Make the Most of Your 2023 Journey with These 15 Experiences in Varkala

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Varkala, situated along the Southern Kerala coastline of the Indian subcontinent, is an essential destination for anyone visiting Kerala. The cultural and historical wonders, combined with the breathtaking natural beauty, make Varkala an unparalleled experience. The town boasts numerous forts, ancient buildings, and a charming lighthouse, offering an abundance of activities and attractions. Additionally, the surrounding islands provide a glimpse into a society that remains untouched by modern ways of life.

Things To Do In Varkala

15 Fascinating Activities in Varkala

Immerse yourself in the following captivating endeavors during your visit to this enchanting city in Kerala. Varkala caters to all kinds of travelers, from yoga enthusiasts to adventure seekers. Indulge in the delectable street food, engage in thrilling water sports, and explore picturesque destinations perfect for capturing timeless moments with a vintage-style polaroid or film camera. Stay to witness the ever-changing beauty of the sunset over the beaches and immerse yourself in the untouched wilderness.

  • Aquatic Adventures: Experience Thrills on the Water
  • Varkala Cultural Center: Deepen Your Understanding
  • The Serene Lighthouse: Embrace Tranquility
  • Ponnumthuruthu Island: Encounter Wildlife
  • Varkala Beach: Rejuvenate Amidst Calm Waters
  • Kappil Beach: Revel in Mesmerizing Views
  • Yoga: Revitalize Your Body and Mind
  • Shopping: Indulge the Shopaholic Within
  • Local Cuisine: Delight Your Tastebuds
  • Anjengo Fort and Lighthouse: Discover History
  • Varkala Aquarium: Marvel at Marine Life
  • Janardhana Swami Temple: Find Inner Serenity
  • Varkala Cliff: Enjoy a Perfect Picnic
  • Varkala Lighthouse: Step into a Bygone Era
  • Kilimanoor Palace: Immerse in Artistic Splendor

1. Aquatic Adventures: Experience Thrills on the Water

Bali Jetpacks & Water Sports

Engage in exciting water sports, a highlight among the plethora of activities offered in Varkala. With its stunning beaches, Varkala provides the ideal setting for an adrenaline-filled experience. The towering mountains in close proximity to the sea create a mesmerizing backdrop for water sports. Jet skiing, banana boat rides, and parasailing are just a few of the exhilarating options available, ensuring a memorable adventure.

Estimated Duration: 3 hours

How to Get There: Conveniently reach the sports facilities by taxi or bus from the nearby station.

Operating Hours: Open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Price Range: Prices vary depending on the chosen activity, typically ranging from INR 300/- to INR 1000/-

2. Varkala Culture Center: Embark on an Immersive Experience

Varkala embraces a fusion of traditional and contemporary culture that radiates its distinct authenticity. As a result, exploring this cultural hub is one of the most captivating activities in Varkala, Kerala. The traditional art forms showcased at the Varkala Culture Center are a testament to the state’s rich history. Witness captivating dance performances in the Kathakali style, accompanied by the awe-inspiring art of Kalaripayattu, as well as other remarkable acts that will leave visitors spellbound. This entire experience will transport you to an unexplored realm of wonder!

Varkala Culture Center

Estimated Time: 2 hours

How to Get There: The cultural center can be easily reached by taking a bus or cab from the central square.

Operating Hours: Open every day from 6.00 AM to 9.00 PM

Price: INR 250 per person

3. Lighthouse: Embrace Tranquility

The lighthouse, an architectural marvel from the 18th century, boasts the distinct European design that sets it apart. Embrace the breathtaking panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and coastline from a bird’s eye perspective, making this one of the top activities near Varkala Beach. It serves as a prominent tourist attraction at this destination.

Estimated Time: 1 hour

How to Get There: Reach the lighthouse conveniently by taking a cab, auto, or local bus from your residence or the central town square.

Operating Hours: Open every day from 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM

Price: No entrance fee

4. Ponnumthuruthu Island: Encounter Wildlife

This enchanting island, hailed as one of the most exquisite in Kerala, remains untainted by human habitation. Spanning across approximately 5 hectares, it provides a soothing retreat for those seeking solace by serene turquoise waters and lakes. Moreover, the island’s thriving population of migratory birds, along with its rare aquatic fauna and other wildlife species, adds an extra layer of allure. For bird watchers and nature enthusiasts, Ponnumthuruthu Island is an absolute must-visit destination in Varkala.

Ponnumthuruthu Island

Estimated Time: 1 hour

How to Get There: Reach Ponnumthuruthu Island by taking a local bus for a budget-friendly option. Alternatively, for a quicker and more convenient journey, hire a cab or taxi directly to the island, though it may cost slightly more than the average fare.

Operating Hours: Open every day from 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM.

Cost: No payment is required.

