Third Eye Traveller

15 Amazing Things to Do in Fort Kochi (Cochin) & Mattancherry (2024)!

By: Author Sophie Pearce

Posted on Last updated: February 27, 2024

Categories INDIA , KERALA

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

For such a small fishing village in Kerala, Fort Kochi really packs a punch with history, attractions, and local cuisine. 

It’s a melting pot of cultures due to its colourful colonial history and it’s as pretty as a postcard to boot. 

Now, the first question you’ll probably ask as soon as you arrive is “where is the fort, exactly?”. Well, not to disappoint you, but there isn’t one anymore! Except maybe for that one canon lol. 

But, don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do in Fort Kochi (or, Cochin to locals) to keep you occupied. 

I’d definitely recommend penciling in a few days to explore as there is just so much to see in and around the area.

So, make sure you bookmark this complete Cochin travel guide with all the amazing things to do in Fort Kochi for your trip!

I visited Fort Kochi as part of my trip with India Someday, click here to see my full itinerary and a review of their trip planning services.

Kathakali Dance Kerala

Things to know before you visit Kerala

  • In Kerala the locals speak Malayalam, they even have their own songs and films that have been recorded in the language. As one of the most literate states, they speak excellent Hindi and English.
  • Kerala is a politically appointed Communist state, so you’ll see lots of communist flags and artwork around the area 
  • It’s often referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’ as it’s filled with backwaters, coconut trees and the paradise will take your breath away. 
  • Kerala is a little more conservative than its neighbour Goa, but not as conservative as Delhi, so make sure that you dress appropriately. But, it’s not uncommon for tourists to wear strappy tops, dresses that show your legs and shorts either. 

Always make sure that you have travel insurance before your trip, I’m covered by World Nomad’s and I would highly recommend them. Click here to take out a travel insurance policy. 

The Communist club in Kochi

Where is Fort Kochi in Kerala?

Fort Kochi is a region of Kochin located on the coast of Kerala in the South of India. 

It’s easily accessible from Cochin International Airport, so lots of travellers head here first when they land. 

But, it is around 36 kilometres away and so you will need a transfer from the airport to Fort Kochin. 

Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, buses leave Cochin Airport regularly throughout the day.

Thankfully, India Someday organised a private car for me on my visit. But, you can look at booking your own private transfer here .

Street Art in Fort Kochi | One week in Kerala

15 Amazing things to do in Fort Kochi

1. chinese fishing nets .

This should be the number one attraction to add to your list; the Chinese Fishing Nets in Fort Kochi is what it is famous for!

According to legend, the Chinese Fishing Nets were introduced by a Chinese fisherman named Zang. He brought these nets to Kerala over 500 years ago and they’ve been here ever since as a way for fishermen to make a living. 

Today, the fishing nets are more of a tourist trap than a fishing trade. But, it is still fun to climb on them and have a go at reeling it in, in exchange for a small tip! 

Click here for my top tips on not getting scammed at the Kochi fishing nets

Things to do in Fort Kochi | Chinese Fishing Nets Fort Kochi

These guys can be a bit cutthroat and demand a tip for every fisherman who is on the fishing net, but give what you feel. I think I ended up giving them 500 rupees. 

Yes, yes, it’s a lot but it did make for a great photo opportunity, experience some of the local culture, and help the fisherman out!

I heard from my homestay owner that the fisherman here are very much the middleman and don’t make a lot of cash. So, any way to help is always appreciated.

The best time to come and visit the fishing nets is around sunset when the sky lights up in all different colours! If you didn’t want to pay to board one, there are many promenades that provide a free view.

The Chinese Fishing nets are FREE to visit (unless you go on one!) and are open 24 hours a day.

Chinese Fishing Nets Fort Kochi | Things to do in Fort Kochi

2.  Visit St. Francis’ Church

The next step that you should make in Fort Kochi to get acquainted with the history of Fort Kochi is to visit St. Francis’ Church.

Here, you can see the tomb of Vasco De Gama who started Fort Kochi as we know it today. 

The current history of Fort Kochi really began when a Portuguese merchant sailor by the name of Vasco de Gama rediscovered the old spice trade route from Europe.

He sailed from Portugal to India and landed on the shores of Kerala in 1501.

St Francis Church Fort Kochi

After a rather unsuccessful meeting on southern shores with the Zamorin (king) of Calicut, he ended up making an alliance with the Rajah (another king) of Kochi.

The deal was, in exchange for defeating the Zamorin, Vasco de Gama had permission from the Rajah to trade and build in the area. Thus, the first settlement in Fort Kochi was born! Many of the Portuguese churches and historic buildings are still here today.

St. Francis’ Church is the perfect example of a Portuguese colonial building. The inside of the church is pretty plain as it was reconstructed in the 17th century but the tomb of Vasco De Gama is still inside. 

His remains were moved to Portugal many years ago but, you can go in and see a little memorial in honour of his memory here.

The church is completely FREE to visit and is open from 10 am – 5 pm during the week. On Saturdays, it’s 12-5 pm and on Sundays, it’s closed for service.

The tomb of Vasco De Gama in St. Francis' Church | Things to do in Fort Kochi

3.  Santa Cruz Basilica 

St. Francis’ church wasn’t the only church that the Portuguese left behind. The Santa Cruz Basilica is one of the finest examples of Roman Catholic churches in Kerala and even, some say, the whole of India.

It was originally built in 1505 and in 1558 was elevated to a cathedral status by Pope Paul IV.

Each year thousands of tourists flock here to see the magnificent temple and admire the building from the inside and out. 

Kerala ltinerary

During the day it’s a gleaming white architectural masterpiece and by night it’s lit up in the most amazing bright blue lights! 

If you find yourself passing by, it’s definitely worth taking a peek inside the church too. The artwork and detail are magnificent. 

As an active church mass in English still occurs here daily and visitors are not allowed to visit or take pictures inside the church at this time. But, you can hear the mass on a speaker outside and watch from the outside too if you’re curious.

Santa Cruz Basilica is FREE to visit and is open 24 hours daily. Mass timings are Sundays – 5.30 a.m, 6.45 a.m, 8.00 a.m, 9.15 a.m, 4.30 p.m.( English). Weekdays – 6.00 a.m, 7.00 a.m, 6.00 p.m.

FORTKOCHIEDITS 4 of 9

4.  Watch a Kathakali dance performance

You can watch a Kathakali dance performance all over Kerala, but Fort Kochi has the best performances and cultural centres in the state.

So, I would highly recommend organising to visit one in the evening here. I had wanted to see this for years so was happy to tick this off my list!

Kathakali is an ancient religious dance practice that is inspired by the Hindu epic the Ramayan.

The performers have to train for a minimum of six years to be able to take the stage, so you know that the dancers are really passionate about their craft.

What to expect in a Kathakali dance performance

The performance usually takes place in two parts, the first part is where you see them apply the makeup for around an hour. The second half is when you watch the performance. 

Unless you’re really interested (like I was) in the makeup being applied, then I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to watch. But, you do get to learn about the products used and the fact they put flower seeds in their eyes to make them go red!

Click here for my top tips for this incredible Kerala cultural show!

Kerala Itinerary | Kathakali Makeup | Things to do in fort Kochi

Admittedly, the most interesting part comes from the actual dancing part. What’s amazing about Kathakali as a theatrical style is that there is no dialogue with the performance. Well, not with speech anyway.

All the communicating is done by moving different parts of their body. That includes their mouth, eyebrows, hands, stomach, feet, fingers the lot! The training to learn all of the moves must take so much concentration!

Luckily, if you’re not familiar with the Ramayan, you’ll be given an explanation about the story you are watching and the dance. 

I personally found the whole thing fascinating and would encourage anyone visiting Kerala to see it. I watched it at the Kathakali Cultural Centre and tickets were 350INR.

5.  Visit The Dutch Palace / Mattancherry Palace 

Another cornerstone in Fort Kochi’s colonial history is when the Dutch took over the spice route from Europe.

There wasn’t any spectacular battle between the Dutch and the Portuguese or anything like that it was a simple trade deal. After that, the Dutch moved in and made their own stamp on the place.

Mattancherry Palace was originally a gift from the Portuguese to the King of Cochin in 1555.

But, once the Portuguese had left the area, the Dutch made significant improvements to the building in 1663. So, even today, the palace has the nickname of the Dutch Palace. 

Dutch Palace | Things to do in Fort Kochi

The palace today has many exhibits from the colonial eras and of the Rajas of Cochin up until the present day. The Royal Family of Cochin is one of the oldest royal families in India and still lives nearby. 

As well as these exhibits they have lots of precious artwork and paintings based on the Ramayan from the 16th century.

Photography is pretty strict so always ask permission of what you can and cannot take photos of in here. The guards will shout at you if you overstep. 

The Mattancherry Palace is open 9.45 am-1 pm and then 2 pm-4.45 pm. It’s closed on Fridays and Saturdays’. The cost of entry is 5 rupees for locals and foreigners.

Mattancherry Palace | Things to do in Fort Kochi

6. Pay a visit to Dhobi Khana public laundry

Another Dutch colonial site that has been transformed into something that supports the local community is Dhobi Khana.

When the Dutch were in power here, this is the spot where the Keralites would wash and prepare the uniforms for the Dutch army. However, today, it’s a community washing, drying, and ironing service. 

This area provides lots of jobs for people to wash, dry and iron clothes, bedsheets, towels, and all sorts of items for the community.

Many businesses use Dhobi Khana as their laundry service, so its arm reaches everyone in the area. So, the bedsheets or towels in your hotel/homestay may have been laundered by these guys!

It’s definitely a cool place to check out and visit so you can see some of the local people and the ‘real’ culture of Fort Kochi beyond the colonial sites. Plus any donations are welcome to support the business.

Dhobi Khana Public Laundry | things to do in fort kochi

7.  Go shopping in Jew Town and visit the Paradesi Synagogue

Jew Town in Mattancherry is where a community of Cochin Jews used to live in the area. They are the oldest community of Jews in India and have been residing here since the times of King Solomon in 900BCE. 

Although the Jewish community here thrived in centuries past and in 1950 there were approximately 250 Cochin Jews residing Kochi. Today, there are only six Paradesi Jewish people that remain. You can read more about this here. 

This area is now commonly known as Jew Town in Mattancherry and the street has many antique dealerships, art galleries, and trendy cafés.

As you walk down the street you’ll find many brass ornaments, clothes, perfumes, and souvenirs. So, make sure you leave some time to explore.

Jew Town Fort Kochi | Things to do in fort Kochi

If you are interested in exploring more of the Paradesi culture here, then you must head to the Paradesi Synagogue which is epicenter of their community.

This 400-year-old temple is still active and remains a place where Cochin Jews worship. It was constructed in 1568 adjacent to the Mattancherry Palace on land that was gifted by the Raja himself.

In 1968, on the 400th anniversary of refuge, the Paradesi Synagogue was given a mazeltov (congratulations) by the Prime Minister of India at the time, Indira Gandhi.

Today, you can visit the Synagogue for just 5 rupees to learn about the arrival of the Jewish people in South India and admire the stunning architecture here.

The Paradesi Synagogue opens to the public from 10 am – 12 pm and then again from 3 pm – 5 pm. It’s closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.

Paradesi Synagogue things to do in Fort Kochi

8.  Sip a coconut on Fort Kochi Beach

Who doesn’t like to chill by the coast for a while? I have to admit, I’m not that much of a beach bunny but I loved taking a walk down the promenade next to Fort Kochi beach!

Not only did you have the Chinese Fishing nets, but you also had lots of stalls selling souvenirs, street food counters, street art and you got to witness life happening in the area!

If you wanted to see the last remnants of what used to be the Fort in Fort Kochi this is your chance at the Fort Immanuel which is along this route.

But, one of the best things I loved to do in the heat is to grab a coconut and sip it by the shore! There are so many coconut stalls around here and it’s super refreshing to indulge in one. 

Things to do in Fort Kochi

9.  Vasco De Gama Square

Another spot along this route is the Vasco De Gama Square, which is aptly named after the guy who founded modern Cochin as we know it today!

This square is covered in the famous Kerala rain trees and is a meeting point in Fort Kochi.

It’s an ideal place to spend the evenings as you’ll find lots of local restaurants cooking up daily catches, people chatting, playing games, kids playing, and people strolling up and down the promenade to enjoy the fresh sea air.

This is also the perfect place to catch a glimpse at the famous Chinese Fishing Nets so don’t miss it while you’re here. 

Vasco De Gama Square Things to do in fort Kochi

10. Take a ferry to Vypin Island (Vypeen)

Although Fort Kochi sees thousands of tourists pass through it each year, it’s easy to find some nearby islands that don’t see many tourists at all.

The local car ferries are a great way to island hop in Kochi and in just ten minutes or less you can find yourself in a peaceful area away from the crowds.

Vypin Island (or Vypeen) is the touching distance from Fort Kochi over the water but tourists rarely visit. 

Here, you can walk around the island and explore its many beaches, head over to the Vypin lighthouse and also see the fishing nets in action. 

Unlike the tourist trap nets on Fort Kochi, the fishing nets on Vypin Island are still in use for fishing. They also let you climb on board and check them out without charging you!

The ferry from Fort Kochi to Vypin island costs 3 rupees a ticket! So, it’s no harm lost and you even have the chance to see dolphins on your way over too. 

Vypin Island Vypeen

11. Admire the street art in Fort Kochi

The one thing that I loved about Fort Kochi was the colourful street art. Around every corner here you would see a colourful mural.

But, if you would like to know specific areas then I would definitely check out Vasco De Gama Square, Calvathy Road, the area around the Santa Cruz Basilica, and Bazaar Road.

Every two years Fort Kochi is home to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale festival which is one of the largest in the country. 

This international event that started in 2012 sees contemporary artists from around the world invited to showcase their art on the streets, in the galleries, in installations, and on the stage. It also sees thousands of visitors each year with numbers recorded of up to 250,000!

The artworks can be films, portraits, street art, performances, workshop, and music. So, if you’re an artist or admire bohemian festivals this would definitely be the event for you. 

Kochi Street Art Things to do in Fort Kochi

12. Take a walking tour with Gully Tours 

If you would like to learn more about the history of Fort Kochi and discover some local hidden gems then I would highly recommend taking a walking tour with Gully Tours. 

I took their spice trail route which was more of a historical walking tour that took you through the Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial eras. 

During our tour, we passed many historic buildings and I got to learn all about how Fort Kochi developed over the years. 

We also visited more of the contemporary bohemian side of Fort Kochi and popped into some of the art cafés while we were here. One of my favourites was Pepper House which sells fair-trade coffee. The café is located in an old Pepper Exchange! 

Kerala Itinerary | Cafe in Fort Kochi

We also explored the Indian side of Fort Kochi which was where the Keralites have lived for centuries, even throughout the colonial rule.

While we were here we had a look in the many fruit markets, shops and got to have a local dining experience.

Kayeez Rahmathulla Café is a favourite local dining place that is packed from morning until night. While you’re here you can try the local cuisine including Kerala Paratha and their tasty mutton curry. 

The great news is this place is cheap and cheerful so you can have a feast for around 150 rupees. 

To book your walking tour of Fort Kochi, see here for details. Prices are around 1400 rupees per head. 

Kayeez Cafe Fort Kochi | Where to eat in Fort Kochi

13. Visit one of the many art cafés

Something that I love about Fort Kochi is the way they have reused their colonial buildings.

Instead of making all of them into stuffy museums or abandoning them altogether, most of them have been transformed into trendy art cafés and restaurants.

Whilst on my walking tour we popped into the David Hall Gallery & Café where you’ll find some great art in the gallery and also some of the local artists selling their works. 

Also, you can visit Kashi Art Café, the Pepper House, and Master’s Art Café which all provide amazing creative spaces to grab a coffee or have lunch. 

Fort Kochi | Kerala Itinerary

14. Pay respects at the Dutch Cemetery

If you carry on down the road from the St. Francis’ Church towards the beach you’ll pass the famous Dutch Cemetery. 

This cemetery which was constructed in 1724 is believed to be one of the oldest cemeteries in the whole of India. It’s actually one of the most popular attractions in Fort Kochi as it holds 104 tombs of settlers from the area. 

During the Dutch colonial era, only Dutch people were allowed to be buried here but later British citizens were also laid to rest there.

It’s closed off to visitors most of the year, but you can have a look at it from the outside. 

The Dutch Cemetery Fort Kochi

15. Spot dolphins on a sunset cruise

One of the many things that visitors love to do here is going on a sunset boat cruise of the local area! 

Although not a guarantee, when the sun goes down in Kerala you may have the chance to spot some wild dolphins as you sail by.

On your cruise, you’ll head out and sail by Balgatty Island, Marine Drive, and the Kochi Lagoon that looks out to the Arabian sea. 

There are many operators in the area but here are some tour ideas below;

  • 2 hour Cochin sunset cruise
  • Half day houseboat cruise with lunch
  • Private day cruise of the backwaters with transfers

Things to do in Fort Kochi Kerala

How to get around Fort Kochi

On Foot: Fort Koch is a small fishing area and you can easily get around on foot to explore. I think the furthest attractions are in Mattancherry and it’s a 30-minute walk from the Chinese Fishing Nets in Fort Kochi. 

Uber: If the heat is too much or you just don’t feel like walking, there is Uber in the area. I have a whole post about how to use Uber in India which you can check out here.  

Rickshaw : As it was pretty easy to head around Kerala I didn’t end up using the Auto Rickshaws here but I got plenty of offers when I was out and about! The Rickshaws are pretty reasonable but make sure you negotiate for a fair price. 

Public ferry: If you want to island-hop in Kochi, I would highly recommend the local car ferries. Each ferry allows foot passengers to board and the tickets are SO cheap. For 3 rupees you can cross to different islands like Vypeen and Balgatty. They also run pretty much all hours too. 

Things to do in Fort kochi

Where to eat in Fort Kochi

If you wanted to try some of the local Malayali fish dishes then I would recommend checking out some of the sea front restaurants like Sutra restaurant and Fusion Bay . Both come highly recommended and having tried some of their awesome specialities for myself, I can confirm that they are excellent. 

If you’re looking for a lunch spot, then definitely pop into some of the art cafés like Kashi , the David Hall or the Pepper House for a light bite.  

If you’re looking for a budget local experience I would recommend heading out of the Fort area and popping into Kayeez Rahmathulla Café which is a local favourite and serves up piping hot food all day. 

Sutra Restaurant Fort Kochi

Where to stay in Fort Kochi | Kochi Hotels

I organised my Kerala trip through India Someday who booked me into the wonderful Delight Homestay while I was here.

What I loved more than most about this family-run homestay was that it was the oldest in Fort Kochi and located inside a Portuguese building. So, you really felt part of the history while you were here! 

Inside the homestay was a gorgeous garden where they grew their own herbs, fruits, and vegetables. So, you know when breakfast was served it was all organic! 

My room was clean, spacious, and had fantastic air conditioning which was perfect for the sweltering temperatures in October.

You can read my complete review of this amazing homestay here!

Where to stay in Fort Kochi | Delight Homestay Kochi | Fort Kochi Hotels

When is the best time to visit Kochi?

Unlike the north of India, Kerala sees nice tropical temperatures throughout the year that aren’t going to melt your skin off!

The peak tourist season in Kerala is October to March. But, even in October I still felt the humidity of the monsoon rains. December to January will be the coolest, busiest and most expensive time where hotel prices double. 

In April to June the temperatures soar but only to around 37 degrees as a maximum. It’s hot but, the north can see temperatures of up to 50 degrees! It will be really quiet around this time and you can get cheap rates on hotels. 

July – September is time for the monsoon rains to fall! Having visiting India in Monsoon, it’s not always raining constantly. But, you will see lot’s of showers throughout the day. Lot’s of people say that Cochin comes alive at this point as the water makes everything lush and green.

Fort Kochi

Where is your next destination in Kerala? 

If you’re looking for further ideas on where to head while you’re in Kerala, make sure you check out my 7 day Itinerary which includes the beautiful Munnar and Alleppey.  

Or, read some of my related articles here;

The Top tourist places to visit in Munnar

You complete road trip guide to Munnar  

Tips for visiting the tea gardens in Munnar 

The prettiest Munnar falls

Lakkam Falls: the best waterfall for swimming

Eravikulam National Park: essential tips before you visit!

Top Station: is it worth it?

Top places to visit in Alleppey

A complete guide for the Kerala backwaters

In this article I go through how to get around the state, places that you can’t miss and some top tips for your trip to God’s Own Country. 

But, for now, here are some day trips or tours you may like to take while you here; 

Alleppey overnight boat cruise from Cochin

Munnar private day trip from Cochin

The Hill Station of Munnar | Kerala Itinerary

With thanks to India Someday for sponsoring my trip to Kerala. Although I was a guest, all photos and opinions are my own. 

Save these things to do in Fort Kochi for later!

things to do in Fort Kochi

MIKHIL MOHAN

Monday 11th of January 2021

Hi, Love from kochi.............

Sophie Pearce

Thursday 15th of April 2021

Hi Mikhil form UK! :) Hope you're well there. Sophie x

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Nice Blog!! Very beautiful places! Pictures are great and the blog is very easy to read.

Hi Bharat, I’m so glad you like the post! Thanks for reading, Sophie x

Chris Slack

Thursday 2nd of January 2020

One of the places I didn't get a chance to visit when I was in India, but is at the top of my list when I am able to return. Love the pictures and tips, especially the art cafes! I love me a good cafe!

Sunday 5th of January 2020

Hi Chris, Kerala is such a beautiful part of India and I'd highly recommend it. Thanks for the feedback, I think you would LOVE Kochi as its full of art cafés and street art. Sophie x

Kerala <span>Tourism</span>

Places to Visit in Fort Kochi | Fort Kochi Tourism

tourism in fort kochi

Fort Kochi is one of the most serene places in Cochin which offers a bundle of wonders to its visitors. The historic place still remains as a symbol of its glorious yesteryears. The uniqueness of this place is that the ruins of its magnificent history have remained same even amidst the modern day developments. In fact, many tourists from around the world visit Fort Kochi to witness this splendor. The best time to visit Fort Kochi is from mid August to April as the weather is usually beautiful during this time.

History of Fort Kochi

During the pre colonial period, Fort Kochi was one of the fishing villages under the Kingdom of Kochi. The then Raja of Kochi granted Fort Kochi into the hands of Portuguese in the year 1503 and it remained under their possession for about 160 years. During this period they have constructed many buildings resembling European architectural style, including the famous St. Francis Church and Fort Immanuel. Fort Immanuel, which was built by Portuguese in order to protect their waterfront for commercial reasons, lead to the first half of the name Fort kochi.

In the year 1683, the Dutch invaders took over Fort Kochi from the Portuguese and held it under their control for almost 112 years until the British captured it from them during 1795. Fort Kochi was under British rule from there after, until the Indian independence.

According to a popular saying related to Kochi, Chinese traders of the early 14th century found out the similarities between Kochi and China and gave a name to this place as Cochin, which are two Chinese words “co-chin” meaning “like-China”.

Importance of Fort Kochi

Even though there are many places to see in Kochi, historical significance is the main attraction of Fort Kochi among tourists. The St. Francis Church built by the Portuguese is the oldest European church in India. Not only that, you can see the tombstone of Vasco-Da Gama who was buried in this church. Before the Portuguese rule, the Chinese traders who were regular visitors to Fort Kochi, introduced and installed the Chinese fishing nets in this area. But seldom they knew that later this would be one of the main tourist attractions of Fort Kochi.

Things to do in Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is a wonderland for travelers who like to dive into the historic past of the land where they can explore the architecture, buildings, European settlements and most importantly the Fort Kochi beach.

  • Travelers who visit Fort Kochi should never miss the fisherman’s craft of fishing with the Chinese nets. Apart from witnessing the wonder, you could also buy fresh fish from them to satisfy your taste buds.
  • Mattancherry is one of the most important places to see in Kochi which is just 2 kilometers away from Fort Kochi. Explore the Jew Street and European settlements in this area and enjoy a great photography experience.
  • Another important thing to do in Fort Kochi is to visit the magnificent Fort Kochi beach. Get a glimpse of the beautiful sunset from here to complete your Fort Kochi expedition.

How to reach Fort Kochi

Since most of the areas of Fort Kochi are surrounded by water bodies, it is easy to reach here through boat services. Boat services are easily available at any of the boat jetties around Kochi. You could also reach here through city buses and private cabs which are also easily available at various parts of the city.

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Location map for fort kochi.

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16 Things to Do in Fort Kochi (Cochin), Kerala

Best things to do in Fort Kochi, Kerala

Fort Kochi (formerly known as Cochin), in the Indian state of Kerala, is one of the best places to include on a South India travel itinerary . Not only is this small fishing town steeped with history, but there are also plenty of great things to see and do in Fort Kochi.

With its beautiful colonial architecture , famous Chinese fishing nets and beautiful street art , Fort Kochi is a town I loved exploring.

This post features the best places to visit in Fort Kochi along with some useful information like the best time to visit, how to get around and how to get there. I hope this will help you plan your trip.

The best things to do in Fort Kochi

So, let’s dive right into it! Here are the best things to do in beautiful Fort Kochi in Kerala.

1. See the Chinese fishing nets

Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi

The Chinese fishing nets (locally known as “cheenavala”) are one of the most popular places to visit in Fort Kochi and you will find many pictures of them when googling this town.

No one knows their exact history but it’s believed that the fishing nets were introduced in Kochi by the Chinese explorer Zheng He in the 14th or 15th century. Kochi’s coastline was once adorned with 17 of them, but sadly, less than half of these remain today.

It’s good to know that, although you can admire the fishing nets from afar for free, you will have to pay the fishermen a tip if you want to see them up close.

Tip: Visit the Chinese fishing nets around sunrise or sunset for the best light (unless it rains in the evening like it did when I visited Cochin).

2. Visit St. Francis Church

St Francis Church in Fort Kochi

Originally built in 1503, St. Francis Church is one of the oldest European churches in India . And on top of that, it’s also the first Portuguese church in the country.

This is the place where Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama was first buried after he passed away in 1524. His remains were moved back to Lisbon , Portugal 14 years later, though.

Interestingly, when the Dutch took over Kochi in the 17th century, this was the only church they didn’t demolish. The Portuguese were Roman Catholics, while the Dutch were Protestant, so they ended up converting St Francis Church into a Protestant church.

Finally, when the British came to Kochi, the church was transformed into an Anglican church.

3. Look for street art

Street art in Fort Kochi, Kerala

If you like street art, you will be happy to hear that Kochi tops many lists featuring the best street art in India !

Most of Kochi’s street art and graffiti can be found in the Fort Kochi and Mattancherry areas and it’s done both by local as well as international artists. Embarking on a walk in search of this art is a fun way to explore the streets of this town and something I did more than once while I was there.

One of the most famous street artists in Kerala is GuessWho , who prefers to stay anonymous, hence the name. He has been active in the streets of Fort Kochi since 2012 and has been dubbed the “Indian Banksy” due to his provocative art.

4. Visit Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace)

Mattancherry Palace in Fort Kochi

Mattancherry Palace was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century as a gift to the Maharajah of Cochin. It’s often called the “Dutch Palace” because of the renovations the Dutch made to the palace after they took over the city.

If you’re a history buff, then you will love this place! The palace was transformed into a museum full of paintings, furniture, weapons, palanquins, Dutch maps and other interesting artefacts.

So if you want to learn more about the history of Kerala, then visiting Mattancherry Palace is one of the absolute best things to do in Fort Kochi!

It’s ideal to combine with the next two places on this list (Jew Town and the Paradesi Synagogue), as these are very close to one another.

>> Read: South India VS North India: 9 Differences

5. Shop in Jew Town

Jew Town in Fort Kochi, Kerala

If you’re looking for some nice Indian souvenirs (or simply want to go window shopping as I do), then Jew Town is the place to be. You will find plenty of shops selling antiques, handicrafts, clothes, jewellery, spices and more here.

Speaking about spices – this area was once a hub of the spice trade !

As its name predicts, Jew Town is the place where the Jews settled when they came to Kochi in the 16th century. Its shops are set between Mattancherry Palace (#4 on this list) and the Paradesi Synagogue (#6 on this list), so these two are ideal to combine with some (window) shopping.

6. See the Paradesi Synagogue

Paradesi Synagogue in Jew Town, Fort Kochi

Kochi’s Paradesi Synagogue is one of the oldest synagogues in India and the only functioning synagogue in Kochi. It was built in 1568, destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and reconstructed by the Dutch two years later.

You will find plenty of antiquities between the synagogue’s walls, including a 19th-century glass chandelier from Belgium (which is my home country).

Although this is a functioning synagogue, not many ceremonies happen here anymore. The reason for this is that in order for them to happen, you need a “minyan”, which is a group of ten men. As there are very few Jews left in Kochi, it’s rarely possible to form a minyan.

Unfortunately, the synagogue was closed when I was there, so I could only see it from the outside. It’s something I will have to go back to Fort Kochi for.

Tip: Be sure to check the opening hours of the synagogue before going (this is something I forgot to do). Last time I checked, the synagogue was open from Sunday to Thursday from 10 am to 12 am and 3 pm to 5 pm.

7. Visit the Dutch Cemetery

Dutch Cemetery in Fort Kochi

The Dutch Cemetery is believed to be the oldest European cemetery in India . It was consecrated in 1724 and a little over a hundred tombs can be found here.

This peaceful place is a quiet reminder of the Europeans who came to India to expand their colonial empire. The last burial took place here in 1913.

If you want to enter this cemetery, you will have to ask the St. Francis Church (which is just 400 m / 1640 ft further) to open the gate, as it’s only opened on request .

>> Read: 17 Things NOT to Do in India

8. Pass by Fort Immanuel

Fort Immanuel

I’m the first to admit that the remnants of Fort Immanuel may not be super impressive, but the fort’s history most definitely is. This fort is believed to be the oldest European fort in all of Asia , after all!

Fort Immanuel was built soon after the Portuguese arrived in Kochi in the early 1500s and it used to be massive. It stood symbol of the alliance between the Maharajah of Kochi and the rulers of Portugal and was used for the Portuguese’s trading activities.

When the Dutch arrived in Kochi in the 17th century, they destroyed the fort and most of the other Portuguese monuments in Kochi, which is why there’s not so much left of Fort Immanuel today.

Fort Immanuel is located on the Beach Promenade (#15 on this list) and it’s worth stopping here for a moment while you’re there.

9. See the Santa Cruz Basilica

Santa Cruz Basilica in Kochi

The Santa Cruz Basilica is another beautiful church that was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

Although it was spared by the Dutch, who destroyed many other Catholic buildings, this cathedral was destroyed by the British a couple of centuries after it was built. The cathedral that you can see today was built in the same spot as the previous one in 1887.

Don’t forget to enter the basilica while you’re there, it’s full of beautiful details, including colourful paintings on the ceiling.

10. Admire the trees at Vasco da Gama Square

Vasco di Gama Square in Fort Cochin

This square, which was named after the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama, can be found near the coastline with Chinese fishing nets.

You will find some street food stalls and restaurants here. However, my favourite part of Vasco da Gama Square is the beautiful raintrees , so make sure to look up and admire them.

The Vasco Da Gama Square is a nice place to stroll around, stop for a drink or a snack and people-watch. It’s located close to the Chinese fishing nets, and you can see them from here.

11. Watch a Kathakali dance performance

Kathakali performance in Kerala

Kathakali is a classical dance form that originated in Kerala over 300 years ago. The interesting thing about this type of dance is that it’s combined with drama and acting to tell the stories of the past.

With their painted faces and impressive costumes, the Kathakali dancers look quite impressive and they will use facial expressions and gestures to tell the stories.

One of the places where you can see these dance performances in Fort Kochi is the Kathakali Centre .

Unfortunately, I didn’t go to a Kathakali dance performance myself because I found out about them too late. I can’t wait to go back to Kerala to attend one of them, though.

12. Visit the art cafes

Art cafes in Fort Kochi

One of the best things to do in Fort Kochi is to discover the town’s cosy art cafes and restaurants. No matter if you’re an art lover or not, these cafes are the perfect place to take a break and relax a bit.

Some of Kochi’s most famous art cafes are Kashi Art Cafe (this one was close to my hotel and I loved coming here), Mocha Art Cafe , Oy’s Cafe and Ginger House Restaurant . The last one is located in Jew Town, and I went here after visiting the Dutch Palace.

13. Take a sunset cruise

Taking a sunset cruise is one of the best things to do in Fort Kochi according to many tourists. Unfortunately, it was not something you could do when I visited Kochi in April because it rained in the evenings (and when I say it rained, I mean it POURED).

