Nestled on the south-western coast of India, Kochi or Cochin is a port city and one of the top tourist destinations in Kerala. The city, which once served as the main center of India’s spice trade, has been enticing travelers for centuries now and why not. Where else can you see houses that display Dutch and Portuguese architectural elements, an ancient Jewish synagogue, enormous Chinese fishing nets, monuments that date back to the British Raj, and temples that testify to Kerala’s rich art and architecture?
Preparing an itinerary covering all these attractions might not be an easy task. Relax! We have worked it out for you. Here’s a comprehensive 2-day itinerary to explore the best sights and scenes in Kochi.
7.30 am – 9.30 am: Stroll down Fort Kochi Beach and see Chinese fishing nets, followed by breakfast
Begin your first day early and head out to Fort Kochi Beach where you can see rows of gigantic Chinese fishing nets suspended over the sea as fishermen go about working on them. This part of Kochi’s shoreline is dotted with colonial-style bungalows, which offer an alluring sight. While walking down the beach, take a closer look at the ruins of Fort Emmanuel – the first Portuguese fort in the continent. After the morning stroll, proceed for a delicious breakfast.
Where to eat
- Sea Shore Beach Restaurant
- East Indies
- Sutra Restaurant
- What The Fish
- Jetty Restaurant
- Malabar Junction
- Teapot Café
- Qissa Café
A short distance away from the beach is Fort Kochi, one of the top tourist places to visit in Kochi and your next stop for the day.
- By road: 5 minutes’ drive
- By walk: 8 to 10 minutes
9.45 am – 2.15 pm: Discover the past glory of Fort Kochi followed by a quick lunch
The name Fort Kochi is a misnomer. It is neither a fortified structure nor a walled city but a quaint locality in Kochi with unparalleled colonial vibes. European-style buildings, majestic churches, artsy cafes, Dutch bungalows, and manor-like houses render Fort Kochi the look and feel of a small and picturesque town in the western world.
What to see
- Santa Cruz Basilica
- Indo – Portuguese Museum
- Francis Church
- Dutch Cemetery
All these attractions are located within walking distance of each other and take you on a trip down the lane of history. While Santa Cruz Basilica captivates you with its spellbinding Gothic architecture, the Indo – Portuguese Museum offers deep insights into the Portuguese influence on the city. St. Francis Church, another one of the famous churches in Kochi, is known for its aesthetic beauty. History has it that Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s body was kept buried here for 14 years before it was taken to Lisbon. The Dutch Cemetery, bathed in greenery and serenity, makes for an exquisite sight.
This fascinating trail through Fort Kochi is sure to leave you famished. How about a quick lunch?
Where to eat
- Rasoi Fort Kochi
- The Asian Kitchen by Tokyo Bay
- Alice Delices
- The Drawing Room
- Passage Malabar
- Fresh Choice Restaurant
- Farmers Café
- Loafers Corner Café
- The Indian Oven
- Spice Root Restaurant
After lunch, resume your sightseeing tour with renewed energy and make your way to Mattancherry Palace.
- By road: 10 minutes’ drive
2.30 pm – 3.45 pm: Witness the architectural beauty of Mattancherry Palace
Mattancherry Palace aka the Dutch Palace, a regal structure that dates back to the 16th-century, was built by the Portuguese and gifted to the king of Cochin. The palace features the Nalukettu style of architecture and is adorned with a large number of murals. It also houses a rich collection of portraits and exhibits of the erstwhile kings of Cochin.
- Timings: 9.45 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 4.45 pm; closed on Fridays and Saturdays
- Entry fee: ₹ 2 for adults; free for children below 15 years of age
4.00 pm – 5.45 pm: Explore the Jew Synagogue and head over to a Jew Town cafe for some coffee and snacks
The Jew Synagogue is the oldest active synagogue in not just India but the entire Commonwealth of Nations. Also known as the Paradesi Synagogue, this edifice has a clock tower and elegantly decorated interiors. It houses many objects of antiquity including gold crowns, Scrolls of the Law, copper plates that date back to the 10th century, Belgian glass chandeliers, and the like. Don’t forget to check out the hand-painted 18th-century Chinese porcelain tiles that adorn the floor of the synagogue and guess what, each of these pieces is unique!
