The Jewel of the East Coast

Trincomalee, located on the northeastern coast of Sri Lanka, is renowned for its stunning natural harbor, pristine beaches, and rich cultural heritage. As one of the oldest cities in Asia, Trincomalee boasts a fascinating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. The city’s deep-water harbor, religious sites, and vibrant marine life make it a must-visit destination for travelers exploring Sri Lanka’s east coast.

Things to Do

Visit Koneswaram Temple

  • Sacred Hindu Temple: Koneswaram Temple, also known as the Temple of a Thousand Pillars, is a revered Hindu temple perched on Swami Rock overlooking the Indian Ocean. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is an important pilgrimage site.
  • Scenic Views: The temple’s location on Swami Rock offers breathtaking views of the ocean and the surrounding coastline. The rock is also known as Lover’s Leap, with a dramatic drop into the sea below.

Explore Fort Frederick

  • Historical Fort: Fort Frederick is a colonial-era fort built by the Portuguese and later expanded by the Dutch and British. The fort is situated on Swami Rock and offers a fascinating glimpse into Trincomalee’s colonial history.
  • Military History: Explore the fort’s ramparts, gates, and cannons, and learn about its strategic importance in the region’s maritime history. The fort also houses the Koneswaram Temple within its walls. 

Relax at Nilaveli Beach

  • Pristine Beach: Nilaveli Beach, located a short distance from Trincomalee, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka. The beach’s soft white sands, clear turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees create a perfect setting for relaxation.
  • Water Activities: Enjoy a range of water activities at Nilaveli Beach, including swimming, snorkeling, and diving. The beach is also a great spot for sunbathing and beach volleyball.

Visit Pigeon Island National Park

  • Marine Sanctuary: Pigeon Island National Park, located off the coast of Nilaveli, is a protected marine sanctuary known for its vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life. The park consists of two small islands, Pigeon Island and Little Pigeon Island.
  • Snorkeling and Diving: Explore the underwater world of Pigeon Island with snorkeling and diving excursions. The clear waters and colorful coral reefs are home to a variety of fish, turtles, and reef sharks.

Explore Marble Beach

  • Secluded Beach: Marble Beach, also known as Marble Bay, is a secluded and tranquil beach located near Trincomalee. The beach’s crystal-clear waters and soft sands make it an ideal spot for relaxation and swimming.
  • Scenic Beauty: Enjoy the scenic beauty of Marble Beach and take in the views of the surrounding hills and coastline. The beach is perfect for a peaceful and rejuvenating day by the sea.


Visit the Trincomalee War Cemetery

  • War Memorial: The Trincomalee War Cemetery is a Commonwealth war cemetery that honors the soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. The cemetery is beautifully maintained and offers a quiet place for reflection and remembrance.
  • Historical Significance: Learn about the history and significance of the cemetery and the soldiers who are buried there.

Explore the Kanniya Hot Springs

  • Natural Springs: The Kanniya Hot Springs are a series of seven natural hot springs located near Trincomalee. The springs are believed to have therapeutic properties and are a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
  • Historical Legends: According to local legend, the springs were created by the Hindu god Ravana. The site also features a small Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Visit the Maritime and Naval History Museum

  • Cultural Museum: The Maritime and Naval History Museum, located in Trincomalee, showcases the city’s rich maritime heritage and naval history. The museum is housed in a beautifully restored Dutch-era building.
  • Exhibits and Artifacts: Explore the museum’s exhibits, which include ship models, navigational instruments, and historical photographs. The museum also features interactive displays and educational panels.

Take a Whale Watching Tour

  • Marine Adventure: Trincomalee is a great destination for whale watching, especially during the season from May to October. Join a guided boat tour to spot blue whales, sperm whales, and dolphins in their natural habitat.
  • Experienced Operators: Choose from a variety of experienced tour operators who offer safe and informative whale watching trips. The tours provide a unique opportunity to observe these majestic creatures up close.

Explore the Dutch Bay Beach

  • Coastal Beauty: Dutch Bay Beach, located near Fort Frederick, is a beautiful and quiet beach with calm waters and soft sands. The beach is perfect for a relaxing day by the sea.
  • Historical Connection: The beach’s name reflects the historical presence of the Dutch in Trincomalee. Enjoy the serene atmosphere and take in the views of the fort and the harbor.

