Kannur Travel Guide

Kannur is a coastal city located in the Indian state of Kerala and is a popular vacation spot with a very bygone colonial era vibe. Being a city that has played a significant role in the history and mythology of the country, it's definitely one that intrigues interest among many. Kannur is also known as the Land of Looms and Lores because of the flourishing fabric industry and also the many Theyyam temple dance festivals that take place here. The cultural, ethnic, and economic diversity in the city is very prominent in the way it celebrates its festivals and through its architectural influence as well.

With places to explore, architecture to admire, and food to treat your tastebuds, Kannur attracts people from all across the globe. You’ll be thrilled to visit a city that has footprints from its past influencing the diverse culture here and that's why visiting Kannur should definitely be on your travel itinerary. To help you plan the perfect trip, here's a Kannur travel guide that will give you all the information you need about this South Indian city. Check it out!

History And Culture Of Kannur

A part of the Malabar District, the city of Kannur has a rich and deep-rooted historical background. In the 15th century when the Portuguese came to India, they set up small settlements in the neighboring areas and Kannur was one of them. A direct sea route to India was also found at this time and that’s when trade began to flourish in this city. The open trade brought Kannur to the political limelight and thus began its journey to becoming an economic and political powerhouse for many more rulers and dynasties to come.

When the Portuguese settled in Kannur, they built the St Agnelo Fort here. That was an important landmark for them as all their operations took place from there. This fort was captured by the Dutch in 1663 and later by the British in 1790. Each of these invaders ruled over the region for approximately a century and left behind cultural and architectural footprints.

It was in the latter half of the 18th century when the rulers of Mysore conflicted with the British and gained rule over the Kannur region. But this conflict soon became the bloodiest resistance to British rule in the country. From 1792 to 1806 Kannur was consistently in a state of war and it wasn't until 1908 that the Indian National Congress established its committee in the Malabar District. Since then, Kannur was a part of the Indian Independence Movement until the country got its independence in 1947.

As rich as its history is Kannur’s culturally and ethnically diverse background. You'll find the footprints of the Dutch, Portuguese, Sultans, and British in different corners across the city. Everyone in Kannur celebrates their socio-cultural customs together as a community and that’s evident in their amalgamation of art forms and festivals. What the city of Kannur is also known for is its culinary diversity. Some of the must-try dishes in Kannur include Thalassery chicken biryani, Unnakkaya (sweet meatballs made with eggs, sugar, cashew nuts, and flavored with cardamom), Malabar beef roast, and Neypathiri (deep-fried rice roti that can be served with veg or non-veg curry or can be eaten plain too).

Also read: Experiencing The Food In Kerala

kannur travel guide

How To Get To Kannur

This city is well connected with major parts of the city via rail and road. When it comes to air, there are fewer options you may come across. Let's dive into how the city connects with some of the major cities in the country and across the globe.

Getting To Kannur By Air

Kannur has an international airport that is approximately 25 kilometers away from the city center. This airport has flights coming in from foreign places like Bahrain, Kuwait, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Sharjah, Muscat, and Doha. Some of the cities within the country that the Kannur International Airport is connected with are Mumbai, Kozhikode, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.

There are regular flights coming in and going out of these cities which makes it easy for you to get to Kannur. Also, once you've reached the airport, you'll easily get cabs, buses, and rickshaws from just outside of the airport to take you to your desired destination. There are also many rental companies that you can pre-book your ride from. This will save you some time at the airport and get you to your destination much faster.

Getting To Kannur By Train

Kannur has its very own railway station that is well connected with major cities in India. The  Kannur Railway Station is very close to most places within the city and it's also going to be an easy journey back to your accommodation. You can hire a taxi or hop on a bus directly from the station to explore the city. There are ample trains coming in on a daily basis to Kannur from major cities of India like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Mangalore, etc. Some of the regular trains are the Mangalore Express, West Coast Express, Chennai-Mangalore Express, Mangalore SF Special, Chennai Mail, Executive Express, and Nagarcoil Express.

Getting To Kannur By Road

Kannur is well served with highways and roadways that connect it with major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, and even Mysore. Calicut, Mangalore, Ernakulam, Thalassery, and Thiruvananthapuram are some of the other cities within Kerala that Kannur is really well connected with. You'll get some private buses and also Kerala State Road Transportation Corporation (KSRTC) buses running to Kannur on a regular basis. Luxury and Volvo buses are also available if you like to board those ones.

The only issue you might face after entering Kannur is that the city has a poor infrastructure and the roads might be bumpy in some areas. That may affect your journey within the city, but apart from that, getting in and out is very much a smooth ride.

Also read: Experience The Poovar Island in Kerala

Best Time To Visit Kannur

The city of Kannur experiences a tropical climate. This means that summers in the city are hot and humid while the winters are usually pleasant. Monsoons, on the other hand, can be pretty unpredictable. The summers can be really harsh as the temperature is as high as 38°C and can get really unbearable. But if you look at the average temperature in the city, it ranges between 22°C and 32°C, which is decent enough for you to enjoy the beauty of the city and also get around.

Kannur is a gorgeous place for adventure seekers to go out and explore. You can engage in trekking and hikes along the hilly regions of the city. Since the monsoon is generally pleasant, it's the ideal time to pack your gear and explore the hills. And even though the monsoons can be unpredictable at times, the dense green space and the monsoon showers are thoroughly enjoyed by adventure lovers. It might not be the ideal time for people who want to go sightseeing around the city, but it's definitely loved and enjoyed by trekking enthusiasts.

