Alappuzha, formerly anglicized as Alleppey is one of the most popular and sought-after travel destinations in the state of Kerala. Surrounded by marshlands, lagoons, snaking canals, and dense coconut groves, Alleppey is famous as a backwater destination that has put the state on the global travel map. The town is located 55Km from Kochi and 155Km from Trivandrum. Dotted with houseboats and paddy fields, this tranquil town on the Malabar coast is sure to give you the idyllic holiday that you seek.
Table of Contents
- Things to do in Alleppey
- History & Geography of Alleppey
- How to Plan a trip to Alleppey
- Places to stay in Alleppey
Things to Do in Alleppey
Alleppey tourism is more than local sightseeing. Apart from visiting the popular tourist places, you can do these fun and interesting things on your trip –
- Head out on a speed boat for a day picnic to the nearby Pathiramanal Island, a scenic island with dense vegetation and perfect climatic conditions. The island is home to a host of native flora and fauna and the perfect spot for bird-watching.
- Make your experience more authentic and take your vacation to the next level by staying at an Alleppey houseboat surrounded by coconut groves and paddy fields, and waking up to the river lapping at the boat.
- Take a bike ride around the town, stop at popular sites, or explore the hidden corners, shop or dine at local haunts.
- Visit the local villages and enjoy a country-style meal and fresh toddy palm.
- For a change of scenario, head to the Marari Beach, known for its white, sandy, palm-fringed beaches.
- Rent a kayak or a shikara boat and sail down the Vembanad Lake or other canals, and sift through the snaking water channels and under drooping mangroves and coconuts and have an experience of a lifetime.
[Also Read: #60DaysOfSummer – Backwaters of Alleppey]
Places to Visit in Alleppey
Here are some of the most iconic and popular places to visit in Alleppey –
- Vembanad Lake – The longest lake in India and the largest in Kerala. It is known by different names in different places. You can go bird watching around the lake, walk the nature trails, do a boat ride on the lagoon or stay in a houseboat.
- Alleppey Beach – The city’s main seafront, the Alleppey Beach is a popular haunt for locals and tourists alike. Relax under the palm-fringed shores or picnic on the beach. You can also enjoy the incredible sunset views from the 150-years old pier. The beachfront also hosts the Sand Art Festival and the Alappuzha Beach Festival.
- Punnapra Beach – An isolated beach located 12 KM from the main town. The serene shores boast golden sands and clear waters because of lesser visitors. Spend a quiet afternoon or evening on the beach, a romantic date or try an ayurvedic massage, offered by the beachside therapy centres.
- Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple – An ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord. It was built in the traditional Kerala style architectural pattern.
- St. Mary’s Basilica – Also called the St. Mary’s Forane Church, this is an ancient Syro-Malabar church, built in 427AD. It is one of the oldest Syrian Catholic churches in India and an iconic historical structure of Kerala.
- Krishnapuram Palace – Built during the reign of Travancore king Marthanda Varma, this two-story structure boasts traditional Kerala architectural style. The highlight of the palace is the 53 sq. foot mural painting called the Gajendra Moksha, which also has historical significance.
- Bay Island Driftwood Museum – A local museum known for innovative modern techniques of creating sculptures out of roots and tree trunks, and other art made of driftwood.
Unexplored Places/Hidden Gems
Besides the famous places, there are a few lesser-known gems that might interest you –
- Homestay at the Colone’s Beach Villa offers a customized stay experience with home-cooked food.
- Revi Karuna Karan Memorial Museum, a privately owned museum, boasts a huge collection of porcelain, ivory, and Swarovski crystals.
Places to visit nearby
On your trip, you can also explore other interesting destinations nearby. Check out these places near Alleppey –
- Munnar: At only 159 Km from Alleppey, Munnar is rich in agricultural bounties and breathtaking hilly landscapes. Rent a car in Alleppey and explore the tea, coffee, and spice plantations, viewing points, waterfalls, and cosy estates. Also, visit the Celtic dolmens in Marayoor or camp at the Anamudi Shola Forests.
- Aluva: The quiet town of Aluva sits only 73 Km away from Alleppy, on the banks of the Periyar River, making it ideal for a day trip. Rent a car in Aluva and discover the old kingdom of Travancore and its architectural marvel. Drive along the mid-century Marthanda Varma Bridge, or tour the religious sites.
