Kovalam is one of the most popular beach destinations in Kerala. Snuggled along the Arabian Sea, it is one of the most sought beach locales in India. The picturesque beauty of azure waters, golden sands and lush palms make it a beautiful sight. The best things to do in Kovalam include enjoying the ambiance and exploring the sights. Also, the shores have a myriad of facilities, from high end-luxury resorts to budget lodgings, pampering Ayurvedic beach shacks to some fine eateries. To make it all, an experience to cherish, it has a relaxed ambiance, a delightful change from the frantic pace of cities.

To help you enjoy a great time, here are the 11 best things to do in Kovalam:

1. Enjoy the bliss of Lighthouse Beach

Lighthouse-Beach: things to do in kovalam

The most popular tourist attraction in Kovalam, the Lighthouse Beach is a beauty. It is a mix of soft sands, playful waves, swaying palm fringes and an undisturbed view of the aquamarine waters. The most frequently visited beach in Kovalam, this beach gets its name from the old Vizhinjam lighthouse. Standing tall on a rocky headland, it shines like a beacon.

Enjoy walking on the soft sands, with the winds caressing your face. Sunbathing, surfing, beach volleyball and swimming are some of the activities for you. Scrumptious seafood is also available at the stalls lining the shore. Ayurvedic massages and beachside spas are a welcoming invitation for weary travelers.

[You may also read 12 Best Beaches in Kerala]

2. Taste lip-smacking food for soul at the German Bakery

German-Bakery: things to do in kovalam

The German bakery is one of the places that you must not miss in Kovalam. Nothing beats a sumptuous hearty brunch at the German Bakery. Overlooking the stunning Lighthouse Beach, grabbing a bite of the delicacies from the enviable menu is surely one of the top things to do in Kovalam. We highly recommend tasting the pastries, pancakes, milkshakes, and shrimp biryani. For romantic couples, candle-lit sitting arrangements are also done in the evening hours. One can also enjoy vegan meals, continental delights, special Ayurvedic meals and of course, the German pleasures. Do not miss the Malabar Fruit Flambe, it’s delicious.

[Also read: 11 Best Foods to try in Kerala]

3. Savor the languid houseboat cruising


Though Kovalam is a beach paradise, it is also a beautiful place to enjoy the backwaters in Kerala. Houseboat cruising on the scenic backwaters is one of the best things to do in Kovalam. Enjoy relaxing on a houseboat as it passes through a picturesque rustic rural backdrop. The experience is a dream come true for every city dweller. The lush green paddy fields, white churches rising from the horizon, quaint hamlets in the backdrop and emerald greenery are a pleasing view. You can opt for a cruise on the Karamana River or at the Poovar backwaters. The luxury houseboats have all facilities to make guests comfortable. One also gets to indulge in the mouthwatering Malabari delights.

[Here is on A Complete Guide on Kerala Backwaters & Houseboat Trip]

4. Pamper yourself with Ayurveda Treatments and Therapies

Kovalam-Ayurveda: things to do in kovalam

Ayurveda is Kerala’s legacy of ancient health and wellness. Kovalam, the beach pride of Kerala abounds in a number of renowned Ayurveda massage and spa centres. One of the top things to do in Kovalam is to indulge yourself in pampering Ayurvedic treatments. There are many in Ayurvedic centers, some of them are associated with hotels and some as single units.

Try out the signature Ayurvedic healing and wellness therapies like detoxification, cleansing, stress management, etc. You can also get treatment for weight loss, or any specific disease or ailment. The locally grown herbs, oils and massages create harmony between your body, mind and soul. The most common Ayurveda procedures available include Kizhi, Seerodhara, Thalapothical, Vasthi, Kativasti, Lepam, and Thalam.

Recommended Ayurveda centers: Divya-The Health Spa at Leela Kempinski Beach Resort, Ideal Ayurvedic Resort, ShinShiva Ayurvedic Resort, Manaltheeram Ayurveda Beach Resort and Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort

[Check-out Kovalam Ayurveda Tour Package]

5. Spend a peaceful day at the Vizhinjam Village

Vizhinjam-Village: best things to do in kovalam

The Vizhinjam Village, 3 km from Kovalam is one of the places you must include in your Kovalam holiday. This village is credited of having lots of places to see and things to do in Kovalam.

