Thiruvananthapuram also called Trivandrum is the capital of Kerala. Mahatma Gandhi had also referred to this beautiful city of Trivandrum as the Evergreen city. Popular for its rolling hills, coastal areas and also the many striking temples with a rich historical significance, Thiruvananthapuram is one of those cities that many people would love to explore. But what’s more is the fact that after you are done exploring the capital city, you also have ample options to explore the nearby places for a weekend. So the next time, plan a weekend getaway to places near Thiruvananthapuram. From stunning beaches to untouched environs, there is a lot that you will be treated to. And because all these places are situated in God’s own country, there are no doubts about the charm these places carry.
ALSO READ 5 reasons why Kerala is indeed God’s Own Country!
Kovalam is a beautiful beach town situated very close to Thiruvananthapuram. The name Kovalam means a grove of coconut and trees and when in this town you will realize that it was named rightly. Overlooking the stunning Arabian Sea, you must visit Kovalam for its splendor and serenity. This place was made popular by the Maharaja of Travancore and since then it has been a major place of attraction for many tourists. For the adventure junkies, there are also many activities available like kayaking, surfing and also water skiing. The beached also often organize music recitals. If you wish to see what heaven looks like, visit Kovalam.
Best time to visit: September to March is the best time to visit Kovalam when the climate is pleasant and soothing making your trip a memorable one.
Sightseeing attractions: When in Kovalam, the first attraction that you must explore is the Kovalam beach that has here other beaches located closely. These three beaches are what make the Kovalam beach one of the best in the city. The beaches are separated by rocky cropping. The entry is free for all and you can take a leisure walk by the beach for a peaceful evening.
Another great attraction is the Vizhinjam Marine Aquarium that is an absolute paradise for people who loved marine life. It houses numerous marine wealth that is at treat to the eyes. Fish, corals and many other aquatic animals, this aquarium is also known for its Image pearl production where they can mould any shape of shell cement into a pear oyster. In two to three months, you will get a pearl of that particular shape.
Apart from Kovalam beach, another beach in the city that sees many tourists is the Lighthouse beach. This beach get sits name from the lighthouse that is situated nearby at 35 m high and on the top of the majestic Kurumkal hillock. So not only do you get to enjoy the beach but you can also view the lighthouse that is made of red and white stones. The light that it spreads out at the beach gives a distinct charm.
The Hawa Beach is also a good option to consider. If you are a beach bum, let us tell you that Kovalam has no dearth of beaches in the city. And to speak of Hawa beach, you will find its beach hustling with life and at night the beach looks starry.
Where to stay: There are many budget hotels in Kovalam that are situated bear to the Light house beach. Apart from this you will also find mid range to luxury hotels. All these hotels have one of the best services with every modern facility that a traveler looks for. Kovalam also has India’s first Ayurveda resort. Manaltheeram Ayurveda Beach Village(0471 226 6222, Tariff- Rs 3500 approx), Hotel Sea View Palace(081119 63233, Tariff- Rs 900 approx), Hill & Sea View Ayurvedic Beach Resort (0471 248 3737, Tariff- Rs 1600 approx) and the Swagath Holiday Resorts (098470 60880, Tariff- Rs 2000 approx) are the many options that you can consider.
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 38 min (17.7 km) aproximately
Poovar is a quaint village situated at a distance of 27 km from Thiruvananthapuram. How much ever quaint, this place is popular among many tourists, especially for its sandy beaches that are golden. The beaches of Poovar are clean and the waters alluring. Poovar is the perfect weekend getaway spot from Thiruvananthapuram that you must visit on your next trip. If you have planned a trip Thiruvananthapuram, do not forget to explore Poovar.
Poovar is also home to a fishing community owing to the many beaches. On your getaway you could also learn a thing or more about the culture and cuisine of this beautiful village. Away from the chaos and cluster of city life, spend some quiet moments amidst natural surroundings and serene ambiance. And know a little bit of history- it is said that Marthanda Varma Maharaja who as the ruler of Travancore landed in Poovar during his exile period. It was Moosa Marika, a rich business man who gives him shelter and also helped him regain his throne. During his stay in Poovar, Maharaja saw red flowers fallen all across from Kovala trees. He was so mesmerized by the view that he named the stream on which the flowers fell as Poovar and the literal meaning of Poovar is stream of flowers.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Poovar is from August to March.
