Kochi is one of the most interesting destinations in Kerala with a glorious past that is steeped in colonial history. Nurtured and shaped over centuries by many foreign powers such as the Dutch, Arabs, Chinese, British and Portuguese, Kochi has over the years developed its very own cultural identity. No visit to Kerala is ever complete without a visit to Kochi. The unique artistry, culture, lifestyle, and cuisine of Kochi work together to create a great vacation. Here are some of the things to do in Kochi, Kerala that can make your trip a wonderful experience.
32 Things To Do In Kochi
Putting together your Kerala trip itinerary? Don’t forget to add these thrilling and soothing experiences that only Kochi will provide to make your holiday an exceptional affair. Even if you want to take a day trip to Kochi and are wondering what to do in Kochi for a day then we are here to help. This list of things to do in Kochi is at your service for you to decide what you should be doing there. Take a look and decide!
- Mattancherry Palace – History Walk
- Fishing Villages – See Chinese Fishing Nets
- Elephant Training Centre – Play With Elephants
- Paradesi Synagogue – Explore Jewish Culture
- St. Francis Church – Delve Into The History
- Kathakali Center – Watch Kathakali
- Princess Street – Street Shopping And Cafes
- Indo-Portuguese Museum – Explore Mixed Culture
- Kashi Art Café – Relax And Dine
- Ginger House Museum Hotel – Exclusive Stay Experience
- Marine Drive – Hang Out
- Fort Ayurveda Spa – Revive Your Senses
- Fort Kochi – Take A Tour
- Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary – Go Birdwatching
- Thiruvankulam – Go Snorkeling
- Go-Karting – On The Indoor Track
- South Indian Cuisine – Traditional Flavours
- Thattukada Street Food – Enjoy The Old Style
- Kalaripayattu – Ancient Martial Art
- Backwater Boat Tour – Witness The Beauty
- Willingdon Island Cruise – A Man-made Island
- Taste Indian Wines – Enjoy The Variety
- Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary – Spot Birds
- Bolgatty Palace – History Tour
- Santa Cruz Basilica – Witness Gothic Style Architecture
- MG Road – Indulge In Shopping
- Folklore Museum – See A Variety Of Arts
- Greenix Village – Vibrant Center For Arts
- Pallipuram Fort – Feel The Earliest European Memories
- Fort Kochi Beach – For Beachy Vibes
- Bishop’s House – Check Out Artifacts
- Wonderla Amusement Park – Try Exciting Rides
1. Mattancherry Palace – History Walk
One of the best things to do in Kochi is to pay a visit to the Mattancherry Palace, which includes Kerala murals showing exhibits and portraits of Rajas of Kochi. The Palace was originally built by the Portuguese in 1555 and presented to Verra Kerala Varma, the Raja of Kochi, as a grand token of appreciation. Later in 1663, additional restorations and extensions were carried out by the Dutch, which is why it is also known as the Dutch Palace.
Location: Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682002
Timings: 9:45 AM – 1 PM; 2 – 4:45 pm (Monday to Thursday and Sunday)
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2. Fishing Villages – See Chinese Fishing Nets
The Chinese Fishing Nets in Kochi are often regarded as one of the most picturesque sights in Kochi. Legends tell that these nets were originally brought down from the royal courts of Kublai Khan, the great Chinese emperor and introduced in 14th century by Zheng He, a Chinese explorer to the local fisherman in Kochi. You can also buy fishes from the fishmongers and get them cooked in some local shacks.
Location: Kallanchery Rd, North Kumbalangi, Kumbalangi, Kochi, Kerala 682007
3. Elephant Training Centre – Play With Elephants
Kodanad is a relatively small riverside village in Ernakulam district in Kochi. It is also the home to an elephant training center where the baby and adult elephants are washed and trained. You can come to Kodanad for a day trip and be a part of this unique experience and watch the elephants early in the morning. Watching the elephants roll and play in the water is fun.
