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Cochin (Kochi), India-port

Popularly referred to as the ’Queen of the Arabian Sea,’ Cochin (Khochi) has been a trading post since early Roman times, due to its strategic location between Europe and China. From the court of Kubla Khan to the captains of Europe’s great Age of Exploration, travelers and merchants from far-off lands have been coming here since ancient times in search of spices, sandalwood and ivory. Explore St. Francis' Church, the oldest existing European church in India. View one of the oldest synagogues in the world – a jewel of incomparable beauty with its brass columns, Belgian hanging lamps, and exquisite hand-painted, blue-and-white Chinese porcelain tiles.

View Cruises that visit this port

Below is a list of those shore excursions previously offered in this port. For information on which shore excursions will be offered on a particular cruise, please reference the specific itinerary of that cruise.

Free Excursions

Regent Choice Excursions

  • Light Activity /Walking Light Activity /Walking
  • Seated Tour Seated Tour
  • Moderate Activity/Walking Moderate Activity/Walking
  • Most Active or Strenuous Most Active or Strenuous
  • Minimal Activity Required Minimal Activity Required
  • Regent Choice Regent Choice
  • Gourmet Explorer Gourmet Explorer
  • Meal Meal
  • Evening Tour Evening Tour
  • City Highlights & Harbor Cruise
    Moderate Activity/Walking
  • Highlights of Cochin
    Moderate Activity/Walking
  • Traditional Sojourn
    Moderate Activity/WalkingMeal
  • Tranquil Backwaters
    Moderate Activity/WalkingMeal

City Highlights & Harbor Cruise

Moderate Activity/Walking

Duration: 5 hours

Tour Code: COK-002

Queen of the Arabian Sea, Cochin is a pleasant seaport built on a series of interconnected islands and peninsulas. Considered one of the best natural harbors in the world, Cochin was for centuries the center of the spice trade, and its geography and history distinguish it from any other city in India. The oldest European settlement in India, Cochin is an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and English country village grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast. On your tour explore exotic Cochin, with its spice-filled markets, lush foliage and pastel houses.

Leaving the pier, drive to Mattancherry to visit the Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese in 1557 as a gift for the Maharaja of Cochin in exchange for trading rights. The Palace houses royal costumes, palanquins, furniture and weapons but its striking feature is a series of murals painted on wooden walls.

Continuing on, stop at the ancient district of Jew Town. Jews used to occupy virtually all the houses on Jew Town Road, where they sold fruits, vegetables and spices or worked as carpenters or oil pressers. The spice markets are still located on the narrow street, but most of the homes and businesses belong to non-Jews. Of the seven synagogues that once graced this street, only one remains.

Drive to Fort Cochin with a stop at St. Francis Church, built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars. This is India's oldest European-built church, and the original burial site of Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama. Continue to the Chinese Fishing Nets, the first visual symbol of the ancient trade and age-old shared influences of Cochin. Lined along the sea-front, these intriguing fishing nets exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish, introduced by Chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan.

The final portion of your tour will be by motorized boat. Observe the diverse activities of the busy harbor, including local fishing colonies and glimpses of locals going about their daily lives on the assorted islands. Pass by the outlying island of Vallarpadam, where an enormous construction project is underway to make it one of the largest container ports in Asia. Cruise past Gundu, the smallest island in the harbor. See the long narrow peninsula of Bolghatty, famous for the Bolghatty Palace built by the Dutch in 1744, and now a resort hotel.

Please note: Light snacks and refreshments are served on the boat while returning to ship. The order of sites visited may vary. The Dutch Palace in Mattancherry is closed on Fridays, therefore there will be no interior visit, exterior only.