The Essential Guide to Varkala: Places to Visit, Where to Stay, Eat & More
Are you planning to have a beach tour this weekend? To walk freely on the beautiful shores, listening to the songs of the sea and having a little adventure with the waves. The first choice that may arise in your mind will be Goa; but we have a better suggestion for you, the Mini-Goa of South India, Varkala.
Varkala is a virgin destination in Kerala, a must-visit for all beach lovers. The destination is unique with its rustic ambiance and resort-free seaside, devoid of litters and trashes. Even though the destination is not technically matured as a tourist spot like Goa, it can offer almost the same natural allures and attractions. Varkala was termed as the ‘New Goa’ by many popular magazines and the term is cent percentage true by visitors who have experienced both the destinations.
Varkala is mainly known for activities such as like Yoga, Ayurveda, and Surfing. These activities make the destination suitable for complete relaxation and rejuvenation on the beach side. You can get here great facilities and good ambiance than that of India’s famous beach destination, Goa.
How to Reach Varkala
Geographically located in Thiruvananthapuram, Varkala is Kerala’s best set aside clandestine. The destination is just 30 kilometers from the city of Kollam and is very flexibly reachable from almost all the major parts of India by road, rail and air.
The nearest airport and railway station is at Thiruvananthapuram located around 45 km away from the Varkala town. The best way to reach here is to hire a taxi directly from airport or railway station. If you are looking for cost effective means, you can depend on the state-government run KSRTC buses that regularly transit from Thiruvananthapuram to Varkala.
Tourist Attractions in Varkala
Varkala beach is the main attraction of the destination. The main highlight is the long laterite Cliff overlooking the beach. A walk along the cliff will take you an approximate distance of 600 meters with the beach view. The beach also has some Hindu religious significance and the coast here is named as Papanasam, literally means the destroyer of sins.
Apart from the gorgeous and breathtaking beach, Varkala sightseeing places include various temples and shrines of historical importance. Varkala points of interest also include numerous Ayurveda spas, spicy restaurants, cost effective hotels and rich souvenir shops.
Top Things to Do in Varkala
You can have many fun things to do in Varkala. The land offers almost everything exciting that a beachside can. This is the finest spot for having a tranquil beach experience with swimming, sunbathing, surfing and shopping. You can get here traditional Ayurveda massages, the best natural henna, take yoga, shop souvenirs, meet locals, ride a scooter around the beach city, and ultimately chill the best!
You can have a visit to the famous Janardhana Temple. It is also nice to go Varkala Aquarium, which possesses large varieties of exotic species including piranha, sea snakes, scorpion fish, local karimeen etc. Sivagiri Mutt, the headquarters of the Shri Narayana Dharma Sanghom Trust is another main spot to visit.
Adventure Sports in Varkala
The Varkala is one of the best destinations in Kerala that offers opportunities for adventure sports at sea and beach. Varkala is up on a cliff and is very similar to the Vagator in Goa. The sports facilities here are cost effective than anywhere else in India. The ideal time to visit and have sporting here would be around October to March. At Varkala, you can enjoy wonderful and adventurous stand up paddle board (SUP) on the backwaters. The destination is also famous for surfing. For surfing on the beach, it is always safe to take a trial in white waters before you go for the wild waves.
Where to eat in Varkala
Varkala offers a wide variety of South Indian seafood dishes. You can see many small tea shops, beach restaurants and coffee cafes at this beach city packed with foreigners/travelers. Some of the best places to eat in Varkala include Café del Mar, Theeram, Tibetan Kitchen, Trattorias etc.
Where to stay in Varkala
Since Varkala is in the budding stage of tourism development, the number of resorts in Varkala offering a standard stay is very limited. Deshadan Cliff & Beach Resort, Varkala is located in the most beautiful spot of the city, offering the splendid view of the beach from cliffs. You can get here luxury rooms, yummy food and comfy facilities very cost effectively. Hotels in Varkala cliff are generally expensive during the peak season. If you are looking for a cheaper deal, prefer a trip before the season starts.