Sri Lanka is a small island country that welcomes you with leaning palm trees and golden beaches. With a long coastline you could be as confused as I was in picking the Sri Lanka’s Best Beaches for your ideal holiday. You would most probably want to explore the south coast for the sake of convenience and accessibility. This post will help you pick the right beaches whether it is for an adventurous morning or for a romantic evening.
Welcome to the south-western coast of Sri Lanka. The beaches I would cover in this post are Mirissa, Weligama, Unawatuna, Wijaya, Hikkaduwa, Bentota and Tangalle beaches.
Mirissa beach is very laid back and my top favorite. The left side of the beach is popular with snorkelers and the right side is great for experienced surfers. You can climb up on the Parrot Rock for a good view by walking through the water. This beach is also famous for Whale Watching Tour. Travelers are seen swimming, sunbathing or munching at sea facing cafes/restaurants throughout the day. It gets lively in the night as the restaurants put out tables on the beach, some days they organize buffet dinner with campfire and display the fishes you could select for dinner.
From Mirissa you can take a local bus or hire a tuk tuk to get dropped at Weligama beach which is 10 minutes away. With many surf schools it’s the best beach for beginners to learn swimming. We took up few classes from Freedom Surf School. Each Class: 2500 LKR pp (approx. 1000 inr). Note: Options to stay and eat at the beach is relatively less.
Unawatuna’s proximity to beautiful Galle Fort makes it a hit. This beach is ideal for swimming and offers sunbeds on rent. With many restaurants and bars there is a great beach vibe. As a day trip you can visit the nearby turtle hatchery and Galle Fort. Note: However this beach could be crowded in peak season.
Dalawella beach / Wijaya Beach
A five minutes tuk-tuk ride from Unawatuna brings you to an idyllic golden soft beach. Wijaya Beach is a hotel as well as a restaurant in Dalawella beach. In front of the hotel the coral reef blocks the high waves creating a natural swimming pool which was great for kids to swim. It’s here in Dalawella Beach you can find the insta-famous palm swing. Not one but two swings along the shore. Note: It’s safe to swim only front of Wijaya Beach and options to stay and eat at the beach is relatively less.
Hikkaduwa was Sri Lanka’s original hippy hangout. It is a far longer stretch of beach with quite southern end whereas the northern end near the harbour and coral gardens is bustling with tourists. Witness turtle hatching as the turtle eggs are buried in the sand for hatching along the shore. Take a short boat ride on a glass bottom boat to have a look at the beautiful aquatic life or choose to snorkel over coral garden. With plenty of restaurants and cute cafes it guarantees a romantic vibe at the night. Indulge in some shopping spree as you treat yourself with silver jewelry and gemstones. Note: Most of the coral you see here is unfortunately dead.
Bentota is a resort town on Sri Lanka’s south-west coast admired for its long golden beaches and plush hotels. Its short drive from the airport and has abundant sea facing hotels catering to package tourists. It’s an ideal location if you want to visit nearby attractions like River Safari, Turtle Hatchery and indulge in Water Sports. Note: This beach attracts more tourists than travelers.
One of the farthest beach towns on the South Coast is Tangalle. It is a calm and quiet beach side town with no touristy things like water sports, nightlife, hawkers or markets. Atmosphere is just more relaxed to laze around. Note: Not perfect for swimming all the time as waves can be a bit rough.
- It would be convenient to base yourself in [Mirissa & Unawatuna] or [Mirissa & Hikkaduwa] for few days each and explore nearby beaches.
- If you want to avoid the crowds and expect handful of tourists you can pick Wijaya or Tangalle Beach to stay.
- South coast could be traveled easily by train, tuk tuk, public bus or taxi.
- You can’t go anywhere along the coast without bumping upon a stunning stretch of sand. Keep some extra time \ day for such unexpected stops.
- There is no dearth of beaches in Sri Lanka’s east coast and some of the famous beach towns are Trincomalee, Arugam bay, Nilaveli etc.
I hope this post – Ultimate Guide to Sri Lanka’s Best Beaches helped you.
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