5. Varkala Beach: Embrace Tranquil Waters

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Varkala’s beaches, an absolute must when visiting this destination. Spanning 20 kilometers, Varkala Beach is said to possess the holy waters known for their healing properties. Take a swim or try your hand at fishing in the crystal-clear waters of this pristine beach. Alternatively, indulge in the nearby natural spring for an exhilarating and fun-filled experience. The serene surroundings will undoubtedly soothe your mind and relax your body.

best beach

Time needed: 2 hours

How to arrive: Access the beach conveniently by taking the local bus.

Operating hours: Open 24 hours.

Cost: No entry fee is required.

6. Kappil Beach: Revel in Breathtaking Views

Varkala, Kerala boasts a plethora of distinctive beaches to explore, and Kappil Beach is undoubtedly one of the finest. Engage in a variety of activities at this magnificent location. Watch the day unfold before your eyes, allowing your imagination to take flight. Whether it’s a refreshing swim, a leisurely stroll, or a delightful picnic, Kappil Beach has it all. With its pristine white sands and the nearby hill offering panoramic views, this destination promises limitless fun and excitement.

Kappil Beach in Kollam

Time needed: 2 hours

How to arrive: You can easily reach this beach by taking an autorickshaw from Varkala or hopping on one of the local buses to Kappil.

Operating hours: Open from 12:00 AM to 12:00 PM every day except Sundays.

Cost: No entry fee is required.

Planning a vacation in Kerala but unsure of what to do? These travel stories from Kerala will help you plan your best trip ever!

7. Rejuvenate Yourself with Yoga

Are you looking for unconventional activities to engage in during your vacation in Varkala, but unsure of what to do and how to proceed? Give Yoga a try! Keep in mind that Yoga and dabbling are highly popular pastimes in Varkala, Kerala. This region is home to several renowned ashrams that welcome tourists to participate in their Yoga sessions. In fact, these ashrams offer exceptional opportunities for visitors to learn from experienced masters. Meditating in the midst of lush greenery and towering palm trees is truly invigorating. While you’re there, why not consider booking a homestay in Varkala? It will surely be a memorable experience.


Time required: 2 hours

How to get there: Depending on the location of your Yoga session, you can use either public or private transportation to reach the spot.

A Girl Doing Yoga

Session timings: Vary depending on the ashram or studio you choose.

Price: Varies depending on the respective schools.

8. Indulge Your Inner Shopaholic

The winding streets of Varkala are a paradise for shopaholics. The shops lining these lanes offer a plethora of items, ranging from perfumes and clothing to bamboo products, funky jewelry, and soaps. However, the most sought-after items in Varkala are the Tibetan handmade products, such as flutes, Dorjees, and conches. Even if you’re not an avid shopper, you’ll find yourself irresistibly drawn to the beautiful local artwork. A visit to Varkala promises a unique and fulfilling shopping experience, making it one of the top things to do in Kerala.

Time required: 3-5 hours

How to get there: The best way to reach the market is by taking an auto-rickshaw or bus to the market area.

Best Shopping In Somnath

Market timings: Open from morning until late at night.

Price: None at all.

9. Delight Your Taste Buds with Local Cuisine

Café Del Mar and God’s Own Country Kitchen are the go-to places for experiencing the delectable cuisine of Varkala. At Café Del Mar, you can savor international dishes infused with unique Varkala flavors. This café is the perfect spot to enjoy exceptional seafood, filter coffee, and intimate dates. On the other hand, to truly immerse yourself in authentic South Indian and Kerala cuisine, head over to God’s Own Country Kitchen. Here, your meal is ser ved wrapped in banana leaves, adding to the authenticity of the experience. This restaurant serves a wide range of Keralite dishes and is the ultimate destination for a taste of the exquisite local cuisine during your visit. Be sure to give it a try.

Estimated Time: 2-3 hours

Getting There: The above mentioned location is accessible by both public and private transportation.

The exquisite cuisine of South Goa

Operating Hours: Café Del Mar – 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM

  • God’s Own Country Kitchen – 8:00 AM to 10:30 PM
  • Café Del Mar – Prices range from INR 190/- to INR 400/- for two individuals
  • God’s Own Country Kitchen – Prices range from INR 150/- to INR 450/-

10. Anjengo Fort And Lighthouse: Unveil Its Splendor

Once a British settlement, this historical monument showcases remarkable European architecture. It provides an idyllic setting for picnics and sightseeing. The lighthouse offers breathtaking panoramas of the sea, hills, and verdant landscapes. The fort stands out for its elegant appearance despite an understated use of materials. Exploring these attractions is among the daring ventures in Varkala.

Estimated Time: 2 hours

Getting There: The most convenient way to reach Anjengo Forts is by hiring a private cab directly to the site.

Anjengo Fort in varkala

Operating Hours: Open from 8 AM to 5 PM

Admission: Entry is free

11. Varkala Aquarium: Encountering Marine Life

If you are accompanied by children during your visit to Varkala, this attraction is a must-see. The aquarium is nestled between Black Beach and Odayam Beach, adding to the excitement of the visit. One of the entertaining activities in Varkala is observing the diverse species of fish in the aquarium, including scorpion fish, angelfish, koi, and more.

