Sri Lanka has beaches all around its coastline and all of them are fantastic. They are approachable at any time of the year. Being in the tropics has its advantages. It is difficult to point out 10 best beaches in Sri Lanka. Sun starved Europeans flock the island during winters. Sri Lanka’s Developed West Coast is lined with string of beaches and serves to all kinds of tourists. Charming Southern coastline boasts some of the gorgeous beaches.
Besides the swim and surf, you can go spotting stilt fishermen or whale watching. After a long drawn civil war and tsunami devastation, East Coast now has opened up luring the tourists to its untouched beauty. Whether it is surfing on your mind or a romantic vacation, explore the coastline depending on your mood! Mega beach resorts, boutique hotels or guest houses; you are bound to spoilt for choice. Lazy bums can have their fill too at laidback beaches with shacks bringing food and drinks at your sunbeds. So here to Sun, Sand, Surf and Sri Lanka!
Here are 10 Best beaches in Sri Lanka!
1 Unawatuna Beach – Face of Sri Lanka!
The horseshoe beach has gained prominence in recent times and you can see that from the development around the beach. The azure blue quiet water of Unawatuna has been drawing tourists steadily. There are many spots to laze around away from the crowd. The water may get rough at times though. The crystal clear beach is lined with some of the best restaurants and cafes. Enjoy the calm water of the ocean by the day and head to a restaurant for lobster meal in the evening. There are many options and varieties to choose from. Lounge music and mojitos go well after the dusk! Boutique resorts and guest houses in the village all boast of super Sri Lankan hospitality and you will certainly fall for that! If you are up for some water activity, you can hail a local with a boat to take you around the rocks in the ocean for a snorkeling trip.
2 Mirissa Beach – Southern splendour
Mirissa is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka and has emerged as one of the favorite tourist destination in recent times. This picture perfect beach in the south is serene and laid back with few boutique resorts. The palm fringed beach wears a deserted island look, as all the guest houses and resorts are tucked away from the beach. The secluded crescent is a perfect place to laze in a hammock, read a book while sipping on coconut water. You will be rewarded with a perfect sunset everyday as the day ends! Mirissa is a great spot for whale watching. Water safaris take you into the ocean early in the morning to spot Blue whales, the largest living mammals on the planet! This is one beach from where you can spot whales just a short distance from the shore. When the waves ride high, get your surfboard out and get into some real action!
3 Arugam Bay- Surfer’s paradise
Arugam Bay on the East coast of Sri Lanka is unquestionably the best surf spot in Sri Lanka. Surfers from across Europe are drawn towards the point break to ride rough waves. Arugam Bay is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka for surfers. Surf or no surf, this remote beach on the East coast draws people from world over to its pristine waters. Arugam Bay is a tiny remote beach next to a sleepy village. If you are looking for beach front guest houses, here you can get to stay closest to the water. After a few days of laid back time on hammock with your favorite book, you might want to venture into the lush green countryside to explore elephant packed national parks or mangroves with crocodiles. If you intend to surf, carry your board, the remote village is not well equipped to cater to surfers’ needs. Get away from the usual tourist activities and park yourself on the beach at Arugam Bay for some ‘Me’ time!
4 Hikkaduwa – Party on the West Coast
Hikkaduwa is a pristine, tourist friendly beach on the West Coast of Sri Lanka. It is located north west of Galle and is easily accessible by Southern Expressway. Hikkaduwa is a popular destination for surfers and sunbathers. The beach offers great waves for surf boarding. Coastal waters of Hikkaduwa offer great snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. You can take a boat ride to Hikkaduwa Coral Sanctuary just few meters off the shore to explore the colorful marine life there. The beach is lined with great seafood restaurants and bars. You can witness breathtaking sunset almost every day on the beach. Once the sun goes down the beach side restaurants liven up with party goers. This is the only beach with lively nightlife. So gorge on jumbo prawns, let your hair loose and have some coastal fun!
