When we were planning our trip to Sri Lanka we wanted to feature some down time on the beach. Somewhere small and relaxed with good food and nice places to stay. But we had no idea about the beaches in Sri Lanka and there are a lot to choose from. In the end we were really happy with the beach we ended up at (Dikwella) but what we needed was a guide to the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
So I enlisted the help of some other bloggers to come up with a list of the best beaches in Sri Lanka to help you choose where to stay during your trip.
Here is a map of where the best Sri Lankan beaches are located. Read on for more information about each one including activities and accommodation options.
Goyambokka Beach - Tangalle
from Zinara of Nat n Zin
Goyambokka beach in Tangalle is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. There are many cafes and hotels nearby but, it gets very quiet during the off-season (May-November). We were there in September last year. Only a limited number of cafes are open during the off-season and the sea is quite choppy but the beach is still beautiful. During the season which runs from December-April, it's perfect to swim and have a quick dip.
We stayed at Palm Paradise Cabanas and Villas, a gorgeous eco-friendly cabana style accommodation by the beach. The hotel has their on-site restaurant and offers both Sri Lankan and Western meals. Even during the season, Tangalle is relatively quiet compared to other popular beaches such as Unawatuna, Mirissa and Hikkaduwa. If you need a little off-beach time, Yala, Bundala and Udawalawe national parks are only a few hours away from Tangalle.
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by Anjali of Travel Melodies
Sri Lanka is way much more beyond beaches but mostly when we think of Sri Lanka, we think of beaches. The Pearl of Indian Ocean has some of the most beautiful beaches that promise to take your breath away. No matter what type of beach bum you are, you’ll find your little paradise here. Just about 5 km from the lovely colonial town of Galle and 140 km from Colombo along the southern belt of Sri Lanka settles this lively town of Unawatuna. Ever increasing commercialization and the ever-growing number of tourists have taken away the rustic charm of the town; it still holds the coastal charm despite all the hustle and bustle.
Unawatuna Beach is a busy crescent bay beach edged by the delightful groves of coconut palm trees, protected by twin reefs and supported by impressive rocky outgrowth. It is known for its year-round calm waters. With beachside bistros and restaurants serving up tempting seafood, thumping discos promising a fun for nightlife lovers, enough action (diving, snorkeling and surfing) for water sports lovers and inescapable charisma of sun, sea, sand and relaxation n, you are sure to fall in love with Unawatuna beach. If you are lucky enough, you may see turtles lay eggs along the shore.
Hotels are quite costly in Unawatuna during peak season. We stayed at Thaproban Pavilion Resort which is good value for money.
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By Yulia of The Foodie Miles
If you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka, I bet Unawatuna beach is on your must-see list. Being one of the most popular tourist destinations has its advantages and disadvantages. Unawatuna with its many cafes, restaurants, and guest houses is pretty crowded. If you want to escape for one day to a smaller, more secluded place, Jungle Beach (a short drive from Una) is a great option.
Seven years ago, when I first came to Jungle Beach it was a true paradise with no people whatsoever. Today a steady stream of locals and tourists comes here. Even so, Jungle beach is still beautiful with transparent blue water and soft yellow sand. Located in a bay, this beach is a good option for families with small kids since there are almost no waves.
From Unawatuna you can take a tuk-tuk to Jungle Beach. After it drops you, you’ll have to walk through the jungle (hence the name) for about 5-10 minutes. The road is very clear and it’s impossible to lose your way. You’ll still have to find accommodation in Unawatuna for the night. Thaproban Beach House is my go-to option.
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by Claudia of My Adventures Across the World
Nilwella, between the bigger and more known Tangalle and Dikwella, is home to some of the nicest beaches in Sri Lanka. This quiet fishermen village is the ideal place to relax away from the crowds for a few days. The most popular beach in the area is Blue Beach, a long sandy beach with the softest white sand and a gorgeous backdrop of thick palm trees. As it is less frequented than other beaches in the country, it is actually very clean. It's a wonderful spot for surfing too, as it gets really good waves.
There is a small kiosk, some abandoned buildings right on the beach - presumably hit by the tsunami of 2004, and a couple of places from where it is possible to rent umbrellas and even surf boards. The nearby Blue Beach Island is a tiny stretch of land that links to a small island from which there are beautiful views of the sea. As the island creates a bay, it is quite protected and there are no waves here. The water is clear and clean, and there are virtually no tourists.
For accommodation options in Nilwella check out Airbnb.
We stayed five minutes walk from this stunning beach on the south coast of Sri Lanka. The beach is mainly empty at the end furtherest from town and has some trees for shade. The water is calm and not suitable for surfing which makes it a relaxing place to swim.
