The oldest European settlement in India, Cochin is a melting pot of Jewish, Chinese, Portuguese and Hindu influences. Wander through the streets of the quaint Jewish quarter, visit a Portuguese style church or a grand Hindu temple, take in the sights and smells of an aromatic spice market, and observe the Chinese fishing nets by the port. This ancient port is now divided into two areas: Fort Cochin, the old peninsula town with its winding streets and colourful merchants, and the more modern city of Ernakulam on the mainland.
If you have a lazy morning, the Old Fort area is perfect for wandering around with its quaint cafes and newly opened art galleries. Visit the Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, and Mattancherry Palace. You can purchase freshly caught fish directly from the fishermen and watch it be cooked nearby. Silks and other exotic fabrics are in high demand in Ernakulam and on MG road. A lunchtime Thali is affordable and delicious in Saravana Bhawan, or you can witness a cooking demonstration followed by a sumptuous lunch in a private home. For an evening thrill, take a harbour cruise and watch the Kathakali dance performance as the sun goes down.