With its natural deep water harbour Cochin was already a centre for India’s spice trade before the Portuguese founded the first European settlement here in 1500.  The Portuguese were driven out by the Dutch, who, in turn, were displaced by the British. Together with the trading Arabs and Chinese, each has left their own influences on Cochin.  The city is built on a series of islands but it is Fort Cochin and Mattancherry with their narrow streets and winding lanes, colonial architecture and heritage hotels that are likely to occupy most of your time. The area is conducive to leisurely exploration on foot, people watching with a cold drink in hand and sticking your head into old warehouses full of aromatic spices or antiques.

Take a wander along to the waterfront to find the huge cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that have become an iconic image of Cochin. Although the catch is limited these days they are a sight not to be missed as teams of fisherman work the ropes to pull in the nets and sell the fish directly to on the harbour side. Just a short step away is St Francis church. A simple building, it is the oldest Christian church in India and Vasco da Gama was buried here (though his remains were later removed to Portugal, the tombstone is still here). Other sites of interest include the 16th century Paradesi Synagogue and Mattancherry or Dutch Palace which has some wonderful murals depicting scenes from Hindu legends. In the evening, catch a performance of Kathakali traditional dance-drama at a local theatre.

If you find this old world atmosphere a little too genteel, simply hop on a public ferry to Ernakulum, the commercial hub of the city and dip into the hustle and bustle of the local markets.

Chinese-Fishing-nets-Cochin(2).jpg View slideshow



Start your journey...

Speak to one of our experts with extensive experience in travel, accommodation and culture.

Andrea Hulme Andrea Hulme
Take the first step

Cochin's places to stay

Just some of the places we'd recommend staying in Cochin

Deciding where to stay

These are the different styles of accommodation

Typical experiences

Whet your appetite for a once in a lifetime trip to India, Bhutan & Nepal

Why not talk to one of our experts?

Our team

Our experienced travellers include:

Andrea Hulme
Andrea Hulme

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary. All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

Natural High Brochure

Drop us an email if you'd like us to send you a copy our brochure. Or you can download a digital copy here

Natural High Brochure

Let us help you get started:

Ready to take the first step? Fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you.

Please sign me up for your newsletter
Please post me your brochure


Let the adventure begin.