Palmed-fringed beaches, misty highlands, lush tea plantations and charming homestays – Kerala is quintessential southern India. Kochi, at India's tip, is the oldest European settlement in the country and the main entry point to the state. Historic port and centre of the spice trade, Kochi’s old fort area is a warren of narrow alleys and pretty merchant homes with a lovely waterfront complete with iconic Chinese fishing nets. South of the town explore the Keralan backwaters by private houseboat and spend a few nights in one of the many charming homestays or head to the Western Ghats taking the quaint Nilgiri Mountain Railway to Ooty and enjoying the scenery at Munnar. No trip to Kerala is complete without a beach stay, with Maraikulam, Kovalam and Neeleshwar all excellent options. Pettitts specialises in providing quality, tailor-made holidays and tours to Kerala.