30 best things to do in Fort Kochi – A complete 2023 travel guide

The Chinese left behind their legacy nets
While the Paradesi Jews still reside here with their assets.
The Portuguese churches still stand tall 
While Mattancherry palace with its fusion leave the visitors  in an enthrall. 

Such is the fusion of cultures that you will see when you explore the various places to visit in Fort Kochi. Discover these best things to do in Fort Kochi through this guide. Included are my recommendations for one to two days of Fort Kochi sightseeing, where to stay and best time to visit. 

Most of us have heard of the Queen of the Arabian sea – Cochin, better known as Kochi in Kerala. Kochi is widely used as an entry point for most visitors to God’s Own country. However, many travelers tend to just use Kochi as a transit destination for other places in Kerala. They tend to miss out on the interesting part of this city called Fort Kochi. Exploring the numerous Fort Kochi attractions is a perfect way to discover the delightful amalgamation of cultures in this city. I first explored Fort Kochi as a part of the Golden Chariot tour and later, returned for more.

The iconic Chinese Fishing Nets - one of the tourist places in Fort Kochi
The iconic Chinese Fishing Nets – one of the tourist places in Fort Kochi

In this blog post, I will be sharing the best things to do in Fort Kochi, as well as my recommendations for what among these attractions in Kochi are unmissable if you just have one day here. I have also, included insider tips on the various tourist places in Fort Kochi. As always, at the end of this Fort Kochi guide, you will find my recommendations on the places to stay and the best time to visit. So, let’s get started with the quick history of Fort Kochi.

Quick resources to help you plan a perfect trip to Kochi

In case you are looking for some quick links to tours, places to stay and travel accessories for your Kochi trip, you can consider using these online options.

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Fort Kochi History

As you can guess, the name Fort Kochi was owing to a fort here. Originally this place was a fishing village until the Portuguese were granted some land here by the Maharaja of Kochi in the 1500s. It is then, that Fort Emmanuel was built and a settlement was established with Catholic churches and Portuguese homes. The reason for this grant was the protection and alliance the Portuguese provided to the Maharaja to defend his kingdom against the King of Kozhikode. In return the Maharaja allowed the Portuguese to conduct trade by using this place as their port. This remained the case for over 160 years, after which the Dutch defeated the Portuguese in the 1680s.

The main fort was destroyed but newer structures came up like the Dutch Palace. This remained with the Dutch for over a century till again it was taken over by the British until Indian Independence.

Jew Town in Mattancherry - the living history of Fort Kochi
Jew Town in Mattancherry – the living history of Fort Kochi

This feels like the recent history of Fort Kochi until you come across the story of the Chinese traders who visited Fort Kochi even before the Portuguese in the 14th century. They left behind some bits of their legacy in the form of the Chinese Fishing nets – the only ones to be seen in India.

Fort Kochi always intrigued me with its unique fusion of cultures that you can see even today. A walk through this part of Cochin seems to be a link to the Portuguese settlements in Goa. With its unusual settlement of Jews in India and parts that are strictly Indian, you are in for a complete treat.

Top things to do in Fort Kochi

It isn’t just history that you will encounter when you visit Fort Kochi. There are many other interesting activities to do in Fort Kochi that will keep you hooked. From fun activities on its beach to witnessing the colorful Kathakali shows and sampling mouthwatering delicacies – as well as taking some home – there is just tons to keep your day filled with joy and discovery.

1. Catch a lovely sunset over Cheenavala (Chinese Fishing Nets)

Let’s begin with one of the most popular attractions in Fort Kochi. Remember I mentioned the legacy left behind by the Chinese in Fort Kochi. The Cheenavala or the Chinese fishing nets hang on the Fort Kochi beach with all their glory, still intact and usable. Over time, these nets have become iconic to Fort Kochi owing to its uniqueness and history dating back to the 14th century.