On a clear day outside of the monsoon, however, you can take a 2-hour sunset cruise that will show you the fishing nets and coastline from another perspective. You might even spot dolphins if you’re lucky!

14. Look for colonial buildings

Colonial building in Fort Kochi

It comes as no surprise that due to its rich colonial history, Fort Kochi has an abundance of colonial buildings that were built by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.

Some of the most famous colonial buildings in Fort Kochi are Vasco House , which is believed to be where Vasco Da Gama stayed, David Hall , Koder House and Bastion Bungalow .

Fort Kochi is a truly charming town. Exploring its streets in search of colonial buildings is a great way to get to know it a little better.

15. Walk along the beach promenade

Beach Promenade in Cochin

Fort Kochi’s beach promenade is the perfect place for a stroll. Here, you can watch the sunset, hang out with the locals or simply watch the Arabian Sea.

The Chinese Fishing nets and Fort Immanuel are located along the beach promenade on the side of Vasco Da Gama Square. On the other side, you will find Fort Kochi Beach .

16. Take the ferry to Ernakulam City or Vypin Island

Taking the ferry in Cochin

If you’ve crossed off all of the best things to do in Fort Kochi and still have some time left in this town, taking the ferry to Ernakulam City or Vypin Island can be a fun adventure.

Which one to choose depends on your personal interests. In Ernakulam City, you will find the Ernakulam Shiva Temple , the Kerala Folklore Museum and the Edappally Church , for example. While Vypin Island is home to beaches and lighthouses .

Either way, taking the ferry is a cheap and efficient way to travel. It’s the perfect way to see more of Fort Kochi’s surroundings.

Map of the best things to do in Fort Kochi

Best time to visit cochin.

The best time to visit Fort Kochi is in the Winter, from December to January . It won’t be too hot at this time of the year, and there won’t be too much rain either.

Another nice time to visit this town is from late August to early October , which is between the two monsoons.

I visited Fort Kochi in April, in the Summer, which lasts from February to June . It was quite hot when I was there and there was pouring rain every evening. I returned to my hotel walking through flooded streets numerous times (I didn’t really mind, though). If you can stand the heat (something I underestimated), this is not a bad time to visit Kochi, though.

Kerala’s first monsoon is from June to August and the second one is around October and November . This is not a good time to visit this state, as there will be lots of rain.

How to get to Fort Kochi

To get to Fort Kochi, you will have to go to Ernakulam first. This is a part of Kochi and it’s easily accessible by train or bus .

From here, you can take an auto-rickshaw, a taxi or the boat jetty (which is the cheapest option) to Fort Kochi. The jetty is 1,5 km (0,9 mi) from both the train station as well as the bus stand. So, depending on how much luggage you have, you might want to take an auto-rickshaw first.

Another way to reach Fort Kochi is by flying . The Cochin International Airport is a 33 km (20. 5 mi) drive from Fort Kochi and takes about an hour. You can either take the bus or a taxi/Ola/Uber from the airport to Fort Kochi.

A temple in Cochin

How to get around Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is pretty walkable, but Jew Town is a little further away from the main tourist attractions (3 km / 1.1 mi). If you don’t feel like walking, you can get around this town by:

  • Auto-Rickshaw: The easiest way to get around Fort Kochi is by taking an auto-rickshaw. You will find these nearly everywhere. I recommend using the Ola app to book rickshaws (or bikes or taxis). This way, you will get a fair price without having to haggle.
  • Scooter: Another option is to rent a scooter. This is a good option if you want to explore the surroundings of Kochi too.
  • Private car: You can hire a private car to get around Cochin, but this will be more expensive.
  • Ferry: If you want to visit Ernakulam, Vypin Island or other islands, then taking the ferry is a great way to travel. The ferry is not only a fast way to get around, as you won’t get stuck in traffic, but it’s also super cheap!

Where to stay in Kochi

I stayed in Roses Inn Hotel , which has nice and clean AC rooms for an affordable price. They have a restaurant too but it was closed when I was there because I visited Kochi off-season.

What I loved the most about this place was the location. It’s close to the Chinese fishing nets and most of Kochi’s main tourist attractions.

So whether you stay in this hotel or choose another one, I would recommend staying close to the fishing nets and the Vasco Da Gamma Square, as this is where you will find most of the restaurants.

Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi – FAQs

How many days are enough for kochi.

Although you could visit Fort Kochi in a day, I would recommend spending at least two days here. This will give you enough time to see all of Kochi’s main attractions without having to hurry.

Is Kochi worth visiting?

In my opinion, yes, Fort Kochi is worth visiting! This small fishing town is steeped in history and there are quite some interesting sights here. From the Chinese fishing nets to some of India’s oldest colonial buildings, Kochi has got a lot to offer.

Things to do in Fort Kochi – Final thoughts

I hope you found exactly what you were looking for in this post and that it helps you plan your trip to Fort Kochi.

This town holds a special place in my heart as it’s the first place I visited in India. I flew to Kochi from Sri Lanka , couldn’t have wished for a better introduction to India and fell in love with this country a little later.

Have you been to Cochin? What was your impression? Or can you think of other nice places to visit in Fort Kochi? Let me know in the comments!

Read more about South India:

  • 14 Amazing Things to Do in Auroville
  • 12 Best Things to Do in Madurai
  • 8 Things to See in the French Quarter of Pondicherry
  • Maratha Palace, Thanjavur: A Complete Guide

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Things to do in Fort Kochi

Laura Meyers

Laura Meyers is the founder of Laure Wanders. She was born in Belgium and has travelled to over 40 countries, many of them solo. She currently spends most of her time between Belgium and South Asia and loves helping other travellers plan their adventures abroad.

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Fort Kochi

Set foot into Fort Kochi and you will be instantly transported to a different time period. This place is steeped in the history and culture of all who have occupied it through the ages. Its roots and essence are unique in its diversity. While walking through K. J. Herschel Road, one gets a glimpse of Fort Immanuel. This former Portuguese bastion, built in 1503, is a sign of the strategic alliance between the Maharaja of Cochin and the Portuguese Monarch. Further along the road one can see the Dutch Cemetery, housing the graves of former Colonists. People also love visiting the nearby Thakur House, a bungalow built in typical colonial era style. It now belongs to Thakur and Co., a renowned tea trading firm, but was once the residence of the officers of the National Bank of India during British rule. It was formerly called Kunal or Hill Bungalow.  Another delightful location is David Hall, named after David Koder who was a famous occupant of the hall. However it is more closely associated with the Dutch Commander Hendrik Adriaan van Reed tot Drakeston. He is famous for his book on the flora of Kerala, ‘Hortus Malabaricus’. One can also visit St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. Built in 1503, it was here that the legendary explorer Vasco-da-Gama was originally buried. The Vasco-da-Gama Square is a beautiful promenade nearby where one can go for a relaxing walk. One can drop by Pierce Leslie Bungalow to view the waterfront verandas or Koder House, a fine example of the transition from colonial to Indo-European architecture. Vasco House is another must visit landmark as it is said to have been the explorer’s actual residence. It is among the oldest Portuguese buildings in Kochi. A visit to the legendary Bishop House is an enriching experience. The facade of the house has large Gothic arches and the building was acquired by Dom Jos Gomes Ferreira, the 27th Bishop of the Diocese of Cochin. The streets, shops and the residents operate at their own pace. Time is rather abstract in Fort Kochi, and visitors will feel instantly transported into another era altogether. 

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30 best things to do in Fort Kochi – A complete 2023 travel guide

Most of us have heard of the Queen of the Arabian sea – Cochin, better known as Kochi in Kerala. Kochi is widely used as an entry point for most visitors to God’s Own country. However, many travelers tend to just use Kochi as a transit destination for other places in Kerala . They tend to miss out on the interesting part of this city called Fort Kochi. Exploring the numerous Fort Kochi attractions is a perfect way to discover the delightful amalgamation of cultures in this city . I first explored Fort Kochi as a part of the Golden Chariot tour and later, returned for more.

The iconic Chinese Fishing Nets - one of the tourist places in Fort Kochi

In this blog post, I will be sharing the best things to do in Fort Kochi , as well as my recommendations for what among these attractions in Kochi are unmissable if you just have one day here. I have also, included insider tips on the various tourist places in Fort Kochi. As always, at the end of this Fort Kochi guide, you will find my recommendations on the places to stay and the best time to visit. So, let’s get started with the quick history of Fort Kochi.

Quick resources to help you plan a perfect trip to Kochi

In case you are looking for some quick links to tours, places to stay and travel accessories for your Kochi trip, you can consider using these online options.

  • Booking.com  has several good Fort Kochi stays listed on their site. You could use  this link  to browse and book the same.
  • Jewish heritage walk of Cochin
  • Adventure Tuk Tuk Tour in Kochi – a guided tour
  • A Heritage walking tour in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry
  • Skip the Line: Kathakali Cultural Show Ticket
  • Half-Day Backwater Village Eco Boat Cruise W/ Lunch
  • Fort Kochi and Mattancherry sightseeing tour
  • Airport Transfer To/From Hotel
  • For any of your travel needs or general shopping, consider using  Amazon  through  this link.
  • 1 Fort Kochi History
  • 2.1 1. Catch a lovely sunset over Cheenavala (Chinese Fishing Nets)
  • 2.2 2. Walk along the Fort Kochi beach – one of the important beaches in Kochi
  • 2.3 3. Try some water sports on Fort Kochi beach
  • 2.4 4. Step into the St Francis Church – one of the key places to visit in Fort Kochi
  • 2.5 5. Visit the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Fort Kochi
  • 2.6 6. Spot the historical buildings in Fort Kochi
  • 2.7 7. Hop over to the Dutch cemetery, Fort Kochi
  • 2.8 8. Discover the Indo-Portuguese museum
  • 2.9 9. Walk through the Jew Town in Fort Kochi
  • 2.10 10. Discover the Paradesi Synagogue – one of the key Fort Kochi sightseeing places
  • 2.11 11. Marvel at the Mattancherry Palace – one of the important Fort Kochi attractions
  • 2.12 12. Don’t miss shopping in Fort Kochi
  • 2.13 13. Catch a vibrant Kathakali performance at the Arts and Culture Center in Fort Kochi
  • 2.14 14. Capture the Fort Kochi street art
  • 2.15 15. Hop around and enjoy the best local food in Fort Kochi
  • 2.16 16. Experience the quaint combination of art and food in the popular art cafes in Fort Kochi.
  • 2.17 17. Enjoy one of the amazing festivals of Kochi
  • 2.18 18. Lounge around the Vasco Da Gama square
  • 2.19 19. Drop by the Strings Museum – one of the unique things to do in Fort Kochi
  • 2.20 20. Take a trip to Vypin Island
  • 2.21 21. Enroll yourself for a Yoga course
  • 2.22 22. Opt for a soothing ayurvedic massage in Fort Kochi
  • 2.23 23. Visit the Kerala Folklore Museum – one of the places around Fort Kochi
  • 2.24 24. Join a cooking class in Fort Kochi
  • 2.25 25. Kayaking in the backwaters of Kochi
  • 2.26 26. Take a cycle tour by the backwaters of Kochi
  • 3.1 27. Take a day trip to Alleppey
  • 3.2 28. Enjoy a day by the Athirapilly Falls
  • 3.3 29. Spend a day at Cherai beach
  • 3.4 30. Take a day trip to Munnar from Fort Kochi
  • 4 Kochi tourist attractions map
  • 5.1 What is the difference between Kochi and Fort Kochi?
  • 5.2 What is the best way to get to Fort Kochi?
  • 5.3 What is the best time to visit Fort Kochi?
  • 5.4 Where is the best place to stay in Fort Kochi?
  • 5.5 How many days are enough for Fort Kochi?

Fort Kochi History

As you can guess, the name Fort Kochi was owing to a fort here. Originally this place was a fishing village until the Portuguese were granted some land here by the Maharaja of Kochi in the 1500s. It is then, that  Fort Emmanuel was built and a settlement was established with Catholic churches and Portuguese homes. The reason for this grant was the protection and alliance the Portuguese provided to the Maharaja to defend his kingdom against the King of Kozhikode. In return the Maharaja allowed the Portuguese to conduct trade by using this place as their port. This remained the case for over 160 years, after which the Dutch defeated the Portuguese in the 1680s .

The main fort was destroyed but newer structures came up like the Dutch Palace. This remained with the Dutch for over a century till again it was taken over by the British until Indian Independence.

Jew Town in Mattancherry - the living history of Fort Kochi

This feels like the recent history of Fort Kochi until you come across the story of the Chinese traders who visited Fort Kochi even before the Portuguese in the 14th century. They left behind some bits of their legacy in the form of the Chinese Fishing nets – the only ones to be seen in India.

Fort Kochi always intrigued me with its unique fusion of cultures that you can see even today. A walk through this part of Cochin seems to be a link to the Portuguese settlements in Goa . With its unusual settlement of Jews in India and parts that are strictly Indian, you are in for a complete treat.

Top things to do in Fort Kochi

It isn’t just history that you will encounter when you visit Fort Kochi. There are many other interesting activities to do in Fort Kochi that will keep you hooked. From fun activities on its beach to witnessing the colorful Kathakali shows and sampling mouthwatering delicacies – as well as taking some home – there is just tons to keep your day filled with joy and discovery.

1. Catch a lovely sunset over Cheenavala (Chinese Fishing Nets)

Let’s begin with one of the most popular attractions in Fort Kochi. Remember I mentioned the legacy left behind by the Chinese in Fort Kochi. The Cheenavala or the Chinese fishing nets hang on the Fort Kochi beach with all their glory, still intact and usable. Over time, these nets have become iconic to Fort Kochi owing to its uniqueness and history dating back to the 14th century.

The Chinese fishing nets on Fort Kochi beach

The Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi operate on a cantilever mechanism with the help of four fishermen. I had the fortune of witnessing it work and well, the fishermen even allowed me to take a turn ;- ) The Cheenavala are operated even now in the early mornings and evenings. The catch is sold right there by the fishermen – all of which is gone within minutes.

Get to the Fort Kochi beach at sunset to see the artistic beauty of these timeless nets against the bright orange sky.

2. Walk along the Fort Kochi beach – one of the important beaches in Kochi

It isn’t just the Fort Kochi Chinese fishing nets that make this beach popular. Nestled along the Arabian Sea in Kerala, the Fort Kochi beach is steeped in history and cultural heritage.  Stroll along the granite promenade and you will come across remains of Fort Immanuel  – the one that gave Fort Kochi its name. You will also, see the colonial buildings built during the Portuguese and Dutch eras along the beach.

Lining the pathway on the Fort Kochi beach are numerous food stalls that offer local cuisine using the fresh fish that is caught here. If that is not your cup of tea, just enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and the golden sands that are perfect for leisurely walks.  I would not say no to just lounging under the shade of coconut trees while sipping on fresh coconut water—pure tropical bliss!

3. Try some water sports on Fort Kochi beach

Feel the salty mist with the fun adventure activities on Fort Kochi Beach. You can choose from jet skiing to banana boat rides or even parasailing . There is also catamaran rides as well as speed boat ones that add to the watery things to do in Fort Kochi.

4. Step into the St Francis Church – one of the key places to visit in Fort Kochi

St Francis Church - one of the places to visit in Fort Kochi

What was initially built as a wooden church is now all stone and brick. The St.Francis Church in Fort Kochi was initially a Catholic church built by the Portuguese. It was later destroyed by the Dutch and converted to Protestantism. This church was quite one of the important tourist places in Fort Kochi – also because it is one of the oldest European churches in India, built in 1503.

The original burial spot of Vasco Da Gama inside St. Francis Church in Fort Kochi

This was the original place where the famous explorer – Vasco Da Gama was buried. His body was later, taken back to Portugal but the gravestone was re-laid and marked within the church. The church is also home to old baptism and marriage registers for the Dutch as well as the British. I am told that many visitors from Netherlands and UK make a stop here – just to see if they can trace their roots.

I found the church simple and charming. There was nothing elaborate about it yet the simplicity of the stained glass interiors made the place charming and actually quite soothing.

The church is open from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays. On Saturdays, it is open from 9 am to 1 pm while on Sundays, it is open from 1 pm to 5 pm

5. Visit the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Fort Kochi

Where the St. Francis Church was simple, the Santa Cruz church is quite elaborate. One look at its Gothic architecture and you know that you have a treat in store for you. Built by the Portuguese, it was elevated to the status of a cathedral in 1558 . The church was broken down and a new building – aka the current structure came up during the British rule. It finally became a basilica in 1984 a s per the proclamation by Pope John Paul II.

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica in Fort Kochi

Among all the churches in Fort Kochi, this one is very important as it is also one of the eight basilicas in India . Not only is this Fort Kochi attraction impressive from the outside but it will leave you spellbound from the moment you step in. The ceilings have rich paintings depicting scenes from the story of Christ. The altar is a piece of art that was done by an Italian painter – Fr. Antonio Moscheni.

Look out for the reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” . There are a few more paintings, murals and frescoes that will keep you occupied for quite some time. Definitely one of the best places to visit in Kochi.

6. Spot the historical buildings in Fort Kochi

It is not just the churches in Fort Kochi that will take you back to the colonial era. You will find quite a few historical buildings too. One of these Fort Kochi attractions is the erstwhile home of Vasco Da Gama . Called the Vasco house , this home has the typical Portuguese balcoas that I had earlier seen in the homes of Fontainhas in Goa . The best part is that this place is now a homestay in Fort Kochi . So if you wish, you can book and stay here.

Balcoa in a Fontainhas home

The Portuguese landed in Fort Kochi but they made Goa their home for a longer time than they managed here. Their homes are a part of the living heritage of Goa in an area called Fontainhas, Panaji. Check out what their homes are like.

Thakur house is a Dutch remnant with two storeys, large bay windows and wooden floors. It was originally built as a community center. It changed hands over time and now belongs to a tea estate company called Ram Bahadur Thakur and Company.

Besides these two, Koder House, Bastion House and David House are some prominent landmarks in Fort Kochi. And of course, if you embark on one of the walking trails , you are bound to find more.

7. Hop over to the Dutch cemetery, Fort Kochi

The Dutch cemetery is one of the oldest European cemeteries in India

Considered the oldest European cemetery in India , the Dutch cemetery was built in 1724 – the year inscribed at its entrance. It was built by the Dutch and has over 100 tombs. It is close to the Fort Kochi beach and has several known personalities buried here. It is currently under the care of St Francis church. You should just hop by this place when you are walking along the Fort Kochi beach.

8. Discover the Indo-Portuguese museum

The Indo-Portuguese Museum takes you on an incredible journey showcasing the cultural exchange between India and Portugal over centuries. Each of the five galleries in this Fort Kochi museum is filled with precious treasures from the past. You’ll find stunning pieces of art ranging from religious sculptures to intricately carved wooden furniture adorned with mother-of-pearl inlays.

This Fort Kochi sightseeing attraction is located in the residence of the Bishop of Kochi . The collection here is largely from the various churches in Kerala and goes back to as early as the 16th century.

The Indo-Portuguese museum is closed on Mondays as well as public holidays. You can visit it between 9 am and 6 pm on the other days. It is, however, closed for lunch between 1 pm and 2 pm.

9. Walk through the Jew Town in Fort Kochi

Visit the Jew Town - one of the best things to do in Fort Kochi

This is my favorite among all the things to do in Fort Kochi. The Mattancherry Jew Town is possibly the oldest settlement of Jews in India . Our guide told us that the first settlement of Jews was as early as the 12th century . These Jews blended into the local community and made this place their home. They even, build synagogues out here.

The Star of David on the Jewish homes in Fort Kochi

Later in the 1500s, European Jews arrived and made Fort Kochi their home. These Jews were termed Paradesi Jews (Foreigner Jews) . They stayed on till the 1950s after which they moved on to the other part of the world. Most of the Synagogues here were re-used as buildings for different purposes but the one that still remained was the Paradesi Synagogue . (more on that later)

The Mezuzah that you can see on the Jewish homes

I walked around exploring the remnants of the ancient colony of Jews. It was fun spotting the heritage homes, of which right now only three are occupied by the 5 sole Jew inhabitants of Fort Kochi . You can identify these homes with their colorful doors, a Mezuzah placed on their doors and the 6 spoked stars of David in their homes in Jew Town Fort Kochi.  

Old times - a picture of Sarah Cohen from her early days in Jew Town, Fort Kochi

During my first visit to Fort Kochi, I stepped inside the home of Sarah Cohen – a lady over 95 years who owns an Embroidery shop . Today she is barely aware of the surroundings but her legacy continues through the people who work for her and take care of her. I politely declined an opportunity to take a picture with her for it did not feel right to disturb her. However, I did indulge in capturing some of her legacy with due permission from the staff there.

~ Click here to book a walking tour of this Jewish Town in Mattancherry. It includes a guide that takes you to the various synagogues, the Jewish cemetery and the Jewish Ancestry Tower. ~

10. Discover the Paradesi Synagogue – one of the key Fort Kochi sightseeing places

The Paradesi Synagogue Fort Kochi was built in 1568 by Spanish-speaking Jews (Paradesi Jews) who settled in Kochi after fleeing persecution in Europe. It is located amidst charming narrow lanes of the Mattancherry Jew Town.

One step inside and you will be blown away by the stunning architecture and intricate designs that adorn every nook and cranny. The craftsmanship is just jaw-dropping! You’ll find beautiful Belgian chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, ornate hand-painted blue tiles decorating the floor, and antique copper plates with inscriptions from Jewish traders.

The clocktower of Paradesi Synagogue in Fort Kochi

The Paradesi Synagogue also houses an impressive collection of rare artifacts and ancient treasures that give you a glimpse into its rich past. One of the highlights is a Torah scroll made of goat skin dating all the way back to 1400 AD!

The Paradesi synagogue has been declared as a protected monument and you have to pay an admission fee to enter here. Make sure you dress appropriately – shorts, sleeveless tops and mini skirts are not allowed. Paradesi Synagogue is one of those unmissable tourist places in Kochi for one day trip.

It is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Also, make sure you do not visit on a Jewish holiday. The Paradesi synagogue timings are from 10 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm.

11. Marvel at the Mattancherry Palace – one of the important Fort Kochi attractions

Right next to the Paradesi Synagogue is the gorgeous Mattancherry Palace. The eclectic palace was built by the Portuguese and gifted to the Maharaja of Kochi. Later, it was extended by the Dutch and was called the Dutch Palace.

Mattancherry palace or Dutch Palace - one of the attractions in Kochi

The Mattancherry Palace is beautiful and a perfect mix of Indian and European styles of architecture . On one hand, you will see murals within the palace showcasing the Indian Gods – Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna while the iconic exteriors sport the typical European arches .

The palace also houses various artifacts showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. You’ll find everything from royal furniture adorned with exquisite carvings to ancient coins that will transport you back in time. Oh yeah! Don’t forget to explore the beautiful courtyard surrounded by lush greenery – perfect for some Insta-worthy shots or simply relaxing amidst nature’s beauty. No wonder it is one of the most popular tourist places in Fort Kochi.

The Mattancherry palace is closed on Fridays. You can visit it between 9.30 am and 5 pm on the other days. It is, however, closed for lunch between 1 pm and 2 pm.

12. Don’t miss shopping in Fort Kochi

Shopping in Fort Kochi

Whether it is the main road from the St.Francis church or the Jew Town, there are just enough colors and textures to attract you. The shopaholic in you is bound to leap out and it would just not feel right if you don’t stop by these street shops.

Jewish Hats and the embroidery in Sarah Cohen's shop

From spices to perfumes to cute magnets and colorful clothes – there are just so many things to buy in Kochi. Spices in particular are highly renowned. In fact, Kochi is known to export these for centuries. I would recommend you buy these from Mattancherry Bazaar street.

Step into the authentic Jewish shop like that of Sarah Cohen and buy one of their hand made embroideries of Jewish cap – for a keepsake and also, to support the locals there.

13. Catch a vibrant Kathakali performance at the Arts and Culture Center in Fort Kochi

Kathakali dancer

Witnessing the famous Kathakali dance with its colorful costumes, expressive moves, and gestures that tell you an engrossing tale is one of the best things to do in Fort Kochi. There are several arts and culture centers where you can book a show. Alternatively, you can book skip-the-line tickets through Viator . GetYourGuide also, offers an online booking for the show along with lunch or dinner.

Some of these shows also, have a backstage pass where you can even witness the artist before the show, as he puts on his elaborate make-up – right from painting his face to the accessories he wears and the jewelry he dons. Trust me, even that is quite an immersive experience.

14. Capture the Fort Kochi street art

Street art in Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi’s streets are like an open-air gallery, where every corner unveils a masterpiece waiting to be discovered. Artists from all around the globe have left their mark on these walls, giving them a new lease of life and adding a splash of color to the already colorful town.

One of the most iconic pieces you’ll come across is the giant mural of Kathakali dancers . This traditional Indian dance form is beautifully depicted on a massive wall, capturing the essence and grace of this centuries-old art form. It’s impossible to walk past without being captivated by its sheer beauty.

As you stroll through Fort Kochi’s narrow lanes, keep an eye out for various other striking artworks that adorn buildings and walls. From intricate portraits to abstract designs bursting with creativity – there’s something for every artistic taste here.

The age-old custom of chillum that prevails in Varanasi

If you like street art, check this post on the city of Varanasi and its amazing murals.

What makes this street art scene even more fascinating is that it constantly evolves. New artists arrive regularly, leaving their unique imprints on these ancient streets. The ever-changing nature of this artwork keeps visitors coming back time and again, eager to witness fresh creations that breathe life into the walls. This is why these street arts are the evergreen attractions in Kochi.

15. Hop around and enjoy the best local food in Fort Kochi

From traditional Kerala cuisine to international delights, Fort Kochi has something for everyone. However, I highly recommend you skew your food cravings to the local fare.  Head over to the Oceanos Restaurant, for some seafood. Located along Fort Kochi Beach Road, this seaside eatery offers breathtaking vistas of the Arabian Sea while serving up an array of fresh catch-of-the-day dishes cooked to perfection.

There is the unique You Buy We cook concept where you buy off the fishermen of Fort Kochi and the restaurant cooks it for you. You will find a lot of them around Fort Kochi Beach.

Among the other recommended restaurants in Fort Kochi is the Fort House Restaurant . This offers a blend of traditional Kerala dishes and international cuisine. With its charming courtyard setting and warm hospitality, it makes a great place to spend some time.

Idiyappams - my favorite Kerala food

The local food here is not just about seafood. For vegetarians, there is mouthwatering avial coupled with appams and idiyappams – my personal favorite and recommendation. I can eat these anytime though they are quite popular as a breakfast option. I also, loved the authentic Kerala plantain leaf meals. My hubby, on the other hand, gorged on the Kerala biryani  – wherever and whenever he got it

You can book a food tour in Kochi through this link .

16. Experience the quaint combination of art and food in the popular art cafes in Fort Kochi.

The topmost in this list is the Kashi Art Gallery which offers you an unusual artistic ambiance to enjoy some breakfast and coffee. If you have not visited this, it is as if your Fort Kochi tour is incomplete. They are one of the highly rated cafes in Fort Kochi for their consistently good food.

Loafer’s Corner café is yet another renowned art café that has become quite popular on Instagram for its gorgeous décor. The David Hall Café was a near miss for me – I was told that their thin-crust pizza is one of the best dishes served. A quaint – little-known art café that came to me as highly recommended is the Farmer’s café – especially for their salads.

17. Enjoy one of the amazing festivals of Kochi

Fort Kochi’s phenomenal blend of cultures is further enhanced by its amazing festivals. There are two of them that I highly recommend you look out for. The first is the annual Cochin Carnival that takes place around New Year’s. The festival is centered around Vasco Da Gama Square and includes numerous sports, musical performances and fun activities. The fortnight-long festival even has a procession of elephants decorated with designs that reflect the various cultures in India.

The burning of Pappanji during the Cochin Carnival

One of the highlights of the Cochin carnival is the burning of a giant statue called Pappa nji exactly at the stroke of the midnight hour on New Year. The statue is that of a bearded old man in a suit and this tradition is basically to say goodbye to the old and bring in the new.

The Fort Kochi carnival is well attended by people from across the world. The exact dates and events are usually detailed here . You should plan and book your hotels in Fort Kochi – well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Art installations on Kochi beach during the Biennale Kochi

The other festival is an Arts festival called Kochi-Muziris Biennale or simply Biennale Kochi . This is celebrated for four months and draws artists from across the world. It has been recognized as t he largest art exhibition in the country and the biggest Asian contemporary art festival . During this festival, you will see numerous exhibits on a wide range of mediums – from films to music and even paintings. In fact, some of the Fort Kochi street art has been created during this celebration.

Art cafes, heritage homes, Cochin Club and various other grounds are used as venues for the Kochi Biennale festival. You can check the dates and events through this website .

18. Lounge around the Vasco Da Gama square

Named after the legendary Portuguese explorer, this square marks the spot where Vasco Da Gama first set foot in India . It’s a tangible testament to Kochi’s multi-layered past, where colonial, indigenous, and maritime histories intersect. It presents an intriguing blend of experiences – from engaging with the friendly local fishermen, savoring spicy prawns straight out of the sea, visiting the nearby St. Francis Church, to simply sitting on the seawall, watching the playful waves hit the shore. There is even a small play area for the kids

This square is the start of Fort Kochi beach and from here, you can see the Chinese fishing nets which Kochi is famous for. It is also, the place where the flag for the Cochin Carnival is hoisted to signify the beginning of a two-week-long fiesta.

19. Drop by the Strings Museum – one of the unique things to do in Fort Kochi

Strings Museum is one of the unique places in Fort Kochi that is dedicated to the history and culture of stringed instruments from around the world. Housed in a beautiful traditional Kerala building, the exhibits include stringed instruments from over 250 different countries and territories.

There are guitars, violins, sitar, veena, mridangam, and many more. You can also learn about the history of stringed instruments, and how they have been used in different cultures.

You can also join a workshop where you can learn how to make your own stringed instrument.  Alternatively, you can just witness one of the live music and dance performances.

20. Take a trip to Vypin Island

Take a day trip to Vypin Island

Catch one of the many ferries at Fort Kochi Beach and visit Vypin Island. Located between the backwaters in Kochi and the Arabian Sea, this island was a part of the Portuguese settlement. You can see the remnants of the same in the various churches here – especially the Church of Our Lady of Hope and the Pallipuram Fort .

You can also drive across the island from Cochin as it is connected by a series of bridges. However, my personal recommendation is to take a boat ride in Kochi. It just adds a fun element to this Fort Kochi activity.

21. Enroll yourself for a Yoga course

Fort Kochi has tons of Yoga studios that you can choose from based on your level of expertise. From intense Ashtanga yoga to soothing Hatha Yoga, you can literally pick your pace and challenge yourself with the many classes they offer. Some of them are even attached to cafes – making your after-class experience even more enjoyable.

A few of the recommended Yoga studios in Fort Kochi that I found during my research include Praana Yoga Studio and Loving earth yoga studio . Check them out or book one of the others online through this link .

22. Opt for a soothing ayurvedic massage in Fort Kochi

Spa Time during my stay at RCI affiliated Sterling Holidays Wayanad

Kerala is known for its ayurvedic treatments and massages. It, in fact, draws a lot of foreign visitors precisely for this. You can experience a slice of this therapeutic treatment by signing up for an ayurvedic spa treatment right in Fort Kochi. There are several ayurvedic spas that offer you a variety of options. You can opt for stress-relieving treatments or go specific for any possible ailments that you might have.

Use this link to book this highly-rated option online through Viator.com . You can book your ayurvedic massage in Kochi at your hotel too. They might have their own spas or might have a tie-up with one

23. Visit the Kerala Folklore Museum – one of the places around Fort Kochi

The Kerala Folklore Museum is one of the hidden attractions in Kochi – just a few kilometers away from Fort Kochi. The museum is housed in a beautiful traditional Kerala – styled building, and the exhibits are spread over three floors.

Kerala Folklore Museum

On the first floor, you’ll find a collection of stone, wood, and bronze sculptures, as well as ancient terracotta, stone age objects, jewelry, paintings, oil lamps, musical instruments, tribal and folk art, woodwork, utensils, masks, and traditional art forms. There’s also a large collection of face art, which is mind-boggling to see.

The second floor is dedicated to dance, with costumes and props from Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, and Ottanthullal. There are also exhibits on traditional Kerala festivals, such as Onam and Vishu. The third floor is home to a library and a research center. There are also a number of interactive exhibits, where you can learn about Kerala’s culture and history through games and activities.

