A district in Kerala’s northern hemisphere, Kannur is popularly known as Cannanore. Kannur is rich with a diverse culture and art forms that date back to ancient Kerala but have been silently preserved as a reminder of colonial times. There have been numerous imperial regimes that have left their mark on this quaint town, including the Portuguese, Mysore Emperors, the British, and the Dutch.
Kannur is dotted with a variety of alluring tourist attractions. Beautiful beaches such as Mappila Bay and Payyambalam beach, historical monuments such as the Kanaur lighthouse, sacred temples, and peaceful picnic spots await tourists.
Here’s how you can reach Kannur:
By air: Kannur is about three and a half hours away from Mangalore International Airport, the nearest international airport. Air India Express, Jet Airways, Air India, SpiceJet and Kingfisher Airlines connect it to cities like Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha, Dubai, Kozhikode, Kuwait, Mumbai and Muscat.
By rail: Kannur Railway Station is the city’s major railway station. Several trains connect it to major cities such as Chennai, Delhi, Pune, and Mumbai, including Nagarcoil Express, Mangalore Express, Executive Express, Chennai-Mangalore Express, Chennai Mail, West Coast Express, and Mangalore SF Special.
By road: A decent network of state highways connects Kannur to other prime cities in the region. By means of NH 66, Kannur is connected to Kasaragod and Kozhikode, neighbouring cities. It is possible to reach cities like Madikeri, Coimbatore, Thrissur, Ooty, Bengaluru and Mysore by KSRTC buses that ply in and out of Kannur.
18 best tourist places in Kannur
Let’s take a look at some of these tourist places in Kannur.
An unspoiled secluded beach, Payyambalam Beach glistens with golden sand pearls and white waves of the Arabian Sea during the day. Find serenity on this calm beach almost every evening during your visit to Kannur tourist places. In its inviting currents, you can swim, boat, ski, parasail, etc.
See also: Places to visit in Alleppey
St Angelo’s Fort
There are many reasons why St Angelo’s Fort is one of the most popular Kannur visiting places. With its pure elegance and overwhelming power, the polished yet prehistoric structure of this fortress exudes charm. Standing on a sandy beach in the Arabian sea, you get an unobstructed view of the diorama crafted by the magnetic waves combined with the azure waters. Moreover, it overlooks Mopilla Bay, a naturally formed harbour.
Kerala’s only drive-in beach, Muzhappilangad offers a spectacular view of the golden sand beaches and the setting sun along the Malabar coast. Enjoy a stroll along the four km stretch of land along the ocean, or drive along the beach and soak up the natural beauty around you. On the beach, food lovers can eat authentic Malabar snacks and photography enthusiasts can take pictures of the ocean.
How to reach: NH-66 runs through Muzhappilangad and connects it with nearby towns such as Thalassery, Kannur, and other major cities of Kerala. There is a regular bus service between Kannur and other cities in Kerala. Several taxis and autos are also available from Kannur and Thalassey to Muzhappilangad.
Kannur lighthouse is the first of its type in Kerala, and hence it is one of the most popular places to visit in Kannur. The lighthouse is located near Sea View Park on Payyambalam Beach. Even though it’s only a red cylindrical tower, it’s still quite an attraction in Kannur. The lighthouse is still functional. Several of Kannur’s best hotels surround this place.
Parassinikadavu Snake Park
This snake park in Parassinikkadavu is one of its most unique tourist attractions. Among the park’s 150 species of reptiles are crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and rare migratory and endemic birds. Those who enjoy wildlife and animals will find it extremely satisfying to observe the variety of animals and their admirable qualities.
How to reach: The Parassinikadavu Snake Park is located 16 kilometres away from Kannur’s city centre. There is a National Highway 17 (NH 17) just two km away from the park, so you can take it to get here. The fastest way to get to the park is to take a cab or an auto from around the city.
Kannur’s Baby Beach, as its name suggests, is a tiny but very attractive beach on the Arabian Sea shore. With its panoramic view of the azure Arabian Sea, this spot is a very popular picnic spot for the locals of Kannur and attracts a lot of tourists as well. Baby Beach is an extension of Payyambalam Beach. On this rare rocky beach, people sit on giant rocks and marvel at the turquoise waters and rhythmic dancing waves of the sea. Sunsets and sunrises here are tantalising sights that attract visitors.
The Arakkal Museum honours Kerala’s only Muslim royal family, the Arakkal Ali Rajas. Located inside the Durbar Hall, the museum was the gathering place for kings and nobles of the palace. The museum displays furniture, art, weapons, and more that give insight into their culture and lives. It is a magnificent, elegant building that instantly transports you into the past.
Timings: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Entry fee: INR 10
The lush greenery and dizzying height of about 3,350 feet above sea level make Palakkayam Thattu one of the best Kannur places near the Western Ghats. The hill station is also one of Kerala’s most popular tourist attractions. Known for its dense forests and a number of hillocks, the quaint hamlet is a popular trekking destination.
As one of Kerala’s most beautiful landscapes, Madayipara sits atop a hillock near Pazhayangadi in the scenic city of Kannur. As the “land of flowers”, Madayipara is often compared to the famous Tulip Gardens in Amsterdam. Seasons change the appearance of this mystical land.
Flowers of vibrant colours cover the entire hillock in the springs. With the arrival of summer, the hillock transforms into a luxurious golden field with knee-high grass. As autumn approaches, the place is blanketed in crimson leaves. As the monsoons arrive, the hill station’s spirits lift, and its 700 acres turn a lush, green colour. Innumerable tourists from around the world are drawn here to witness these extraordinary changes adapted by Madayipara.
