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Whether you’re visiting India for the first time and want to visit South India to ease yourself in, or you want a beach holiday on the beaches of Goa and you fancy seeing some of the lush green-ness of Kerala whilst you’re there, you can easily see Goa and Kerala in South India in 2 weeks!
Goa and Kerala are two separate states in India that run along the West Coast of India, and although they are only 2 of 29 states, they still cover a lot of space in this country so you should plan your itinerary for south India in advance to make sure you can see a lot in both places, and cover the distances to get from one place to another!
I’ll tell you the best places to visit in Goa and the best places to visit in Kerala in this India travel guide.
Based on my experience travelling around South India, I would recommend the perfect Goa itinerary and Kerala itinerary and the best place to travel for 2 weeks in India as:
Agonda Beach (Goa) – Palolem Beach (Goa) – Kochi (Kerala) – Munnar (Kerala) – Alleppey (Kerala) – Varkala (Kerala)
If you want to see North India in 2 weeks too, check out my Northern India Itinerary here!
2 Week South India Itinerary!
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR INDIA
First off, have you got travel insurance for India yet? I am covered by World Nomad’s and I really recommend them for their great customer service, their choice of policies and the fact that they were created by travellers for travellers!
Get a free quote while you think about it here:
SIM CARD FOR INDIA
I really recommend having a sim card in India as it makes travel in India so much easier! You may have heard that it’s hard to get a sim card in India but things are changing and now it’s not so hard! Read this post on how to get a sim card in India as a tourist!!
If your phone is locked or you don’t want to go to the hassle of getting a sim card, I suggest getting a portable wifi device for India which you can get delivered to your home free of charge 2-3 days before you leave for India!
Remember you need a visa to enter India. Luckily, these day’s the visa for India can be applied for online and they give you a 1-year visa straight away! Here’s my step by step easy guide on how to apply for an e-visa for India.
Map of South India Places to Visit.
Best Time of Year to visit South India.
Please keep in mind whilst planning your travel to South India that you’ll want to visit South India including Goa & Kerala in the Winter Months like Nov-March.
This is the best period to visit Goa and Kerala because the weather will be dry and places will be open for tourism. In the summer months, especially in Goa tourism shuts because the monsoon rains come.
Day 1 – Land in Goa. Travel to Goa Beach.
Goa International Airport is a main airport in India because Goa is such a popular place for people to go on holiday in India from abroad and for domestic Indian tourists.
There will be lots of taxi’s waiting outside the airport so you can take a taxi or pre-arrange transport to your first beach in Goa.
Goa has so many beaches and it really depends on what you want from a holiday in Goa. Do you want to party? Do you want to chill? Do you want activities? Here’s my blog post on the best beaches in Goa so you can work out which ones you want to visit, and here’s a post on the best shopping markets in Goa if you like Flea Markets.
For the purpose of this itinerary for India, I’m suggesting you visit Agonda Beach and Palolem Beach in Goa as they are both all-round beaches in Goa and close together meaning less travel time as you don’t want to spend all of your holiday in South India travelling between places!
Goa Airport to Agonda Beach is a 1 hour 45minute to 2 hour drive. If you land late, don’t worry as transport will be available all night.
Day 2 & 3 – Beach Days.
Spend the next 2 days enjoying the beach. If you decide to stay in Agonda Beach you’ll be treated to a long stretch of beachline with nothing to do apart from chilling.
However, if you want to go out on a boat trip you can, or a popular trip from Agonda beach and a place to visit in Goa is Cabo de Rama Fort which you give you a taste of the culture of Goa. Agonda beach is also good for beginner surfers.
Related Post: Do you want to mix it up and visit some different places to what I suggest in this India itinerary? Have a look at these 24 places in India perfect for your first trip!
Day 4 – Move Beaches.
In my opinion, to really experience Goa you need to visit at least 2 beaches in Goa on your Goa trip because each beach is so different. I really recommend spending some time at Palolem Beach, I think this is one of the best places to visit in Goa because Palolem Beach is super chilled, it’s clean, quiet and has some great cafes!
