THIRUVANANTHAPURAM CITY – State capital. Diverse tourism interests. Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple –City’s best-known landmark. Deity is 18-ft image of Vishnu reclining on celestial serpent Anantha. 16 century temple, has 368 sculptured stone pillars & mural paintings. 100-ft high gopuram in Dravidian style built by Travancore Maharaja in 1733.

Museum complex & zoo – Napier Museum, Shri Chithra Art Gallery (has paintings by Ravi Varma) and zoological-cum-botanical garden.

Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum – Built by the musician king Maharaja Swathi Thirunal. Paintings and other collections of the royal family.

Kanakakunnu Palace – Palace with landscaped garden illuminated after sunset.

Shanghumukham Beach (8 km) – Beach near airport. Has indoor recreation club, matsya kanyaka (35 m long mermaid sculpture), starfish shaped restaurant & children’s traffic training park. Sunset watching. Water is polluted by urban effluents.

AKKULAM Boat Club (8 km) – Picnic spot on backwaters; Boating, park, swimming pool.

VELI Tourist Village (8 km) – Picnic spot. Veli lagoon meets Arabian sea here. Boating in backwater lagoon, 18-acre waterfront garden with modern sculptures, floating bridge.

THIRUVALLAM (10 km enroute to Kovalam) – Serene backwater stretch. Canoe rides in backwaters. Has temple to Parasurama, the legendary founder of Kerala.

KOVALAM (16 km) – Most visited beach in Kerala – popular since  1930s. Comprises three adjacent crescent beaches. Accommodation to suit all budgets. Several ayurvedic centres. Handicraft and souvenir shops.

Chowara beach (south of Kovalam) – Virgin beach; new tourist destination with several  heritage and ayurvedic resorts.

Vizhinjam (Fishing port south of Kovalam) – Has Rock Cave – 18 century granite cave temple with loose/incomplete sculptures/reliefs of Vinandhara Dakshinamurthy, Shiva and Parvathi. Also, marine aquarium.

Poovar – Known for Poovar Island Resort & Wilson Beach Resort