Sightseeing attractions: The most popular tourist attractions in Poovar is the Poovar beach is the main highlight of this town. The beach separates the sea from the alluring Neyyar River. Even though it is quite popular, you wouldn’t find too much crowd and can enjoy your solitude moments here uninterrupted. Do not expect any water sports here since the fishing populations is huge. Golden sands, cool breeze and the view of coconut palms swaying in the breeze make for an idea spot for relaxation.
You can also explore Poovar to understand the local life and culture. And if you have a lot of time on your hands, you could also explore places and attraction round Poovar.
Where to stay: Poovar has many accommodation options, most of which are situated in Kovalam which is the nearest place. Havelia Island Resort (0471 600 5500, Tariff- Rs 2200 approx), The Travancore Heritage (0471 226 7828, Tariff- Rs 3700 approx), Estuary Island (Tariff- Rs 3400 approx) are some of the accommodation options that you will find in Poovar. All these hotels have the best facilities and your stay in Poovar will be a comfortable one. For further information, you can call on the numbers mentioned.
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 1 h 5 min (34.0 km) approximately
You can also reach Poovar by taking a boat ride from Trivandrum.
Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram has one of the best beaches of Kerala. Most tourists who have already traveled to Varkala will agree that you would not find such beautiful beaches in other parts of Kerala. Varkala is not just a beach town but is also one of the most preferred pilgrimage places of Kerala. This is owing to the beautiful 2000 year old Janardhana Swamy Temple in Varakala.
Best time to visit: October to March is the best time to visit Varakala when the weather is favorable.
Sightseeing attractions: Like we mentioned above, the Varkala temple is what you must explore even if you are not a believer. A 2000 year old temple in dedication to Vishnu, this is a major pilgrim place. The architecture is sure to leave you spell bound. If you happen to visit in the months of March or April you can also witness the Arattu festival.
Another major tourist attraction of Varkala is the Varkala cultural centre that has Kathakali performances organized. For every art lover, this place is sheer delight. You can witness the traditional Indian dance forms from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm. You can also watch martial art form called Kalaripayattu. This cultural centre will give you an insight into Kerala’s rich culture. You must definitely visit this place for a well spent evening.
ALSO SEE Varkala photo tour – A walk through the serene coastal town of Kerala
Another great pilgrim centre in Varkala is the Sivagiri. According to local beliefs it is said that Sree Narayna Guru’s tomb is placed here and hence even today there are thousands of devotees who visit Sivagiri. The Sivagiri pilgrimage happens from December 30 to January 1. You will also find an organization in the name of Shree Narayana Dhama Sangham that promotes and propagates one teaching and that is- ‘One caste, One religion and One god.’
After you have explored these beautiful pilgrim and cultural centers, head to the stunning Anjengo fort for a memorable experience. The fort along with the lighthouse is a must visit in Varkala. Known as Anchuthengu which means five coconut palms, the Anjengo fort was made by the British East India Company in 1695. Do not leave Varkala without visiting this fort and also the lighthouse that stands tall at 130 feet. The views from the lighthouse are breathtaking.
Where to stay: Varakala has plethora of accommodation options all ranging from budget to luxury and also homestays. Some of these stay options are located very close to the beach and also offer yoga classes. Kshetra Beach Resorts(082816 50000, Tariff- Rs 1200 approx), Savithri INN Bamboo Cottages & Resorts(098952 42939, Tariff- Rs 130 approx), Clafouti Beach Resort(0470 260 1414, Tariff- Rs 1400 approx), Bluewater Beach Resort (094468 48534, Tariff- Rs 1700 approx) and Deshadan Cliff & Beach Resort (094474 59912, Tariff- Rs 2900 approx) are some of the best stay options in Varkala.
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 1 h 16 min (42.6 km) approximately
Located in the Kollam district of Kerala, Thenmala is the first planned eco-tourism place in India. Thenmala is also located very close to Punalur town. Thenmala sees numerous tourists both domestic and international. Situated at an elevation of 1640 feet above sea level, you must explore Thenmala if you haven’t yet. God’s own country’s one of the many gems, Thenamala can never cease to impress. The literal meaning of Thenmala is honey (then) mountains (mala) and the reason why this town got this name is owing to the several beehives found here and also the honey that is collected from Thenmala which is considered as one of the best.
