Fort Kochi is an amazing place to visit. It radiates such a calm, tranquil, serene and artistic vibe. However, it can be a little tricky to find your way around the place, so here is a little Fort Kochi Guide to help you.
Fort Cochin in English, Cochim de Baixo (“Lower Kochi”) in Cochin Portuguese creole is located in Ernakulam District of Kerala and is about 16 km away from Cochin city.
Accessibility is very easy. Fort Kochi can be accessed from Ernakulam through roadways and waterways. There are also private buses, and government transport buses travel available from different parts of the city.
Fort Kochi is a top-rated destination, and the moment you land here, it is like being transported to a different time! The Dutch, Portuguese and French were one of the first visitors to this place, and they made this their home never to return. You can see remnants of that era in the form of beautiful buildings. The streets are a joy, and you can enjoy a lovely and relaxing stroll.
Time is rather abstract in Fort Kochi, as the streets and shops operate at their own pace. The most remarkable piece of historical visit you can undertake is a visit to Vasco house – the actual residence of Vasco Da Gama. It is amongst the oldest buildings.
Whether you are on a solo trip or a family reunion, Fort Cochin has you mesmerised by the sheer number of things you can do. Marvellous architecture, splendid beaches, shopping streets, picturesque falls and yummy street food are what await you!
With roots and essence that are unique, this is a place you would never want to miss! So, here is an easy to follow Fort Kochi guide to help you plan things right!
How To Get There
Kochi has an airport. The Cochin International airport is well—connected with many major cities across India. The airport is about 30 km away from the main city. Of course, buses and taxis ply from the airport to reach your location. In this case, Fort Kochi is about 45 km away from the airport.
Kochi has two main railway stations, Ernakulam Jn (Ernakulam South) and Ernakulam Town (Ernakulam north). The two railway stations are also quite well-connected to other cities as a metro city. However, from here, you would have to take a cab or bus service to Fort Kochi, which is 13 km away from Ernakulam Jn and 16 km away from Ernakulam Town.
Road and bus
Of course, road trips to Kochi would be another fun activity to combine with your Fort Kochi guide and enjoy its cultural paradise. This could also be feasible, subjective to what city or town you are travelling from. The best part about road trips to Kerala is nothing but the beautiful landscapes that you get to see on your way. The place is not called God’s Own Country for nothing. The extensive patch of coconut groves, well-maintained roads, tropical breeze and the location stop for coconut water to refresh you could round out to be the best holiday that you have ever had. So, maybe think about that while you plan your Fort Kochi guide.
Also Read: How To Plan For A Road Trip?
Or, in case you do not want to drive all the way, you can always take the bus. Private buses run at regular intervals and are cost-effective. You can enjoy an air-conditioned bus at a cheap rate and get to your destination quicker. Kochi is filled with Kerala State Run Transport Corporation bus services, so you can guarantee that bus services can be acquired anywhere in the city, particularly to Fort Kochi, if you want to wander about the city more.
Where to stay in Fort Kochi?
Capital O 37763
If you would like to stay in a 3-star hotel in Fort Kochi, this is the place for you nestled near the beach. Capital O 37763 Bright Heritage is a hotel in Fort Kochi. Mattancherry Palace and Durbar Hall Art Gallery are some of the cultural attractions here. Travellers looking to shop may visit Spice Market and Centre Square Mall. The Santa Cruz Cathedral is just a 4-minute walk while you have the St. Francis Church at a 7 min distance. Apart from this, some other attractions include the Jain Temple and cafes like the farmer’s café, Rasoi Fort Kochi etc. If you are somebody who loves art, you must visit the Kashi Art Gallery. Kerala Kathakali Centre, Kochi books and princess street are also a few of the main attractions found near this hotel in Fort Kochi.
Capital O 37763 Bright Heritage is very much popular among tourists. With standard Check-In time as 12:00 PM and Check-Out time as 11:00 AM, this hotel in Fort Kochi has Clean rooms, good service quality, a lovely location and a good stay experience.
Located just 2.8 km from St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary and within 2 km of Mattancherry Palace, this property is close to the Church of Our Lady of Hope in Fort Kochi.
