The most stunning Sri Lanka beaches for your holiday

Sri Lanka beaches are as different as the landscapes of its exquisite interior: untouched coves backed by palm trees, rough outcrops formed by the waves of the Indian Ocean, fishermen landing their catch of the day as well as popular resort towns.

Beaches in Sri Lanka are spread all over the island and are the perfect plane to spend some quality time on this picturesque island.

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Sri Lanka beaches based on location

Beaches of Sri Lanka are split in three main parts after their location:

  • West coast
  • South coast
  • East coast

From east to west, each of these coastlines are famous for their idyllic looks and breathtaking sceneries.

Mirissa Beach Sri Lanka
Mirissa Beach Sri Lanka

 

Let me tell you some words about each of these three categories and then let’s discover together which are the most beautiful strips of sand from the island and why worth paying them a visit!

West coast

First of all, I want you to know that this part of the island is famous for its golden-sandy beaches, lively atmosphere and it is conveniently located close to Colombo International Airport.

From all the three coastlines of this magnificent island, the west coast is the most developed and the most crowded.

For many tourists, this is the starting point of their try, so most of them use to spend just one night in this part of the country.

 

Catamaran Negombo Beach Sri Lanka
Catamaran Negombo Beach Sri Lanka

 

The most famous resort is Negombo, which is located just 6 miles from the international airport and is definitely the most visited resort from the island.

A large and diverse range of hotels and resorts peppers the coast from Negombo down to the Hikkaduwa in the southern part of the island.

Most of the resorts are located right on the magnificent beaches in Sri Lanka offering an amazing view and a relaxing atmosphere.

South coast

Offering amazing beaches, colonial towns and a lot of parks rich in wildlife, the southern coast of the island is considered by many as the most beautiful one.

A wide range of luxurious hotels and villas with a colonial touch are waiting for their guests.

 

Galle Sri Lanka coconut
Galle Sri Lanka coconut

 

Although a pretty popular destination, the place still keeps its rural atmosphere and relaxing vibe.

Many rural villages hidden between the dense palm tree forests are waiting to be discovered while the colonial town of Galle reminds the tourists about the period when Galle was under British occupancy.

East coast

Although a beautiful place with one of the most spectacular beaches of Sri Lanka, the east coast was not that popular among tourists mainly because of the long-raging civil war and the damages made by the 2004 tsunami.

 

Pristine beach Trincomalee Sri Lanka
Pristine beach Trincomalee Sri Lanka

 

Fortunately, after 2009, when the civil war ended, the Eastern coast has been reconstructed and more and more tourists include these Sri Lanka beaches into their itinerary.

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Trincomalee and Batticaloa, the most important towns from the area are now two lively and extremely active places in full developments and the area gradually begins to show its potential.

So, it’s time to enter deeper into the problem and discover which are the most beautiful beaches from this island and why worth paying them a visit.

The best beaches in Sri Lanka

Arugam Bay

Located in the east coast, Arugam Bay is a famous beach in Sri Lanka among surfers from all over the world as it has the best waves in Sri Lanka.

Its laid-back vibe and relaxing atmosphere but this beautiful village on many independent travellers map.

 

Arugam Bay Sri Lanka
Arugam Bay Sri Lanka

 

It is a dramatic but extremely beautiful strip of golden sand with deep blue waters, reminding me of some Hawaiian beaches.

From Arugam Bay, you can go either to Ella, on the mountainous part of the island or in one of the national parks Yala or Udawalawe, both packed with wildlife.

Best time to visit

Best time to visit Arugam Bay is from April to September when it is the dry season in this part of the island.

Best for surfing?

Actually, this is the best of all Sri Lanka beaches for surfers from all over the world as the waves are just perfect for this sport.

Accommodation

One of the best Arugam Bay hotels, Blue Waters Arugam Bay is an eco-friendly resort located right on the beach near some of the most important surf points from the area.

The hotel offers to its guests’ luxurious rooms and open-air settings that leave a minimum carbon footprint while offering great opportunities to enjoy Sri Lanka nature.

On-site there is a restaurant where guests can have all the daily meals, a garden with barbecue facilities and free private parking.

Mirissa

Definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka is Mirissa beach located on the southern coast of the island.

This beautiful beach of Sri Lanka is located close to the capital of the country, Colombo so getting here is not that complicated; it is about 2 hours drive from the airport.

 

Mirissa Beach of Sri Lanka
Mirissa Beach Sri Lanka perfect for diving and snorkeling

 

The beach is shaded by swaying palm trees and has an arrow shape, which makes it perfect for swimming.

This place is also perfect for those of you interested in whale watching experience as in February and March you’ll have the chance to see these giants in the waters around this Sri Lanka beach. It is also one of the sweet spots for diving and snorkeling.

Best time to visit

The best months of the year when you should visit this magnificent place are November to April and August to October.

Best for surfing?

It is a good beach for surfing but not the best as the sea is a little bit calmer than in other parts of the island.

Accommodation

Located just 100 metres from the beach, Handagedara Resort is a cosy guesthouse with 15 rooms and a beautiful swimming pool where you can cool off during the day.

