THE 10 BEST Beaches in Sri Lanka

THE 10 BEST Beaches in Sri Lanka

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Are you ready to embark on a journey that unearths the hidden wonders of a tropical paradise? Read our guide to the best beaches in Sri Lanka, narrow down the choice, and find your ideal match for your holiday.

Nestled in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a captivating island nation, rapidly gaining international popularity as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. It offers diverse experiences for travelers, from the west coast to the east coast, with endless miles of white sandy beaches that surround this tiny island nation, lush landscapes, ancient temples, and rich cultural heritage. Sri Lankans are well known for their warmth and hospitality, making visitors feel welcome from the moment they arrive.

With almost 1,000 miles of coastline, Sri Lanka is a paradise for those seeking sand, sun, and water activities. From snorkeling and diving to surfing, the beaches of Sri Lanka offer plenty of opportunities for relaxation and adventure. West and south coast beaches are best visited from October to April, and east coast beaches are best visited from March to September.

Somewhat unusual for an island of its size, Sri Lanka is split by two monsoon seasons. You can find sunshine and dry weather on some parts of the island any time of year, but if you are planning a trip around days at the beach, the best time to visit Sri Lanka is from mid-November to April.

Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your trip to the beach:

  • The beach can get crowded during the high season, so it’s best to book your accommodation in advance.
  • Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Pack your swimsuit, snorkel, and mask if you want to explore the underwater world.
  • Be sure to bargain when shopping at the local markets.
  • There are many affordable restaurants and cafes along the beach, so you won’t have to worry about finding good food.

Here is our list of the best beaches in Sri Lanka to visit:

1. Uppuveli & Nilaveli Beaches

If you are looking for unspoiled, calm, and perfectly relaxing beach day in Sri Lanka, you need to go the Upper Eastern Coast. At a distance of 5 km from Trincomalee, Uppuveli Beach is a serene beach situated in Uppuveli, Trincomalee. Along the coast of the Indian Ocean, it is one of the most popular beaches in Sri Lanka. Uppuveli is a long, sandy beach with clear, emerald waters. Uppuveli Beach is lined with lots of restaurants and bars, and this makes it the perfect place to head to for the day and enjoy a meal and drink by the ocean.

Uppuveli, identified by the endless stretch of soft white sand lining the unspoilt coastline; and Nilaveli Beach, a wide, sandy beach lined with palm trees and sprinkled with fishermen’s boats. Compared to the beach at Uppuveli, considered off the beaten path, Nilaveli is quite popular with locals and tourists alike. Steeped with history dating back to the Second World War, Nilaveli’s warm, clear sea is a haven for marine life.
 
Activities: whale-watching, diving, moonlit walks, and visiting Pigeon Island National Park for snorkeling and scuba-diving.

Nilaveli Beach
Image credit goes to its respective owners

2. Passekudah & Kalkudah Beaches

If it’s natural beauty that you look for in your beaches, then Kalkudah beach is for you. It has dazzling, never ending soft sands. The beach was wide and went on and on as far as we could see. But not only was it beautiful, there was also hardly anybody there! In total contrast to Kalkudah beach is Passekudah beach. Again, it’s another glorious stretch of sand. A picture perfect horseshoe bay with sparkling, shallow waters. But it’s perfect appearance and safe swimming appeal are why the government has chosen it for mass development.

Both bays are nestled together and are the backdrop to calm waters. Unlike other beaches in Sri Lanka, the surf here is gentle due to the natural reef, which provides shallow waters and a hundred yard walk into the ocean bed. White, soft sand becomes the foundation for a beach lined with coconut trees. While Passekudah is a more popular destination for tourists and locals, Kalkudah is considered a quieter, private beach.
 
Activities: Enjoy swimming and light activities. Watch the deep-sea fishermen return just before sunrise with their catch. During September it is also ideal for surfing and windsurfing.

Passekudah Beach
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3. Arugam Bay Beach

Arugam Bay is a popular surfing location and is also the only international surf competition venue in Sri Lanka. It is also rated as one of the top ten surf destinations in the world. It has also hosted most of the international surfing competitions in Sri Lanka since 2004. Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka is known as a surfers paradise and one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka

At the southern end of the East Coast, Arugam Bay awaits! Lovely Arugam Bay, a moon-shaped curl of soft sand that many regard as the best surf spot in the country. A popular destination for its dramatic, beautiful, palm-fringed beach and bright white sands, this laid-back beach, along with its offbeat charm, is its biggest appeal for a wide-range of holidaygoers.
 
Activities: Surf the best waves in Sri Lanka at this international surf destination, go dolphin-watching, visit ancient temples, and visit Kumana National Bird Park.

Arugam Bay Beach
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4. Tangalle Beach

“Escape to paradise with breathtaking beach views from Tangalle View Point in Sri Lanka! Immerse yourself in the serenity of the azure waters and golden sands, where every moment feels like a postcard-perfect memory waiting to be captured. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Tangalle’s panoramic vista offers an idyllic setting for unforgettable moments. Come and experience the beauty of Sri Lanka’s coastal charm at Tangalle View Point.

