Located on the Malabar Coast of Kerala, Kannur (fondly known as Cannanore), is a beautiful city bundled with a plethora of sightseeing options like beaches, monuments, ancient temples and picnic spots.
Steeped in the distinctive local art forms like Theyyam, Kannur still has an aura of the bygone colonial era. The deep footprints of the Dutch, the Portuguese, the British and the Mysore Sultanate are still imbibed into the town and can be witnessed all around. The town is blessed with exceptional art of weaving that has earned it the title of the land of loons and huge cashew trees perhaps rooted by Portuguese. Take an evening stroll near the lighthouse beach or explore the Portuguese history at St. Angelo’s Fort while you are in Kannur.
Places to Visit
The impeccably unspoiled Payyambalam beach is adorned with sparkling pearls of golden sand and foamy white waves of the Arabian Sea. The highlight of Kannur and one of the many beautiful beaches of Kerala, the Payyambalam beach has an incredibly peaceful and inviting aura. Unwind after a long week by relaxing at this remarkable seashore and find yourself mesmerized by its elegant beauty and contagious calm. The approach to the beach is through a small crossover bridge that is built over a narrow canal. To the right of the bridge are the memorials of Kannur’s important political personalities that had passed away over recent decades.
Palm trees and casuarinas embellish the shores like an alluring garland in various shades of green. This pristine golden beach is not only great for relaxing and revitalizing yourself, but also for boating, swimming, and thrilling adventure activities! The rhythmic dance of the turquoise waters is so inviting that you are bound to be tempted to take a dip. Boating and indulging in some adventure sports will allow you to wade deeper into these alluring waters. The Payyambalam Beach spreads its reach for about 4 kms and is nothing short of paradise on earth.
The Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach at Kannur is one referred to with many superlatives- as the longest drive-in beach in the whole of India, as one of the cleanest beaches of Kannur and most importantly, as one of the best drive-in beaches that the entire Asian continent has to offer! Being Kerala’s only drive-in beach, it attracts the attention of many tourists around the year. The whole concept of drive-in beaches is that you can drive right on the sandy shores of the beach- it is not very often that you get to drive along a 4 km long shoreline that offers an open road with no traffic and a stunning view.
You can drive through the shallow end of the water giving your car a natural car wash as you roll down the windows to breathe in the cool wind that caresses in your face and you might never want to walk on a beach ever again. If you get tired of driving around the beach, which is very unlikely, you can wade in the beautiful turquoise waters for a swim. You can also stop for some refreshments – some of the most lip-smacking dishes of the Malabar cuisine. Treat the adrenaline junkie in you and go out for some paragliding, parasailing, powerboating and many other water sports. The Muzhappilangad Drive-In Beach is the perfect weekend getaway to blow off some steam and spend quality time with your loved ones.
St Angelos Fort is definitely one of the most popular and frequently visited attractions of Kannur and for more reasons than one. The polished yet prehistoric structure of this fortress oozes with unadulterated elegance and overwhelming power. Standing ashore in the Arabian sea, St Angelos Fort enjoys a panoramic and unobstructed view of the diorama created by the merger of the magnetic waves and the azure waters. It also overlooks the mesmerising Mopilla Bay, a natural harbour.
St Angelos Fort is mainly famous for the gripping history and the intriguing tales it has to tell. This fort was a point of interest for many dynasties of domestic as well as international origin and has seen many bitter battles in the quest to conquer it. The Portuguese Viceroy, Dom Francisco de Almeida had imprisoned his successor, Alfonso de Albuquerque because he did not want to give up the reins of his power. This led to a series of bitter events and conspiracies that have been etched in the history of Portugal as well as Kannur forever. Walking around the walls of this majestic fort, you can almost picture the battles that this fortress has seen. There are tombstones of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the fort, barracks and an old chapel here that you can explore. Kannur’s first ever lighthouse also stands next to the fort and adds to its already hypnotic glory.
Being Kerala’s first lighthouse ever and Kannur’s only one, the Kannur Lighthouse is a pretty big deal. Standing tall at the height of 75 feet, this lighthouse was first built in the early months of 1903. This cylindrical concrete tower has managed to withstand the attacks of the Arabian Sea and has been fully functional for over a century. The Kannur Lighthouse has a balcony with a light that is lit as the evening breaks in to alert the seamen of the land. Treat the history buff in you and visit this site to be impressed by its fascinating history, fall in love with its mesmerising backdrop and be delighted by the impeccable view.