The hotel is conveniently located within Galle city and the beautiful Sinharaja Rainforest, while the international airport is 3 hours away.

The host can assist you in arranging tours at the nearby attractions and airport shuttle service is available upon request.

Unawatuna

Sri Lanka beaches list continues with Unawatuna beach, a golden narrow strip of sand with many restaurants and bars spread across the area.

Unawatuna is the most popular beach in Sri Lanka from the southern part of the island and one of the busiest places in Sri Lanka.

 

Unawatuna Sri Lanka Beach Sri Lanka Beaches
Unawatuna Sri Lanka Beach

 

With its relatively calm waters, this is a good place to swim as the beach is located in a bay where the currents are not that strong.

The beach is located just 5 kilometres away from Galle, one of the most important colonial towns from the island.

Unawatuna is a piece of paradise, a very long strip of sand with sun chairs and umbrellas on some parts of it and a large coral reef offshore.

Best time to visit

November to April is the best time of year to visit this amazing beach as the weather is dry and sunny.

Best for surfing?

One of the most beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka is suitable mostly for swimming; you can try and practice some surfing but it won’t be such a memorable experience.

Accommodation

One of the most beautiful boutique hotels from the area, Cocobay Unawatuna features a free beachfront restaurant, an outdoor pool and a private sandy beach.

The rooms have a stunning view of the ocean and beautiful whirlpool tubs on the inside, while some of the rooms have their private pool.

The on-site restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine and the bar offers a wide section of cocktails and drinks.

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Negombo

Just one hour drive from the island’s capital, Negombo is definitely one of the most popular resorts from Sri Lanka and the starting point of most of the tours across the country.

The resort has a rural vibe and it is full of guesthouses and hotels, not to mention restaurants and shops where you can try local food and buy some homemade souvenirs.

 

Catamaran Negombo Beach Sri Lanka Beaches
Catamaran Negombo Beach Sri Lanka

 

Negombo’s beach, one of the most interesting beaches in Sri Lanka is wide and flat and on some part of it, you can find sun chairs and umbrellas available for a small fee.

You can find many water sports centres on this beach in Sri Lanka, from where you can rent your equipment and even take some lessons if interested.

The sea currents are pretty strong so be careful if you want to swim in these waters!

Best time to visit

November to March and June to August are the best months when you can plan a trip in this part of the country.

Best for surfing?

It is a decent beach for surfing as the currents are pretty strong and you can find many water sports centres from where you can rent equipment.

Accommodation

With a spectacular outdoor pool and just a few steps from the beach, Heritance Negombo is definitely the best place to stay when in Negombo.

The food, the rooms, the services, everything about this hotel is excellent.

The property offers 7 dining options, from seafood dinners on the lawn to casual dining at Mad Dog’s or even bakery treats at the Swiss Bakery.

Tangalle

One of the most Instagrammable Sri Lanka beaches, Tangalle is located on the southern part of the island.

The beach of Sri Lanka is surrounded by lush vegetation and beautiful palm trees on one side and dark blue waters on the other side.

 

Tangalle Beach Sri Lanka air view
Tangalle Beach Sri Lanka air view

 

The top part of the beach is powdery, light gold-coloured sand with a pretty steep incline near the waterline.

The beach is a little bit remote, as it is located outside the usual Sri Lanka routes, but exactly this is what makes it the best destination while in Sri Lanka.

Best time to visit

Plan your trip in this part of the island between November to April and May to October as the weather is great for perfecting your tan.

Best for surfing?

Well, to be honest with you, this beach is not that great for surfing; it is best for swimming and laying in the sun.

Accommodation

Sitting on a rocky outcrop on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort is one of the best resorts in the country.

The resort features 152 rooms and pool villas, an amazing spa, spectacular cliffside dining and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean.

The resort features 6 dining options, including a Sri Lankan inspired Teppanyaki beach restaurant and an Italian restaurant.

Wine tasting sessions are available at the resort, while the bars offer a wide range of cocktails and drinks suitable for every taste.

Book your nights at this magnificent resort and explore the island’s rainforests, ancient ruins and fishing ports.

Muhathuwaram

One of the most beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, Muhathuwaram beach is famous for its architectural sanctuaries and holy places, rich culture and multiple Anglo legacy attractions.

 

muhathuwaram beach Sri Lankan beaches
Muhathuwaram beach of Sri Lanka

 

Muhathuwaram lies on the eastern coast very close to the town of Batticaloa and is a great option for those of you looking to get in touch with the local vibe.

Best time to visit

December to March is the best period of the year to go to this beach in Sri Lanka, as the days are sunny and there is no rain.

Best for surfing?

The beach is not that great for surfing, but it is a really good place to go to perfect your tan and relax.

Accommodation

Valampuri Kite Resort is a great accommodation located in Kalpitiya which offers an outdoor swimming pool and an on-site kitesurfing school.

The rooms are clean and spacious, offering views of the lagoon or the gardens.

There is a spa at the location where you can book an ayurvedic massage for a fee after a long day at the beach.