- Timings: 10.00 am to 12.00 noon and 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm; closed on Saturdays
- Entry fee: Free
Once you are done exploring the synagogue, treat yourself to a cup of coffee and some yummy delicacies at one of the cafes in the Jew Town area.
Where to eat
- Mocha Art Café
- Classic Art Café
- Caza Maria
- Cafe Crafters
- Cafe Jew Town
Won’t it be great to end your evening on a cultural note? Your last stop for the day is Kerala Kathakali Centre, an arts center-cum-theater where cultural performances are held regularly.
- By road: 10 minutes’ drive
6.00 pm – 7.30 pm: Watch an enthralling Kathakali Performance at Kerala Kathakali Centre
While in Kochi, you must visit Kerala Kathakali Centre to catch a live performance of Kathakali, the most popular traditional dance form of Kerala. It is a treat to watch artists wearing colorful costumes and elaborate makeup perform scenes the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
- Timings: 6.00 pm to 7.30 pm; every day
- Entry fee: ₹ 350 per head
Since you have had an early start, it’s a good idea to wrap up sightseeing activities for the day and retire to your room for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
9.30 am – 11.00 am: Take a trip back in time at the Kerala Folklore Museum
On the second day, start your Kochi tour with a visit to the Kerala Folklore Museum. Spread over three floors exhibiting three different architectural styles, the museum houses around 4000 artifacts. These artifacts offer insights into the cultural uniqueness that exists among various regions of India, especially in South India.
- Timings: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm; every day
- Entry fee: ₹ 50 for students; ₹ 100 for adults
Now it’s time to visit Ernakulathappan Temple and witness the spiritual richness of the region.
- By road: 15 minutes’ drive
11.15 am – 1.30 pm: Experience tranquility at Ernakulathappan Temple followed by a filling lunch
Ernakulathappan Temple is the abode of Lord Shiva, who is regarded as the presiding deity of the city. Spend some moments in the tranquil setting of the temple and enjoy the beauty of traditional Kerala temple architecture.
- Timings: 3.30 am to 8.00 pm; every day
Fancy a lavish lunch? We bet you do! Take a short break and refuel yourself at one of the restaurants in the area.
Where to eat
- Kayees Hotel
- Sreekrishna Inn
- BTH Subhiksha
- Malabar Plaza Family Restaurant
- Uruli Restaurant
The second half of your day starts with a visit to the Hill Palace, another heritage attraction in Kochi.
- By road: 30 minutes’ drive
2.00 pm – 4.30 pm: Explore Hill Palace, a treasure trove of royal heritage
The Hill Palace, a sprawling property spread over 54 acres, was the erstwhile official residence of the king of Cochin. It currently serves as the largest archaeological museum in Kerala and houses many exhibits, such as the royal crown and ornaments, which give you a glimpse into the lifestyle and opulence of the royal family.
- Timings: 10.00 am to 12.30 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm; closed on Mondays and national/state holidays
- Entry Fee: ₹ 5 for children; ₹ 10 for adults
What to see
- Archaeological museum
- Heritage Museum
- Deer Park
- Pre-historic Park
- Children’s Museum
After checking out the museum and other attractions in the palace complex, head off to M.G. Road for some shopping.
- By road: 45 minutes’ drive
5.15 pm – 6.30 pm: Go on a shopping spree at M.G. Road
Long before malls made their way to Kochi, M.G. Road was the main hub catering to the demands of shopaholics. Even today, it remains one of the most popular shopping zones in the city for all kinds of items including fabrics and apparel.
- Timings: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm; every day
After all the sightseeing and shopping, you deserve some relaxing moments, don’t you? We know just the right place to wind down after a hectic day – Marine Drive.
6.30 pm onwards: Enjoy a walk down the picturesque Marine Drive followed by a lavish dinner
Spending a relaxed evening at Marine Drive, by all means, is the best way to wrap up your Kochi trip. This scenic promenade offers stunning views of the backwaters and is an ideal place to watch sunsets. Take a stroll down the walkway or simply sit down at a bench, enjoying the cool breeze from the placid Vembanad Lake.
Relax as long as you want here and once done, tuck in dinner at a restaurant in the Marine Drive area.
Where to eat
- Trivium Restaurant
- Punjab House
- Bubble Café
- Ceylon Bake House
With dinner done, it’s time to draw the blinds on your trip and return to your hotel. If you are catching your return flight on the same night, the International Airport in Kochi is just over an hour’s journey from Marine Drive.