Sri Lanka is commonly referred to by the locals as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”. Although it’s a tiny island, with a total coastline length of 1340km, Sri Lanka certainly doesn’t have a lack in the number of stunning beaches found on its shores. Jungle-clad fields, remarkable ancient ruins, beautiful rice and tea estates, traditional villages – these are just some of the other interesting attractions awaiting you on our splendid land.
Whether you are a couple looking for a romantic escape, a surfer or a solo traveler, or maybe even parents taking their kids on a nice family getaway – Sri Lanka has a beach for everyone. So check out these top 5 beaches in Sri Lanka to decide which one is right for you.
1. Mirissa Beach
Mirissa is one of the most attractive south beaches in Sri Lanka. It is located about 4km southeast of Weligama, near the Mathara road. It is also much less crowded compared to some other popular beaches. Mirissa is the best beach for solo travelers, as well as those who are looking for some quietness and peace. In addition, this small tropical beach boasts some of the country’s best and most stunning sunsets.
Moreover, Mirissa is also a nice place for people who are fond of beach activities. In fact, it’s a perfect holiday destination for surfing, scuba diving and deep sea fishing. Besides, Mirissa is famous for dolphin and whale watching as well. You can book a short boat tour right on the beach.
2. Unawatuna Beach
Unawatuna is the most popular south coastline beach in Srilanaka. Unawatuna is a suburb of Galle and is located about 5km southeast of the Galle city. If you are a family looking for a great beach to take your kids to, then here’s your perfect spot. You will love it for its calm waters and its small waves. Hence, this is not a good destination for surfing.
There are numerous things that you can do in Unawatuna. Besides swimming and soaking up on the sun, you can also do snorkeling, scuba diving, go on boat rides and so on. You can also purchase fun yellow coconut drinks from the local sellers roaming on the shore. Please note: there are no ATMs near the beach. So make sure to bring some cash with you.
3. Arugam Bay Beach
Arugam Bay (known locally as Arugam Kudah) can be found at the end of the south coast road in Ampara district. It’s also about 315km away from Colombo. It is quite a long journey, but it is well worth it.
Arugam Bay is a place for surfers. It’s listed as one of the top ten surfing spots in the world. In addition, Arugam Bay is located on the edge of the Yala National Park and it has the only rad access to it. In 2.2 km, there is also the Kumana National Park which offers one of the best safaris for birds watching in Sri Lanka. As you can see – it is a truly nice place to combine surfing with a fun wildlife tour.
The best time for surfing in Sri Lanka is from May until November, when the predominant winds are offshore, at least in the mornings. In the evening you can visit one of the numerous traditional Sri Lankan restaurants, to try some delicious rice and curry. “Elephant Road Resort“ plus “The Water Edge Resort” are some of the best nearby resorts, located about 0.3 and 0.4 miles away from the beach, respectively.
4. Negombo Beach
Negombo is located only 15km from Sri Lanka’s International Airport, or around 48km from Colombo. Because of it’s proximity to the airport – it is the ideal place to start or end your journey at. Negombo boasts a long and wide stretch of golden sandy coastline, lined with countless resorts, spas, seafood restaurants and bars. Negombo was once used by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British as the main export harbor for cinnamon, up until 1948. You can still find some fascinating historical sights around this area.
Water sports play a major role at this beach and it is possible to find training schools, shops and tours for almost everything – from surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving, to dolphin watching. The best time to visit this beach is from January until April. Christmas and Easter are also great times to stop by – there are huge celebrations held here around these holidays.
5. Nilaveli Beach
Nilaveli is known as one of the most picture-perfect beaches in Sri Lanka. In fact, it can surely surpass your wildest fantasies. The name Nilaveli can be literally translated as the “open land of the moon shine” in Tamil. In Sinhala, the word “Nila” means “blue” (its hidden meaning is also “gorgeous”) and “veli” which means “sand”. This name is a good description of this beach’s wonders in both languages.
The waters of Nilaveli are very calm, making it a perfect destination for snorkeling. Hence, it’s not the best location for active water sports, like surfing. In addition, you can also visit the Pigeon Island which is situated in the Indian Ocean, approximately 2km away from the shore. It’s a paradise for scuba divers. The ideal months to visit the Nilaveli beach are April and October.