The Chinese fishing nets on Fort Kochi beach
The Chinese fishing nets on Fort Kochi beach

The Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi operate on a cantilever mechanism with the help of four fishermen. I had the fortune of witnessing it work and well, the fishermen even allowed me to take a turn ;- ) The Cheenavala are operated even now in the early mornings and evenings. The catch is sold right there by the fishermen – all of which is gone within minutes.

Get to the Fort Kochi beach at sunset to see the artistic beauty of these timeless nets against the bright orange sky.

2. Walk along the Fort Kochi beach – one of the important beaches in Kochi

It isn’t just the Fort Kochi Chinese fishing nets that make this beach popular. Nestled along the Arabian Sea in Kerala, the Fort Kochi beach is steeped in history and cultural heritage.  Stroll along the granite promenade and you will come across remains of Fort Immanuel  – the one that gave Fort Kochi its name. You will also, see the colonial buildings built during the Portuguese and Dutch eras along the beach.

Lining the pathway on the Fort Kochi beach are numerous food stalls that offer local cuisine using the fresh fish that is caught here. If that is not your cup of tea, just enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and the golden sands that are perfect for leisurely walks.  I would not say no to just lounging under the shade of coconut trees while sipping on fresh coconut water—pure tropical bliss!

3. Try some water sports on Fort Kochi beach

Feel the salty mist with the fun adventure activities on Fort Kochi Beach. You can choose from jet skiing to banana boat rides or even parasailing. There is also catamaran rides as well as speed boat ones that add to the watery things to do in Fort Kochi.

4. Step into the St Francis Church – one of the key places to visit in Fort Kochi

St Francis Church - one of the places to visit in Fort Kochi
St Francis Church – one of the places to visit in Fort Kochi

What was initially built as a wooden church is now all stone and brick. The St.Francis Church in Fort Kochi was initially a Catholic church built by the Portuguese. It was later destroyed by the Dutch and converted to Protestantism. This church was quite one of the important tourist places in Fort Kochi – also because it is one of the oldest European churches in India, built in 1503.

The original burial spot of Vasco Da Gama inside St. Francis Church in Fort Kochi
The original burial spot of Vasco Da Gama inside St. Francis Church in Fort Kochi

This was the original place where the famous explorer – Vasco Da Gama was buried. His body was later, taken back to Portugal but the gravestone was re-laid and marked within the church. The church is also home to old baptism and marriage registers for the Dutch as well as the British. I am told that many visitors from Netherlands and UK make a stop here – just to see if they can trace their roots.

I found the church simple and charming. There was nothing elaborate about it yet the simplicity of the stained glass interiors made the place charming and actually quite soothing.

The church is open from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays. On Saturdays, it is open from 9 am to 1 pm while on Sundays, it is open from 1 pm to 5 pm

5. Visit the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Fort Kochi

Where the St. Francis Church was simple, the Santa Cruz church is quite elaborate. One look at its Gothic architecture and you know that you have a treat in store for you. Built by the Portuguese, it was elevated to the status of a cathedral in 1558. The church was broken down and a new building – aka the current structure came up during the British rule. It finally became a basilica in 1984 as per the proclamation by Pope John Paul II.

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica in Fort Kochi
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica in Fort Kochi PC: Wikimedia Commons under CC by SA 4.0

Among all the churches in Fort Kochi, this one is very important as it is also one of the eight basilicas in India. Not only is this Fort Kochi attraction impressive from the outside but it will leave you spellbound from the moment you step in. The ceilings have rich paintings depicting scenes from the story of Christ. The altar is a piece of art that was done by an Italian painter – Fr. Antonio Moscheni.

Look out for the reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”. There are a few more paintings, murals and frescoes that will keep you occupied for quite some time. Definitely one of the best places to visit in Kochi.

6. Spot the historical buildings in Fort Kochi

It is not just the churches in Fort Kochi that will take you back to the colonial era. You will find quite a few historical buildings too. One of these Fort Kochi attractions is the erstwhile home of Vasco Da Gama. Called the Vasco house, this home has the typical Portuguese balcoas that I had earlier seen in the homes of Fontainhas in Goa. The best part is that this place is now a homestay in Fort Kochi. So if you wish, you can book and stay here.