Visiting the Kerala Folklore Museum is one of the best things to do in Fort Kochi – especially if you are interested in Kerala’s rich culture and history.

The museum is open from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm, and the entry fee is Rs. 100 for adults and Rs. 50 for students. There’s also a cafe on the premises, where you can enjoy a traditional Kerala meal.

24. Join a cooking class in Fort Kochi

If you loved the flavors of Kerala food that you sample in the restaurants of Fort Kochi, then maybe, you would like to learn how to re-create them at home. Sign up for one of the many cooking classes in Fort Kochi. In fact, this one can be booked online through this link .

25. Kayaking in the backwaters of Kochi

If you are looking for fun things to do in Kochi and have more than a day here, head out to the backwaters and the surrounding mangrove forests  – just 15 km away. The best way to enjoy these serene backwaters in Kochi and explore the lush green landscape is to set off on a kayak.

There are several kayaking tours available in Fort Kochi. Some of them combine this experience with a visit to a prawn farm or include a local fishing tour. They even have drops and pick-ups from your hotel in Fort Kochi or Mattancherry.

26. Take a cycle tour by the backwaters of Kochi

Cycle around the backwaters of Kochi

A cycle tour by the backwaters of Kochi is a great way to experience the beauty and tranquility of this unique part of Kerala. You’ll pedal through lush green paddy fields, past traditional fishing villages, and along placid canals.

The backwaters in Kochi are a great place to see the local wildlife, including birds, fish, and crocodiles. You may also spot some of the traditional houseboats that are used for accommodation and sightseeing.

The best time to go on a cycle tour is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the light is soft and the temperatures are cooler. You can hire a bicycle from a number of places in Kochi, or you can book a guided tour.

Things to do around Fort Kochi | Day trips from Fort Kochi

27. take a day trip to alleppey.

The backwaters of Alleppey

While the backwaters of Kochi are a great place to visit, for a more authentic backwater experience, I would highly recommend visiting Alleppey. Book a ride on one of the many houseboats and discover how life on the backwaters really is.

You will sail past green paddy fields, quaint homes with duck farms and see local fishermen at work. Observe some more and you might even catch a waterbus taking kids to school. Birders will love the variety of winged beauties that fly around the massive Vembanad lake. Check out my own experience here.

28. Enjoy a day by the Athirapilly Falls

Pack a picnic basket and head out to one of the largest waterfalls in Kerala . Just 60 km from Fort Kochi are the captivating Athirapilly falls which are best visited between June to October . The monsoon showers made sure that the falls are in their full glory and picturesque best.

After visiting the falls, you can stop at the nearby Vazhachal Falls , which are a series of smaller waterfalls. You can also visit the Thumboormuzhi Dam , which is a beautiful dam located near Athirappilly Falls

29. Spend a day at Cherai beach

Located on Vypin Island in Fort Kochi, Cherai Beach is a perfect place for some water fun. The beach is comparatively cleaner and less crowded than Fort Kochi Beach . Also, you can get into the water and swim around at this beach. Here too, you can indulge in some water sports.

The coconut tree-lined beach has several beach shacks where you can relax with some good food and drinks.

30. Take a day trip to Munnar from Fort Kochi

Munnar - one of the day trips from Fort Kochi that you can take when you visit here

If you’re looking for a day trip from Fort Kochi, Munnar is definitely a destination you should consider. Located in the beautiful hills of Kerala, Munnar offers breathtaking views, lush green tea plantations, and cascading waterfalls.

En route, you can stop by the Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls, both offering mesmerizing views and a chance to connect with nature. The rolling hills covered in vibrant green tea leaves create a picturesque setting that is sure to leave you in awe. From the stunning Mattupetty Dam to the enchanting Echo Point , there is plenty to see on your day trip to Munnar .

Well, that completes my list of the best things to do in Fort Kochi. I am sure that the list is only going to grow when I visit this amazing destination again. Or possibly when you write back and tell me something that I might have missed.

The rest of the sections will help you start planning your trip to Fort Kochi. Check them out.

Kochi tourist attractions map

Here is a quick map with the key tourist places in Fort Kochi. You can scroll around to zoom in or out of the map. It gives you a fair idea of the spread of these attractions in Kochi.

Common FAQs about Fort Kochi

What is the difference between kochi and fort kochi.

Kochi or Cochin is the larger city within which Fort Kochi is a chill neighborhood. Kochi as a city has a long and rich history, dating back to the 14th century, and Fort Kochi was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

What is the best way to get to Fort Kochi?

Here are your options for getting to Fort Kochi.

By Air: Cochin has an international airport that has a reasonably good frequency of flights from Asian countries. The same airport connects the city to the other destinations in India. If you’re arriving by plane, you can take a taxi or bus from Cochin International Airport to Fort Kochi. The distance from the airport to Fort Kochi can be covered in 30 minutes.

By Train: Get off at the Ernakulam Junction for Fort Kochi. From the train station you can either take a taxi or a bus to Fort Kochi. Alternately, you can get to the Ernakulam Jetty and take the ferry Fort Kochi Jetty. The journey takes about 15 minutes.

Fort Kochi is a relatively small place, so you can easily walk around.

What is the best time to visit Fort Kochi?

The best time to visit Fort Kochi is during the winter months (October to March), when the weather is pleasant. The temperature during this time ranges from 20°C to 30°C. The peak season is usually between December to February – especially during the Cochin Carnival. If you are planning to visit Fort Kochi at this time, then ensure you book your accommodation in advance.

The monsoon season (June to September) can be wet and humid. Summers are quite hot with temperature soaring to over 40 degrees. It can get really uncomfortable to walk around during this time.

Where is the best place to stay in Fort Kochi?

There are tons of options available for your stay in Fort Kochi. These range from luxury properties to homestays in Fort Kochi. You can consider the Malabar House for a luxury or 5 star hotel in Fort Kochi. Frangipani home stay is a highly rated Fort Kochi Homestay. The Fort Manor is known for its travel sustainability and is a well-rated stay in Fort Kochi.

If you do not find hotels in Fort Kochi, you can increase your radius and book some in Cochin city. There are plenty of options within 3 km of Fort Kochi.

How many days are enough for Fort Kochi?

Ideally 2 days would be great to explore Fort Kochi at a leisurely pace. However, if you are short of time, you can cover the main attractions in Kochi in one day.

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Now that I have shared all the tips for your visit to Kochi in this travel guide, why don’t you just share this around. Also, pin one of these to your boards as a ready reckenor.

best things to in Fort Kochi

Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.

I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including BBC Travel, Lonely Planet India and Jetwings. I have recently published my first book – When Places Come Alive – a collection of stories that are based on legends, landscapes, art and culture of a place which is available in both ebook and paperback format.

You might also like these posts –

  • Human by Nature – The inherent warmth of the people of Kerala
  • Forts in Kerala
  • A weekend along the beaches & forts of Kannur, Kerala
  • 10 reasons why Versatile Kerala is a perfect destination for any kind of traveler
  • Life along the Backwaters of Kerala
  • Experiencing the Houseboats in Kerala
  • Back to the Neolithic Age with Edakkal Caves Wayanad
  • Wayanad Nature Trails – Kuruva Island to Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Experiencing Wayanad in Monsoons
  • Exploring and Staying in Wayanad

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Things To Do in Fort Kochi – Ultimate Guide To Fort Kochi

Things to Do in Fort Kochi

This is a complete guide to places to see and things to do in Fort Kochi, one of the historic hotspots of Kochi in Kerala, a southern state of India.

Fort Kochi is an iconic and historic area of Kochi ( Cochin ), in the southern state of India, Kerala. The state is known for its natural beauty in the form of its romantic backwaters , gorgeous beaches , lush forests, waterfalls, and much more. We take a look at some of the amazing things to do in Fort Kochi in this ultimate guide to Fort Kochi where we look not only at the best things to do in Fort Kochi but also at some of the offbeat things to do in Fort Kochi.

Kerala’s beauty has earned it the sobriquet of, ‘ God’s own country “. Natural beauty is not the only asset that Kerala is endowed with, it has an equally rich heritage and culture which especially comes alive in the charming lanes and bylanes of Fort Kochi. Get ready to indulge your senses in Fort Kochi which offers a host of attractions and experiences.

Table of Contents

Things to Do in Fort Kochi – Fort Kochi Quick Guide

The sheer range and number of things to do in Fort Kochi can stump anyone. However, the good news is that most of the places to see in Fort Kochi Kerala are in a close cluster which is easily accessible. It is possible to see the major attraction on a one day itinerary of Fort Kochi, but if one is thinking of more places to visit in Fort Kochi and a slow as well as an immersive experience of Fort Kochi attractions, then it is best to plan for a 2 day Fort Kochi itinerary.

Whatever is the length of your itinerary for Fort Kochi, one thing is sure, you will never be haunted by the question, “what to do in Fort Kochi”. Here is a detailed list of things to do in Fort Kochi. Read on to know not only about what to see in Fort Kochi, but also about Fort Kochi shopping, Fort Kochi restaurants, and other offbeat Fort Kochi experiences too.

This is an ultimate Fort Kochi guide. This Fort Kochi guide covers some of the best places to visit in Fort Kochi, top things to do in Fort Kochi, some of the best Fort Kochi hotels and some of the finest Fort Kochi restaurants.

Step Back in History At The Dutch Palace ( Mattancherry Palace)

things to do in Fort Kochi - Mattancherry Palace

The Mattancherry Palace which is also referred to as the Dutch Palace is one of the most important historical places in Fort Kochi. It takes you back in time and gives glimpses of the royal era of the region. It is definitely one of the top things to see in Fort Kochi.

The original palace dates back to the year 1555. This was when it is believed to have been built by the Portuguese. One belief is that the Palace was built and gifted to the then King of Kochi by the Portuguese. This was thought to be an atonement for the destruction of a temple in the vicinity. With the passage of time, the Palace was in need of repairs and about a hundred years later the Dutch renovated the palace and hence the name, Dutch Palace.

The Mattancherry Palace itself comes across as quite spartan compared to the opulent palaces of Rajasthan or the Mysore Palace, but it has a vintage charm of its own. One of the highlights not to be missed are the murals that adorn the rooms of the Mattancherry Palace. The fading murals still retain some of their original charms and depict scenes from Indian mythologies like the Ramayana and the life of Krishna .

Address : Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682002

Take a Walk In Jew Town

things to do in Fort Kochi-Mattancherry Palace - Jew Town

One of the most colourful of Fort Kochi places to visit is Jew Town. A walk down Jew Town is like entering a different era. The streets are lined on both sides by shops selling all sorts of antiques and curios. Some shops display colourful umbrellas and dolls of different shapes and sizes, while some have dozens of antique clocks ticking away from what seems to be time immemorial. Ancient and quirky looking windows and doors with designs of a bygone era look down upon visitors as they must have done for hundreds of years.

Jew Town is a splash of colours with the colourful wares of its shops presenting a pleasing visual sight. If the fragrance of spices assails your nostrils, the bright colours of heaps of Rangoli arrest your gaze. Jew Town is definitely one of the Fort Kochi tourist places most sought after. A leisurely walk around Jew Town is one of the most satisfying things to do in Fort Kochi.

Gaze At The Intriguing Chinese fishing nets

things to do in Fort Kochi - Chinese Fishing Net

The iconic Chinese fishing nets are a sort of visual symbol of Fort Kochi and are an integral part of Fort Kochi sightseeing. The Chinese fishing nets that can be seen at Fort Kochi and also elsewhere in the backwaters of Kochi look like strange contraptions jutting out into the waters that assume a sprite-like quality at sunrise or sunset and present a riveting sight. But what are these Chinese Fishing Nets?  They are just that, fishing nets, but giant ones.

The nets can be as large as 20 meters and they are lowered into the sea by a cantilever mechanism that is operated from the shore. The Chinese nets are also referred to as Cheenavalas, in keeping with their Chinese origins. These types of nets are found only in Kochi in India. They are also found in the South China Sea. The Chinese nets can be watched from near the Vasco Da Gama Square in Fort Kochi or also from a boat. Watching the mystical looking Chinese Nets is one of the most fascinating Things To Do In Fort Kochi.

Visit The Paradesi Synagogue

Pardesi Synagogue

A visit to the Paradesi Synagogue in Fort Kochi is one of the most interesting things to do in Fort Kochi. It is the most important of the monuments in Fort Kochi with a unique history. The Synagogue was built in the year 1867 and is active to this day, in fact, it is said to be the oldest active synagogue in the entire commonwealth. The Paradesi Synagogue houses many relics of great historical value and includes golden crowns as well as a pulpit with brass rails.

Address : Synagogue Ln, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682002

Take a Walk On Princess Street

Princess Street

Princess Street in Fort Kochi is said to be the oldest street in Fort Kochi. It is believed that this was the first street constructed in Fort Kochi. What makes the street endearing is the fact that much of its heritage has been preserved. Old colonial buildings line both sides of the streets rendering it with unique vintage elegance. It is interesting to note that Princess Street is also referred to as Loafer’s Corner after a Cafe by the same name located here. Princess Street is great for a leisurely jaunt serenaded by the quirky cafes and shops that line both sides of the street.

Immerse in The Fragrances of The Spice Market

Fort Kochi

Spices are inextricably linked with the history and culture of Fort Kochi. It was the mesmerizing fragrance of spices that drew people from remote corners of the globe to Fort Kochi, which became a thriving centre of the spice trade. The Spice Market stands at one end of Jew Town and still retains its importance as a hub of the spice trade. The fragrance of cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and other exotic spices blend into an irresistible medley and draw you towards the Spice Market on a visit which is one of the best things to do in Fort Kochi.

Address : Jew Town Road, Kerala 682001

Relax on Fort Kochi Beach

Fort Kochi

The Fort Kochi beach is a great place to catch the sunset. It is a place to view the Chinese fishing nets bathed in a glow of pink by the rays of the setting sun. A granite walkway along the beach is a great way to stretch the legs and breath in the fresh sea breeze and listen to the symphony of the waves. One of the most relaxing things to do in Fort Kochi is spending time at the Fort Kochi beach.

Address : Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001

Pay Your Respects At The Dutch Cemetery

Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi has been historically a melting pot of cultures. Legacies of different cultures and people can still be seen if Fort Kochi and the history and heritage of the place comes alive paradoxically in its cemeteries too. One of these intriguing places in Fort Kochi is the Dutch Cemetery. This is one of the oldest cemeteries in India and was consecrated in the year 1724.

The Dutch Cemetery stands forlorn not far from the sea beach. Here lie the mortal remains of may a traveller spurred by curiosity who set out on a voyage of discovery. The sepulchral silence of the Dutch Cemetery tugs at the hearts of visitors and leaves them pondering over the ephemeral nature of life.

Visit The Jewish Cemetery

Fort Kochi

The Jewish Cemetery which is part of the Mattancherry Synagogue stands near the Jew Town. It is a very old cemetery, but well maintained with neatly manicured flower beds. The cemetery dates back to the 19th century. Though visitors are not allowed inside the Cemetery, one can take a look from the gate.

Address : Fort Kochi, Kochi, 682001

Visit The Police Museum

Fort Kochi

As you walk along with the Jew Town your attention is drawn by a unique Police Station housed in a heritage building. this is the International Tourism Police that has been established by the authorities for the assistance of foreign tourists. The police station handles queries regarding visas and passports, loss of passports, help in the booking of cabs, and much more.

What is of interest in this unique police station is a small museum that documents the history of the police force in Kochi. One can see old uniforms, weapons, and armoury of the police on display here. There is no entrance fee for the Police Museum. The place is one of the offbeat places to see in Fort Kochi.

Address : AB Selam Rd, Jews St, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682002

Be Fascinated At The Indian Naval Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum is a tribute to the growth and development of India as a naval power to reckon with in the world. The maritime history of India is presented pleasingly right from the Indus valley civilization and how Kerala became a centre of India’s maritime trade with the world. The birth of the Indian Navy in Surat and its rapid growth and development is presented through compelling exhibits including 3-D paintings. A visit to the museum is indeed one of the offbeat things to do in Fort Kochi.

Address :  K.J. Herschel Rd, Veli, Kochi, Kerala 682001

Visit The Indo-Portuguese Museum

Indo-Portuguese Museum

The legacy that the Portuguese left behind, stays alive in many walks of life in Fort Kochi and also elsewhere in India, like Goa. From cuisine to architecture, the presence of the Portuguese culture can be seen everywhere. This indelible impression of the Portuguese is captured and presented in the Indo-Portuguese Museum.

The museum is an ode to the heritage of Indo-Portuguese art. Some of the timeless relics housed in the museum include sculptures, vestments, and metal objects of art, that date back to the 16th century. A visit to the Indo-Portuguese Museum must figure on your offbeat Fort Kochi itinerary.

Address : Bishop Kureethara Rd, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001

Be Awed At The Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum

Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum

The three-storied beautifully designed Folklore Theatre and Museum is a place not to be missed in Fort Kochi. It is an exquisite ode to the enchanting folk arts of Kerala that include its exotic dances, sculpture, architecture and much more. The building of the museum itself showcases the architectural styles of ancient and traditional Kerala. The three flowers are built according to the Malabar, Cochin, and Travancore styles. The first floor is dedicated to the traditional dance forms of Kerala and has different costumes, masks, and other accessories used in different dance forms.

The second floor is dedicated to colourful murals and also attracts visitors with its finely chiselled wooden ceiling. The entrance of the museum has been constructed using the remains of a 16th-century temple and has a traditional locking system known as Manichitratazhu. One can spend hours lost in the incredible folk arts of Kerala. Various traditional dance shows and other stage performances are staged every day in the evenings at the theatre.

Address : Near, 2059C No 26 Pandit Karuppan Road, Thevara Ferry Road, Junction, Kochi, Kerala 682013

Enjoy a Performance At The Kerala Kathakali Centre

Kerala Kathakali Centre

Visiting Kerala and not experiencing the iconic Kathakali performance is simply not done. One of the best places to witness this legendary dance in all its authentic dimensions is at the Kerala Kathakali Centre. Apart from Kathakali visitors can also see performances of other Indian classical dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Mohiniyattam, etc., as well as classical music performances.

Address : KB Jacob Rd, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001

Visit The Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

A magnificent edifice that stands as an enduring legacy of the Portuguese is the Santa Cruz Basilica in Fort Kochi. A visit to this Fort Kochi church is one of the top things to do in Fort Kochi. The Cathedral with its towering spires stands as a beautiful example of Gothic architecture. Its snow-white facade is pleasing to the eyes and invokes feelings of spirituality as one enters the Basilica.

The Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica is one of the most enchanting and grand churches of India. The original church goes back to the mid 16th century when the first Portuguese missionaries arrived in Fort Kochi. The present structure, however, was raised in 1905. The Church became a Basilica in the year 1984.

Inside the Basilica the altar and Gothic columns make for a heavenly sight. Large canvas paintings embellish the divinely interior, most notable of these being one that represents the Last Supper. The grand Basilica is a place that appeals to the connoisseur of art and the lay visitor both.

Address : Bastian St, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001

Visit The St. Francis Church

St. Francis Church

One of the top things to do in Fort Kochi is visiting the St. Francis Church. This is a church with much historical significance. It is believed to have been the first Portuguese church built in India. It was originally constructed in 1503 and was a wooden structure. The exterior that is seen today is a later construction. Inside the church the ceiling and flooring are old and there is an old Cross.

Another claim to fame of this historical church is the fact that Vasco Da Gama was buried here in 1525, however, his remains were taken to Lisbon, Portugal 14 years letter. Marking of the spot where Vasco Da Gama was buried can be seen inside the church. The St. Francis Church is a protected monument today. A visit to this church is one of the serene things to do in Fort Kochi.

Address : Head Post Office, Saint Francis Church Road Opp, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001

Catch an Art Exhibition at Uru Art Harbour

An old warehouse is a hub of art, music, literature, and philosophy. One of the offbeat things to do in Fort Kochi is to catch an exhibition on at the Uru Art Harbour.

Address : Kochangadi Rd, Kochangadi, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682002

Travel Back In Time At The Grey Book Museum And Archives

A small museum housed in a palace that dates back to the 18th century is dedicated to taking visitors back in time into the incredible chapters of Cochin’s history. It is an independent museum and showcases the private collection of an individual and includes photographs, historical prints, photographic glass plates, etc., that present the evolution of modern-day Kochi from what it was 150 years ago. The museum is an offbeat attraction of Fort Kochi and a fascinating place, especially for history buffs.

Address : 1/334, Rose St, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001

Nehru Park For Children

A park for children not for from the Fort Kochi beach, the Nehru Park is another lung space of Fort Kochi where children can play freely. The Park is also used as a public venue for painting competitions and other events.

Address : River Rd, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001

Draavidia Art Gallery

An art gallery that showcases local art through exhibitions. Visitors can check for ongoing exhibitions which give an opportunity to understand local culture and contemporary art of Kochi.

Address : Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001

Hang Around Vasco Da Gama Square

The Vasco Da Gama Square is a narrow promenade alongside the beach in Fort Kochi. It is a popular evening haunt of locals as well as tourists. It is a nice place to watch the Chinese fishing nets against the backdrop of the setting sun. There are numerous food stalls in the vicinity that sell seafood and refreshing tender coconuts. It is a nice place to hang around in the evenings.

Address : No: XIV/1642, River Road, Kunnumpuram Rd, Karuvelippady, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001

Fort Kochi Heritage Walk

One can visit the various attractions and experience all the things to do in Fort Kochi through a personally crafted Fort Kochi itinerary or also join a guided heritage walk which covers the major attractions in Fort Kochi. These heritage walks typically take around 2 hours.

Enjoy A Traditional Kerala Ayurvedic Massage

Kerala Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurveda is an ancient science that has natural remedies for many ailments that are physical and mental. Ayurveda is a holistic science that is a panacea for many ills. Ayurvedic massages and treatments are rejuvenating for the mind, body, and soul. Kerala is the home of this ancient science that uses exotic herbs and oils in treatments that have been handed down from generation to generation.

There are many spas that offer various ayurvedic massages and treatments, most of the hotels have in-house spas that offer these services. It is best to check out with your hotel for these services.

Where To Shop In Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi

Shopping is always an integral part of travelling, especially if you are in the habit of picking up a souvenir or two from the places you visit. Fort Kochi offers many interesting shopping options and shopping in Fort Kochi is in itself a fulfilling experience and ranks high on most peoples’ list of things to do in Fort Kochi. Some of the places to shop in Fort Kochi are:

  • Spice Market
  • Princess Street

What To Buy In Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi

  • Colourful Umbrellas
  • Kathakali Masks
  • Hand Made Soaps
  • Stone Sculptures
  • Brass & Copper vessels and showpieces
  • Souvenirs from keychains to seashells to wrist bands and jewellery
  • Local Handicrafts

Where To Eat In Fort Kochi – Fort Kochi Restaurants

Where To Eat In Fort Kochi

The influence and fusion of different cultures over the centuries can be seen in the varied cuisine that Fort Kochi has to offer. There are charming cafes and hotels that serve a mind-boggling array of epicurean delights from different parts of the globe. Fort Kochi cafes reflect the kaleidoscopic nature of the cultures that have influenced the region. Here are some of the best Fort Kochi Restaurants. Eating in any of the heritage cafes of Fort Kochi is an experience to cherish and one of the most interesting things to do in Fort Kochi.

Mocha Art Cafe

The Mocha Art Cafe is a delightful Fort Kochi Restaurants that is housed in a 16th-century building that was originally built as accommodation for the Rabbis of the Pardesi Synagogue. The Cafe is a quirky synthesis of art and food. It serves tantalizing fare that includes a range of salads, soups, desserts, pancakes, pasta, and much more. A leisurely meal at the Mocha Art Cafe ranks high on the must-do things to do in Fort Kochi.

Jetty Restaurant Forte Kochi

The Jetty Restaurant is the restaurant of the Forte Kochi hotel , one of the best heritage Fort Kochi hotels. The hotel is located in a heritage building which was once a Jewish mansion that was built in 1860 by the Portuguese. The Jetty Restaurant offers a vintage elegance and serves dishes from around the world and includes cuisine from Europe, across India, and of course local Kerala cuisine. Sitting in the elegant ambience of the Jetty restaurant and enjoying a delectable meal is one of the most relaxing things to do in Fort Kochi.

Jetty Restaurant is one of the best Fort Kochi Restaurants.

Fort Kochi is a haven for seafood lovers and one of the best places to enjoy it is Fusion Bay. This Fort Kochi restaurant serves a wide range of seafood delicacies as well as local Kerala cuisine. If you are a seafood connoisseur than a visit to Fusion Bay is one of the top things to do in Fort Kochi.

Fort Kochi Video

Things to do in Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala, India Fort Kochi is the heart of Kochi, in Kerala, India. It is an exhilarating place where one meets heritage and history at every bend in the road. The area is f…

How To Get To Fort Kochi

Cochin airport

  • Fort Kochi is an area in the city of Kochi located in the southern Indian state of Kerala
  • Fort Kochi to airport distance is about 44 kilometres
  • Ernakulam to Fort Kochi distance is about 6 kilometres

Does Fort Kochi pique your interest and are you thinking of heading in the Fort Kochi direction? You can book a  flight right here through TripAdvisor  or  Agoda  or  CheapAir  or  Cleartrip  or  Makemytrip  or  Priceline . You can fly to Kochi and then from there you can travel to Fort Kochi by road. You can also do road trips to many interesting destinations in Kerala like Kumarakom ,  Allepey ,  Thekkady , and  Athirapally from Kochi. You can also get to Kochi from within India by self-drive car  or cab or  bus  or alternatively take a train.

Fort Kochi Map

Fort Kochi Map

Where To Stay In Fort Kochi – Fort Kochi Hotels

Forte Kochi

Where to stay in Kochi? If that is what you are thinking, then one of the best places would be Fort Kochi where one can get an immersive experience of the heritage and culture of Kochi. When it comes to Fort Kochi hotels, there are many options for staying in Fort Kochi that range from luxury and heritage resorts to budget hotels. We stayed in the heritage hotel Forte Kochi and it was an amazing experience.

There are plenty of other options to stay in Kochi. The list of Fort Kochi hotels offers a choice of budget accommodation as well as luxury hotels.

One can book Fort Kochi hotels through TripAdvisor  or  Cleartrip  or  Agoda  or  Makemytrip  or  Priceline  and save a lot by getting the best deals on booking your stay.

Best Time To Visit Kochi / Fort Kochi

Cochin

The best time to visit Fort Kochi and Kochi is during the winter months as the weather is pleasant and one can comfortably walk around and explore the wonders of Fort Kochi. The ideal winter months are between October and February. Summers can be hot and humid, but for the true traveller driven by passion and fueled by curiosity, Fort Kochi can be visited any time of the year.

Visiting places around the time when local festivals and events are held is always very satisfying as one gets an immersive experience of the local culture and traditions. Two events around which one can plan their Fort Kochi trim and itinerary are the Cochin Carnival and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

The Cochin Carnival is an annual event that is held during the last week of December to coincide with Christmas and the beginning of the New Year. The Cochin Carnival is a legacy from the colonial days when the Portuguese New Year used to be celebrated with great pomp and gaiety. The Cochin Carnival presents a mosaic of Indian culture from across the states and of course the local arts, dances, and music.

The high point of the carnival is a grand procession on New Year’s Day which is led by beautifully decorated elephants and has dancers from across the different states of India. Fort Kochi is the heart of the celebrations of the Cochin Carnival.

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an event that is organized by the Kochi Biennale Foundation. The event promotes art and culture through an exhibition and the festival which usually happens from December to April. The event includes various workshops, residencies, and other programmes. The event takes place across many venues in and around Fort Kochi.

Fort Kochi Tourism / Kerala Tourism

Fort Kochi is a lovely place the showcases the best of heritage and culture of Kochi and Kerala. It is a unique mosaic of different cultural influences that come together in an exquisite synthesis. Though there are so many things to do in Fort Kochi to keep you occupied, Kerala has so much more on offer in terms of nature, adventure, heritage, and culture. There are many interesting places that can be visited on a day trip from Kochi.

Other Places To See And Things To Do In Kochi

Walk down marine drive.

Marine Drive Kochi

A walk beside the backwaters, that is what visitors can do at the Marine Drive. This is a promenade built facing the backwaters and is a walkway where contrary to its name vehicles are not allowed. Malls and Cafes abound along the Marine Drive which also provides a view to spectacular sunsets and sunrises accompanied by the cool and soothing breeze blowing across the Vembanad Lake.

Pallipuram Fort

The Pallipuram Fort is a 16th-century fort that was built by the Portuguese. It is believed to be the oldest existent European fort in India. The fort is located on Vypin Island about 42 kilometres from Fort Kochi.

Address: Vypin, Kochi, Kerala 683515

Vypin Lighthouse

Vypin Lighthouse

The Vypin Lighthouse is located at Puthuvype in Kochi. It is a modern and state of the art Lighthouse. However the original Kochi lighthouse used to be in Fort Kochi and had been shifted to Puthuvype, and that lighthouse dated back to 1839. At the bottom of the lighthouse, there is a small information centre which has an information kiosk where one can learn about different lighthouses in India and their history. The Vypin Lighthouse is about 23 kilometres from Fort Kochi.

Address : Puthuvype Beach Light House Rd, Vypin, Kochi, Kerala 682508

Bolgatty Palace

Kochi Bolgatty Palace

The Bolgatty Palace is an old Dutch Palace on the Bolgatty island in Kochi. It was built by the Dutch in 1744 and is believed to be the oldest Dutch palaces outside of Holland. The Palace later served as the home of British Governors during the British Raj. Today the Bolgatty Palace is a heritage hotel and resort that is run by KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation ). Bolgatty Palace is about 18 kilometres from Fort Kochi.

Address : NH966A, Mulavukad, Kochi, Kerala 682504

Sunset Cruise

Kochi

A sunset cruise is a great way to enjoy the evening in Kochi and be treated to spectacular views. The sunset cruises last for about two hours and one can get great views of the Chinese fishing nets, Marine Drive, and also the Bolgatty Island. The cruise is around the waters of the Cochin Harbour and most of the cruise companies have hotel pickup and drop included in the cruise.

Day Trips From Kochi

There are many great destinations that can be covered as day trips from Kochi. They make for great road trips that showcase the natural beauty of the Kerala countryside. Here is a list of a few day trips from Kochi .

  • Athirapally & Vazhachal Falls
  • Ezhattumugam

 Things To Do In Kochi – Kochi Tourism/Kerala Tourism

Cochin, Kerala

Kochi is a sheer treat for the senses with amazing experiences of culture and heritage and nature. Fort Kochi is an exquisite mosaic of heritage, history, and culture.

If you are wondering how to cover all major attractions of Fort Kochi in one day then y ou can always opt for tour packages of Kochi and enjoy some of the most recommended Kochi tours . You can now  book tours in Kochi as well as activities in Kochi right here.

FAQ Fort Kochi

Is Fort Kochi worth visiting?

Fort Kochi is definitely worth visiting and spending time in. Fort Kochi things to do are amazing and it is a must be on your list when sightseeing in Kochi.

What is Fort Kochi famous for?

A walk to the street of Fort Kochi is an unforgettable experience. It is a walk that takes one down the lane of history. Fort Kochi a cultural and heritage landmark of Kochi and includes Fort Kochi museum, heritage cafes and hotels, Churches, and much more. There are many lovely things to do in Fort Kochi.

Why is it called Fort Kochi?

If you looking for a fort in the images for Fort Kochi, you will not find one. The name Fort Kochi is based on an old fort that existed but was destroyed by the Dutch.

Is Fort Kochi safe?

Fort Kochi is absolutely safe, however, one needs to take necessary safety precautions like anywhere else.

What is the best time to visit Kochi?

The best time to visit Kochi is during the winter months between October to February.

How many days do you need in Kochi?

There is much to see and experience in Kochi. It all depends on the time you have. You can plan an itinerary for things to see Fort Kochi in one day or things to see Fort Kochi in two days, and also accommodate the other attractions of Kochi. How can I spend my day in Kochi?

If you have just one day, then it is best to spend it at Fort Kochi which is the heart of Kochi. There are so many interesting things to do in Fort Kochi.

What is there to do in Kochi at night?

There are many things to do in Fort Kochi and Kochi in the night including a cruise, a walk on Marine Drive, hanging out at a heritage Cafe, and much more.

What can I buy in Kochi?

Handicrafts and souvenirs can be bought in Kochi. You may also want to buy some of the famous banana chips.