5 Koggala Beach – Spot stilt fishermen
Serene beach of Koggala lies between Unawatuna and Weligama. This is a deserted beach and there is no development around. And that is the beauty of it! Get your beach towel out and spread it anywhere, there will be no one bothering you for hours. If you are looking for some action, rough blue waters of Koggala is known for riding the waves. You will spot some locals trying their hands on the boards. For lazy lot, head to a turtle farm located nearby. It is a delight to watch little baby turtles being nurtured and then released into the water on daily basis. Koggala beach is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka for spotting the iconic stilt fishermen. They are known to practise a strange way of fishing, sitting on stilts for hours for daily catch. Spotting silhouette of stilt fishermen against a setting sun will certainly make memories for lifetime!
6 Bentota Beach – Beach and more
Bentota is one of the finest beaches on the West Coast of Sri Lanka. Proximity to Colombo makes it easier to access the beach by road. The beach is ideal for a short stay for business travelers or for holiday makers. Lined with mega resorts, boutique hotels, guest houses and budget beach front accomodations, Bentota has something for everyone. Despite of all the developments, the beach is pristine and not crowded by tourists. With great resorts lining up the shores of Bentota, it is a perfect place to unwind, by the swimming pool inside the resort or on the beach bed. This is considered to be a safe beach year round for swimmers. Besides lazing around, Bentota offers lot of beachside activities for an active seeker. You can get your hands at snorkeling. Sailing, water skiing, wind surfing, kayaking and deep sea fishing.
7 Tangalle Beach – Picture perfect paradise
Located in the South East of Sri Lanka, Tangalle is a serene spot at the southernmost tip of the island. The wave lashed beach offers coves tucked inside rocky terrains, they are idyllic getaways for intimate relaxation. Tangalle is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka for doing nothing. The beach is a paradise for laid back travelers, get there without any itinerary. Sunbathing is the only thing you indulge in this remote part of the island. Not many tourists venture all the way down here, and you will find the picture perfect shoreline usually deserted. If you really want to get lost on the planet, Tangalla is the place! Get loads of sun creams and an enchanting novel, you will not be bothered for hours! Splash on or Soak up the sun by lazy azure waters,You will certainly return home with an envious tan!
8 Negombo Beach – Closest to Colombo
There is nothing special about Negombo beach but it has become a popular destination because of its proximity from the airport in Katunayake. Attached to the second largest city after Colombo, Negombo is a well known fishing town. It is visited mostly by business travelers who end up going to the beach for walks or sunsets after their busy schedules. Many tourists make a stop over at Negombo before boarding an international flight back home. The sandy beach is frequented by tourists as well as locals and you will find many fishing boats lining up the shore. It’s a great destination for beach front photography. The water is usually rough and does not permit many water activities. It is an ideal beach for morning or evening walks and witness breathtaking sunsets! The town of Negombo is worth a visit for its colonial charm.
9 Nilaveli Beach – Northern splendour
Located 20kms north of Trincomalee, northern beach of Nilaveli was untouched by tourist till almost 2009. The civil war in the North kept the tourists away for very long time. And tsunami in 2004 further added to the damage. Thankfully this is all in the distant past. Beautiful virgin sand and surf of Nilaveli are now attracting sun seekers from all over the world. The sleepy town doesn’t have much to offer besides the best of shoreline. Expansive beaches of Nilaveli is a perfect getaway for those looking for solitude. The Pigeon Island nearby is known for breathtaking marine life. Put on your snorkeling and scuba gears and take a short boat ride to explore the glittering coral reef just off the coast. Visit the crystal azure water of Nilaveli before it get run over by tourists in search of exclusive spots!
10 Passikudah Bay – Tranquility redefined
Another quiet beach on the East coast of Sri Lanka, Passikudah Bay is still a virgin spot. The shoreline is secured by reefs and is the ocean is calmer compared to many other beaches in Sri Lanka. The turquoise water is so calm, that you can swim inside for almost 200 meters from the shores. The beach is famous for early morning fish auction. The fishermen from the villages nearby usually return from deep sea fishing and vendors line up to buy the fresh catch. It’s a great way to get a peek into the life of locals here. Being away from the touristy hub, you will only find small guest houses around the village. It is a great place to unwind. The Passikudah Bay is ideal to practice an art of doing nothing and soak in and liberal dose of Vitamin Sea!