Top 5 Backwater Destinations in Kerala

Placed in the South-Eastern part of India on the Malabar Coast, the state of Kerala lies in between the Arabian Sea in the West, the Western Ghats in the East. Backwater destinations in Kerala are one of the prime attractions of ‘god’s own country’.

Peaceful ride along these palm-fringed backwater destinations in Kerala with thrilling view of the sunset, lush paddy fields, the moonlight and the gentle lapping of water as you meander along on a kettuvallams (the traditional rice barges which have now been tastefully converted into houseboats in Kerala) make it an experience of a lifetime.

The backwaters are uninterrupted through the entire length of Kerala, initially used as a mode of transferring goods like coconut, rubber, spices, and others. However, now it serves for the activity of backwater tourism. The cruise ride will open up to a different world of backwater villagers, fishing operation and take you through other scenery.

Here is the list of the top 5 backwater destinations in Kerala:

1. Alleppey

Alleppey Boathouse


Alleppey also known as Alappuzha or the ‘Venice of the East’ is an attractive town in Kerala. It is one of the most significant tourist centers in the state because of the large network of inland canals. Many of the Kerala backwater cruises either start or end at this point and is known as the center of the coir industry.

Alleppey used to be the busiest centers of trade in the past, till now the canals are the source of livelihood among the villagers. Alleppey presents a scenic view of the intertwined backwaters, beaches, and lagoons.

A houseboat cruise in these backwaters is a pleasurable experience. You will also get to witness a lighthouse once used for uploading goods.

One of the best times to visit Alleppey offers is during the Aranmula Snake Boat Race. It is an annual affair and if formally known as Nehru boat race. This event is a huge success among tourists and locals.

[Browse through our Alleppey tour packages]

[ Check-out our Best of Kerala Tour Package  that includes a visit to Alleppey ]

2. Kumarakom

Kumarkom Backwater

The view offered from Kumarakom is like no other; the green paddy fields and the Mangrove forests fight for the attention; along with the canals which are bedded by white lilies draw tourists to this spot from all over the world.

Kumarakom is situated about 16 km from Kottayam along the Vembanad Lake. A journey through the vast canals and streams in the country boats will take you across the lovely villages of Kerala. The soothing surroundings, placid lakes, lush greenery bestow Kumarakom with a physically and spiritually uplifting ambiance. It is no wonder Kumarakom is one of the best places in Kerala for Ayurveda.

Another attractive feature of this place is the Bird Sanctuary that extends a long way; it is home to many migratory birds. Some of the exotic birds leave the tourists fascinated. The area is also famous for handicrafts which are made in a traditional way.

[Explore the best Kumarakom tour packages]

3. Kasaragod


Kasaragod is far from the tourist hubs but is a beautiful village that offers backwater facilities and is more secluded and free of commercialism. This place is perfect for peaceful boat rides and sightseeing. Kasaragod is placed in the Northernmost District of Kerala, at Padanna and holds its own essence.

This area has kept up to the traditional ways and can be seen in their hospitality system as well, the locals play host during your stay at the retreat. They have not embraced the modern lifestyle in any form and visiting this part will make you come close to the original lifestyle of the locals.

There is a theme village called the oyster Opera in relation to the activity of oyster farming. Being surrounded by the Western Ghats on the East; near to the Chandragiri River and with a number of forts, temples, and beaches Kasargod is one of the ideal backwater destinations in Kerala that you should travel to.

[Must Read Best Places to Visit in Kasaragod]

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4. Kollam

Kollam Backwater

One of the finest backwater destinations in Kerala to start your houseboat ride is Kollam. Kollam is one of the oldest ports on the Malabar Coast and is renowned for its Cashew industry. 30 percent of the backwaters of this town is occupied by the famous Ashtamudi Lake.

The sight that the ride offers across Kollam is spectacular; blooming water lilies, canals and the songs from the birds leave you content.

Kollam houseboat cruises serve the longest backwater ride in Kerala, lasting for 8 hours from Kollam to Alleppey. The traditionally designed houseboats come along with the authentic cooks, who serve you freshly cooked meals along the way.

Kollam stay will be very interesting as it has many ancient ruins and is a historically noted place. The place is located around 70 km from the capital city.

[Explore Kollam tour packages]

[Suggested Read 8 Most Beautiful Lakes in Kerala]

5. Kuttanad

Kuttand Backwater

The appealing geographical feature of Kuttanad is that it is the lowest place in India and lies below the sea level. Rice is grown in abundance in this area, hence holding the name “The Rice Bowl of Kerala”. Kuttanad is a part of the Alapuzha District and covers the very heart of the backwaters.

Besides the stretches of paddy fields, it has a rich growth of banana, yam, and cassava, making agriculture the main source of income for the locals. Owing to the variety of crops that grow in Kuttanad, with the added milieu of blue water bodies, green paddy fields and numerous birds it automatically makes this place vibrant and beautiful.

[Explore your best Kuttanad holiday in Kerala]

[Explore over 50 Kerala Tour Packages to plan your trip]

Related Post:

12 Best Things to Do in Alleppey

Top 10 Tourist Places in Kerala

Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations in Kerala

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Nitisha Subba

Nitisha Subba is a travel writer, who love sharing facts about the places she has visited. She is independent and travelling is always on her mind.She writes because she wants you to Experience places through her eyes.

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4 Responses

  1. kapil kumar says:

    Yes, This is an amazing blog where i got the knowledge of “Backwater Destinations in Kerala ”. I really appreciate the blogger.

  2. srinik says:

    It’s really a magnificent place on the earth. Enjoyed it a decade back …would like to make it again.

  3. Pathin Singh says:

    Backwaters of Kerala are the significant fascination for the sightseers everywhere throughout the world. I had gone by backwaters of Alleppey amid my vacation outing and it is my ever noteworthy experience.

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