Put these 4 underrated Kerala hill-stations on your travel list to escape the brutal summer

With scorching summer officially here, nothing like escaping to one of Kerala's many wonderful hill-stations to cool down and enjoy nature.

ByMarina Paulose

Published Apr 06, 2023 | 10:00 AMUpdatedApr 06, 2023 | 10:00 AM

Kerala hillstations for summer vacations

The scorching summer is finally here and besides everyone scrambling to call the AC repairman for a quick service, the other thing everyone is frantically looking for is a much-needed getaway from the brutal heat.

And what better way to beat the heat than escape into the mountains to quite literally cool down?

Hill stations have always been a popular summer holiday option for Indians. While loaded folks jet off to Switzerland or hole up in some other cold European region, the common Indian flocks to the many affordable yet awesome hill station options in the country.

Kerala hillstation for summer vacations

Escape into one of Kerala’s many beautiful hill-stations and rejuvenate your soul. (Creative Commons)

While North India boasts of its fair share of cold mountainy vacation spots, South India is right up there with its endless list of charming, quaint little hill stations, most of which are already incredibly popular and are being booked with gusto as the summer sets in and schools close.

However, as someone who actively avoids crowds even during vacations, I decided to look up the not-so-viral and comparatively lesser-known hill stations in God’s Own Country Kerala, which already has quite a handful of popular locations.

So, if you too are looking for a getaway to an offbeat destination to escape the sweltering heat, check out this list of 4 underrated hill stations in Kerala:

1. Peermade: Endless plantations & hidden gems of nature

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of cities, this hill station, located about 40 kilometres from Kumily in Idukki district in Kerala, is the apt destination for those looking to explore their hearts out without the usual “tourist traffic”.

Peermade Kerala hillstation

Peermade is known for its vast stretches of endless plantations. (Creative Commons)

Situated in the Western Ghats, this charming little village is known for its vast stretches of plantations, ranging from tea, coffee, and cardamom, to hidden waterfalls, meadows, and forests, proving that Mother Nature did not hold back from making Peermade truly glorious.

“There is not much to do here ‘activity-wise’ but that’s exactly what the charm of this place is. It is chock-full of natural treasures, and you can just spend the time roaming about exploring the area while you enjoy the cool weather,” 42-year-old airline pilot Jojan Verghese from Kochi, Kerala, tells South First.

“This is one of my ideal summer escapes with my wife, and she is addicted to walking through the foggy, misty hills here and checking out the hidden waterfalls,” he adds.

Ideal time to visit: Between December and February. The summer months of March-April-May are also considered apt.

Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 80 km away.

Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, which is some 130 km away from Peermade. Madurai airport is also another option.

2. Vagamon: Ultimate family destination away from crowds

An enchanting little hill station in the Idukki district, Vagamon is slowly becoming a popular holiday destination, especially for families looking to indulge in adventure sports away from the hustle and bustle of city life. From forests and lakes to waterfalls, Vagamon has it all.

Vagamon Kerala Hillstation

A once-sleepy little town, Vagamon is becoming a popular tourist destination. (Creative Commons)

“My family and I visit Vagamon almost every year and my children know the place better than me by now. My kids are adrenaline junkies and Vagamon is the perfect location for them as it’s not really crowded but offers world-class activities including trekking, paragliding, mountaineering and rock climbing. I could not ask for a better summer vacation spot,” Karthik Menon tells South First.

Dotted with tea gardens and meadows, the destination is perfect if you’re looking to unwind and relax, replacing the sounds of traffic with that of nature.

While in Vagamon, do visit the dairy farms located on the way to Kurisumala Hill. Managed by the monks of the Kurisumala Ashram, they were set up under an Indo-Swiss project and have a variety of cross-bred cows..

Ideal time to visit: Locals suggest avoiding the monsoons and arriving during the dry seasons, ie December to May.

Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 65 km.

Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 95 km.

3. Ayyampuzha: Waterfall lovers, assemble!

A lesser-known and one of the best-hidden tourist locations in Kerala is Ayyampuzha, located in Ernakulam. From beautiful vistas, and scenic landscapes peppered with endless greenery, brooks and magnificent waterfalls, this place is truly heaven on earth.

Athirappilly waterfalls kerala

The Athirappilly Falls went viral after it appeared in the hit film ‘Baahubali’. (Creative Commons)

Situated near Angamaly, Ayyampuzha is quite close to my village and my family and I make constant trips to this little slice of paradise which is home to one of the most beautiful and glorious waterfalls I have ever seen in my life — the Athirappilly falls, which is just 13 km uphill from the location and is my favourite trekking spot.

There is literally nothing touristy here to do except watch nature, which is why there are hardly any tourists here, usually. Sure, this place got a burst of visitors after Baahubali thanks to the famous “waterfall scene”, but now it has gone back to being quiet with a moderate flow of people and I could not be happier.

Another major attraction at Ayyampuzha village which you just cannot miss is the Ezhattumugham, which means “seven faces of river” as the Chalakkudy river splits at this point into seven streams.

Ideal time to visit: Locals suggest September to January.

Nearest railway station: Angamali railway station, about 73 km away.

Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 40 km away.

4. Nelliyampathy: Glorious hills to soothe your soul

Another unexplored location in Kerala is the hidden hill station of Nelliyampathy, which is located around 58 kilometres from Palakkad. The majestic peaks of the hill ranges being caressed by clouds is a view you will carry with you forever.

Nelliyampathy hills Kerala

The spectacular peaks of the Nelliyampathy range give a magnificent and timeless aura. (Creative Commons)

The hills here have varying levels of elevation which give off a magnificent and timeless aura and visitors have confessed they ran out of storage taking pictures of the view.

You could be on a quiet getaway with your special someone or a solitary wanderer, the quaint setting of Nelliyampathy is perfect for anyone to simply escape their chaotic life and enjoy some quiet while walking through the best nature has to offer.

The trekking trails in Nelliyampathy draw many adventure enthusiasts to this location as it boasts of some of the most spectacular sights. The Pothundi Dam, which is a major attraction of the area, offers you an astounding view of the emerald green Nelliyampathy valleys once you reach the top of the dam.

Ideal time to visit: September to May is the best time to visit Nelliyampathy.

Nearest railway station: Palakkad Railway Station, which is about 62 km away.

Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 115 km & Coimbatore International Airport, about 120 km.