- Trivandrum: Also called Thiruvananthapuram, the ancient temple town of Kerala is 146 Km away from Alleppey and takes only 3.5 hours if you rent a car in Alleppey. Take a tour of the temples that date back to 300 years or more and be in awe of the classic architecture and art.
- Kumarakom: About 53 Km from Kochi, you can reach the dainty backwater locale of Kumarakom dotted with lagoons and fishing villages. Try your hands at fishing and enjoy a fresh catch of Karimeen, black clams, shrimps and more for a delectable meal. Witness the Kumarakom Boat Race or visit the dense rubber plantations. You can also trek to the Aruvikkuzhi Falls, located amidst one of the plantations.
Places to Eat in Alleppey
Alleppey food is predominantly traditional Kerala food based on local fare like coconuts, fish, seafood, toddy, etc.
Check out these top-rated restaurants on your tour –
- Taste of Venice
- BayRoute Bistro
- Hassan’s Family Restaurant
- Noorjahan Restaurant and Bakery
- Halais Restaurant
- Kebab Nation
- Oru Dosa Company
History & Geography of Alleppey
Alleppey sits on the southwestern part of Kerala, on the Laccadive Sea and covers an area of 1414 sq. km. A large portion of the town is bordered by the massive Vembanad Lake, which spreads out into six major rivers before ending into the coastline of Alleppey. These backwaters are home to a host of native and migratory birds. The entire district is a strip of sandy land with a dense network of lagoons and canals. While there are no forested lands or hilly areas, the scattered hillocks of Bharanikkavu and Chengannur, along with the coconut groves, paddy fields, and other local vegetation make for a lush surrounding.
History & Culture
The history of Alleppey dates back to the Middle Ages and there are pieces of evidence to show the region’s trade relations with Greece and Rome of that era. Some documents show the history of Alappuzha from the time of the Sangam dynasty but the region gained prominence under Maharaja Marthanda Varma, who was known as the “Maker of the Modern Travancore”. The present-day district of Alleppey was formed by adding parts of Kottayam and Kollam, in 1957.
Modern-day Alleppey is a multi-cultural place the diverse local communities along with a small ethnic tribal population, influencing its culture. But the district has been known historically to have played an important role in the development and evolution of the Malayalam language, art, literature, and music that defines the overall culture of Kerala.
The name Alleppey was an anglicized form of the traditional name Alappuzha. George Curzon, the Viceroy of India was impressed by the network of canals, backwaters, and lagoons, and compared it to Venice, thus giving the town its sobriquet – the Venice of the East.
How to Plan a Trip to Alleppey
How to Reach Alleppey
Alleppey railway station is well-connected by train to the rest of Kerala and other major destinations across India. There are frequent trains to Alleppey from Kochi, Calicut, Kottayam, Kollam, Trivandrum, etc.
Alleppey has an excellent road network connecting to the rest of the state, and neighbouring states via NH66. There are frequent state-run and private buses from Mumbai, Udupi, Mangalore, Kannur, Kochi, Ernakulam, Kollam, and Trivandrum. The best way to reach Alleppey from any of these places is to take a rental car or book a private cab and drive through the scenic route.
There is no flight connectivity in Alleppey. The nearest airport is in Kochi, about 60KM away. If you are travelling from other parts of the country, you can also fly to Trivandrum, about 150KM away. From either of these airports, you have to take an airport cab or rent a car to drive to Alleppey.
Best time to Visit
Alleppey experiences tropical coastal weather. While the summers are hot and humid, winters are cool and pleasant but sunny and breezy. The monsoon period sees heavy rainfall. Therefore, the best time to visit Alleppey is between October and February, when the temperatures in Alleppey is quite comfortable to stay on the backwaters or explore the outdoors.
Hotels and Resorts in Alleppey
Here are some of the best resorts and hotels to check out for a great stay –
- Palmgrove Lake Resort
- Time Square Boutique Hotel
- Kallappura Homestay and Houseboat
- Canoe Ville
- Kuttichira Heritage Home
- The Dream Cruises
- Malayalam Lake Resorts
- Pozhiyoram Beach Resorts