More often than not, tourists are so bent on ticking off a visit to a “famous” beach that they forget that a beach is often a small part of a long shoreline — the lesser-known beaches along which could be as beautiful, if not more.
In fact, chances are that they would be cleaner sans the overload of tourists and littering.
Here are eight such beaches in Kerala that should be on your itinerary if you’re one for a quiet, pristine experience.
A word of caution: Do your research before visiting secluded areas by yourself, and take back every single bit of plastic you carry!
Kuzhuppilly Beach, Kochi
Situated 6 km from its well-known counterpart Cherai, Kuzhuppilly Beach is best known for the spectacular path which leads to it, with water-filled fish farms on either side.
An early morning or late evening drive is definitely recommended. Kuzhuppilly is famous for its prawn and fish farms, so remember to get a taste of fresh seafood from a local eatery for lunch.
Recently, the beach was also in the news when Olive Ridley turtles turned up for their nesting season, which the Social Forestry division has been taking care to protect with the help of local fisherfolk.
Munambam Beach, Kochi
Also an extension of the Cherai shoreline, Munambam Beach is a charming spot where the Periyar river meets the Arabian Sea. The village is known for its centuries-old fishing harbour and the Chinese fishing nets that adorn the skyline. Of late, quite a few water sports have been introduced on this beach.
Don’t miss the annual kite festival held here, where enthusiasts from across the country meet up and fly kites of a multitude of sizes and shapes.
Muzhappilangad Beach, Kannur
Ever experienced a beach without stepping out of your car? Muzhappilangad in Kannur district is one of the few drive-in beaches in the country, where the shoreline is nearly 4 km long. The beach is also known as a hotspot for birdwatchers — nearly 30 species of migratory birds can be spotted here during the winter. A little ahead of the beach, at walking distance, is the Dharmadam thuruth or island, which you can wade over to during low tide and get some spectacular pictures clicked. Just make sure you get back before high tide.
Varkala Beach, Thiruvananthapuram
Situated less than a two-hour drive from Kovalam Beach, Varkala is no less spectacular with its rocky cliffs, yellow sands and wildflowers all over the beach. The beach is also known as Papanasam (destroyer of sins) Beach as people gather here to scatter the ashes of the dead, and to take a dip in the waters that can supposedly wash off one’s sins.
British influence can be found in all historical spots nearby, including the centuries-old Anjengo Lighthouse on the beach, which stands tall at 130 feet and used to guide seafarers at one point.
Thaickal Beach, Cherthala
The Alleppey and Marari beaches can be quite crowded during the tourist season, and if you are looking for quiet walks and some reading, Thaickal with its pristine waters and clean sands is the one for you.
One of the attractions of this beach is the remnants of a 1,000-year-old wind-powered ship, discovered two decades back, which is now under the protection of the Archaeological Department. Also close by is the famous Arthunkal Church, a hotspot for pilgrims.
Thikkodi Beach, Kozhikode
Also a drive-in beach, few people would be aware of Thikkodi, where you can cruise down the four km stretch of clean, firm sands while watching the sun go down the sea. The sands are apparently so firm that locals take driving lessons on the beach.
While here, don’t miss a visit to the Nandi Lighthouse nearby and the rocky Velliyamkallu Island.
Kolavi Beach, Kozhikode
You might miss this shallow and expansive beach without the help of locals as it lies hidden amidst thickets of mangroves. Ideal for photoshoots or just a day out, this beach is also called ‘Mini Goa’ — owing to its route with the river and sea on either side, dotted with quaint little huts.
The beach offers a conglomeration of a river, sea and mangroves. While this is a rare sight to behold, the waters of this quiet beach can be a little dangerous at the point where the waters meet. So it would be wise to exercise some caution when travelling with children.
Meenkunnu Beach, Kannur
Situated close to its famous cousin Payyambalam Beach, Meenkunnu (hill of fish) is more of a little secret cove, nestled amidst rocky cliffs in the village of Azhikode. As the name suggests, this is a fishing village and the only company you will have on the beach are fisherfolk. So, if solitude is what you’re looking for, this is the beach for you. You can also get a great view of the sunset from the top of the cliffs around.
Edited by Pranita Bhat