Skip to Content

Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

If you are looking for the best places to visit in Kerala with family, we visited with our four kids and had the most amazing trip.

We have wanted to visit India with our kids for a long time. Kerala has been on our bucket list forever!! Since we were travelling with two toddlers, we felt Kerala was the best spot in India since it has a slower pace of life and is not such a busy place.

From the backwaters to Fort Kochi, there are many incredible experiences and fantastic places to visit in Kerala with family.

Before Visiting Kerala With Kids

  • Remember to get travel insurance before you travel. It’s impossible to recommend this as it will depend on where you live. However, AXA Travel Insurance have a good reputation if that is an option for you.
  • If you have long car rides or maybe you’d like to have Wifi whilst you are out and about, you can bring a travel router and put a sim in it from the airport, which can be found in the arrivals hall. I use the Netgear router. I’ve had it for years, and it’s fantastic!
  • Another important point is to have mosquito repellent. We didn’t get any bites on our trip, but we always had our incognito repellent, especially in the evenings.
  • If you are flying long-haul with your kids, it may be useful to check out my tip for flying with kids.

Getting Around Kerala With Kids

We flew into Cochi Airport, which was our first insight into India. As we were leaving the airport, we saw thousands of solar panels nearby and later learned it’s the first airport in the world to be 100% run-off solar.

Along the way, we saw quite a few eco-initiatives that we had not seen anywhere else, which impressed us!

It’s easy to pick up a taxi right outside; we spent our first few days in Fort Kochi, a 70-minute car ride from the airport.

Due to its proximity to the airport, Fort Kochi is certainly one of the first places to visit in Kerala with family if you arrive at Cochi Airport.

Once we reached the fort, we used rickshaws to get from A to B, and we also hired the same for a few hours each day to see the sites.

Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family
Rickshaws waiting for customers – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family.

Many rickshaw drivers will give you a price by the hour to take you around. The prices range from 200rps to 400rps per hour, so it’s worth shopping around.

However, if you prefer to arrange in advance and have a professional tour guide, check out this private Fort Kochi tuk-tuk tour.

Once we travelled further afield, we took an Uber, which is quite affordable, even for long trips. It’s a good idea to take the Uber driver’s number if you intend to return to Kochi, as it’s not as easy to find a driver once you leave.

Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Fort Kochi

Our first three days in Fort Kochi were amazing, we spend so much time exploring all of the incredible sites in the area. It’s one of the best places to visit in Kerala with kids.

There is lots to see and do, so it’s worth allowing at least two days.

Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family
Fort Kochi at Night – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Fort Kochi is renowned for its colonial history, diverse architecture, and cultural heritage. The area boasts well-preserved colonial buildings, including churches and mansions reflecting Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences.

I expected it to be similar to Galle Fort in Sri Lanka. However, it’s a lot bigger and doesn’t necessarily feel like a fortress due to its size.

Where To Stay In Fort Kochi

We stayed at the wonderful Forte Kochi, an ideal location to explore several attractions on foot.

It’s a beautiful boutique hotel housed within an ancient structure that reflects the rich tapestry of Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences.

Fort Kochi Hotel – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Offering a glimpse into centuries past, this heritage hotel has regal charm and plush amenities.

They had a large room with an extra bed and space for a cot, ideal for families staying in the area.

Fort Kochi Bedrooms – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

It made it easy to walk outside and get to many attractions without a rickshaw, such as the Chinese Fishing nets.

Breakfast was included in our stay. It had a good mix of Western and local options. Not to mention, the extensive menu for dinners and lunches was quite easy with the kids.

Breakfast hall – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

They had a toddler high chair for 3+ year-olds. Overall, the highchairs were very limited on our trip to Kerala in general.

There is also a spa onsite, and the swimming pool was just stunning, with the surrounding design of intricately detailed and colourful tiles and plants. Not to mention the yellow walls of the building setting it all off.

Fort Kochi decor – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

It was dreamy swimming in the pool after a day of exploring. The complimentary afternoon tea was a treat with our kids, including local sweets, savoury bites, tea, and coffee. The masala tea is a must-try!

On our last evening, a show featuring cultural dance and costumes was the perfect ending to our stay.

Check out the prices of Fort Kochi here.

Things To See Around Fort Kochi

As mentioned, Fort Kochi is one of the best places to visit in Kerala with family. We highly recommend taking a rickshaw to see everything or a guided tour.

