Trincomalee travel guide: endless white beaches in Sri Lanka

In this travel guide, we will tell you more about Trincomalee in Sri Lanka. What are the highligts and hotspots of this beachtown in the North of Sri Lanka. And where to eat and sleep in Trincomalee?

We backpack in Sri Lanka in November, a transitional month, in which the east of the country is confronted with the monsoon period and the south is starting to get nice weather. However, when we are here,  it is slightly different and the east currently has the best weather. And so we decide to go to Trincomalee, a city in the east of Sri Lanka with beautiful beaches.

Trincomalee: the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka

Trincomalee is located in the northeast of Sri Lanka. Due to its location, the city forms a natural harbour, but that is not the reason for our visit. This city is surrounded by vast sandy beaches that lie both north and south of Trincomalee. The most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka can be found here. Kilometres of beaches with white sand, palm trees and warm water in the sea, a true paradise.

Despite these beautiful beaches, Trincomalee has not yet been flooded by tourism. This is because there has been war here for years, although we didn’t see any remains of that war. So it is quiet here, but you will find plenty of good facilities such as hotels and nice restaurants.

Click here for our travel guide on Anuradhapura!

Fun activities in (the surroundings of) Trincomalee!

The following beaches, temples and activities can be reached by scooter: the perfect way to explore the surroundings of Trincomalee. You can rent a scooter from Rs1000-1500Rs a day.

Visit Nilaveli beach

About ten kilometres north of Trincomalee, you will find beautiful Nilaveli. This is a four-kilometre long beach with white sand and clear sea. It is quieter here than on Uppuveli Beach and there are parts where you won’t see a hotel, beach bar or even people, just palm trees!

Tip: looking for a nice beach club at Nilaveli beach? Then go to That’s Why, where you will find coloured swings, sunbeds and umbrellas.

Visit the Thirukkoneswaram Kovil Temple overlooking the ocean

The Thirukkoneswaram Kovil temple is really worth a visit. It is located on a cliff overlooking the ocean, near the city centre. In addition to being a beautiful temple, you also have a beautiful view of the ocean, the bay and Lovers Island, a small island just in front of the cliff. Walk to the right-hand side of the temple where you will see various gates that lead to beautiful vantage points. You will also find deer that roam the grounds freely here.Fort Frederick - Buddha Tempel

Thirukkoneswaram is located on the grounds of Fort Frederick, an old fort with a colonial history. It was built by the Portuguese, rebuilt by the Dutch and then taken over by the British. Today it is still in use by the Sri Lankan army. Every travel guide recommends going here, but not us. We thought it was quite disappointing. You can hardly walk around freely because the complex is in use and so you cannot visit old buildings from the colonial era. On the way to the temple, you will see what we mean. Fort Frederick - Buddha Tempel -2

View the colourful Sri Pathrakali Amman Kovil temple

In the centre of Trincomalee, you will find the Sri Pathrakali Amman Kovil temple. And you really should visit this place! Not only because it is such a colourful temple, but mainly because of the images that you will see inside the temple.

The entire ceiling is full of images that are both peaceful and depict horrific scenes. So you will see a baby torn in two, an appearance of Buddha holding a severed head and a woman with monsters growing from umbilical cords out of her belly. It is a wonderful combination of Dali and Jheronimus Bosch!Trincomalee tempel darkside

Enjoy the tranquillity and clear water at Marble Beach

You will find Marble Beach about twelve kilometres south of Trincomalee. This beach is located in a beautiful bay. Here you will find white sand, a super clear sea surrounded by forests and soldiers. Soldiers? Yes, this area belongs to the Air Force and so you will see some soldiers at the entrance. The only hotel that is located here is also from the Air Force: the Marble Beach Air Force resort.

Because of this owner, you won’t see many tourists here, therefor we had this beautiful beach all to ourselves. At the end of the afternoon, slowly groups of local people and children walked up to the beach, furthermore, we were all by ourselves.

Tip: bring your diving mask and snorkel, beautiful coral grows here that can be clearly seen in the clear water.Marble Beach

Spot whales and dolphins

The region around Trincomalee is known as one of the best places in the world to spot blue whales. In addition, you will also find a lot of dolphins and sometimes a sperm whale here. The best way to see the animals is to do a boat excursion (from Rs12500 / 62.50 Euro for two people). Check with your hotel or at one of the beach bars in Nilaveli about the departure times.