Where should I stay in Kochi?

There are many options for staying in Kochi depending on your preference and budget. Check out our Where To Stay section above.

Is Kochi a metro city?

Kochi has been classified as a Tier – II city.

How can I plan one day in Kochi?

We would suggest a one day Fort Kochi Itinerary.

Are Kochi and Ernakulam the same?

Kochi is part of the Ernakulam district, however sometimes Kochi is also referred to as Ernakulam.

Is there a bus from Fort Kochi to the airport?

The public transport of Kochi includes the Metro, bus services as well as ferry services. Getting around Fort Kochi and other parts of Kochi City is convenient through public transport. There is a direct bus from Fort Kochi to the Cochin International Airport.

Are there any Fort Kochi timings/opening time/entry timings/visiting hours?

Fort Kochi is an area, which consists of Cafes, Churches, Museums, and other attractions. Each of these would have their own timings.

We do hope you liked our Fort Kochi travel blog post, and it serves as a complete Fort Kochi travel guide. Do let us know if you have any questions or need any more information. Help us with your feedback to help us improve our Fort Kochi guide.

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Things To Do in Fort Kochi - Ultimate Guide To Fort Kochi

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35 thoughts on “Things To Do in Fort Kochi – Ultimate Guide To Fort Kochi”

Wow, there seem like endless things to do in Fort Kochi! Your guide makes it seem like such an interesting place to explore!

This is such a cool guide! I wish I’d explored more of India, especially Kerala!! Jew Town sounds like my favourite place already, I LOVE shopping in India! Vasco Da Gama Square sounds beautiful, definitely pinning this to return to!!

This is indeed the Ultimate Guide for Kochi, as you seem to have answered all possible queries. I did visit Kerala back in May 2019, before our Nepal Trip, however we only had a half a day in Kochi. Though we weren’t able to visit most of the places you’ve listed here, we managed to see the Chinese fishing nets, and catch a picturesque sunset from the Marine Drive, followed by a sumptuous dinner nearby.

This must be an amazing trip, Sandy. We were scheduled to visit in April but unfortunately the trip got cancelled. We had even made an itinerary and extended the trip for an extra two days. I had most of these on my list. Looking forward to visiting whenever possible, now. Forts have such a fantastic ambiance about them. I always feel these historic places want to whisper their stories to us!

There really is so much to see here, I am sure that if you only allocated 2 days for Fort Kochi there is no way to visit all of these sites and really take it in. You would have to pick only a handful from the list that you have here. I love the fishing nets and would love to see them in action. I would also love to visit the beach and take a walk through the spice market. I can see my son would love the police museum, he has such a fascination with that sort of thing. When I took him to the navy museum in Simonstown (South Africa) last year I could not get him to leave!

So many diverse things to do ! It’s impressive that this place has retained the influence of so many cultures and celebrates it. Great post!

There was a lot of great information in this article, so thank you! I’ve never heard of this place, so it was an interesting read for me. I especially liked the hotel you recommended it looked really nice with the pool.

Such a wonderful travel blog…. You took me to my own home town & refresh my all the memories about kochi… Very well written & surely going to help the people who want to travel kochi

Yes Kochi is really a great place to visit. Your post is reminding me of our visit in 2016. How could I forget that cool breeze on the beach. I purchased a variety of spices from the market. Enjoyed the Kerala thali and discovered the similarity between that and our typical Bengali cuisine.

Fort Kochi looks amazing. I would love to visit one day. The food looks so delicious. Pinning so I have this guide when I go. Thanks for sharing.

What a neat city! The architecture is amazing. I didn’t realize there was such a strong Portuguese influence in parts of India. The Chinese fishing nests also look really cool!

What a beautiful area! Stunning photos! I seriously would visit just to sit and watch those fishing nets…how mesmerizing!

Your posts are always so exhaustive comprehensive guides on tourist places. I would really love to visit Kochi fort

Sir, your blog explain each and everything, infact every place in detail. We have never visited Kochi. Hopefully we will visit soon.

Fort kochi looks so perfect place to start Kerala’s famous destinations. Definitely include in my bucket list. Great thoughts.

Your travel guides are always filled with best recommendations and lot of options for tourists. I will definitely consider these while travelling to Fort Kochi

I love your detailed guidance on any place . You have touched every single thing to explain the places of Kochi…

My masi was in Kochi and she always invited us to visit kochi but we never got a chance. This fort is so beautiful and the view is so mesmerizing. I wish I could get a chance to visit.

Every place has unique story. Thanks for detailed information about fort Kochi. Love the virtual tour.

Your travel posts are always very interesting.. i was planning a trip to Kochi. I m surely gonna refer your guide, whenever i m planning trip there

Wow, Fort Kochi sounds like such an interesting place culturewise and really so different from what my image of India is actually! Having grown up in the Netherlands (with roots from Indian and Pakistani via Suriname), I though I knew a lot about the history of Dutch colonialism but I never knew they even had such a presence in India! Very interesting read and as someone who’s fascinated with culture and history, I really enjoyed all the information here, thanks for sharing!

We went to Fort Cochi in December 2018 over Christmas and my birthday. We stayed a little out the way in a big hotel, but enjoyed going to the main area. Even though we had a few days there we still missed some of the things you have listed – there is so much to do! 🙂

As a Jew, I was really intrigued by the Jewish history of this place – the synagogues and cemetery, and the fact that there’s a neighborhood called Jew town.

Oh how I would love to visit this spice market!! Looks like an amazing place to explore with many different things to do. I’d love to see the fishermen in action too!

What a complete guide you have prepared. It’s very informative. I would be interested in the police museum as I used to work for the police and think it would be interesting to learn about the similarities and differences. I would also love the capture those fishing nets at sunrise or sunset.

Oh my, it seems there is just too much to do. How many days do you suggest for the first time visitor?

I am so excited to see a synagogue and Jewish cemetery on your list! I have studied Jewish history extensively, and my wife’s family is Jewish. Everytime we travel we visit any synagogues or Jewish sites. Thank you for the history, and now I’m going to go research more about that synagogue! Jewish history + museums + delicious food and even a beach. My idea of a good time!

Wowza, there is sooooo much to do in Fort Kochi!

I love the look of the Chinese fishing nets, and the Kerala Folklore Theater And Museum looks really interesting. It’s great that you can immerse yourself into so much culture and history there!

I haven’t been to India yet, but when I go, I certainly will visit Kochi. The colors are so vibrant, I love them so much. Also, the museums seem to be really inspiring. A wonderful and very inviting post.

I have never been to Kerala before. I postponed my trip to “God’s own country” couple of times. I just can’t wait to visit Kerala next year. Looking forward to exploring Fort kochi when in Kerala.

We were in Fort Kochi around New Years Eve and let me say, the people there are a lively bunch! We loved exploring the whole area and the people there were so friendly and good to us. I would love to go back though when it is not so hectic to explore more of the area especially the water.

Wow, this really is the ultimate guide to Fort Kochi! I would love to watch the Chinese fishing nets and visit the Spice Market. Fort Kochi certainly sounds like a great destination to visit.

So many things to do in Fort Kochi. I don’t think 2 days would be enough time to really soak it in. I love the colorful umbrella you showed in Jew Town. If it’s all that colorful, that would be a fun place to explore. I’ve been to a few spice markets in other countries, so it would be fun to visit this one and compare. Great planner for a trip to Fort Kochi.

Wow! Who would’ve thought that Fort had such a multicultural history?

They’re are so many interesting things to do that I may just have to visit India again!

For me best expereinced at Fort Kochi are food, heritage walk, ayurvedic massage, and shopping.

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Stories by Soumya

The Travel Blog of a Culture Addict

Looking for the best things to do in Fort Kochi, Kerala? Check out this amazing Kochi bucket list that includes the best streets in Fort Kochi, architecture, best street art and cafes in Fort Kochi, beautiful churches, palaces, beach and so much more. Grab this ultimate Fort Kochi travel guide. #FortKochi #Kerala #India

21 Best Things To Do In Fort Kochi, India

Last Updated on April 25, 2022 by Soumya

Of all the amazing things to do in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry , do you know what I liked the best?

The synagogue, of course! Yes, Fort Kochi has a Jew Town (not very far away) which has India’s oldest synagogue. But more on that later.

I have been swooning about Fort Kochi ever since I came back from my recent trip to Cochin and Kerala’s beautiful backwaters. Fort Kochi was everything I had imagined – full of historical narratives, colonial mansions, centuries-old religious institutions, and lovely people.

There are umpteen number of interesting places to visit in Fort Kochi. Be it the Paradesi Synagogue with its blue-tiled flooring, St. Francis Church and its ancient connection with Vasco da Gama, or the Chinese fishing nets that have become an Instagram sensation, Fort Kochi is full of fun things to do and see.

As you set out to explore Fort Kochi, be sure to add these 21 best things to your Fort Kochi bucket list. With an endless list of cultural and historical places, Fort Kochi makes for the perfect getaway for the discerning traveler in you and me.

Table of Contents

Quick links for planning your Fort Kochi trip

  • Paradesi Synagogue
  • St. Francis Church
  • Chinese fishing nets
  • Murals of Mattancherry Palace
  • Kathakali performance
  • If you are looking for the best guided tours, I highly recommend taking a walking tour with a local like this one where you’ll get deep insights into the history and culture of Fort Kochi. This houseboat and Fort Kochi tour is also quite popular.
  • Fort Kochi is full of old colonial mansions. I totally recommend staying in one during your stay. The best part is they come in all sizes and budgets. The luxurious Brunton Boatyard Hotel is one of the highest-rated properties here. If you are looking for a more budget option, try the Dutch Bungalow .

Loving this Fort Kochi things to do guide? Pin it for later!

Looking for the best things to do in Fort Kochi, Kerala? Check out this amazing Kochi bucket list that includes the best streets in Fort Kochi, architecture, best street art and cafes in Fort Kochi, beautiful churches, palaces, beach and so much more. Grab this ultimate Fort Kochi travel guide. #FortKochi #Kerala #India

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link on this post. This will be at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links help me keep this website up and running. Thanks for your support!

A little about Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi, which was once a modest fishing village, grew into a major trading hub for spices such as pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger in the early CEs.

In the 1500s, the Portuguese arrived and ruled for 180 years. They constructed Fort Emmanuel (the “fort” in Fort Kochi) and St. Francis’ church. The Dutch then took over and reigned for 112 years, from 1682 until 1795. The British were the last to leave, in 1947.

Fort Kochi was already a mixed community even before the Europeans arrived, which I find fascinating.

It is believed that St. Thomas, The Apostle arrived in Kochi as early as 52 CE and Cochin got its first set of Syrian Orthodox Christians. The Cochin Jews arrived later, in 70 CE, during the First Jewish-Roman War’s siege of Jerusalem.

Fort Kochi has been a multiethnic society since the beginning of the common era, with Hindus, Christians, and Jews living on its shores.

Years of history, multiple colonies, and several immigrations later, Fort Kochi is a treasure house for a history lover like me . It is filled with a panoply of religious sanctuaries, pretty colonial homes, wonderful street art, and gorgeous food.

Best things to do in Fort Kochi

Here are some of my favorite things to do and see in Fort Kochi.

See the famous Chinese fishing nets

Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi

One of the best things to do in Fort Kochi (and probably one of the most popular ones) is to see the famous Chinese fishing nets.

Locally known as Cheenavala, Chinese fishing nets in Kochi go back more than 500 years. Apparently, they were introduced here by the Chinese explorer Zheng He and have become an integral part of fishing life in Fort Kochi today.

If you are staying in one of Fort Kochi’s heritage mansions and enjoying a gorgeous seafood dinner, chances are high that Chinese fishing nets were used to get some fresh catch for you.

Chinese fishing nets are permanent installations that hang over the sea. They look like beautiful butterflies serenading by the sea, with their wings pulled out in all glory. They look especially beautiful at sunset when their black silhouettes stand in stark contrast against the colorful sky.

The most popular place to see Kochi’s Chinese fishing nets is at the Vasco da Gama square. However, if you are looking for a quieter place, I would recommend heading to Vypin Island for a gorgeous view.

On this Fort Kochi private walking tour , you’ll not just see the best attractions in Fort Kochi but also learn all about the mechanism of Chinese fishing nets from a local.

Visit St. Francis Church

St. Francis Church Cochin

St. Francis Church is the oldest church in Fort Kochi and one of the oldest European churches in India. That makes the church of St. Francis one of the most historical places to visit in Fort Kochi.

The church was built in the early 16th century by Franciscan friars of the Roman Catholic Order. Later, the Dutch converted it into a Protestant Church after which it transformed into an Anglican one with the coming of the British.

The church has a simple façade, much like the ones I had seen in Lisbon and elsewhere in the Mediterranean. Quite the Portuguese connection, I would say. It has an arched entrance and windows flanked by stepped pinnacles.

What is most interesting about Fort Kochi’s St. Francis Church is that this is where Vasco da Gama was first buried when he died in 1524 CE in India. Later, his body was moved to the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem, Portugal . His burial place inside St. Francis Church is clearly marked and barricaded.

The church is open from 9:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Friday; 9:00am – 1:00pm on Saturdays, and from 1:00pm – 5:00pm on Sundays. There is no fee to enter.

Soak in the vibes at Vasco da Gama Square

Eclectic street art in Fort Kochi

Want to see locals go about their daily lives? Head to Vasco da Gama Square in Fort Kochi.

Once upon a time, Vasco da Gama square was the main entry point for colonial powers into India. Today, it is the hub of all activity in Fort Kochi.

The square is chockfull of local vendors selling everything from street food and ice creams to local knick-knacks. Fishermen gather their daily catch from the Chinese fishing nets hanging right next to Vasco Square. Children play and locals indulge in hearty conversations under the huge raintrees that shade the square.

Rain or sun, Vasco da Gama Square at Fort Kochi is always full of life.

Head to Fort Kochi beach

I would not say that the beach is Fort Kochi’s best attraction but it is an okayish one if you are looking for some beach time. There’s a decent beach walkway and a number of shops to buy snacks from.

The beach is one of the best places to capture pictures of the Chinese fishing nets, though.

Get wowed by the museum at Bastion Bungalow

Bastion Bungalow in Fort Kochi

Right next to Vasco Square is an large European-styled mansion that dates back to the 17th century.

The bungalow has an interesting history. Like most other stuff in Fort Kochi, the Bastion Bungalow was built by the Dutch and lived in by the British. After Indian independence, Fort Kochi’s sub-collector lived here for a long time.

Architecture of the bungalow is mostly Dutch with a fusion of local Indian elements. Wooden floors, false ceilings, and grand curvilinear stairways speak of the building’s Dutch past while massive verandahs wrapping the building are very much an Indian component.

Today, Bastion Bungalow is a protected monument and a heritage museum. It houses hundreds of artifacts that tell us stories of Kochi’s mercantile past. In the central hall, you’ll find a map (sourced from Europe) that shows trading routes from the ancient Roman Empire to India.

Bastion Bungalow is open from 10:00am – 5:00pm with an hour of lunch break between 1:00pm – 2:00pm.

Entry to this museum is free. If you are looking for the best free things to do in Fort Kochi, then Bastion Bungalow should be on your list .

Watch a scintillating Kathakali performance

When you are in Fort Kochi, you have the opportunity to watch the mesmerizing art form of Kathakali. One of India’s classical dance forms, Kathakali tells spiritual and mythical stories from Hindu epics and Puranas.

Perhaps, the most fascinating bit about this theater form is the elaborate facial makeup of the artists. If you are keen, you can choose to watch the makeup process. It is believed, during the makeup, artists change from mere humans to divine beings.

The best place to watch a Kathakali performance at Fort Kochi is at the Kerala Culture Center. Get your skip-the-line tickets for the Kathakali show here .

If you would like a guided tour that gives you a deeper understanding of the theater form, try this dance and dinner experience which has got some great reviews in the market.

Visit Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica in Fort Kochi

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Fort Kochi.

Honestly, it is one of the prettiest churches I have seen in India (the other one being the St. Lawrence Church in Attur, Karnataka ). Santa Cruz Cathedral also reminded me of St. Sebastian Church in Negombo . Given the fact that both Kerala and Sri Lanka have similar colonial histories, the resemblance is not just a coincidence.

Portuguese built the original building in 1558 which the British destroyed in the 19th century. A Cochin bishop later rebuilt the cathedral which was proclaimed a Basilica in early 20th century.

Built in typical Gothic style, the cathedral impresses every onlooker. It has two tall spires, a stunning altar, and artistic arches. You’ll notice beautiful murals on the columns and underneath the arches. Do not forget to spot the stained glass that adorn the cathedral’s tall windows.

Santa Cruz Cathedral is open to visitors from 9:00am – 1:00pm & 2:30pm – 5:30pm, Monday – Saturday. On Sundays, they are open from 10:30am – 1:00pm. It is closed every first Friday of the month.

Explore the Indo-Portuguese Museum

Right next to our heritage hotel, The Dutch Bungalow, was an exceptionally-curated museum showcasing the history and legacy of Portuguese rule in India.

It is the Indo-Portuguese Museum. Located within the premises of the Bishop’s Bungalow, it makes for a great addition to your Fort Kochi itinerary.

There are several galleries within the museum dedicated to life and times during Portuguese rule. The altar section is impressive with old altars and chausubles on display.

In the basement, you’ll find the remains of an old Portuguese fort. It was inaccessible when we went because it was filled with water due to the rising of sea levels on that day. We could only catch a glimpse of the fort from the stairs.

Please note that photography is not allowed at the museum.

Entry to the museum is priced at 20 INR for adults and 10 INR for kids.

Officially, Indo-Portuguese Museum is open from 9:00:am – 6:00pm with a 1-hour break between 1-2pm. But honestly, they open around 10:30am in the morning. So, keep that in mind when you are planning your day in Fort Kochi. The museum is closed on Mondays and public holidays.

Spot beautiful street art

Street art in Mattancherry

Art lovers will be thrilled to know that Fort Kochi is a treasure-house of eclectic street art and colorful walls.

Every year, the city of Kochi plays host to a massive contemporary art event called Kochi-Muziris Biennale . Several art forms are created and curated in and around Fort Kochi and Ernakulam. It is one of the largest art events in Asia and has put Kochi on the world map.

Needless to say, there are tons of spaces in and around Fort Kochi that give you a glimpse into the artistic prowess of the people of the region. Also several places where you can click some gram-worthy pictures.

Hop through Fort Kochi’s artsy cafes

Kochi is filled with artsy cafes that are filled with art installations and some good food and coffee.

Kashi Art Café is one of the most popular ones where they host a resident artist every month. Their art collection is especially striking.

David Hall Gallery and Café is a restored Dutch bungalow that serves delicious thin crust pizzas.

Loafer’s Corner Café at Princess Street in Fort Kochi is yet another great place to spend some time. It has got nice décor coupled with an old-world charm.

Stay in a heritage mansion

Dutch Bungalow Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is one of those places where you really need to stay in a heritage mansion. I mean, the entire city is chockfull of colonial houses, many of which have been converted into heritage hotels.

One of the best known heritage property in Fort Kochi is the Brunton Boatyard . It is a CGH Earth property (CGH is a big name in luxury stays in South India) and is housed in a former shipyard from the British times. All of their rooms and en-suite bathrooms overlook the sea and you can catch some stunning sunsets dotted with silhouettes of Chinese fishing nets right from the comfort of your room. Do not forget to dine at their History restaurant where every dish has an interesting story behind it.

If you are looking for something less expensive, try the Dutch Bungalow . Built in 1668 by the Dutch, the mansion is more than 350 years old. The rooms have lofty ceilings, a separate living area, huge bathrooms, and a beautiful, rustic feel about them. I stayed here when visiting Fort Kochi and had an absolutely amazing time.

Yet another heritage property that caught my attention when I was researching for my Fort Kochi trip was the Koder House . It is an iconic red building that was originally built in the 1800s. Later, in 1905, the illustrious Koder family of Fort Kochi’s Jewish community bought it and renovated it to represent classical Indo-European architecture. Their rooms are spacious and equipped with four-poster beds. In their restaurant, you’ll relish traditional Cochin-Jewish delicacies.

Soumya at Fort Kochi street

Best things to do near Fort Kochi – Mattancherry and Jew Town

Not very far from the historic neighborhood of Fort Kochi are two more charming quarters – Mattancherry and Jew Town.

They are filled with exceptional places to visit that are easily accessible from Fort Kochi by walking/tuk-tuk. Most importantly, these localities are an essential representation of the fact that Cochin is a melting point of several religions and cultures.

Here are some of my favorite things to do near Fort Kochi, i.e. in Mattancherry and Jew Town.

Explore the old Mattancherry Palace

Mattancherry Palace

Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace as it is also otherwise known) is an amazing place to visit in Kochi.

From the outside, the palace may seem like a plain white building with sloping, gabled roofs. But don’t go by its nondescript exterior because the interiors are where the real treasure is.

Inside Mattancherry Palace, you’ll find an amazing collection of wall murals depicting stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata . If you notice closely, you’ll also spot some wonderful designs on the lower panels – reminded me of Patan Patola designs that I had seen at the Queen’s stepwell in Gujarat .

The Portuguese built Mattancherry Palace in the 16th century and gifted it to King Vira Kerala Verma, the Cochin Rajah of that time. They had just plundered a Hindu temple nearby and wanted to atone for that. Later, the Dutch made numerous changes to the palace because of which it is also referred to as the Dutch Palace.

Highlights of the palace include the murals (of course) and the beautifully-carved wooden ceilings. You’ll also see oil paintings of Cochin kings and families, their carriages, dresses, and numerous other paraphernalia.

The palace is open from 10:00am – 5:00pm every day except Fridays. You can purchase an admission ticket for just 5 INR at the ticket counter. Photography is not allowed in the rooms that have murals.

Shop for spices on Bazaar Road in Mattancherry

Colorful homes of Fort Kochi

How not to shop for spice when you are in Kochi? After all, spices are what put Kochi on the world map. Big time! Pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger have all changed hands in Kochi for centuries.

Mattancherry was once the hub of all spice trade in Kerala. Even today, you can smell the spices as you walk through the quaint (sometimes dingy) alleys of Mattancherry.

Bazaar Road in Mattancherry is full of shops selling authentic Kerala spices. If you are looking to buy some, you know where to look.

Enjoy delicious biriyani at Kayees

Chicken biriyani at Kayees

Do you love some good biriyani?

Kayees Rahmathulla Cafe has lip-smacking good biriyani (chicken or mutton). I found their flavors very different from the biriyanis that I had tasted elsewhere in India. It is made with good ghee and you can tell from the fragrance.

Kayees has other non-vegetarian items on the menu such as fish roast, chicken masala, and mutton masala. However, it is their biriyani which steals the show. Chicken biriyani costs 140 INR per plate.

This place is a favorite haunt among locals and tourists, alike. Not too many options for vegetarians, though.

Walk the quaint streets of Jew Town

Jew Town

A small locality on the southeastern end of Mattancherry neighborhood, Jew Town is an absolutely charming place to be.

It is a narrow street that leads up to the famous Paradesi synagogue but is filled with antique shops and colorful curio galleries. This is a great place to shop for Fort Kochi souvenirs. Also, a good place for some stunning photographs.

Cochin Jews are the oldest group of Jews in India. It is believed the first group landed in Cochin somewhere in the 1st century. They came from Israel. Later, a group of Sephardic Jews arrived from Iberia in the 16th century.

Locals called the Jews “paradesis” or foreigners in the local language. That’s how they came to be known as Paradesi Jews. Not many Jewish families remain today. There are just a handful who are holding to whatever remains of their community – the most important being the Paradesi Synagogue.

Step into the Paradesi Synagogue

Bell tower of the Paradesi synagogue

On my interactive map on the best things to see in Fort Kochi, you’ll notice that the Paradesi Synagogue is located not very far away from the Mattancherry Palace. In fact, the palace and the synagogue share a common wall. Therefore, getting to the synagogue is an easy walk once you are done with the palace tour.

Like you have already guessed, Paradesi Synagogue is an important synagogue of Cochin Jews. There are 2 other synagogues in Mattancherry but Paradesi is the oldest and the one still in use.

Paradesi Jews constructed the synagogue in 1568 on land provided to them by the Cochin Rajah. As you enter the synagogue, you’ll be reminded on what a splendid space this must have once been. Its floor is covered with hand-painted porcelain tiles from China, the ceiling is adorned with Belgian chandeliers, and the pulpit is brass-railed.

There is a small museum at the entrance where you can read a bit about the history of Jews in Cochin.

The synagogue is open from 10:00am – 6:00pm, Sunday – Thursday; 10:00am – 2:00pm on Fridays. They are closed on Saturdays and during Passover.

One ticket will cost you 10 INR. Photography is not allowed inside the synagogue though you can take many outside, right in front of the clock tower. Please dress modestly.

Visit the Church of Our Lady of Life

Church of Our Lady of Life in Mattancherry

Cochin is full of wonderful churches and one of them is in Mattancherry. It is called the Church of Our Lady of Life and holds great significance in the history of Christianity in Kerala.

It was in this church that the Christians of Kerala took an oath to never submit to Portuguese dominance over their church. This was in the 17th century when Portugal was trying very hard to bring all Christians in India under the Church of Rome. However, the people of Cochin did not accept that.

A new Christian community was born. They were called the Jacobites or Syrian Orthodox Christians .

Outside the church, you’ll find a memorial stone that talks about the series of historical events that happened here.

Ride the Roro ferry

A different way to see Fort Kochi is to take the local ferry and go over to the other side of the sea to Vypin Island.

The Vypin Fort Kochi Roro service is a local ferry service that takes you across the water and back. First trip from Fort Kochi starts at 6:15am.

For 3 INR one way, you can enjoy a breezy ride while watching the stunning horizon of Fort Kochi. Buy your tickets at the counters right where the ferry docks.

Heads up – This is a heavy traffic route, so the ride is usually packed. People travel with bikes and bicycles too. You’ll occasionally see street food vendors crossing sides on this ferry.

This may not be the most comfortable ride in Fort Kochi but it is, most definitely, the most enjoyable and immersive.

Visit the peaceful Vypin island

Church on Vypin Island, Kerala

The Roro ferry will take you to Vypin Island which is significantly less busier than Fort Kochi. Plus, this is also a great place to see more Chinese fishing nets and click better pictures.

Vypin Island has a scenic coast, a pretty church, and several charming houses. There are many eateries where you can get a snack to relish while enjoying a walk around Vypin Island. Should not take you more than an hour.

Day trips from Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi makes for a great springboard for day trips in and around Kochi. Here are the most popular ones.

Backwaters of Allepey

Staying in a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala is one of most beautiful experiences in this world. After staying with Spice Coast Cruises recently, I realized that Kerala’s backwaters are a must-have on every bucket list.

When in Kochi, you should not miss a chance to get on a traditional Kerala houseboat. The backwaters are tantalizingly close and even if you do not have time for an overnight stay, I highly recommend taking a day trip.

This houseboat and Fort Kochi tour run by Carnival Tours in Kochi has got amazing reviews. You’ll glide slowly through the backwaters of Alleppey, watch local life, and marvel at paddy fields and coconut palms. Then, you’ll enjoy a traditional Kerala lunch and end your day sightseeing at Fort Kochi and watching the Chinese fishing nets.

Here’s another Alleppey backwater private day cruise where you’ll have an entire houseboat at your disposal and 3 crew members (driver, chef, and butler) to take care of you.

Munnar is yet another beautiful day trip destination from Fort Kochi. It is located on the hills and therefore, makes for a cool getaway from the heat and humidity of the coast.

This full-day, private tour from Kochi to Munnar includes stops at beautiful waterfalls, visits to a tea museum and a spice plantation, and a walk through a tea plantation.

Interactive map for things to do in Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi and Mattancherry Interactive map

Best hotels in Fort Kochi

If you are looking for the best places to stay in Fort Kochi, then I highly recommend Dutch Bungalow where I stayed on my last Kochi trip. Nearly 400 years old, this place has typical Dutch colonial architecture, spacious rooms and bathrooms, a separate living area, a pool, and a poolside restaurant. Totally loved my stay here.

If you are willing to splurge, try Brunton Boatyard , a luxurious property housed in an old British shipyard. It has gorgeous rooms that overlook the sea and they serve some amazing local food in their History Restaurant.

Another great place to stay is the Koder House , an old Jewish home with Indo-European architecture and some authentic Cochin-Jewish cuisine.

Practical information for visiting Fort Kochi

Colorful streets of Mattancherry

Best time to visit Fort Kochi

The best time to visit Fort Kochi is in the winters (November – February) when temperatures are mild and there is no rain.

That said, it is not a bad idea to visit during spring either (March – April). I visited in April and the weather was not too bad. It rained for a few minutes in the evening but it did not feel very muggy.

May and June can get really hot whereas July – September is met with torrential rains.

Getting to Fort Kochi

The easiest way to get to Fort Kochi is by flying in to the Cochin International Airport (the airport itself is a thing of beauty) and then taking a taxi to Fort Kochi.

The taxi ride takes about 1.5 hours and costs 1200 INR by Uber and 1400 INR by prepaid taxi. If you are looking to pre-book an airport transfer, check out this one .

I know a lot of people drive in from Bangalore and Chennai. The drive can take 10-13 hours one way.

Getting around Fort Kochi

The best way to get around Fort Kochi is by walking.

Both Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are very walkable neighborhoods that boast of shady pathways and quaint streets. As you walk through them, you’ll discover your own treasures – an old-fashioned house or a picturesque café.

If you would ever need a ride, hail a tuk-tuk and they’ll be happy to take you around. One peculiar thing that I noticed was that tuk-tuk drivers don’t use meter for tourists whereas they do so for locals. Therefore, I recommend agreeing on a price before boarding the tuk-tuk.

Beautiful streets of Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi FAQ

Is fort kochi worth visiting.

Yes, Fort Kochi is absolutely worth visiting. With more than 2000 years of history, unique religious landmarks, stunning colonial mansions, atmospheric cafes, and a vibrant cultural scene, Fort Kochi makes for the perfect holiday destination in Kerala.

How do I spend a day in Fort Kochi?

The best way to spend a day in Fort Kochi is by exploring the historic neighborhoods of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. Here’s how my recommended one day itinerary would look like.

  • Begin your day by visiting the Dutch Palace and Paradesi Synagogue in Mattancherry.
  • Have lunch at Kayees.
  • Head to Fort Kochi and check out Indo-Portuguese Museum, Bastion Bungalow, St. Francis Church.
  • Visit Vasco Square and check out the Chinese fishing nets by the rays of the setting sun.
  • End your day with a mesmerizing Kathakali performance.

What is in Fort Kochi?

In Fort Kochi, you’ll find old colonial buildings, impressive churches, a medieval synagogue, vibrant street art, charming cafes, and great food that is a mix of different cultures of people residing here.

What is special about Fort Kochi?

The one thing that is special about Fort Kochi is the fact that this once-a-small, fishing hamlet is more than 2000 years old and has seen lots and lots of history. People from across the world have migrated here, merchants have traded for numerous spices, and several European powers have landed here – that makes this small town a mélange of different cultures and ideas.

Is Fort Kochi safe?

Yes, Fort Kochi is absolutely safe as any other place in this world can be. However, as always, it is good to be aware of your surroundings and use common sense while traveling here or anywhere else, for that matter.

Is Fort Kochi and Kochi the same?

No, Fort Kochi and Kochi are not the same. Kochi or Cochin is a bigger city of which Fort Kochi is a tiny, heritage part. In Fort Kochi, you’ll find old churches, colonial mansions, lots of atmospheric cafes which you’ll not find in Cochin city. Therefore, Fort Kochi is a tourist hub whereas Kochi is not.

Is Fort Kochi and Mattancherry the same?

No, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are not the same. They are two different heritage neighborhoods in Cochin, each with their individual characteristics. In Fort Kochi, you’ll find ancient churches and amazing museums whereas Mattancherry is home to an old palace, the famous Paradesi Synagogue and a fragrant spice market.

Why is Fort Kochi called so?

Fort Kochi gets the “fort” in its name from Fort Emmanuel that the Portuguese first built when they landed on Indian soil.

Loved our list of best things to do in Fort Kochi? Pin it for later!

Looking for the best things to do in Fort Kochi, Kerala? Check out this amazing Kochi bucket list that includes the best streets in Fort Kochi, architecture, best street art and cafes in Fort Kochi, beautiful churches, palaces, beach and so much more. Grab this ultimate Fort Kochi travel guide. #FortKochi #Kerala #India

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tourism in fort kochi

6 thoughts on “ 21 Best Things To Do In Fort Kochi, India ”

You blos is so so helpful. Big thank you!

