No Kerala trip is complete without an expedition to Kochi. One of Kerala's most trendy and picturesque cities, Kochi has been dubbed the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’ for its beautiful coastal beaches and expansive harbors. This coastal city is an exciting mix of the east and the west, with its Indo-Portuguese personality shining brightly! The town has a lot to offer in terms of culture, food, heritage, adventure, scenery, and views. So, to make the most of your next short vacation, we bring you the ultimate itinerary for an awesome 48 hours in Kochi.
One of the eight basilicas of India, the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica dates back to 1505. A prominent structure that reflects the Portuguese influence in Kochi, this cathedral is one of the finest and magnificent structures in the city. The basilica’s stunning Gothic-style architecture with lofty spires and awe-inspiring arches is a photographer’s dream! The cathedral’s white-washed exterior stands in stark contrast to its welcoming pastel-colored interiors.
Starting off your day at this tranquil worship place is a great way to kickstart your Kochi sightseeing. Whether you’re here to enjoy the serenity of the place or simply to immerse yourself in its Gothic grandeur and lifelike paintings, the cathedral will certainly set a tone for the rest of your trip.
The basilica columns are adorned with vivid frescoes and murals by the renowned Italian painter Fr. Antonio Moscheni and his disciple De Gama. You will also find seven magnificent canvas paintings including a version of Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’. That’s not all! The cathedral’s ceiling depicts the scenes from Via Crucis of Christ, and the sunlight filtering through the beautiful stained glass windows is a sight to behold!
Timings: 7 am to 6:30 pm from Monday to Saturday. And 8 am to 6:30 pm on Sundays.
Entry Fee: There are no entry fees to visit the cathedral.
The Portuguese traders deeply influenced the coastal regions of India and Kochi is a perfect representation of the same. The city’s trendy cosmopolitan vibe, tasteful art culture, and Gothic architecture are all a testament to the Portugal influence. And one of the greatest spots to rediscover the Portuguese in India is a visit to the Indo-Portuguese Museum in Fort Kochi.
The museum highlights some incredible artifacts and shines a light on the Indo-Portugal bond. The gallery is divided into five sections, namely the Altar, Treasure, Procession, Civil Life, and Cathedral. You will find a teak wood altarpiece from the 16th century from the Church of Our Lady Hope in Vypeen. Another artifact from the church is an Indo-Portuguese Monstrance from the 18-19th century.
And what better way to plan your day, than to take a walk back in time and learn about the fascinating history of this coastal city before you explore it in all of its modern glory!
Timings: 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm, Tuesday to Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Entry Fee: INR 10 for adults, INR 5 for children, and INR 25 for foreign visitors. Also, the entry is free on the first Thursday of every month.
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After a jump into the deep end of Kochi’s history, our next stop is the vibey neighborhood of Jew Town. Located between the Paradesi Synagogue and the Mattancherry Palace, this lane seems like a wormhole to a whole other place! Jew Town transports its visitors to an era of beautiful colonial buildings, and charming antique and vintage shops that adorn this European-influenced neighborhood. This lane is essentially an antique market street and is a hotspot for shopaholics and antique lovers.
Jew Town actually received its name when several Jews took refuge here from Kodungallore. Later they immigrated back to Israel leaving behind their homes that have been restored for sightseeing purposes. A lot of their belongings and even traded antiques from China and Arab from back in the day, are found in the antique shops here. You will find beautifully crafted wooden spice boxes, wooden elephant statues, lamps, vintage furniture, and some rare handicrafts that will truly satisfy your inner vintage lover!
Timings: Open throughout the day.
Entry Fee: No entry fee is required.
If you’re exploring Jew Town then a visit to the Paradesi Synagogue is a must! Also known as Jew Synagogue and the Mattancherry Synagogue, it is located in the corner of Jew Town. It is one of the oldest existing synagogue and house several rare antiques. ‘Paradesi’ literally means foreigner and it was called so because the synagogue was primarily frequented by the Israeli Jews living in Jew Town at the time.
