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Detailed Travel Guide to visiting Alleppey

Alleppey is one of the most visited tourist places in India and a favorite for many. The surreal experience of cruising through the backwaters on a houseboat or relaxing on a beach beneath the coconut trees is undoubtedly the best. I have traveled to most parts of India and if someone asks and when I say I am from Alleppey (Alappuzha is most known to the world as Alleppey), the conversion goes longer and everyone wants to visit. I was born here in this beautiful small town and spent all of my childhood here. This is my detailed travel guide to visiting Alleppey.

Let’s start with a bit of history.

During the early 1900s, then Viceroy Lord Curzon named this small town ‘Venice of the East. Though there are many places in the world called the Venice of the east, Alappuzha ( Alleppey) has the same qualities as Venice at the time. A network of many major and minor canals connects the backwaters to the Arabian Sea. Being one of the major commercial centers in Kerala during those times, all the goods were transported through these canals, and people’s lives centered around them.

Times have changed and Alappuzha is now just a shadow of its former self. But the rich culture and the remains of the past still stand strong and most of these have turned into major tourist attractions.

The best way to check where to visit or what to do in Alappuzha is to understand the geography of this place. It’s quite interesting. It’s simple. There are beaches, there are backwaters, and then there are other activities, like visiting old churches and temples, trying the unique cuisines of Kerala (which are entirely different from the rest of South India)


Travel Guide to visiting Alleppey
Backwaters of Alleppey

Alappuzha is the smallest of the 14 districts of Kerala. With the majestic Vembanad Lake to the northeast and the Arabian Sea to the west, Alappuzha has situated at a unique spot on the map. Once part of the sea, most of the places lie below sea level, hence they are prone to occasional floods. Coconut and rice are the major crops. You will find serene beaches with sugar-white sands and palm trees and endless paddy fields everywhere.

How to reach Alappuzha/Alleppey

Transportation is something you never have to worry about in Alleppey and Kerala in general. Alleppey is connected to major airports and cities. The National Highway runs through the heart of Alleppey and there are many well-maintained roads to every place.

Travel to Alleppey by Flight

Alappuzha is near 2 major airports in Kerala. Kochi and Trivandrum Airports. Kochi airport is 90Kms from Alleppey and is the most suitable and nearest one. Trivandrum International Airport is 150 KMs away. Choosing the right airport to take is based completely on your travel itinerary for Kerala.

If you plan to visit Alleppey along with Kochi and Munnar, then Kochi Airport is the best choice. However, if you have a plan that includes visiting Varkala Beach or Kanyakumari, then Trivandrum is the right option. For a complete Kerala trip, you can land at any of the 4 international airports in Kerala.

From airports, there are many private taxis and government buses available. You can book a taxi to Alleppey or the nearest railway station ( Aluva or Ernakulam Jn).

Travel to Alleppey by Train

Alleppey railway station is one of the major railway stations and is linked to all parts of the country. All the main stops are here on this route. There are daily trains to Mumbai, Delhi, Dhanbad, Bangalore, Chennai, and many more cities that go through this station. You can also get off at Ernakulam Jn station and take a taxi or bus to Alleppey.

Taxis, buses, and auto-rickshaws are available from the railway station to any part of the town.

Travel to Alleppey by Road

National Highway 66 connects Panvel to Kanyakumari and runs through the heart of Alleppey. There are many options for traveling by road. If you land at any of the airports, private taxis and government buses are available to travel to Alleppey. The same is the case if you are traveling by train. Everything here is connected by roads and are also well maintained. There are overnight bus services to Bangalore and other nearby cities.

Where to stay in Alleppey

A view from the resort

There are a few things we need to check, be it booking online or searching after visiting. Suppose you are planning to visit Alleppey, Kochi, and Munnar. You reach the airport in the morning. Now you have a lot of possibilities to explore. You can book a hotel in Kochi and explore Kochi on the same day. Or you can travel to Munnar or Alleppey and book your stay there. But if you are arriving in the evening or late at night, it is better to book a hotel near the airport. So, based on the time of arrival and your inventory, you can book your hotels.

How much time can we spend in Alleppey?

There is no straight answer to this question. To cover the main attractions like beaches and a boat ride on the backwaters, a minimum of two days is needed. If you prefer to book an overnight houseboat stay, then you need to add a day or more.

If you are not in a rush, then you can easily spend a week here enjoying the sunsets on those beautiful beaches, walking along the narrow roads between paddy fields and backwaters, waking up in those small cottages near the lake, or exploring the old town and its market.

Places to see in Alleppey

When it comes to the question of what to see in Alleppey, the answer most will hear is quite simple: beaches and backwaters. But there is also more to it than just beaches and backwaters.


Most visitors to Alleppey prefer to spend their time on the backwaters and houseboats. It is quite understandable as this small town is portrayed all over the world for its serene backwaters and paddy fields. Kerala is blessed with a long coastline and Alleppey falls at the heart of it. Beaches are a perfect getaway from your daily routes. Most of the local population prefer to spend their weekend evenings at the beach. For this reason, the beaches are very crowded during the weekends.

Travel Guide to visiting Alleppey
Alleppey Beach

There are many popular beaches in Alleppey and most of them are far from each other. The most visited by travelers are Alleppey Beach and Marari Beach. There are many other famous beaches, like Thottappally Beach and Andhakaranazhi Beach, where you will mostly find local crowds.