Thanks, Vipul. Glad you liked my travel blog.

Awesome I enjoyed reading your blog post. The places listed here on this blog are too good. Good job,

Thank you, Sirisha. Glad you liked this post.

BEAUTIFUL PLACE AND THE DESCRIPTIONS GIVEN ARE ENOUGH FOR ANYBODY TO WANDER SAFELY AT THAT PLACE.EXCELLENT.

Yes, Fort Kochi is beautiful indeed. Hope you have a great time there.

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25 Best Things to do in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry in One Day

Things to do in Fort Kochi

Last Updated on December 5, 2023 by admin

Planning a Kochi itinerary and wondering about the things to do in Fort Kochi in one day? This Fort Kochi guide will cover all the amazing places to visit in Fort Kochi through a Walking Tour. Be ready to tick off your Kochi Bucketlist with this detailed Kochi travel guide covering streets in Fort Kochi, the architecture of Fort Kochi, cafes in Fort Kochi, and a lot more.

‘Welcome to the Queen of Arabian Sea, a melting pot of all cultures’ said Satish, my guide who picked us up from our hotel while heading to the Fort Kochi area. He informed us how Kochi is surrounded by backwaters and has many bridges to cross small islands. After a brief background about Kochi city, he told us the history of Fort Kochi and how it has embraced many religions and cultures throughout the many centuries.

I was on my third trip to Kochi but never explored the Kochi city or the Fort Kochi area as I used it only as a transit point for my road trip in Kerala . But I was excited to explore it this time.

Table of Contents

ABOUT FORT KOCHI

Fort Kochi is India’s historic port town with roots in the 14th century and influenced by a flow of European, Egyptian, Arab and Chinese merchants. Kochi was part of the silk and spice route for these traders. 

Kochi is a mix of small islands and Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are the historic colonial areas within the city limits. Fort Kochi is primarily home to the Christians influenced by the European settlers. While Mattancherry is the vibrant trade centre and home to the Jews, Muslims and Hindus.

Due to the colonial influence, Fort Kochi has many heritage buildings that are over 500 years old. Not only buildings but many historical records, antiquities and even the mortal remains of important traders still find a place in Fort Kochi. Most of these are now part of the tourist circuit in Fort Kochi.

Fort Kochi Heritage walk

HISTORY OF FORT KOCHI

Fort Kochi was a fishing village in pre-colonial Kerala. The Portuguese arrived in 1498 during the Age of Discovery , and the Cochin king allowed the Portuguese to settle in the Fort Kochi area for 160 years. 

The ‘Fort’ in Fort Kochi comes from Fort Emmanuel which was constructed to protect their commercial interests. However, the Dutch later destroyed it. The Dutch ruled Fort Kochi for 112 years.

It was later captured by Britishers who ruled the place for 152 years.

With such a diverse history of colonization, Fort Kochi is now a treasure trove for tourists. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT FORT KOCHI

Kochi remains hot and humid all year round but winters (November to February) are by far the best time to visit Kochi as the weather is very pleasant. Summer in Cochin can get extremely hot and humid and temperatures begin to rise in March. I went in the first week of May and the outdoors were really uncomfortable.

If you want to see the Onam celebrations in Kochi, September is the time when the festival happens. The Snake boat race also takes place during the same time

HOW TO GET TO FORT KOCHI FROM KOCHI AIRPORT

Fort Kochi to Cochin International Airport is 30 km. It roughly takes 1.5 hours because of heavy traffic. Government bus service is available at a cheaper cost (INR 90) while app-based taxi and pre-paid taxi services are also available from the airport. Taxis charge anything between INR 1200 to INR 1800 one way from the airport.

Getting around Fort Kochi and Mattancherry

The best way to get around Fort Kochi and Mattancherry is by walking or by bike. Hire a local guide who can take you around Fort Kochi exploring the quaint neighbourhoods and heritage mansions.

Mansions turned into boutique shops at Fort Kochi

FORT KOCHI WALKING TOURS | FORT KOCHI HERITAGE WALK

The best way to explore any area, especially its heritage through a heritage walk. Heritage walks are synonymous with many cities in India and they are the best way to know a place in depth. Read about: Ahmedabad Heritage Walk .

One of the best ways to explore Fort Kochi is by the Fort Kochi walking tour, or bike tour. These are guided tours held by local guides or organizations and take tourists through the important yet offbeat places of Fort Kochi. The duration of the walking tour is 2-3 hours.

Fort Kochi Heritage walks with a unique itinerary:

Heritage walk

  • Learn about the European settlement in Kerala by walking through street names such as Burger street, loafers corner, princess street and Lilly Street.
  • Walking through old avenue trees that are dated more than 500 years. One of them is assumed to be the world’s biggest Christmas tree.
  • Photograph the colonial houses, each having a unique history. Most of these are converted into bungalows, heritage hotels, elite hotels, boutique hotels, and leftover English clubs.
  • Explore the monuments of St. Francis Church and Santa Cruz basilica church.
  • Finish the walk at Chinese fishing nets and the beach with some souvenir shopping.

Urban spice trail walk 

  • Know about the rich heritage cultural colonies exploring the spices that are grown in each house.
  • Pay a visit to the world’s biggest Christmas tree called the rain tree. 
  • Visiting the Dhobi Khana, a community introduced by the Dutch and British who are involved in laundry services.
  • Pay respects to the 34 multilinguistic Hindu orthodox religious communities who live in harmony. 
  • Visiting a flour mill to see how it works. 
  • Walk to the biggest Kerala Tirumala temple of Asia’s biggest working bell.

Other Fort Kochi walking tours are Christian Heritage Walk, Kochi Food Tours and many others.

Since we had about 4 hours in hand, we combined the best of these 2 itineraries and explored all that we could in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry.

Walking tour in Fort Kochi

BEST THINGS TO DO IN FORT KOCHI

We parked somewhere near the Dutch cemetery and started our walk through the shaded pathways of the Dutch colony. The following sums up my experience and all the things to do in Fort Kochi in one day.

Walk along the Dutch Colony road

Get friendly with the peaceful and clean roads with cobbled pavements, antique-looking street lights and heritage mansions. Just soak in the architecture of how these colonial mansions have now turned into boutique shops, airbnbs and even government offices.

Pay homage to the Dutch Cemetary

The tombstones here are the most authentic record of the hundreds of Dutch people who left their homeland in a mission to expand their colonial empires and who changed the course of the history of the land they conquered. The cemetery was consecrated in 1724 and is now managed by the Church of South India.

The gate to the Cemetary is generally closed but visitors can peek in through the gate and notice the Portuguese inscriptions on the tombstones.

Dutch Cemetery at Fort Kochi

Visit the Vasco House Fort Kochi

Believed to have been the residence of Vasco da Gama, Vasco House is one of the oldest Portuguese residences in Fort Kochi. It is now a private residence and offers a heritage home stay facility. 

Things to do in Fort Kochi includes Vasco da Gama house

Visit the St. Francis Church Cochin

Built in 1503 by the Portuguese, this is believed to be India’s oldest European church. The church was initially built of wood and was a rather humble-looking church following Roman Catholic preachings.

It was captured by the Dutch and then the Britishers. It was later reconstructed in stone. 

The church has always been important as the explorer Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524. His mortal remains were later moved to Lisbon, Portugal. But his tomb was taken inside the church during renovation. This makes the visit to St. Francis Church is one of the most historical things to do in Fort Kochi.

This humble church is one of the best tourist attractions in Kochi. It is still an active church wherein over 250 families take part in the Sunday mass. 

One of the most striking features of the church is the manual fan that is hung from rods on either side of the room. In the olden times without electricity, people stood on the side of the rod’s end and pulled ropes to make the fabric swing and generate a breeze. One of the specialities of these fabric swings was they used to be stuffed with herbal roots. The fabric was then sprinkled with water. On swinging this fabric laden with herbs and water, is used to provide cool relief during hot and humid months. 

The church has Victorian tiles in the centre of the church from the British era. The church still has instruments (mouth organ, piano, wooden pulpit, reading desk) from the bygone era and the same are being used and played during the Sunday mass. 

St. Francis Church Timings: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (Monday – Friday), 9:00 am – 1:00 pm on Saturday, and 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm on Sundays.

St Francis Church Fort Kochi

Visit Bastion Bungalow

Head to the 17th-century Indo-European architecture mansion called Bastian Bungalow. It was used as a residential building during the British period. At present, it is used as the residence of the Sub-Collector of Kochi. The Bungalow on top of the Bastion is in European style with large rooms and high roof ceilings.

It is a protected monument and a heritage museum with a large collection of artefacts.

Bastion Bungalow Timings: Open all days from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Lunch break 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm).

Bastion Bungalow is the things to do in Fort Kochi

Explore Vasco Da Gama square

Head to the square which is always active with many things to do in Fort Kochi. The steam boilers exhibit is hard to miss as soon as one enters here. Steam Boilers from a dredger are installed near the walkway at Fort Kochi beach. 

The square is also popular for souvenir shopping in Fort Kochi with street vendors selling street food, souvenirs and ice creams. 

Vasco da Gama sqaure exhibit and display, Kochi

Dip feet at Fort Kochi beach

Overlooking the Vasco da Gama square in the Kochi Beach. A walkway leads to a promenade which is a good spot for photography.

Kochi overlooks the Chinese Fishing Nets and the ships that come and go. The beach also overlooks a factory which makes the beach not such a great place to hang out. The beach is also dirty which makes you think twice before dipping your feet in the water.

Fort Kochi Beach

Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi

Locally known as ‘ Cheenavala ‘ and popularly known as Chinese Fishing Nets were introduced in the 14th Century by a Chinese explorer in Kochi. This method is said to be one of the oldest and most traditional fishing methods in the world. Visiting the Chinese Fishing nets is one of the Kochi Bucketlist places and most popular things to do in Fort Kochi.

Earlier the nets used to be smaller where one fisherman could manage the operation. However, now the entire Chinese fishing net assembly weighs over 250 kg and requires 4-5 men on deck for work. Fishing is usually done in the morning and early evening.

Places to visit in Fort Kochi include Chinese Fishing Nets

The structure is made of teak wood and bamboo poles, that are 10m high, fixed on the beach and has a cantilever with an attached net that is spread over an area of about 20 meters. Stones as counterweights are tied to ropes of different lengths that facilitate the working of the nets. 

The net is descended into the water for a short time and then raised delicately by pulling on the ropes. The fish catch is collected by a sailed net, segregated and stored.  The caught fish is sold in nearby markets by auction. Unwanted fishes that do not have any selling value are returned back to sea. 

Only 8 Chinese Fishing Nets remain here in Fort Kochi and are part of the city’s Heritage. 

Watching this procedure from distance is free but in case you want to walk on the planks and see the process up close, the fishermen charge money. Worth the Instagram shot? Absolutely!

Check the working of Chinese Fishing Nets at Fort Kochi in this Instagram reel.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ketki Gadre | Sustainable Travel (@ecokats)

Kerala Kathakali Centre

A trip to the Kerala Kathakali centre is highly recommended while in Fort Kochi. The centre showcases traditional dance – Kathakali and martial arts – Kalaripayattu every day. 

Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest martial art forms in the world that originated in Kerala in the 3rd century. Considered among the oldest and most scientific martial arts in the world, the word ‘Kalari’ literally means ‘battlefield’ and ‘payattu’ means ‘training of martial arts. Kalaripayattu uses weapons such as swords and daggers, sticks, spears, maces, axes arrows, discuses, catapults, boomerangs and others.

Kathakali is a form of classical Indian dance. It is unique as it is distinguished by the elaborately colourful make-up, costumes and facemasks that the traditionally male actor-dancers wear. The dance form is associated with storytelling through dance.

Tickets can be bought on the Centre’s premises ahead of the performance. Ticket price: INR 300 per person and duration is one hour.

Kathakali artist prepares for a show in Thekkady | Places to visit in Thekkady

Visit Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Fort Kochi

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Fort Kochi. Built in 1558 by the Portuguese, it was later destroyed by the Britishers in the 19th century. On the same ground, a bishop rebuilt the cathedral and it was proclaimed a Basilica in the early 20th century.

The stained glass in the interior, the gothic architecture and the wall murals definitely give a European vibe. It surely reminded me of St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow, Poland .

Santa Cruz Cathedral timings: (Monday to Saturday) 9:00 am – 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm,  Sunday: 10:30 am – 1:00 pm. It is closed on the first Friday of every month.

Santa Cruz Basilica Fort Kochi

Praise the Fort Kochi Street Art

With many art galleries to boast of in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, visitors can get a flavour of art on the streets too. Everywhere around Vasco da Gama square and Mattancherry, visitors cannot miss the wall art on walls. Burger Street is also a lane full of colourful corners and walls. The street art is done by local and international artists. Portraits, murals, and graffiti in different shapes, sizes and colours adorn the walls.

This street art is done every year during the Muziris Biennale – A contemporary art event where art sessions, art exhibitions, talks, workshops, educational performances, film screenings etc are held. Happening worldwide, Kochi is also a host of this festival.

Because of the pandemic, Muziris Biennale was not held for 2 years which has made the murals fade away in most areas. Kochi-Muziris Biennale is set to open on December 12, 2022, and will run for four months, till April 10, 2023.

Must visit art galleries in Fort Kochi are Durbar Hall Art Gallery, David Hall and OED Art Gallery.

Fort Kochi Street Art

Getting Ayurvedic Treatments in Fort Kochi

Kerala is home to the ancient tradition of Ayurveda. While Thekkady is a more popular place for getting these treatments, Fort Kochi also offers Ayurvedic massages for tourists who are not travelling elsewhere.

Ayurville is one of the most recommended places in Fort Kochi for getting Ayurvedic treatment. It offers long-duration retreats with stay and food for holistic healing. The treatment solutions are for people suffering from chronic ailments.

Cafe Hopping at Fort Kochi

There is a strong coffee and art culture in Fort Kochi and if you are visiting here, then cafe hopping in Fort Kochi is one of the best things to do in Fort Kochi. There are many coffee shops and cafes dotted around Fort Kochi and it can truly be challenging to choose one to visit during a Kochi day trip.

Kashi Art Café

Kashi Art Café is the most popular café in Fort Kochi and was recommended by at least 4 people to visit.

I visited it in the morning around 10:30 am and it was already full with locals and tourists grabbing some breakfast overlooking some unique installations. The cafe has a relaxing ambience and is full of green vibes. There are shrubs and creepers everywhere as well as some contemporary artwork displayed at the entrance.

I tried the ginger lemon soda as I was full not looking for food, and it was decent. The food looked appetizing and I promised myself to come back here during a more relaxed time.

Kashi Art Cafe, Fort Kochi

Brunton Boatyard 

The colonial-style building right by the harbour is hard to miss. With splendid views of the waterways and this cafe is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner.

Fort House Hotel 

Fort House Hotel serves authentic Keralan cuisine at its waterfront restaurant. This family-run hotel provides panoramic views from the table. Some of the must-try here is Ginger-garlic prawns with appams and fish with green mango curry.  

The Jetty Restaurant at the Forte Kochi Hotel 

Located in the Heritage property on Princess Street, Forte Kochi Hotell is a beautiful plan to stay, visit and dine. Jetty Restaurant is a poolside restaurant that serves delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties of Indian and International cuisines. 

Ginger House & Hotel 

A perfect lunch spot is Ginger House after all the walking and shopping for antique gift articles in Jew Town. this is a waterfront restaurant that is extremely green, vibrant and very different from what you may see.

Built in a typical colonial style with ornate woodwork and glass-paned windows it is a must-visit place in Kochi.

It is an open-air restaurant overlooking the Kochi waterways, has a huge garden and is decorated with antique art and crafts all across.

Restaurant at Ginger House Museum Hotel, Jew town, Mattancherry

BEST THINGS TO DO NEAR FORT KOCHI – MATTANCHERRY AND JEW TOWN

While Fort Kochi always hogs the limelight, its neighbouring areas are nothing but a treasure trove and a must-visit in Kochi. A short ride away from Fort Kochi is Mattancherry and Jew Town, both tourist interest places offering unique places to see in Kochi.

Take a walk on the Palace Road

On the way to Mattancherry Palace, stop near the bustling streets to interact with the locals or simply observe them going about their lives. One can still find a number of traders selling spices as well as various religious places here: Temples, churches and mosques.

On the walk, we saw many fruit vendors and grocery stores selling unique items that are very particular to Kerala. Puja items and flower garlands for hair were also on display at many places.

We also visited a spice flour factory and a house making rice papads.

Walking tour around Palace road, Mattancherry

Pay respect at Cochin Thirumala Devaswom

Chochin Thirumala Devaswom is a temple with Sri Venkateswara as the main presiding deity.

The temple is a must-visit for its architecture. The double-storied northern tower or Gopuram is done in Pagoda style that is influenced by the Indo-Tibetian architecture. It has a copper-plated roof and wooden carvings depicting the scenes from holy relics.

Another important feature of the temple is its bronze bell. Every Hindu temple is known to have a bell or sometimes even multiple bells. However, Cochin Thirumala Devaswom has the largest bell in Asia in front of the main hall of the temple. The southern end before the main hall is richly decorated with chandeliers, domes and wooden sculptures. The exquisite carvings on inner ceilings depict scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharat and Bhagvat.

Note: Only Hindu worshippers are allowed inside the temple. Worshippers have to strictly adhere to the traditional dressing while entering the temple – women have to wear a saree and men in dhoti.

Visit the Mattancherry Palace Museum

If you think you are visiting a Palace like the ones in Udaipur or Jaipur then you will be disappointed.

Mattancherry Palace Museum is a humble-looking 2-storey plan building overlooking a pond lined by coconut trees. 

Mattancherry Palace Museum is one of the oldest buildings of the Portuguese architectural style. Built in the 16th century, it was gifted to Bira Kerala Varma as an apology for plundering a temple nearby. It was accepted by the king and served as a set of the Royal House and hence was called a palace.

The palace underwent a major renovation in the later part of the 16th century at the hands of the Dutch and hence is also known as the ‘Dutch Palace’.

The palace is a perfect blend of Indo-European architecture. It palace museum consists of a coronation hall, bed chambers, lades chamber, royal dining hall and other rooms. The highlight of the palace lies in its wooden ceilings, murals and paintings covering over 300 square meters of area. The murals depict scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharat, and legends connected to Indian gods like Vishnu, Krishna and Durga.

The museum also exhibits oil portraits of the Kings of Cochin their palanquins, dresses, weapons, coins and weapons.

Mattancherry Palace Museum timings: Open all days from  10:00 am – 5:00 pm except Fridays. 

Mattancherry Palace Museum fees: INR 5

Note: Photography is not allowed in the rooms having murals.

Ceiling at Mattancherry Palace, Kochi

Shop for Vintage collectables

After coming out of the Mattancherry Palace Museum, our guide made us take a shortcut and we reached the backyard of scraps.

On going further these scraps took shape in the form of antiques. This is when we realised we were in the antique market in Jew Town.

Jew Town in Kochi is the biggest antique market in India. Each shop is divided into sections and sub-sections and honestly, it is like a maze where you keep going moving without finding an exit. It is very easy to get lost in the antique market of Jew Town so best to move around with a guide.

The antique shops here have a rich collection of antiques, crafts and spices in heritage buildings. Shops that look and feel as old as time are filled to the brim with antiques, that are beautifully cared for and displayed. Some of the most pristine and historically relevant artefacts can are found here. They are like fractions of history, waiting for the right person to come and finally claim them. 

Shops towering over 2 storeys high with a basement are nothing short of a treasure waiting to be explored.

Photography is prohibited here. But some may allow you if you are with a guide.

Antique market in Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kochi

Visit the World’s longest canoe boat

Canoe boats are special for Kerala as they participate in Vallam kali, the traditional boat race in Kerala that is held every year during the season of the harvest festival Onam. This sporting event – Vallam Kali also known as Kerala Snake Boat Race is a huge attraction in Kerala and sporting enthusiasts visit the race from near and far. Each canoe boat is about 100 feet long and has a seating capacity of 150 men. Each boat is meticulously crafted by skilled craftsmen using local teak wood.

A 107-year-old wooden canoe boat is on display in one of the most humble-looking shops in the labyrinth lanes of Jew Town. It is no less than an art and one can praise the fine craftsmanship of making this snake boat which was once a pride of backwaters.

It is displayed at a shop 2 doors away from the entrance of Ginger House and Hotel.

Longest canoe boat on display in Jew Town

Visit the world’s largest cooking vessel ‘Varpu’

Another gem often missed by tourists in Jew Town is the display of the world’s largest ‘Varpu’. Varpu or Uruli can be translated to a cooking vessel. This huge cooking vessel is made of bronze, has a 12 feet diameter and weighs 3184 kilograms. Made in 2004 by the lost wax method by the craftsman in Munnar, it took 13 months for 30 craftsmen and 160 artisans to make it.

The vessel was crafted in a 14 feet trench and the mould was fired for 30 hours continuously.

It is displayed at a store called ‘Crafters’.

Display of Varpu in Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kochi

Try Aromatherapy in Jew town

Incense sticks, perfumes and attars all made from endemic flowers are found in shops around Jew town.  Take a seat as the experts demonstrate various aromas and fragrances by placing a small drop of oil on your hand. Rub it and try to guess which flower is responsible for it. A small apparatus displayed at the shop gives the idea of how oils are removed from flowers

The oils removed from the flowers are used as base fragrances in many designer perfumes and body mists.

Incense stick making demostration at Jew town Mattencherry

Walk the quaint streets of Jew Town

Jew town as the name suggests was a neighbourhood where Jews lived. Only 2 families live here now. But the colourful streets and vibrant shops are a must-visit place in Kochi.

Jew Town is actually a narrow shopping that leads up to the Jewish synagogue, Kochi. There are shops and art galleries on both sides of the street selling antiques, relics, Kerala souvenirs, handicrafts and clothes. It is a walking street with no motor activity allowed and is painted as though a street straight from the European markets.

Jew town street near Pardesi synagogue

Spice shopping on Bazaar Road in Mattancherry

Coming to Kerala and not shopping for spices is a crime! Kerala is known for its spices that are grown all over the state. Green cardamom, cloves, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg are some of the must-buy spices in Kerala. They are known for good quality and are adulteration free.

Explore the Paradesi Synagogue, Kochi

Walk to the end of the Jew street to reach Pardesi Synagogue. Pardesi means foreign and locals called the Jews “ paradesis ” or foreigners in the local language. That is how the Jewish Synagogue got its name Pardesi Synagogue. 

This 16th-century synagogue was constructed after the Cochin gave them land. Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest and the most active one in Kochi.

A blossomed pink Bougainville near the entrance is quite a spectacle and the guard at the entrance requests visitors to put their phone in switch-off mode or hide it away in the bag. Photography is not allowed in the synagogue.

Hand-painted porcelain tiles from China, Belgian chandeliers, and the brass-railed pulpit demonstrate the charm of the bygone era. Spend some time in the sitting area just soaking in the interiors. 

Pardesi synagogue timings: Sunday to Thursday – 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, and Friday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Pardesi Synagogue is closed on Saturday.

Pardesi synagogue entry ticket: INR 10 per person.

Clock tower and Jew street leading to Pardesi synagogue

BEST HOTELS IN FORT KOCHI

If you going to be spending some time visiting the tourist spots in Fort Kochi then it is ideal that you book a hotel in Fort Kochi. Since most properties here are colonial mansions that are now converted into heritage villas and homes, it is the best way to spend time in Fort Kochi.

Heritage properties in Fort Kochi

Forte kochi.

One of the best-known heritage properties in Fort Kochi is the Brunton Boatyard. It is a CGH Earth property (CGH is a big name in luxury stays in South India) and is housed in a former shipyard from the British times. All of their rooms and en-suite bathrooms overlook the sea and you can catch some stunning sunsets dotted with silhouettes of Chinese fishing nets right from the comfort of your room. Do not forget to dine at their History restaurant where every dish has an interesting story behind it.

Forte Kochi can be booked here

Ginger House Museum and Hotel

I have already mentioned the art and restaurant of Ginger House Museum. But it is also a heritage property that offers a luxurious experience. It is popular amongst international tourists who are known to book the room’s furniture for their own home back home. Now that is a lovely USP to have.

Ginger House Museum and Hotel can be booked here  

Dutch Bungalow, Fort Kochi

If you are looking for something less expensive, try the Dutch Bungalow. Built in 1668 by the Dutch, the mansion is more than 350 years old. The rooms have lofty ceilings, a separate living area, huge bathrooms, and a beautiful, rustic feel about them. I stayed here when visiting Fort Kochi and had an absolutely amazing time.

Dutch Bungalow can be booked here

Hostels in Fort Kochi

Mansions are the best way to stay in Fort Kochi, but if you are a backpacker then there are options for hostels as well. goStops and Zo stel are one of the good chains of hostels and offer great value for money.

Ginger House Museum Hotel, Jew Town, Mattencherry

DAY TRIPS FROM FORT KOCHI

While Fort Kochi has a lot to do and explore, there are many day trips from Fort Kochi that are worth exploring. My favourite 3 places to visit for day trips from Fort Kochi are:

Cherai and Chendamangalam

Cherai is nestled at the northern end of Vypin island and is blessed with calm and shallow waters making it a favourite spot for swimming and bathing. It has a unique ecosystem having backwaters from the Arabian Sea on one side and Periyar River water on the other.

Apart from the beach, there are many water sports and adventure activities to choose from. There are many cultural and heritage sites in Cherai which makes it an interesting place to visit.

Among the places to visit near Cherai Beach , Chendamangalam Handlooms is also a cluster worth exploring. The Chendamangalam Heritage focuses on rural development and sustainability of the handloom industry. A guided tour here takes the visitors through the history, the process, and the ecological, and economic impact of Handlooms.

Handlooms of Chendamangala

One of the most popular activities in Kerala is the houseboat experience in the backwaters of Kerala. Houseboats are available in Alleppey, Kumarakom and Kovalam. But the one on Alleppey has a different charm altogether.

Alleppey is around 50kms from Fort Kochi and takes you roughly 2 hours to get there by road. It is the ideal place to experience the houseboats of the backwaters. 

Locally known as a Kettuvallam – the houseboat is primarily made of a wooden hull and thatched roof of coir. You can hire a houseboat for a day trip or spend a few days relaxing and sailing around the beautiful backwaters of Alleppey.

All houseboats are well-staffed including cooks who will prepare authentic Keralan cuisine. A standard menu includes fresh fish cooked in spices, steamed rice, curries with locally grown organic vegetables and fried banana fritters. Read about my Alappuzha experience: Kerala Backwaters of Alleppey

Human by nature: Backwaters of alleppey

One day trip to Munnar is possible from Kochi and it is the perfect getaway to the hills. Munnar sightseeing includes visit to the tea garden, tea factory visit, boating and waterfalls.

If you have more time in hand, check out more posts on Munnar: 

Things to do in Munnar  

Eravikulam National Park

Glamping in Munnar

Trekking in Munnar

Tea gardens in Munnar | Things to Do in Munnar

FORT KOCHI FAQ

Why is fort kochi called so.

Fort Kochi gets the name from Fort Emmanuel which the Portuguese first built when they landed in India.

Is Fort Kochi a fort?

Earlier there used to be a fort-like wall which gave it the name but only a stone remains around the Vasco da Gama store and can be easily missed unless local points it out. However, Fort Kochi has palaces, churches, mansions, beaches, areas of cultural importance, street art and food, that make it must visit.

Is Fort Kochi worth visiting?

Yes! Fort Kochi is a historical place have stunning mansions, beaches, areas of cultural importance, street art, food and other important landmarks. Fort Kochi appeals to tourists of all kinds and ages.

Is a guided tour required in Fort Kochi?

I would certainly recommend you to get one day guide for Fort Kochi who can take you to all the places of interest. I highly recommend C Satish who is a local Kochi guide who has immense knowledge of Kochi (architecture, heritage culture, flora, food and the list goes on). Since he is based in Kochi, he is a great resource for Fort Kochi Walking Tour. C Satish can be reached at +91 9495690929

Is Fort Kochi safe?

Yes, Fort Kochi is safe for all travellers, even solo women travellers. 

Is Fort Kochi and Kochi the same?

No, Fort Kochi and Kochi are not the same. Fort Kochi is a small area in Kochi city. Fort Kochi is the most popular area for tourism in Kochi because of its heritage angle to this place.

Is Fort Kochi and Mattancherry the same?

No, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are not the same. They are two different heritage neighbourhoods in Kochi and offer different places to visit. In Fort Kochi, there are mansions, ancient churches, street art, a beach and artsy cafes whereas in Mattancherry there is street shopping, an antique market, Paradesi Synagogue and a spice bazaar.

How much time do you need in Fort Kochi?

Fort Kochi is a small neighbourhood but has a lot to offer. It can be explored in one day or sometimes even 3 days in Fort Kochi are not enough. The itinerary can be planned as per time availability.

Architecturally beautiful buildings in Fort Kochi

SUSTAINABLE TIPS FOR THINGS TO DO IN FORT KOCHI AND MATTNCHERRY

  • Kochi is a unique city having cultural, heritage and environmental importance, so please respect it in all ways.
  • Respect the ancient structures of palaces, synagogues and temples by not sitting on them or by carving or writing on it.
  • Dress modestly in places of religious importance.
  • Do not use phones or conduct photography where it is prohibited.
  • Do not litter any of the tourist areas.

Kochi Article in Batik Air Magazine

Overall experience of Things to do in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry in one day

Fort Kochi is special and I regretted not coming here on all my previous visits to Kerala. I also wished I had more time to explore other Fort Kochi walking tours and try the umpteen cafes here. I thoroughly had a lovely time overlooking the Fort Kochi streets lined with blue and yellow buildings, terracotta roofs and cobbled pavements reflecting the colonial era, and the modern art vibes. All these make Fort Kochi one of the most popular holiday destinations in India. 

Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links. It means it adds no extra cost to you if you book through the link but I get a referral bonus which helps me earn a little to keep this website up and running.

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Things to do in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry

Ketki Gadre

Ketki is an environmental consultant and a sustainable travel blogger, who loves nature, wildlife and heritage. She enjoys bringing places to life through her informative blogs to inspire readers to travel sustainably and become responsible travellers.

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Kochi has been on my list for so long! This is a great itinerary for art, culture, and history lovers and offers a peek into the local food as well.

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I have been to Kochi a couple of times but never got the chance to explore the beautiful city. I always thought that Kochi is only a day of exploration. But, after reading your post, I would love to spend 2-3 days in the city itself.

[…] It is the perfect place to soak up some history and get some good shopping done. There are so many awesome things to do in Fort Kochi. Though, that’s if you can actually pull yourself away from the gorgeous […]

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Thank you for giving this more information about Kochi and its places, I really liked it, I want visit the places as soon as possible, Thank you.

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An all-round guide to exploring Fort Kochi

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A vibrant fragment of the colonial history of Kerala, Fort Kochi has rightly been christened the Queen of the Arabian Sea. With its Dutch, Portuguese, and British architectural marvels, the small town attracts thousands of tourists at any given time of the year.

It is a delightful cross between a meticulously preserved history and an amalgamation of cultures. In just a 5 km radius of Mattancherry areas alone, 39 communities reside harmoniously .

But what stands out most in this old-style coastal town is the 14th-century Paradesi Synagogue and the Jewish market it stands quietly in. Paradesi is one of the oldest synagogues in India that still hold mass. And Jewtown, once a spice market, now offers antiques, handicrafts, and food to curious tourists.

tourism in fort kochi

But Fort Kochi's contribution to Kerala's cultural richness does not end at its religious and colonial history. Every alternate December, India's largest contemporary art event the Kochi-Muziris Biennale pours art into every nook and corner of Fort Kochi.

The history

Chronicles of Naina community and how they became part of Kochi

Chronicles of Naina community and how they became part of Kochi

Fort Kochi and Mattancherry to get 'heritage town' status soon

Fort Kochi and Mattancherry to get 'heritage town' status soon

Fort Kochi was a pre-colonial fishing village that was granted to the Portuguese in the 1500s. The place got its name because of a 'fort' that the Portuguese built here that was later destroyed, along with a few other structures, by the Dutch when they took over in 1683. The British defeated the Dutch in 1795 and ruled Fort Kochi till India's independence in 1947.

tourism in fort kochi

A mix of old houses built by the Portuguese, Dutch and British in these colonial periods line the streets of Fort Kochi. Conde Nast Traveller, CNN Travel, Nat Geo Travel, and more have featured Fort Kochi as one of the must-visit places in the world, so what are you waiting for?

