Kerala – the land of coconuts, the land of elephants, the land of backwaters, the land of greenery – the vignettes sketched by travellers makes it one of the most sought after destinations in the whole country. Every bit of Kerala is beautiful right from the glorious rolling Nilgiri hills and sprawling tea plantations in the Western Ghats,  the mesmerizing beaches along the entire stretch of Kerala, especially along the Malabar Coast and the stunning cultural heritage as evidenced by the various well-preserved monuments, palaces, churches, palaces and forts. Kerala is the ultimate destination for a romantic honeymoon, family vacation or a friends only adventure. There is so much to do here right from Paragliding to climbing the coconut trees to plucking the coconuts, fishing and trekking. Kerala scenic beauty bears evidence to the verdant lifestyle of the people here. If you are planning to visit Kerala in 2016, then here are 10 places that you must include in your itinerary. 

munnar

Munnar

One of the most popular hill stations in South India, Munnar invites you to a cool and relaxed vacation, where you can have fun or relax. You can still see traces of erstwhile English settlements here in the form of old buildings. The sprawling tea gardens look exceptionally beautiful on misty mornings, especially when the sun starts peeping in. It is worth spending a day or two here, and the best time to visit would be anytime when it is not raining; because during the rainy season, you will have to be afraid of blood-sucking leeches. 

kumarakom

Kumarakom

In Kumarakom, you get to visit and stay in a typical Kerala village, traverse in a houseboat through the wide labyrinth of backwaters, enjoy fishing or simply relax and gaze at the exotic plethora of avian population. Top off your houseboat tour with a typical Kerala style feast, also known as “sadya”where you can enjoy a 21-course lunch and desert. The best time to visit Kumarakom is during the November to February; March to May and June to September period. 

cochin

Cochin

With its fascinating mix of old and new, Cochin or Kochi as it is most popularly known as, is a major tourism destination in Kerala. No visit to Kerala is complete without a visit to Kochi. Though the city has a modern outlook, you cannot deny the deep-rooted ancient culture and heritage deeply embedded in its fabric.

alappuzha

Alleppey

Situated along the Arabian coast, Alleppey is a beautiful destination that serves as a major tourism destination for people. It is also called the Venice of the East, probably because of the stunning beauty that you can enjoy during a backwater cruise, irresistible and memorable. 

wayanad

Wayanad

Located on the north-east of Kerala with majesty as its second name, Wayanad is a place you must visit when you are heading to Kerala this year. Though you don’t have too many activities to do here, this mesmerizing natural beauty of the place makes it here in this list. Places of interest in Wayanad are Neelimala, a trekker’s paradise, Chembra Peak, Meenmutty waterfalls, Pakshipathalam, BanasuraSagar Dam and Chethalayam. The climb up the Chembra Peak is truly exhilarating for a person in the pink of health. The best time to visit Wayanad would be during the October to June period. 

thekkady

Thekkady

The ultimate destination for wildlife enthusiasts and a haven for people who like to watch the animals and aviator population in their natural habitat. Situated in the Kottayam district of Kerala, Thekkady is a place that you can enjoy to a maximum during the October to June period. Popular and must visit places include Periyar Tiger Reserve; and jeep safari to Gavi, another popular tourism destination embalmed in scenic beauty.

wagamon

Vagamon

Vagamon rivals Munnar in its beauty. Studded with greenery and bordered with lush landscapes untarnished by man’s hand, you are taken to a totally different world of natural beauty at Vagamon. The time to visit this place would be – anytime. The beauty of this place during the rainy season cannot be detailed here because it has a charm that makes you go literally speechless. 

beypore-kozhikode

Kozhikode

Kozhikode is a district with historical importance and was once upon a time the historical hub of many foreign traders including the Arabs and Chinese. When the Zamorins ruled the city, Kozhikode flourished strongly and capitulated to global fame. Even now, you can see several historical landmarks that remind you of its bygone days of glory. Visit the serene beaches, wildlife sanctuaries and walk along the green countryside to enjoy the true spirit of the city. You can visit Kozhikode during October to March period. 

chowara-thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram

A city that is flanked by mountains on one side and by the sea on the other side, and built on seven hills. What makes Thiruvananthapuram so alluring to visitors is its scenic natural beauty, historical monuments and cultural richness. The main places of interest in Thiruvananthapuram are Poovar Island, Neyyar Dam, Chowra Beach, Hawa Beach, Veli Tourist Village, Aruvikkara Dam and Kovalam. You can visit Thiruvananthapuram any time of the year. But if you want to escape the heat, then avoid March-April period.

kollam

Kollam

Kollam was once known as Quilon and before that Desinganadu, and is historically important as one of the leading spice trade capitals of South India. Kollam was also popular for its cashew trade. The town is so beautiful and you can see extols of its glory in the narrations of Marco Polo and IbnBauta. Take the 8-hour long boat ride from Aleppey to Kollam to enjoy the mesmerizing scenic beauty of the backwaters.