Location: Vallom Panamkuzhi Road, Malayattoor PO, Kaprikad, Kerala 683544
Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM (Tuesday to Sunday)
4. Paradesi Synagogue – Explore Jewish Culture
The Jewish Synagogue in Kochi is the oldest of its kind in the Commonwealth of Nations. It is locally known as Paradesi Synagogue since it was mostly visited by Jews from the Middle East and Europe, who were deemed as foreigners or pardesi. The synagogue was originally built in 1568 and later restored by the Dutch. The synagogue has a gold pulpit as well as hand-painted, willow-pattern floor tiles that were imported from China. An exquisitely beautiful Belgian chandelier illuminates the synagogue and the unique clock tower further adds to its charm.
Location: Synagogue Ln, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682002
Timings: 10 AM – 12 PM; 3 – 5 PM (Monday to Friday and Sunday)
Suggested Read: 14 Fascinating Tourist Places To Visit In Cochin
5. St. Francis Church – Delve Into The History
You should definitely include the St. Francis Church in your Kochi sightseeing tour as it is among the oldest churches in India, built by the Europeans. It was built by the Portuguese in 1503 as Roman Catholic Church. However, later in 1864, it became a Dutch Reformist Church and then an Anglican Church building in 1804. This church became the original burial place for Vasco De Gama after his death in 1524 even though his remains were removed to Lisbon fourteen years later.
Location: Head Post Office, Saint Francis Church Road Opp, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM (Monday to Saturday); 12 PM – 5 PM (Sunday)
6. Kathakali Center – Watch Kathakali
Watching the traditional dance performance is one of the best things to do in Kochi. Kathakali is a classical dance form originating in Kerala and is quite well known for its fascinating and colorful costumes. The dance form presents themes and stories that are derived from Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana as well as many other folk stories. The Kathakali Center in Kochi runs regular performances as well as offers a backstage look at the artists as they prepare for the classical dance events.
Location: KB Jacob Rd, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
Timings: 9:30 AM – 10 PM
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7. Princess Street – Street Shopping And Cafes
Princess Street, also known as Loafer’s Corner is widely hailed as among the oldest locations in Kochi, which is why it is often loved by tourists. If you are looking for fun things to do in Kochi, then you should certainly visit the Princess Street. It offers the perfect amalgamation of traditional and modern world. The influence of colonial heritage is strong here as you can see numerous homes and buildings on both sides of Princess Street that have European architectural styles, mainly British, Dutch and Portuguese. The place is notable for cafés, street shopping, books stores, handicrafts and souvenir shops and vibrant people.
Location: Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
8. Indo-Portuguese Museum – Explore Mixed Culture
On the long list of things to do in Kochi, this one is for all the history buffs. The Indo-Portuguese Museum is located in the garden of Bishop’s House. It preserves the classical heritage and legacy of one of the earliest Catholic communities in India, including silver processional crosses, vestments, and altarpieces from Cochin diocese. When you are here, do visit the basement of the Indo-Portuguese Museum to explore the remnants of the Fort Immanuel. This is a must-visit destination for any history buff.
Location: Bishop Kureethara Rd, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
Timings: 9 AM – 1 PM; 2 PM – 6 PM
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9. Kashi Art Café – Relax And Dine
Located at Fort Cochin, the Kashi Art Café is known for its casual vibrations, Zen-like calmness, and an elegant semi courtyard space that are covered with many solid wood tables. If you want to have some nice western breakfast menus and a great lunch, Kashi Art Café is the best place to be. The coffee served here is quite strong as well, which should appeal to ardent coffee lovers. A small gallery here presents works created by local artists. This is one of the best things to do in Kochi to enjoy the food and culture of this place.
Location: Burger St, near Police Station, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
Timings: 8:30 AM – 10 PM
10. Ginger House Museum Hotel – Exclusive Stay Experience
The Ginger House is an elegant waterfront restaurant that offers some of the most heart-filled Indian snacks and dishes such as ginger ice cream, ginger prawns, and ginger lassi. The location of the restaurant is unique as well which makes it one of the top restaurants in Kochi. You will need to walk past Heritage Arts showroom that offers glimpses of amazing antiques and sculptures as well as explores the giant, one of a kind snake-boat canoe. Having a delicious and wholesome dinner at this hotel is amongst the best things to do in Kochi at night.