Agonda Beach to Palolem Beach takes just 15 minutes in a car so I’d suggest leaving early in the morning so you can spend all day in Palolem Beach, and when you arrive at Palolem Beach, head for brunch or lunch at Zest Cafe in Palolem, it’s the best!
As I mentioned before, with 2 weeks in India it’s best to visit beaches in Goa that are fairly close together on your India itinerary because some take 4-5 hours to drive between and with only 5 days in Goa you don’t want to spend one of those days in a taxi!
Day 5 – Beach Day.
Palolem Beach is another beach to chill at however for things to do in Palolem Beach I would recommend going out on a morning boat trip to see Dolphins. If you want to see another beach you can get a tuk-tuk to Patnem Beach which is just around the corner from Palolem Beach.
Here’s my full Guide to Palolem Beach with where to stay, things to do and where to eat!
Day 6 – Beach Day. Overnight Train to Kochi.
Today you have two options, you could get an overnight train from Goa to Kerala, this way you’ll get to spend a full day on the beach and travel overnight experiencing real, India travel. Or you could travel back to Goa Airport and fly from Goa to Kochi in Kerala which takes just 1 hour 20 minutes.
My suggestion would be the overnight train as the trains in India are the best way to see and experience the real India and meet the lovely people of India and it will give you more time on the beach in Goa.
You will need to prebook your train from to Kerala from Goa in advance. The nearest train station to Palolem Beach is Madgaon and the train station for Kochi is Ernakulam Jn. This is the train I recommend booking which you can book on 12Go Asia. I recommend booking 2AC which is Second Class with Air Con.
Day 7 – Day in Kochi.
Kochi, also known as Cochin, is a really interesting city in South India. It’s a port city full of colonial buildings, nice cafes and a small city feel, especially compared to big cities in India.
Fort Kochi / Fort Cochin is the best area to stay in Kochi because it’s where all of the Kochi tourist attractions are. You can easily spend one day in Kochi and things to do in Kochi include spotting the cool street art, visiting Jew Town, St Francis Church, the Folklore Museum and seeing the sunset on a boat trip.
Kochi isn’t that big so you’ll be able to see a lot during your late morning and afternoon in Kochi after arriving on the overnight train.
To help you once you’re on your 2 week India trip, why not take a Lonely Planet India Travel Guide with you.
Day 8 – Travel to Munnar.
If you associate Kerala with Tea Plantations then you need to visit Munnar in Kerala, and it’s one of the top things to do in Kerala!
You can get a public bus from Kochi to Munnar but from my experience, it’s quite a stressful experience as buses in India, especially South India, do not run on a regular schedule, you cannot book them in advance as they’re local buses, you often need to change buses and most of the time they are full and very squished. If you want to get the bus from Kochi to Munnar, read my Munnar blog post for details on my experience. Your Kochi Hotel should also be able to help you as Munnar from Kochi is a popular route for tourists travelling South India.
Alternatively, especially with just 2 weeks in South India and 1 week in Kerala, I would recommend getting a taxi or hiring a private driver to save you time and make the experience less stressful.
The drive from Kochi to Munnar is 4 hours and this journey alone will give you a taste of why Kerala is called ‘Gods Own Country’.
I’d recommend staying at a homestay in Munnar so you’ll be in the countryside of Munnar as that’s the best way to experience it. Munnar Town isn’t that nice so try not to stay there.
Day 9 – Munnar Day Trip.
A trip to Munnar is all about seeing the tea plantations, hiking and seeing some wild elephants if you’re lucky!
It’s very likely that your accommodation in Munnar will be able to help you plan your day in Munnar so don’t worry about planning and booking this in advance too much.
To see what I got up to on my day trip in Munnar, read My Day hiking in the Tea Plantations of Munnar.
Day 10 – Travel to Alleppey.
From Munnar, you need to travel back to the coast to Alleppey as Alleppey, or Alappuzha, as it’s also known. This is the home of the backwaters of Kerala so it’s a must visit place in Kerala.