The synagogue itself is a testament to the grandeur and wealth of the old times. The lamps and chandeliers you’ll see here are from the 19th century Belgium while the gallery is decked with gilt columns and a teak wood ark. The ark showcases the four scrolls of Torah encased in silver and gold. Another item of great value is the two gold crowns that were gifted to the synagogue by the Kings of Kochi. And that’s not all! Even the flooring tiles have their own charm, as they are hand-painted blue willow tiles that were brought in from China during the construction of the synagogue.
Timings: 10 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 5 pm, Sunday to Thursday. The synagogue is closed on Fridays, Saturdays, and on Jewish holidays.
Entry Fee: There is no entry fee to visit the synagogue.
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A visit to the beach is the perfect way to wind up your day 1 in Kochi. After a day packed with sightseeing and exploring, some quiet hours of calm at the beach will be the perfect end to a perfect day! Fort Kochi Beach offers its visitors a clean and tranquil environment perfect for strolls and some photography. And if you’re day winds up before dusk, you might just be able to enjoy an evening stroll watching the sunset. Sounds like a great picture moment!
The scenic beauty and pristine waters of the beach attract locals and tourists alike. The wide walking pavement that juts out to the beach is well-lit with lamps and has benches lined, and is a great spot to simply sit and admire the view. One of the factors that sets Fort Kochi Beach apart from other beaches is the presence of the Chinese nets. The expansive Chinese fishing nets droop over the seafront like colorful domes and are one of the landmark pieces of Kochi.
After some strolling, you can enjoy some delicious seafood at one of the local beach restaurants and wind up for the day!
Timings: The beach is open from 6 am to 6 pm throughout the week.
Entry Fee: There is no entry fee to visit the beach.
Also Read: 6 Best Luxury Hotels In Kochi
We kick off day two with the infamous Mattancherry Palace. Also known as the Dutch Palace, it is the perfect representation of the blended personality that Kochi has. The palace displays traditional Kerala-style architecture interwoven with colonial touches. Mattancherry was built as a gift to the then king of Kochi by the Portuguese in 1545. Later it was renovated by the Dutch and hence the palace has a vibrant and colorful mix of architectural influences.
The structure has four individual wings and is known for its long and spacious halls along with the central courtyard. This double-storied palace houses a splendid collection of murals and paintings. Some of these murals depict scenes from famous Indian epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Other murals include portraits of the Hindu gods and goddesses, a painting of Lord Krishna of Guruvayur Temple, and lifelike paintings of the various kings of Kochi.
The palace also exhibits various items from the time of the royal family living in these quarters, including sheathed swords, axes, daggers, feathered spears, royal headgear, and coins issued by the royalties.
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm all days except Fridays.
Entry Fee: INR 2 for adults, and free entry for children below 15 years.
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After exploring the palace, our next stop is the historical Fort Immanuel. The fort was built by the Portuguese in the 1500s and named after the Portugal monarch to symbolize the strategic alliance made between the Portuguese empire and the King of Kochi. The fort has seen both renovations and demolition in its lifetime. It was reinforced in 1538 and was a formidable structure that housed an entire township within its area. Then in the 17th century, a part of the fort was destroyed by the Dutch, and the rest during the British invasion.
Now the fort remains in ruins along the Fort Kochi beach. Though you’ll still be able to see some of the dilapidated structures and columns of the fort. Relics that were found within or underneath the fort ruins have been displayed in the Indo-Portuguese museum. Since the fort sits along the beachfront, after your exploration of the fort ruins you can spend some time at the beach before moving on to the next part of our itinerary.
Timings: The fort is open throughout the day, all days of the week.
Entry Fee: There is no entrance fee to visit the fort.
