Things to Do in Kannur – A Complete Travel Guide

Table of Contents

  1. About Kannur
  2. Things to do in Kannur
  3. How to Plan a trip to Kannur
  4. Places to stay in Kannur

About Kannur

Kannur Travel Guide

An ancient trading hub, Kannur sits in the northernmost part of Kerala. Kannur city is the administrative headquarters of the district. It is located north of Kochi and Calicut, and south of Mangalore. With colonial structures, a rich legacy of art and culture, and a laid-back beach vibe which makes it a promising travel destination.

History of Kannur

The old name of Kannur used to be Cannanore, during the colonial era, when it was a part of the Malabar District in the Madras Presidency. The earliest evidence of human habitation in this region can be dated back to the Neolithic Age, derived from the rock-cut caves, megalithic burial sites, dolmens, stone epitaphs etc. In the Middle Ages, it was the headquarter of the Kolathunadu dynasty – one of the four most significant empires of Kerala.

Video Credits: Kishore Asokan
[Also Read: Why Kerala can be the most trusted destination after COVID]

Why is Kannur called the City of Looms and Lores?

Traditionally, weaving was a major occupation of the city, run by the community of weavers, who were one of the early settlers. They would mostly produce woven fabrics for temples and royal families. For its flourishing handloom industry and high-quality fabrics, the place came to be known as Manchester of Kerala during the colonial days.

The city is also associated with several folklores. For starters, the name Kannur is derived from Kannan or Krishna. True to the etymology, there are many temples dedicated to Krishna. Furthermore, the local myths and legends form an important part of the traditional culture, showcased in the local art form of Theyyam.

Kannur Travel Guide - Theyyam
Local art form, Theyyam.

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What is Kannur Famous for?

The old port town is famous for its clean and scenic beaches, iconic historical monuments, and local folk art. But most importantly, the district is also considered to be the home of the famous Thalassery biriyani – the most iconic style of Biriyani in Kerala.

Kannur Biryani
Thalassery Biriyani

[Also Read: Find Malaysia in Kerala’s largest tea museum]

Things/ Activities to do in Kannur

Kannur tourism has more to offer than sightseeing. Besides the popular tourist spots, you can also do these things to make the most of your vacation–

  • Visit the sparkling waterfalls. Alakapuri, Palchuram, Kudiyanmala, and Meenmutty are some of the famous Kannur falls. Each of these natural cascades is located within a serene and lush environment and promises a great outdoor experience.
  • Watch a Theyyam performance. It is an intriguing and vibrant art form of Malabar which brings life to interesting local myths, folklores, and legends. The dancers dress up in traditional costumes and invoke the divine powers through immersive ritualistic dances.
  • Take a kayak ride on the clear waters of the Dharmadam beach.
  • Take a tour of the countryside in the villages of Nileshwar. You can visit the farms, meet the local artisans and fishermen, try fishing or toddy tapping.
Kannur Travel Guide

Places to visit in Kannur

Graced with history, art, architecture, and scenic landscape, there are a host of tourist places in for you to visit. Check out some of these best tourist places –

1. St. Angelo Fort

  • How to Reach – The legendary fort is located at 3KM from the city railway station. You can book a local taxi, bus, or auto to reach
  • Timings– 8AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required– Less than 1 hour
  • Tips: You can also visit the beach adjacent to the base of the fort.

2. Kannur Lighthouse

  • How to Reach – The lighthouse sits at 2KM from the city railway station. You can take the local bus, auto, or taxi or rent a car to reach.
  • Timing s– 9AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 hours
  • Tips – For the best views, visit at sunset.

3. Arakkal Museum

  • How to Reach – Set in an ancient palace, the museum is located at 3KM from the city railway station. You can book a local taxi, bus, or auto to reach.
  • Timings– 9.30AM-5.30PM
  • Entry Fee– INR 10
  • Time Required– 1-2 hours
  • Tips: Check for updated information for post-covid timings.

4. Parassinikkadavu Snake Park

  • How to Reach – The park is located at 17KM from Kannur railway station. You can book a cab or take the local bus or auto to reach.
  • Timings– 9.30AM-5.30PM
  • Entry Fee
    • 0 – 5 years: Free
    • 6 – 17 years: INR 20
    • 18 – 79 years: INR 30
    • Above 80: Free
  • Time Required– 1-2 Hours

Places to visit near Kannur

Besides all the famous places, there are many beautiful nearby places that you can add to your list.