The drive from Munnar to Alleppey is about 5 hours and again I’d recommend hiring a driver or getting a taxi for this journey as it will take a long time trying to do it by pubic bus.
There’s really not that much to do in Alleppey so you can spend the day travelling. Here you have 2 options, if you’ve always fancied staying on a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala and waking up on the water, you can book this for tonight so as soon as you get to Alleppey you can get on the boat, or you can stay near Alleppey Beach and do a boat trip the next day.
Day 11 – Backwaters of Kerala. Travel to Varkala
If you’re like me, this is probably what you have always associated with Kerala, South India and even India itself! In fact I wanted to see the backwaters of Kerala so much I saved it for Christmas Day and it did not disappoint!
There are different boat trips of the Kerala Backwaters, you can Kayak, Canoe, take a Houseboat or a Shikara Boat which is what I suggest. Read my full blog post about Cruising the Backwaters of Kerala from Alleppey to see all of the boat options and where I suggest you stay in Alleppey and some places to eat!
The boat tours of the backwaters of Kerala only last a few hours and generally leave in the morning, and seeing as there is nothing else to do in Alleppey I’d recommend leaving Alleppey that afternoon/evening and heading furher down the coast to Varkala.
You can get the train from Alleppey to Varkala. You can book this in advance read this post on how to book trains in India (I can’t find the train on 12GO Asia so you’ll need to book it on the official Indian train booking system). However, if you don’t mind sitting in a lower local class train you could turn up and book the train on the day. Your accommodation in Alleppey will be able to give you advice on this.
Day 12 & 13 – Days in Varkala.
Varkala in Kerala is the perfect place to spend your last few days in India and in Kerala in. Varkala has 2 sides, it has a local town but by the beach, it’s a tourist heaven. Home to Yoga and Ayurveda, good waves for surfers, lots of nice cafes, temples and a few beaches, Varkala is the perfect mix of a local and tourist beach.
Here’s my full guide to Varkala for things to do in Varkala, where to stay and where to eat.
This will be the perfect end to your South India in 2 weeks trip!
Day 14 – Fly to Trivandrum. Fly from Goa.
If you’re staying in India for just 2 weeks it will probably be cheaper to book return flights from Goa, therefore in order to catch your flight from Goa you can get an internal flight from Trivandrum to Goa which takes just 3 hours (with a stop), there are no direct flights. Or you could book a flight out of Bangalore and fly from Trivandrum to Bangalore and then catch your flight home.
Overview of the Two Week South India itinerary!
To help with booking accommodation, based on the above itinerary for South India (which is the best 2 week India itinerary!) this is where you’ll spend your 2 weeks in South India:
Goa Beach 1 – 3 Nights
Goa Beach 2 – 2 Nights
Kochi – 2 Nights
Munnar – 2 Nights
Alleppey – 1 Night
Varkala – 3 Nights
India Travel Planning Essentials!
To book your trains in India I recommend you use 12GO Asia as they search all the trains on the local Indian train system. Joining the local system is a bit of a pain so for 2 weeks it’s easier to use a 3rd party site like this.
Booking.com is my go-to to book accommodation in India including hostels, mid-range and heritage hotels in India because it really has it all and offers flexible options!
Airbnb in India is also a good idea! To get $30.00 FREE AIRBNB CREDIT. Sign up for a new account using this link! It’s totally fine to set up a new account and $30.00 will get you 1-2 nights free accommodation in India!
Remember you need a visa for India and you need to apply for it before going! THIS IS THE OFFICIAL website to apply for your visa to India AND THIS IS MY GUIDE ON HOW TO APPLY FOR THE VISA! What’s great is that as of 2019 most nationalities can apply for a one year e visa for India as standard, not 60 days like it used to be, and it’s a multiple entry visa so after this 2-week taste of India you can go back on the same visa within the next year!
My related blog posts to help you plan this trip are:
If you need any extra help, I offer a travel planning service, we can speak over the phone, email or WhatsApp for 30 minutes initially where I can help you plan your trip to India and give you my best tips and advice! Read more about my travel planning and advice service here!
Now you’ll be set for your trip to India! Enjoy!