Post sightseeing at Fort Immanuel, we now head on to the Kerala Kathakali Center. Kathakali is a form of classical dance that essentially narrates a story with each piece. The dancers are dressed in peculiar costumes, elaborate and colorful make-up, and even traditional face masks for the male dancer. The center was established in 1994 as a school for Kathakal and other classical dance forms.
This expansive structure has hosted over 500 performances and trained over 100 artists in the art of Kathakali, Indian classical dance forms, classical music, and even Kalaripayattu - a martial art form famous in Kerala. You can enjoy a variety of performances during your visit here, from the infamous Kathakali performance to South Indian classical dances to Kalaripayattu performances to simply a classical music piece. Each performance session lasts for an hour and has different show timings and ticket fees.
Timings: The center is open 24/7. The show timings are as follows:
Entry Fee: While the center itself has no entrance fee, to enjoy a show you’ll need to purchase tickets.
Our final stop on our short Kochi trip is the Marine Drive, which is a uber popular hang-out spot in Kochi. The promenade offers a picturesque view of the backwaters of Kochi and is a 140 meter walkway that stretches from the Jankar Jetty in the north to the Ernakolum Jetty in the south. The promenade is dotted with cast-iron benches and beautiful lamposts that add to its aesthetics. The walkway is a great place for a stroll, all the while enjoying the cool breeze flowing from the backwaters.
There are three bridges along this drive that showcase some immaculate architectural prowess - the Houseboat bridge, Rainbow bridge, and Chinese fishing net bridge. You will also find a number of famous fast food joints and shopping centers sprinkled along the promenade. The drive turns into a completely different place at night, especially around the Rainbow bridge, where colorful lights reflect over the tranquil waters.
The Marine Drive is the perfect way to end your short 2 day trip in Kochi as you can relax along the waterfront and indulge in some lip-smacking food, go shopping, or simply enjoy a peaceful walk along the promenade.
Timings: The walkway is open throughout the day, though the shops close by 10 pm.
Entry Fee: There is no entry fee.
Who says that you cannot explore Kochi in two days? The key is good planning, less traveling, and more sightseeing. And our ultimate itinerary promises you just that! So whether you’re in Kochi for a workation and looking for a short break or that your Kerala trip can only spare 2 days in town, you’ve got the perfect itinerary to make the most of your Kochi experience.
What Is Kochi Famous For?
Kochi is famous for its stunning beaches, the Chinese fishing nets, and its exciting blend of Indo-Portuguese culture that has vastly influenced this coastal city.
How Can I Reach Kochi?
Kochi is a major city in Kerala and is well-connected by air, railways, and roads to other major cities in the country. The Cochin International Airport offers flights to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad, and has good connectivity. The major railway junction closest to Kochi is the Ernakulam Railway Junction which has several trains stopping here from all over the country.
How Can I Travel Within Kochi?
Kochi is well-connected by a vast network of buses, autorickshaws, and even ferries. You can also hire private cabs if you’re traveling long distances.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Kochi?
The months between October and February are the most favorable months for exploring Kochi as the weather is more pleasant and slightly cooler in comparison to the sweltering summer months.
How Many Days Are Enough For Kochi?
2 to 4 days are good enough to explore Kochi. You can easily visit major tourist spots like Fort Kochi, Mattancherry Palace, Jew Town, Paradesi Synagogue, and various beaches in this time.
How Far Is Alleppey From Kochi?
The road distance between Alleppey and Kochi is 53 km and you can travel via NH 66. The journey will take about 1.5 hours.
What Is The Famous Food In Kochi?
Some of the food that you must try in Kochi are Parothha and beef/ chicken curry, Thattu Dosa, Pazham Puri (banana fritter), Appam and stew, and various seafood dishes.
What Can We Buy From Kochi?
Kochi is famous for its gold jewelry, beautiful silk sarees, handlooms and handicrafts, and traditional wood carvings and statues. And if you’re a foodie, you should definitely pick up some of the traditional spices too.