Varkala is a coastal city in Kerala where cliffs face the Arabian sea. The long stretch of the ocean combined with the many scenic beaches like Varkala beach, Kappil beach and other beautiful destinations like the Anjengo Fort and Lighthouse make it a city worth traveling to.
How to reach Varkala
Varkala is well connected by road from all the major cities of Kerala. The most frequent buses to Varkala can be found from Trivandrum. Very well maintained AC buses from Trivandrum run to Varkala at affordable prices which are a great option for anyone traveling from Trivandrum to Varkala.
Varkala has its own railway station which is called ‘Varkala Sivagiri Railway Station’. The station is just 3.5 km away from the Varkala beach. You can easily get taxis or autos from the station.
The nearest airport to Varkala is the Trivandrum International Airport. You will get local taxis for Varkala at the airport itself or you can catch a bus or train from the Trivandrum bus stand or railway station respectively. The buses and train are very frequent.
Best time to visit
October to March is the best time to visit Varkala. As it is a coastal area, the summers are quite hot and humid and there is a heavy rainfall during monsoons. The winters are mostly always pleasant which also means you can sit back and relax at the beach without worrying about too much sunburn or rain.
Places to visit:
1. Varkala Beach and Cliff:
Entry fee: None
Transport: There are several autos available all around the city. You can even rent a scooter if you’re there for a long time.
Time: Open 24 hours
Varkala beach is the only beach in Kerala where you will find a cliff adjacent to the Arabian sea. The cliff is basically a long walkway with lots of cafes and shops lined up. It also has many homestays, resorts, and hotels at the back of these shops. You will also find some really good yoga therapy and meditation centers at the same place. The combination of all of the above things makes Varkala beach and cliff one of the best places to visit in not just Varkala, but Kerala too.
The only thing you need to take care of is the absurdly expensive shops here. As soon as they realize you’re a tourist, they increase the prices many folds. I personally suggest you shop from some other place if you are not very good at bargaining (even though you would not be able to stop yourself from buying a few handicrafts and clothes from here).
The beach is absolutely clean and is quite rocky. Take care you do not slip off the stairs.
Transport: You can easily take an auto to the temple from anywhere in the city. The temple is situated just 3 km away from the railway station
Time: 5:30 am to 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
The Janardhana Swamy temple faces the Papanasam beach. The architecture of this temple is like none other. The temple is entirely made of stone, wood, and copper. The square shape wooden mandapam transfers you to the 17th century (which is when this temple was last renovated). The temple has a history of 2000 years. The main shrine in the temple is that of the four-armed Lord Vishnu. The presence of the Janardhana Swamy temple at the beach adds up to its beauty and makes it one of a kind.
3. Kappil beach and lake:
Entry fee: None
Transport: You will rarely get an auto to the beach. It is best to hire a taxi or rent a scooter.
Time: Open 24 hours
Imagine a road with backwaters on one side and ocean on the other. That’s what Kappil beach and lake is! This has to be one of the most unique and breathtaking views you will see in your life. There is no specific area of the beach, it is a long one all running parellel to the hihgway from Varkala to Cochin. Just park your car and enjoy the ocean breeze and the relaxing sounds of the waves. At the Kappil lake, you can find many different types of boating options. You can even kayak into the stunning backwaters! The prices for the same although varies from 500- 2000 INR (approx).
Transport: The fort is 12 km from the Varkala town. Hiring a taxi or renting a scooter is adviced.
Time: 9:00 am to 6:30 pm
The Anjengo fort and lighthouse are a treat for the history buffs. The fort is situated in between the backwaters and the ocean. The history of this fort is quite captivating which is enhanced by the antique graveyards and the architecture of the place. History has it, the English tried to capture the fort and made it the primary exchange settlement of the East India Company.
Transport: You will have to take a special jetty from Nedunganda Village. The island lies 20 km from Varkala.
Time: 7 am to 6 pm
This beautiful island of Kerala is a hub of migratory birds. You can take a boat ride in the lake adjoining this island (which is the Akathumuri Lake) and enjoy the clean beaches and waters that surround this island. This island is also called the ‘Golden Island’. It also has a 100-year-old Siva-Parvathy temple which is worth a visit for its rustic architecture.
Where to stay
There are several homestays and hotels available right at the Varkala beach. We stayed a few kilometers away from the Varkala beach. The house was situated 2 minutes from the beach. This beach was an extension of the Varkala Beach and was absolutely clean and very few people seemed to know about it. The name of the place was ‘Breeze house’. The hosts were very generous and kind. The best part of the house is a thick jungle right adjacent to the house where you can see fireflies at night!
This place was absolute magic and I highly recommend anyone visiting Varkala to stay here.
Details: Mr Rajesh, Breeze House Varkala: 70012244190, 8086636881