What to see

The historical richness of the place has left it with many architectural marvels from different eras.

chinese-fishing-nets

1. Santa Cruz Basilica

One of the nine Basilicas in Kerala, Santa Cruz is one of the only few buildings built by the Portuguese here that the Dutch spared.

2. Paradesi Synagogue

The 14th-century synagogue is open to visitors every day except Fridays, Saturdays, and Jewish holidays when it holds mass.

3. Dutch Palace

Also known as the Mattancherry Palace, the building houses many portraits and exhibits of Kochi kings.

4. Indo Portuguese museum

This building near the Bishop House exhibits fragments from Fort Kochi relationship with the Portuguese in form of Indo-Portuguese Christian Art heritage.

5. Chinese fishing nets

Did you know that one interpretation of the name 'Co-chin' is 'like China'? The Chinese explorers who landed here during the Portuguese rule installed these stationary fishing nets that have since become symbolic of the place.

6. Fort Emmanuel ruins

The origin of Fort Kochi's name lies buried under the ruins of this Portuguese fort which was also one of the first in Asia.

7. Jain Temple

8. Fort Kochi Beach

9. Dutch Cemetery

Where to eat

Being a tourist hub, Fort Kochi has all kinds of cuisines to offer. From local spices to continental desserts, you can taste everything here.

1. Loafer's corner

Overlooking the Princess Street, this unassuming eatery will fit your jolly holiday mood just right.

Loafer's Corner Cafe

2. Mocha art cafe

Situated almost opposite the Paradesi synagogue, this cafe serves some exotic dishes like the Sashshuka with a menu of refreshing drinks.

Shakshuka, a traditional Israeli dish served at Mocha Art Cafe

3. Fusion Bay

Go here for budget-friendly seafood dishes cooked in authentic Kerala spices, all serves with a view of the basilica.

4. Kayees Rahmathulla Cafe

In the mood for biryani? The aroma and locals will direct you here.

5. Menorah Restaurant

With the distinction of being the only restaurant in India to serve Jewish food, this places has played host to many dignitaries in its history.

Where to stay

Accommodation is the last thing you need to worry about when in Fort Kochi because most locals have turned their houses into friendly and affordable homestays. Apart from those, there are old buildings that will take you back in time with their genteel, royal air.

1. Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel

2. Old Harbour Hotel

3. Rossitta Wood Castle

Old Harbour Hotel

What to buy

  • Kerala Destinations
  • Mattancherry

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Jacaranda trees in full bloom attract visitors to Munnar

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IHCL’s ‘Scenic Hotel’ open in Munnar

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Prepare for Attukal Pongala weekend: Special trains, buses, water taps and other arrangements

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Exploring the Cultural Heritage of Fort Kochi: History and Landmarks

Fort Kochi, located within the vibrant city of Kochi (Cochin) in the Indian state of Kerala, is a captivating destination renowned for its deep-rooted cultural heritage shaped by its historical past. This enchanting coastal town presents a fascinating fusion of Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial influences, as well as strong ties to trade and cultural interactions with diverse civilizations. In this article, we will embark on a journey through the history of Fort Kochi and venture into its iconic landmarks that beautifully showcase its diverse cultural tapestry. Join us as we uncover the charm of this unique destination, a must-visit for travelers seeking a glimpse into the captivating history of India.

The Historical Legacy of Fort Kochi

` The Early Settlements: Fort Kochi’s history is steeped in antiquity, stretching back to the early centuries, and its advantageous position along the Arabian Sea transformed it into a bustling hub for trade and commerce. The strategic location of the region enticed merchants and explorers from diverse corners of the world, including China, Arabia, Europe, and beyond. As a result, Fort Kochi evolved into a melting pot of cultures, giving rise to a vibrant and cosmopolitan society. The intermingling of various influences from different parts of the globe has left an indelible mark on the cultural fabric of Fort Kochi, making it a captivating destination that reflects the dynamic history of trade, exploration, and multiculturalism.

Portuguese Rule: In the early 16th century, the renowned Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama made his historic arrival in Kerala, marking the onset of European colonization in the region. Subsequently, in 1503, the Portuguese established a fort at Kochi, which later became known as “Fort Kochi,” aimed at safeguarding their lucrative trade interests. Among their enduring legacies, the St. Francis Church holds a significant place. Constructed by the Portuguese in the same year, 1503, this remarkable church stands as a symbol of their presence and remains one of the oldest European churches in India. The historical significance of Fort Kochi and the St. Francis Church intertwines with the region’s captivating past and serves as a captivating window into the era of European exploration and colonization in India.

The Dutch Influence: In the year 1663, the Dutch East India Company triumphed over the Portuguese and took control of Fort Kochi, reigning over the region for more than a century. During their rule, the Dutch enhanced the fortifications of the town, making a lasting impression on its architectural landscape. Among their significant contributions is the construction of the Dutch Palace, also known as the Mattancherry Palace, in the mid-17th century. This architectural masterpiece showcases the distinct Dutch style and is adorned with exquisite murals that vividly depict captivating stories from Hindu mythology. The Dutch Palace stands as a remarkable testament to the Dutch influence on the region and serves as a captivating glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Fort Kochi.

British Colonial Era: In the late 18th century, the British East India Company emerged victorious over the Dutch, gaining control of Fort Kochi. Subsequently, under British rule, Kochi flourished as a significant hub for trade and commerce. Numerous structures built by the British, such as the iconic Chinese fishing nets, can still be seen along the coastline, proudly showcasing the town’s rich maritime heritage and historical ties to international trade. These remnants from the past stand as enduring testaments to Fort Kochi’s fascinating history and its role as a vibrant center of commerce and cultural exchange.

Iconic Landmarks of Fort Kochi

Chinese Fishing Nets: The Chinese fishing nets stand as an iconic symbol of Fort Kochi, reflecting its age-old trade links with China. These impressive cantilevered fishing nets along the shoreline create a mesmerizing spectacle, especially during sunrise and sunset, when their silhouettes grace the horizon. As you witness these nets in action, you are transported back in time, marveling at the historical connections that shaped Fort Kochi’s unique cultural heritage and maritime legacy.

St. Francis Church: St. Francis Church, one of India’s oldest European churches, holds a timeless tale of history within its walls. Its simple yet elegant architecture has witnessed centuries of events. Notably, the church is the final resting place of the renowned explorer Vasco da Gama, who passed away in Kochi in 1524. A visit to this historic church is a journey through time, exploring the fascinating chapters of India’s past and the legacy of Vasco da Gama’s incredible expeditions.

Santa Cruz Basilica: The Santa Cruz Basilica, an exquisite masterpiece of Indo-European architecture, has a rich history dating back to the 16th century when it was originally built by the Portuguese. In the 19th century, the British undertook its reconstruction, resulting in the magnificent place of worship that stands today. The basilica’s grandeur and historical significance make it a must-visit destination in Fort Kochi, Kerala.

Dutch Cemetery: The Dutch Cemetery in Fort Kochi stands as a poignant reminder of the significant Dutch influence in the region. The site features well-preserved tombstones and memorials that offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of early European settlers in Kochi. Exploring this historic cemetery provides a window into the past and a deeper understanding of the region’s colonial heritage.

Jew Town and Paradesi Synagogue: Fort Kochi is enriched by a thriving Jewish community, and its heart lies in Jew Town. Stroll through its narrow streets, explore antique shops, and immerse yourself in the vibrant spice markets. Following this enchanting trail will lead you to the Paradesi Synagogue, one of the oldest active synagogues in the Commonwealth. Inside, prepare to be captivated by the synagogue’s stunning interiors, adorned with exquisite chandeliers and adorned with hand-painted tiles, creating an awe-inspiring sight.

Indo-Portuguese Museum: Situated inside the Bishop’s House, the Indo-Portuguese Museum showcases an extraordinary assortment of artifacts, offering insights into the cultural exchange that took place between the Portuguese and the local community.

Fort Kochi Beach: No trip to Fort Kochi is truly fulfilled without savoring the serene beauty of Fort Kochi Beach. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore, observe the skilled fishermen at work, and immerse yourself in the peaceful atmosphere that surrounds this picturesque destination.

Experiencing the Cultural Delights

Kathakali Performances: Dive into the world of vibrant artistry with Kathakali, a mesmerizing traditional dance-drama that weaves captivating tales through elaborate makeup and expressive movements. Experience the magic of live performances, where skillful actors bring mythical characters to life with their remarkable portrayals.

Spice Markets and Cuisine: Indulge your senses in the delightful spice markets of Fort Kochi, where a diverse range of aromatic spices awaits. Treat yourself to the delectable flavors of Kerala cuisine, renowned for its tantalizing use of coconut, spices, and fresh seafood.

Fort Kochi Biennale: If your visit coincides with the biennial event, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, don’t miss the opportunity to explore captivating contemporary art installations and exhibitions that adorn various venues in Fort Kochi.

Fort Kochi is a captivating destination with a rich cultural heritage and historical landmarks. It offers a glimpse into India’s past and its vibrant multicultural present. Immerse yourself in its enchanting charms and discover its diverse history.

Frequently Asked Questions on Alappuzha

What is the historical significance of fort kochi.

Fort Kochi has a rich historical legacy shaped by its early settlements, Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial influences. Its strategic location along the Arabian Sea attracted merchants and explorers from different parts of the world, making it a melting pot of cultures. The region’s historical landmarks, such as St. Francis Church and the Dutch Palace, reflect the town’s fascinating history of trade, exploration, and multiculturalism.

What are some iconic landmarks to visit in Fort Kochi?

Fort Kochi boasts several iconic landmarks, including the Chinese Fishing Nets, St. Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Dutch Cemetery, Jew Town, Paradesi Synagogue, Indo-Portuguese Museum, and Fort Kochi Beach. Each of these places holds historical and cultural significance, offering visitors a glimpse into the town’s diverse heritage and architectural marvels.

What cultural experiences can one enjoy in Fort Kochi?

In Fort Kochi, travelers can experience the vibrant art form of Kathakali, a traditional dance-drama that brings mythical tales to life. Exploring the spice markets and indulging in Kerala cuisine allows visitors to savor the region’s delectable flavors. Additionally, if visiting during the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, one can immerse themselves in contemporary art installations and exhibitions.

How does Fort Kochi reflect its multicultural past?

Fort Kochi’s multicultural past is evident through its historical landmarks, architecture, and local customs. The region’s early settlements and colonial influences from the Portuguese, Dutch, and British have left a lasting impact on its cultural fabric. Fort Kochi’s diverse heritage is celebrated through its unique landmarks, such as the Dutch Palace and the Paradesi Synagogue, and the vibrant coexistence of various communities.

How can travelers explore the historical legacy of Fort Kochi?

To explore the historical legacy of Fort Kochi, travelers can visit the iconic landmarks like St. Francis Church, the Dutch Palace, and the Chinese Fishing Nets. Guided tours and cultural performances, such as Kathakali dance shows, provide valuable insights into the town’s fascinating history and heritage. Exploring Jew Town and its spice markets also offer a unique glimpse into the multicultural past of Fort Kochi.

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15 Best Things to Do in Fort Kochi in One Day: Complete Travel Guide

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Best Things to do in Fort Kochi in Kerala, India with one day Kochi itinerary. You can read about how to visit fort Kochi in 1 or 2 days with a complete travel guide. If you are visiting Kerala, India, read about my recommendations about visiting Kochi in one day, where to stay in Kochi, the Best things to do in Kochi in one day, where to eat in Kochi, and more about Kochi.

Kochi – the historical city and area of Fort Kochi is one of my favorite cities in Kerala. Kochi- formerly known as Cochin is a major seaport of the Malabar coast and Arabian sea. Called the “ Queen of the Arabian Sea “, Kochi was an important spice trading center on the west coast of India. The Kingdom of Cochin allied with the Ming Dynasty, Portuguese Dynasty, and Dutch and became a princely state of British India. Earlier the small fishing village, later became the first European Township and so you can see the history at every nook and corner in Kochi. Here in this post, I am sharing important landmarks and historical places to visit in Fort Kochi.

I was looking forward to visiting Fort Kochi for a long and this time I got the chance to visit this city- perfect for history lovers. ! It has colonial charm, historical mansions, old religious institutes, and beautiful backwaters- you can ask for! There are so many things to do in Fort Kochi and many Places to visit in Fort Kochi. Be it Churches, synagogues, Historical Vasco D Gama Square, or Chinese fishing nets- you will definitely fall in love with this city at first moment!

kochi sightseeing attractions

If you arrive in Kerala, Kochi would be your starting point for Kerala Travels. So, I recommend spending at least one day in Kochi to explore Fort Kochi and the surrounding area. In fact, you can spend a couple of days here. Here is my Complete Travel Guide to explore Fort Kochi and the best things to do in Fort Kochi in one day. It is the perfect gateway to start your Kerala Trip.

How to Reach Kochi

Kochi serves as a major gateway to major destinations of Kerala and it has a major international airport. It is well connected with major cities of India and the world. Here is how to reach Kochi:

Cochin International Airport (CIAL), situated about 25 km north of Kochi city at Nedumbassery, handles both domestic and international flights. One can fly from Singapore, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and most major Indian cities.

tourism in fort kochi

Kochi has two major railway stations – Ernakulam Town and Ernakulam Junction (locally known as the North and South railway stations respectively). However, reservation facilities are available only at the Ernakulam Junction (Mon-Sat 8 AM-8 PM, Sun 8 AM-2 PM ). The major Indian Railway stations are connected with Ernakulam Junction. You can book Sleeper and AC tickets via IRCTC (Indian Railway Reservation System).

Kochi is well connected to neighboring cities and states. The NH17 connects the city to Mumbai, Kozhikode, Mangalore, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Goa. You can get overnight AC and Non-AC buses to reach Kochi from major South Indian cities.

  • 1 Best Time to Visit Kochi
  • 2 The Best Things To Do in Fort Kochi
  • 3 Best Things to Do Near Fort Kochi Area
  • 4 Where to eat in Fort Kochi
  • 5 Best Hotels to Stay in Fort Kochi
  • 6 How to Spend One Day in Fort Kochi- Itinerary??

Best Time to Visit Kochi

The Best Time to Visit Kochi surely depends on what you are looking for! Kerala is a year-round destination and you can visit it any time during the year but October to March will be the best time to visit Kochi as the weather will be pleasant. Temperatures range between 17 degrees Celsius and 33 degrees Celsius with little rain. So it is an ideal time to visit Kochi. This is a great time of the year for honeymooners, beach lovers, and adventure seekers. This is peak season in India due to Diwali Holidays.

But if you can beat the heat, you can visit it between April- June . Due to Summer Holidays in India, many tourists visit during this time too. But due to the hot summer weather, you can see less crowd and you may get good deals on hotels!

The Monsoon runs from July- to September , again if you don’t mind the rains, it is the Best time to visit Kochi. The city wears green carpets! Since this is not the peak tourist season, it is possible to get good deals on hotels. But make sure you carry an umbrella or raincoat along as you enjoy your monsoon holiday in Cochin

Before I start my recommendations about my favorite things to do in Fort Kochi, read about the history of Fort Kochi.

Fort Kochi History:

Fort Kochi was an earlier modest Fishing Village that later turned into a major trading hub for spices like Cloves, Cinnamon, Pepper, etc during the Early Centuries. Even today, Kochi is an important center of spice export. In the 1500s, the Portuguese arrived and they ruled from 1503 to 1682 for 180 years. With the Permission of the Maharaja of Cochin, they built the Fort Immanuel(Fort Cochin). They built houses, churches, and other buildings.

top things to do in fort kochi

Then Dutch arrived in AD 1663, but they laid out the town as it is! During the Dutch era, the town gained fame as a major commercial, and cultural hub and noted ship-building yard. In 1795, the Britishers took over the town and they ruled till the Independence! You can see the influence of Indo-European architecture in most of the buildings in Fort Kochi.

After years of history, many communities, and colonies with several immigrants later, today Fort Kochi is a treasure trove for history lovers like me. It has everything you can ask for Colonial houses, beautiful churches, yummy food, pretty street art, and beautiful streets.

The Best Things To Do in Fort Kochi

Here are my recommendations for things to do and see in Fort Kochi:

Chinese Fishing Nets

One of the best things to do in Fort Kochi and one of the most popular sights to see in Fort Kochi are Chinese Fishing Nets. If you are even for one day in the Fort Kochi area, you should not miss this Popular Kochi sightseeing attraction.

Locally known as Cheenavalla- Chinese Fishing Nets in Kochi date back more than 500 years. These nets were introduced to local fishermen by Kublai Khan’s traders between 1350 and 1450 CE. They were introduced by Chinese admiral Cheng Ho and to date, it is used by fishermen in Kochi. Most of the nets are rebuilt today but the technique is the same as used to be.

important places to visit in fort kochi

The best place to see the action of Chinese Fishing Nets is Vasco da Gama square. Here you see how they lower the net and fresh catch being caught in! The Vasco da Gama Square is a narrow Promenade that runs parallel to the Fort Kochi beach. The Chinese fishing nets look beautiful during the sunset and are most photogenic with the beautiful backdrop of the colorful sky!

Visit St. Francis Church

Built by Portuguese Franciscan friars in the 16 th  century, St Francis Church is  the oldest church in Fort Kochi and one of the oldest European churches in India.

best things to do in fort kochi in one day

The structure of St. Francis’ Church was built by Franciscan friars. It was initially built of timber but later reconstructed in stone masonry. It was restored in the 18 th  century by the Protestant Dutch and converted to an Anglican church by the British less than 20 years later.

The architecture of St. Francis’ church reflects an old-worldly charm, with stepped pinnacles on either side of the building and decorative wood carvings.

The most interesting fact about the St Francis Church is that the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who died in Kochi, was once buried here, but his remains were later moved to Lisbon.

You can still see his tombstone here. This is an important historical landmark of Fort Kochi and you should not miss it.

The Church is open from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday – Friday; 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM on Saturdays, and from 1:00 PM- 5:00 PM on Sundays. There are no Entry Fees.

See the Vasco House:

The Vasco House is one of the oldest Portuguese residences in Fort Kochi. It is built in the 16th century and is believed to be the residence of Vasco da Gama. Vasco House has the typical European glass paned windows and balcony cum verandahs characteristic of those times. The place is now a heritage homestay and you can stay at this old residence.

historical places of fort kochi

The Bastion Bungalow:

Bastion Bungalow, situated on River Road in Fort Kochi, was built in 1667. When the Dutch captured Kochi in 1663, they started destroying fort Immanuel and reduced it to almost one-third of its size.  Originally, the fort had seven bastions. Of these, the Stormberg bastion was later converted to the Bastion Bungalow. The Bungalow, today the official residence of the Sub-Collector, is an impressive building of Dutch architecture.

things to do in fort kochi

See the Bustling Vasco Da Gama Square and Fort Kochi Beach:

If you want to see the local life and Local people in action, head to Vasco Da Gama Square in Fort Kochi. One of the best things to do in Fort Kochi is to learn about the locals!

As I said, it is an ideal place to watch fishermen use these nets is the Vasco da Gama square. It is a narrow Promenade along with Fort Kochi Beach. You can see the fishermen gather their daily catch from the Chinese fishing nets. The square, which has numerous stalls serving fresh delicious seafood, tender coconut, and so on, is also perfect for a nice, relaxed evening.

Fort Kochi Beach is not that nice and the best attraction in Kochi but you can get the best click of Chinese fishing nets from here. You can see life in action at Fort Kochi beach and Vasco da Gama Square.

If you are looking for some Private tours, then take this Private walking tour of Fort Kochi which will give you all insights about fort Kochi and the mechanism of Chinese Fishing nets from locals.

See the Beautiful Street Art in Fort Kochi:

Art lovers will be delighted to see the beautiful and colorful Murals around the streets of Kochi.

Every two years, Kochi celebrates the  Kochi-Muziris Biennale , the largest art exhibition in India and the first of its kind held in the country. A contemporary art event where art sessions, art exhibitions, talks, workshops, educational performances, film screenings, etc are held and several art forms are created in and around the Fort Kochi area.

Best places to see street arts in fort kochi

You can see the best art forms of different artists in and around Kochi that showcases the power of artisans. It will also give you a few Insta-worthy Pictures if you are an active Social media Person! In this area, you will also find beautiful buildings, but despite their current state of decay, it is easy to appreciate their former splendor. If you are a fan of abandoned buildings and beautiful decay, don’t miss exploring this side of Fort Kochi.

Where to see the Street art in Kochi??

Wondering where you can see those beautiful art forms then head to Vasco De Gama Square, Calvathy Road, the area around the Santa Cruz Basilica, and Bazaar Road, ICM road to satiate your art lover soul.

Visit Old Colonial Buildings & stay at Heritage Properties :

The moment you reach the Fort Kochi area, you will step back in time! Fort Kochi and the surrounding area have so many colonial buildings and beautiful houses which may grab your attention. So many of these bungalows and houses are now converted into heritage hotels.

A few of these Properties I can recommend for your stay in Kochi are :

Fort Kochi Heritage Hotel – I loved the architecture of this hotel, it has all vintage vibes with yellow color and is located right in the Fort Kochi area. It was originally a Dutch Palace that was erected in the 17th century. In the year 1997, it gained the status of a heritage hotel. This beautiful structure is constructed from tiles, wood, and limestone with every original feature being kept intact. The hotel though renovated has retained much of its heritage value. Period furniture, paintings, and chandeliers have been used to give that old-world charm.

If you are looking for more luxury then head to Brunton Boatyard Hotel – A CGH Earth Property. The CGH Hotels are a big luxury name in South India. It is housed in a former shipyard from British times. All of their rooms and en-suite bathrooms overlook the sea and you can catch some stunning sunsets right from the room.

It is rebuilt from the wonderfully restored remnants of the 19th-century Victorian shipyard. The hotel enjoys a picturesque location. All the modern amenities have been carefully developed without destroying their colonial charm.

Bolgatty Palace Kochi: Bolgatty Palace is located on an island of the same name, Bolgatty Island. It is one of the oldest Dutch palaces outside Holland built by the Dutch. Built in 1744 by Dutch traders, today it is one of the best heritage hotels in Kochi. This exclusive mansion has four capacious rooms that boast wonderful decor and are fitted with contemporary comforts. Even if you are not staying at this property, It’s a great place to wander around and enjoy a cup of tea!

If you are looking for Budget Place to stay while enjoying the heritage feel- must try the Dutch Bungalow. Abad Dutch Bungalow is a 375-year-old heritage hotel in Fort Kochi that was built in the year 1668 by the Dutch East India Company. There is a swimming pool in the center and the rooms have rustic charms with huge spaces.

Other heritage Properties you can look at Koder House Kochi, Malabar House Residency Kochi, and Hotel Le Colonial Kochi ,to name a few for your heritage stay. And always, you can stay at homestays for better experiences!

Just aimlessly wander through Rose street and Princess street in the Fort Kochi area to soak into the all colonial vibes.

Visit Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica :

If you are looking for the most beautiful places to visit in Fort Kochi- then head to Santa Cruz Basilica. Santa Cruz Basilica is one of the most pretty churches I have seen in India. The church, which is more than 500 years old, has an eventful past going back to the arrival of the Portuguese. The first Portuguese viceroy, Dom Franciso de Almeida built the church in 558. Later, Pope John Paul raised the status of the cathedral to a Basilica.

kochi sightseeing places

The Basilica has magnificent Indo-European and Gothic architecture and grandeur in the use of colors.  It has two bright lofty spires, an indelible pastel-colored interior, and is adorned with paintings. The frescos and murals on the life of Christ embellish the ceilings and the interior and the beautiful stained glass windows add to the charm of the place. It bears testimony to the craftsmanship of those behind the making of the magnificent monument.

Santa Cruz Cathedral remains open to visitors from 9:00 AM to 1: 00 PM & 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, remains open from 10:30 Am -1: 00 PM. It remains closed every first Friday of the month.

Watch the Kathakali Show:

If you are in Fort Kochi- don’t miss the ancient art form of Kerala – Kathakali dance Show . Kathakali is one of the best places to visit in Kochi at night. One of India’s classical dance forms- Kathakali tells Spiritual and Mythological stories from Hindu Puranas.

tourism in fort kochi

The most fascinating thing about this dance form among all Indian Classic Dances is that it has the most elaborate costuming consisting of headdresses, face masks, and vividly painted faces!

It typically takes several evening hours to prepare a Kathakali troupe to get ready for a play.  With bright costumes, intricate hands, body, facial, and even eye movements, Kathakali Performance is one of the most epic things to do in Fort Kochi. The best place to watch a Kathakali performance at Fort Kochi is the Kerala Culture Center.

Also, if you want to see how they dress up and apply their make up-you can reach early at the center. You can see how they do makeup that transforms them from humans to divine beings.

Explore the Indo-Portuguese Museum

The Portuguese have left marks on our history and culture. The Indo-Portuguese Museum situated in Fort Kochi tries to encapsulate this bond. Their influence on the art and architecture of Fort Kochi and the surrounding region is on full display here.

The constant efforts of the late Dr. Joseph Kureethra, Bishop of Kochi, played an integral role in its formation so that future generations could understand the Indo-Portuguese Christian Art heritage. You can see the life of people during Portuguese rule when the Portuguese have a strong influence in this region. If you are a history and museum lover, must add this museum as part of your one-day fort Kochi itinerary.

Visiting Hours:  9:00 AM to 1 PM and 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM. It remains closed on Mondays and all Public Holidays. Entry Fees: INR 20 per Person

Visit the Artisty Cafes of Kochi

Fort Kochi is filled with so many artists’ cafes! If you are an art lover along with a foodie, hop on as many cafes as you can while you are in Fort Kochi- a must-do when in Fort Kochi.

tourism in fort kochi

Kashi Art Cafe- It is one of the most popular art cafes in Fort Kochi where they host local artists every month. With an old-school charm as it is set up in a traditional Kerala-style bungalow, this is the most hipster cafe in Kochi. Be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, head here anytime and the zen vibe of the cafe along with great food will put a smile on your face. 

Loafer’s Corner Cafe – Located on the Princess Street of Fort Kochi – probably the most happening place in Fort Kochi this cafe has colonial-era structures that capture the spirit of the bygone era.

Other Famous cafes you can explore are Mocha art café, Qissa café, Oy’s café restaurant, Teapot café, and Farmer’s Cafe .

Best Things to Do Near Fort Kochi Area

Just near the Fort Kochi neighborhood must visit the area of Jew Town where you can see the multiethnicity of Kochi! You can reach here on a walk or an auto. You can see the melting point of the culture of fort Kochi here. Here are my recommendations to visit a few places near Fort Kochi.

Visit Mattancherry Palace :

The Mattancherry Palace (known as Dutch Palace) is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Fort Kochi. The Dutch Palace is neither Dutch nor a palace. It was a house built by the Portuguese in the mid-16th century, as a gift for the king of Cochin. Later the Dutch renovated it so thoroughly that it came to be known as the Dutch Palace. The architectural style of the Dutch Palace is typical of Kerala and is known as Nalukettu, a quadrangular structure having a courtyard in the middle.

tourism in fort kochi

Its walls have amazing murals depicting scenes from the Indian mythology of Ramayana and Mahabharat. The designs and murals reminded me of the paintings I had seen in Jaipur.

Of course, the prime attraction in Mattancherry palace is murals and beautifully carved wooden ceilings but other attractions include the collection of portraits of Maharajas, old Dutch maps, royal palanquins, and old furniture.

Exploring Mattancherry Palace is a treat to the eyes. The palace is open from 10:00 Am to 5:00 PM every day except Fridays. The entry fee is INR 20 per person. Photography is not allowed in the rooms that have murals.

Visit The Paradesi Synagogue:

Fort Kochi has most immigrants and the locals called them ‘Paradesi'(Paradesi means foreigner) . The locals called Jews Paradesi and this is how they are known as Paradesi Jews. If you get out of the Mattancherry Palace and walk towards Jew Town street, you can reach the Paradesi Synagogue. In fact, it is located behind the Mattancherry Palace but you need to cross the Jew town street to reach the Paradesi Synagogue. If you are in the Jew Town area, you must visit Paradesi Synagogue the most important place to visit in Fort Kochi.

tourism in fort kochi

The Jewish synagogue was built in 1568, adjacent to the Mattancherry Palace, given by the erstwhile king of Cochin. As you enter the synagogue, the light falling through the large open windows makes the sight of chandeliers and lamps more delightful. The glass chandeliers dangling from the ceiling were imported from Belgium and Its floor is covered with hand-painted porcelain tiles from china.

The synagogue is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM from Sunday to Thursday and 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Fridays. They are closed on Saturdays and during Passover. There is an INR 10 entry fee and you can buy it at the entrance. Photography is not allowed inside the synagogue.

Wander the Colorful Streets of Jew Town:

I love exploring the colorful streets whether it is from Siddhpur of Gujarat or Kochi in Kerala! There is a quaint street next to Mattancherry Palace known as Jew Town . It is one of the most charming and attractive Places I had visited in Kochi.

The narrow street that leads to Mattancherry Palace is filled with so many antique shops and colorful galleries. The shops feature Hebrew words such as Shalom, Stars of David, and other Jewish symbols, but they are now run by other residents of Kochi. It’s  one of the oldest antique markets in India . If you want to buy souvenirs it is the best place for shopping in Kochi. Being the most colorful place, you can have some gram-worthy photos here.

tourism in fort kochi

Also, it is believed that Jews came from Isreal to here and since the place that sheltered them was near the Mattancherry Palace, this place started to be known as Jew Town. Then in the latter part of the 20th century, Jews went back to their original country Israel and their left things and houses are found in Jew Town. Today many of the families still live here and warmly welcome travelers. Hence, Jew Town is an ideal heaven for connoisseurs and shopaholics. If you love to shop for antiques for your home and surroundings, then it is the best place to go for!

In addition to antiques, here you will find spices, all sorts of garments such as kurtas, scarves, etc, and also plenty of souvenirs – these are just some of the things to buy in Kochi.

If you are more interested in knowing about Jewish Heritage, take the Jewish Heritage tour of Kochi which lasts for 6 hours, and learn about India’s oldest Jewish communities

Take Sunset Cruise

A Sunset cruise is one of the must-do activities when you are in Kochi. It is one of the best ways to enjoy the backwaters of Kochi. You can see the Chinese Fishing nets from the water. Also, perfect for watching the dolphins!

The sunset cruises run daily except during the monsoon season. They tend to last 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the company.

Indulge in Shopping

When in Kochi- Shopping is a must, especially Spices! After all, it’s spices that make Kochi on the world map and more famous. It has a history of trading spices all over the world! It is famous for good-quality pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg . In ancient times, Kerala was an important spice trading center for the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Arab traders.

tourism in fort kochi

Black pepper and cardamom of Cochin are considered the best in the spice market of Kerala. Kerala grows around 70% of the total Indian production of pepper, out of which a major part is produced in Cochin only and Mattancherry was once the hub for trading spices.

Even today you can get authentic Kerala Spices as you walk through the Bazaar Road near Mattancherry Palace where the majority of shops sells spices. Also, Kerala is famous for its handwoven cotton sarees. If you want to buy sarees, head over to M.G. Road and Princess Street in Fort Kochi.

Where to eat in Fort Kochi

Ginger House : To get to Ginger House you need to walk through an antique shop with a pretty big wooden boat inside. It gives the best waterfront views in Fort Kochi, so it’s worth a visit!

Kashi Art Cafe: Kashi Art Café doubles up as an  art gallery and a café . It serves the best sandwiches, soups, and salads in a lovely atmosphere. The food is great and the staff is very friendly.

For a more upscale dining experience, you can experience the following restaurants:

Armoury Café at The Brunton Boatyard Hotel, Thai Soul at the Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty, and Cassava at the Kochi Marriott Hotel . I had the best dining experience during my visit to Kerala Travel mart 2022 at Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty.

If you are looking to try traditional Kerala meals i.e Kerala Sadya then must visit Bharat Hotel OR Vijay Lakshmi Bhavan for Kerala Sadya Lunch. Also , you can visit Amba Swamy’s , Brindhavan Veg restaurant, and Udupi Anantha Bhavan Restaurant  for authentic south Indian Dishes.

Must try Idiyappam with curry, Kerala Puttu Kadala, Avial, Malabar Parotta, Appam and Payasam . I had a few coconut dishes during y Kerala travels which I loved most of all.

tourism in fort kochi

Best Hotels to Stay in Fort Kochi

I already mentioned the Heritage Mansions’ stay in Fort Kochi. but if you want to stay in upscale New Hotels, here is the list of the best places to stay in Fort Kochi.

