East of Wallace Tours
Adventures in East Indonesia

The Spice Island Ternate

Fortresses, crater lakes and great views

As part of the Maritime Silk Road, the island of Ternate was an established anchor point for a wide range of cultures long before Europeans arrived. Thanks to its geographical and climatic coordinates, the island is one of the few places in the world that is home to the Myristica Fragrans and the Caryophyllus Aromaticus, the fruits of which we know as nutmeg and clove. Their trade shaped Ternate’s destiny for many centuries, so much so that the region around the island came to be known as the ‘Spice Islands’.

With an area of around 111 km², Ternate is a rather small island, but densely populated and with a lot of sights. Reflecting its turbulent history, the ruins of old fortifications left behind by the Portuguese, Spaniards and Dutch can be explored. The spice plantations of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves on the slopes of the volcanic mountain Gamalama evoke times long past and provide wonderful shady viewpoints of the magical island world.


Discover Ternate on one of our tours!

The TOP Attractions of Ternate

What you should see on Ternate Island:

  1. Ternate: As an important trading center for centuries, Ternate attracted people from near and far from early on. Quite a few stayed. To this day, Ternate plays a central role in the region and, thanks to good transport connections and its proximity to Manado, Sulawesi, is the gateway for travel to the province of North Maluku.
  2. Crater lakes on Ternate: Picturesquely presented, the crater lakes are waiting for you to explore on an island tour. Simply magical!
  3. Forts on Ternate: Are you interested in the legacy of the past? Built in colonial times to control the spice trade in the region, in Ternate you will find the remains of some old forts left by the Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch. Their fragile charm is reminiscent of times long past and the enormous importance that the Spice Islands once had...a magical journey into the past of the Moluccas.
  4. The Little Sultanate of Ternate: Did you know? The Sultanate of Ternate is one of the oldest sultanates in Indonesia and Ternate's Royal Family still plays a key role in the island's events today. However, the kingdom is currently without a ruler as Sultan Mudaffar Sjah died in 2015 and his successor has not yet been decided. It remains exciting.
  5. Beaches and snorkeling: Nestled in small bays and immersed in crystal-clear water, Ternate's short, dark sandy beaches invite you to swim and snorkel. In addition to the cozy atmosphere, you can also enjoy great island views. Because of the dark beaches and hot sand, pack a pair of bathing shoes as a precaution.
  6. Ternate's picnic areas: No matter where you stop, you'll always have a wonderful view: Ternate isn't a particularly large island, but it's not at a loss for impressive picnic areas. An island tour of the local sights should therefore definitely include a photo stop at one or another viewpoint in your program. Away from the hustle and bustle of the island's capital and up the slopes of Gamalama, wonderful views always open up that invite you to linger.
  7. Ternate and its volcanic local mountain: Ternate's local mountain, Gunung Gamalama, is actually a stratovolcano rising from the sea, which over time became an island. Gamalama is an active volcano and signs of previous activity are clearly visible in the island's appearance. Do you dare to climb it?
  8. Mosques on Ternate: Although a large number of different ethnic groups are based here, Ternate is still a predominantly Muslim island. Depending on its population density, there are numerous mosques that enable believers to practice their religion.
  9. Ternate: Island of spirituality: Although Islam plays a central role as a religion, everyday life is no less often accompanied by long-standing spiritually influenced traditions. Your trip to Ternate, the Moluccas, is a journey into another world!
  10. Cengkeh Afo – the oldest carnation tree: How it smells! As the island of origin of the clove, there are still numerous clove plantations on Ternate today. Three of the world's oldest clove trees, locally: Cengkeh Afo, are found hidden in one of the slopes of Gamalama. The trio miraculously survived the deforestation carried out by the Dutch East India Company. Visit a spice garden and don't forget to buy some spices for home.
  11. Everyday life on the island of Ternate: Perhaps surprising, but Ternate is densely populated and its streets are very busy, giving the island a busy appearance - untypical of the rest of the North Moluccas. Accordingly, small stalls can be found everywhere, shaping the streetscape with their offerings.



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Experience the events and festivals on the Spice Island of Ternate!

Events on Ternate

Journey to Ternate

By plane:


  • Singapur – Manado (Sulawesi) – Ternate –> Scoot 4 hrs. + u.a. Garuda, Wings 45 min.
  • Jakarta (Java) – Ternate –> among others Garuda, Wings, LionAir, Batik 4 hrs.

By ship:

  • Bitung (Sulawesi) – Bastiong (Ternate) –> 18 hrs.
  • Jailolo (Halmahera) – Mangga Dua (Ternate) –> 60 min.
  • Sofifi (Halmahera) – Mangga Dua (Ternate) –> 45 min.
  • Rum (Tidore) – Mangga Dua (Ternate) –> 10 min.