The on-site restaurant offers a large variety of dishes from local and international cuisine and boat trips and lagoon tours can be arranged at the reception.

Bentota

One of the most famous beaches in Sri Lanka, Bentota is a popular destination within one hour drive from Colombo, the capital of the island.

It impressed its visitors with its breathtaking sceneries and bright white sand spread on a wide beach.

 

Indian Ocean Bentota Beach Sri Lankan Beaches
Indian Ocean Bentota Beach Sri Lankan Beaches

 

The water is light blue and it is so clear that you can even see the bottom of the sea.

The beach of Sri Lanka is surrounded by lush vegetation and palm trees and it is conveniently located close to colonial ruins and temples.

Best time to visit

Best time of the year to visit Bentota beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka is from November to April.

Best for surfing?

Bentota is a nice place for practising surf and other water sports as the waves and the currents are perfect for such activities.

Accommodation

The Habitat Kosgoda by Asia Leisure is definitely the best choice from the area because of its exceptional location, in one of the most picturesque shores of the southwest coast.

Its contemporary interiors and welcoming staff are the winning formulae for a memorable holiday.

For lounging on the poolside all day to fun activities for those of you anxious to see more of what this island has to offer, this is the ideal place to rediscover yourself.

Hikkaduwa

Another great beach of Sri Lanka, perfect for surfing is Hikkaduwa, located in the southwestern part of the island, very close to Galle and about 95 kilometres from Colombo.

The beach is typical for the Sri Lanka beaches: lush vegetation and palm trees on one side and beautiful blue waters with great waves on the other side.

 

Sri Lanka Hikkaduwa Beach
Sri Lanka Hikkaduwa Beach perfect for diving and snorkeling

 

Right behind the beach, there is a national park and in the waters from the area lies one of the only three marine national parks from Sri Lanka.

The waters are full in marine life, out of which turtles and colourful fish stand out as well as beautiful corals which are perfect for diving and snorkeling.

Best time to visit

November to April is the best time of year to plan a trip on this magnificent beach and in the nearby area.

Best for surfing?

The beach is actually perfect for surfing so surfers from all over the world come here and practice all day long in these waves.

Accommodation

Offering seafront accommodation, Villa Saffron Hikkaduwa is located just 1.4 miles from Hikkaduwa Coral Reef and provides an outdoor swimming pool, a terrace and a wonderful garden.

Some of the rooms are overlooking the sea, but all are clean, spacious and have a private bathroom.

A continental or Asian breakfast can be served at the property, while the restaurant from the hotel offers a wide range of international dishes.

For those of you interested in exploring the surroundings, the property offers for rent bikes.

Hiriketiya

Also known as Hiri Beach, Hiriketiya beach in Sri Lanka is a virgin beach, not yet famous among tourists and surfers so this is the right place to go if you want to feel the local vibe and get in touch with the local culture.

 

Sri Lanka Hiriketiya Beach
Sri Lanka Hiriketiya Beach

 

This is one of the most beautiful places of the island, where the ocean meets the sea, a beautiful area surrounded by palm trees, golden sands and cool cafes.

Best time to visit

Like for all the beaches located on the southern part of the island, the best time to visit this amazing place is from November to April.

Best for surfing?

This is a great place for surfing with amazing waves and perfect currents and a good place to make new friends.

Accommodation

The Boat House is a great place to spend your holiday as it is conveniently located close to the ocean and has a wonderful garden where you can run from the sun and relax while reading a book.

Mirissa town is located just 17 miles from the property while Koggala is 26 miles away.

Most of the rooms have a wonderful view of the ocean, but all of them are clean and very well maintained.

Koggala

A quiet and secluded beach in Sri Lanka, Koggala is a relatively unknown place located in the southern part of the island.

One of the most picturesque Sri Lanka beaches, Koggala is located between Unawatuna and Mirissa.

 

Sri Lanka Koggala Beach
Sri Lanka Koggala Beach

 

The place will fascinate you with its white sand and light blue waters and also a small number of tourists, which will make you want to stay for longer in this place.

Near the beach, there is a rainforest reserve which can be visited by boat for a small fee.

Best time to visit

December to April and July to September are the best periods of the year when you should visit this piece of heaven.

Best for surfing

Yes, you can practice surfing in this part of the island but this is not quite the best place for this sport.

Accommodation

One of the most beautiful boutique hotels from this part of the island, Kahanda Kanda is definitely a smart choice for those looking for a perfect place to relax in Sri Lanka.

This beach resort is located just 11 miles from Galle Fort and offers an infinity pool, a spa and a fitness centre.

Spacious roofs with wooden flooring and thatched roofs await the guest in a cosy atmosphere.

On-site- restaurant uses only fresh locally grown vegetables and fruits to prepare the local and Asian dishes.

Conclusion

I am sure that choosing the best Sri Lanka beaches for your holiday is a tough decision, so that is why I propose to you a tour of the country with two or three stops in different parts of the island where some of these beaches of Sri Lanka are found.

 

Koggala Beach of Sri Lanka
Koggala Beach of Sri Lanka

 

Pick the ones you like most and don’t forget to share with us your experience after you return from your holiday!

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