Location: Jew Town road, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682002
Timings: Open 24 hours
Suggested Read: Shopping In Kochi: 10 Best Places To Shop In Kochi In 2020
11. Marine Drive – Hang Out
Marine Drive is among Kochi’s most beautiful beaches that is frequented by locals and travelers alike. You can hang out here with your amigos if you simply wish to relax and not really do anything. It offers marvelous views of the backwaters as well as the Kochi harbor, which is one of the many factors that makes it so popular and coming here one of the best things to do in Kochi, India. You can also take a walk here with your better half which would be the most soothing experience of your Kochi trip.
12. Fort Ayurveda Spa – Revive Your Senses
Take a step into the world of Ayurveda when you visit Kochi and experience the healing power of its many therapeutic massages and treatments. It’s among the most common, but necessary things to do in Kochi in one day for utmost relaxation and for opening up your mind body and soul. Kerala’s popular Ayurveda massage is sure to revitalise your senses and make you a newer, better person from within! Kochi is renowned for its ayurvedic medicines and numerous benefits because of which it is only befitting that you indulge in this refreshing activity here.
Location: Calvathy Rd, near Coast Gaurd, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
13. Fort Kochi – Take A Tour
Located mere miles away from the lively town of Ernakulam, the ancient Fort Kochi is where you can get acquainted with Kerala’s rich history, culture, and heritage through a guided walking tour. This fort exhibits the traits of the different cultures of English, Dutch and Portuguese infused in its age-old architecture, and is sure to bewitch you with its old-worldly charm. If you wish to explore this entire fort on foot, you can actually end up with a deep insight into its history, right to the time when it was built and what it was used for.
14. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary – Go Birdwatching
If you would like to meet some of Kerala’s most beautiful winged visitors, then we suggest you head over to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary which happens to be one of the favorite spots of all nature lovers and bird watchers residing in or visiting Kochi. Taking a tour of this birder’s haven is amongst the most unusual things to do in Kochi as this place gives you the opportunity to spend time amidst more than thousands of residents as well as migratory birds and spot as many as 20-30 different species of birds in a day’s visit.
Location: Kavanattinkara, Kumarakom, Kerala 686563
Timings: 6:30 AM – 5 PM
15. Thiruvankulam – Go Snorkeling
This is one of the most unusual things to do in Kochi. Snorkeling here will let you get up close and personal with the bizarre marine life of Kerala. While it’s not as popular as other water sports and adventurous activities in Kochi, and in Kerala altogether, it still makes up for a fun feat for those who wish to try something different on their trip to this city. Many people don’t even know that they can try this activity here other than boating, dolphin watching, and paragliding. Various beaches in Kochi provide the opportunity to visitors to try this activity with the help of trained guides and quality equipment.
16. Go-Karting – On The Indoor Track
You have options in where you want to enjoy go-karting in Kochi. There is a short circuit at the grand Cochin International Airport. Karting competitions are held here during weekends. This is a perfect spot for families with kids. Another popular venue with go-karting facilities in Kochi is Speedway at Grand Mall. This is an indoor venue, so you can enjoy this racing sport without having to worry about the weather conditions.
Location: 4th Floor, Grand Mall, Edapally, Kochi (Cochin) 682023
17. South Indian Cuisine – Traditional Flavours
The capital city of Kerala is one of the best places to relish the much loved South Indian cuisine. There are several good places to eat that serve traditional south India food, especially Kerala cuisine and fusion food. Enjoy the popular tangy-combos of Masala Dosa – Coconut Chutney and Idli – Sambar. Also make sure to try other delicious dishes like Kappa (Tapioca) – Fish Curry, Chicken 65, Chettinaad, and the countless varieties of Appam. This is one of the top things to do in Kochi.
