If you’re fed up with the crowds and prices at Kovalam, and you are looking for beaches option around then you should head to Varkala. Situated along Kerala’s coastline and known for the towering red cliffs offering stunning ocean views, restaurants, shops and a real traveler scene. Everything is based around the North Cliff area of Papanasum Beach (also known as Varkala Beach) with all the shops, restaurants and all the action are close to the cliff’s edge.
Varkala is essentially a temple town, with the Janardhana Temple, popular with Indian pilgrims, dominates one end of the beach. But not far away is the sandy strip of beach which is popular with travelers.
The cliff is a long stretch of about a kilometer and a half with the sea on one side and the shops & restaurants on the other. The beach below the cliff is most popular with travelers. It’s good for a swim, sunbathing and also surfing with really strong currents. Varkala has some of the biggest, curliest waves in the whole of India, which makes it just perfect for surfing and body boarding.
One can hire a scooter and explore around too. As soon as you get away from Varkala head north towards Kappil Beach where the coast meets the backwaters or drive south along authentic fishing villages and miles of undeveloped coastline until you reach Anjengo Fort – one of the oldest in India. Head inland to visit Ponnumthuruthu Island where a temple nestles on a serene island in a palm tree lined backwater lake.
Varkala is about 1 hour 20 mins by taxi from Trivandrum airport, or 3 hours from Kochi. The cost of accommodation starts from 500 rupees to mid-range hotels and guest houses for about 1,500 rupees upwards. We stayed at Vedanta Varkala which is walking distance from the cliff with decent accommodation.
The beaches around this area are excellent, and if you’re looking for a cheap holiday Varkala should definitely be on your list. In the off season its really mellow and relaxed; swim and sleep and chill out. You can’t escape the hippy vibe here. Should be your choice for budget beach destination.