10 Best Backwaters Destinations In Kerala

Kerala’s popularity as a tourist destination can be attributed to its wonderful tropical climate, Ayurveda, wildlife, forts, and, most of all, backwaters. The backwater destinations in Kerala present a spectacular sight, flanked by palm trees whose reflections form a perfect image on the clear waters.

The best way of exploring the backwaters, however, is on a houseboat, also known as “kettuvallam”. Traditionally used for transporting rice, spices, and passengers, they take you to the otherwise inaccessible hinterlands of the state. At night, when the surroundings are bathed in blue, the perfect silence is interrupted by the rhythmic sound of the paddles. The sweetness of such moments stays on for a long time. If you have not visited the backwaters of Kerala, you have missed out on an incredible experience. This blog lets you know the best backwater destinations in Kerala that you should visit.

Backwaters Destinations In Kerala

  • Kumarakom Backwaters
  • Alleppey Backwaters
  • Kozhikode Backwaters
  • Kasargod Backwaters
  • Ashtamudi Backwaters
  • Kochi Backwaters
  • Trivandrum Backwaters
  • Kavvayi Backwater at Payyanur
  • Kuttanad Backwaters
  • Kollam Backwaters

1. Kumarakom Backwaters

Kumarakom Backwater

The small village of Kumarakom, a collection of tiny islands on the Vembanad Lake, is a part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary, spread across 14 acres of land, is visited by migratory birds, thus making it a perfect haven for bird lovers and ornithologists. Some birds observed on this lake are Egrets, Darters, Herons, Teals, Waterfowls, Cuckoo, Wild Duck, and migratory birds like Siberian Stork, among others.

It’s also one of the most enchanting backwater destinations in Kerala. Visitors can enjoy fishing and boat tours here. These boat tours circle the islands and provide an amazing view of the coconut palms and the water birds.

More information on Kumarakom Backwaters

[ Plan your backwater holiday in Kumarakom with our well-planned tour packages ]

2. Alleppey Backwaters

Houseboat Cruise in Alleppey

The Alleppey Backwaters are one of the most popular Kerala backwater destinations. A houseboat cruise on these backwaters is an enchanting experience. Today’s houseboats are a modified version of the “Kettuvallams” that existed in the olden times. Located around 62km southward of Kochi, the backwaters connect this place to those of Kochi and Kumarakom.

[ Plan your holiday in Alleppey with these well-customized tour packages ]

3. Kozhikode Backwaters

Kozhikode Houseboat

The Kozhikode Backwaters are also known as the Vasco Da Gama, the first European landed here in 1948. The virgin backwaters here leave visitors with memories to cherish for a lifetime. Catching a ride on the Kozhikode Houseboats is the best way of experiencing the beauty of the backwaters. The houseboats here are enormous in size yet move graciously enough. One can witness some spectacular scenery around the Kallai River and Canoli canals. Explore the best holiday packages in Kozhikode.

4. Kasargod Backwaters

Kasargod Backwaters

Kerala is home to several backwater destinations, each offering a unique experience. When you explore the Kasargod Backwaters with Kerala backwaters houseboat tour packages, know that you are in for a thrilling experience. A backwater cruise here takes you to a lush landscape where 4 tiny islands, embraced by river streams, join these backwaters. The best part is they are still away from the prying eyes of the tourists and offer complete solitude and tranquility.

5. Ashtamudi Backwaters, Kollam

Backwater stretch of Ashtamudi

The backwater stretches of Ashtamudi are believed to be the second largest and deepest wetland ecosystem. When you enter these backwater stretches, you are greeted by coconut groves and palm trees scattered among the villages. The Ashtamudi Lake, which also serves as the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala, has inspired many writers and artists. One familiar sight here is that of the Chinese Fishing Nets, also called “cheena vala”, which seemed to be absorbed in a daylong meditation.

6. Kochi Backwaters

Kochi Backwaters Houseboat Cruise

Kochi is home to various attractions, but the prominent amongst them are the backwaters. A ride on these beautiful backwaters brings you across the several attractions of this place, including the several islands scattered here and there as well as the dense greenery along the banks. On a backwater cruise here, the sights of Chinese fishing nets also greet your eyes. On the way, you can also watch the cargo ships and passenger ships pass by. It’s a memorable experience altogether.

[ Plan  a trip to Kochi with our best customized holiday packages ]

7. Trivandrum Backwaters

Trivandrum Backwaters

When it comes to the best backwater destination in Kerala, it has to be Trivandrum. The network of canals, lagoons, lakes, and tropical vegetarian forests closely resemble a watery paradise. The biggest backwater here is Vembanad Lake, which is around 200sq. km in area. The most popular backwater cruise can be experienced along the route of Kovalam, which is a stretch of perfect serenity. The other backwater stretch, along the route to Kovalam, is famous for its canoe rides, besides being the meeting point of two rivers – Killi and Karamana.

[ Plan your holiday in Thiruvananthapuram with our best-customized tour packages ]

8. Kavvayi Backwater at Payyanur

Kavvayi Backwater at Payyanur

Kavvayi Kayal is another backwater stretch with its own unique attractions. Here, it’s all about finding peace with yourself. Also known as the backwaters of Kavvayi, it is the result of the coming together of five rivers, River Kavvayi and its tributary streams, Kankol, Vannathichal, Kuppithodu, and Kuniyan. While enjoying a houseboat cruise on these backwaters, you will come across an interesting sight in the form of half a dozen small and big islands.

9. Kuttanad Backwaters

Kuttanad Backwaters

A journey through the backwaters of Kuttanad fascinates you in more ways than one. The journey from Kottayam to Alappuzha via the Kuttanad backwaters commences from the Kodimatha boat jetty in the Kottayam district. The first stop along this cruise is Pallom, where the Munroe Light House is located. This region is also famous as the rice bowl of Kerala, and on a cruise, one witnessed, not just rice fields but also a rare place where farming is carried out at 10ft below sea level.

10. Kollam Backwaters

Kollam Backwaters

Kollam, also known as Quilon, is situated at a distance of 70km from the state’s capital, Thiruvananthapuram. An ancient port town of Kerala, this place is famous for being the gateway to Kerala backwaters. A ride on the backwaters lets you witness the several migratory birds perched on its edges or the locals going about their daily activities. Besides, one can also spot a flock of ducks and floating water lilies on the houseboat. More information on Kollam Backwaters.

Apart from backwaters, this state is also home to a variety of attractions that can be explored through our best collection of Kerala holiday packages, which also include customized tours.

Explore Popular Kerala Backwaters Tour Packages

Don’t Miss These 10 Best Places To Visit On Your Holiday To Kerala

Vishwajit Sharma

Vishwajit writes about all things Travel Places, Attractions and Tour Packages.He Is passionate about learning new things.

Comments ( 6 )
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  • Aiswarya Nair

    As discussed above, I must admit that the backwater of Ashtamudi is one experience that every Keralite or Indian must have. The scenic view, the chirping of the migratory birds, the lush green regions all around all adds to the beauty of Ashtamudi

  • Delina Babu


    • Debasree

      Hey Delina,

      Thank you for your kind words. Keep following our blog!

  • Dhairya Vyas

    The Backwaters is indeed one of the must visit places of Kerala. And if you are interested in seeing the village like and actually experiencing it, you can go for the Village Tour Experience in Kumarakom. It is a really memorable experience.

  • Rithika

    Nice blog. Thanks for sharing. I am planning to visit Kerala backwaters.

  • Miguel

    Thanks, it is quite informative