Fort Kochi Travel Guide
Fort Kochi is an incredibly charming town in Kerala that offers the perfect mix of culture and history – all on the coast. Our first stop in the province of Kerala, South India was Fort Kochi, and it was immediately delightful. In addition to stunning historical buildings, cozy streets, and trendy hotspots, it is mainly the atmosphere that makes Fort Kochi so pleasant.
In this travel guide, you will find everything you need to know to get the most out of your visit to Fort Kochi: from must-sees to the best eateries.
In this article
- To do
- Travel time
- Practical information
- The nicest accommodations
- How do I get there?
- Our verdict
History of Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi is not like other cities in India. While most cities in India are chaotic, busy, and not exactly winning any beauty contests, the streetscape of Fort Kochi is actually stunning. This is due to the rich history of this city that dates back to the 14th century.
The Portuguese built a fort in the 16th century to protect their trading interests, and the Dutch and British later strengthened and expanded it. Today, Fort Kochi is an important tourist destination with a mix of old and new influences, such as ancient buildings, temples, churches, and museums that reflect the history and culture of the city. A must-visit when you’re in Kerala.
What to do in Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi is a beautiful destination with many must-sees. Make the most of your stay in Fort Kochi with the following to-do’s:
Go for a walk
Fort Kochi itself is one large open-air museum. Everywhere you find the most charming streets and beautiful buildings. So go for a walk, occasionally sit down at trendy hotspots, enjoy the delicious food and the pleasant atmosphere. Trust me, your day will fly by.
Chinese fishing nets
Not to be missed in Fort Kochi are the iconic Chinese fishing nets that have been used by fishermen for centuries. The nets consist of wooden frames and counterweights, operated by a group of fishermen to catch fish during high tide. The fishing nets are found only in China and Kerala.
Visit Jew Town
Jew Town is a historic neighborhood in Fort Kochi, known for its Jewish heritage and culture. It is a colorful neighborhood full of old buildings, antique shops, synagogues, and restaurants where you can enjoy delicious food and drinks.
Cochin Paradesi Synagogue
The Cochin Paradesi Synagogue in Fort Kochi is a must-visit because of its rich history and cultural significance. Built in 1568, it showcases beautiful architecture combining Keralan, Dutch, and Portuguese styles. Inside you will find ancient artifacts, refined furniture, and a nostalgic clock tower. As a symbol of harmony between diverse communities, it offers a unique experience where history, art, and spirituality come together. Don’t miss this enchanting destination in Fort Kochi!
Vasco da Gama Square
Vasco da Gama Square is a small historical square in Fort Kochi, named after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. The square itself may not be very special, but it’s the perfect time to take a walk along the sea as well. The square is always crowded and full of food stalls.
Although the beach at Fort Kochi is not very inviting for a swim, there are a few beautiful options in the surrounding area. A popular option is Cherai Beach, located about 25 kilometers from Fort Kochi. Marari Beach is also recommended. We even decided to stay there for two nights.
Ayurveda and wellness
Fort Kochi is a popular destination for Ayurvedic treatments. Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medicine that focuses on achieving balance between body, mind, and soul. In Fort Kochi, there are several renowned Ayurveda clinics, spas, and wellness centers where visitors can enjoy a range of Ayurvedic therapies and treatments.
- St. Francis Church: St. Francis Church is the oldest European church in India, built in 1503
- Mattancherry Palace: Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, is a historic palace in Fort Kochi, built in the 16th century and known for its beautiful architecture and murals.
Hotspots & food in Fort Kochi
We have, of course, eaten our way through Fort Kochi to collect the nicest and tastiest restaurants, coffee shops, and bars for you. Somebody’s got to do this ;p
- Canvas Restaurant & Pizzeria: definitely the best pizzas in South India
- Pandhal Cafe & Deli: a delightful oasis of peace and great food
- Loving Earth Cafe: smoothie bowls and burgers, it doesn’t get any hipper than this
- Coriander Veg & Vegan Restaurant: heavenly Indian food
- Anantha Bhavan INN: affordable and delicious food
- Kochi Kaptial Cafe: breakfast and coffee
- Plan B: a fun place in a beautiful building for a beer
- 18° Degree Rooftop Bistro: for when you want to end the evening with a game of pool and a beer
- Raintree Multicuisine Restaurant: a great place for a beer with a view of the intersection, but don’t eat here!
