Unawatuna is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Sri Lanka and is the most “famous” beach in the country. It is a lovely banana-shaped beach of golden sand and turquoise water, surrounded by green palm trees!
It was the first beach we visited in Sri Lanka. We chose not to stay at one of the fancy and expensive hotels along the beach of Unawatuna, but a few kilometers away at a guesthouse. We walked to the Unawatuna Beach on two separate day trips.
The beach is popular with tourists, and part of the beach is occupied with sunbeds for rent.
In the afternoons, Sri Lankan families come to the beach to enjoy some swimming in the sun.
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At the west end of the beach, there are some rocks and stairs that lead up to a small hill with a pagoda and a big Buddha statue. It’s a nice little walk with a beautiful view overlooking the beach.
Unfortunately, Unawatuna is not all paradise. The place was devastated by the tsunami in 2004, and the rebuilding was done in a hurry and many of the owners rebuilt their hotels and restaurants on the actual sand. The result is that half the beach is gone, and there is actually not that much sand left to play on. It´s a shame.
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Behind the beach, in between palm trees, is Unawatuna center. It is basically one street full of small nice restaurants and shops selling souvenirs, clothes, water, jewelry and so on.
Unawatuna Beach is really beautiful, with great swimming, but not our favorite beach in Sri Lanka. Too busy with sellers and too crowded with tourists for our liking. I also got a jellyfish sting on my leg while swimming, which really hurt! That might also have something to do with me not loving this beach that much.
We really loved Bentota, Mirissa Beach, and Tangalla Beach, and would probably rather go back there than visit Unawatuna again.
Where To Stay In Unawatuna
Unawatuna offers a wide selection of accommodation for all budgets, and you will have plenty of choices when it comes to finding the right place to stay. Below are some of our favorite accommodation options in the Unawatuna area.
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Sergeant House This small luxury boutique guesthouse is getting rave reviews right now. The hotel is in a colonial-style building with stylishly decorated rooms in a modern style. The pool and garden area is lovely and the chef serves up a delicious mix of Thai, Sri Lankan, and western specialties. It’s wonderfully secluded and quiet yet Unawatuna beach with all its restaurants is just a short walk away. The staff is friendly and helpsome. There is a Spa offering some fantastic Ayurvedic massage. Click here for latest prices
Gloria Grand Unawatuna Hotel This brand new hotel is close to Unawatuna beach, but still a bit away from the town’s busy main street. So you can get a good night’s sleep, and still be close to the beach. Click here to check the latest prices
Ocean Crest Hotel This is a brand new hotel. The swimming pool looks amazing and its located right by the sea. Click here to check the latest prices
Kingfisher Hotel If you want to stay in Unawatuna Beach/ center, this seems like a very good deal with excellent service and location. It does not have a swimming pool, but the sea is right outside your hotel room. Each room has a balcony with an awesome view of the ocean. Click here to see the latest prices
Thaproban Beach House You can’t get closer to Unawatuna beach than this hotel located just steps from the shore. Rooms are large, clean, and comfortable with private bathrooms, air-con, minibar, and a flat-screen TV. You can enjoy fresh seafood served in the beachfront restaurant every evening. The staff is great and serves a tasty breakfast. Click here for latest prices
Damith Guest House We stayed here for one week and liked it a lot. It is one of few budget hotels in the Unawatuna/ Galle area with a swimming pool. The hotel is relatively new, and the owner Damith is a great guy that can fix and book everything for you. He has worked in the tourist industry in Unawatuna for a long time, so he knows everything there is to see and do in Sri Lanka.
Make sure to try the Sri Lankan curry and rice – it is delicious! The hotel is located on the hillside a fair bit away from the rather overly touristy Unawatuna Beach. We walked to the beach a couple of times, and it took about 30 minutes. With a tuk-tuk or taxi, both Unawatuna beach and Galle are about 10 minutes away. There is free wifi in the restaurant/ by the pool. Click here to check the latest prices
Can you picture yourself on the Unawatuna Beach? Please share your opinion in the comment area below! If you like this blog post and find it useful, please share and like it on social media! Thank you so much! 🙂