Balcoa in a Fontainhas home
Balcoa in a Fontainhas home

The Portuguese landed in Fort Kochi but they made Goa their home for a longer time than they managed here. Their homes are a part of the living heritage of Goa in an area called Fontainhas, Panaji. Check out what their homes are like.

Thakur house is a Dutch remnant with two storeys, large bay windows and wooden floors. It was originally built as a community center. It changed hands over time and now belongs to a tea estate company called Ram Bahadur Thakur and Company.

Besides these two, Koder House, Bastion House and David House are some prominent landmarks in Fort Kochi. And of course, if you embark on one of the walking trails, you are bound to find more.

7. Hop over to the Dutch cemetery, Fort Kochi

The Dutch cemetery is one of the oldest European cemeteries in India
The Dutch cemetery is one of the oldest European cemeteries in India PC: Wikimedia Commons via CC by SA

Considered the oldest European cemetery in India, the Dutch cemetery was built in 1724 – the year inscribed at its entrance. It was built by the Dutch and has over 100 tombs. It is close to the Fort Kochi beach and has several known personalities buried here. It is currently under the care of St Francis church. You should just hop by this place when you are walking along the Fort Kochi beach.

8. Discover the Indo-Portuguese museum

The Indo-Portuguese Museum takes you on an incredible journey showcasing the cultural exchange between India and Portugal over centuries. Each of the five galleries in this Fort Kochi museum is filled with precious treasures from the past. You’ll find stunning pieces of art ranging from religious sculptures to intricately carved wooden furniture adorned with mother-of-pearl inlays.

This Fort Kochi sightseeing attraction is located in the residence of the Bishop of Kochi. The collection here is largely from the various churches in Kerala and goes back to as early as the 16th century.

The Indo-Portuguese museum is closed on Mondays as well as public holidays. You can visit it between 9 am and 6 pm on the other days. It is, however, closed for lunch between 1 pm and 2 pm.

9. Walk through the Jew Town in Fort Kochi

Visit the Jew Town - one of the best things to do in Fort Kochi
Visit the Jew Town – one of the best things to do in Fort Kochi

This is my favorite among all the things to do in Fort Kochi. The Mattancherry Jew Town is possibly the oldest settlement of Jews in India. Our guide told us that the first settlement of Jews was as early as the 12th century. These Jews blended into the local community and made this place their home. They even, build synagogues out here.

The Star of David on the Jewish homes in Fort Kochi
The Star of David on the Jewish homes in Fort Kochi

Later in the 1500s, European Jews arrived and made Fort Kochi their home. These Jews were termed Paradesi Jews (Foreigner Jews). They stayed on till the 1950s after which they moved on to the other part of the world. Most of the Synagogues here were re-used as buildings for different purposes but the one that still remained was the Paradesi Synagogue. (more on that later)

The Mezuzah that you can see on the Jewish homes
The Mezuzah that you can see on the Jewish homes

I walked around exploring the remnants of the ancient colony of Jews. It was fun spotting the heritage homes, of which right now only three are occupied by the 5 sole Jew inhabitants of Fort Kochi. You can identify these homes with their colorful doors, a Mezuzah placed on their doors and the 6 spoked stars of David in their homes in Jew Town Fort Kochi.  

Old times - a picture of Sarah Cohen from her early days in Jew Town, Fort Kochi
Old times – a picture of Sarah Cohen from her early days in Jew Town, Fort Kochi

During my first visit to Fort Kochi, I stepped inside the home of Sarah Cohen – a lady over 95 years who owns an Embroidery shop. Today she is barely aware of the surroundings but her legacy continues through the people who work for her and take care of her. I politely declined an opportunity to take a picture with her for it did not feel right to disturb her. However, I did indulge in capturing some of her legacy with due permission from the staff there.