1. Palakayyam Thattu

Palakayyam Thattu
Palakayyam Thattu
  • How to Reach – One of the best hill stations in the Kannur district, this is located at 52KM from Kannur city. You can book an outstation cab to reach.
  • Timings– 24Hours
  • Entry Fee– NA
  • Time Required– 1 day
  • Tips: For the best experience, visit between December and January.

2. Ezhimala

  • How to Reach – The historical beach town sits at 34KM from Kannur city. You can book an outstation cab for the day to travel and return.
  • Timings– 24 Hours
  • Entry Fee– NA
  • Time Required– 5-6 hours
  • Tips: Visit the Mount Dilli Lighthouse on the top of the hill on the Ezhimala beach.

 3. Flower valley Madayipara

  • How to Reach – The valley area sits at 25KM from Kannur city. You can book a cab or rent a car for the day to travel and return.
  • Timings– Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee– NA
  • Time Required– 2-3 Hours
  • Tips: Visit during November to see the valley in full bloom.

4. Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

  • How to Reach – The sanctuary is located at 59KM from Kannur city. You can book a cab or rent a private car to travel.
  • Timings– 8 AM-4 PM
  • Entry Fee- INR 15 (adults), INR 7 (children below 12 years)
  • Time Required– 3-4 Hours
  • Tips: Stay at one of the nature camps or forest lodges for the complete wildlife experience.

Beaches in Kannur

Kannur sightseeing is not complete without visiting the beaches. Check out these scenic beaches on your trip –

1. Payyambalam Beach

Kannur Payyambalam Beach
Payyambalam Beach
  • How to Reach – The popular beach lies at 2.2KM from the city railway station. You can book a cab or take the local auto, bus, or taxi to reach.
  • Timings– 24 hours
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required– 2-3 hours
  • Tips: You can do boating or other water sports here.

2. Muzhappilangad Beach

  • Timings– 24 Hours
  • Entry Fee- Free. INR 10 for driving a private vehicle on the beach.
  • Time Required– 1-2 hours
  • Tips: Visit during sunset for the best views.

3. Baby Beach

  • How to Reach – The beach is located at 2KM from the city railway station. You can book a cab, or take the local auto or bus to reach.
  • Timings– Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee- Free
  • Time Required– 1-2 hours
  • Tips: You can also visit the Kannur Lighthouse and Lighthouse Museum nearby.

[Also Read: Varkala – A lesser known gem of Kerala]

Places to eat in Kannur

Here are some of the best restaurants to sample the special food of the place like Thalassery biriyani, unnakaya, Kallumakkaya and more –

  • MVK Restaurant
  • Chifonets
  • Pepperpot Restaurant
  • Odhen’s Hotel
  • Barka Restaurant
  • Palahram

How to Plan a Trip to Kannur

How to reach Kannur

By Train

Kannur is a major railhead of Kerala. The city is well-connected to other cities and towns in the state and across India. There are frequent trains from Delhi, Mangalore, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Coimbatore, etc. to Kannur.

By Road

Kannur is well-connected to the rest of Kerala and neighbouring states via national and state highways. There are regular state-run and private buses from Calicut, Kasargod, and Wayanad to Kannur. You can also book a cab or rent a private car from any nearby city or town to reach Kannur.

By Flight

There is no airport in Kannur. The city is served by Calicut International Airport, in Kozhikode, about 115KM away. There are frequent flights from all cities and towns in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mangalore, and Chennai. You can book an airport taxi in Calicut to reach Kannur.

Best time to visit Kannur

Kannur experiences a typical coastal climate with hot and humid summers and cool winters. The monsoon period sees heavy rain. It is best to visit during the winter months, between October and February, when the Kannur weather is very pleasant to explore outdoors. Otherwise, you can also visit during or just after the monsoon, when the temperature in Kannur drops a little after summer.

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Best Hotels & Resorts in Kannur

Check out some of these best resorts for your next trip –

  • Ocean Green Homestay
  • Mascot Beach Resort
  • State Beach Boutique Resort
  • Beach Residency
  • KTDC Loomland Kannur
  • Marmara Beach House

Witness the beauty of Kannur by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.  

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Kannur: Manchester of Kerala | A Complete Travel Guide
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Kannur: Manchester of Kerala | A Complete Travel Guide
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An ancient trading hub, Kannur sits in the northernmost part of Kerala. With colonial structures, a rich legacy of art and culture, and a laid-back beach vibe makes it a promising travel destination.
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About the author

I grew up sneaking away to read the well-worn travel magazines I found at my grandfather's house. Today I write stories of my travel experiences and adventures.

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