With so many tourist attractions in Thenmala, you trip to this paradise is sure to be a memorable one. Nobody has ever returned disappointed from Thenmala. There is a bit of everything for every type of traveler. Picturesque landscapes for the ones who love nature, adventure activities like rock climbing, rappelling and also river rafting for adventure junkies and a pleasant climate for those who prefer comfortable weather.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit December to February when the climate is soothing. Avoid visiting Thenmala during monsoon since this region receives heavy rainfall.
Sightseeing attractions: You must visit the Musical fountain in Thenmala which is one of the very popular attractions. The stream of water in rhythm with complementing sound and light is pure delight to the eyes.
You will also find an amphitheatre where people who love cultural art can witness some of the best brilliant cultural art forms and also programs.
Another attraction that you must not visit is the Thenmala dam. The walk from the gate up till the Dam is a breathtaking one amidst stunning landscapes and spectacular views. Alluring lakes and majestic mountains make for ideal views.
Where to stay: There are many accommodation options in Thenmala. From dormitories to budget hotels and also tents, there are many options that you can consider for your stay. Some of the best ones in and around Thenmala are- KTDC Golden Peak Resort (0471 289 0225, Tariff- Rs 2300 approx), Kandamath Resort(083018 73547, Tariff- Rs 1500 approx), Apichayan's Cliff Resort(0-475-2317612, Tariff- Rs 800 approx).
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 1 h 55 min (72.2 km) approximately
Kollam also known as Quilon to the Portuguese is home to the beautiful Ashtamudi backwaters. It is also one of Kerala’s biggest trade hubs where in cashew nuts are processed and the traded. If you have always wanted to explore the backwaters of Kerala, Kollam is sure to impress you. Thirty percent of Kollam is filed with the alluring Ashtamudi Lake and hence the backwater experience is going to be one of the best. All you need to do is a hire a house boat and enjoy the lush greenery and the charm of nature. Most tourists and travelers prefer the eight hour long boat ride that start from Kollam and ends at Alappuzha. You must definitely try this one.
Apart from the vastly spread out backwaters, Kollam is also a historic place with many ancient temples that also display the best architecture. Archaeology buffs will equally love this place.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Kollam is from August to March. Usually the climate of this place is pleasant throughout the year.
Sightseeing attractions: Of all the attractions in Kollam, one of the best and the most important is the Ashtamudi lake.Yiu can either just sit by the lake and enjoy some quiet moments, or you could also take boat trips which are pure joy and fun. The boat cruise to Munroe islands is definitely a wonderful experience that you must not miss. Try their Kayal Pradakshina Cruise and also the Sayanthanam Sunset Cruise which are two of the best.
Another great attraction is the Palaruvi waterfalls which is a pure delight to the eyes. This waterfall is Kerala’s one of the most picturesque waterfalls cascading from 300 feet height. This place is visited by many tourists from all over and is also a favorite picnic spot among many travelers. You have to walk through dense forests to reach the base of this waterfall and this walk is the best part. It is going to leave a lasting impression on you.
The Thangasseri beach is also a great attraction in Kollam town. The main reason why people visit this beach is not just for the silvery sands and pristine surroundings but also for the beautiful lighthouse. The lighthouse and the stretch of coconut palms make this beach one of the best attractions of Kollam. Visit Thangasseri also to enjoy scuba diving, speed boating and also catamaran riding.
Where to stay: There is no scarcity of accommodation options in Kollam. Because Kollam is a major tourist attraction and sees several tourists from all across, you will find several stay options ranging from budget to luxury hotels and even home stays. Some of the best are - Fragrant Nature(0474 251 4000, Tariff- Rs 6100 approx), The Quilon Beach Hotel & Convention Centre(0474 276 9999, Tariff- Rs 4800 approx), Hotel Sea Pearl(0474 276 8907, Tariff- Rs 150 approx), Global Backwaters Resort(094966 11622, Tariff- Rs 1400 approx) and Tata Caro Homestay(098952 65659, Tariff- Rs 1500 approx).