~ Click here to book a walking tour of this Jewish Town in Mattancherry. It includes a guide that takes you to the various synagogues, the Jewish cemetery and the Jewish Ancestry Tower. ~

10. Discover the Paradesi Synagogue – one of the key Fort Kochi sightseeing places

The Paradesi Synagogue Fort Kochi was built in 1568 by Spanish-speaking Jews (Paradesi Jews) who settled in Kochi after fleeing persecution in Europe. It is located amidst charming narrow lanes of the Mattancherry Jew Town.

One step inside and you will be blown away by the stunning architecture and intricate designs that adorn every nook and cranny. The craftsmanship is just jaw-dropping! You’ll find beautiful Belgian chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, ornate hand-painted blue tiles decorating the floor, and antique copper plates with inscriptions from Jewish traders.

The clocktower of Paradesi Synagogue in Fort Kochi
The clocktower of Paradesi Synagogue in Fort Kochi

The Paradesi Synagogue also houses an impressive collection of rare artifacts and ancient treasures that give you a glimpse into its rich past. One of the highlights is a Torah scroll made of goat skin dating all the way back to 1400 AD!

The Paradesi synagogue has been declared as a protected monument and you have to pay an admission fee to enter here. Make sure you dress appropriately – shorts, sleeveless tops and mini skirts are not allowed. Paradesi Synagogue is one of those unmissable tourist places in Kochi for one day trip.

It is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Also, make sure you do not visit on a Jewish holiday. The Paradesi synagogue timings are from 10 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm.

11. Marvel at the Mattancherry Palace – one of the important Fort Kochi attractions

Right next to the Paradesi Synagogue is the gorgeous Mattancherry Palace. The eclectic palace was built by the Portuguese and gifted to the Maharaja of Kochi. Later, it was extended by the Dutch and was called the Dutch Palace.

Mattancherry palace or Dutch Palace - one of the attractions in Kochi
Mattancherry palace or Dutch Palace – one of the attractions in Kochi PC: Wikimedia Commons via CC by SA

The Mattancherry Palace is beautiful and a perfect mix of Indian and European styles of architecture. On one hand, you will see murals within the palace showcasing the Indian Gods – Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna while the iconic exteriors sport the typical European arches.

The palace also houses various artifacts showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. You’ll find everything from royal furniture adorned with exquisite carvings to ancient coins that will transport you back in time. Oh yeah! Don’t forget to explore the beautiful courtyard surrounded by lush greenery – perfect for some Insta-worthy shots or simply relaxing amidst nature’s beauty. No wonder it is one of the most popular tourist places in Fort Kochi.

The Mattancherry palace is closed on Fridays. You can visit it between 9.30 am and 5 pm on the other days. It is, however, closed for lunch between 1 pm and 2 pm.

12. Don’t miss shopping in Fort Kochi

Shopping in Fort Kochi
Shopping in Fort Kochi

Whether it is the main road from the St.Francis church or the Jew Town, there are just enough colors and textures to attract you. The shopaholic in you is bound to leap out and it would just not feel right if you don’t stop by these street shops.

Jewish Hats and the embroidery in Sarah Cohen's shop
Jewish Hats and the embroidery in Sarah Cohen’s shop

From spices to perfumes to cute magnets and colorful clothes – there are just so many things to buy in Kochi. Spices in particular are highly renowned. In fact, Kochi is known to export these for centuries. I would recommend you buy these from Mattancherry Bazaar street.

Step into the authentic Jewish shop like that of Sarah Cohen and buy one of their hand made embroideries of Jewish cap – for a keepsake and also, to support the locals there.

13. Catch a vibrant Kathakali performance at the Arts and Culture Center in Fort Kochi

Kathakali dancer
Kathakali dancer

Witnessing the famous Kathakali dance with its colorful costumes, expressive moves, and gestures that tell you an engrossing tale is one of the best things to do in Fort Kochi. There are several arts and culture centers where you can book a show. Alternatively, you can book skip-the-line tickets through Viator. GetYourGuide also, offers an online booking for the show along with lunch or dinner.