Family Rickshaw Ride – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Here are some of the best things to see:

Village Spice Market

There are quite a few spice markets around however I highly recommend going to the Village Spice Market on Bazaar Road. It’s a super unique building with lots of character.

On the ground floor, you can witness the staff drying ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, for example.

All Spices Market – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

This only happens Monday to Friday, so try to visit mid-week to see what they do.

Sometimes, they can have piles of ginger as high as an adult, which is very cool to see, and the kids will love smelling everything and learning about the process. It’s relatively informal, but they are welcoming.

Dried Ginger at the spice market – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

On the 1st floor of the building is where all the spices are sold, and wow, they smell amazing, especially some of the masala mixtures.

They allow you to try many things, from tea to dried fruits. Their only request is to buy something before taking photos, which is fair enough.

Smelling all the spices – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

They were friendly with our kids; the stairs to the 1st floor were quite rickety and interesting. Just give kids a hand to get up. It adds to the charm of the building!

All Spice market entrance – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Around this particular spice market, it feels like the ‘old bazaar’. It feels far more authentic than other more developed parts of the fort, so it’s worth wandering here.

St. Francis Church & Vasco De Gama Square

We were amazed at the many beautiful churches in Kochi. St Francis Church is one of the oldest European-built churches in India, dating back to the early 16th century. The Portuguese originally built it and it was later renovated by the Dutch.

St Francis Church – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

It’s worth a quick pit stop as it was the burial place for the Portuguese explorer Vasco De Gama before his remains were returned to Portugal.

St Francis Church – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Outside the church across the street are several stalls with crafts and souvenirs in Vasco De Gama Square.

Roadside stalls – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

We picked up some cool things for the kids here. They are like secret boxes made of wood that are hard to figure out. I guess it’s like a puzzle.

The stalls are worth browsing through, it’s the perfect place for little ones to find something interesting and new wihtout a huge price tag.

Santa Cruz Basilica

Another significant church in Fort Kochi, the Santa Cruz Basilica, is known for its stunning architecture, particularly its magnificent interiors adorned with beautiful paintings and frescoes.

Santa Cruz Basilica – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

We missed out on going inside as it was closed, but we captured a photo outside.

Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace)

The Portuguese built Mattancherry Palace around 1545, and it was later renovated by the Dutch. It houses a collection of Kerala murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits of the Rajas of Kochi, and exhibits of royal costumes and jewellery.

It does not take too long to pass through the palace, however if you are travelling with small children, we suggest using a carrier as there are a lot of ancient displays which may not be suitable and there are a couple of windows which are quite open on the first floor.

Mattancherry Palace – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

It’s worth noting photos are not allowed, which is a shame. However, I suppose it is a good opportunity to soak up the environment and take it in!

It only costs 2rps per person to enter.

Jew Town and Synagogue

Very close to Mattancherry Palace is Jew Town and Synagogue. We loved exploring the charming Jew Town area. It is home to the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations.

The area is also known for its antique shops and spice markets. There are many beautiful shops leading to the synagogue, which is pedestrian-only, adding to its charm.

Streets of Jew Town – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

The street is colourful with crumbling paint and cute windows overhead in what looks like ancient buildings.

In true family style, we arrived early, as our kids were up at the crack of dawn. The area comes to life after 10 am when the synagogue opens, so we suggest waiting until then to see everything in its full form.

Streets of Jew Town – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

There is a very cute coffee shop selling cake and hot drinks, not to mention crafts and beautiful books, amongst many other things. It’s called The Ethnic Passage.

Arts and Crafts – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

It’s a long store leading from the street to the back of the building. It’s worth wandering through.

It’s very close to the synagogue, with beautifully coloured flowers outside, bright fuchsia pink!

Synagogue in Jew Town – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

The stunning synagogue, with mural flooring and tens of overhead chandeliers, added to the spirit.

Lanterns inside the Synagogue – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Dhoby Khana Old Officers Laundry

Dhoby Khana is a historic laundry facility dating back to the colonial era. Here, skilled dhobis diligently launder clothes using traditional methods passed down through generations.

Tourists can visit to see the traditional methods in practice. We wandered through and saw the staff ironing with an iron which had hot charcoals smoldering inside. It really looked like something from centuries ago. We wandered through further to see the outdoor washing areas where all the laundry are washed by hand.

