Best beaches in Sri Lanka :
Discover the Best Beaches in Sri Lanka for Sun, Surf, and Serenity
When it comes to tropical beach destinations, Sri Lanka’s 1340km (833-mile) coastline is an undisputed gem. Its diverse array of beaches, coves, and bays cater to sun-seekers, adventure enthusiasts, and wildlife lovers year-round. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the top beaches in Sri Lanka and the best times to visit them.
Unawatuna, situated just 6km (3.7 miles) from the historic Galle Fort, remains a beloved swimming spot. Its calm, azure waters, protected by an offshore reef, make it perfect for most of the year. Despite some development, Unawatuna retains its charm, offering sunbeds, water sports, and a vibrant dining scene, including weekend beach parties.
East of Unawatuna lies Dalawella Beach, known for the iconic Frog Rock. Also called Wijeya Beach, it boasts an idyllic aqua-blue lagoon protected by a reef, making it ideal for year-round swimming and family outings. Keep an eye out for curious turtles that often make appearances.
Weligama’s 2km (1.2-mile) bay is a haven for beginner surfers, thanks to its sandy-bottomed break. You can easily rent boards and take lessons from local surf outfits. Families also flock here to enjoy the fine sand, numerous dining options, and accommodations to suit every budget.
Kabalana, part of Ahangama’s relaxed surf-and-yoga scene, offers a quieter alternative to Weligama and Unawatuna. Surf lessons and board rentals are readily available, with the A-frame known as the Rock rumored to be Sri Lanka’s best deep-reef break. After dark, explore the foodie restaurants along the bustling Galle-Matara road.
Mirissa’s crescent-shaped bay attracts visitors for its famous blue whale sightings, but there’s much more to explore. Snorkel in the bay east of Parrot Rock, surf the western reef break, take a yoga class, or venture to Mirissa’s Secret Beach. The area also boasts a variety of restaurants and lively evening entertainment.
Nestled between jungle-covered headlands, Hiriketiya’s deep bay offers a stunning backdrop. Originally a surfer’s paradise, it now appeals to all with its low-key atmosphere and year-round swimming. The bay features charming timber-frame restaurants, coffee shops, guesthouses, and villas, extending over the western hill towards Dikwella’s vast sandy bay.
Bentota stands out on Sri Lanka’s west coast, known for its large package-holiday hotels along honey-hued beaches. It’s a family-friendly destination with water sports, safe swimming, and lifeguards. While there aren’t many independent restaurants on the beach, the amenities cater to families.
Exploring the Wildlife at Bentota River
The Bentota River is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including crocodiles, monitor lizards, and various bird species. Visitors can take a boat safari along the river to spot these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. It is a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed when exploring Bentota.
Arugam Bay Beach
Arugam Bay on the east coast is a surfing hotspot, especially from May to September. It offers various breaks like Whiskey Point and Peanut Farm, making it perfect for budget-conscious sun-seekers who also want to explore deserted beaches, historic temples, and remote national parks.
Kalkudah offers a wild and deserted beach experience on the east coast. Coconut estates and cashew plantations surround this idyllic stretch, though swimming can be treacherous out of season due to deep shelves. Consider staying in chic tents at Karpaha Sands or day-trip from the upscale resort-lined bay of Passikudah
Located 13km (8 miles) north of Trincomalee, Nilaveli boasts wide ivory sands, palmyra palms, and shallow ocean waters, making it a hub for deep-sea diving and whale-watching between May and September. Pigeon Island’s marine park, just offshore, is a snorkeling and diving paradise, home to turtles and blacktip reef sharks.
At the northernmost Jaffna peninsula, Casuarina Beach stands out as a popular spot. Named after the casuarina trees lining the sand, it attracts day-tripping families and offers warm, shallow sea waters.
Kalpitiya, a peninsula on the northwest coast, features a nearly uninterrupted beach extending to a ruined Dutch Fort. Kite-surfers flock here from May to September, adding a burst of color to the skies over the vast Puttalam Lagoon.
Mawella, a hidden gem on the south coast, offers a crescent-shaped bay with boutique hotels, villas, and bungalows nestled amidst palm-shaded grounds. It’s a place for serenity, with rolling waves perfect for body-boarding and early morning runs.
Hikkaduwa Beach is a vibrant and lively beach destination, known for its bustling atmosphere and exciting nightlife. The beach is lined with beach bars, restaurants, and shops, offering visitors a wide range of entertainment options. Whether you want to relax on the beach or party until the early hours, Hikkaduwa has something for everyone.
Turtle Hatchery and Conservation Centers in Hikkaduwa
Hikkaduwa is home to several turtle hatcheries and conservation centers dedicated to protecting and preserving Sri Lanka’s sea turtles. Visitors can learn about these incredible creatures and even participate in the release of baby turtles into the sea. It is a unique and educational experience for the whole family.
Exploring the South Coast of Sri Lanka
The south coast of Sri Lanka is known for its picturesque beaches and vibrant beach towns. Starting from the capital city of Colombo, the coastline stretches along the west coast towards popular beach destinations such as Negombo, Bentota, and Galle. The south coast is a must-visit for those seeking a perfect beach holiday.
Sri Lanka’s beaches offer something for every traveler, from water sports enthusiasts to families seeking relaxation. Plan your visit based on the season and the experiences you desire, and you’re sure to find the perfect beach paradise in this tropical haven.
Q: Can you provide more information about Mirissa?
A: Mirissa is a popular beach destination located on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It is known for its stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and vibrant nightlife.
Q: Tell me about Unawatuna beach.
A: Unawatuna beach is considered one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. It is known for its picturesque setting, crystal-clear waters, and abundance of marine life. Snorkeling and diving are popular activities here.
Q: What makes Arugam Bay special?
A: Arugam Bay is a famous surfing destination located on Sri Lanka’s east coast. It is known for its long stretches of sandy beaches and excellent surfing conditions. It is a must-visit for surf enthusiasts.
Q: Are there any turtle sanctuaries in Sri Lanka?
A: Yes, there are several turtle sanctuaries in Sri Lanka. These sanctuaries aim to protect and conserve various species of turtles. Visitors can even witness the hatching of baby turtles and participate in releasing them into the sea.
Q: What is the best time to visit Unawatuna beach?
A: Unawatuna beach is best visited from November to April, as the weather during this time is warm and dry. The sea is also calm, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Q: Is it worth backpacking in Sri Lanka for its beaches?
A: Absolutely! Sri Lanka offers a diverse range of stunning beaches that are perfect for backpackers. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an adventurous surfing experience, the beaches of Sri Lanka have something for everyone.
Q: Are there any other activities to do besides snorkeling at the beaches of Sri Lanka?
A: Yes, besides snorkeling, you can engage in activities like beach volleyball, surfing, sunbathing, and taking leisurely walks along the coast. You can also explore nearby attractions and indulge in delicious seafood.
Q: Where can I find the best surfing beaches in Sri Lanka?
A: Some of the best surfing beaches in Sri Lanka can be found in Arugam Bay, Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, and Weligama. These beaches offer excellent waves for surfers of all levels.