Some of these shows also, have a backstage pass where you can even witness the artist before the show, as he puts on his elaborate make-up – right from painting his face to the accessories he wears and the jewelry he dons. Trust me, even that is quite an immersive experience.

14. Capture the Fort Kochi street art

Street art in Fort Kochi
Street art in Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi’s streets are like an open-air gallery, where every corner unveils a masterpiece waiting to be discovered. Artists from all around the globe have left their mark on these walls, giving them a new lease of life and adding a splash of color to the already colorful town.

One of the most iconic pieces you’ll come across is the giant mural of Kathakali dancers. This traditional Indian dance form is beautifully depicted on a massive wall, capturing the essence and grace of this centuries-old art form. It’s impossible to walk past without being captivated by its sheer beauty.

As you stroll through Fort Kochi’s narrow lanes, keep an eye out for various other striking artworks that adorn buildings and walls. From intricate portraits to abstract designs bursting with creativity – there’s something for every artistic taste here.

The age-old custom of chillum that prevails in Varanasi

If you like street art, check this post on the city of Varanasi and its amazing murals.

What makes this street art scene even more fascinating is that it constantly evolves. New artists arrive regularly, leaving their unique imprints on these ancient streets. The ever-changing nature of this artwork keeps visitors coming back time and again, eager to witness fresh creations that breathe life into the walls. This is why these street arts are the evergreen attractions in Kochi.

15. Hop around and enjoy the best local food in Fort Kochi

From traditional Kerala cuisine to international delights, Fort Kochi has something for everyone. However, I highly recommend you skew your food cravings to the local fare.  Head over to the Oceanos Restaurant, for some seafood. Located along Fort Kochi Beach Road, this seaside eatery offers breathtaking vistas of the Arabian Sea while serving up an array of fresh catch-of-the-day dishes cooked to perfection.

There is the unique You Buy We cook concept where you buy off the fishermen of Fort Kochi and the restaurant cooks it for you. You will find a lot of them around Fort Kochi Beach.

Among the other recommended restaurants in Fort Kochi is the Fort House Restaurant. This offers a blend of traditional Kerala dishes and international cuisine. With its charming courtyard setting and warm hospitality, it makes a great place to spend some time.

Idiyappams - my favorite Kerala food
Idiyappams – my favorite Kerala food

The local food here is not just about seafood. For vegetarians, there is mouthwatering avial coupled with appams and idiyappams – my personal favorite and recommendation. I can eat these anytime though they are quite popular as a breakfast option. I also, loved the authentic Kerala plantain leaf meals. My hubby, on the other hand, gorged on the Kerala biryani  – wherever and whenever he got it

You can book a food tour in Kochi through this link.

16. Experience the quaint combination of art and food in the popular art cafes in Fort Kochi.

The topmost in this list is the Kashi Art Gallery which offers you an unusual artistic ambiance to enjoy some breakfast and coffee. If you have not visited this, it is as if your Fort Kochi tour is incomplete. They are one of the highly rated cafes in Fort Kochi for their consistently good food.

Loafer’s Corner café is yet another renowned art café that has become quite popular on Instagram for its gorgeous décor. The David Hall Café was a near miss for me – I was told that their thin-crust pizza is one of the best dishes served. A quaint – little-known art café that came to me as highly recommended is the Farmer’s café – especially for their salads.

17. Enjoy one of the amazing festivals of Kochi

Fort Kochi’s phenomenal blend of cultures is further enhanced by its amazing festivals. There are two of them that I highly recommend you look out for. The first is the annual Cochin Carnival that takes place around New Year’s. The festival is centered around Vasco Da Gama Square and includes numerous sports, musical performances and fun activities. The fortnight-long festival even has a procession of elephants decorated with designs that reflect the various cultures in India.