Please note that a popular activity is a snorkelling day trip to nearby Pigeon Island. Here you would see beautiful coral. Unfortunately, this coral is very damaged by the boats and the snorkelers. We do not recommend this activity.Uppuveli Fisherman

Relax at the nice beach bar Fernandos on the beautiful Uppuveli beach

Really a must: a visit to the beach club Fernandos. This is located on Uppuveli beach, a nice beach just six kilometres from the city of Trincomalee. Relax in a hammock or drink a cold beer or nice cocktail. They play good music and there is a swimming pool (unfortunately not open when we were there due to low season).

The best restaurants in Trincomalee

We were in November, low season, in Trincomalee and so a number of restaurants were closed. In November there are hardly any other tourists. A nice restaurant that was closed when we were here is Cafe on the 18th.

Wood Cape
This is your go-to when you fancy a lot of cheap food. A large plate of Kottu (finely chopped roti with vegetables) costs only 1 euro here. In addition, the service is good and it’s centrally located! Click here for the location.

Coconut Beach Lodge
This restaurant, which belongs to the Coconut Beach Lodge hotel, serves tasty fresh fish in a romantic setting. Romantic? Yes, we were sitting at a table on the beach with candles. Isn’t that idyllic? Click here for the location.

This beach bar is the place to be. It is located on Uppuveli beach, a nice beach with many hotels nearby and is the ideal place to have a drink and relax a bit. Stick with the drinks and have your food somewhere else though, we ordered hummus and wrap and both dishes were not great. Click here for the location.

Gomesz’s Pasta Hut
Gomesz’s Pasta Hut is really a place you MUST go! We only discovered it on the last evening, had we been there before I am sure we had eaten here every night. Two sweet old gentlemen serve tasty pasta, good pizzas and delicious fish. And all very budget-friendly. Click here for the location.

Planning your trip through Sri Lanka? Then read this blog with the ultimate Sri Lanka itinerary! Including tips and an overview of all the highlights in Sri Lanka. 

The best hotels in Trincomalee

There are more than enough good hotels in the Trincomalee area. We stayed near Uppuveli Beach, something I recommend you to do too. It’s close to a beautiful beach, with plenty of restaurants nearby and a scooter away from the city itself. Below are three hotels that we can recommend, including a hotel in Nilaveli.

Silaa Cabana

Silaa Cabana Trincomalee

We stayed in the new cabanas from Silaa Cabana, these are spacious and fully equipped. The hostess is very nice and is always ready to help you. You stay here from €17.50 a night including breakfast (2 people).

Book now!

Amaranthe Bay Resort & Spa
€€€ – Uppuveli

amaranthe bay resort Trincomalee

This beautiful hotel is located just outside the centre of Uppuveli. It has a lovely swimming pool, overlooks the lagoon and has modern and spacious rooms. You can sleep in pure luxury here starting at €50 per night (2 people).

Book now!

Amanta Beach €€

pension Amanta beach Trincomalee

A cosy hotel with a private beach and a swimming pool. The hotel is freshly decorated and is known for the delicious dishes in its restaurant every day. You sleep here from €45.00 per night including breakfast (2 people).

Book now!

Click here for our free Sri Lanka hotel guide!

How to reach Trincomalee?

There we were: in a tuk-tuk with more than 100 kilometres ahead. The buses did not run due to a public holiday, but we really wanted to go to Trincomalee! Fortunately, the ride was not too bad and we fully enjoyed the beautiful nature that we drove through. Other ways to get to Trincomalee can be found below.

From Colombo

  • There is a train from Colombo to Trincomalee twice a day (including a sleeper train). This takes eight hours. The price is € 1-5, depending on which class you choose.
  • By bus, it takes about seven hours to complete this journey, but nowadays there are buses with air conditioning and express buses that only take six hours. The latter costs €5 – €10.
  • With a taxi, you will reach Trincomalee in four and a half hours. You pay around €75 for this.

Tourist Tuk Tuk

From Anuradhapura

  • There is a direct bus from Anuradhapura to Trincomalee which takes three to four hours. Price: Rs 350 / € 1.75
  • With a tuk-tuk, it will take about two and a half hours and you pay Rs 5000 / € 25 for this.
  • Finally, you can also go by taxi. This only takes an hour and a half and costs Rs 8000 / € 40.

After Trincomalee to Sigiriya for Lion Rock? Read our guide about this place!

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