If you're someone who loves to explore, go sightseeing, and wander around, winter could be the best time to visit Kannur. Firstly, the weather is just pleasant and the city is lit up with greenery everywhere which definitely adds to the beauty. And secondly, you get to explore the city in your own time and visit all the places you want to. Most tourists visit the city from October through February. The average temperature in the city ranges between 13°C and 25°C during this season and it's a favorable and enjoyable time of the year. You get to go around and enjoy the beauty of the city and take long walks on its coastline as well.

Also read: Experience Theyyam In Kannur Kerala

Getting Around Kannur

Getting around Kannur is convenient as the city has different transportation options to get you to your destination. There are auto-rickshaws, buses, taxis, and rental options available for you to choose from.

The auto-rickshaws are an affordable form of transportation that you can easily get from any corner of the city. Most of these rickshaw drivers will turn into tour guides and help you navigate through the city. You also can rent a car if you have a group of people that you want to travel with.

Kerala State Road Transportation Corporation (KSRTC) buses are also frequently running in and around the city. They are affordable and have stops across many areas within the popular sightseeing spots as well. So, hopping on and off these buses to visit all your favorite spots in Kannur is a good idea.

Also read: 8 Islands In Kerala That You Must Visit

kannur travel guide

Go Check Out

St. Angelo Fort

St. Angelos Fort in Kannur is super popular and gets lots of visitors for good reasons. The fort is ancient and looks really fancy and powerful. It's right by the Arabian Sea, so you can see a beautiful view where the waves and blue water come together. You can also see the amazing Mopilla Bay, which is a natural harbor.

But the coolest thing about the St. Angelo Fort is its history and the stories it has to tell. Lots of different dynasties, both local and international, were interested in this fort and fought over it. One Portuguese leader even locked up his own successor because he didn't want to give up power. It caused a bunch of crazy events and plots that are forever part of Portugal and Kannur's history. When you walk around the fort's walls, you can almost imagine the battles that took place there. There are tombstones for the soldiers who died fighting for the fort, as well as barracks and an old chapel to check out. And to make it even cooler, there's also Kannur's very first lighthouse right next to the fort, adding to its already magical beauty.

The Kannur Lighthouse

The Kannur Lighthouse is a really important landmark because it's the first lighthouse ever built in Kerala and the only one in Kannur. It's a pretty tall tower, standing at 75 feet high, and it was constructed back in 1903. The best part about the Kannur Lighthouse is the balcony with a light that comes on in the evening. You'll be impressed by its fascinating background, and the view is simply amazing. Because it's so tall, you get a breathtaking view of Kannur city, the vast Arabian Sea, and even parts of Baby Beach and Payyambalam Beach. When you go up the spiral staircase inside, you'll see all sorts of ancient navigational tools. They were made with incredible craftsmanship and designs that will leave you in awe.

You can also take a leisurely walk on the well-maintained lawns around the lighthouse or catch a fun musical fountain show in the evenings. And if you're curious to learn more about lighthouses, there's a small auditorium that plays documentaries explaining the history and importance of these structures.

Payyambalam Beach

Located around 10 minutes away from Kannur Railway Station, Payyambalam Beach is not just among the best beaches in Kannur but also in the state of Kerala. Spread across for around 4 km, you get to enjoy the golden sand and foamy waves of the Arabian Sea at this beach. It has a welcoming and peaceful aura that’s perfect for when you wish to experience solitude or find calm in the chaos. You’ll have to pass a small crossover bridge that’s built over a narrow canal to get to this beach.

Swimming, boating, and adventure sports like water skiing and parasailing are all fun activities that you can enjoy at this beach. Whether you’re looking for a calm and pristine place to relax or are itching to quench your adrenaline thirst, Payyambalam Beach can take care of all your needs and can definitely make all your visits worthwhile.

Also read: Kerala Travel Guide


Is Kannur Worth Visiting?

Kannur is a fascinating place in Kerala that has so much to do and explore. The beaches, temples, hills, forts, falls, monuments, and other stops across the city are very popular among tourists. The lush green plantations and panoramic views are some of the best which makes Kannur worth visiting.

What Is Special In Kannur?

The temple festivals of Kannur are very well known and are celebrated with utmost reverence and joy.  Onam, Eid, Theyyam, Swathi Sangeetholsavam, Beemapally Uroos, Chinakkathoor Pooram, Christmas, and Kottangkulangara Chamayavilakku are some of the many festivals that are celebrated in Kannur. The cultural and ethnic diversity of Kannur is definitely something that makes the city special.

How Many Days Are Enough For Kannur?

If you're planning on a small getaway, you may not need more than a weekend. But, if you’re interested in exploring more of the city and its hidden gems, you may need a minimum of 5 days to do so. This will give you enough time to get by and explore the city properly.

What Language Is Spoken In Kannur?

A majority of the residents in Kannur speak the language Malayalam. However, you can get by with speaking English, Hindi, and Tamil whenever you're in Kannur.

What Is Kannur Famous For?

Kannur has a flourishing handloom industry, alongwith a folk art form called Theyyam. These have let Kannur be known as the 'City of Looms and Lores'.

Is Kannur In Kerala Or Karnataka?

Kannur is a city in the Dakshin Kannada district of Karnataka.

What Is Another Name For Kannur?

Kannur is often known as the 'Africa of Kerela'.

How Many Beaches Are In The City Of Kannur?

In total, there are six beaches in Kannur. These include small as well as large beaches in the area.