Sri Lanka, North Eastern Province, Trincomalee, Nilaveli Beach, coastline

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Nilaveli Beach

Top choice in Nilaveli

Nilaveli's 4km stretch of sand is considered one of Sri Lanka’s best beaches and with its paradise-island remoteness, swaying palms and golden tinge to the shore, it's easy to see why. As such, it's a surprise that it is so little frequented. A few modest resorts are tucked above the shore line and Pigeon Island, which offers great snorkelling opportunities, is a short boat ride away.

Nearby hotels

Nilaveli has a number of rather exceptional places to stay scattered along the coast. Two good choices are Nilaveli Beach Hotel and That's Why, both within striking distance of the surf. In the low season some guesthouses close completely and even in high season, the whole strip feels remote. Note that it's not possible to wander from one hotel to another as they are widely dispersed. 

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Nilaveli attractions

2. Salli Muthumariamunam Kovil

5.84 MILES

This beachfront temple is 4km by road from Uppuveli, but only a short wade (or hop by boat if the tide is high) from the north end of Uppuveli beach. It’s…

3. Commonwealth War Cemetery

6.21 MILES

For a break from the beach, stroll up to this beautifully kept cemetery. This is the last resting place for 364 Commonwealth servicemen who died at Trinco…

4. Uppuveli Beach

6.56 MILES

This honey-coloured crescent of sand makes a lovely spot to enjoy life under a coconut tree. Swimming is possible although there are often red flags…

5. Swami Rock

9.04 MILES

The base for Kandasamy Kovil is considered the world's greatest vantage point for spotting blue whales. Note the odd cubic-shaped rocks below.

6. Kandasamy Kovil

9.05 MILES

This revered temple at the summit of a rocky outcrop is one of Sri Lanka’s pancha ishwaram, five historical Hindu temples dedicated to Shiva and…

7. Fish Market

9.14 MILES

Fishy interest is provided at the raucous daily fish market near the bus station. Early mornings are busiest.

8. Kali Kovil


Kali Kovil has the most impressive, eye-catching gopuram (gateway towers) of Trinco’s many Hindu temples. It's always busy.