This half-day trip will see you swapping cruise ship for motorboat to explore Cochin’s natural harbour, which is home to a cluster of islands connected by ferries and bridges. You’ll pass the islands of Vypeen, Gundu, Vallarpadam and Bolgatty along the way. Once you’ve disembarked at Fort Cochin, you'll be able to wander around. Here, look out for the influence of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British – all of which have been in power in this region over the centuries. Pay a visit to St Francis Church, the first European church in India, which was built back in 1500, before moving on to check out the traditional Chinese fishing nets along the region’s waterfront. At this point, you’ll be picked up by a coach to travel to Mattancherry, where you’ll get a panoramic tour of Old Cochin. The final stops cover two of Cochin’s most important buildings. The Dutch Palace houses wall-sized Hindu murals, while the Jewish Synagogue, the best preserved building of its kind, is paved with hand-painted blue-and-white porcelain tiles.
You’ll need to cover up when visiting the Jewish synagogue, and remove your shoes – this rule also applies at the St Francis Church. Cameras and video cameras are not allowed in the Dutch Palace, the synagogue or St Francis Church. If your ship calls at Cochin on a Friday, the Jewish synagogue and the Dutch Palace will be closed. Instead, you’ll have time for shopping in the Jew Town and visit the Indo-Portuguese Museum.
- SUITABILITY Moderate physical activity.