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Sri Lanka

Trincomalee Holidays

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Trincomalee? Tick.

Trincomalee is one of Sri Lanka’s whale-watching capitals. An ancient and historic city, it’s set on the beautiful east coast, making it perfect for Indian Ocean beach holidays, too.

Sri Lanka gives a lot of credit to Trincomalee for putting it on the global whale-watching map. This is the city where you can even see migrating whales from shore at the right time of year. Low-impact cruises head out to sea between August and September to watch sperm whales up close. And if you’d like to glimpse mighty blue whales, make sure you book your Trincomalee holiday between February and April.

It’s also the place for dolphin sightings. Hundreds of these playful creatures swim along the coast in early May, right though to August. And when you want to encounter smaller – but no less fascinating – marine creatures, Pigeon Island National Park is famous for spectacular coral reef snorkelling, and just a short sail from Trincomalee.

On your holiday to Trincomalee, you can look forward to pristine beaches. Enormous swathes of sand, edged with jungle-like forest, are bit of a local signature. And you can even stay right by the sea at the luxurious UGA Jungle Beach resort in Kuchchaveli, just to the north of Trincomalee.

But you can also expect plenty of culture on your Trincomalee trip. The city is dotted with colourful temples and historic sites, and you’ll find pretty urban bays and bustling harbours worth exploring. There are some excellent restaurants serving up fresh seafood every which way. When you want to see Trincomalee’s local life in full flow, make a point of visiting the waterfront fish market one morning. And, at least once, you must have coconut milk pancakes for breakfast in a local café.

Best time to go

Things to do

Activities

Beaches

Best time to visit Trincomalee

It’s always warm in Trincomalee with temperatures around 26°C in January and upwards of 35°C between May and August. But Sri Lanka’s east coast monsoon season starts with late afternoon thunderstorms in October, and quickly heads into torrential downpours from November through to the start of February.

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If you want dry weather, whale-watching, lively city life and plenty of sun-soaked beach time, book your Trincomalee holiday between March and September. Naturally, this is also the busiest time of year, but Trincomalee is still fairly tourist-light compared to the south and west coast of Sri Lanka. If you want to see blue whales, though, you’ll need to visit between February and April. Sperm whales make an appearance in August and September, while May until August is prime time for dolphin spotting. But beach weather is at its peak in June, July and August when rainfall is low and water temperatures hover around 28°C.

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Show Less

Things to do in Trincomalee

Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a world leader in whale-watching – but Trincomalee is the jewel in the crown. Up to 27 different species of whales and dolphins, including the enormous blue whale, migrate along Trincomalee’s coast every year. For close-up views, book a day trip and head out to sea with local experts. Most boat trips are small with a maximum of six passengers but, if you’d prefer not to sail, you don’t need to worry about missing out – you can often see Blue Whales from the top of towering Swami Rock, just south of the city.

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Show Less

Swami is also the site of Koneswaram Kovil – one of only five Hindu temples in Sri Lanka dedicated to the goddess of Shiva. Outrageously ornate and colourful, this temple is an important pilgrimage site and gets busy during daily prayers. But, crowded or not, it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss.

Show More
Show Less

Activities in Trincomalee

Of course, whale-watching cruises and dolphin-spotting trips are high on Trincomalee’s to-do list. But if you really want to get close to marine life, catch a boat and spend a day snorkelling round Pigeon Island National Park. The reef here is teeming with tropical fish and the calm, shallow waters are safe, even for children and inexperienced snorkellers.

Show More
Show Less

Don’t miss a walk round Fort Frederick on your Trincomalee holiday. Built by the Portuguese in the 17th century, this place is known for its grand Georgian mansion house, but most famous of all for its banyan trees and small herds of spotted deer. Seruwawila Rajamaha Viharaya isn’t to be missed either. One of Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist monuments, it’s about an hour south of the city and looks spectacular lit up in the evening. And always make time for ancient Kanniya, where pilgrims come to bathe in sacred springs, which range in temperature from tepid to boiling hot. 

Show More
Show Less

Beaches in Trincomalee

Sri Lanka’s south coast is trimmed with great surfing beaches. But to the east, the beaches have calm waters and peaceful shores. Trincomalee specialises in stretches of sand made for lazy days in the sun, interspersed with the occasional swim or stroll.

