So you’ll be traveling around Kerala alone as a solo backpacker in India, and you would like to have at least some level of normal social interaction.
Or, maybe you’re just looking for a cheap place to stay! 😉
There are not as many hostels in Kerala as there are hostels in Rajasthan, but there are a few in Kerala (and Goa) that can give you budget accommodation and a chance to chill for a few days in the company of other travelers.
And, there are many places in Kerala that are perfect for taking a break for a few days, including cities with backpacker hostels!
But other than these chain hostels, you still have options for individually owned hostels.
You also have the option of a place to stay in Kerala that’s not a hostel in the traditional sense, but can still be a nice (and unique!) experience, like staying in a shared sleeping space on a rooftop.
And if you’ll be in North India… how to spend 2 weeks in Rajasthan!
PLUS… Kerala is a fine place to start your first guesthouse. 😉 When the time comes, sign up here through my referral link to list your guesthouse on one of the top accommodation booking sites in India.
First, WHY the listed cities are worth visiting in Kerala.
Then, a list of the best hostels in each of these cities.
What are the best cities for hostels in Kerala?!
Where to look for hostels in Kerala?
Have a look to these top cities:
- 🌴 Varkala hostels
- 🌴 Alleppey hostels
- 🌴 Fort Cochin hostels
- 🌴 Munnar hostels
- 🌴 Wayanad hostels
- 🌴 Kovalam hostels
Things to look for in a hostel
None of these things will make or break your stay, but they could be extra things that you may want to look for!
- Common area
- Rooftop access
- Ocean views depending on the city
- Hot water shower
- Filtered water provided
- Breakfast or snacks for purchase on-site
- Private room – meet people but have your own room!
There are affiliate links below. You should totally check out the pictures and reviews of these hostels in Kerala.
Put in your travel dates below and you’ll be able to see the prices of all accommodation in Kerala!
Varkala is the perfect place to stay in Kerala when you want to take a break for a few days.
This place is famous for Varkala Beach and Varkala Cliff.
You can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner overlooking the ocean.
There are many places to stay that are a short walk from the cliff, which is where you want to be!
Varkala is also known as a place to be able to find lots of places for ayurvedic massages and yoga retreats with ayurveda too.
Go in part by ferry to get to Varkala!
Varkala is one of the backpacker cities to arrive to if you’re flying into Kerala.
Trivandrum Airport is 1 to 1.5 hours from Varkala.
Best hostels in Varkala
See more places to stay in Varkala
Travel to Alleppey is typically all about the Kerala backwaters.
And this is reason enough to visit Alleppey for a relaxing time on the water.
There’s also Alleppey Beach here.
Best hostels in Alleppey
Funky Art Beach House is the one that’s not primarily a hostel, but a beachside guesthouse that can provide a hostel-like atmosphere with budget accommodation.
You also have the option to basically sleep outdoors on a rooftop and wake up to ocean views!
There’s a shared space on the rooftop, and an outdoor common area down below.
Tip: It says female-only dorm is available at this guesthouse, but it actually means it’s for travelers (not locals), so if you’re a foreigner guy you can still reserve a bed!
See more places to stay in Alleppey
3. Fort Cochin
Fort Cochin is mostly known as an area to see Kerala’s colonial past.
And it’s also known for its fishing nets.
Cochin is another one of the backpacker cities to arrive to if you’re flying into Kerala.
The Cochin airport is outside the main area of Cochin and is 1 to 1.5 hours from Fort Cochin.
Best hostels in Cochin
See more places to stay in Cochin
Munnar is in the hills of Kerala.
It’s known for its lush landscape and tea plantations, and going on a tea plantation trek is one of the things to do.
You can also opt for the Meesapulimala Trek which takes you to the second highest peak in Kerala and includes overnight camping in the forest.
There really aren’t many hostels in Munnar, but don’t let that stop you from visiting Munnar.
Best hostels in Munnar
See more places to stay in Munnar
Wayanad is another area that’s in the hills of Kerala.
Once again, this could be a good place to enjoy the lush landscape, along with some wildlife sightings at some nature parks.
The Edakkal Caves are also a top attraction here, where you can see historic rock carvings.
This is further north than Munnar and the rest of the cities on this list, and it can make a good entry point if you’re arriving to Kerala by bus from Bangalore.
And maybe you want to go from Goa to Bangalore to Wayanad when you’re backpacking South India.
There really aren’t many hostels in Wayanad either.
Best hostels in Wayanad
See more places to stay in Wayanad
Kovalam is another one of the popular beach towns in Kerala, with Lighthouse Beach being one of the main beaches.
Like Varkala, you can have every meal with ocean views if you so choose.
There also aren’t very many hostels in Kovalam either.
Best hostel in Kovalam
See more places to stay in Kovalam
HAPPY BACKPACKERS HOSTEL STAY IN KERALA!
The need-to-know India travel tips!If it's your first trip to India, be sure to see these tips for getting around India on a budget, and more! You might wait until India to buy this mosquito repellent that works for many foreigners! Also be sure to see how to spend one month in South India and 2 weeks in North India, as well as tips for the Golden Triangle. And, overnight sleeper bus travel isn't so bad, and neither is traveling in general class on the train! Also see the easy way to get an e-visa. And this is the easy way to book train tickets online as a foreigner. I've used it, and it's simple! You can just show the e-ticket on your phone.
There are affiliate links on this page that lead to partner websites.
Hostels in KeralaFor a hostel with international standards in Kerala, try Zostel!
More Zostels in Kerala:
Zostel is a top backpacker chain across India, and I've stayed at many Zostels in India! And outside of Kerala, if you'll be passing through Gokarna as you go from Goa to Kerala (here are options of how to get from Goa to Kerala!), then Zostel Gokarna is in an amazing location too! Here are pictures from the on-site cafe that overlooks the ocean.
Where to stay on the tourist trail in KeralaThese places basically go down the coast from north to south!
- Cochin: Try a homestay in the cute heritage area of Fort Kochi.
- Marari Beach: This is an "off-beat" location as Marari is mostly unknown to backpackers, but it can be a convenient stop to make between Cochin and Alleppey with chill laid back vibes. For an idea of what type of beach can be nearby, see my beach walk from Alleppey to Marari.
- Alleppey Beach:
- Funky Art Beach House again for chill vibes with a location among locals in a residential neighborhood
- And there's Zostel Alleppey too for another beach location to stay several days
- OR if Alleppey is a quick visit, try Dream Nest to be closer to town
- And see how to spend one day in Alleppey (short version: go for the backwaters village canoe tour instead of a houseboat!)
- Alleppey backwaters:
- Munroe Island: This is another generally kind of more off-beat location, and you can see a different part of the Kerala backwaters on a quiet island
- Varkala cliff:
Retreats in KeralaFor relaxation and rejuvenation for health and wellness, also see:
- Yoga retreats in Kerala
- Ayurveda retreats in Kerala - ayurveda is basically healthy living through natural herbs and remedies, and Kerala is the birthplace of ayurveda!
How to book India train tickets online as a foreignerIf you don't want to go through the complicated process of setting up an IRCTC Indian railways account as a foreigner...
Then the most convenient way to buy train tickets online is through this booking website. I've used it, and it's super simple! You buy the ticket, and then show the electronic version on your phone once you're on the train. Compared to buying directly through an Indian ticket booking website (IRCTC account required) or directly at the train station in India, there is a small convenience fee, as well as a less flexible cancellation policy, though!