A reasonable option for travellers, this splendid homestay is popular among tourists and on this Fort Kochi guide. In close proximity to some popular tourist attractions and other places of interest in Cochin like Fort Kochi and Mahatma Gandhi Beach, this homestay has a quick and easy check-in/check-out process, flexible policies and friendly management to support the guests. Rooms provided have high ceilings and come with a wardrobe and bathrooms with a tub, a shower and bath sheets. Each room has a garden view, allowing the guests to enjoy the tranquillity needed. Some popular amenities available in Casa Feliz are Free wifi, Luggage storage, Caretaker, Doctor On Call, Parking Facility, Luggage assistance.
This homestay also offers guests a tasty continental breakfast.
Frangipani Holiday home
If you are a couple in need of a perfect place to stay that is not huge but comfortable for two, this homestay is for you. Located in Fort Kochi, this one-bedroom Frangipani Holiday Home comes with a view to the balcony and a terrace with a view of the late-night sky. It is truly recommended on this Fort Kochi guide.
Located within 4.7 km of St. Mary’s Syro-Malabar Cathedral Basilica, this homestay is 4.6 km away from the beach.
The Indo-Portuguese Museum is just a few blocks away, and the airport is approximately 35 minutes distant. The Jewish Quarter and the Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom are just a short drive away from where you’ll be spending your vacation.
The rooms come with Cable TV with on-demand movies, pay TV and a high ceiling. This villa provides a refrigerator and glassware in a kitchen for you to access.
Kerala is God’s own nation, and Kochi is a beautiful place to stay. Travellers arriving by train will appreciate how close the hotel is to the train station and how convenient it is for a pleasant stay. The rooms are large and equipped with all of the latest conveniences. Travellers will find this a convenient place to stay, as the staff always assists them. The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast to help you start your day off on the right foot every morning.
Clean, comfortable, elegant and spacious is all you need for a relaxed stay. Coconut Grove provides all this along with free wifi, a 24-hour front desk, and a shared kitchen. Kochi International Airport is just 27 km away, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
Some of the attractions include Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Indo-Portuguese Museum and Dutch Cemetery Kochi.
A backpackers chief stay option – Zostel Kochi is a homely, cosy backpacker hostel nestled among Portuguese houses in Fort Kochi.
When history is revisited, you understand that Kochi has been a paradise for travellers from across the seas. The Dutch, Portuguese, and the French loved Cochin and never wanted to go away. So you can see the immense influence of this in the architecture and the unbelievable blend of the village. Fort Kochi brims with this tradition, which allures you as travellers to walk along the beautiful streets that house Portuguese houses, an ancient mosque, and some remnants of the British era, making your Fort Kochi guide easier to follow. Located amidst all this is the Zostel Kochi. Zostel Kochi is equipped with female & mixed dorms and private rooms and has a small cafe inside.
The rooms come with a terrace, air conditioning and a wardrobe. A continental breakfast is available every morning.
Located Near St Jude chappel in Fort Kochi, this homestay is just 400 metres from Fort Kochi Beach and 400 metres from SNC Maritime Museum. Facilitated by modern amenities, this is a homestay owned by a warm and friendly family. Just a short distance from the hustle and bustle of the town, you can enjoy a peaceful, affordable environment.
Poetrie Homestay provides accommodation with free wifi, air conditioning, a shared lounge and a garden. It is around 800 metres away from the famous Santacruz Basilica (places to visit on this Fort Kochi guide), and the nearest airport is Kochi International Airport.
This cosy homestay has a fully equipped kitchen with a microwave, a dining area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and a private bathroom with a shower and complimentary toiletries. The accommodation provides free wifi, air conditioning, a shared lounge and a garden.
If you want to live in a town but wish for tranquillity, this homestay will be most suitable.
Situated on Princess Street Peter Cellie Street, Fort Kochi is an amazing place for excellent travellers. Started by a group of friends, this place provides excellent service. The staff are very friendly and helpful. Set at a classic location, with well-maintained rooms and open spaces, this hostel is stunning as it is located at a prime location and is very economical. The interiors hold interesting wall arts, classic wooden furniture, shelves with books, and provide guests with seating by the window.