Ramada by Wyndham Kochi Resort :

If you like to stay away from the bustling city area, then consider staying at Ramada by Wyndham Kochi Resort. Within easy reach from Fort Kochi, it is quaint and offers a relaxing stay. It has a swimming Pool with the Biggest Spa in Kerala and many restaurant options for your choices.

tourism in fort kochi

Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty:

If you want an extra luxurious stay, With Vembanad Lake views, this hotel is the best to book. With over 260 sophisticated rooms, you can pick according to your choices! All of the rooms have views over the backwaters, the city skyline, and landscaped gardens. I had the pleasure of visiting it during KTM 2022. It Serves gourmet cuisines at the property’s five distinct upscale dining options.

Neemrana’s Tower House:

This Hotel is just a 4-minute walk from the beach. The Tower House sits facing the Chinese fishing nets, marking the spot of a 17th-century lighthouse hence the name The Tower House! It is located just a 5-minute walk from the Chinese Fishing Net. The Neemrana’s – The Tower House features an outdoor swimming pool and if you are looking for something unique, luxurious, and experiential, then book this place!

The Postcard Mandalay Hall : 

This newly opened Hotel is located in Mattancherry, the hotel is within a 10-minute drive of sightseeing, shopping, and socializing in Fort Kochi and Ernakulam. A 200-year-old, beautifully restored building, Mandalay Hall is a five-room art hotel. Bridging Kochi’s past and present, each of the five luxury rooms is an immersive living gallery, exhibiting artwork and installations by different artists. The three rooms have bathtubs. The hotel itself is an art destination!

Getting around Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is quite a small area that you can easily explore on foot. Just list out the places you want to visit and wander around the coastline and Vasco da Gama Square. You can easily get lost in the quiet alleys of Fort Kochi. But if you don’t prefer to walk then easily you can hire an auto-rickshaw for short journeys. You can reach Fort Kochi via OLA/UBER taxis or by taking the Metro line in Kochi.

How to Spend One Day in Fort Kochi- Itinerary??

You can easily cover all the places I mentioned during one Day in fort Kochi. You can cover the Mattancherry and historic Fort Kochi neighborhood either by walking or by tuk-tuk. Here is a suggestive one-day Kochi itinerary.

Start your day with an authentic Kerala Breakfast at your hotel or any restaurant as I mentioned.

Morning to Noon:

  • Start with exploring Jew Town
  • Mattancherry Palace
  • Paradesi Synagogue
  • Jew Town street
  • See the Street arts
  • Explore Art cafes OR have Lunch at Ginger House in Fort Kochi

Afternoon Head to Beachside:

  • Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica
  • St Francis Church
  • Vasco House & Bastion Bungalow
  • Fort Kochi Beach
  • Vasco da Gama Square
  • Indo Portuguese Musuem
  • See the Chinese Fishing Nets with Beautiful Sunset
  • Sunset Cruise if have more time
  • Lastly, end your day by watching the Kathakali Show.

Day Trips from Fort Kochi:

If you are in Kochi for 3-4 days, take day trips to nearby Places. Here I am recommending more options:

Explore the Backwaters of Alleppey:

Kerala is synonymous with backwaters and houseboats. If you are in Kerala and didn’t stay in Houseboat then certainly you are missing something! Cruising the backwaters of Kerala in a houseboat is one of the most amazing experiences in the world! So, if you are in Kerala, must stay in a houseboat for one night.

The Kochi Private and Heritage Tour will take you through the ride of local villages, backwaters, and paddy fields with Kerala Lunch on the way. In the afternoon, you can explore the famous landmarks of fort Kochi.

And if you have more time, take this Kochi to Alleppey 2 days cruise with one night stay on Houseboat. You can admire scenic views for a full day with the gliding backwaters of Alleppey. On the second day, you can explore Fort Kochi.

If you are visiting Kerala, just after the monsoon season, I highly recommend exploring the waterfalls of Kerala. The Athirapally waterfall is the most famous waterfall in India and it can easily be visited on a day trip from Kochi. You can book a Private Athirapally waterfall tri p with lunch as a day trip from Kochi.

Note: I was invited to explore Kerala as a part of Kerala Travel mart 2022. I was hosted by KTM and explored Kochi as a part of their Premart tour. However, all opines are my own.

I hope this post has given you enough inspiration for the best things to do in Fort Kochi! And if you loved my list of best things to do in Fort Kochi, then Pin it for later!

things to do in fort kochi kerala

Mayuri Patel, owner of the fernwehrahee Blog loves to travel and helping you to plan your Next Trip! She is full time Travel Blogger, dreaming about her next adventure! Join her Journeys where she takes you to destinations around the world with the pinch of history & culture!

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That is a very detailed Kochi guide to planning a perfect itinerary. Beautifully and meticulously penned down.

Wow… this is the most detailed guide to fort kochi I have come across. This year I am planning a coastal Kerala trip. This will be my guide to explore fort kochi

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Fort Kochi Tourist Places

Jew Town, Paradesi Synagogue, Pallipuram Fort, Vypeen Island, Bolgatty Palace, Dutch Cemetery, Kerala Kathakali Centre, Fort Kochi Beach, Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Vypeen Island, Fort Immanuel and many more Fort Kochi tourist places. Rightly considered as one of the most preferred holiday destinations in God’s own country, there is no dearth of interesting places to visit in Fort Kochi. Whether you are travelling with family and looking for a pristine beach to stretch your legs on and build sandcastles on with your kids, or travelling alone and searching the recesses of your soul to unearth spirituality and devotion – Fort Kochi is the place to be. Architecture buffs will find an overwhelming number of buildings that display genius designs and shopaholics can find an array of antique and quirky pieces, Fort Kochi has something for everyone. If you are overwhelmed by the deluge of information on the interwebs and looking for an easy way out to plan your trip to Kochi, this is the place for you. Check out our list of Fort Kochi tourist places and get the best out of your vacation.

Here are some of the best places to visit in Fort Kochi:

Quick navigation.

Alleppey, Kerala

The Jew Town is a winding street sandwiched between Mattancherry Palace and Synagogue and is an attractive destination for those of you always on the lookout for antique and quirky art pieces. You will find the place brimming with local and international tourists on the hunt for unique items. The tiny market is full of pristine pieces of art that have a rich history and interesting stories behind them. The items showcased belong not only to Jews, but some also have a cultural background related to India, China, and Europe. If you are a shopaholic and antique lover, this is the place to be. You will find a plethora of trinkets and decorative items that each have a story of their own to tell you and diverse history to enchant you. Distance - 4.2 km from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings – No entry fee. Entry fees - 5 am to 9 pm, every day.

Planning a trip to Kerala:   Kerala Holiday Packages                                              Kerala Tour Packages For Family

Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum

Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum

Offering you one of the richest experiences you will ever gain on a holiday, Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum is one of the most interesting places to visit in Fort Kochi. The museum is a hotbed for architectural buffs with its Malabar, Cochin and Travancore style of architecture. Elephants statues adorn the entrance and traditional Kerala carpentry style lend it a unique air. The elegant arches made of wood, tiles and stones are a stunning addition. The museum showcases different art forms of Kerala along with masks, puppets, ornaments, wood carvings, oil lamps, antique musical instruments, sculptures made of wood, bronze, copper, etc. The theatre is a great place to get to know the rich cultural heritage of Kerala and get first-hand knowledge of the art of the state. Distance -  10.2 km from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings -  Stage performances from 9:30 AM to 7 PM. Entry fees - Rs. 50 for students and Rs 100 for adults.

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Princess Street

Princess Street

Also known as Loafer’s Corner, Princess Street is one of the most popular forts in Kochi tourist places. Offering everything from handicraft shops that sell beautiful pieces of art and craft and cafes and restaurants that serve mouth-watering delicacies, Princess Street is the place to be for the social butterflies, shopping lovers, and fashionistas among you. The street features a unique confluence of old and new – you can enjoy the sight of the old world, European-style buildings showcasing Dutch, British and French influences, just dotted on the street, along with modern-styled housing and shops. Architecture buffs will love the grandeur of colonial-era structures. And at the end of the long day walking and admiring the building, you can enjoy a relaxing spa in one of the centres on the street. Distance -  350 m from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings – No timing restrictions. Entry fees -  No entry fee.

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Mattancherry

Mattancherry

A small locality in Kochi, the Mattancherry has an incredibly beautiful experience to offer – the Mattancherry Palace. The double storied building looks magnificent and stunning against the backdrop of Kerala’s backwaters and deep blue skies. The sight itself is a treat to the eyes, but that is not all the place has to offer. The museum part of the palace houses gorgeous artefacts and belongings of the royal house of Kochi. History enthusiasts will have a lovely day here, exploring the cultural history of Kerala. Art and architecture buffs will find the style of the building and the mural paintings collection fascinating. The temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna in the centre of the complex are also a tourist site for Hindu devotees. Distance -   2.7 km from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - 10 am to 5 pm every day, except on Fridays. Entry fees - INR 20 for adults, no entry fee for kids.

Planning a Kochi trip, Checkout:   Kochi Packages Also Checkout:  Kerala Group Tour Packages                                                          

Fort Kochi Beach

Fort Kochi Beach

One of the most prominent fort Kochi tourist places is the beach, which will revive you to the core. With its serene environs and lush surroundings, the beach offers an idyllic getaway from everyday routine. The walk to the beach itself is a calming experience – the tall palm trees swaying in the breeze and the cool, salty wind on you face serve to transport you to a different world. Catch a glimpse of the stunning sunsets over the blue waters and marvel at the sight of cargo ships in the distance passing through the sea. Visit the beach at New Year’s Eve and participate in the brilliant Cochin festival held there every year. Enjoy local delicacies and spicy snacks on the pristine beaches. Watch the undulating waves wash all the worries off your soul. Distance -  1.5 km from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - 9 am to 6 pm, every day. Entry fees - No entry fee.

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Kerala Kathakali Centre

Kerala Kathakali Centre

Famous as the school of traditional arts, a visit to the Kerala Kathakali Center is a rich and diverse experience that will remain etched in your memory forever. The school offers captivating shows off some of Kerala’s traditional and influential art practices – like Kathakali, music, martial arts and other dance forms. The shows are performed in the most authentic manner by experienced performers and are a treat for classical dance lovers and cultural enthusiasts. Get a taste of the real Kerala and feel your senses heightened to a whole new level as you watch these goosebumps-inducing performances. Distance -    550.0 m from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - 5 pm to 7 pm. Entry fees - INR 250 per person.

Checkout & Book:   Wayanad Travel Packages                                  Wayanad Family Tour Packages  

Munnar, Kerala

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

Constructed by the Portuguese and now considered as one of the most magnificent places to visit in Fort Kochi, the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica is one of the eight Basilicas in India. The basilica serves as the cathedral church of the Diocese of Cochin and is visited frequently by devotees of Christianity because of the same. The fine architecture of the church attracts tourists every year that wish to admire the grandiose and opulent style. Set up against a backdrop of clear blue skies and with its exteriors painted in white, the church exudes a quaint old charm. The medieval styled architecture with huge arches, painted ceiling, and mesmerizing paintings make it a must visit tourist destination. The Santa Cruz Cathedral is one of the few places in India where spirituality and religion embrace artistry and architectural grandeur. Distance -  450.0 m from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - 9 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 5 PM. Entry fees - No entry fee.

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St Francis Church

St Francis Church

Known for its splendid architecture and awe-inspiring ambience, St Francis Church is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Fort Kochi. It is considered to be one of the oldest churches in India and is known as the mute witness to the struggle of India against European colonialism. Legend has it that the remains of great explorer Vasco de Gama were buried in the church before being shipped off to Lisbon after 14 years. The gravestone of Vasco de Gama is a popular tourist attraction, along with the cenotaph erected in 1920 in memory of Kochi residents that died in World War I. Architectural enthusiasts also visit the church to admire the eminent structure with its European style, and quaint, old-world charm. Distance -   700 m from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - 10 am to 5 pm, every day. Entry fees - No entry fee. Also Checkout:  Munnar Sightseeing Packages From Kochi                              Thekkady Tour Packages                            

Pallipuram Fort

Pallipuram Fort

Boasting of being the oldest surviving European monument in India, the Pallipuram Fort is one of the most amazing places to visit in Fort Kochi due to its rich cultural heritage and bedazzling architectural splendour. The gigantic hexagonal building is uniquely designed with laterite, mortar and wood. Amidst lush green surroundings and virgin environs, the quaint charm of the fort is a mesmerizing sight to behold. Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the fort stands among glistening skies and blankets of greenery offering an escape from everything related to the concrete jungles. The inside of the place offers open spaces where you can go on a relaxing picnic with your family. Distance -   24.1 km from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - 9.30 am to 6.30 pm, every day except Mondays. Entry fees - No entry fee.

Must Check:  Kerala Tour Packages From Delhi                         Houseboats In Alleppey                        

Paradesi Synagogue

Paradesi Synagogue

Known for being the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth, Paradesi is one of the most interesting places to visit in Fort Kochi. The old-world charm of the place paired with pollution free environs and picturesque backdrops provides it with a serene air. The inside of the building is marvelling in itself – the spacious halls, rare and enchanting antiques on display, magnificent chandeliers glittering in the sun, large windows that filter in crisp yellow sunlight. The entire place is covered with hand-painted blue willow patterned tiles and stepping into the hall will transport you to an entirely different world. The carved teak arches are spectacular to behold and a special oriental rug gifted by the last king of Ethiopia can also be seen hanging. Distance - 2.7 km from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - The Synagogue is open every day except Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish holidays from 10 am to 12 noon and from 3 pm to 5 pm. Entry fees - No entry fees. You May Also Like:  Alleppey Tour Packages                                    Munnar Alleppey Honeymoon Packages From Bangalore

Chinese Fishing Nets

Chinese Fishing Nets

Chinese fishing nets are fixed land installations used for fishing in the sea. If you visit the beaches of Kochi at dusk and dawn, a one-of-its-kind sight will reveal itself to you. The silhouette of the nets being raised from the water against the setting sun has been the subject of many a photographer’s shots. The nets are set up on teak and bamboo poles and each net is operated by at least 6 fishermen. The sight of these fishing nets suspended in mid-air against the backdrop of azure waters and clear blue skies make for a spellbinding experience. Distance -  1.4 km from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - No timing restrictions. Entry Fees - No entry fees. Click Here to Book Now:  London Dungeon Tickets

Dutch Cemetery

Dutch Cemetery

Walk a few meters down the road from the St Francis Church and you will walk into the beautiful Dutch cemetery running parallel to the golden sandy beaches and overlooking the gorgeous blue waters of the Arabian Sea. Constructed in the 18th century, it is considered as one of the oldest cemeteries in India. The brilliant Dutch architecture of the place is an attraction among tourists and serves to lend the place an elegant air. Most of the tombstones are made of granite and red laterite and appear as a stark contrast against the rest of the complex. Set against the backdrop of lush green surroundings and virgin environs, the cemetery offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday city life. Distance -  1.0 km from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - All days of the week, 7:00 AM - 6:30 PM. Entry fees - No entry fee. You Can Checkout:  Kerala Tour Packages From Chennai                                    Kerala Tour Packages From Hyderabad

Bolgatty Palace

Bolgatty Palace

Built by Dutch traders in Kochi for their own residence, the Bolgatty palace exudes sophistication, elegance and opulence like never before. The whitewashed exteriors with thatched roofs make the magnificent structure appear as if it is from a fairy tale world. If you have some cash to burn, you can book one of the airy and spacious rooms in the palace and live like royalty. The palace boasts of its own golf course so you can indulge in the same if you a golf enthusiast. Or if you are travelling with your partner, you can book one of the honeymoon cottages and enjoy a romantic stay with your better half. The lush green gardens of the palace offer the perfect opportunity to enjoy a few moments of tranquillity while you take a leisurely stroll in the greenery

Distance - 5.7 km from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - No timing restrictions. Entry fee - 3-4k INR per night. Also Checkout:  Things To Do In Rome                              Kerala Tour Packages From Pune

Vypeen Island

Vypeen Island

Vypeen is one of the many tiny islands that form the city and is considered one of the most gorgeous forts Kochi tourist places. Sprawling over an area of 25 kms, it is one of the most densely populated and fast-growing places in Kochi. Reaching the island itself is a mesmerizing journey involving a series of bridges called Goshree bridges that provide a stunning view against the clear blue waters. Once you reach the island, there are numerous tourist destinations to enjoy – the Portuguese Azhikotta fort, which is one of the oldest European Forts in India and the lighthouse at Ochanthuruthu in Vypeen that offers bewitching views of the sea from the top. While you are here, book your stay at the gorgeous Bungalow Heritage homestay and experience excellent hospitality and thoughtful amenities. Distance -   800 m from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - The first boat to the island leaves at 6 am and the last returns at 9 pm. Entry fees - No entry fee. Check This :  Things To Do in Bali                         Kerala Tour Packages From Kolkata

Fort Immanuel

One of the most culturally and historically important places to visit in Fort Kochi is the Fort Immanuel built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The double rowed walls of the fort are flanked by coconut trees fastened together securely and lend the outside of the fort a quaint charm. The fort was reinforced in 1538. But the Dutch, and later the British, destroyed most of the fort walls and its bastions. The ruins of the fort are visited every year by tourists both local and international because of their significance in the history of the town. Standing tall against the golden sandy beaches, the fort still commands an imposing presence and appears as a bastion of Portuguese culture. Distance -  700 m from Fort Kochi bus stand. Timings - 10 am to 5 pm, every day. Entry fees - No entry fee. Get a Great Deal On  Siam Park Tickets                                     Kerala Tour Packages From Nagpur

People Also Ask About Fort Kochi

Which are the popular places to visit in fort kochi, what are the best adventure activities to do in kochi, why is fort kochi famous, what is the best time to visit fort kochi, how to reach fort kochi, fort kochi top attractions.

Fort Kochi

On the Gower Peninsula, Llangennith Beach and Langland Bay are the top destinations if you are looking to indulge in watersports, especially surfing. Other water activities on this peninsula are stand-up paddle boarding and coasteering. Some of the top tourist places to visit in Swansea include the most beautiful beaches rugged on the peninsula's coastline. One of the best beaches to visit is the Rhossili which was once voted the best beach in Europe.Head over to this beach to admire the dramatic coastal cliff and the breathtaking panoramic views. Rhossili Bay has a beautiful three-mile shoreline with a sandy beach where you can sunbathe and admire the spectacular view. Visit one of the largest indoor markets in the UK, the Swansea Market with over 100 stalls selling fresh local produce and delicious meals.Check This Out: Places To Visit In Wakefield

Lovrijenac

Fort Lovrijenac, often referred to as St. Lawrence Fortress, has historically served as one of Croatia's oldest significant fortresses. It is regarded as "Dubrovnik's Gibraltar" because of its placement on a steep mountainside just beyond the city's main wall. This spectacular architectural structure rises an astonishing 37 meters above the Adriatic and proved to be invincible during the numerous Venetian sieges that were launched after it was completed in the 11th century.In fact, according to legend, the Venetians originally intended to construct a tower onsite but were outdone by resourceful local residents. Fort Lovrijenac is accessible through two drawbridges and a passageway via its remarkable walls, which are as thick as 12 meters in certain parts, and is distinguished for its odd triangle structure with its multiple terraces. The fort not only serves as a tourist destination but also as a location and silhouette for Dubrovnik's renowned Summer Festival as well as its numerous theatrical and musical acts.

The Arts Institute

The Arts Institute Plymouth is a world-renowned centre for the arts, in the heart of Plymouth, England. The Institute is home to a variety of arts organisations, including the Plymouth Arts Centre, the Plymouth School of Creative Arts, and the British Film Institute. The Arts Institute Plymouth is dedicated to supporting the arts in all its forms, and to providing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with the arts. The Institute offers a wide range of facilities and resources that are available to the public. It screens a diverse variety of classic films and contemporary cinematic masterpieces in a state-of-the-art theatre and organises dance programmes. Whether you’re an artist looking for a place to showcase your work, or simply someone who enjoys the arts, the Arts Institute Plymouth is sure to keep you engaged in the its activities, shows and events. This place is one of the best places to visit in Plymouth for art lovers.Recommended Read: Things To Do In London

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Complete Travel Guide – Fort Kochi

kochi

Fort Kochi is a seaside town in Kochi, Kerala which is known for its old-world colonial charm. The place still oozes every single colonial rule charm that was imprinted on it decades ago. The remnants of the British rule, the Portuguese and Dutch colonialism are all evident in the Fort Kochi air. It is not just fortified structures, but the culture that has been deeply intertwined with locals that sets the colonial times of Fort Kochi apart from the rest of the colonies.

Fort Kochi is charming and quaint, and despite the roar of thundering skies and the ceaseless screeches of the city life, it stands tall, oozing tranquillity and without fail, it takes you with it. Here is the very finest that Fort Kochi offers.

THINGS TO DO IN FORT KOCHI

Table of Contents

1. Visit St. Francis Church

Fort Kochi is many things but for many, it’s a time-traveling companion. Studded with architecturally exquisite structures of the time long forgotten, this mesmerizing location takes you back through history, literally and metaphorically. The 16th century St. Francis Church built by the Portuguese is doubtlessly a view to cherish. The timber-framed roof and the multi-stepped pinnacle crowning it will leave you spellbound.

The view of the tombstone of the great explorer Vasco Da Gama will send a shiver down your spine. The church engulfed in silence marred only by the wind chimes and the sound of thunder on the horizon gives you a feeling that the great explorer may have embarked on a journey back to life. Fort Kochi may not have a fort anymore but the tomb still attracts many from different parts of the world.

2. Visit Pardesi Synagogue

Considered to be one of the oldest in the world, Pardesi synagogue is an embodiment of the Jewish culture in Fort Kochi. The innumerable Belgian hanging lamps will remind you of the fireflies in your backyard and the farrago of blue and white tiles on the will give a strange feeling of walking on water. The enrapturing site of the synagogue is something to be treasured forever.

3. Visit the Mattanchery Market

A visit to the Mattanchery market and you will be instantly enraptured by the myriad of aesthetically pleasing items on trade. Exotic dry fruits, spices, and perfumes form a medley of absolute enchantment for a bystander. The shops, the traders, and the regular hustle and bustle of the market for some reason flashes the olden days where the foreign traders might have been making orders to the locals.

4. Visit the Jewish Quarter

A stroll down the old Jewish quarters will surely captivate you as you see the enthralling view of three structures distinguished by cultural barriers sharing a wall. As you glue to this ironic sight of a Dutch church, a temple and a synagogue sharing a wall, it’s evident what this place stands for- a mosaic of cultures existing in tandem with harmony..so difficult to picture and yet right in front of you, a feast for your eyes.

5. Visit Dutch Palace

The Dutch palace, however, is the quintessential feature of this beautiful place in Kerala. The structure built in traditional Kerala style of architecture with a courtyard was gifted to the king by the Portuguese as a token of apology for the destruction caused by a Portuguese soldier. It still stands today, now as an art gallery with murals depicting various scenes of Ramayana leaving the onlookers bewitched and awestruck.

6. Visit the Beach

The Fort Kochi beach is one of the best in the district without a doubt. The evenings are filled with families and tourists who visit the beach, the ice creams, the bright orange sunsets, and the therapeutic waves all make the experience worthwhile. There is also a beautiful Cherai beach near just little outside Kochi, you can see dolphins in here.

7. View the Chinese Fishing Nets

The Chinese fishing nets are essentially the face of Kochi tourism. It is believed to be set up by Chinese explorer Zheng at some time between 1350 AD and 1450 AD, these charming fishing nets are still widely used by fishermen and is one the biggest attractions of Fort Kochi. Also called Cheenavala in Malayalam, each net is a towering 10 meters high structure with a 20metre wide span. It has a unique geometry about it. The nets are operated with a cantilever beam and counterweight stones. It is this unique geometry that lends stability to this gigantic fishing net without a doubt.

You can see how the fishermen use the nets during the early morning time or evenings. These Chinese fishing nets standing tall against the bright orange sunset skies in the horizon is a picture-perfect portrait that is worthy of capturing eternally in the frames.

8. Visit the Kerala Kathakali Centre

To absorb the theatre essence of the rich cultural aspect of Kerala, a visit to the Kerala Kathakali Centre is a no-brainer. Located in the vicinity of the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, it proudly exhibits the age-old dance, music, and martial arts forms of the region. The performances, which exuberates the cultural elegance start around 6:00 PM every day and go on until 9:00 PM. Even if you have booked to watch the performance beforehand, do come half an hour early as the make-up and costume preparations are well and truly a feast for your eyes.

9. Visit Willingdon Island

Willingdon Island is the largest human-made island in India. It was named after the British viceroy Lord Willingdon. The island holds the much-needed link between the Kochi port and other national and international ports.

The island also serves as the headquarter for the southern naval command of India. Created by Sir Robert Bristow, a visionary harbor engineer, the island is significant as it is the habitat for the Port of Kochi, the Kochi Naval Base of the Indian Navy, and Central Institute of Fisheries Technology. If you ever visit Willingdon island, do visit the museum and its very alluring natural habitats.

10. Visit Veeranpuzha Lame and Backwaters

Veeranpuzha is a beautiful lake in Kochi along with a series of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Malabar coast. Which form beautiful backwaters. A tour on the backwaters on a traditional boat or a houseboat is definitely worth your time. The countless splendid view stretched to the infinity and beyond for you to observe and enjoy. The crystal clear blue of the waters and the skies. The coconut greenery and the gentle breeze playing with your hair are all the little things that you truly enjoy in these rides. If you ever visit Fort Kochi, never miss a trip by the backwaters.

HISTORY OF FORT KOCHI

The European name of Kochi – Cochin got its name from the Chinese settlers who came here back in the 1300s and set up the now-famous Chinese fishing nets. “Co-chin” translates to “like China”. Kochi had elaborate trade relations with Chinese and Arabic merchants. The region of Fort Kochi was primarily a fishing village under the Rajah of Kochi. Who granted the place to the Portuguese colonials after the army of Albuquerque helped the Cochins to defeat the royal army of Kozhikode. To establish their commercial and gradually administrative stronghold. The Portuguese constructed here Fort Emmanuel, and a wooden church called St Francis Church. After much demolition and renovation by the Dutch and later by the British, they are now popular tourist attractions ever since Kochi came under the government of independent India in 1947.

HOW TO REACH FORT KOCHI

The nearest airport is the Kochi international airport. From the airport, there is a direct shuttle bus service to Fort Kochi. You can also hire a taxi to go to Fort Kochi.

There is ferry service in the entire Mattancherry peninsula regularly. Between 5:00 AM and 9:50 PM, ferries run from Ernakulam’s main jetty to both the jetties of Fort Kochi – Customs and Mattancherry every 25-30 minutes. The fare is around INR 4-5 per person.

There are several railway stations quite near to Fort Kochi. But the Ernakulam South and North stations are the nearest. You can also use the metro rail to reach Fort Kochi. The nearest station is, however, the Maharajas Ground. After which you can board a private bus or taxi to reach Fort Kochi.

TIPS FOR VISITING FORT KOCHI

  • The locals here are very welcoming. They often give you the best experience at reasonable costs.
  • The seafood at Fort Kochi is the best and one of its kind. It would be a crime not to try the infamous delicious pearlfish fry when you visit the Fort Kochi.
  • There are several homestays and hotels nearby that provide excellent service at a low price.
  • You can easily get a taxi or choose to walk while you are exploring this place. It is better to have a guide as you may not want to miss any place as each spot. Fort Kochi exuberates pure splendor.

Those are a few important things that might help you to explore this amazing place in a much better way.

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Fort cochin (kochi) travel guide: the best places to visit, stay and eat.

tourism in fort kochi

Fort Cochin (Kochi) Travel Guide – The Gateway to Kerala.

Why Go: Kerala has attracted travellers, explorers and traders from all over the world for centuries, drawn to this slice of tropical South India by spices and Fort Cochin (Kochi) is the best place to see this rich multicultural heritage and start exploring the rest of Kerala, known as “ God’s own Country”

The lucrative spice trade bought first Chinese and Arabian traders to Kerala’s shores and then later the Portuguese, Dutch and British and so Fort Cochin became a cultural melting pot and one of the biggest delights is just wandering and exploring the atmospheric old streets, the mosque, the synagogue, temples and churches, the colourful houses and shops in Jew town and the picturesque Chinese fishing nets and soaking up Cochin’s colourful history.

Daily Flashpacker Budget for Cochin: 1,000 – 2,000 Rupees a day (US$ 15 – 25 )

tourism in fort kochi

Top Things to do in Fort Cochin

Where’s the Fort? Fort Cochin, as the name suggests, did used to have a large fort in the area around where the Chinese fishing nets and Mattancherry Palace. Even though you can no longer actually see the Fort in Fort Cochin this is still the most interesting part to explore.

Chinese Fishing Nets – On the shore at the tip of Fort Cochin these huge spider like cantilever contraptions are the iconic emblem of Cochin. These impressive nets are a legacy from Chinese traders from 1400 and require at least 4 people to operate.  The Chinese fishing nets are at their most photogenic at sunset and, even though modern fishing methods and a lack of fish here have made these nets mostly redundant, you can still see them in operation and even try it yourself (they will ask for money of course!) You can also stroll along the shore front and inspect the catch and if you are feeling hungry they will be happy to cook up your purchases.

Colourful Jew Town in historic Fort Cochin

Pardesi Synagogue and Jew Town –  The small but enchantingly beautiful over 400 year old Jewish synagogue in Fort Cochin features a small exhibition of paintings describing the role the Jews played in Cochin and beautiful chandeliers and tiling. The synagogue is right in the middle of Jew town and the bustling, colourful old port area, one of the most atmospheric parts of Fort Cochin, many of the old spice warehouses are now shops catering to tourists selling spices, antiques, nick nacks, colourful shawls and handicrafts but it’s still a nice place to wander and a great place to shop for souvenirs.

Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace) –  In the heart of Jew Town, Mattancherry Palace, is now a small but interesting museum. Mattancherry was presented as a goodwill gift from the Portuguese in 1555 to the Raja of Kochi, probably to sweeten up trading privileges. It is also known as the Dutch Palace after it was renovated by the Dutch in 1663 and the wooden palace has some interesting exhibits that help bring to life the multicultural history of Cochin but the most impressive is the intricate and well preserved Hindu murals depicting the famous epic of the Ramayana.

Kathakali Dancer

Watch a Kathakali Dance –  Kerala’s famous traditional dance form dates back to the 17th century and is as enchanting as it is unique. The colourful, elaborate make up and costumes and incredible facial expressions provide a fascinating experience, although its probably better to opt for a touristy performance as traditionally the performance can last for many hours and can be hard to follow at first. The Kerala Kathakali Center has nightly performances where you also see the make up being applied and get a demonstration of the different, subtle but fascinating movements and facial expressions.

Kerala Folklore Museum –  This museum is on the outskirts of modern Kochi city but worth the effort. The museum has been created from a huge and amazing private collection of Keralan antiquities and artefacts from Malabar, Travancore and Kochi and is housed in a towering, charming, traditional style wooden Keralan Palace which was purpose built to hold the amazing collection. They also hold performances in the upstairs room. A rickshaw to get here should cost about 150 – 200 rupees.

Cherai Beach (Vypeen Island) –  A short ferry journey from Fort Cochin takes you to Vypeen Island where a sandy stretch of beach is perfect for a beach day and escape from the city. You can also stay here at the Cherai Beach Resort.

Kerala folklore museum

Because of the abundant supply of spices and medicinal plants Kerala is the home of Ayurveda , an ancient, natural healing science that has been practiced in India for over 5000 years. Fort Cochin is a perfect place to try a relaxing Ayurvedic massage at a spa or hotel. You can also try  cooking classes and while in Kerala also make sure to see a performance of Kalarippayat – one of the oldest martial arts in the world.

Don’t miss taking a look at the grand Santa Cruz Basilica,  the Dutch Cemetery and St Francis Church, which is believed to be India’s oldest European church dating back to 1503 and was once the resting place of famous Portuguese explorer  Vasca da Gama.

Offbeat Secrets and Tours of Fort Cochin

Fort Cochin is a joy to explore by simply wandering around but to discover more about the history of the city and some off beat secrets slightly outside goMowgli (India’s first hop on hop off backpacker bus) also run a great off beat Cochin city tour . They take you to the both the popular spots (including the amazing but out of the way Kerala Folklore Museum) and also outside Kochi to witness a real, authentic, bustling fishing village where you can witness the fascinating comings and goings and the fish being auctioned and sold off from the boats to the markets and explore the nearby idyllic backwater villages and paddy fields, including seeing real and working Chinese fishing nets.

