In and around Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi - Church

If you are visiting Kerala, a trip to Cochin city is incomplete without visiting Fort Kochi. Flanked by the sea on one side, this part of the city feels like you are in a time warp.  Like you have been magically transported to the era of Dutch and Portuguese colonial rule. There is a distinctive European influence on the architecture and its cobbled streets. This area takes its name from a historical fort, which the Dutch later destroyed.

Fort Kochi - Walking

Things to do

Chinese fishing nets

Fort Kochi - Chinese Fishing NetWalking around Fort Kochi, you will notice big fishing nets suspended near the beach. They are known colloquially as ‘Cheena vala’ in Malayalam. Each fishing net is operated by more than four fishermen and is mostly done early in the morning or around dusk. It is one of the most photographed sites in Kochi and hence quite touristy.

St. Francis Church, Kochi

Fort Kochi - St Francis ChurchSt. Francis Church in Fort Kochi is the oldest European church in India. Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were relocated to Lisbon. His gravestone can still be seen on the ground at the southern side. This church was originally built in 1503 and was declared as a protected monument in April 1923. On weekdays it is open to visitors and there is no fee to enter.

Mattancherry Palace

Fort Kochi - Mattacherry Palace
Photo Credit: Kerala Tourism

To avoid disappointment let us begin by telling you that Mattancherry palace is not some grand palace but a museum house with murals and paintings. Ramayana stories adorn the walls along with mythology and legends about the Hindu gods especially Guruvayurappan. Also on display are weapons, swings, furniture and photographs of the royal family. If you are expecting opulence and grandeur, this is not the place for you. Also, there’s a no photography policy here. Visiting hours are 10 am to 5pm on all days except Fridays.

Other things to do include Paradesi Synagogue (which is closed on Fridays and Saturdays), Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica and Indo-Portuguese Museum. The Kerala Kathakali Centre puts up Kathakali shows every day at 6 pm.

Stay

Our philosophy when it comes to looking for accommodation is to stay in a place which helps you experience the culture and allows you to explore the area on foot. Fort Kochi has a variety of hotels in different price ranges. These are some of our favourites:

Old Harbour Hotel – Luxury

Fort Kochi - Old Harbour HotelOne of the places we walked past that caught our eye was the Old Harbour Hotel. Set in an 18th-century, Dutch Colonial-style building, this luxury boutique hotel is quite stunning. The location of this hotel is fantastic, with a lot of attractions within walking distance. It offers rooms with four poster beds, open-to-the-sky showers, a veranda and a private pond.

Neemrana’s- Tower House – Mid Range

Fort Kochi - NeemranaAnother lovely heritage hotel is the Neemrana’s Tower House. Arched doors and colonial pillars transport you to a bygone era. Modern amenities with an old world charm sums up this beautiful accommodation. Like the Old Harbour Hotel, it is located in the heart of Fort Kochi.

The Fort Bungalow Homestay – Value

Fort Kochi - Fort Bungalow
The Fort Bungalow is a cozy, family-run homestay. Although priced lower than the other two, it still has the colonial charm and gracious hosts. Breakfast is included. It is located very close to the beach and perfect if you are on a budget.

Food

There are numerous cafes and restaurants to try around the Fort Kochi area. You can get a variety of food here from traditional thalis to Mediterranean cuisine. Since we had already tried the traditional fish curry in Alapuzzha, we chose to go to Kashi Art Gallery on Burgar street.

Fort Kochi - Kashi Art Cafe

This quaint art gallery which doubles up as an all-day dining cafe is quite popular. The food ranges from soups to sandwiches clubbed with refreshing juices and hot drinks. Do check out the specials for some interesting combos.

Fort Kochi - Kashi Art Cafe 2

Getting there


Nearest railway station: Ernakulam: 40 min
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport: 1 hour 30 mins

35 Comment

  1. Purnima says: Reply

    Nice useful information. Great photos. The accommodation options seem really interesting

    1. Shruti Prabhu says: Reply

      Thank you 🙂

  2. Marian says: Reply

    You didn’t mention the Dhobi Khana laundry. Thought it was fascinating when I recently visited.

    1. Shruti Prabhu says: Reply

      Hey Marian. We did not go there because we were pressed for time and have seen the Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai which is similar. But we will definitely pay a visit next time. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Midori says: Reply

    Looks like a really nice trip! Another one for my bucket list! hahahahaha

    1. Shruti Prabhu says: Reply

      Thanks for commenting Midori.