Some popular attractions include Princess Street, Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica and Vasco Da Gama Square.
The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen and also organises tours for guests. A shuttle from/to the airport is provided on demand. Family rooms are available for a vacation with children. Smoking is allowed in designated areas. Categories of rooms that are available are: twin, double, dormitory room
Oshin Home stay
located in Fort Kochi, around 300 metres from Fort Kochi Beach and 700 m from Kochi Biennale, this homestay is an accommodation that provides its guests all the luxuries and amenities of a city home. A home that has a drawing room, dining and bedroom offers you the comfort needed while away from home.
This homestay provides a complimentary breakfast, has a 24-hour front desk, a seating area, a kitchenette with a fridge, and a flat-screen TV. Towels and bed linens are available at an additional cost from the property. The Indo-Portuguese Museum, the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, and the Dutch Cemetery Kochi are all walking distance. The distance from the hotel to Kochi International Airport is only 27 km.
This is a great option for travellers looking for a homestay in Cochin. An easy check-in/check-out process, flexible policies, and friendly management cater to guests. Check-in time is 02:00 PM, and Check-Out time is 12:00 PM.
Places To Visit in Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi beach
One of the best places to visit in Fort Kochi is, obviously, the Fort Kochi beach. It would be a shame to enter Kerala and only visit the inland since the coastal side is the best thing about Kerala!
Fort Kochi beach is super clean and calm. An interesting thing about Kerala is how the beaches are not just for the tourists who come there. The locals enjoy it just as much. A unique attraction of this beach is the Chinese Fishing nets. It is known as ‘Cheenavala’. It is believed that the Chinese explorer, Zheng He, was the one who introduced the nets between 1350 to 1450 to Kerala. The nets are suspended in the air. It stands in line with the beaches.
An exciting time to visit would be during New Year’s. The Cochin Carnival is hosted on the Fort Kochi beach and is a peculiarity only to this time.
Obviously, food is always key, and the one kind expected here would be seafood. The beach offers seafood, along with a lighthouse for view. You can also enjoy scenic sunsets from Fort Kochi beach on the west coast.
St Francis church, Kochi
This one is for architecture lovers! This church is known for its structural beauty and ambience. It is trusted to be one of the Europeans’ oldest churches built in India.
Portuguese Franciscan Friars began the origins of this church in 1503. They reached Kochi along with the Portuguese explorer, Pedro Alvarez Cabral. He is regarded as the European discoverer of Brazil. This church has its own history of sharing and moving hands through various years.
Interestingly, Vasco da Gama has his burial spot marked inside the church, as he was buried in this church. However, 14 years later, the body was taken back to Portugal. The place serves us his memories here.
Kerala Kathakali centre
Kerala’s stunning and unique cultural aspect is this dance form – Kathakali.
The Kerala Kathakali centre hosts many dance performances of this art form. This charming art form is basically ‘story play’; stories are narrated through the dance, the expressions on the dancer’s face, and the hands’ movement. It is a wonderful thing to witness this cultural dance of Kerala.
Although a speciality, Kathakali is not the only thing the centre is famous for. The centre has morning meditation programs that you can take part in. It is also renowned for its dance courses. The dances styles that would be taught are traditionally Indian, like Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniyattam. It also has Indian martial arts and fighting classes, Kalaripayattu, and many more music and instruments courses.
The architecture of this centre was not ignored as they have tried to keep the theme of traditional with the Malabar style of architecture. The entire place is mostly made of intricate wood carvings—honestly a must-visit place on this Fort Kochi guide.
Kashi art café
It seems like everything about Fort Kochi is made for aesthetics. Especially, this Fort Kochi café that you need to visit is one of the best places to visit on this Fort Kochi guide!
The concept of this café is fantastic. It’s a little out there. An art display and the comfort of a café are both available at this café. You don’t have to pretend to know what art is trying to tell you at the cafe. You can admire the painting’s beauty, then walk on to eat your dinner. The best portion of the café, in my opinion.
