Kozhikode Travel Guide | Experience Warm Hospitality and Appetizing Delicacies

  • February 5, 2022

Kozhikode also known as Calicut in its anglicized version, is an important city in northern Kerala. The unique culture of this place along with its friendly people make this one of the best places to live in Kerala. With its serene beaches, beautiful rivers, verdant greenery, rich cultural heritage, and delightful cuisine this city is also one of the most sought after places by tourists visiting Kerala. This Kozhikode travel guide will help you plan your trip to this amazing coastal city.

A Brief History

Kozhikode, once part of the mighty Chera empire and ruled by the Samoothiris (Zamorins) later, still reflects the cultural richness and aristocratic lineage of its glorious past. It was a well known trade port that engaged in international trade with the Jews, Arabs, Phoenicians, and Chinese for more than 500 years. Being a major trading hub for a variety of spices like black pepper and cardamom, this place earned the nickname of the ‘city of spices’.

Vasco da Gama, the first European traveler to arrive on the Malabar coastlines at Kappad, initiated trade relations between Kozhikode and the kingdom of Portugal. This was followed by the Dutch and later the Englishmen arriving in India to establish trade relations. Kozhikode, thus with its established trade history, contributed immensely to shaping the economic and commercial setting of the state of Kerala.

How To Reach

Kozhikode is well connected by rail, road and air, being one of the most important cities in the northern Kerala.

By Air: Kozhikode International Airport located at Karipur is about 25 kilometres from the main city of Kozhikode. Most of the major airlines have direct flights to Kozhikode, though limited in number. This airport  also serves as an operating base for Hajj pilgrimage services to Medina and Jeddah.

By Rail: Kozhikode is connected all the major cities and tourist destinations in India via the rail network that falls under the Palakkad division of Southern Railways. Important Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Mangalore, Chennai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Hyderabad can be reached by means of regular passenger and express trains.

By Road: KSRTC runs a large fleet of buses that connect Kozhikode to important cities of the south, via its day and night services. National Highway 212 connects Kozhikode with Kollegal in Karnataka via Mysore. NH 213 connects Palakkad, Malappuram and Calicut district headquarters in Kerala. NH 17 connects Kozhikode to Mumbai via Mangalore, Udupi and Goa.

Places to Visit in Kozhikode

The historical significance, the mouth-watering cuisine, and the heat-warming hospitality of the people  make Kozhikode a famous tourist destination. It is worth taking some time out to visit some of the interesting destinations mentioned below. Include them in your itinerary to get to know the heart and soul of Kozhikode. You may not be able to see them all in one day, so plan your itinerary accordingly.

Kozhikode Beach

Kozhikode beach is the reflection of what this amazing city has to offer to its visitors. The beach road is a long stretch starting from Beypore in the south to Kappad in the north, giving you glimpses of the sparkling blue throughout. People come here to watch the beautiful orange sunset or to just relax and enjoy the seafood delicacies available in the surrounding areas. A local favourite is kallumekaya or mussels.

The recently renovated and beautified beach promenade is a reminder of the city’s rich cultural and economic history, portrayed by the numerous art works and illustrations along the walkway. The seating areas have also been improved with more greenery, art installations and public gathering spaces. The beach also has a children’s park and an aquarium to engage and amuse the little ones.

Valiyangadi area near the beach was once the central hub of commerce, during the majestic years of Kozhikode. Later the activities got shifted to other areas such as S.M. Street and adjoining areas, and to malls such as Hi-Lite in the recent years.

Sarovaram Bio Park

Sarovaram Bio Park can very well be called the ‘lung space’ of the city due to its amazing wetland ecosytem and diverse flora, including various mangrove species.  Identified as one of the 27 wetlands of India, this is a protected ecosystem to conserve mangrove species and other flora. The park is located beside the Canoly Canal, which is another historic construction created initially to transport goods from the interiors of Malabar to Kallayi port.

A nice spot to spend a relaxed evening or to go for a morning jog, this park also provides facilities such as a children’s park, an open-air theatre, and boating in the internal water bodies. The park is divided into two phases, the first phase providing a paved walkway and the second phase has a more natural trail among the trees. There is a nominal entry fee if you visit the park after 9 a.m.

Mithai Theruvu (SM Street)

Mithai Theruvu or the SweetMeat Street is a busy shopping street in the heart of the city, situated close to the famous Mananchira square. The history of this street dates back to the time of the Zamorin, who invited the Gujarati sweet makers to open shops in this area. Though it started off as a street selling sweets and savories, the current situation is a lot different. You can buy anything ranging from sweets to electronics or from clothes to handicrafts in the shops that line up on either side of this busy street.