Since the lighthouse stands at a considerable height, one is delighted with an enchanting and panoramic view of the entire city of Kannur, the limitless Arabian Sea, the Baby Beach and even parts of Payyambalam Beach. Going up the spiral staircase of this lighthouse, you are introduced to a variety of ancient navigational equipment whose immaculate engineering and impeccable designs are sure to impress you greatly. You can take a stroll along the perfectly maintained lawns of the lighthouse or enjoy a joyful musical fountain show in the evenings! If you want to dig deeper into the fascinating lighthouse history, there is a small auditorium that plays documentaries about the specifics of lighthouse revolution for the curious and inquisitive minds.
Parassinikadavu Snake Park
Regarded as one of the finest snake sanctuaries of Asia, the Parassinikadavu Snake Park is the pride of the south. It is one of the most prominent reptile preservation centres in the country and is the only one in Kerala. The Parassinikadavu Snake Park is home to over 150 different species of reptiles like crocodiles, monitor lizards and snakes- both venomous and non-venomous. Not only reptiles and amphibians, but this snake park also goes a long way to preserve and protect many wild mammals, marine creatures as well as rare avifauna- both endemic and migratory.
The establishment of Parassinikadavu Snake Park was an initiative of the Visha Chikista Kendra, a medical institution that offers diagnosis and treatment of snakebites. The main motto behind establishing this park was to clarify undue superstitions about snakes, educate the common man about these species and create the right awareness among them. Each enclosure of the different species of animals has a brief description of their habitat, moods, peculiarities and interesting titbits that educate the visitors about these exotic and truly extraordinary species. Visiting this park is an absolute treat for the wildlife enthusiasts and animal lovers. You will be stunned by the unique and admirable traits of many of the park’s inhabitants and will undoubtedly be left in awe of nature’s wondrous creations.
The Baby Beach in Kannur, as the name suggests, is a tiny yet an extremely attractive beach along the shore of the Arabian Sea. Don’t be mistaken by its name or size, it is a very happening picnic spot for the locals of Kannur and attracts the attention of many tourists with its panoramic view of the azure Arabian Sea. The Baby Beach is actually an extension of the Payyambalam Beach. It is one of the rare rocky beaches where people sit on the giant rocks and stare into the mesmerising allure of the turquoise sea waters and rhythmic dancing waves.
People flock here to witness the tantalizing beauty of the sky during the sunset and the sunrise. Beholding the orange ball of fire emerging from the horizon and bringing the sky to blush in deep hues of magenta, the view of the sunrise from the Baby Beach is truly a soothing one. Even though you cannot actually take a dip in the waters from Baby Beach, the panoramic view of the palm-fringed beach and the endless Arabian Sea is more than enough to keep you gripped. Payyambalam Beach, St Angelos Fort, Kannur Lighthouse and the Lighthouse Museum are all very close to the Baby Beach and can be reached in less than 5 minutes.
The Arakkal Museum in Kannur city is one of the most significant and frequently visited attractions of the south that celebrates the memory and grandeur of Kerala’s only Muslim royal family- the Arakkal Ali Rajas. Previously a majestic palace of the royal family and their actual place of residence, this museum is a true testimony to the impeccable Muslim architecture and design. The Durbar Hall of this palace, which was once the official venue of gathering for the kings and their nobles, has now been converted into the Arakkal Kettu Museum and is managed by the Arakkal Family Trust.
Many artefacts dating to the rule of the Arakkal Dynasty and various relics of the royals are put up on display at this museum. Entering the Arakkal Museum, you feel like you have been teleported to the 1600s- the entire palace oozes with sheer elegance and polished grace. The artefacts and heritage items of the Arakkal Dynasty have been maintained perfectly here and will never fail to stun you with their ostentatious grace and awe-striking class.
Tucked away in the verdant greenery of the Western Ghats and soaring at a dizzying altitude of 3500 feet above sea level, Palakayyam Thattu is one of the most beautiful hill stations in the entire state of Kerala. Adorned with luxuriously dense greenery, sky-touching trees and majestic hillocks, the view that Palakayyam Thattu enjoys is one that you will rarely find. Owing to its considerable altitude, this hill station is often visited by low hanging clouds that render the entire atmosphere misty and fresh!
The magnificent view of this hillock has made it one of the most popular trekking destinations in the south. Sipping on a cup of tea as you overlook the lavish foliage from the top is truly an experience that you will cherish forever. The entire climb up to Palakayyam Thattu is one that is cradled in the serene laps of nature- tranquil, and untouched by the worries of the world. Visiting this gorgeous hill station and basking in its remarkable view with your loved ones would be a perfect way to escape the monotony of our fast-paced city lives and indulge in some excitement and enjoyment.