The scenic village is a pleasant vacation in Kerala on a tranquil beach. It is loved for its beautiful beaches and the bustling port. The places to check out here are, Marine aquarium and rock-cut temple of the 18th century. Go swimming or exploring unique marine ecology blessed with rich biodiversity. Be at the Vizhinjam natural port to savor the sunrise or the sunset. Take your camera along as you will have plenty of shots that you would like to cherish. You can also get a ride from the local fishermen.

6. Marvel at fantastic art creations at the Kovalam Art Gallery


Also known as Sree Chithra Art Gallery, Kovalam Art Gallery is one of the places to check out in Kovalam. It is one of the finest art galleries in Kerala to definitely visit for art lovers. Enjoy the display of a wide range of paintings of the popular painters of the state at this gallery. In addition to valuable paintings, this art gallery displays artifacts of the Rajput Era, Mughal Era and related items from China, Tibet and Japan. This is an ideal picnic spot to watch the remnants of the rich ancient culture and heritage of the state. There are also some specimens of prominent painters like Raja Ravi Verma and Nicholas Roerich.

[Here are 8 Must Visit Museums in Kerala]

7. Get divine blessings at the Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple


A short distance from the beach town of Kovalam, in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city lies the Padmanabhaswamy temple. One of the 108 holy abodes of Lord Vishnu on Earth, the Divya Desams, Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the most-visited temples in Kerala. ‘Padmanabhaswamy’ is a form of Lord Vishnu resting on Anantha, the sacred hooded serpent.  The temple was built in the 8th century by the Travancore royal family, to enshrine their revered deity. The temple is a fine mix of Kerala and Dravidian architecture known for its carvings and colorful murals.

To enter the temple, proper attire must be followed. Do not miss to visit the holy temple, it is one of the best places in Kovalam where you can attain divine bliss.

[Know more about 8 Most Famous Temples in Kerala]

8. Visit the Halcyon Castle


The list of the top things to do in Kovalam must include a visit to Halcyon Castle. Often known as Kovalam Palace, it was built in 1932, by M.R. Sri Rama Varma Valiya Koil Thampuran. It was built as a summer beach retreat for him and his family. The traditional architectural style of Kerala along with expansive lawns has emerged as highlights of the palace. In 1964, the owner of the beautiful castle sold it to Kerala Government, which was eventually turned into a hotel. Though it is now a resort owned by Leela Group of hotels, it’s a popular tourist attraction of Kovalam.

9. Explore the scenic Vellayani Lake


One of the famous fresh water lakes in Kerala, located 7 kilometers from Kovalam, we come to Vellayani Lake, one of the places you must include in your Kovalam trip. The Vellayani Lake is the venue of the famous annual snake boat race in Kerala organized during the Onam festival. One of the best things to do when in Kovalam is to enjoy boating at the beautiful lake. The water is exciting as you get to see a varied ecology. Also, the spectacular beauty of the fishing villages in the horizon makes it all the more beautiful.

[Read on 7 Most Beautiful Backwaters Destinations in Kerala]

10. Lose your sense of the beauty of the Karamana River


The Karamana River originating from the Sahyadri Range flowing through the outskirts of Kovalam is a beauty. The view spellbinds your senses and you must definitely pay a visit during your holiday in Kovalam. The river banks are dotted with rich plantations of coconut, pepper and tapioca.

Without a word of doubt, Karamana River is among the best places to visit in Kovalam for travelers seeking to relax. The Thiruvallam Boat Club offers houseboat cruising, kayaking and canoe riding on the Karamana River for the visitors.

11. Indulge in the exciting water activities


Kovalam is known for a number of exciting and thrilling water sports. One of the best things to do in Kovalam is to indulge in adventures. From swimming, surfing, parasailing, scuba diving to jet skiing and paragliding, the list is vast and quite enthralling. Lighthouse Beach offers the most thrilling activities. The fun does not end here, there is backwater cruising, canoeing, kayaking and so much more. Opt for a package for water sports in Kovalam as you will be given the gear, guide and all other necessary information.

Find some of the best tour packages for Kovalam here:

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