Varkala beach, also known as Papanasham beach, is found between Alleppey and Kovalam. Being an epitome of picturesque beauty, it feeds the photographers with varieties of stills thereby satiating their desire of capturing exquisite things. It is said that one dip – if made in the waters of this beach removes the sins committed for a life time.
Many tourists consider vibrant Varkala beach as a viable alternative to Kovalam. Cliff clad beaches and pretty vivid surroundings set a nice joyous feel attractive enough to spend a few days here.
Varkala’s uniqueness is the beauty of its peculiar landscape. The land, at a significantly elevated level than the sea, forms a wavy cliff for a long stretch of more than a kilometer. The cliff’s edge provides breathtakingly beautiful view of sea and sand. It takes 50 or so steps to get to the beach that lies well below. There we find one of the best beaches in Kerala, as a fine stretch of sand gorgeously spread between the red cliff and the sea. The cliff harbours 20 or so restaurants and an even greater number of shops selling anything from carpets to curiosa. Fine resorts in addition to Ayurveda and Yoga places have also sprang up in this one kilometre stretch. The prominent Sree Janardhana Swami Temple is situated near cliff edge, as well.
Varkala is popular with both locals and tourists alike. For Hindus, it is a sacred place often included in their pilgrimage list. Tourists, on the other hand, are happy to discover several engaging activities for a few days of fine leisure.
The sandy shallow beach is popular for swimming and sunbathing. For water sports enthusiasts, scuba diving, parasailing and wind surfing are available.
While swimming, though, be aware that at times the sea throws some nasty strong under currents. So a watchful eye over kids is necessary.
Wider choice of alternative activities that can be perfectly combined with relaxed Varkala beach holidays is a huge plus. Ayurveda and Yoga deserve mention along with the renowned local massage. Varkala sightseeing is a great experience, thanks to scenic surroundings such as Kappil backwaters.
Beach side restaurants are perfect places to settle with some Chai and a book. Or else simply indulge in some great food. Eateries which let you select from displayed fish and then promptly grill it right in front are quite popular. The cliff top is a favorite hangout place for tourists throughout their holidays in Varkala.
Location : South Kerala
District : Trivandrum
Nearest towns : Kollam at 37 Kms, Trivandrum at 54 Kms, Varkala town at 3 Kms and Attingal at 24 Kms
Bus Station : Varkala Bus Station at 3 Kms
Taxi/ Auto-rikshaw Hire : Varkala Town at 3 Kms
Railway Station : Varkala Railway Station at 3 Kms. Well connected to other towns/cities. About 20 trains stopping here per day make travel to Varkala easier.
Air port : Trivandrum Int’l Airport (TRV) at 51 Kms
Food Options : Several restaurants on Varkala beach cliff top.
Accommodation Options : Budget to luxury hotels, lodges, Resorts and homestays at Varkala beach and town
Best time to visit : September till May. Can be visited throughout the year, heavy monsoon rain (Jun-Aug) can severely restrict travel plans though.
Nearby Attractions : Sivagiri Temple/ Mutt, Janardhana Swamy Temple, Anjengo Fort Varkala, Varkala Tunnel, Ponnumthuruth Island, Kappil backwaters, Neyyar Dam, Agastyakoodam, Ponmudi Hill station, Ananda Valleeswaram Temple, Thirumullavaram beach, Thangasseri beach, Ashramam Picnic Village, Mahatma Gandhi beach and Kollam town (Shopping & food).
More great destinations can be found in the Explore Beaches in India page.