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 1 h 51 min (64.4 km) approximately
Ponmudi , that means the Golden Peak is a quaint hill station in Thiruvananthapuram forming a part of the Western Ghats mountain range. One of the main reason why you should be here is because Ponmudi is blessed with scenic splendor and untouched nature. The region is covered with thick forests and rolling hills. It is no surprise why this region sees so many tourists every year. Your journey to Ponmudi will be an exciting one since the roads have hairpin bends, misty mountains and steep climbs to take. Ponmudi is an ideal spot for those who are looking for some adventure on their weekend trip. Trekking and camping here attracts many people from all over. Trekking through their tropical forests experiencing distinct flowers and small streams of rivers, you must do this at least once on a lifetime. For those who are not adventure junkies, Ponmudi has a lot more than this. You can also take leisure nature walks and feel refreshed. You can also experience and witness the lush tea plantations in Ponmudi.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit this beautiful town is from October to March. And if you visit Ponmudi immediately after monsoon, you will also get to experience nature in its best form with greenery all around.
Sightseeing attractions: Ponmudi has many sightseeing attraction spots. Of all the attractions in Ponmudi, start by visiting the Menmutty falls that is located in Trivandrum. The view of these cascading falls amidst breathtaking nature and greenery is a view worth experiencing. You will also find several small lakes around the falls that look no less than a pool. The best part is reaching the falls by trekking through forests which is a thrilling experience. Make sure that you take permissions from the Forest department. You can also contact the Kallar Vana Samrakshana Samithi that provides ample trekking facilities.
The Golden valley is a striking attraction popular for its lush green valley and clear waters that are alluring. The Golden Valley is situated on the banks of Kallar River and hence it also makes for an ideal picnic spot. Visit this place and you are sure to feel enchanted especially thanks to the golden sand.
One of the most popular attractions in Ponmudi is the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary that is located close to the Peppara dam and on the charming Karamana River. This sanctuary is paradise for people who love watching flora and fauna of different species. The sanctuary has a total of 43 different species of mammals, 46 species of reptiles, and 233 species of birds. You will also find 27 species of fishes. And as far as animals are concerned, you will also find tigers, leopards, sloth bear, deer, elephants, Niligir Langur and several others.
Where to stay: There are many stay options that you will find in Ponmudi. Ponumdi is visited by many travelers especially because it is a hill station. The hotels of this quaint hill station are ideal offering the best facilities and services. Here are the best of the lot that we chose for you. KTDC Golden Peak Resort(0471 289 0225, Tariff- Rs 2200 approx), Hotel Rohini International, Vithura(0472 285 7336, Tariff- Rs 1600 approx), River County resort(098955 77994, Tariff- Rs 300o approx).
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 1 h 41 min (55.6 km) approximately
ALSO READ How to reach Ponmudi – a trekker’s paradise
Kottarakkara is a place situated in the Kollam in Kerala. The main reason why this town should be visited on your weekend trip is because it has a rich historical significance. Initially popular as a leading commercial and industrial hub, Kottarakkara is also visited by many people and tourists for its climate and scenic location. A trip in the company of nature is what everybody looks for on their short vacations. Formerly known as Quilon by the Portuguese, Kottarakkara may not be as popular as the other scenic places of Kerala, but it definitely is worth visiting. Kottarakkara was initially ruled by the Travancore royal family and was known as Elayadathu Swarupam. Home to Kathakali which is a the most popular dance art form of Kerala, there is a lot more than makes Kottarakara as an ideal weekend getaway spot. The word Kottarakkara means the land of palaces. It is said that the first palace was built in the 14th century and the ruins of many other palaces can be still found in Kottarakkara.
Best time to visit: Kottarakkara is usually pleasant all through the year and hence there is no best time as such to visit this beautiful place. You can visit Kottarakkara in all seasons.
Sightseeing attractions: From palaces to temples, there is a lot you can see in Kottarakkara. The Mahaganpati temple and Sree Manikanteswara temple is what attracts tourists the most. Most of them are devotees while the rest visit only to witness the architectural beauty.
Also visit the Kottarakkara palace to get an insight into the royal life in those times. It is one of the most popular palaces of this town and also has a strong history.
Where to stay: There are many accommodation options in Kottarakkara for tourists to ensure that have a comfortable stay. With basic amenities and excellent services, your stay in any of these hotels will be a good one. Highland Hotel(Tariff- Rs 3200 approx), Hotel Ambalakkara Residency(0474 265 1112, tariff- Rs 2500 approx) are two of the best stay options.
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 1 h 36 min (65.7 km) approximately
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