A stroll down the beach at sunset is really peaceful and if you're lucky you'll spot some local cricket matches and kids chasing the waves. Make sure to stop in at Verse cafe for great coffee and food in chilled surroundings. They are also a hostel if you're looking for a place to stay near Dikwella.
Just a ten minute walk from Dikwella beach is the tiny but popular Hiriketeya beach. A small bay lined with a few restaurants and surf schools. It's not a deserted beach but has a very chilled vibe with some great food and coffee available. It's also a popular spot for surfing.
We found the combination of ammenities here and the stunningly peaceful beach at Dikwella the perfect combination and stayed right in between the two. But we liked the look of Dot's Bay House which had a great cafe and yoga classes.
by Craig of No Real Plan
Hikkaduwa is a cool little beach town, with lots of restaurants, cafes and bars, and of course great beaches! The best time to visit is January-March for scuba diving and surfing. I stayed at a budget bed and breakfast called Hotel Finlanka, which had very comfortable beds, in a good location and the breakfast each morning was massive and delicious!
There are multiple beaches in Hikkaduwa and the surrounding areas. I’d recommend not going to the ones near the big hotels, as they have more tourists and feels a bit over developed. There is a cool bar/restaurant called Top Secret, and this goes onto a quieter part of the beach, which is also a great place to learn to surf. If you do head out on a scooter, you can have paradise beaches all to yourself and it is also worth stopping by the tsunami memorial museum which is around 3.5km outside Hikkaduwa. I learned to surf with Reef End, and they were very helpful and accommodating. Just be aware sometimes the currents in SriLanka can get very strong, so always listen to instructions.
Hikkaduwa is definitely worth visiting. I spent a few days there, relaxing on beaches, exploring the surroundings on a scooter, morning yoga, learning to surf and drinking at bars. It really has a bit of everything!
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by Madhurima of The Orange Wayfarer
The quintessential best beach of South Sri Lanka, Mirissa retains a fantastic charm, away from the touristy footfall and show cases pristine water with clear white sand. The ocean line is long, dotted with shacks serving up tasty snacks for you, mostly the fresh catch of the day. The beach has really clean water. The waves and small, not rough, making it a perfect gateway for families with small children. I found a lot of locals visiting the beach with their families. Green turtles often come on the beach to lay the eggs. It becomes sheer romantic at the nights advents, with well-lit romantic bars by the side.
Whale watching is an activity that draws a lot of tourists to Sri Lanka. The whales of Indian Ocean sure gets overwhelmed with the experience of plenty of humans closing in. The boats often start from one pier of the beach. You may want to stay clear of the activity in order to remain a responsible citizen. The coast line has fewer undercurrents and hence is not the perfect place for surfing.
We highly recommend the hotel named Sunshine Beach Inn while you are travelling to Mirissa beach. Drinks are reasonably prices, I loved the restaurant as well. It is pocket friendly too.
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by Shelley and Darren of Finding Beyond
In our opinion, if you're looking for the best beaches in Sri Lanka head to the East coast and leave the busy South and West beaches behind. Due to the devastating 2004 tsunami and then even more recent civil war, the East coast of Sri Lanka was off the tourist radar for many years. This has caused slower development (or sometimes redevelopment) in the area and fewer tourists. One of the best examples of this is Kalkudah Beach, an almost untouched stretch of soft sand that runs as far as the eye can see. With only two small resorts directly on the beach, we almost had Kalkudah to ourselves, apart from a heard of cattle that regularly patrol the sands!
The best time of year to visit is between April and September. The rest of the year the north-eastern monsoon strikes. The great thing about Kalkudah Beach is that just around the headland is another beautiful beach called Passikudah. Due to its perfect horseshoe shape and calm waters, Passikudah has seen a lot of resorts and hotels rise from the sands but it's still a lovely beach to visit.
We stayed at Nandawanam Guest House (10-minute walk to the beach) and can definitely recommend it for it's basic but large clean rooms and really good restaurant food. It's located just off the main Kalkudah-Valaichchenai road, the best area to look for accommodation if your budget doesn't stretch to the more expensive beachside resorts.
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Arugum Bay is an up and coming picturesque beach location on Sri Lanka's east coast. It is known for being one of the best surf spots in the country and having some great weather year-round. For everything you need to know check out this awesome guide to Arugum Bay from Finding Beyond.
So there you have it! So many amazing choices for beach chilling in Sri Lanka. No matter where you choose you're guaranteed some palm trees, soft sand and epic sunsets. What more could you want?! When you're done with beach time make sure you check out some of the other amazing places to visit in Sri Lanka.