The final area is a large field with tens of washing lines where all of the clothing are hung up to air dry.

Funnily enough, we visited this attraction on our first day. The following day we needed to do laundry and the rickshaw driver took us here. We didn’t realise he was going to do that. Needless to say we all had a good laugh at the fact so many tourists would see our pants hanging up and they may even have a turn at ironing them!

Beyond its cultural significance, Dhoby Khana also serves as an economic hub for the local community, supporting livelihoods and preserving tradition.

Kerala Kathakali Centre

Before I left home for Kerala, I asked my followers for their recommendations on Instagram, and Kerala Kathakali Centre came up quite a few times.

There are a few different shows every evening, the first being a traditional dance whereby you can attend earlier to see the process of the performer’s make-up routine. It is quite extensive and can take up to an hour.

Actors applying makeup before the show – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

If you are with little ones, I suggest arriving at 6:45 pm to see the last few minutes of make-up before the show starts.

The performers have 35 years of experience in the Kathakali art form and weave intricate mudras and impressive facial expressions into a dramatic performance.

Kerala Kathakali Centre – Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Our kids were impressed with the eye movement! Honestly, my eyes hurt just looking at what they were doing.

We had children ages 2 to 9 with us. One of my two-year-olds was not keen, whilst her twin brother loved it. The older two were mesmerized. So, I guess it depends on the child.

Kerala Kathakali Centre – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

It costs 500rps per seat, and babies and toddlers on parents’ knees are free. You need to book in advance as it was fairly full. We booked before we left home, and they did ask for a bank transfer, which we had to do.

Check out the show for more information.

Chinese Fishing Nets

The iconic Chinese fishing nets symbolise Kochi and are believed to have been introduced by Chinese traders in the 14th century. Watching fishermen operate these nets is fascinating, especially during sunset.

Fishing Nets of Kerala – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

We walked along the promenade, which wraps around the coast to the beach. It’s a nice paved walk all the way.

Many stalls sell everything from roast corn to toys and homewares to coconuts. Sunsets in Kerala are next level beautiful, the sun is always so red so make sure to get to the area for this, it is well worth it.

Waterfront stalls at sunset – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

If you miss out on seeing the nets, you may see others outside the fort. We saw some close to the airport.

Fort Kochi Beach

We strolled along the scenic Fort Kochi Beach, known for its picturesque views, lively atmosphere, and charming cafés. As mentioned above, start your walk at the Chinese fishing nets and wander along to the beach in time for sunset.

Fort Kochi Beach – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Many locals and tourists will be perched looking at the red sun disappear.

Alleppey Backwaters

After our time in Fort Kochi, we moved on to Alleppey. It’s an easy 1hr40 minute Uber drive to the area.

Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

We passed through tens of villages, past churches and stalls. It was lovely to see life outside the fort.

Alleppey Rice House Boat Stay

Our first stop for the night was a rice houseboat, and this was beyond exciting for all of us.

We were met at a pontoon by the owner of The Sanchari, who took us by speed boat to the rice boat. The speed boat was lots of fun and was our first insight into the experience on the backwaters.

Jet boat ride to Houseboat – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

We saw many locals going about their day on boats, some with electric propellers and others with paddles.

We passed throught some narrow waterways which were so calm and peaceful before getting to the lake where we were treated with a little more speed, the kids absoloutely loved it.

Cruising the Alleppey backwaters – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

There are several houseboats to choose from. We went in a two-bed luxury houseboat. We did not know what to expect, but the amount of space blew me away.

The boat had two ensuite bedrooms, a dining area which was enclosed with AC, and an upper deck where the kids could safely run around and we could take in the views. The deck had bars, which made it safe for our toddlers.

Houseboat rooftop balcony views – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

We were greeted with fresh coconuts on arrival before we set sail. We passed through vast open water and narrow waterways lined with swaying palm trees.

Fresh Coconut – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

We saw rice paddy fields to the horizon, churches, villages, and tens of bird species.

However, the most interesting part was seeing what the people who lived right on the water’s edge were doing.

Some were using self-made rods sitting peacefully fishing, others were washing clothes, whilst others were swimming.

Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Sitting on the deck and watching the world go by in such a peaceful and serene place was truly amazing.

Just an hour or so after departure, we docked for lunch and were treated to various Keralan cuisines, including rice, curries, dhal and lots of vegetables. It was so delicious.

