Varkala Tourism

Varkala Tourism

Rank 17
Ranked 17 of 58
Kerala Tourism Destinations
Destination Rating
5.9 / 7
1230 Ratings & 896 Reviews

Varkala Info

  • State: Kerala
  • Famous for/as: Beach
  • District: Thiruvananthapuram

Varkala is a famous beach destination situated in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. Varkala is a small town located about 53 km to the north – west of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and about 40 km to the south – west of Quilon.  Besides being a popular getaway for backpackers, Varkala is a well known religious destination also. 

History of Varkala

Varkala has a glorious past. During the Sangham era, Varkala had been a major port known by the name ‘Balitha’, the references of which can be found in Ptolemy’s Periplus as well. 

Anjengo Fort, a national heritage monument near Varkala, tells about the bygone era of trade settlement by the Portuguese, the Dutch and finally the English East India Company. Anjengo Fort was built by the Dutch during the17th century to guard the coastline. Anjengo Fort had been the target of foreign powers for several centuries so that they could have a strong foothold in Kerala.  

During the pre – independence days of India, Varkala was a part of the state of Travancore. In 1956, Varkala became a part of the state of Kerala.

Things to do in Varkala

Among the several picturesque beaches of Varkala, the prominent one is the main Varkala Beach, which is also known by the name Papanasanam Beach. The beaches of Varkala have steep cliffs, natural springs, etc. These cliffs, termed as Varkala Formation, that are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea are declared as geological monuments by the Geological Survey of India.

Varkala has witnessed great developments in its infrastructure since the advent of the tourism industry. There has been a boom in the hospitality sector in Varkala in the recent years owing to the popularity of its beaches and various religious spots in the area.

The most significant religious spot in Varkala is Sree Janardana Swami Temple. Sree Janardana Swami Temple or Dakshin Kashi is more than 2000 years old. Other prominent places of attraction in Varkala are Varkala Tunnel, Ponnumthuruthu Island, Sivagiri Mutt, Kaduvayil Thangal Dargah, etc.

With the rise in Varkala tourism, the healthcare industry here has flourished well. Varkala is a famous centre for Ayurvedic treatments. Natural therapies and spa treatments have become very popular here. Backwater cruising at the estuarine stretch between Edava and Kappil is another popular activity in Varkala. There are many Varkala holiday packages that focus on similar treatments. 

Travelling to Varkala

Varkala is well connected by road to various cities. Tourists can choose to reach Varkala by buses, trains, flights and taxis. The nearest airport is located at Trivandrum, 45 km from the destination. The best time to visit Varkala Beach is from November to March.

Accommodation options in Varkala

Apart from budget hotels in Varkala like homestays and a few resorts, tourists also have luxurious options while visiting Varkala. 

Best time to visit Varkala in the next six months

  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • January
  • February

Varkala Traveller Reviews

Read 38 destination reviews
with average rating of 5.9/7, 1
out of 896 Varkala reviews 38
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Shalini Pillai

  • Tourist
  • Shalini Pillai
  • Lives in Kollam
  • 1 Review
  •  13 readers

"Goa in Kerala" new review

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted 1 week ago
Barbara is a beautiful beach, about 30 min from Trivandrum. It is much better than the hyped Kovalam beach. It's main attraction is that the beach is backed by a cliff where you will find a lot of foreign tourists, cliff side restaurants and resorts serving delicious food and drinks with an awesome view of the beach. If you are an early riser you can also see some Dolphins. The beach is clean and shallow so it's safe to venture in the water.
PS. There are 2 sections of the beach, one which is crowded with locals and the other just beside it covered on one side by cliff which is mostly occupied by foreigners. Don't forget to visit this part of the beach.
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Ashwini Dabbe

  • Explorer
  • Ashwini Dabbe
  • 23 Reviews
  •  5 helpful votes
  •  8401 readers

"Serene beach"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted 1 month ago
Varkala beach cliff is one of the most beautiful beaches in India. Waters are clean. All the resorts and shopping stuff on the cliff. Most of the restaurants face the beach and it's an amazing view. You can also enjoy Kerala style spa which will be provided by the resort. Spa is very relaxing.
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Manmohan Totala

  • Tourist
  • Manmohan Totala
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 20 photos
  • 4 Reviews
  •  178 readers

"Heavenly beach"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Varkala is surely a traveller's paradise.
The arabian sea, red cliffs, unlimited food junctions which offer almost all the cuisines possible. The beach is a long strech. Out of the whole strech, two stretches are most famous papanasham and black beach. The view from the cliff is breathtaking. Lot of attractions nearby like kappil lake, tunnel, janardhanaswamy temple and many more. Must be on beach and solo traveller's bucket list.
Have fun
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Isha Jajoo

  • Tourist
  • Isha Jajoo
  • Lives in Chennai
  • 5 photos
  • 4 Reviews
  •  8 helpful votes
  •  2046 readers

"Non commercialised Soothing beach"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted 3 months ago
What an amazing place it is
I reached here from trivandrum. The bus stopped by the city, from there I got an auto to the north cliff where I stayed. I had booked a bamboo room in vedanta wake up in Rs 700. It was comfortable but due to windy weather, I could feel something is moving on the roof. Then I went to the beach. To go to the beach, I had to go to north cliff helipad and from there, I stepped down to the beach through stairs. There were many shops and rooftop restaurants on the cliff ..
The beach, waves, rooftop restaurants look awesome in night with a class of beer in one hand and sleeping chair ...
It is a quiet relaxed place .. You will find foreign crowd here mostly.
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  • 1 vote


  • Tourist
  • Sridhar
  • 3 photos
  • 1 Review
  •  508 readers

"Beauty at its best"

  • 6.0/7
  • Posted Apr 21, 2016
The smallest ever vacation spot that keeps you amazed for days. The stretch of beach is one of the cleanest and the sexiest in the whole country. The food here is very homely that anyone could live with. All restaurants serve almost the same taste surprising. Stay is very comfortable and you can easily find one that fits your pocket. Best spot to unwind and take a dip if you are a beach lover.
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Praveen jain

  • Scout
  • Praveen jain
  • Lives in Delhi
  • 4 Reviews
  •  669 readers

"Best place"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Mar 14, 2016
One of the best places in south India to spend quality time with friends and family. The main attraction here is the number of foreigners one can see. People from different parts of the world can be seen here having holidays.

