Painavu is an important commercial center and a popular tourist hot spot in Idukki. At an altitude of 3,900 feet, Painavu is situated inside the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary. It is also home to several State Government institutions such as Civil Station, and Government Engineering College, Idukki.
The place is popular for its pleasing ambience and picturesque location. This is a stopover for visitors, who travel to Idukki Arch Dam, Cheruthoni Dam and Kulamavu. Boats are available from here for cruises between Cheruthoni and Kulamavu. In winter and rainy seasons elephants can be spotted moving on the roads. Surrounded by pristine forests and green hills, Painavu is also a good trekking destination. Trekking in Painavu is said to be an outstanding experience and visitors can see many routes through the forests, plantations and to other small towns.