Head to Dutch Bay, just south of the city, if you want to combine an urban beach with Indian Ocean serenity. Pristine sands and transparent waters are all in place here, but you’ll also find restaurants and museums nearby. There’s even a tiny Buddhist temple minutes from the shore.

Show More
Show Less

Lovely Marble Beach is popular for its endless sea views and densely forested headlands, and it’s just a 30-minute drive south of Trincomalee. Or, to completely escape, choose long and lustrous Nilaveli. It’s just a short car – or tuk-tuk – ride north of the city, but it feels a million miles away and is said to be one of the loveliest beaches on Sri Lanka’s east coast.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to visit Trincomalee

It’s always warm in Trincomalee with temperatures around 26°C in January and upwards of 35°C between May and August. But Sri Lanka’s east coast monsoon season starts with late afternoon thunderstorms in October, and quickly heads into torrential downpours from November through to the start of February.

Show More
Show Less

If you want dry weather, whale-watching, lively city life and plenty of sun-soaked beach time, book your Trincomalee holiday between March and September. Naturally, this is also the busiest time of year, but Trincomalee is still fairly tourist-light compared to the south and west coast of Sri Lanka. If you want to see blue whales, though, you’ll need to visit between February and April. Sperm whales make an appearance in August and September, while May until August is prime time for dolphin spotting. But beach weather is at its peak in June, July and August when rainfall is low and water temperatures hover around 28°C.

Show More
Show Less

Things to do

Things to do in Trincomalee

Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a world leader in whale-watching – but Trincomalee is the jewel in the crown. Up to 27 different species of whales and dolphins, including the enormous blue whale, migrate along Trincomalee’s coast every year. For close-up views, book a day trip and head out to sea with local experts. Most boat trips are small with a maximum of six passengers but, if you’d prefer not to sail, you don’t need to worry about missing out – you can often see Blue Whales from the top of towering Swami Rock, just south of the city.

Show More
Show Less

Swami is also the site of Koneswaram Kovil – one of only five Hindu temples in Sri Lanka dedicated to the goddess of Shiva. Outrageously ornate and colourful, this temple is an important pilgrimage site and gets busy during daily prayers. But, crowded or not, it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss.

Show More
Show Less

Activities

Activities in Trincomalee

Of course, whale-watching cruises and dolphin-spotting trips are high on Trincomalee’s to-do list. But if you really want to get close to marine life, catch a boat and spend a day snorkelling round Pigeon Island National Park. The reef here is teeming with tropical fish and the calm, shallow waters are safe, even for children and inexperienced snorkellers.

Show More
Show Less

Don’t miss a walk round Fort Frederick on your Trincomalee holiday. Built by the Portuguese in the 17th century, this place is known for its grand Georgian mansion house, but most famous of all for its banyan trees and small herds of spotted deer. Seruwawila Rajamaha Viharaya isn’t to be missed either. One of Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist monuments, it’s about an hour south of the city and looks spectacular lit up in the evening. And always make time for ancient Kanniya, where pilgrims come to bathe in sacred springs, which range in temperature from tepid to boiling hot. 

Show More
Show Less

Beaches

Beaches in Trincomalee

Sri Lanka’s south coast is trimmed with great surfing beaches. But to the east, the beaches have calm waters and peaceful shores. Trincomalee specialises in stretches of sand made for lazy days in the sun, interspersed with the occasional swim or stroll.

Head to Dutch Bay, just south of the city, if you want to combine an urban beach with Indian Ocean serenity. Pristine sands and transparent waters are all in place here, but you’ll also find restaurants and museums nearby. There’s even a tiny Buddhist temple minutes from the shore.

Show More
Show Less

Lovely Marble Beach is popular for its endless sea views and densely forested headlands, and it’s just a 30-minute drive south of Trincomalee. Or, to completely escape, choose long and lustrous Nilaveli. It’s just a short car – or tuk-tuk – ride north of the city, but it feels a million miles away and is said to be one of the loveliest beaches on Sri Lanka’s east coast.

Show More
Show Less

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Value

Whether you're looking for luxury or simplicity, we've got the perfect holiday for you.

Trust

Travelbag is fully protected by ATOL and ABTA, so your booking is completely secure.

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