Sitting prettily on a remarkable natural harbour on the north-east coast of Sri Lanka, this charming town with oodles of history and interesting sites is a great escape from the touristy south. From ancient temples & forts to breathtaking beaches, coves and a maritime museum, Trincomalee has lots to offer to the discerning travellers. Whether you seek solace at the tranquil Buddhist viharas & Hindu temples or unravel marine mysteries at the fascinating Pigeon Island, there is no dearth of places to visit in Trincomalee. So, put on your travelling boots, sprinkle some wanderlust and join us on a sojourn to explore the best places to visit in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.
10 Trincomalee Tourist Attractions You Can’t Miss!
While there are a lot of places to see in Trincomalee, here’s a list of ten places which you can’t afford to miss on your Sri Lanka trip. Take a look!
1. Koneswaram Temple
Undoubtedly one of the first sites to be ticked off the Trincomalee tourist map is this revered temple located atop a cliff inside Fort Fredrick. This important Hindu pilgrimage site displaying Darvidian architectural style is believed to be one of the Panch Ishwarams(five abodes of Shiva) with a swayambhu lingam. The shrine exudes sacred vibes and is a wonderful place for seeking solace in the divine presence. Surrounded by magnificent views of the Indian Ocean, this fabulous temple tops our list of places to visit in Trincomalee.
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2. Fort Frederick
This important historical landmark with an imposing entrance is a must-do for history and nature enthusiasts when you visit Trincomalee. While the history is interesting, the presence of freely-roaming spotted deer adds charm to the stroll through this fort. Built by the Portuguese, Fort Fredrick is partly under military occupation and also houses a famous Buddhist vihara and sacred Hindu temple. Breathtaking sunsets and sweeping views of Trincomalee bay and town make the visit truly rewarding. You can take a tuk-tuk to the fort and also buy some trinkets from the stalls inside.
Timings: Daily 6AM-10PM
3. Pathirakali Amman Temple
The spectacular gopuram of this Kali temple with its vibrant colours and myriad sculptures catches your eye from a distance, while the unique interiors will leave you spellbound. Also called the Kali Kovil, you can feel the powerful and benevolent presence of the goddess in this popular Durga temple in the heart of the city. Of all Trincomalee temples, this one is sure to leave you awestruck with its colourfully adorned walls and spiritual vibes.
Temple Timings: Opens at 6:30AM (morning aarti at 7AM); closes after the aarti at 12PM and reopens in evening (4-6:30PM)
4. Velgam Vehera
One of the best places to visit around Trincomalee, this ancient Buddhist site with a modern day monastery is just perfect for spending a couple of quiet hours. With a beautiful setting amidst tall trees and lawns, strolling through the remains of this ancient Budhhist temple built by King Devanamiyatissa is a calming experience. The original crystalline Buddha statue still stands tall and is a sight to behold while the new monastery offers a chance to meditate in this serene place. The ruins with intriguing inscriptions and the awesome jungle surrounding it, make this visit worthwhile.
5. Maritime and Naval History Museum
Located in a beautifully restored 17th century Dutch mansion, this informative museum offers important insights into Sri Lankan maritime history. Amongst the most interesting places to visit in Trincomalee, the ground floor takes you through the country’s naval history dating back from Marco polo’s time with models depicting naval scenes and some video presentations. The exhibits on the first floor throw light on the marine ecosystem with special emphasis on the flora and fauna of East coast. With free entry and knowledgeable guides, this wonderful museum also offers lovely views of the bay.
Timings: 8:30AM-4:30PM (Wed-Mon). Tuesday Closed.
6. Uppuveli & Nilaveli Beaches
North of Trincomalee, are these two pristine palm-fringed beaches perfect for a lazy, rejuvenating day by the sea. Uppuveli has powdery white sand, clear emerald waters and a lovely beach vibe with restaurants offering delicious Sri Lankan cuisine. This laidback paradise is perfect for swimming, whale watching, volley-ball or simply relaxing by the sea. Nilaveli beach is further north, bigger, calmer and totally unspoilt by the onslaught of tourism. When you’ve covered all places to visit in Trincomalee map, head to these beautiful beaches to steal some relaxing moments.
7. Pigeon Island National Park
Undoubtedly one of the best places to visit near Trincomalee, the pristine and beautiful Pigeon Island National Park off the coast of Nilaveli is a great getaway from the city. Comprising of two small islands, the national park is home to the endangered rock pigeons, vibrant marine life and stunning rock formations. The powdery white sands, glittering rock pools and the shallow turquoise waters make this a memorable trip, along with ample snorkelling opportunities right off the beach.
Timings: Daily, 8AM-5PM
Entry fee: USD 10/adult; USD5/child. Additional service charges per group & boat charges
8. Trincomalee War Cemetery
This final resting place of the British and local soldiers who laid down their lives during World War II, is a quiet solemn place. Set in a well-maintained garden, this is one of the six Commonwealth war cemeteries in Sri Lanka. As you pay homage to the fallen soldiers and sailors and walk through the poignant place, you gain insight into what price we pay for wars. One of the most humbling places to visit in Trincomalee, the war cemetery is also a place for quiet contemplation.
9. Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara
Counted amongst the holiest Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka, this temple is one of the important places to visit in Trincomalee for the spiritually inclined travellers. The 2nd century stupa was originally built by King Kavantissa and holds the sacred frontal bone of Lord Buddha. Thousand of devotees visit this sacred Buddhist Vihara every year to pay homage and seek blessings of the enlightened one. Also visit the new complex with a huge statue of Buddha; remember to be modestly dressed and remove your footwear.
10. St Mary’s Cathedral
Tucked away in a quiet part of the city, this beautiful small Catholic Cathedral is just a walking distance away from the beach. Built in 1852, the attractive blue and white facade of the cathedral exudes warmth and tranquillity. The well-maintained site also houses a small school with young children who are happy to interact with visitors.
With many more interesting and unique places to visit in Trincomalee, you can spend a few enjoyable days in this quieter part of the country on your trip to Sri Lanka with TravelTriangle!
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