Varkala, Kerala: Experience, planning tips - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Varkala, Kerala: Experience, planning tips

Visited Varkala and Tiruvananthapuram in Kerala recently. Varkala is a coastal town with a nice cliff, several beaches and beach side properties to stay at. I had not been to this part of Kerala so had made a plan to visit as much as possible during a weekend + 1 day leave.

I took the Friday evening train from Mangaluru and arrived at Varkala Sivagiri Saturday morning. Walked 2.5 kms to my hotel, dropped a bag, and went around a bit to see the cliff. The day was too hot to explore in detail hence post lunch I preferred to rest a bit. Original plan was to walk till Kappil beach but eventually postponed this to the next morning. Visited sunset from Varkala beach instead. Effectively spent little more than 24 hours in Varkala.

If I had a vehicle I would have gone bit further to Munroe island and other scenic spots around- but that is for some other day.

What all to explore in and around Varkala (within 5 to 10 kms)

  • Varkala Cliff- an elevated viewpoint of the beach. You may also walk down the steps to the beach
  • Shacks on the cliff- wide range of restaurants, shops, massage parlors, pubs are full of tourists near the cliff, overlooking the beach
  • Museums and cultural centers- there was a magic show at 6 PM on the day of our visit. But didn’t visit as I preferred to enjoy sunset
  • Kappil Beach- is a nice spot with proper road access. Has river on one side and sea on the other, hence pretty nice place to visit. Not much facilities available though.
  • Edava Beach on the way to Kappil Beach- didn’t spot anything unusually unique about this beach
  • Black beach: I think we missed it- was supposed to be located between Varkala beach and Edava Beach
  • Beach side walking trail: Between Varkala and Kappil beach, there is a nice walking trail by the beach that extends to about 5 kms. It will be a nice walk on this trail

Things to remember while visiting Varkala

Reaching Varkala: Varkala Sivagiri is the nearest train station- most express trains stop here for a minute. Tiruvananthapuram (TRV) is the nearest airport. Between Thiruvananthapuram and Varkala you can take the train, bus or auto.

There is no direct bus between Varkala and Trivandrum. You’ve to reach Kallambalam town which is on National Highway and change from there.

Cost: Because of the tourist crowd, everything is expensive in Varkala- a simple limited meals is 150 INR (140 INR in Tiruvananthapuram with unlimited rice), most of the items cost 200-300 INR each, so proper dinner for 2 will touch 1000 INR easily.

Stay: Every second property calls itself a resort. So do not book blindly without checking the photos, reviews and other details. If you stay close to the cliff area you will have easy access to beaches and restaurants. You may stay a bit further by a beach side resort for a more relaxed, calmer experience.

Local transportation in Varkala: 

  • Buses are available but low frequency and do not go to specific tourist spots.
  • Autos are usually available around main spots. Better to take phone numbers of few auto drivers when you arrive in Varkala.
  • Bike rental is the best option to explore as bike can go closer to most beaches while in a car you may have to take a longer route and walk longer.
  • Auto charges: 100-120 INR for 2-3 kms, 250-300 INR for 7-8 kms

Best season to visit Varkala: June to September expect heavy rains. October to February is the best season. March to May might be very hot and humid, making it difficult to explore

How many days to spend: About 2 days are adequate to explore places close to Varkala. If you wish to extend to say Munroe island or other attractions within 50-100 km radius then you may keep another few days extra.

Shopping: Better to avoid in Varkala- better buy in bigger city


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