Overlooking the Arabian Sea, Kannur is an ancient spice trading port guarded by a 16th-century fort. It’s renowned for its long stretches of sand that offer a range of recreational pursuits, as well as being home to the lavish former palace of Kerala’s only Muslim royal family.
Things to do in Kannur
Discover Kannur’s Portuguese legacy at the St. Angelo Fort, which overlooks the coast. It was built in 1505 by the first Portuguese Viceroy of India before being captured and expanded by the Dutch, with its beautifully preserved bastion walls, watchtowers and chapel lending it a medieval atmosphere.
Learn about the only Muslim royal family in Kerala at the Arakkal Museum, which is situated within the Durbar Hall of the grand Arakkal Royal Palace. Gain insight into the family’s trade history in the Maldives, Mauritius and Cairo while admiring rare pieces of pre-colonial artworks and artefacts.
Mingle with locals at the Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach, considered one of the best driving beaches in the world. In addition to soaking up the views of the Malabar Coast, this five-kilometre-long stretch of sand is a birdwatching hotspot, with white-bellied sea eagles, whimbrels and Eurasian oystercatchers among the winter migrants.
Alternatively, head north to photogenic Meenkunnu Beach, favoured by many for its natural beauty, or relax on the sands of picturesque Thottada Beach. Closer to the city sits the bustling Payyambalam Beach, where the palm-backed sands feature a prominent sculpture of “Mother and Child” by Kanayi Kunhiraman.
Getting around Kannur
Kannur is around three hours’ drive from Calicut International Airport and is connected to Mangalore, Kochi and Mumbai by regular trains. Buses and auto rickshaws travel throughout Kannur.