Visiting this fishing village was the highlight of my time in Kochi but the locals wanted me to keep it a secret and not reveal the name of the village so that it is not flooded with tourists. Find out more about the fishing village here or book an offbeat Cochin city tour with goMowgli to go and see it for yourself.  You can also check out my review of goMowgli. 

Offbeat secrets! Exploring a fishing village in Kerala on a goMowgli tour

Where to stay in Fort Cochin

The main town of Kochi is a modern and reasonably hectic large Indian city, most visitors choose to stay in the much more serene Fort Cochin area near to the places of interest where there is plenty of accommodation for all price ranges, from sociable backpacker hostels, to family run homestays to some wonderful heritage, boutique hotels.

Save: Hostels in Fort Cochin

A handful of backpacker hostels have opened up in Fort Cochin over the last few years and offer a sociable atmosphere and a great way to meet other travellers. Try Maritime by The Hostel Crowd ,   Vedanta Wake Up or the cute Happy Camper Hostel . 

There are also more budget guesthouses and homestays clustered around Princess Street where you can find cheap rooms from about 500 rupees – try  Jojies Homestay , great because it also has a shared kitchen and lounge where you can met other guests, Tom’s Old Mansion  in a nice old colonial building or  Dream Catcher Homestay   situated in an old Portuguese house with a sociable atmosphere and yoga and meditation classes.

Also check out The Best Backpacker Hostels in Kerala

Splurge: Hotels in Fort Cochin

Fort Cochin has a great selection of characterful, heritage hotels and is probably the best place to splash out in Kerala.   Malabar House is one of the finest hotels in Kerala that blends a hip and modern design with heritage character. Brunton Boatyard is an imposing colonial building situated right on the backwaters and in the heart of Jew Town where the rooms and the pool have views over the backwaters or try The Old Harbour Hotel, another lovely heritage building in a great location but with a more intimate feel.

I’ve visited Kerala and Cochin 3 times now but when I visited as part of the Kerala Blog Express I was lucky enough to stay in luxury resorts all across Kerala! If you want to splash out then check out my recommendations of the best luxury resorts and hotels in Kerala. 

Brunton Boatyard Hotel in Fort Cochin

Where to eat in Fort Cochin

The Jew Town area of Fort Cochin has many traveller orientated restaurants and cafes with  mixed menu of all the Indian, Chinese and Western traveller favourites and you can also buy fresh seafood and street food along the shore by the Chinese fishing nets.

The government of Kerala keeps threatening to make Kerala a dry state and there are strict restrictions of the sale of alcohol meaning that it can be hard to find a drink outside the up market hotels although some places may be able to serve you a ‘ special tea’ (beer hidden in a tea cup).

Some of the best restaurants in Fort Cochin are:

Ginger House –  A cute, chilled out waterfront restaurant lies behind an old merchants shop packed with kitshy antiques and a huge wooden boat in the heart of Jew Town.

Fusion  Bay serves great value food with good seafood and imaginative Kerala fusion dishes.

Kashi Art Café  – a popular place for coffee, breakfast or lunch in the nice courtyard surrounded by art work from local artists.

Dal Roti – is a great cheap joint for a quick meal of tasty North Indian food.

XL – this slightly dingy beer bar serves reasonable priced Kingfishers and OK food.

Pepper House Cafe serves light lunches, drink and snacks in the cute courtyard setting of this waterfront heritage property. It will also soon include a gallery, art studios and event spaces.

Xandari Harbour, Old Harbour Hotel, Malabar Junction and Korder House  are also great options for upmarket dinning (and serve beer and wine) in a nice, waterfront, heritage setting.

Traditional Kerala Thali

How to get to Fort Cochin

The nearest airport to Fort Cochin is Kochi Airpor t, about an hour’s drive away, which is well connected both domestically and internationally.

The main train station is called Ernakulam  which is over in the mainland part of Kochi city and is well connected to the rest of Kerala and India. Kerala is also well served by cheap local buses, fine for short journeys however, for long overnight journey you may want to book a Volvo AC bus for more comfort.

See here how to book train tickets and tips for traveling by train in India. 

Where Next:

Kerala is most famous for it’s tropical backwaters and cruising along these waterways is an essential Kerala experience that can’t be missed. Alleppey (Alappuzha) , is the gateway to the backwaters but you can also arrange a backwater trip (possible as a day trip as well as overnight trips) from Fort Cochin.

Explore the rest of God’s own Country – head up to the tea plantations in the hill station of Munnar, Wayanad or Periyar National Park

Head to the beach resorts of Varkala and Kovalam .

See more in my Guide to Kerala

Travel Guide to Cochin - Your Gateway to Kerala, India

A Flashpacker’s Guide to Kerala

10 Reasons to Visit Kerala

Cruising the Kerala Backwaters

How to enjoy the Kerala Backwaters on a Budget

Why Kerala is a Perfect Introduction to India.

A Flashpacker’s Guide to Varkala 

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Fort Kochi was our first destination in India! It was a nice introduction because it’s not crowded or busy like other places in India. The Kathakali performance was a highlight. I would recommend the Immanuel Homestay for a budget option – about $6 USD a night for a private double room and bathroom. Comes with a lovely family with two cute kids!

Glad you liked Kochi – it’s pretty chilled isn’t it and the Kathakali dance is a must do! Thanks for the tip for Immanuel Homestay too 🙂

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Great post Anna

Thanks for sharing your tips and experience about Kochi.

Thanks Hitesh – Kochi is a lovely place to visit

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Wow! Sounds like a quite an adventurous you had! Kochi is a gem of Kerala, so much cultural wealth and natural beauty.

I also wrote a guide post on my trip to Kochi, not awesome as yours but you might some nuggets here as well.

http://triplyzer.com/india/kochi-old-colonial-charm-kerala/

Thanks Vidyut I loved Kerala

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Thank you for your post! I am planning a solo trip to Kerala in Feb next year and am sure your posts will be much helpful 🙂 Cheers!

Great! Glad my blog helped 🙂

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I am collecting various informations for travelling to Kerala. Thanks for sharing this travel tip. Keep up the good post

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tourism in fort kochi

🗓 Best Time To Visit: October to February

⏰ Open Hours: 24 hours

🎒 Things To Do: Visit St. Francis Church, Explore Chinese Fishing Nets, Visit Kochi Beach, Explore the Kochi Fort

💰 Budget: No entry fees, budget depends on personal expenses

👥 Traveller Types: Families, Solo Travelers, History Buffs, Photo Fanatics

📍 Known For: Historical landmarks, Colonial Architecture, Beautiful Beaches, Unique Chinese fishing nets

🚅 Distances: 13 km from Ernakulam Junction Railway Station, 44 km from Cochin International Airport, 20 km from Cochin City Centre

🍽️ Local Cuisine: Try local delicacies like Appam, Kerala Sadya, Seafood

🏛️ Historic Sites: St. Francis Church, Dutch Cemetery, Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

🖼️ Museums: Kerala Folklore Museum, Indo-Portuguese Museum

🛍️ Shopping: Buy spices, handicrafts, traditional Kerala sarees from local markets

🎑 Scenic Beauty: Picturesque views of Arabian Sea, lush greenery, sunset at Kochi Beach

📸 Photography Spots: Chinese Fishing Nets, Kochi Beach, Colonial Buildings

💡 Tips: Respect local customs and traditions, Avoid littering, Be aware of touts

👟 Walking Tours: Explore the colonial history and culture through walking tours in Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is a charming and historic destination that offers a glimpse into the rich and diverse heritage of Kerala.

Located on the western coast of India, Fort Kochi is often known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’ for its scenic beauty and strategic importance.

Fort Kochi has been a melting pot of cultures for centuries, as it was influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch, British, Chinese, Jewish, and Arab traders who visited or settled here.

Today, Fort Kochi is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that attracts visitors from all over the world with its unique attractions, activities, cuisine, festivals, and art.

Photo of Fort Kochi 1/11 by

If you are looking for a memorable and enriching vacation in Kerala, Fort Kochi is a perfect choice. Whether you are interested in history, culture, architecture, nature, or food, Fort Kochi has something for everyone.

In this guide, we will show you the best things to do, places to see, how to get there, where to stay, and more in Fort Kochi.

So, get ready to explore this fascinating city with us and discover why it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.

You may also like to read: Mission Fort Kochi- A thorough guide through it's streets and history.

Best Time To Visit Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is a year-round destination that can be enjoyed in any season. However, if you want to experience the best weather and avoid the crowds, the ideal months to visit Fort Kochi are October to March .

During this time, the climate is pleasant and cool, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 32°C.

You can also witness some of the major festivals of Kerala, such as Onam, Navratri, Christmas, and Cochin Carnival . These festivals showcase the rich culture and traditions of Fort Kochi and Kerala, and offer a lot of fun and entertainment for visitors.

Photo of Fort Kochi 2/11 by

You can also indulge in various activities such as boat cruise, beach walk, fishing, sun bath, sand castles building, dolphin sighting, and swimming at the Fort Kochi Beach.

If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, you can also visit Fort Kochi during the monsoon season (June to September) , when the prices are lower and the scenery is greener. However, be prepared for heavy rains and high humidity during this time.

Things to Do in Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is a place where you can experience the best of Kerala’s culture and heritage. There are plenty of things to do in Fort Kochi that will keep you entertained and engaged throughout your stay. Here are some of the top activities that you should not miss in Fort Kochi:

Photo of Fort Kochi 3/11 by

Watch the Chinese Fishing Nets at Sunset:

One of the most iconic sights of Fort Kochi is the Chinese Fishing Nets that line the shore. These are large wooden structures that operate on a cantilever system and are lowered into the water to catch fish.

They are believed to have been introduced by Chinese traders in the 14th century and are still used by local fishermen today.

The best time to see them in action is at sunset, when the sky turns into a riot of colors and the nets create a stunning silhouette against the horizon.

You can also buy fresh fish from the fishermen and have it cooked at nearby stalls.

Photo of Fort Kochi 4/11 by

Experience the Kathakali Dance Drama at Kerala Kathakali Centre:

If you want to witness the traditional dance drama of Kerala, head to the Kerala Kathakali Centre where you can watch a live performance of Kathakali.

Kathakali is a classical art form that combines elaborate costumes, makeup, gestures, music, and storytelling to depict stories from Hindu epics.

The performers undergo rigorous training and preparation to master this complex and expressive art form.

At the Kerala Kathakali Centre, you can also see other cultural shows such as martial arts, classical music, and puppetry.

Photo of Fort Kochi 5/11 by

Explore the Colonial Architecture and Heritage of Fort Kochi:

Fort Kochi is a treasure trove of colonial architecture and heritage that reflects its past as a trading port and a settlement of various European powers.

You can admire the Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences on the buildings, churches, cemeteries, palaces, museums, and streets of Fort Kochi.

Some of the notable landmarks that you should visit are Santa Cruz Basilica, St Francis Church, Mattancherry Palace, Paradesi Synagogue, Dutch Cemetery , Indo-Portuguese Museum , and David Hall Gallery . You can also take a guided walking tour or a tuk-tuk tour to learn more about the history and culture of Fort Kochi.

Photo of Fort Kochi 6/11 by

Shop for Antiques and Souvenirs at Jew Town:

If you love shopping for antiques and souvenirs, you will enjoy exploring Jew Town, a historic area that was once home to a thriving Jewish community. Today, Jew Town is a bustling market that sells a variety of items such as spices, handicrafts, jewelry, textiles, furniture, lamps, paintings, books, and more. You can find some rare and unique pieces here that will make great gifts or mementos of your trip. You can also visit the Paradesi Synagogue , the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth nations, which is located in Jew Town.

Photo of Fort Kochi 7/11 by

Taste the Authentic Kerala Cuisine at Local Restaurants:

No trip to Fort Kochi is complete without tasting the authentic Kerala cuisine that is famous for its spicy and flavorful dishes. You can find a range of restaurants and eateries that serve delicious Kerala food such as appam (rice pancake), puttu (steamed rice cake), idiyappam (rice noodles), dosa (rice crepe), sambar (lentil stew), avial (mixed vegetable curry), fish molee (fish curry), karimeen pollichathu (fried fish), beef fry (spicy beef dish), parotta (layered bread), and more. You can also try the local snacks such as banana chips, pazham pori (banana fritters), and achappam (rice flour cookies). Don’t forget to end your meal with a cup of hot Kerala tea or coffee.

Photo of Fort Kochi 8/11 by

Enjoy the Beach Activities and Festivals at Fort Kochi Beach:

If you are looking for some fun and relaxation, head to the Fort Kochi Beach where you can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea. You can indulge in various activities such as boat cruise, beach walk, fishing, sun bath, sand castles building, dolphin sighting, and swimming. You can also witness the annual Kochi Carnival that takes place every year on the white sands of the Fort Kochi Beach . The carnival is a colorful and lively celebration that features parades, dances, music, games, competitions, and fireworks. It is a great way to experience the festive spirit of Fort Kochi.

Visit the Maritime Museum and Learn about the Indian Navy:

If you are interested in learning about the history and achievements of the Indian Navy, you should visit the Maritime Museum in Fort Kochi . The museum displays various exhibits such as antique pistols, navy warships, aircraft carriers, medals, uniforms, and photographs that showcase the naval heritage of India. You can also see a special section dedicated to post-independence naval victories, which include Junagadh Operation, Goa Liberation, Indo-Pak Conflicts of 1965 and 1971, Operation Cactus, Operation Pawan, and Kargil War.

Photo of Fort Kochi 9/11 by

Admire the Art and Culture at Kashi Art Gallery and David Hall Gallery:

If you are an art lover, you will be delighted by the art and culture scene in Fort Kochi. You can visit the Kashi Art Gallery and David Hall Gallery, two of the most prominent contemporary art galleries in Fort Kochi that exhibit local and international artists. You can see a variety of artworks such as paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, and videos that reflect the creative and diverse expressions of Fort Kochi. You can also enjoy a cup of coffee or a bite to eat at the cafes attached to the galleries.

Relax and Rejuvenate at an Ayurvedic Spa or Yoga Centre:

If you want to pamper yourself and rejuvenate your body and mind, you can visit an Ayurvedic Spa or a Yoga Centre in Fort Kochi . Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that uses natural herbs and oils to treat various ailments and promote wellness. You can choose from a range of treatments such as massages, facials, scrubs, wraps, steam baths, and more that will make you feel refreshed and revitalized. Yoga is a practice that combines physical poses, breathing exercises, and meditation to improve your health and happiness. You can join a yoga class or a workshop that will teach you the basics or advanced techniques of yoga.

Places to See in and around Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is not only a destination in itself but also a gateway to many other attractions in and around Kochi. You can easily take a day trip or a short excursion to some of these places that will enrich your experience of Kerala. Here are some of the places that you should see in and around Fort Kochi:

Photo of Fort Kochi 10/11 by

Chinese Fishing Nets: One of the most iconic sights of Fort Kochi is the Chinese Fishing Nets that line the shore. These are large wooden structures that operate on a cantilever system and are lowered into the water to catch fish. They are believed to have been introduced by Chinese traders in the 14th century and are still used by local fishermen today. The best time to see them in action is at sunset, when the sky turns into a riot of colors and the nets create a stunning silhouette against the horizon. You can also buy fresh fish from the fishermen and have it cooked at nearby stalls.

St Francis Church: The oldest European church in India and the burial site of Vasco da Gama

Santa Cruz Basilica: A Gothic-Style Church with Artistic Grandeur

Mattancherry Palace: A Museum that Showcases the History and Art of Kerala’s Royal Families

Paradesi Synagogue: The Oldest Active Synagogue in the Commonwealth Nations

Dutch Cemetery: The Final Resting Place of Many European Colonists

Indo-Portuguese Museum: A Museum that Preserves the Portuguese Influence on Fort Kochi’s Art and Architecture

Vypeen Island: An Island that Offers Scenic Views, Beaches, Lighthouses, and Fishing Villages

Cherai Beach: A Serene Beach that Offers a Scenic View and Natural Beauty

How to Get to Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is easily accessible from various locations by different modes of transportation. You can choose the one that suits your budget, time, and convenience. Here are some of the ways to get to Fort Kochi:

By Air: The nearest airport to Fort Kochi is Cochin International Airport , which is about 36 kilometers away. You can take a taxi, a bus, or a metro from the airport to Fort Kochi. The taxi fare is around Rs. 800-1000 , the bus fare is around Rs. 100-150, and the metro fare is around Rs. 50-70 . The travel time is about an hour by taxi or metro and about two hours by bus.

By Train: The nearest railway station to Fort Kochi is Ernakulam Junction , which is about 12 kilometers away. You can take a taxi, a bus, or a ferry from the railway station to Fort Kochi. The taxi fare is around Rs. 300-400 , the bus fare is around Rs. 20-30 , and the ferry fare is around Rs. 5-10 . The travel time is about half an hour by taxi or ferry and about an hour by bus.

By Bus: There are regular buses that connect Fort Kochi with other cities in Kerala and neighboring states. You can find buses from KSRTC Bus Stand or Vyttila Mobility Hub in Ernakulam to Fort Kochi. The bus fare is around Rs. 20-30 and the travel time is about an hour.

By Ferry: One of the most scenic and enjoyable ways to get to Fort Kochi is by ferry. You can take a ferry from Ernakulam Jetty or Vypin Jetty to Fort Kochi Jetty. The ferry fare is around Rs. 5-10 and the travel time is about 15-20 minutes. You can also enjoy the view of the backwaters, the islands, and the Chinese Fishing Nets along the way.

Where to Stay in Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi offers a range of accommodation options for every budget, preference, and style. You can find hotels, resorts, homestays, hostels, guesthouses, and heritage properties that cater to your needs and expectations. Here are some of the suggestions for where to stay in Fort Kochi:

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Hotel Forte Kochi:

If you are looking for a luxury and heritage hotel in Fort Kochi, you can book a room at Hotel Forte Kochi . This hotel is located in a restored Portuguese mansion that dates back to the 16th century. It offers spacious and elegant rooms with modern amenities, a rooftop pool, a restaurant, a spa, and a garden. It is also close to many attractions such as Santa Cruz Basilica, St Francis Church, and Chinese Fishing Nets.

Brunton Boatyard:

Another option for a luxury and heritage hotel in Fort Kochi is Brunton Boatyard . This hotel is located in a former shipyard that was built by the British in the 19th century. It offers cozy and comfortable rooms with colonial decor, a swimming pool, a restaurant, a bar, and a library. It also offers a stunning view of the harbor and the sea.

Costa Gama Homestay:

If you are looking for a budget and homely accommodation in Fort Kochi, you can book a room at Costa Gama Homestay . This homestay is run by a friendly and helpful family that will make you feel at home. It offers clean and cozy rooms with basic amenities, a common kitchen, a terrace, and a garden. It is also close to many attractions such as Mattancherry Palace, Paradesi Synagogue, and Jew Town.

Zostel Kochi:

If you are looking for a backpacker and social accommodation in Fort Kochi, you can book a bed at Zostel Kochi . This hostel is located in a colorful and quirky building that has a graffiti wall, a mural staircase, and a rooftop cafe. It offers dorms and private rooms with funky decor, free wifi, lockers, and laundry facilities. It also organizes activities such as walking tours, pub crawls, movie nights, and games.

You may also like to read: Fort Kochi, Kerala: Quaint & Beautiful

Fort Kochi is a destination that will captivate you with its charm and diversity. It is a place where you can experience the best of Kerala’s culture and heritage in one city. Whether you want to explore the colonial architecture, watch the traditional dance drama, shop for antiques, taste the spicy cuisine, or enjoy the beach activities, Fort Kochi has it all.

We hope you enjoyed this guide to Fort Kochi and found it useful for planning your trip. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading and happy travels!

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Fort Kochi Tourism

Fort Kochi is a seaside town in the south-western part of Main Kochi which is known for its old-world colonial charm. The place still holds on to every single cultural change it has gone through over the centuries. We can see the remnants of British rule all over the country. The tourists' flock hear all around the year to have a glimpse of how Portuguese or Dutch colonialism affected parts of our country.

This quaint city is dotted with European structures and has an overall ambience that keeps reminding you of the colonial powers that once ruled over the place. Till date, it has the vibe of an ancient colonial city with its toy-town like streets, colourful and charming buildings and a picturesque view out at the beach - much like the small towns of southern Europe.

Top Places To Visit In Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi Beach

Fort Kochi Beach

Chinese Fishing Nets

Chinese Fishing Nets

St Francis Church Kochi

St Francis Church Kochi

Kerala Kathakali Centre

Kerala Kathakali Centre

Kashi Art Cafe

Kashi Art Cafe

Mattancherry Palace

Mattancherry Palace

Kochi Travel Packages

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THE 10 BEST Fort Kochi Tours & Excursions

Fort kochi tours.

  • Sightseeing Tours
  • Multi-day Tours
  • Private Tours
  • Ports of Call Tours
  • Cultural Tours
  • Historical & Heritage Tours
  • Walking Tours
  • Archaeology Tours
  • Coffee & Tea Tours
  • Literary, Art & Music Tours
  • Up to 1 hour
  • 1 to 4 hours
  • 4 hours to 1 day
  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3.0 of 5 bubbles & up
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  • Likely to Sell Out
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  • The ranking of tours, activities, and experiences available on Tripadvisor is determined by several factors including the revenue generated by Tripadvisor from these bookings, the frequency of user clicks, and the volume and quality of customer reviews. Occasionally, newly listed offerings may be prioritized and appear higher in the list. The specific placement of these new listings may vary.

tourism in fort kochi

1. Full Day Backwater Village Punting Boat Cruise

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2. Half Day Village Backwater Eco Country Boat Cruise :Group Tour from Fort Cochin

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3. 3 Nights 4 Days Munnar Alleppey Private Tour with Exclusive Houseboat Stay

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4. Funny and helpful Tuk Tuk Tour in Kochin

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5. Kochi Private Tour: Overnight Alleppey Backwaters Houseboat Cruise

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6. Kochi city Tour - A private guided tour in kochi with hotel up !

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7. Highlights of Cochin Group Tour by Local Ferry ,Tuc-Tuc ,Local Bus and Foot .

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8. LITTLE KOCHI TUK-TUK TOURS With Pickup from Cruise Ships

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9. KOCHI LOCAL SIGHTSEEING TUK-TUK Tours

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10. 4 Hour Private Tuk Tuk Tour in Kochi From Cruise terminal

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11. Friendly, flexible Kochi Tuk Tuk Tour - fixed price

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12. Kochi Stories Group Tour

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13. Kochi Tuk-Tuk Tour with Pickup From Cruise Ships

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14. Fort Kochi Local Sightseeing Tour

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15. 5 Days Private Kerala Tour Package by Saffron India Tours

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16. Private Customizable Local Kochi Sightseeing Tour by Tuktuk

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17. God's Own Country - KERALA (8 Days private trip)

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18. 3-4 hours Kochi Tuk-Tuk Tour with Pickup from Cruise Ships

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19. Fort Kochi Tuk Tuk Tour

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20. Tuk tuk tour in kochi - Discover the Cultural experiences of kochi with a local!

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21. 5 Days Budget Kerala Tour Packages

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22. Tuk Tuk Cochin Tour

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23. Kochi Private Guided (Taxi car ) Mattancherry with a local and free hotel pickup

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24. Deep South of India - Kerala and Tamil Nadul

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25. Kochi Half Day City Tour

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26. Multi Day Private Guided Tour of Kerala from Kochi by Car

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27. Kochi Tuk Tuk Tours

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28. experience AYURVEDA massage in fort kochi

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29. Group Shore Excursion from Cochin Port

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30. Pocket Friendly Package

What travelers are saying.

Tim Plater

  • Half Day Village Backwater Eco Country Boat Cruise :Group Tour from Fort Cochin
  • Full Day Backwater Village Punting Boat Cruise
  • Funny and helpful Tuk Tuk Tour in Kochin
  • 3 Nights 4 Days Munnar Alleppey Private Tour with Exclusive Houseboat Stay
  • Cochin Shore Excursions from Cruise Terminal
  • Gully Tours
  • Gods Own Kochi Tuk Tuk Tour
  • Forte Kochi Tuk-Tuk Tour
  • Remarkable Tuk Tuk Tours
  • Maheen Kochi tuktuk tours.
  • Kalypso Adventures

IMAGES

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  2. Fort Kochi Beach

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  4. Kochi in Kerala, (Cochin), Visit Fort, Kochi Tourism

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  5. Explore colonial Fort Kochi

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. 15 Amazing Things to Do in Fort Kochi (Cochin) & Mattancherry (2024)!

    Dhobi Khana in Fort Kochi is one of the local things to do in Fort Kochi. 7. Go shopping in Jew Town and visit the Paradesi Synagogue. Jew Town in Mattancherry is where a community of Cochin Jews used to live in the area.

  2. Best Places to Visit in Fort Kochi

    Even though there are many places to see in Kochi, historical significance is the main attraction of Fort Kochi among tourists. The St. Francis Church built by the Portuguese is the oldest European church in India. Not only that, you can see the tombstone of Vasco-Da Gama who was buried in this church. Before the Portuguese rule, the Chinese ...

  3. 16 Things to Do in Fort Kochi (Cochin), Kerala

    How to get around Fort Kochi. Fort Kochi is pretty walkable, but Jew Town is a little further away from the main tourist attractions (3 km / 1.1 mi). If you don't feel like walking, you can get around this town by: Auto-Rickshaw: The easiest way to get around Fort Kochi is by taking an auto-rickshaw. You will find these nearly everywhere.

  4. Fort Kochi in Ernakulam

    Fort Kochi in Ernakulam district of Kerala is the first European township in India. Chinese fishing nets along the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow etc. are some of the major attractions in Fort Kochi ... St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow etc. are some of the major ...

  5. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Fort Kochi

    5. Crafters Antique Shop. 1. Antique Shops. 6. Induz Ayur Care. 97. Spas. Induz Ayur Care is located in Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala one of the leading ayurveda treatment centres and provider of Kerala traditional body massages by trained and certified therapists under the supervision of ayurveda doctors.

  6. 30 best things to do in Fort Kochi

    23. Visit the Kerala Folklore Museum - one of the places around Fort Kochi. The Kerala Folklore Museum is one of the hidden attractions in Kochi - just a few kilometers away from Fort Kochi. The museum is housed in a beautiful traditional Kerala - styled building, and the exhibits are spread over three floors.

  7. Things To Do in Fort Kochi

    Fort Kochi is an iconic and historic area of Kochi (), in the southern state of India, Kerala.The state is known for its natural beauty in the form of its romantic backwaters, gorgeous beaches, lush forests, waterfalls, and much more. We take a look at some of the amazing things to do in Fort Kochi in this ultimate guide to Fort Kochi where we look not only at the best things to do in Fort ...

  8. 21 Best Things To Do In Fort Kochi, India

    The easiest way to get to Fort Kochi is by flying in to the Cochin International Airport (the airport itself is a thing of beauty) and then taking a taxi to Fort Kochi. The taxi ride takes about 1.5 hours and costs 1200 INR by Uber and 1400 INR by prepaid taxi.

  9. 25 Best Things to do in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry in One Day

    Most of these are now part of the tourist circuit in Fort Kochi. Exploring Fort Kochi HISTORY OF FORT KOCHI. Fort Kochi was a fishing village in pre-colonial Kerala. The Portuguese arrived in 1498 during the Age of Discovery, and the Cochin king allowed the Portuguese to settle in the Fort Kochi area for 160 years. ...

  10. An all-round guide to exploring Fort Kochi

    The history. Fort Kochi was a pre-colonial fishing village that was granted to the Portuguese in the 1500s. The place got its name because of a 'fort' that the Portuguese built here that was later destroyed, along with a few other structures, by the Dutch when they took over in 1683. The British defeated the Dutch in 1795 and ruled Fort Kochi ...

  11. Exploring the Cultural Heritage of Fort Kochi: History, Landmarks

    To explore the historical legacy of Fort Kochi, travelers can visit the iconic landmarks like St. Francis Church, the Dutch Palace, and the Chinese Fishing Nets. Guided tours and cultural performances, such as Kathakali dance shows, provide valuable insights into the town's fascinating history and heritage.

  12. 11 Best Places to Visit in Fort Kochi

    4. St Francis Church Kochi. 4.6 /5. 4 out of 11 places to visit in Fort Kochi. St. Francis Church in Kochi, which finely exhibits Portuguese architecture, is believed to be one of a kind amongst all the European churches which were constructed in India. It was constructed in the 15th century by the Portuguese traders.

  13. 15 Best Things to Do in Fort Kochi in One Day: Complete Travel Guide

    Best Time to Visit Kochi. The Best Time to Visit Kochi surely depends on what you are looking for! Kerala is a year-round destination and you can visit it any time during the year but October to March will be the best time to visit Kochi as the weather will be pleasant.Temperatures range between 17 degrees Celsius and 33 degrees Celsius with little rain.

  14. 15 Places to Visit in Fort Kochi

    Fort Kochi Tourist Places. Jew Town, Paradesi Synagogue, Pallipuram Fort, Vypeen Island, Bolgatty Palace, Dutch Cemetery, Kerala Kathakali Centre, Fort Kochi Beach, Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Vypeen Island, Fort Immanuel and many more Fort Kochi tourist places. Rightly considered as one of the most preferred holiday destinations in God's ...

  15. Places to Visit in Fort Kochi

    1. Antique Shops. 5. Induz Ayur Care. 97. Spas. Induz Ayur Care is located in Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala one of the leading ayurveda treatment centres and provider of Kerala traditional body massages by trained and certified therapists under the supervision of ayurveda doctors. See full details. 2023.

  16. Complete Travel Guide

    10. Visit Veeranpuzha Lame and Backwaters. 1. Visit St. Francis Church. Fort Kochi is many things but for many, it's a time-traveling companion. Studded with architecturally exquisite structures of the time long forgotten, this mesmerizing location takes you back through history, literally and metaphorically.

  17. Fort Kochi, India 2024: All You Need to Know Before You Go

    Private Customizable Local Kochi Sightseeing Tour by Tuktuk. 22. from $15 per adult. Fort Kochi Tuk Tuk Tour. 13. from $9 per adult. Tuk tuk tour in kochi - Discover the Cultural experiences of kochi with a local! 7. from $20 per adult.

  18. Fort Cochin (Kochi) Travel Guide: The Best Places to Visit, Stay and

    Fort Cochin (Kochi) Travel Guide - The Gateway to Kerala. Why Go: Kerala has attracted travellers, explorers and traders from all over the world for centuries, drawn to this slice of tropical South India by spices and Fort Cochin (Kochi) is the best place to see this rich multicultural heritage and start exploring the rest of Kerala, known as "God's own Country"

  19. Fort Kochi: A Complete Travel Guide To The Queen of The ...

    The bus fare is around Rs. 20-30 and the travel time is about an hour. By Ferry: One of the most scenic and enjoyable ways to get to Fort Kochi is by ferry. You can take a ferry from Ernakulam Jetty or Vypin Jetty to Fort Kochi Jetty. The ferry fare is around Rs. 5-10 and the travel time is about 15-20 minutes.

  20. Fort Kochi,Kochi, Kerala Tourism (2020)

    Fort Kochi; Places to visit . 1. Fort Kochi Beach 2. Chinese Fishing Nets 3. St Francis Church Kochi 4. Kerala Kathakali Centre 5. Kashi Art Cafe 6. Mattancherry Palace All Tourist Places . Kochi Tourism; Hotels in Fort Kochi

  21. Fort Kochi

    Fort Kochi (/fɔːt koʊtʃiː/; ... Fort Kochi is rich in heritage and culture, and is a prominent tourist destination for both domestic and international travellers- being ranked as ninth among the top 25 in National Geographic's Top Tourist Destinations To Explore In 2020.

  22. A Curated Guide to Kochi

    A morning tuk-tuk ride to the bus station from Fort Kochi cost us Rs. 250 (25 minutes travel time), and the bus journey to Munnar was 6 hours. Note that the bus station is really run down in comparison to the train stations of Kerala, but there are a few chai and food places inside and shops to pick up snacks. If unsure about the bus time or ...

  23. THE 10 BEST Fort Kochi Tours & Excursions

    Tours. Top Fort Kochi Tours: See reviews and photos of tours in Fort Kochi, India on Tripadvisor.