Owing to the busy nature of this street, vehicle traffic is restricted here during most of the day time. This street is especially busy during the festival seasons such Onam and Ramzan and the shops remain open till midnight to cater to customer demands. Unlike the high-end shopping malls that mainly deal with branded ware, S M street is pocket-friendly alternative for the common man to get a better value for money shopping experience. You can even visit this street for a window shopping experience or to feel the pulse of the city life.

Kappad Beach

Kappad beach is a historically significant stretch of shoreline located about 16 km north of Kozhikode city. Known also as Kappakadavu locally, this beach is situated closer to Koyilandy town.

Kappad beach is where the first European traveler Vasco da Gama landed on the Malabar coastline, which in turn led to the establishment of trade relations between Kozhikode and the kingdom of Portugal.  A stone monument installed here commemorates this historic event with an inscription that indicates the year of his arrival as 1498. A silent witness to the flourishing spice trade, this legendary place holds a lot of history among its sandy whites.

A quiet beach with tranquil settings, this is a good option for a relaxed evening outing. The rocks and the small hillocks surrounding the beach add to the charm of this place. There are also good seating and relaxation options by the beach, and the surrounding shacks sell local delicacies.

Kappad beach
Image credit: Wikimedia

Iringal Crafts Village

Iringal is a small village located near Vadakara town, at a distance of about 45 kms from Kozhikode city. Kerala Arts and Crafts village, or Sargaalaya at Iringal is an initiative of the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala to promote the products designed and created by the traditional artisans of the state. Apart from buying the local products directly from their creators, you can also learn a lesson or two about the intricacies of their craftmanship.

Sargaalaya has been conceptualized and developed as a responsible tourism initiative, and is located on a sprawling 20-acre land on the shores of the Moorad river. There are about 60 different stalls housed in eco-friendly huts or cottages, that sell various craft items. The uniqueness of this village is that you can witness and learn in person the nuances of crafts-making and also take home a souvenir or two at a reasonable price. Do not miss a chance to visit this amazing crafts village, if you have a passion for art and craft.

Image credit: Wikimedia

Tikkoti Lighthouse

The Tikkoti Lighthouse also known as Kadalur point light house is located about 30 kms from Kozhikode city. Constructed in the year 1847 after a shipwreck that happened in the area, this lighthouse stands 34 m tall.

You can climb the winding steps of the lighthouse all the way to the top to enjoy the exhilarating views from up above. The lighthouse is closed for public on Mondays and on other days it remains open from 4 PM to 6PM. There is a nominal fee to enter the lighthouse and you need to pay for your camera as well, if you wish to capture the splendid views from top.

The breathtaking views of the Arabian sea complemented by the verdant greens on the shoreline makes this an idyllic picnic spot for a relaxed evening outing. The lighthouse overlooks Velliyamkallu rock off the Moodadi coast in Kozhikode. This region is also well known certain species of migratory birds.

Kakkayam Dam

Kakkayam dam is one of the lesser-known picnic spots in Kozhikode district and is located near Koorachundu, at a distance of about 60 kms from the city. Abundant in wildlife, the area surrounding the reservoir is also famous for  trekking and rock climbing. This reservoir is part of the Kuttiyadi hydroelectric project and the tail water from here joins the river and is utilized by the Peruvannamoozhi irrigation project.

Boat rides are available in the reservoir to give you an enchanting view of the area. You can also view a couple of small waterfalls and dense forests around the dam. Orakkuzhi is a one such waterfall that is located close to the dam.  You can spot different species of animals such as elephants and bison in the areas surrounding the dam. You may need to take permission from the forest department officials before venturing out further into the forest.

This scenic spot which offers a breathtakingly beautiful environment is ideal for a day outing from Kozhikode. You should also try the speed boat ride here which is quite enthralling in itself, and enjoy the views of the waterfalls which cannot be accessed by road.

Thusharagiri Waterfalls

Thusharagiri is a famous waterfall located about 50 kms from Kozhikode city, en route to Wayanad. The name Thusharagiri that translates to ‘mist-capped mountain’ is apt as the waterfalls creates a beautiful snowy spray. 

Thusharagiri comprises three waterfalls (Erattumukku, Mazhavil Chattom, and Thenpara) on the Chalippuzha river that flows down the Western Ghats. The Thenpara falls is the highest one at an altitude of about 75 meters, and can be reached by trekking through the forest.