Visit the Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara

  • Buddhist Temple: The Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple located near Trincomalee. The temple is believed to enshrine a relic of the Buddha and is an important pilgrimage site.
  • Cultural Heritage: Explore the temple’s beautiful architecture and learn about its historical and cultural significance. The temple is set amidst scenic surroundings, making it a peaceful and spiritual destination.

Take a Boat Ride on the Mahaweli River

  • Scenic River Cruise: Enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the Mahaweli River, the longest river in Sri Lanka. The river cruise offers scenic views of the lush landscapes and the opportunity to spot various bird species.
  • Wildlife Watching: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the riverbanks, including monitor lizards, water buffalo, and monkeys.

Visit the Pathirakali Amman Temple

  • Colorful Hindu Temple: The Pathirakali Amman Temple is a vibrant Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kali. The temple is known for its colorful and intricate sculptures and decorations.
  • Cultural Experience: Explore the temple’s beautiful architecture and learn about the rituals and traditions associated with the worship of Kali.

Explore the Uppuveli Beach

  • Tranquil Beach: Uppuveli Beach, located near Trincomalee, is a tranquil and less crowded beach with clear waters and golden sands. The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.
  • Water Activities: Enjoy a range of water activities at Uppuveli Beach, including snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. The beach’s calm waters make it ideal for these activities.

Visit the Velgam Vehera

  • Ancient Buddhist Monastery: Velgam Vehera is an ancient Buddhist monastery located near Trincomalee. The monastery complex includes the remains of stupas, image houses, and stone inscriptions.

  • Historical Significance: Explore the ruins of Velgam Vehera and learn about its historical and cultural significance. The site is set amidst lush greenery, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

Take a Jeep Safari in the Wilpattu National Park

  • Wildlife Safari: Wilpattu National Park, located near Trincomalee, is one of the largest and oldest national parks in Sri Lanka. The park is known for its diverse wildlife, including leopards, elephants, and sloth bears.
  • Scenic Landscapes: Explore the park’s scenic landscapes, which include dense forests, grasslands, and natural lakes. Join a guided jeep safari to experience the park’s rich biodiversity.

Visit the Lover’s Leap

  • Historical Landmark: Lover’s Leap is a historical landmark located near Fort Frederick. According to legend, a young woman leaped to her death from the rock after hearing that her lover had been lost at sea.
  • Scenic Views: The viewpoint offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean and the surrounding coastline. The dramatic drop into the sea below adds to the site’s allure.

Explore the Thiru Koneswaram Kovil

  • Sacred Hindu Site: Thiru Koneswaram Kovil, located within Fort Frederick, is one of the most important Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is an important pilgrimage site.
  • Cultural Experience: Explore the temple’s beautiful architecture and learn about its historical and cultural significance. The temple’s location on Swami Rock offers stunning views of the ocean.

Take a Tuk-Tuk Tour of Trincomalee

  • Local Exploration: Explore Trincomalee and its surroundings on a tuk-tuk tour. Visit local attractions, hidden beaches, and scenic viewpoints with the help of a knowledgeable local guide.

  • Cultural Insights: Learn about the local culture, history, and traditions from your tuk-tuk driver, who can provide valuable insights and recommendations.

Visit the Trincomalee Harbor

  • Natural Harbor: Trincomalee Harbor is one of the largest and deepest natural harbors in the world. The harbor has been an important maritime and trade hub for centuries.
  • Harbor Tour: Take a tour of the harbor to learn about its historical significance and its role in the region’s maritime history. The harbor offers stunning views of the surrounding coastline and the city.

Practical Tips for Visiting Trincomalee

  • Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Trincomalee is during the dry season, from May to September, when the weather is most favorable for beach activities and outdoor exploration.
  • Transportation: Trincomalee is accessible by road and rail from major cities like Colombo and Kandy. The city also has a domestic airport with flights from Colombo.
  • Accommodation: Trincomalee offers a range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to luxury beachfront resorts. Staying near the beach provides easy access to the city’s main attractions.


Trincomalee is a destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and marine adventure. Whether you’re relaxing on pristine beaches, exploring ancient temples, or spotting whales in the ocean, Trincomalee promises a memorable and enriching travel experience. Plan your visit to this jewel of the east coast and discover the many treasures of Sri Lanka’s northeastern coastline.