Varkala aquarium

Estimated Time: 1 hour

Getting There: The most convenient way to reach the aquarium is by taking a bus to the nearest station at Thiruvambadi Beach and then taking a short stroll from there.

Location: Odayam Hatchery, Thiruvambadi Beach, Varkala, Kerala 695141

Operating Hours: 10 AM – 6:30 PM

12. Janardhana Swami Temple: Discover Inner Tranquility

If you desire a serene sanctuary where you can relax and rejuvenate your mind and spirit, then Janardhana Swami temple is the ideal destination for you. It stands as one of the most renowned attractions in Varkala. In addition to seeking blessings at the temple, you can admire the magnificent architecture it boasts.

Janardhana swamy temple, Varkala

Estimated Time: 1 hour

How to Reach: The recommended mode of transportation to reach this location is a private auto or cab.

Location: Varkala, Kerala 695141

Price: Not applicable

13. Varkala Cliff: Perfect Picnic Spot

Are you ready to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty? Head to Varkala cliff, encompassed by lush greenery and natural allure. Situated a few kilometers away from the city, this place serves as an ideal picnic spot. The cliff offers breathtaking views of coconut trees and is perfect for a memorable stroll.

Cliff in Varkala

Estimated Time: 2 hours

How to Reach: The best way to reach Varkala Cliff is by taking a bus to the nearest station and then trekking to the cliffs.

Price: Not applicable

14. Varkala Lighthouse: A Glimpse into the Past


Constructed in the 18th century during the British rule, Varkala Lighthouse stands as a prominent structure in the district. Exploring the lighthouse is one of the most enjoyable and thrilling activities in Varkala. It offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding majestic Arabian Sea, with its azure waters, and the tranquil shores of the nearby beaches. The colonial architecture will transport you back in time to the bygone era.


Estimated Time: 1 hour

How to Reach: The recommended mode of transportation to reach the lighthouse is by hiring a private taxi directly to the destination.

Operating Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM

Price: No entry fee required.

15. Kilimanoor Palace: Artistic Retreat

Credits for the Image: Irarum, Wikimedia Commons

The Kilimanoor Palace is renowned for housing a vast collection of artwork created by the esteemed artist Raja Ravi Varma, who is beloved in the state of Kerala. Occupying a vast area of 15 hectares, this palace also served as Raja Ravi Varma’s personal studio, where he crafted his extraordinary masterpieces. For history and art enthusiasts, as well as cultural aficionados, the palace is a true haven. Additionally, the architectural design of the palace is nothing short of exquisite, making it a sight to behold.


Estimated Time Needed: 1 hour

How to Get There: To reach the Kilimanoor Palace, you can hire a taxi or an auto-rickshaw from the town center, or take a bus to the nearest stop and walk from there.

Opening Hours: 11.30 AM to 5 PM

Price: There is no entry fee

Further Reading: 18 Homestays In Varkala For a Blissful Stay

Exploring the aforementioned activities in Varkala will undoubtedly make your trip to Kerala truly memorable and captivating. Varkala is a miniature paradise nestled in South India. With its diverse and pristine beaches, scenic hills, and an abundance of attractions, it is an ideal destination for a rejuvenating and tranquil vacation, away from the bustling city life. Additionally, for those who indulge in nightlife and thrive in the vibrancy of urban cities, Varkala has a downtown area that often goes unnoticed but is definitely worth a visit.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do in Varkala

What is the ideal time to visit Varkala?

Due to its tropical climate, the best time to visit Varkala is during the winters and summers, as the rainy season brings heavy rainfall to the area.

Is it possible to reach Varkala by flight?

Direct flights to Varkala are not available. The nearest airport is the Thiruvananthapuram Airport, which is only 40 km away. From there, you can easily reach Varkala by train or bus.

How can I travel from Chennai to Varkala?

Trains are the most convenient mode of transportation from Chennai to Varkala, with numerous options available. Alternatively, you can also choose to travel by bus or consider renting a car.

Is Varkala a safe destination?

Absolutely! With exceptionally low crime rates, Varkala is a safe place to visit. By taking basic precautions, travelers can enjoy their visit without any safety concerns. The number of reported cases involving travelers is remarkably low, and as a popular tourist spot, safety is not a concern for potential visitors.

Are all the beaches in Varkala suitable for swimming?

No, not all the beaches in Varkala are suitable for swimming, as many of them have powerful waves and undertows. Only a few select beaches offer good swimming conditions.

Are there any dress code restrictions in Varkala?

No, there are no clothing restrictions in Varkala. Visitors are free to wear Western attire, except in or around religious sites. However, it is advisable to check with specific religious or traditional institutions, as they may have their own dress code regulations.

Is alcohol allowed in Varkala?

Varkala is considered a sacred site, so there are limited options for alcohol consumption on the beaches. Only a few remote shack-like establishments might have alcohol available. However, resorts and restaurants in the area do serve alcohol.

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