I always ask this question to people, “What would you prefer for you ideal vacation, Mountains or Beaches ?”, which segregates them into two major categories of travellers. Some people prefer beaches and some are self proclaimed mountain addicts. I appreciate beaches because of the sense of infinity it provides at the horizon. But I personally prefer a sunset view from a mountain anytime over a beach destination due to the calmness and a feeling of uninterrupted closeness with nature.
Imagine an evening when you are sitting in a nice cafe with a beer/coffee in your hand, right on the edge of a cliff facing Arabian Sea with colorful clouds in the sky and no interruption of waves. Varkala is exactly such kind of a place, which combines the calmness of a mountain with a sense of inifinity at horizon of sea.
1. Love at First Sight
I heard about this place a lot as a perfect destination to chill out on a cliff near a beach in Kerala. We reached Varkala really late in the night and when I woke up next morning, I literally shouted in excitement after having a first glance at the view from my room window. Seriously, I was not expecting the resort right at the boundary of the cliff.
There are series of resorts, cafes and shops on the boundary of the cliff separated by a road which is just 2-3 feet wide and there are no vehicles allowed except bicycles. The complete stretch must be in kms but the cafes and shops are in a very small section of ~1 km.
2. This place is a paradise for Photographers
If you are a photographer soul, you can pick one corner in the street to setup your tripod and there are endless frames waiting for you to be clicked.
3. An amazing place for Coffee lovers and solo travellers
There are great cafes on the cliff serving amazing coffee with endless snacks options. Varkala is a perfect destination for a solo trip and someone can easily spend the entire weekend appreciating the natural beauty with a coffee and a great book.
4. This place has Night Life too
Those who are not convinced with an idea of a solo trip with coffee and book as company, this place has a great nightlife too which ends at midnight (just 1 hr earlier than Bangalore :P). There are some good cafes like Rock N’ Roll, which serves nice cocktails with great food and music to make a perfect evening. I must say staff at every cafe is really polite and friendly.
5. Waking up early is a bonus here
Next day we decided to wakeup early to explore the place which turned out to be a great idea. Nice weather, cool breeze over the sea and some amazing shots made our morning. We walked down to the northern side till the end of cliff. There is a rock beach in the end where you can sit and enjoy the sound of waves crashing against the rocks.
Accommodation : We booked our room at a place named Clafouti at North Cliff with a tariff of Rs.1100/night for Non-Ac room. Once we reached there, we realized that AC room is mandatory due to humidity. We upgraded to AC room by paying 400 rupees/night extra. The place is a nice resort with spacious rooms and great view from each room. I would recommend to book your stay near North cliff where the street is narrower and less number of shops which leads to less crowd.
How to reach : The best way is to take a flight to Trivandrum and then book a pre-paid taxi to Varkala from a counter inside the airport. It takes around an hour to reach Varkala from Airport and cost around 1100 rupees for an AC taxi.
Food : Every resort has a restaurant/cafe on the main street with all types of cuisines. You can select a place according to your food preference and ambience.
Time of Travel : We went to Varkala in October which is not the peak season for Kerala. January is usually the peak season.