- Tibet Kitchen: for your momo cravings
- Mocha Art Cafe: coffee shops in the Jewish quarter of Fort Kochi
- Ginger House Restaurant: enjoy a beer by the water
Also, read the article “Fort Kochi Hotspots”
Super easy MAP
Are you copying and pasting everything into Google Maps now? STOP!!!! You don’t have to, crazy! We’ve already done that for you. All the attractions, the loveliest streets, and trendy hotspots are already in Google Maps. Super easy, right?
Easy Peasy saving for later works like this:
- Click on the upper left corner of the map to display the list of locations.
- Click on a location for more information.
- Click on the upper right corner for a larger view in a new tab or on the star to save in Google Maps.
Best time to travel to Fort Kochi
The best time to visit Fort Kochi is from October to March. During this period, the weather is not too hot, with temperatures ranging between 20 and 32 degrees Celsius, and there is little rainfall. In short, if you want to explore Fort Kochi and enjoy the cultural richness and beauty of the city, plan your trip between October and March for the best experience.
Transportation in Fort Kochi
The most fun and convenient way to get around Fort Kochi is by tuktuk. Tuktuks can be found everywhere, but if you don’t want to hassle with negotiating or don’t feel like waiting, you can also order a tuktuk using Uber.
Practical information about Fort Kochi
To make your visit to Fort Kochi as smooth as possible, we have put together some practical tips for you:
- The apps Uber and FreeNow are available in Fort Kochi, allowing you to book tuktuks as well.
- We had a lot of problems withdrawing money with our Mastercard and Maestro. We tried various debit cards, but only Visa was accepted. If you don’t have a Visa card yet, we definitely recommend applying for one. It will make your trip in India much easier. Google Pay and Apple Pay are also not available.
- Alcohol is not available everywhere. Use the search function in Google Maps and search for “beer” to find places where you can order a beer.
- It’s useful to have some cash on hand for small expenses.
- Make sure you have arranged all your vaccinations before departure. A vaccination against typhoid is also not a luxury in India.
- Bring sunscreen to protect yourself from the strong sun.
- For a tuktuk ride, you pay about 100-300 rupees (about €1.20 – €3.50). This is for a ride of about 5-15 minutes.
- In India, people drive on the left side of the road. Good to know!
- At most restaurants, you pay an extra 10% service charge. It’s customary to give an additional 5-10% tip on top of that, depending on the food and service. This amount usually comes to less than 1 euro, so it’s definitely worth giving.
- Keep in mind that India is a conservative country and dress respectfully, especially when visiting religious places or cemeteries. Cover your shoulders and knees.
- If you want to keep track of your budget during your trip, the app Travelspend is ideal!
What are nice places to stay in Fort Kochi?
We stayed one night in Fort Kochi in a private room at Bunk Hostel and the remaining days at a homestay. Personally, I found the private room at Bunk Hostel terrible, but the dorms looked great! For solo travelers, it’s definitely a good option. Check out all options for Fort Kochi here >>
How to get to Fort Kochi?
Depending on your budget and preference, there are different ways to travel to Fort Kochi. We had tickets to Mumbai and flew from there to Kochi, which is about half an hour away from Fort Kochi. But there are also direct flights to Kochi or Goa. This depends on your exact travel route.
Once you arrive in Kochi, there are different ways to travel from Kochi to Fort Kochi:
- Taxi or Uber: The fastest and most comfortable way to travel from Kochi to Fort Kochi is by taxi. There are plenty of taxis available in Kochi and the fare is reasonable. You can also simply use Uber or FreeNow. Very easy. Costs are around 15 euros.
Tip! In India, there are prepaid taxis everywhere. You buy a ticket at the counter, walk outside, and get in. Always the lowest price and no hassle with negotiating.
- Tuk-tuk: Tuk-tuks are cheap and let’s be honest, incredibly fun to travel with. Always negotiate the price before getting in. Costs are around 10 euros.
- Bus: There are regular local buses available from Kochi to Fort Kochi. These are the cheapest but can be very crowded and chaotic. Costs are around 3 euros.
- Boat: Fort Kochi is located on the coast and there are various ferry services available from Kochi to Fort Kochi. A unique and fun way to travel to the town. However, the ride takes a bit longer. Costs are around 3 euros.
The costs are, of course, indicative and depend on the season and your negotiation skills.