A splendid stretch of off-white sands kissed by azure waters and coconut palms, Tangalle is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. Tangalle’s light gold-colored sand beaches, dotted with rocky coves set against the contrast of the dark blue waters of the ocean and the deep green forest that lines the beach, make it a truly surreal holiday destination.

Activities: relaxing, soaking up the sun, light swimming, turtle-watching at Rekawa, and trekking to the Mulkirigala rock temples.

Tangalle Beach
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5. Mirissa Beach

Mirissa Beach is the largest fishing village on the south coast, located on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, and is the most popular beach on the island, with its own natural jetty. The fine sands of the arrow-shaped Mirissa Beach are set to the backdrop of a dense growth of palm trees, crystal clear waters, and incredible waves. Add to this, the true appeal of Mirissa is its popularity as the whale-watching hotspot of Sri Lanka.
 
Activities: swimming, advanced surfing, whale-watching, fishing, sunbathing, snorkeling, and visiting Parrot Rock.

Mirissa Beach
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6. Bentota Beach

Situated on the southwestern coast of the island, Bentota is a haven for those seeking a relaxing beach getaway. Bentota, well known for its stunningly beautiful beach, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sri Lanka. The soft golden sand and clear blue waters make it an ideal spot for sunbathing and swimming. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and other lush vegetation, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere amidst beautiful scenery.

Moreover, a wide range of water sports activities are available at Bentota Beach. Bentota is a popular resort town, abundant in natural beauty. The relatively quiet beach is ideal for both adventure seekers and holiday-goers in search of a soft, white sand beach to laze and relax on.

Activities: Sailing, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, water sports at Bentota Lagoon, such as kayaking and paddle boarding and sight-seeing at nearby

Bentota Beach
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7. Hikkaduwa Beach

Head down to Sri Lanka’s most tourist-oriented beach destination, Hikkaduwa. The water here is bright aqua in color, and the sand is fine and white. Hikkaduwa becomes the ideal setting to spend an entire day just relaxing, eating fresh seafood, and sipping cocktails beneath swaying palm trees.
 
Activities: surfing, snorkeling, trying local cuisine, bars and restaurants, enjoying the nightlife from dusk till dawn, visiting the marine park that features coral reefs, tropical fish, hawksbills, green turtles, and blacktip reef sharks.

Hikkaduwa Beach
Image credit goes to its respective owners

8. Negombo Beach

Negombo Beach is dotted with an array of restaurants, bars, cafes, and handicraft outlets, created to cater to incoming tourists. This relatively wide and flat beach offers a variety of experiences for all types of travelers, but it is less of a gentle beach and is not recommended for swimming.
 
The city of Negombo is located just outside the Bandaranaike International Airport and is a great stop after a long-haul flight, particularly for its nightlife and Dutch architecture.
 
Activities: water sports and adrenaline sports, enjoy live music and live events after sunset, visit the gem mines.

Hikkaduwa Beach
Image credit goes to its respective owners

9. Kalpitiya Beach

Have you ever heard of Kalpitiya? This small town on the western coast of Sri Lanka might not be as well-known as some of the country’s other tourist destinations, but it’s definitely worth a visit. From beautiful beaches to exciting water sports, Kalpitiya has something for everyone.

Kalpitiya, on the west coast, is an excellent choice if you’d like some water sports with your beach holiday. The sport in question is kitesurfing, and there are plenty of outfitters ready to help you launch across the waves, whatever your experience level. The winds are strongest from May to September. Between November and April, come to see a different life form enjoying the water: boat trips head out into the ocean to track thousands of dolphins frolicking off shore.

Kalpitiya lagoon is known as one of the best spots in the world to learn kitesurfing. Apart from Kalpitiya lagoon, there are many kite spots you will enjoy around Kalpitiya.

Activities: DOLPHIN & WHALE WATCHING, DIVING , DUTCH FORT AND DUTCH CHURCH,  WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK SAFARI

Kalpitiya Beach
Image credit goes to its respective owners

10. Unawatuna & Kosgada Beaches

Unawatuna Beach is a a secret treasure, hidden on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, with beautiful golden sand and clear blue water that looks like a jewel. The tall palm trees along the coast make it even more magical and many tourists from all over the world come here because it’s like a tropical paradise. Let’s go on a journey to Unawatuna Beach and discover its amazing beauty, fun water activities, colorful sea creatures, and many more.

The sight of thousands of newly hatched baby turtles frantically dashing to the ocean is one you’re unlikely to forget. There are many beaches in Sri Lanka where turtles nest, but Kosgada on the west coast is the one to head to for a more organised experience. There’s a small conservation centre and hatchery here, and you can witness the release of baby green sea turtles during hatching season from November to May.

Activities: Exciting Water Activities, Discovering Marine Life, Tasting Delicious Food

Unawatuna Beach
Image credit goes to its respective owners: Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

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