Skip to content
Home » Explore Fort Kochi for a Bohemian Experience

Explore Fort Kochi for a Bohemian Experience

Due to its proximity to Airport, most of the tour packages and travel itineraries include Fort Kochi as the first stop. Usually, it includes a day’s visit. But to explore and feel the essence of this bohemian town, you need at least 2 to 3 days. Here in this blog, I will help you to explore fort Kochi on your own terms. Also, the best places to visit Kochi and fort Kochi, things to do during your visit, and the best places to stay.

Explore Fort Kochi
Lanes of Fort Kochi

Like in all my blogs, I wanted my readers to understand the history of the places first. So without further ado, let’s explore Fort Kochi!!

Also Read: Detailed Travel Guide to visiting Alleppey

A little history of Fort Kochi

Once a landlocked village, the transformation of fort Kochi to one of the most important fishing and trading harbors was due to a catastrophic flood in AD 1341. Flood opened the estuary and shaped this natural harbor. 

It then became the major trading port of spices and other goods with Arabs and the Chinese. These Chinese travelers introduced the famous Chinese fishing nets here.

During the 15th century, the Portuguese constructed a fort here. They also built many houses and churches and some of them are still standing here with many stories to tell. Later the Dutch took over this town from the Portuguese and transformed it to its present form. 

During the Dutch period, the glory of Fort Kochi reached its peak and it became the cradle of the spice and tea trade. Later the British captured the town and made it its outpost. 

Where is Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is a small town in the state of Kerala. People here speak the native language Malayalam. All three sides of the town are surrounded by water bodies, making it a unique little town. 

How to reach Fort Kochi

By Air

The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport. The airport is about 45 km away and it can be easily covered in 1 to 1.5 hours. Private taxis and public transportation are available from the airport. 

By Road

Fort Kochi is connected to the main city of Ernakulam by road. Thoppumpady Harbor Bridge connects the two places and it is a must-ride. 

By Rail

The nearest railway station is Ernakulam South Railway station. This is one of the most popular stations in Kerala. It is about 13 km from the Fort Kochi

By Boat and Ferry

If you are traveling to Fort Kochi, I would suggest that you should take the public boat services at least once. You can get the boat from the Ernakulam Boat Jetty or from the Vypin Ferry.

Boats in Fort Kochi
Travel by boat is a great experience in fort Kochi

Places to visit in Fort Kochi

St Francis Church

St Francis Church was among the first churches built by the Portuguese here and used to be the resting place of Vasco Da Gama for 14 years. Later, his mortal remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. 

St Francis Church
St Francis Church

Vasco Da Gama sailed to the coasts of Calicut, Kerala in 1501 and thus started the colonial exploration in India.

This church is famous for its historical importance and is one of the most visited churches in Kochi. Its construction is very simple with a magnificent altar.

It is open to visitors from Monday to Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM. On Sundays, it is open only from 12 PM to 5 PM.

Chinese Fishing Nets

Everywhere along the lengths of this small town, you will see large fishing nets. This is what this small town is famous for. Best to visit her during the early morning or sunset hours. You might also see the fishermen lifting the net to collect the trapped fish. 

Chinese Fishing Nets
Chinese Fishing Nets

These nets were introduced by the Chinese traveler Zheng He during the 13th century. Later the Portuguese promoted it and became an integral part of Fort Kochi.

With a small tip to the fishermen, travelers can also be part of this ‘lifting’ of nets. 

Santa Cruz Basilica

Santa Cruz cathedral was originally built by the Portuguese in 1505. It was later demolished and rebuilt by the British in 1905. 

It is built in Gothic style. The Interior and altar are decorated with many paintings and sculptors. This is one of the most visited churches in India and is very close to St Francis Church.

It is open 24 hours to visitors.

Mattancherry Palace

Dutch palace is locally called the Mattancherry Palace. It was built by the Portuguese in 1545 and gifted to the King of Cochin. 

This Place is famous for its mural collection and an architectural style that combines the traditional Kerala and portuguese.

It is open daily except for Fridays from 9:45 AM to 4:45 PM.

Paradesi Synagogue

Once Fort Kochi had a thriving Jewish community. Now only a few of the Jewish families remain. But they had a rich cultural history and we still can see the remains in the form of the Old Jew Town and Jewish Synagogue.

Paradesi Synagogue was built in 1568 and is one of the oldest in India. 

The white-blue Chinese tiles floor and hanging lanterns from the ceiling form the interior. 

Watch Kathakali


Kathakali is one of the classical dance forms of India and is the most popular in the state of Kerala. It performed the stories from Hindu mythologies through music, choreography, hand and face gestures. 

Kerala Kathakali Center is located right at the heart of Fort Kochi. It is very much near to the Santa Cruz Basilica. This is a must-visit place to understand and enjoy this beautiful art form.

Visitors will be able to experience how the performers put their makeup, which is a very crucial part of the art itself, before the subsequent and elaborate performance. 

Vasco Da Gama Square

This is a narrow walkway along the beachfront. You will be able to reach the major fort Kochi attraction from here. 

Explore Fort Kochi
Shopping in Vasco Da Gama Square

There are many cafes and hotels near this square. You can also get to see most of the Chinese fishing nets here. A lot of shops sell antiques and other items that you can take home as souvenirs.

A ferry to Vypin

Ferry to Vypin
Ferry to Vypin

If you by chance traveled to Fort Kochi by road, park your vehicle and get a ferry ride to Vypin. Vypin Island is a peaceful place and is very close to Fort Kochi. You can visit the unexplored beaches and churches here. 

Street art and the Biennale

Explore Fort Kochi
An Exhibit at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale
An Artist on a Mural Painting

Fort Kochi welcomes tourists with its vibrant and colorful street Murals. Thanks to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the intellectual art consciousness of Fort Kochi got rekindled. Fort Kochi houses most of the Biennale exhibition centers.

Visiting during the time of the Biennale is a great experience. You can check the Biennale updates on their official website.

Pepper house

Pepper House is a heritage property and art cafe situated on the eastern border of Fort Kochi. It was once a famous dockside warehouse that stores colonial goods. Especially spices.

Pepper House
Pepper House

It is one of the major exhibition centers of Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Also Read: 11 Best Places to Visit in Manali


Aspinwall is the main venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.  It was owned by the Aspinwall company during the colonial period. This sea-facing property was once a major trade center for coconut oil, spices, tea, coffee, rubber, and coir.


Aspinwall complex has many office buildings, bungalows, and warehouses. 

Art cafes

You cannot leave Fort Kochi without visiting any of the art cafes.  Try Kerala-style seafood from these cafes is a must.

Explore Fort Kochi
An Art Cafe near the St Francis Church

Kashi Art Café is one of the most famous here. 

Staying options in Fort Kochi

There are lots of homestays and budget hotels for budget travelers and heightened luxury resorts for someone who is looking for a luxurious getaway. 

Forte Kochi heritage resort is a famous one and offers great service and has amazing reviews. 

The Old Courtyard Hotel is another of my favorites because of its vibes.

If you are looking for budget hotels and homestays, you can easily find them through popular websites like OYO, MMT, AirBnB, etc.

Hope you like this blog…save it for later by sharing it on Pinterest!

Explore Fort Kochi

2 thoughts on “Explore Fort Kochi for a Bohemian Experience”

  1. With respect, your comment needs to read: Once Fort Kochi had a thriving Jewish community. Now only a few of the Jewish families remain. But they had a rich cultural history and we still can see the remains in the form of the Old Jew Town and Jewish Synagogue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.