Kozhikode is a port city in the Southern state of Kerala, also known to most people by its Anglicized name Calicut. Kozhikode tourism mainly thrives on exorbitant beaches, one-of-a-kind houseboat cruises, historical sites, and shopping markets. You can always find a handful of exciting things to do in Kozhikode and a vacation in this part of the Malabar region is truly worth the trip.
It may come as a surprise to most English tourists that the English word Calico which is used to refer to a variety of cotton textile has supposedly been derived from the Anglicized name of this charming city-Calicut.
Kozhikode, once ruled by the Zamorin kings has a glorious history and prides itself for being the historical capital of Kerala. Kozhikode was popular for its Indian spices and was a spice trade center for merchants from Arabia, China, Africa, and Persia in the ancient days. The iconic Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama created history on May 20 1498 when he landed in Kappad Beach, near Calicut on his quest for the rare spices which eventually opened up the doors for spice trade between Europe and Malabar. The Portuguese expedition was followed by the English and the French expeditions. Explore the tourist places in Kozhikode district to step back in time to discover and learn about its rich history, traditions and culture.
The city makes an excellent holiday destination for individuals, honeymooners and families who wish to temporarily stay away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities. The remainder of the blog will focus on the best things to do and places to visit in Kozhikode. Our list of things will include trending attractions and even offbeat places in Calicut for making your holiday more delightful.
Bucket-list of Things to do in Kozhikode:
1. Head to the warm Beaches of Kozhikode
Kozhikode Beach, lying on the Malabar Coast, is a popular tourist attraction of this port town and is sometimes known as Calicut Beach. Tourists and the locals throng here to get a glimpse of the glorious sunsets, taste seafood delicacies from the numerous stalls found on the beach promenade, and watch dolphins at the Dolphins Point. The other highlights of the beach include a Lions Park for little children and the popular water aquarium that is open all days of the week for public between 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Kappad Beach, also known locally as Kappakadavu, situated in close proximity to Kozhikode District is another beach delight for spending great moments on a sunny afternoon with family and friends. If you are looking for a real serene place with some beach fun then Kappad Beach is your best bet. For an exhilarating beach experience, you can indulge in fun activities like swimming, boat rides and walking along its beautiful coast line. The highlight of Kappad Beach is you will find a stone inscription that marks the landing of the Portuguese crusader, Vasco da Gama at this beach.
2. Take a houseboat cruise in the backwaters of Kozhikode
Kozhikode is a popular backwater destination in Kerala. Houseboat cruises in the backwaters of Kozhikode is the best way of having some romantic moments in Kozhikode with your sweetheart. Houseboat cruises are popular among honeymooners and the best part is they offer unsurpassed luxury and comfort to patrons. A typical Houseboat in Kozhikode is a “floating villa” which has all inbuilt amenities for accommodation and the main purpose of it is to provide the on board passengers with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and natural settings of the backwaters of the town. Popular Houseboat cruises in Kozhikode operate everyday around the Kallai River and Canoli canals.
3. Explore the Ancient Thikkoti Light House
The Thikkoti Light House is a top tourist attraction for both foreign tourists and locals alike, situated in Thikkoti Village near Kozhikode. The intriguing thing about this historical structure is it was built on the remains of a ship wreck! Climbing the lighthouse for getting stunning views of the iconic Velliyamkallu-a rock formation lying in the Arabian Sea is a must-do and don’t forget to take snapshots of the scenic view from atop for treasuring those memorable moments.
4. A visit to the Kozhikode’s Planetarium can really make your day
Kozhikode prides itself for housing a cutting edge Planetarium-The Regional Science Center and Planetarium. Visitors get a chance to watch a simulation of the night sky depicting visuals of heavenly bodies from our galaxy (The Milky way), other galaxies and the mysterious Universe. Besides watching the simulation of the night sky, you must take some time off to tour the indoor and outdoor science displays in the planetarium for a wealth of information related to Outer Space. Touring the Regional Center and Planetarium is highly recommendable, especially if you are on a vacation with little children as Outer Space and heavenly bodies is something that is most loved by them. The Planetarium also has an aquarium vibe to it and you mustn’t miss visiting the aquarium with your family.
5. Take a Tour of the Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary if you like bird watching!
Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Kadalundipuzha River is a paradise for bird watchers. This also is a pure delight for photographers who like to capture picturesque views of nature. Patrons can sight see the bird sanctuary by either walking or by taking boat rides. During your tour, you will be sighting rare migratory birds and even some crocodiles hidden deep inside the water, if you are on a boat ride. The best time to visit is during the months of October to April when the migratory birds come here from distant places.
6. Shop Indian Spices and Souvenirs
Shopaholics who like to shop some hard to find, authentic Indian foods and souvenirs must read on. The main shopping market for finding delish local foods and spices is Valiyangadi, also known as Big Bazaar. It was the central hub for trading spices in the ancient days. As time progressed, the shopping market has expanded to other parts of the city. Today Mittai Theruvu or the Sweet Meat street is a happening street with a myriad of corner shops selling Indian souvenirs like hand woven cotton garments, sarees and cosmetics. For upscale shopping needs you must hit the shopping malls, including Focus Mall and HiLite Mall in the city.
7. Take a sneak peek on Kozhikode’s Art and Artifacts
If art, artifacts and museums is what you are interested in then Kozhikode has something to offer in this space for you. The Pazhassiraja Museum and Art Gallery is our top recommendation for a museum tour in Calicut. This is a mind-boggling museum that can’t be missed during your vacation in Kozhikode. The Pazhassiraja Museum sits on a hilltop, located about 10 km from the city railway station and the main museum has two sections: 3D Gallery and V.K Krishna Menon Gallery. The museum has a huge collection of artifacts belonging to the Neolithic era, along with weapons and costumes of the ancient rulers of Kerala. This is a must-visit for getting a good insight on the roots of Malayalam language and the popular deities of that era.
How to reach Kozhikode, Kerala
The quickest and easiest way to reach Kozhikode is taking a flight. Local tourists from India can opt for cheaper public transportation modes like Train, Bus, and Car. Taking a flight may help you save a lot of time and stress. If you are a foreign tourist from another country or a continent then you will be interested in Calicut International Airport (IATA code: CCJ), situated just 26 km from the city of Kozhikode. Calicut International Airport is the main gateway for international flights to countries in the Middle East and domestic flights to cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi. International tourists flying from USA can book cheap flights to Kochi and take a train or bus to Kozhikode. You can also hire a private car for a road trip to Kozhikode from Kochi.
Best time to spend a vacation in Kozhikode, Kerala
Kozhikode can be best enjoyed during the months of October to March when the weather is at its best and ideal for sightseeing. Avoid traveling during the summer months of April to June when the sun is scorching hot. The peak season for tourism in Kozhikode is during the winter months of November to February. The downsides of travelling in the peak time are, the airfares are going to reach an all-time high, the crowds are going to be thicker and hotel room rates are also likely to be the most expensive. A vacation in Kozhikode District is definitely worth the money! Just make sure you don’t miss any of our bucket-list of things to do in Kozhikode, Kerala.