For non-vegetarians, there is a variety of food to have. The major attractions being live fish. Nothing much for vegetarians. However, there are few good vegetarian hotels where you can have some tasty food. There is a large collection of Tibetian products like jewellery and all to shop on for ladies.
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Roshna Aasif

  • Tourist
  • Roshna Aasif
  • Lives in Coimbatore
  • 1 Review
  •  2 helpful votes
  •  666 readers

"Awesome beach destination!"

  • 6.5/7
  • Posted Feb 15, 2016
We have no clue how this place would be, but to our surprise it was an awesome place with clean cliff beach and less expensive too. Most of the stay place have sea view restaurants. There is no much places to visit at Varkala except an island which has a temple. Though you don wanna visit the temple the journey to it in the boat is worth a try.
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  • 2 votes

Shivam Doshi

  • Tourist
  • Shivam Doshi
  • 2 photos
  • 9 Reviews
  •  8 helpful votes
  •  3500 readers

"Nothing is like Varkala"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Feb 2, 2016
Practically speaking, it is a bit difficult to reach here from everywhere in India as it is way below in Kerala too. If going by road or rail, you won't be disappointed as you can experience the beauty of Kerala on your way. On reaching here, you'll be amazed after seeing a place like this exist and yet is not popular enough. The beaches are extremely clean and the water, blue. You feel freshened once you see the beach from the cliff. This brings us to the best and the most unique part of Varkala, the cliff. An amazing point of view where you'll find tons and tons of amazing restaurants, out of which most will serve you beer and cocktails. A very peaceful retreat, where you can play at the beach, relax in a restaurant overlooking the ocean, catch up on a book, try on surfing(with professional tutors), go shopping etc etc. The cliff side is a very narrow street with around 200 colourful cafes and shops where you can buy anything ranging from hippie clothes to sleeping bags, hand made diaries to artifacts. The cliff itself is so beautiful and so unique that you won't find another place like this in India(maybe even the world). The accommodation cost here vary depending upon the season but if you move around here and there and have strong bargaining skills, you can get the accommodation at around 300 per head per night. Apart from the main beaches and the cliff, you can also rent two wheelers and go to nearby places like Kappil beach(extremely tranquil beach and the road leading to it is also amazing), Anchutenga fort and an elephant reserve where you can go on an elephant safari.

Also the Varkala boasts an extremely huge portion of international crowd which ensures that you get a huge variety of tasty cuisines in the tons of cafe's on the cliff. The mornings of Varkala are full of people doing yoga on the beaches and surfing in the ocean. Get an ayurvedic massage and experience the peace that Varkala has to offer. A must visit for travellers who enjoy the beach lifestyle or people just wanting a break from their monotonous lifestyles. Cheers, enjoy and thank me later.
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  • 1 vote

Ambuj Kumar

  • Tourist
  • Ambuj Kumar
  • Lives in Muzaffarpur
  • 1 photo
  • 1 Review
  •  721 readers

"Amazing place!"

  • 5.0/7
  • Posted Jan 29, 2016
It is an amazing place to be there. The place is so much good and it is quite relaxing we cant be bore there. So much to see. Lots of places to visit. Some temples are also there and the cliffs are amazing which provide a nice see view over there. Must go!
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Saurabh Shukla

  • Scout
  • Saurabh Shukla
  • Lives in New Delhi
  • 1 Review
  •  2 helpful votes
  •  935 readers

"Beaches with a difference - Varkala"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Dec 28, 2015
If you are looking for a perfect holiday destination that invloves a beach, then I strongly recommend a visit to Varkala. If you are a beach lover, chances are, you've already been to Goa, but if you are looking for a something natural and serene yet

Breathtaking and exciting, then this is the place to be. A haven for nature lovers, it provides an all-in-one experience. And here is how. One of the striking features which makes Varkala stand out from the rest of the beaches in the country is its rocky beaches strewn with abundant vegetation, which provides a perfect view of seawater mingling with the flora. It is not entirely rocky which means you can enjoy the view through the waters as well as while sunbathing. And what a better place to calm your nerves, there are multiple naturally occurring water spouts and spas rich in minerals across the beach which will reinvigorate your senses and take you into a whole new world. You will find people from all over the world flocking this place, and they just loved it. To add to the adventure side of things, there are facilities for water skiing, wake boarding, knee boarding, kayaking etc. Which can be opted for reasonable rates. All along the beach there are innumerable hotels, restaurants, spas and eateries. Hotels available are both cheap and expensive, so money is not an issue if you want to hang around for a couple of days. Due to its proximity to sea, restaurants here provide a variety of indigenous and exotic range of seafood, which will bring new experience to your taste buds. The best time to visit is during the months of October and December, when the weather is cool even during the daytime. For religious and spiritual visitors, Sree Janardan Swami Temple and Sivagiri Mutt are located nearby though I didn't visit them. All in all, this was a memorable experience for me, and I am totally convinced one would want to visit this place again and again if they give it a try.
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  • 2 votes

Manoj Sidhart gupta Anjesha Mr t .hakkim Manoj, Sidhart gupta, Anjesha and 1197 other people have been to Varkala.
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