Sri Lanka's east coast has, until recently, remained firmly under the traveller radar. No more. What with the recent boom in boutique hotels opening throughout Sri Lanka, the east is beginning to emerge from the shadows of the popular west and south coast beach scenes as the more laid back, rustic beach spot for those in the know. Add to this the fact that the weather patterns of the west and east coasts are polar opposites (meaning the East Coast is best in a European summer) and Sri Lanka's East Coast holidays certainly hold their own. The east coast was once the hub of sea trade, before being overtaken by both Colombo and Galle,
and suffering hard during the civil war. Today, fishing villages dot the coastline, between stretches of pristine sand, rocky inlets and mazes of lagoons. The vibrant town of Trincomalee is the hub of the east coast, and is home to colourful Hindu temples, colonial architecture and stunning coastal scenery, and what with upgraded road and rail links, it is becoming ever more accessible. The east is also emerging as a creditable number two whale watching spot, behind Mirissa, with sightings of both blue whales and sperm whales possible in March, April, August and September.
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What can you find on Sri Lanka’s east coast that you won't find anywhere else?
Sri Lanka’s east coast is slowly gaining recognition as a travel hotspot – head to one of its many tranquil palm-fringed beaches lapped by gentle waters and you’ll understand why. Holidays on Sri Lanka’s East coast beaches are a glorious mix of lazy days split between ancient temples and empty white sandy beaches. Mix in some delicious seafood, beautiful coastal towns with colonial architecture and new boutique hotels and you’re in dream holiday territory.
What is the best option for a holiday to Sri Lanka’s east coast?
It’s possible to have the perfect bush to beach holiday if you combine spotting leopards and elephants in Wilpattu National Park with the peace and quiet of Sri Lanka’s east coast. But the region’s beauty warrants a trip all of its own if you want to uncover more of its many hidden gems. The east coast capital of Trincomalee is a friendly port town that boasts South Asia’s deepest natural harbour. Sit in an adjacent cafe and watch mammoth ships come into dock or head to Fort Frederik, the town’s old fortress - parts of which are still in use by the Sri Lankan army today - and spot roaming deer in the perimeters. The town’s serene Koneswaram Temple is another unmissable place. Perched on a cliff and surrounded by the Indian Ocean on three sides, the views of the glimmering waves and Trincomalee Bay from the Hindu temple are a sight to behold. Trincomalee is also rapidly emerging as a whale-watching haven; go at the right time (March to April and August to September) and there’s a good chance you’ll see spinner dolphins, sperm whales and even blue whales. Undoubtedly though, the key attraction of East coast beaches holidays are the incredible stretches of powdery white sand and lack of crowds. Travellers are spoilt for choice; from the deserted shoreline of Kalkudah Beach, which offers seclusion and utter relaxation, to Pasikudah Beach, famed for its extra-long stretch of shallow sparkling waters, which are perfect for families. Get to Sri Lanka’s east coast before it hits the big time. And trust us, it will.
Who is Sri Lanka’s east coast best for?
Sri Lanka’s east coast is a dot to dot of dreamy beaches and charming fishing villages, with new resorts and modern boutique hotels popping up all the time. Sun worshippers, honeymooners and anyone on a quest for a slice of bliss will find what they’re looking for here. East coast beaches holidays are also a dream for families looking for a stress-free sandy escape during the summer holidays – not forgetting the culture, history, good food and excellent accommodation thrown in for good measure. Beaches mean watersports and brilliant surfing, sailing and diving conditions are a given here – anyone with a thirst for adventure will have more than enough to keep them busy between the ocean and Sri Lanka’s lush rainforests and mountains.