Alleppey Beach

Being the biggest and closest to the main town, it is the most visited beach in Alappuzha. It is a walkable distance from the railway station.

Once part of the main harbor, we can still see the remains of that long-lost prosperity. Remnants of the pier are still seen there. It has now condensed to just iron pillars extending from the sea.

Beach pier
Remains of pier

The beach towards the north of the pier is the main beach and the most crowded. For those who want to have a calm and peaceful time, it’s best to walk to the south of the pier.

Another attraction near this beach is the Lighthouse, and visitors can enter there after paying a nominal entry fee.

Many street foods and seafood stalls are near the beach where you can try a lot of authentic dishes. A little away from the beach, you will find many resorts and homestays overlooking the beach, and staying there is a must-try experience.

The beach is open year-round, but avoid visiting during the monsoon season.

Marari Beach

Marari Beach is famous for its sugar sands and palm trees. Many of Alleppey’s famous resorts and homestays are located near Marari Beach. For this reason, it is the most preferred by foreign visitors. Located 15 km from the main town, this beach can be easily accessed by renting a taxi or taking a local bus.

Places to Travel and thing to do in Alleppey
Marari Beach

If you are not a fan of crowded beaches, then stay away during weekends and the best time is weekdays. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting here and watching the sunsets.

You can get a hammock or a beach chair for rent from any nearby shops. Sometimes, the vendors approach you and if you need anything and the price is reasonable, you can get it on an hourly basis.

Thottappally Beach

Travel Guide to visiting Alleppey

This beach is around 22 KMs away from the main town. Compared to the other beaches, it is less crowded. This is mostly visited on your trip to Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandram). Here you can experience fishing village life and it was the setting of many famous regional novels and movies.


This beach is unique as it is where the backwaters meet the sea. Not just the beach, the entire place is famous for its waterlogged landscapes and paddy fields. There are places where you can see small roads between waterlogged paddy fields and fish farms.


Backwaters of Alleppey

What are the backwaters? Many of us asked these questions, especially when geography wasn’t our favorite subject in school. It’s not the lake, definitely not the sea.

Well, it’s kind of both. Backwaters are mostly large bodies of freshwater formed by rivers. They are very close to the sea and separated by sand barriers. A geographical wonder formed by centuries of erosion and deposition. Most parts of Alleppey are formed on these sand barriers that separate the sea from the backwaters. A paradise where you can experience freshwater lakes and sandy beaches close to each other. You can get a taste of the local life, which is built on paddy fields, coconuts, and fishing. You can try the best seafood and freshwater fish recipes. ‘Karimeen Pollichathu’, a local dish made of Karimeen (“Meen” in Malayalam means fish) or pearl spot fish, is a must-try delicacy.

Also Read: Best Dosa Restaurants in Alappuzha / Alleppey

Vembanad Lake

Vembanad Lake

Vembanad Lake is the longest lake in India and the biggest in Kerala. This lake is so big, that there are places where you won’t be able to see the other side of the lake. The entire backwater tourism revolves around this lake and you can experience something new on every corner, be it majestic water bodies or the village life surrounding it. It is the second-largest protected wetland after the Sundarbans of Bengal.

Punnamada Kayal

Kayal in Malayalam means lake and this alluring beauty is a part of the Vembanad Lake. Cruising through the lake on a houseboat is a magical experience that you can take back home as an exciting memory. You can book a houseboat for the day or stay overnight and wake up to the most unforgettable morning of your life.

Detailed Travel Guide to visiting Alleppey

Book a Shikara or a canoe boat to explore the small canals that run through the villages and paddy fields.

Punnamada Kayal is also famous for its annual boat race called ‘the ‘Nehru Trophy Boat Race’.


Travel Guide to visiting Alleppey

Pathiramanal is a small island in the Vembanad lake and is 13 KM from Alappuzha (Alleppey) town. This can be accessible only by boat and is considered a paradise for bird watchers. Home to more than 80 species of birds, this is a must-see place for those who love to spend some peaceful time in nature.

Villages in Kuttanad

Villages in Kuttanad
A village view from the boat

Kuttanad is called the rice bowl of Kerala and it is one of the few places in the world where rice is cultivated below sea level. Kuttanad lies in the heart of the backwaters and the ideal time to visit here is after the monsoon when everything is green and fresh. Avoid going during the monsoon season. Kerala gets a lot of rain and Kuttanad is known for its floods.

Things to do in Alleppey

  • Spend a night on a houseboat
  • Cycling through the narrow village lanes and paddy fields
  • Canoe ride to explore the interiors of Kuttanad
  • Try the authentic cuisines of Kerala
  • Visit those famous temples and churches
Travel Guide to visiting Alleppey
Elephant at Ambalapuzha Temple
  • Visit to the coir museum

A little More

You can also include a few more places in your itinerary on your Alleppey trips. The first one includes Kochi and exploring the culturally rich city and its wonders. Most tourists also include Munnar, which is a great addition to exploring Kerala deeper. Thekkady is also a must-see place while visiting Kerala and can be included in your trip.

There is a never-ending list of activities to do and places to see in Alleppey. Sometimes, a day or two is not enough to completely appreciate this paradise. The simple culture that is intermingled with nature makes this place beautiful and unique.

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