  4. Kerala is a Country I would love to visit and Fort Kochi looks just the type of place that would suit me! History, cobbled streets, good food and places to stay, love it! #feetdotravel

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      This is a fascinating part of India thanks to its mix of Dutch and Portuguese heritage. Do plan a trip sometime.

  5. David says: Reply

    I’ve heard quite a bit about Kerala the last year or so but hadn’t heard of Fort Kochi. I quite enjoy exploring that colonial kind of architecture and the area seems like a nice place to walk about. One day I’ll get to India, thanks for sharing!

  6. Simona says: Reply

    I like its cobbled streets and its history! Looks like an interesting place to see! Interesting fact about da Gama also, I didn’t know that he was firstly buried there. Great tips about the accommodations and restaurants!

  7. Oana says: Reply

    Great tips in this post. Hope one day I will cross of my bucket list India. Useful information about the accommodation and restaurants, thank you for sharing!

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      Glad you found it useful Oana.

  8. Sarah says: Reply

    Those fishing nets are madness! what a great idea. I’ve been reading so much about India recently and I want to go sooooo badly! All these posts are making it impossible to resist!

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      They are quite remarkable pieces of engineering. Did you know that the system is so perfectly balanced that the weight of a man walking along the beam is enough to tip the net into the water?

  9. Stunning architecture and beautiful streets – looks like a great day trip and somewhere I would definitely want to visit when I head to India! The food looks great too!

  10. Barry says: Reply

    How cool is this place? I’m visiting India for the first time this year and can’t wait. Those Chinese fishing nets are awesome!

  11. Lisa says: Reply

    Oh what a great place to explore. Beautiful architecture, would love to visit all these places. Just looks like a place I would enjoy wandering around and learning some history. Hope to visit one day so thanks for sharing.

  12. Shona says: Reply

    There are so many beautiful places in India outside of the regular haunts, this looks like another one. I must get myself to India!

  13. Garth says: Reply

    What lovely architecture 🙂 would love to visit Kerala one day 🙂

  14. Kreete says: Reply

    Sounds like a great place! I am planning my two week itinerary for India at the moment and I will definitely tro and go to Kerala. The fishing nets look awesome and I can understand why this might be the most photographed place in the area. I also share your philosophy about chosing your accomodation. Great job on this one guys!

  15. Kerala is superb and this colonial architecture really seems appealing! Kochi is Fascinating and we loved it when we were there. The Portuguese influence is comes across so interestingly.

  16. I love to visit towns which step me back in time. The cobbled streets and European architecture are great. I could spend a lot of time here. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      Thanks. Glad you liked our post.

  17. We love wandering around historic areas of cities, and Fort Kochi looks like it’s a place we would enjoy. The hotels you showed all look great – we’d have a hard time deciding! Thanks for the detail and the wonderful pictures!

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      Thank you. Do write about your trip & send us a link if you visit.

  18. I have stayed in Kochi for a few years. Love sitting by the backwaters catching the sunset.
    Gokul Raj recently posted…How a Stray Pup from India became a Traveler, All thanks to HumanityMy Profile

  19. This is one place I really have to visit. I like the home-stay. I might just book it when I head there next year (if the plan works out).

  20. Punita says: Reply

    Fort Kochi is my favorite area in Cochin and I specially loved the architectural tradition of the region. Such a wonderful amalgamation of cultures, so much richness.
    Punita recently posted…Cocktail of opulence and tragedy at the Habsburg PalaceMy Profile

  21. I can’t believe I’ve missed out on so much during my trip to Kerala. Stunning photos, btw. It’s so rich with culture and color!

  22. gabi says: Reply

    Lovely place to visit and such interesting insights. Lots of useful information to keep handy!

  23. The information you provided is really thorough and full of detail. I enjoyed reading your balanced mix of history and and practicality. Thanks for sharing some of your favourite places to stay – the categories are certainly very helpful!

  24. Elena says: Reply

    It’s and interesting place. The art gallery that is also a cafe is a great way to spend some quality time.

  25. Viola says: Reply

    Great guide to Fort Kochi. The fish curry sounds appealing haha, thanks for the post!
    Viola xo | A Piece of Viola

  26. Would love to explore these places when I’ll be visiting Kochi in November. Especially the “palace”, sounds quite interesting.

  27. Hm, I had no idea this place even existed! I’ll add it to the old bucket list. Thanks!

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