The burning of Pappanji during the Cochin Carnival
The burning of Pappanji during the Cochin Carnival PC: Wikimedia Commons via CC by SA

One of the highlights of the Cochin carnival is the burning of a giant statue called Pappanji exactly at the stroke of the midnight hour on New Year. The statue is that of a bearded old man in a suit and this tradition is basically to say goodbye to the old and bring in the new.

The Fort Kochi carnival is well attended by people from across the world. The exact dates and events are usually detailed here. You should plan and book your hotels in Fort Kochi – well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Art installations on Kochi beach during the Biennale Kochi
Art installations on Kochi beach during the Biennale Kochi PC: Wikimedia Commons via CC by SA

The other festival is an Arts festival called Kochi-Muziris Biennale or simply Biennale Kochi. This is celebrated for four months and draws artists from across the world. It has been recognized as the largest art exhibition in the country and the biggest Asian contemporary art festival. During this festival, you will see numerous exhibits on a wide range of mediums – from films to music and even paintings. In fact, some of the Fort Kochi street art has been created during this celebration.

Art cafes, heritage homes, Cochin Club and various other grounds are used as venues for the Kochi Biennale festival. You can check the dates and events through this website.

18. Lounge around the Vasco Da Gama square

Named after the legendary Portuguese explorer, this square marks the spot where Vasco Da Gama first set foot in India. It’s a tangible testament to Kochi’s multi-layered past, where colonial, indigenous, and maritime histories intersect. It presents an intriguing blend of experiences – from engaging with the friendly local fishermen, savoring spicy prawns straight out of the sea, visiting the nearby St. Francis Church, to simply sitting on the seawall, watching the playful waves hit the shore. There is even a small play area for the kids

This square is the start of Fort Kochi beach and from here, you can see the Chinese fishing nets which Kochi is famous for. It is also, the place where the flag for the Cochin Carnival is hoisted to signify the beginning of a two-week-long fiesta.

19. Drop by the Strings Museum – one of the unique things to do in Fort Kochi

Strings Museum is one of the unique places in Fort Kochi that is dedicated to the history and culture of stringed instruments from around the world. Housed in a beautiful traditional Kerala building, the exhibits include stringed instruments from over 250 different countries and territories.

There are guitars, violins, sitar, veena, mridangam, and many more. You can also learn about the history of stringed instruments, and how they have been used in different cultures.

You can also join a workshop where you can learn how to make your own stringed instrument.  Alternatively, you can just witness one of the live music and dance performances.

20. Take a trip to Vypin Island

Take a day trip to Vypin Island
Take a day trip to Vypin Island PC: Wikimedia Commons via CC by SA

Catch one of the many ferries at Fort Kochi Beach and visit Vypin Island. Located between the backwaters in Kochi and the Arabian Sea, this island was a part of the Portuguese settlement. You can see the remnants of the same in the various churches here – especially the Church of Our Lady of Hope and the Pallipuram Fort.

You can also drive across the island from Cochin as it is connected by a series of bridges. However, my personal recommendation is to take a boat ride in Kochi. It just adds a fun element to this Fort Kochi activity.

21. Enroll yourself for a Yoga course

Fort Kochi has tons of Yoga studios that you can choose from based on your level of expertise. From intense Ashtanga yoga to soothing Hatha Yoga, you can literally pick your pace and challenge yourself with the many classes they offer. Some of them are even attached to cafes – making your after-class experience even more enjoyable.

A few of the recommended Yoga studios in Fort Kochi that I found during my research include Praana Yoga Studio and Loving earth yoga studio. Check them out or book one of the others online through this link.

22. Opt for a soothing ayurvedic massage in Fort Kochi

Spa Time during my stay at RCI affiliated Sterling Holidays Wayanad
Get an ayurvedic massage while in Fort Kochi

Kerala is known for its ayurvedic treatments and massages. It, in fact, draws a lot of foreign visitors precisely for this. You can experience a slice of this therapeutic treatment by signing up for an ayurvedic spa treatment right in Fort Kochi. There are several ayurvedic spas that offer you a variety of options. You can opt for stress-relieving treatments or go specific for any possible ailments that you might have.

