Kochi holidays unlock an energetic and exciting city on India’s Keralan coast. Its stunning setting, proud history and unique atmosphere are just some of the reasons this Indian city is known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’.
Fort Kochi is the city’s colonial centre, a former base for Portuguese, Dutch and English settlers.
Explore the city’s past in the ruins of royal residences, the Dutch Mattancherry Palace and one of the oldest European-built churches in the nation. It’s a heady and thrilling mix.
Kochi also offers a relaxing contrast to the livelier pace of life in India’s larger cities, with a laidback attitude that will add an extra touch of magic to your stay.
Take a look at Etihad’s Kochi holiday packages and prepare for an adventure that will live long in the memory.
Whether you’re in the mood for pure relaxation or looking for something a little more adventurous, Kochi holidays provide a rich choice of places to explore and enjoy.
Sun, sand and sea – what could be more fun than a trip to the beach in Kochi on the magnificent Malabar Coast?
There are plenty of prime shoreline destinations to choose from, but one of the best is the Ernakulam district's Munambam Beach.
Popular with walkers and a perfect spot for a picnic, Munambam is close to the local fishing harbour and attracts kite fliers.
Alternatively, head for one of Fort Kochi’s small but sandy beaches and gaze out at the coast’s restless maritime activity.
Whether you’re looking for a stylish new outfit or want to track down the perfect souvenir, Kochi’s shopping will not disappoint.
The city’s old peninsular district of Fort Kochi is the place to be for fashionable boutiques, while the Mattancherry neighbourhood is a good spot to root out one-of-a-kind antique finds.
Ernakulam is home to the city’s biggest shopping malls, as well as a fine selection of spice stores and clothes outlets.
Don’t be afraid to haggle with the stallholders on the local markets – it’s all part of the experience.
Kochi has a wonderfully vibrant food scene. Fine-dining restaurants abound on Panampilly Nagar Avenue, near Ernakulam Junction train station, while Fort Kochi is home to the famed Kashi Art Cafe.
For a more hands-on experience, buy the best of the day’s catch from one of the local fishmongers. From there, take your fresh fish, prawns, crab or lobster to the restaurants on nearby Tower Road, where the chefs will cook and serve it for you.
A walk around the atmospheric streets of Fort Kochi provides an insight into the city’s long and fascinating history.
You'll find an intriguing mix of buildings ranging from a Portuguese palace to India’s first European church, as well as the ruins of the 16th-century Fort Immanuel.
To learn more about the city’s past, head for the Kerala Folklore Museum or the Hill Palace Museum, a complex of nearly 50 buildings that was once the home of the Kochi royal family.
If you're looking to embrace your inner explorer you can take a canoe tour through winding canals and lagoons as well as the sprawling Vembanad Lake, which is situated
to the south of the city.
Houseboat cruises and tuk-tuk sightseeing trips are also on offer to give you a unique perspective on Kochi and beyond.
Alternatively, travel to lesser-known locations out of town, such as Vypin Island in the north or Kumbalangi to the south.
A visit to the former also provides an opportunity for an Indian cooking class at the ever-popular Neema’s Kitchen.
If you’re planning on travelling in style and want a luxury holiday in Kochi, why not treat yourself to a room in one of the city’s high-end hotels?
You’ll find spa hotels and five-star escapes in the city’s historical district, Fort Kochi – many within walking distance of key sites like the Church of St Francis.
Alternatively, stay close to Marine Drive at the superb Crowne Plaza Kochi with its pools and exemplary service.
Many of the area’s best hotels have pools, ideal if you’re bringing the kids along on a family holiday in Kochi.
With the temperatures warm all year round, you’ll be able to build in some rest days and take a break from sightseeing at the well-located Trident Hotel.
Splash out in the pool or head just 10 minutes down the road to relax on the nearest beach.
Take life at an easier pace by stopping at a place that’s close to all the action but also offers a welcome sanctuary.
The Taj Kumarakom Resort & Spa is south along the coast from Kochi, and its wellness treatments make it a great option for a Kochi honeymoon.
You’re close to beautiful Vembanad Lake and a bird sanctuary should you wish to venture out.
The currency in Kochi is the Indian rupee. Credit cards are accepted in larger shops and restaurants.
The state language of Kochi is Malayalam, though many locals will speak a little English, especially in the main tourist areas.
In Kochi, there are several regional holidays celebrating Keralan history and traditions, including Republic Day in January, Ambedkar Jayanti in April and Gandhi Jayanti in October.
Kochi has a metro system, while ferries are a popular way to get between Fort Kochi and the mainland. Auto rickshaws offer another convenient transport option.
Among the best-loved aspects of life in Kochi is its busy programme of festivals.
Folk art demonstrations, home decorations and the wearing of traditional costumes give visitors a flavour of the local culture.
One of the most eagerly awaited events in the calendar is the Cochin Carnival.
Taking place over several days in late December, it includes the memorable sight of a tall statue of a figure known as Pappanji being burnt on New Year’s Eve.
The Athachamayam cultural fiesta is one to look out for in August or September, celebrating folk art with colourful floats.
There are plenty of high-end restaurants to sample on your Kochi holiday, but to make the most of a visit to the city you should ensure some authentic local meals find a place on your menu.
Top of the list should be a sadya, a vegetarian feast that can comprise as many as 28 dishes, including curry, stew and deep-fried banana chips, served on a huge plantain leaf.
Seafood is another favourite in Kochi, with its coastal setting making it the perfect place to sample Keralan specialities such as appam and crab masala, stuffed mussels and dry prawns with cabbage.
The state of Kerala – which counts Kochi as one of its major cities – boasts 15 wildlife sanctuaries, as well as two tiger reserves and six national parks.
One of the most popular of these destinations is the Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a two-hour drive from Kochi and gives visitors the chance to see elephants and sloth bears.
The neighbouring Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary is home to more than 25 species of mammals, including leopards and tigers.
The Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary in the centre of Kochi is also well worth investigating – situated around a mangrove swamp it houses white-breasted waterhens and marsh sandpipers.
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