Sri Lanka's east coast has, until recently, remained firmly under the traveller radar. But 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 - read, there's a perfect beach spot throughout the year - and the east coast certainly holds its own.

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Our guide to holidays in East Coast Beaches

The east coast was once the hub of sea trade, before being overtaken by both Colombo and Galle, and suffering at the hands of 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 somewhat of a surf hotspot, centered on Arugam Bay, and boasts a coastline peppered with vibrant coral reefs. It's also emerging as the number two whale watching spot, behind Mirissa, with sightings of both Blue and Sperm whales in March, April, August and September.

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