Use this link to book this highly-rated option online through Viator.com. You can book your ayurvedic massage in Kochi at your hotel too. They might have their own spas or might have a tie-up with one

23. Visit the Kerala Folklore Museum – one of the places around Fort Kochi

The Kerala Folklore Museum is one of the hidden attractions in Kochi – just a few kilometers away from Fort Kochi. The museum is housed in a beautiful traditional Kerala – styled building, and the exhibits are spread over three floors.

Kerala Folklore Museum
Kerala Folklore Museum PC: Wikimedia Commons via CC by SA

On the first floor, you’ll find a collection of stone, wood, and bronze sculptures, as well as ancient terracotta, stone age objects, jewelry, paintings, oil lamps, musical instruments, tribal and folk art, woodwork, utensils, masks, and traditional art forms. There’s also a large collection of face art, which is mind-boggling to see.

The second floor is dedicated to dance, with costumes and props from Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, and Ottanthullal. There are also exhibits on traditional Kerala festivals, such as Onam and Vishu. The third floor is home to a library and a research center. There are also a number of interactive exhibits, where you can learn about Kerala’s culture and history through games and activities.

Visiting the Kerala Folklore Museum is one of the best things to do in Fort Kochi – especially if you are interested in Kerala’s rich culture and history.

The museum is open from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm, and the entry fee is Rs. 100 for adults and Rs. 50 for students. There’s also a cafe on the premises, where you can enjoy a traditional Kerala meal.

24. Join a cooking class in Fort Kochi

If you loved the flavors of Kerala food that you sample in the restaurants of Fort Kochi, then maybe, you would like to learn how to re-create them at home. Sign up for one of the many cooking classes in Fort Kochi. In fact, this one can be booked online through this link.

25. Kayaking in the backwaters of Kochi

If you are looking for fun things to do in Kochi and have more than a day here, head out to the backwaters and the surrounding mangrove forests  – just 15 km away. The best way to enjoy these serene backwaters in Kochi and explore the lush green landscape is to set off on a kayak.

There are several kayaking tours available in Fort Kochi. Some of them combine this experience with a visit to a prawn farm or include a local fishing tour. They even have drops and pick-ups from your hotel in Fort Kochi or Mattancherry.

26. Take a cycle tour by the backwaters of Kochi

Cycle around the backwaters of Kochi
Cycle around the backwaters of Kochi

A cycle tour by the backwaters of Kochi is a great way to experience the beauty and tranquility of this unique part of Kerala. You’ll pedal through lush green paddy fields, past traditional fishing villages, and along placid canals.

The backwaters in Kochi are a great place to see the local wildlife, including birds, fish, and crocodiles. You may also spot some of the traditional houseboats that are used for accommodation and sightseeing.

The best time to go on a cycle tour is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the light is soft and the temperatures are cooler. You can hire a bicycle from a number of places in Kochi, or you can book a guided tour.

Things to do around Fort Kochi | Day trips from Fort Kochi

27. Take a day trip to Alleppey

The backwaters of Alleppey
The backwaters of Alleppey

While the backwaters of Kochi are a great place to visit, for a more authentic backwater experience, I would highly recommend visiting Alleppey. Book a ride on one of the many houseboats and discover how life on the backwaters really is.

You will sail past green paddy fields, quaint homes with duck farms and see local fishermen at work. Observe some more and you might even catch a waterbus taking kids to school. Birders will love the variety of winged beauties that fly around the massive Vembanad lake. Check out my own experience here.

28. Enjoy a day by the Athirapilly Falls

Pack a picnic basket and head out to one of the largest waterfalls in Kerala. Just 60 km from Fort Kochi are the captivating Athirapilly falls which are best visited between June to October. The monsoon showers made sure that the falls are in their full glory and picturesque best.

