Top things to do

South Indian in Varkala


For cheap and authentic Keralan fare – think dosas and thalis – where you can rub shoulders with rickshaw drivers and pilgrims rather than tourists, pull up a seat at hole-in-the-wall Sreepadman, opposite the Janard…
Cafe in Varkala

Juice Shack

It certainly looks a little 'shack-like' next to the fancy neighbours, but this funky little health-juice bar still turns out great juices, smoothies and snacks such as Mexican wraps.
Hindu Temple in Varkala

Janardhana Temple

Varkala is a temple town and Janardhana Temple is the main event – its technicolour Hindu spectacle sits hovering above Beach Rd. It’s closed to non-Hindus, but you may be invited into the temple grounds where there…
Ashram in Varkala

Sivagiri Mutt

Sivagiri Mutt is the headquarters of the Shri Narayana Dharma Sanghom Trust, the ashram devoted to Shri Narayana Guru (1855–1928), Kerala’s most prominent guru. This is a popular pilgrimage site and the resident swa…
Multicuisine in Varkala

Café del Mar

It doesn't have the big balcony of some of its neighbours, but Café del Mar is usually busy thanks to efficient service, good coffee and consistently good food.
Multicuisine in Varkala


Trattorias aims to specialise in Italian with a decent range of pasta and pizza but also offers Japanese – including sushi – and Thai dishes. This was one of the original places with an Italian coffee machine, and t…
Indian in Varkala

Wait n Watch

The top-floor restaurant and cocktail bar at this ugly beachfront hotel block offers tasty-enough Indian fare and seafood, but the main reason to take the elevator is for the view from the balcony (with just a coupl…
Live Music in Varkala

Rock n Roll Cafe

Music is the thing at this otherwise unremarkable restaurant-bar. There's live music, DJs or movies on most nights in season, as well as tabla lessons. There's also cold beer, a good cocktail list, and food is avail…
Cafe in Varkala

Coffee Temple

For your early morning coffee fix it's hard to beat this English-run place, where the beans are freshly ground, there's fresh bread and a daily paper. The menu has also expanded into crepes and Mexican burritos, faj…
Island in Varkala

Ponnumthuruthu Island

About 10km south of Varkala, this island in the middle of a backwater lake is home to the Shiva-Parvati Hindu Temple, also known as the Golden Temple. The main reason to venture down here is the scenic punt-powered …