As a centre for the spice trade for centuries, cosmopolitan Kochi has an intriguing mix of cultural influences from both the Indian continent and overseas.
One of India's more famous hill stations, Ootacamund has spectacular views, a wonderful food market and a cool 'toy' train into the Nilgiri mountains.
The inspiring Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary shelters numerous breeds of endangered animals, including Bengal tigers, Indian elephants, Indian leopards and long-billed vultures.
The peaceful city of Mysore has a score of lovely parks, grand buildings, well-regarded yoga centres and an incredible palace, the product of its Wodeyar Dynasty heritage.
Mamallapuram (also Mahabalipuram) is a town with ancient origins. It has nice beaches, good restaurants and the intricately carved Shore Temple, still standing from the 9th century.
A former French colony, Pondicherry (now Puducherry) has a distinct French feel while retaining its Indian roots, making it one of India's more surprising and delightful cities.
With incredible temple complexes and a recorded history going back to the 3rd century BC, Madurai has some wonderful buildings and heritage sights to discover.
Periyar is an area of Kerala famed for its spice plantations and wildlife sanctuary, which is home to tigers and elephants, among other creatures, and beautiful scenery.
Swaying palm trees, lush rice paddies, winding waterways, Ayurvedic massage and welcoming locals all await on this amazing Kerala Backwaters homestay.
Kochi is a fascinating city made up of a number of islands and peninsulas, and its numerous attractions are best seen by rickshaw or boat.