The Malabar Coast from Kozhikode (Calicut) north to the Karnataka border features a string of coastal villages and dazzling honey-toned beaches far less touristed than those in southern Kerala. For many, this quieter pace is an attraction in its own right. The main draws in this part of coastal Kerala are the beautiful, undeveloped sands and the enthralling theyyam possession rituals.
Kannur, with its golden beaches and 2018-opened airport, is developing in terms of tourism but still makes a refreshing escape from Kerala's busier south, and things remain blissfully quiet further north in the Bekal area. To the east, the hills of the Western Ghats rise sharply to the beautiful Wayanad district.