How to reach: Madayipara lies between Taliparamba (15 km) and Kannur (26 km), on the National Highway 66 (NH 66), which connects Goa, Mumbai, Kochi, and Thiruvananthapuram. You can drive or take a bus from Maday Bus Stop to reach here.
At the height of 286 metres, Ezhimala is visually stunning and offers views of the incredible natural beauty below and around. A battle for the Chola-Chera wars is believed to have taken place on this hill. For Buddhists, the site is also significant because Buddha is said to have visited it once.
How to reach: A direct route to Ezhimala can be taken from Ramanthali, the closest town. This route is served by regular buses, so getting to the place is not difficult.
The hill station, located about 65 kilometres from Kannur, is perched at 4,500 metres above sea level. You will find a haven here for adrenaline seekers – the trek to the village is six km long and is a sensory treat. During the trek, you will witness lush green forests, pristine waterfalls, and a wide array of flora and fauna. It serves as a salve to frayed nerves because it is isolated from everything that makes modern life stressful.
How to reach: From Kannur and Payyannur, KSRTC buses run to Pottenplave, the base of the Paithalmala hill. Additionally, there are two motorable roads leading up to Paithalmala, one through Pottenplave and the other through Kudiyanmala.
Located 25 kilometres from Kannur, Taliparamba is a small city in Kerala. There are two rivers flowing through the area: the Valapattanam River and the Kuppam River, which contribute to its natural beauty. There are lush fields all around the city as well as ancient tile-roofed houses which combine to make the place picturesque. Among the greenery, there is a tranquil environment that offers a perfect getaway from the fast pace of city life.
How to reach: It is possible to commute to Taliparamba and back from Kannur by local buses, which operate quite efficiently.
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
For nature lovers, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit attraction in Kannur. In addition to being the northernmost wildlife reserve in Kerala, it is also Kannur’s only wildlife sanctuary. Exotic birds and animals inhabit this forest, which becomes more and more impressive the deeper you get into it. Located at 1,145 metres above sea level, this landscape offers trekking enthusiasts a variety of scenery to enjoy.
How to reach: Thalasseri’s Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary lies on the outskirts of the city, away from the noise and disturbance of the city. The nearest town to the sanctuary is Iritty, 5 km away, from where you can rent a cab to the sanctuary. There are also roads and stunning views leading to this sanctuary from Kannur, Wayanad, Virajpet, and Thalasseri. Instead of hiring a cab, you should take your own vehicle to the sanctuary.
There is a holy shrine called Sri Subramania temple in Peralassery, which is 14 kilometres away from Kannur. Lord Shiva’s son and revered Hindu figure, Lord Subramanya, is worshipped in the temple.
Tourists are attracted to the beautiful serpentine idol of Lord Subramania. This temple also has a magnificent pond that attracts thousands of tourists each year. Culture and religion buffs also gather for the annual Kodiyettam festival. Visit the temple and you will discover facets of yourself you didn’t know existed.
Take a journey back in time to the Ezhara beach and travel back a century. A place that still preserves its roots and remains unperturbed by the concrete jungles, Ezhara beach offers a truly solitary escape from the hustle and bustle of daily city life.
Visit the golden sand beaches with your family for a fun-filled picnic, or stroll along the beach with your spouse. Have fun splashing around in the water with your friends and create memories that will last a lifetime.
The Sundareswara Temple in Kannur is a very popular and frequently visited temple in the south. Shiva is worshipped as Sundareswara, the ‘God of Beauty’ here.
With its name, Sundareswara, the temple tries to remind visitors that ‘Everyone is beautiful’ and to seek beauty in everything. Built in 1916, this majestic temple is one of the largest in Kannur, and its grandeur and splendour cannot be described in words. Sri Chaitanya Swami, a renowned artist, and an ardent Shiva devotee, designed and decorated the opulent interiors.
Vismaya Water Park
Vismaya Water Park is a water theme park near Taliparamba in Kannur, Kerala, which features an array of thrilling rides and thrilling water sports. The 30-acre water park, which opened in August 2008, boasts more than a dozen splash pools as well as conference halls, restaurants, and casual shops.
Timings: 11 AM to 6 PM and 10:30 AM to 6 PM on holidays
- On weekdays:
- Adult – INR 570,
- Child – INR 460,
- Senior Citizen – INR 260
- On weekends and holidays:
- Adult – INR 630,
- Child – INR 500,
- Senior Citizen – INR 270
A natural harbour called Mappila Bay is located near the town of Kannur, Kerala. Malabar was connected to lands far and wide through Mappila Bay, and it once served as a major port. A magnificent Portuguese fort built in the 15th century surrounds the Bay with colonial-era architecture. Across the harbour you’ll find the Arakulam Palace and Museum, honouring the Arakulam kingdom that reigned in Cannanore city-state in the 1500s.
What is the best time to visit Kannur?
Since Kannur is a coastal city with a tropical climate, it is best to visit between October and February. Winter in Kannur is the preferred season for tourists, as it is comfortable, convenient, and pleasant.
How many days does it take to explore Kannur?
Two to three days are enough to experience the beauty and serenity of Kannur.
What are the must-visit beaches in Kannur?
Here are five beaches you can visit while touring Kannur: Muzhappilangad drive-in beach, Payyambalam beach, Thottada beach, Kizhunna – Ezhara beach, and Meenkunnu beach.