Perched upon a hillock near Pazhayagandi in the scenic city of Kannur, Madayipara is renowned as one of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire state of Kerala. Often compared with the famous Tulip Gardens of Amsterdam, Madayipara is better known as ‘the land of flowers’. This mystical land is one that changes its appearance with the seasons. The springs decorate the entire hillock in a spectacular gown of vivaciously coloured flora. As the summer approaches, the hillock shapeshifts into a glamorous golden field filled with knee-high grass. Come autumn, the place is dotted with leaves that paint the field a raging crimson red. The monsoons lift up this hill station’s spirits and decorate the whole 700 acres in striking shades of green. These stunning changes adapted by Madayipara have aroused the interest of countless tourists around the world who come here to witness this extraordinary phenomenon.
Decorated with a luxuriant variety of 300 flowering plants and more than 30 species of thick grass, Madayipara is no less than a heaven for nature lovers. This rich ecology draws the attention of 150 different species of stunning butterflies that charm you with their mind-boggling designs and vivid colours, including the Atlas butterfly – the world’s biggest butterfly. Over 100 species of birds, both endemic and migratory, call Madayipara their home and make this hill station a bird lover’s paradise.
Ezhimala is a 286-meter high hill, located surrounding a pristine beach. Situated at a distance of 38 km from Kannur in Payyanur, Ezhimala has a few carved stone structures, and the herbs found in this location are famous for their unusual medicinal properties.
The term Ezhimala is an amalgam of the words ‘ezhu’ and ‘mala’, which mean seven and peaks respectively. A popular hill station in the region of Kerala in southern India, this site also has a rich history associated with itself. The seven peaks are believed to have been dropped here by Lord Hanuman while he carried the Sanjeevani herb to Lord Lakshman.
The Naval Academy Ezhimala (NAVAC), which is the largest in Asia, was inaugurated here by the Prime Minister in the year 2009 on the 8th of January and is an essential feature of this tourist attraction. This destination also holds religious values for the Buddhist community, as it is believed that Lord Buddha had graced Ezhimala with his holy presence. With the scenic beauty and circuitous pathways, Ezhimala will steal your heart with its enchanting beauty.
Must Try Food in Kannur
1. MVK Restaurant
2. Pepperpot Restaurant
6. Cool Land
7. Odhen’s Hotel
8. Foodie’s Foodcourt
10. Hotel Pulari
How To Get Here
Being one of the most important cities in the state of Kerala, Kannur is well linked with all the other cities through all the major modes of transportation, i.e. roadways, railways and airways. Calicut, being one of the nearby major cities, acts as a connecting node to Kannur through many cities, thus making it easier for people to travel down to Kannur. Kannur is linked to the nearby cities of Kerala through a well-developed network of roads, also a national highway, ensuring smoother travel down to the destination. Being on the major railhead itself, Kannur makes the travel easier for people looking forward to visiting the place.
The nearest airport to Kannur is the Calicut International Airport, Kozhikode, located at a distance of about 85 km from the town. Many flights from all over the country, including Mumbai, Delhi, Mangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai fly down to the Calicut International Airport. A few flights from outside the country as well are connected to the airport. Reach the airport and travel a distance of 120 kilometres approximately by the regular bus services or the private taxi service available for the tourists.
Nearest Airport: Calicut – 82 kms from Kannur
With a well-developed road network sprawling through the city of Kannur, the connectivity of the town by roads acts as a positive point for people looking forward to visiting the place. NH66 connects Kannur to Kozhikode and Kasaragod, two of the most important nearby cities. Bus services from some nearby cities come down to Kannur, along with many taxi services assisting people to reach Kannur at their convenience in the least time possible. Kozhikode, acting as a connecting point to many the other main cities all throughout the country and Kannur, is well accessible by roadways from Kannur, thus alluring tourists to explore this place further.
Kannur, in itself, is a major railhead of the state of Kerela. A large number of trains including the Nizamuddin Express, Madgaon Express, Kochuveli Express, Mangalore Express, and New Delhi AC Express pass through Kannur and thus provide many possible options for people to visit Kannur through the means of Railways. Autos available on the railway station will make sure to drop you at your location within the city, thus being an altogether comfortable experience for anyone looking forward to visiting Kannur.