Bifurcated from Palakkad and Kozhikode, Malappuram was once a centre for Vedic learning and teaching. Malappuram town is the district headquarters. Roads connect Malappuram to the other towns of Kerala. The nearest railhead is Shornur, 33km from Malappuram. The nearest airport is Kozhikode about 30km to the north.
The mosque is an important religious centre for Muslims. The four-day annual festival (Nercha) is celebrated in April. Adjacent to the mosque is the mausoleum of Malappuram Shaheeds who fought bravely against the Zamorin's army.
Angadippuram is a pilgrim centre for both Hindus and Muslims. The mosque at Puthanangadi has ancient Arabic inscriptions on one of its planks. Thirumandakkunnu Durga temple is one of the three Bhagavati temples in Kerala. The Pooram celebration of the temple is an important temple festival in the Central Malabar.
Kottakkal is well known for the Arya Vydyasala that provides ayurvedic treatment for various ailments. P. S. warier, the famous Ayurvedic physician, established the vydyasala and people from different parts of the world come to Kottakkal for treatment. The township is 12km from Malappuram.
Thirunavaya is a place of historic importance. Located on the banks of the River Bharathapuzha, it is 7km from Tirur, a railhead on the Mangalore-Chennai route. In the olden days Mamangam, a gathering of the local rulers to choose the king among them, was held in Thirunavaya. The last mamangam was held in 1755.
Tirur is an important business centre in Malappuram. 3km from Tirur railways station is Trikkandiyur where Tunjan Parambu, the birthplace of Ezhuthachan who lived in the 16th century, is situated. Tunjath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan is considered as the father of Malayalam literature. On the Vijayadasami day, in Dec., people come to Thunjan Parambu with their children to initiate them to the world of letters.
At the foot of the Western Ghats, Nilambur is famous for its bamboos and teaks. Nilambur boasts the oldest teak plantation in the world. The oldest teak Kannimeri is an attraction for visitors. The teak museum is located on the Nilambur-Gudallur road, about 4km from Nilambur. The museum will educate a visitor about every aspects of teak.
Located near Tirur, it is believed that Parasurama, the mythological creator of Kerala, built this temple. Devotees from far and near places visit the temple to pay homage to Lord Shiva.
Kondotty is a township near to the Kozhikode airport. The 18th century pazhayangadi mosque where the first Kondotty Thangal, believed to be a descendant of Prophet Mohamed, is buried. The Nercha is held at the tomb of the Thangal.
Tanur is situated 8km from Tirur. It is a coastal town where the Portuguese set up one of their earliest settlements. It is believed that St. Francis Xavier visited this place in 1546.
Ponnani was one of the oldest seaports in ancient Kerala. Arabs, Chinese and Europeans were trading in spices. Now Ponnani is an important fishing centre.