Once we’d filled our tummies, it was back up on the deck for more sightseeing; there was an option to explore some of the villages when docked on foot.

It wasn’t long before tea came around when we were again treated with banana fritters and chai tea. I swear it was the best tea I have ever had in my life!!

Banana fritters – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

The sun was dipping at this point, and the landscape began to change with the orange glow. We docked up to take in the last views before the evening set in.

All boats dock in the evening by a specified time due to local laws, houseboats have to dock overnight.

Houseboat beds – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

We had another wonderful meal of Keralan cuisine before getting the kids to bed. I was the first up the following morning, and I still cannot believe the stunning sunrise we were treated to!

It did not look real!! It was amazing listening to the birds and seeing the locals come onto the water whilst the sun was rising.

Kerala Houseboat – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

It wasn’t long before the kids were up. We had breakfast and took a speedboat back to dry land in Alleppey.

The boat experience was certainly a highlight and Alleppey is one of the best places to visit in Kerala with family.

Coconut Lagoon CGH Earth Resort

After a busy few days, we were ideally looking for somewhere super chill whilst still having an opportunity to soak up the culture.

Sunset Swings – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

Coconut Lagoon CGH Earth Resort is on the edge of the lake in Kumarakom and it was approximately a 45-minute speed boat from the rice boat. It is one of the best places to visit in Kerala with family. Especially if you want to relax!

Exploring the Grounds – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

The speed boat was not an official route, however as parents we didn’t want to do the alternative 1.5hr journey around the lake by road.

It was an interesting ride as, at one point, we were surrounded by water hyacinth, but we made it in the end.

Water Hyacinth – Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

We booked two one-bed chalets as we are a large family. The buildings at the resort are made from remnants of ancient Keralan homes called Tharavads.

Chalets at Coconut Lagoon – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

This resort is simply incredible, featuring a pool, a butterfly garden, spa, gym, yoga and meditation sessions, a bar, a restaurant with both international and local cuisine, it was such a beautiful place.

There were so many touches along the way, from the tea lady on her boat in the afternoon to seeing the men clear out the tonnes of water hyacinth, the swings hanging from the trees, the benches facing the lake perfectly for sunset and the live entertainment in the evening.

Tea Lady – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

This resort is completely eco and has many historical things to see. From the sacred groves to the ayurvedic plantations to the river pump, there were lots to wander around and see on the grounds.

Our children loved swimming in the pool and adored the butterfly garden, where they do guided walks daily. You can visit any time; however, the guided walk is where you’ll get all the information. It was one of the best places for kids to stay in Kerala.

Family tourists places in Kerala
Swimming pool at Coconut Lagoon – Best Places To Visit In Kerala With Family

At breakfast and dinner there was a buffet style meal, both had lots of western and international options.

Check out Coconut Lagoon here.

Kerala Facts For Kids

There are so many cool facts about Kerala for kids you may want to share with them before you travel!

  1. Kerala is often called the “Land of Coconuts” because of its abundant coconut trees. You can find coconut trees almost everywhere you look!
  2. Kerala is home to beautiful backwaters, where you can take a ride on traditional houseboats. These boats glide through calm waters, surrounded by lush greenery and wildlife.
  3. Kalaripayattu, originating in Kerala, is one of the oldest martial arts in the world. It involves impressive moves like kicks, punches, and acrobatics!
  4. Kerala is known as the “Spice Capital of India” because it grows many different spices like pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. The air is often filled with the delightful aroma of these spices.
  5. Kerala hosts snake boat races during the Onam festival. These long, narrow boats, manned by rowers, race against each other.
  6. Kerala has a traditional dance form called Kathakali. Dancers wear colourful costumes and intricate makeup to tell stories through dance and expressions.
  7. While Kerala is famous for its backwaters, it also has beautiful tea gardens in places like Munnar. You can learn how tea is grown and even pick some tea leaves yourself!
  8. In Kerala, you can find floating markets where vendors sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish from boats. It’s a unique shopping experience!
  9. Kerala is known for its Ayurvedic treatments, which use natural herbs and oils to promote health and wellness.

Disclaimer: This post about the best places to visit in Kerala with family may contain affiliate links, by using them it will not cost you any extra, we will receive a small commission to keep us writing. In addition, some of our stays were hosted in Kerala. However, all views expressed are entirely our own.