Location: Multiple locations
Timings: Variable depending on the restaurants
18. Thattukada Street Food – Enjoy The Old Style
Thattukada is traditionally a cart-stall that sells tea, other beverages, local snacks and food. Small thatched tea-stalls are also called Thattukada. These tiny tea-stalls were very popular during the olden days. Enjoying a glass of hot tea and some snacks like vada, bonda, pazham pori is an experience in itself. The items on their menu are priced very low.
Location: Multiple locations
Timings: Variable depending on the stalls
19. Kalaripayattu – Ancient Martial Art
Originated in Kerala, Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest forms of martial art in India. Watching a Kalari fight is a nail-biting experience. The fight is performed by trained men and women, usually as one-against-one. It involves the use of Val Parija (sword and shield). Watching a Kalaripayattu performance is one of the top things to do in Kochi to understand the culture and history of Kerala.
Location: Multiple locations
20. Backwater Boat Tour – Witness The Beauty
Kerala is known for its backwaters and boating through it is a wonderful experience. One of the best places to enjoy a boat tour is from the charming village, Kumarakom. It is set on the banks of Vembanad Lake, the longest backwater lake in Kerala. Enjoy the scenic landscapes through this 4-5 hour long boat tour through this lake.
Location: Multiple locations
21. Willingdon Island Cruise – A Man-made Island
Willingdon Island is a man-made island located in Kochi Port. The place bustles with commercial shipping activities. The island was built by Lord Willingdon, a former Viceroy of India. A cruise tour to this island is one of the fun things to do in Kochi. Witness the serene beauty of this island with your family and friends.
Location: Wellingdon Island, Cochin Port
22. Taste Indian Wines – Enjoy The Variety
This is one of the best things to do in Kochi for all the wine lovers. Located in a heritage building Malabar House, DiVine is a popular wine bar in Kochi. This is a great place to come down to, for tasting a variety of Indian wines. Treat your tastebuds to some of the rare wines produced across the country. This is also one of the best things to do in Kochi at night.
Location: The Malabar House, Kochi, Kerala
Timings: 11 AM-11 PM (For DiVine Wine Bar)
23. Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary – Spot Birds
One of the spectacular things to see in Kochi, the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is spread over a sprawling area of 2.74 hectares and is located in the heart of Kochi. With Mangrove trees spread over 18 acres, this bird sanctuary is home to a variety of migratory birds and even has a tidal lake which makes it much more beautiful! The sanctuary is often referred to as the ‘Green Lungs of Ernakulaam’ because of its posh wetland.
Location: High Ct Rd, Ayyappankavu, Kochi, Kerala 682031
Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM
24. Bolgatty Palace – History Tour
If you wish to know about some of the best things to do in Kochi then Bolgatty Palace is definitely one. Situated on Bolgatty Island this palace is one of the oldest existing Dutch palaces in India. It was established in 1744 by Dutch traders and was later extended. Green gardens are what increase its beauty multifold!
Location: Kochi, Kerala, 682504
Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM
Suggested Read: 8 Heritage Places In Kerala To Make Your Trip Unforgettable
25. Santa Cruz Basilica – Witness Gothic Style Architecture
If you are wondering about what to do in Kochi then visiting one of the eight Basilicas in India, the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica is one thing that you can’t skip. A spectacular Roman Catholic Church, Santa Cruz Basilica is the second cathedral church built by the Portuguese. It was built from 1876-1905 and is one of the oldest churches in not just Kochi but India.
Location: Bastian St, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
Timings: Open 24 hours
26. MG Road – Indulge In Shopping
Wondering what to do in Kochi? Go shopping! Known as the commercial hub of Kochi, this road is shopaholic’s heaven and you can get anything from souvenirs to things for personal use here. With its vibrant shops and cutesy products on display, MG Road looks stunning and serves the purpose. Household items, handicrafts and accessories are some of the things you can shop for.
Location: MG Road, Kochi
Timings: 11 AM – 9 PM (For most shops)
27. Folklore Museum – See A Variety Of Arts
Art, Sales, live dance form, martial arts and a lot more! This museum has it all. Folklore Museum houses over 5000 artifacts and that’s not even the best part. The best part is that you can even sell your own fine arts and antiques here. This one is a private museum that is run by a family and was curated by Annie George.