After visiting the falls, you can stop at the nearby Vazhachal Falls, which are a series of smaller waterfalls. You can also visit the Thumboormuzhi Dam, which is a beautiful dam located near Athirappilly Falls

29. Spend a day at Cherai beach

Located on Vypin Island in Fort Kochi, Cherai Beach is a perfect place for some water fun. The beach is comparatively cleaner and less crowded than Fort Kochi Beach. Also, you can get into the water and swim around at this beach. Here too, you can indulge in some water sports.

The coconut tree-lined beach has several beach shacks where you can relax with some good food and drinks.

30. Take a day trip to Munnar from Fort Kochi

Munnar - one of the day trips from Fort Kochi that you can take when you visit here
Munnar – one of the day trips from Fort Kochi that you can take when you visit here

If you’re looking for a day trip from Fort Kochi, Munnar is definitely a destination you should consider. Located in the beautiful hills of Kerala, Munnar offers breathtaking views, lush green tea plantations, and cascading waterfalls.

En route, you can stop by the Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls, both offering mesmerizing views and a chance to connect with nature. The rolling hills covered in vibrant green tea leaves create a picturesque setting that is sure to leave you in awe. From the stunning Mattupetty Dam to the enchanting Echo Point, there is plenty to see on your day trip to Munnar.

Well, that completes my list of the best things to do in Fort Kochi. I am sure that the list is only going to grow when I visit this amazing destination again. Or possibly when you write back and tell me something that I might have missed.

The rest of the sections will help you start planning your trip to Fort Kochi. Check them out.

Kochi tourist attractions map

Here is a quick map with the key tourist places in Fort Kochi. You can scroll around to zoom in or out of the map. It gives you a fair idea of the spread of these attractions in Kochi.

Common FAQs about Fort Kochi

What is the difference between Kochi and Fort Kochi?

Kochi or Cochin is the larger city within which Fort Kochi is a chill neighborhood. Kochi as a city has a long and rich history, dating back to the 14th century, and Fort Kochi was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

What is the best way to get to Fort Kochi?

Here are your options for getting to Fort Kochi.

By Air:
Cochin has an international airport that has a reasonably good frequency of flights from Asian countries. The same airport connects the city to the other destinations in India. If you’re arriving by plane, you can take a taxi or bus from Cochin International Airport to Fort Kochi. The distance from the airport to Fort Kochi can be covered in 30 minutes.

By Train:
Get off at the Ernakulam Junction for Fort Kochi. From the train station you can either take a taxi or a bus to Fort Kochi. Alternately, you can get to the Ernakulam Jetty and take the ferry Fort Kochi Jetty. The journey takes about 15 minutes.

Fort Kochi is a relatively small place, so you can easily walk around.

What is the best time to visit Fort Kochi?

The best time to visit Fort Kochi is during the winter months (October to March), when the weather is pleasant. The temperature during this time ranges from 20°C to 30°C. The peak season is usually between December to February – especially during the Cochin Carnival. If you are planning to visit Fort Kochi at this time, then ensure you book your accommodation in advance.

The monsoon season (June to September) can be wet and humid. Summers are quite hot with temperature soaring to over 40 degrees. It can get really uncomfortable to walk around during this time.

Where is the best place to stay in Fort Kochi?

There are tons of options available for your stay in Fort Kochi. These range from luxury properties to homestays in Fort Kochi. You can consider the Malabar House for a luxury or 5 star hotel in Fort Kochi. Frangipani home stay is a highly rated Fort Kochi Homestay. The Fort Manor is known for its travel sustainability and is a well-rated stay in Fort Kochi.

If you do not find hotels in Fort Kochi, you can increase your radius and book some in Cochin city. There are plenty of options within 3 km of Fort Kochi.

How many days are enough for Fort Kochi?

Ideally 2 days would be great to explore Fort Kochi at a leisurely pace. However, if you are short of time, you can cover the main attractions in Kochi in one day.

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