Formerly known as Alleppey, this town and the district have a number of tourist attractions, of which the famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the most important one. It was one of the busy seaports of Kerala in the past centuries, when small ships used to arrive at the seaport to transport commodities like pepper, dry ginger, pepper, coir and coir products made with the fibre of coconut husks, copra or the dried kernel of coconuts, etc. Its commercial importance was so great that this seaport town came to be called the "Venice of the East". That attribute must have come due to the large number of canals in the town and surroundings. As modern transport methods were introduced, importance of Alappuzha declined. Much of the freight in the region is now exported from Kochi Port.
The backwaters and the canals in Alappuzha district provide facilities for boat rides. There are boat services to several places from here. There are private tour operators who take tourists on houseboats and other kinds of watercrafts.
Beach on the western seashore in Alappuzha city is a place where local tourists enjoy the cool breeze coming from the sea, and the colorful sunsets. The sand here is of a special type and is used as raw material for glass manufacturing.
A large variety of fishes and other marine products are available in Alappuzha. Ducks are also reared for eggs and meat in the water–logged district on a large scale. Aquaculture is becoming popular in the district.
There are conducted tours from Alappuzha on motorboats, under the name backwater cruise. Tourists in groups can hire watercrafts of various types for rides and cruises.
Alappuzha beach is a busy picnic spot for local people living in the hinterlands as well as for the urban residents. The pier, which was constructed over 140 years ago and the lighthouse, which has been guiding sailors in the sea are also attractions. There are entertainment facilities in the Vijaya beach park.
- Sea View Park
This park offers boating facilities and has a swimming pool. Pedal boats, round boat, etc can be hired here for rides.
East of Alappuzha town is the Netherlands of Kerala known as Kuttanad, because farming is done one to two metres below sea level by means of bunds and pumping out of water up to sea level. Sometimes, the protective walls of the rice fields leak or break, causing flooding and damage to the crops. During rainy season, the rush of floodwater may cause damage to the bunds.
Around the rice fields, coconut palms are planted both for the yield of nuts and for strengthening the bunds by the profuse root system of coconut trees. As rice cultivation has become unprofitable for many farmers, there is a tendency to plant other crops like banana, tapioca, vegetables, yam, etc.
Fruit trees are also grown wherever possible.
A large variety of fresh water fish is present in the backwaters and canals in this region.
- Paathira-Manal Island
An island in the backwaters between Kumarakom and Thanneermukkam, this is a place where migratory birds have been arriving in particular seasons. The mangrove growth in the island is an ideal haven for those birds. Ornithologists and bird-watchers visit this island to see the visitors from far away. This island is accessible only by boat.
- Buddha Idol
A very ancient idol of Budha, known locally as ‘Karumaadikkuttan’ is situated 3 km east of Ambalappuzha town in the coastal area of Alappuzha district. This is proof of the historical fact that Buddhism had spread in Kerala also. Some say that this idol was made in eleventh century. There are legends associated with this curious artifact. There are only very few Buddhists in Kerala now. Ancients Buddhists of Kerala had converted to Hinduism later. Karumadi Idol is not an object of worship any more, but a tourist curiosity.
- Krishnapuram Palace
It was constructed in the 18th century by the famous king of Venaad, named Marthaanda Varma, who by conquering neighbouring principalities and attaching them to his own created the Travancore princely state. This place was built at Kaarthikappally near Kaayamkulam in Alappuzha district. There is a mural painting on the palace walls, depicting the story of "Gajendra-Moksham", which is one of the largest frescoes in Kerala.
The Catholic Church at Arthunkal in the name of St. Sebastian is a pilgrim center for a particular denomination of Christians in Kerala. On the occasion of the feast of the saint there are festivities and ceremonies in connection with the saint’s day.