Location: Near, 2059C No 26 Pandit Karuppan Road, Thevara Ferry Road, Junction, Kochi, Kerala 682013
Timings: 9 AM – 6 PM
28. Greenix Village – Vibrant Center For Arts
Seems like everything in Kochi is about art. Another one of the popular things to see in Kochi is Greenix Village and it is here that one gets to witness some of the most distinct activities. Every evening is different here with a mixed performance of Kathakali and Kalaripayattu. Yoga sessions happen every morning and are worth indulging in.
Location: C.C. 2/481, Calvathy Rd, Calvathy, Aspinwall Junction, Kunnumupuram, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
Timings: 6 AM – 10 PM
29. Pallipuram Fort – Feel The Earliest European Memories
If you are a history buff and are looking for things to do around Kochi then visiting the oldedst European monument in India is something that you just can’t miss! Pallipuram Fort was built in 1503 and its architecture is striking. With a hexagonal outpost and made out of mortar, laterite and wood, Pallipuram Fort is as beautiful as it gets.
Location: Vypin, Kochi, Kerala 683515
Timings: 9:30 AM – 5 PM
30. Fort Kochi Beach – For Beachy Vibes
Looking for activities to do in Kochi? Well, taking a walk along the beach and indulging in watersports at Fort Kochi Beach is what you should try. A morning or evening stroll here in solitude is calming. You can also click some Instagrammable pictures here.
Location: Fort Kochi Beach, Kochi, Kerala
Timings: Open 24 hours
31. Bishop’s House – Check Out Artifacts
We already told you about the Indo-Portuguese museum built here in 1506 and it houses a collection of artifacts from different churches and is made up of large Gothic arches. If you are looking for things to do around Kochi then taking a history walk and checking out artifacts here is what you should be doing.
Location: Bishop Kureethara Rd, Amaravathy, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
Timings: 9 AM – 5 PM
32. Wonderla Amusement Park – Try Exciting Rides
Amusement parks always make one feel nostalgic, don’t they? Well that is exactly why trying them makes to be one of the best activities to do in Kochi. The very popular Wonderla Amusement Park is vivacious and has more than 50 rides to keep the visitors enthralled and engaged. Irrespective of your age and gender you will have fun here.
Location: Kochi, Kerala
Timings: 11 AM – 6 PM
Further Read: 10 Best Places To Visit In South India In December
If Kochi is on the bucket list of your trip to Kerala, get ready for an amazing experience spanning culture, history and modernity. The above-listed things to do in Kochi will make you fall in love with God’s own country. Create your own Kerala tour right away.
Frequently Asked Questions About Things To Do In Kochi
A. Some of the popular things to do in Kochi are:
1. Visiting ancient churches like The Paradesi Synagogue
2. Exploring the Portuguese architecture
3. Tasting authentic Kerala cuisine
4. Enjoying a cruise tour
A. Some of the best things to shop in Kochi:
2. Handicraft products
3. Kerala’s local snacks
A. Yes, Kochi is an amazing port city in Kerala. This place displays an amalgamation of the past and the present through its architecture. Kochi is worth visiting to understand the culture of Kerala.
A. Kochi is famous for being a trading port in the history and modern city in the present. Kochi was a prime spice trading center from India during the 14th century. It is often addressed as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Kochi is also one of the first European colonies in India. The traces of its past still remain in the form of the fort and other architectural symbols.
A. Here are some of the best things to do in Kochi at night:
1. Spend time at the Marine Drive
2. Eat at a Thattu Kada
3. Hang out at the popular bars and cafes like Chillax Cafe
4. Dance at the DJ night at Glow Discotheque
A. October to March is the best time to visit Kochi. Though the city remains hot and humid all year round, during these months the weather is pleasant.
A. Here are the ways to reach Kochi:
By Air: The Cochin international airport is in Kochi is well connected from different parts of the country and world.
By Rail: Ernakulam Junction railway station is the nearest railway station to Kochi
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