Surrounded by picturesque nature all around, this place will surely transport you to a different world, away from the noisy and stressful city life. The route to the waterfalls is also delightful, dotted with various plantations such as arecanut, pepper, ginger and spices.

Image credit: Wikimedia

Beypore

Beypore is a beautiful beach destination located about 10 kms towards the south of Kozhikode city. Located at the confluence of Chaliyar river and the Arabian sea, Beypore was once a port city holding a significant place in maritime trade history of olden days. This ancient port has been a witness to a lot of trade deals with the Arabs, the Chinese and the European merchants later.

Beypore is also well-known for its traditional shipbuilding industry that dates back to about 1,500 years. The gigantic wooden ships known as Urus built here, were mainly used by the Arabs as their trade vessels. Even now these ships are bought by Arab merchants for trading, fishing, and as tourist ships. You can buy models of these vessels to take home as souvenirs.

The Pulimutt at Beypore beach is a 1.5 kilometer long tiled walkway into the sea. Good for a leisurely stroll enjoying the sea views, this place can get crowded in the evenings. Another interesting option is to take a jhankar/ferry (you can even board your vehicle on this) from Beypore to Chalyiam pulimutt. You can also watch dolphins here if the climate is favorable.

Image credit: Wikimedia

Kadalundi Bird Santuary

Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary is one of the most famous avian destinations in Kerala. You can watch migratory birds from all across the globe here. The Kadalundi river draining out into the Arabian sea creates a lot of small marshy islands here, mostly filled with mangrove trees and shrubs – an ideal habitat for birds. 

There are about 60 species of migratory birds here, visiting during different times of the year. Seagulls, terns, sandpipers, and turnstones are few of the species that you can find here commonly.  You can also find certain snake species such as cobras, vipers and kraits here.

Boat service is available here to take you through the mangrove reserves and view the birds in close proximity. The rates for these rides are quite reasonable. Check the tide timings before you book your boat ride. The receding water during low tide can make it difficult for the boat to move around.

The best time to visit this place is from November to April. This bird sanctuary is located at about 20 kms south of Kozhikode city.

Image credit: Wikimedia

What to Try and Buy

Kozhikode is famous for its mouth-watering delicacies including sea-food and varieties of snacks. Try some of these items while you are here:

  • Sea food items such as ‘kallumakkaya’ and fried king fish
  • Different varieties of biriyani
  • Nice pathiri and mutton stew
  • Porotta and chicken curry
  • Avil milk, Sharjah shake and Falooda
  • Chatti pathiri, pazham nirachathu, and unnakkaya

You can try these items at some of these famous eateries in Kozhikode.

Kozhikode halwa and banana chips are the two quintessential things that you must buy when you visit this beautiful city. The SM Street area is famous for its freshly prepared halwa and hot chips. You can also buy aromatic spices and condiments in the markets strewn within the city.

You can also try the handwoven cotton fabrics and other handcrafted items such as wood carvings and metal items. Check out the new generation shopping hubs such as the Hi-Lite mall, Focus mall etc. for branded clothes and accessories.

Where to Stay

In Kozhikode you will find decent accommodation in all possible budgets, ranging from super luxury resorts to budget hotels.

Luxury hotels and resorts in Kozhikode:

Other hotels in Kozhikode:

Useful Travel Tips

  • Knowledge of the local language Malayalam is an advantage, but not a must. You can converse in English with most people. In fact, most will be happy to guide you in English.
  • Green-colored city buses are the cheapest options to travel around the city. Watch out for crowd during peak hours.
  • Auto rikshaws are the next best options to make your way through the city lanes. The auto drivers of Kozhikode have a reputation for honesty as they do not overcharge. 
  • Best time to visit is during the cooler winter months from October through February.
  • Plan to club your visit with other nearby places such as Wayanad or Kannur.

Hope you found this Kozhikode travel guide useful. Check out our other destination guides here.

Article Tags:
·

How do you rate this destination?

100 %

By 02 reviewer(s)

Sort by

  • Avatar

    sharun

    perfectly fetched information

    this was a very useful lists on kozhikodes travel guide ,as its my native i felt so impresssed that it included the highlighting spots of entire district

    November 9, 2022

    Helpful?

  • Avatar

    Arun

    Nice Article

    Good list. Must visit places in Kozhikode

    March 3, 2022

    Helpful?

Leave feedback about this

Your email address will not be published.

How do you rate this destination?