Hiking, cycling, visits to the local markets are all some of the popular pastimes here. The 800-year-old Janardana Swamy Temple and the Nature Cure Centre are two major attractions here. The arattu festival at this temple is celebrated every year in Meenam (March-April) commencing with Kodiyettu (Flag hoisting) of Karthika day ending with Arattu on uthram day. The festival lasts for 10 days. A colorful procession led by caparisoned elephants adored with ornamental silk parasols, peacock fans, etc is the most attractive feature of the festival.
Sivagiri Mutt the final resting place of the renowned social reformer Sree Narayana Guru is yet another pilgrim centre. According to ancient Hindu beliefs bathing in the sea off the coast of Varkala cleanses you of your sins and hence it is often referred to as the "papanasini," or sin-reliever in local parlance.