s coastal destinations, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, spiritual serenity, and vibrant culture. From its stunning cliff-lined beaches to its ancient temples and bustling markets, Varkala has something to offer every traveler.

As we explored the best places to visit in Varkala, we were enchanted by the tranquil atmosphere of its renowned beaches, such as Papanasam Beach and Kappil Beach, golden. The dramatic cliffs that overlook these beaches not only provide breathtaking views but also serve as platforms for yoga and meditation, attracting seekers of inner peace and spiritual enlightenment from around the world.

Varkala captivates the senses and nourishes the soul, inviting travelers to embark on a journey of discovery and rejuvenation. With its breathtaking scenery, rich heritage, and warm hospitality, it’s no wonder that Varkala is hailed as one of India’s top destinations. Whether you’re a nature lover, a culture enthusiast, or simply in search of tranquility, Varkala promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return again and again.

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