The café truly is so scenic. Not a single visitor of the café can resist the urge of capturing something they locate in the café, with gorgeous red and wooden highlights, along with the iconic statue of heads.
The art café had its birth in 1977 with its founders, Dorrie Younger and Anoop Sakaria. The space was created to create some form of financial stability for artists. The name Kashi means light, and that is what the café tries to capture.
Poetry in bricks is what you’ll find in this cafe. People of various ages and backgrounds can have a cup of coffee in a world of art and sculptures while chatting about anything under the sun.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica
Santa Cruz Basilica is one of the eight basilicas in India. So, this is a place to mark off your bucket list. Like the St Francis church, this church is also more than 500 years old. It, too, has its origins with the Portuguese arrival.
Basilicas are prided for their stunning architecture. It shows a magnificent Indo-European and Gothic style of architecture. What is unique is the usage of colour in this structure. You are greeted with the bright blue pillars at the entrance. The monument is carefully crafted with pastel colours for its interior, paintings of the Italian painter Brother Antonio Moscheni and his disciple De Gama of Bangalore. The altar of the Basilica also has a beautiful painting adorned by Moscheni on the theme of ‘The Passion and death on the Cross’. The ceilings, too, are not spared. They are covered with frescos and murals that depict the life of Christ. Last but not least, the splendid attribute of churches is the stained glass windows that reflect the colours onto the shadows when light falls! This Basilica is no exception to this feature.
Mattancherry is an important part of the western side of Kochi. It encompasses the footprints and evidence of foreign travellers in Kerala and the influence this has had on the region. To visit this area more accessible and fruitful, three places are primarily to see.
- Jew town
- Paradesi synagogue
- Mattancherry palace
Jew town is a long, winding road between the Paradesi synagogue and the Mattancherry Palace. It is the best place to find antiques and vintage goods. You can also find quirky artwork here. The items are not just a part of the Diaspora. They tell stories of India, China and Europe. Decorating your house could never get more accessible and original than when you shop here.
This tiny market is the hub to be shopping at. There are so many stories and narratives you can gather from here. It takes shopping in Fort Kochi to an elementary and culturally diverse level.
The corner of the Jew town holds the Paradesi synagogue. It is more than 100 years old. Of course, the synagogue inhabits many more rare antiques.
This Jewish synagogue was built in 1568. The king of Cochin, at the time, had given a piece of land to the Jewish community. This synagogue was one of the structures that were built there. Unfortunately, the horrific past of the synagogue comes later when it was destroyed in 1662 by the Portuguese. However, it was reconstructed two years later by the Dutch.
The name given to this important piece of historic architecture, ‘Paradesi’, symbolises the touch of foreign influence in Kerala. Paradesi is a common word for ‘foreigner’ in many Indian languages.
The synagogue holds importance and the interesting fact is the copper plates from the 4th century, which are engraved in them, the inscriptions in Malayalam. They describe the grants gifted by the king at the time.
Popular nicknames for the Mattancherry Palace include “the Dutch Palace.” It is, nevertheless, a Portuguese palace. A superficial facelift was all that the Dutch accomplished in Kerala during their stay. Adding to the irony, neither the Portuguese nor the Dutch used the location. More of it was used under the Kochi sultanate’s control. It functioned as the royal residence of the dynasty. This location was once used for important ceremonies.
What is unique about this palace is the flooring. It is done with a mixture of burnt coconut shells, lime, plant juices and egg whites. Fort Kochi does bring many unique elements in architecture, aesthetics, style and culture. Although, this flooring could be mistaken for black marble.
Many of the palace’s original items, like its furniture and weapons, have been preserved in mural paintings and other artefacts. The story of Ramayana is depicted in exquisite mural paintings on the walls of the bed-chamber. Approximately 100 square metres, the picture was made between the 17th and 18th centuries. Many additional artefacts depict the narrative of Old Kochi and the people who lived there in the past, including old Dutch maps, royal umbrellas, the royal sword, silver sequined costumes, and a lot more.
Hoping this Fort Kochi Guide serves the purpose and gives you all the information. Share it with your friends and travel buddies who are planning a visit to this incredible travel destination. It is a heaven for solo travellers and backpackers.