The best thing about holidays is that it offers immense opportunity to seek new horizons and discover new places. Travelling takes a top spot in the priority list of almost all vacationers, regardless of their age. Whether it is picnicking, trekking or visiting relatives in distant places, touring and travelling is both fun and enlightening. Pack your bags and tighten your seat belts as we take you on a tour of some of the hottest must see places in and around the city.

Popular sights

Thiruvananthapuram is easily one of the richest cities in the country in terms of places with historical relevance. As the seat of power of erstwhile Travancore, the city and adjoining areas are replete with historical monuments, palaces, forts, museums and age old temples.

Apart from popular tourist spots like the Napier Museum, Kuthiramalika, Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Sivagiri and Padmanabhapuram Palace, there are a number of lesser known palaces, temples and monuments that can offer tourists interesting insights into the history of Travancore.

The Koyikkal palace with its numismatic and folklore museum (about 18 km from Thiruvananthapuram) and the 2000 year old Varkala Janardhana Swamy Temple at Varkala are some such spots.

The Anjengo Fort, 20 km south of Varkala, is another interesting spot of historical relevance. Sandwiched between the sea and backwaters the Anjengo Fort was first constructed as a depot by Portugese and later renovated as fort by the English. The neighbouring district of Kollam also has a number of historically relevant tourist locations. About 27 km from Kollam is the Munroe island, famous for its stone age tools and megaliths. The District Tourism Promotion Council offers canal cruise service in the islands.

In Kollam is Thangasseri (about 5 km from town) with its 18th century Portuguese forts and churches. A 144 ft lighthouse, constructed in 1519 by the British, is one of the biggest attractions here and is open to visitors between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The Jadayu Para (Rock) at Chadayamangalam is another interesting place which has now been developed into an ecotourism spot.

The Malanada Duryodana temple, a unique place of worship dedicated to Duryodhana, the antagonist of Mahabharata, is situated around 27 km from the scenic Aryankadavu.

The bustling Neendakara fishing harbour, located around eight km from Kollam town, is also an interesting place.

Enlightening

If you are seeking enlightenment along with the thrill of touring, visits to places like the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) water treatment plant and pumping station at Aruvikkara would be ideal. Many other government-run scientific institutions around the capital like the Vithrua Jersey Farm, Kudappanakunnu Livestock Farm, Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI) entertain visitors in their campus.

The marine aquarium of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute at Vizhinjam (12 km from the city) is open to public on all days of the week. For glimpses into the space exploration history of the country you can visit Space Museum, at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, which is open from Monday to Saturday.

Go trekking

If it is trekking that's on your mind, the Thenmala ecotourism park in Kollam may prove to be an ideal spot. The park even offers various adventure sports opportunities for children besides providing a scenic location for trekking or even picnicking.The scenic hill station of Ponmudi (Golden Valley) on the outskirts of the capital offers another beautiful trekking spot for nature lovers. The hill station and the entire route from the foot of the hills have numerous cute little picnic spots and water falls, not to mention the private tea plantations. Neyyar Dam and Wildlife Sanctury (32 km from the city), Veli Tourist Village (8 km from city), and planetarium in the city are some other must-visit holiday spots in Thiruvananthapuram.

A backwater destination and a beautiful holiday spot, Akkulam Tourist Village (10 km from Thiruvananthapuram) has features like a children's park, paddle pool. Boating is one of the highlights of this tourist spot. Beaches in the city, including Kovalam (light house) and Shankhumukham are the best hang out places in the evenings.

Almost all the tourist spots in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram are well connected with frequent bus and train services.