Mirissa, Matara District (Getty Images)
1. Mirissa, Matara District
If you’re looking for the perfect beach destination in Sri Lanka, make sure to include Mirissa on your itinerary. This golden sand paradise offers a variety of experiences to suit your preferences. Relax in your hammock and enjoy a cold beer from one of the restaurants or indulge in a delicious barbecued lobster. Mirissa is also an ideal spot for whale-watching, as blue whales migrate along the coast in February and March.
2. Uppuveli, Trincomalee District
Uppuveli beach, Trincomalee (Getty Images)
Escape the tourist crowds and discover the wide sandy beaches of Uppuveli on Sri Lanka’s east coast. Here, you can witness the local fishermen setting sail in their colorful wooden boats as you relax under the swaying palm trees. Play volleyball on the white sands or unwind in one of the laid-back beach bars as the sun sets on this serene coastal gem.
3. Koggala, Galle District
Stilt fishermen at Koggala (Getty Images)
Along the enchanting south coast of Sri Lanka, you’ll encounter a fascinating sight—stilt fishermen. These skilled fishermen used to perch on tall poles to catch their fish, but now they mainly entertain tourists with photo opportunities. Koggala, with its boulder-strewn shoreline, is an excellent place to witness this cultural heritage while enjoying the beauty of the curving sandy beach.
4. Nilaveli, Trincomalee District
Nilaveli, Trincomalee District (Alamy)
For an unspoiled beach experience, head to the small beach resort of Nilaveli. The broad stretch of white sand and turquoise waters create a blissful atmosphere of tranquility. Here, you can explore Pigeon Island National Park, famous for its coral reef, turtles, and diverse marine life. Dive and snorkel among the fascinating underwater world and create unforgettable memories.
5. Hiriketiya, Matara District
Hiriketiya, Dikwella (Getty Images)
Surfers seeking a bohemian surf retreat will find paradise in Hiriketiya. This hidden gem on the south coast has become a haven for surfers, with boutique hotels, craft shops, yoga workshops, and charming cafés serving delicious flat whites and vegan burgers. The beautiful beach, nestled in a sheltered horseshoe bay, offers excellent swimming conditions, making it an all-around perfect spot.
6. Kosgada, Galle District
Young sea turtles in a breeding station near Kosgoda (Alamy)
Experience a heartwarming sight at Kosgada beach—the spectacle of thousands of newly hatched baby turtles racing towards the ocean. Kosgada is known for its turtle nesting sites, and you can visit a small conservation center and hatchery to witness the release of baby green sea turtles during the hatching season from November to May. It’s an unforgettable encounter with nature.
7. Kalpitiya, Puttalam District
An adult spinner dolphin leaping in the waters off the Kalpitiya Peninsula (Getty Images)
Kalpitiya offers a unique combination of water sports and beach relaxation on the west coast of Sri Lanka. Kite-surfing enthusiasts will find their paradise here, with outfitters ready to assist all skill levels. Visit between November and April to witness the joyful play of thousands of dolphins just off the shore. Enjoy the thrill of the waves or the mesmerizing sight of these incredible marine creatures.
8. Marakolliya, Hambantota District
Marakolliya, Hambantota District (Getty Images)
Escape to Marakolliya, a tropical beach paradise with coconut palms bowing over a long arc of pristine sand and turquoise waters. Compared to other beaches on the south coast, Marakolliya receives fewer visitors, making it a perfect secluded getaway. Embrace solitude as you explore the untouched beauty of this beach. Keep an eye out for turtle tracks as these magnificent creatures come ashore to nest at night.
9. Goyambokka, Hambantota District
Goyambokka beach, Hambantota (Alamy)
Discover the hidden treasure of Goyambokka, a moon-shaped beach fringed with palm trees and kissed by azure waves. One of Sri Lanka’s best-kept secrets, this tranquil beach offers pure relaxation with its secluded atmosphere. Enjoy a coconut water or beer from one of the quaint beach cafés without the crowds. Visit the nearby Amanwella hotel, one of the finest in Sri Lanka, for a remarkable dining experience.
10. Arugam Bay, Ampara District
Arugam Bay, Ampara District (Alamy)
Immerse yourself in the laid-back surf culture at Arugam Bay. Known for its world-class surf breaks, Arugam Bay attracts surfers from across the globe. Experience thrilling waves from April to September and join chilled-out beach parties when you’re not riding the waves. This vibrant resort is a popular destination for backpackers, offering a range of bars, restaurants, and affordable accommodations.
11. Talpe, Galle District
Talpe in Galle (Alamy)
Talpe is a hidden gem nestled between seclusion and accessibility on the south coast of Sri Lanka. The golden sands of Talpe are dotted with exclusive hotels and family-run guesthouses, surrounded by coconut palms and frangipani trees. Enjoy the serenity of this surf-thrashed beach and take a short tuk-tuk journey to explore the nearby Dutch colonial town of Galle and the aromatic spice plantations.
12. Bentota, Galle District
Bentota, Galle District (Alamy)
Bentota, a well-established resort on the west coast, is a favorite among families. The beach offers everything you need for a perfect holiday, from boutique hotels to restaurants serving fresh seafood and local curries. Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy boat safaris, windsurfing, and jet-skiing. Experience the beauty of the butter-colored sand bordered by native flora while creating cherished memories with your loved ones.
13. Passikuda, Batticaloa District
Kalkudah beach, Passikuda (Alamy)
Enjoy the best of both worlds at Passikuda, where you can experience two incredible beaches in one destination. Safe swimming conditions and calm shallow waters define the crescent-shaped beach, adorned with palm trees. Passikuda has seen thoughtful development, featuring low-rise hotels that blend harmoniously with the surroundings. For a quieter experience, take a stroll south to Kalkudah, a serene and less crowded stretch of sand.
14. Negombo beach, Negombo
Negombo beach (Alamy)
Conveniently located just a short 30-minute taxi ride from Colombo’s airport, Negombo beach is the perfect place to relax and adjust to Sri Lanka’s tropical beauty. Explore the wide expanse of sand lined with restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels. Engage in activities such as snorkeling, windsurfing, or boat trips around the lagoon. Don’t miss the breathtaking sunsets—arrive early and secure your spot for a beer or cocktail.
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