Travel Guide to the Best Beaches in Sri Lanka
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The beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka possesses the most beautiful tropical white sand beaches. The country is surrounded by all sides by the Indian Ocean and is truly gifted by clear turquoise waters. Over the years, Sri Lanka’s beaches are being rediscovered by travelers for its idyllic scenery, amazing sunsets, beautiful palm trees, and wold-class waves for surfing.
With thousands of miles of coastline, Sri Lanka is blessed with hundreds of world-class beaches. And there are a variety of activities on these beaches for everyone.
Here is a list of the top 10 beaches in Sri Lanka and how to get there:
Mirissa Beach is located at the southernmost province of Sri Lanka that overlooks the Indian Ocean. This beach is ideal for surfers as the waves can be quite large and there are great snorkeling opportunities offered to visitors. The town of Merissa also has a great nightlife scene and world-class hotels. But the main attraction in Mirissa Beach is the whale watching.
How to get there: From Colombo, you can take the train heading directly to Mirissa for 3.5 hours or ride a bus to Matara and get off at Mirissa for 5 hours.
Where to Stay: Beach Resorts in Mirissa Beach
Bentota Beach is one of the quieter beaches on this list with calmer waters and surroundings. The beach is located in the Gale district just 90 minutes south of Colombo. The long stretch of 8 km of white sands with the beautiful blue waters makes for a peaceful destination for those who want to go on a relaxing seaside holiday.
How to get there: Riding via bus from Colombo to Bentota will take 2 hours at most. Alternatively, you can hire a private car to take you Bentota from Colombo for half the time.
Where to Stay: Resorts in Bentota Beach
Unawatuna Beach is the ideal beach destination for families with children and couples looking to have a relaxed, low-energy vacation. The crescent-shaped beach can be traveled from end to end in just under 15 minutes. The waters are also very safe for children without harsh waves or underwater hazards like rocks and sea urchins. The small coast is also lined with small souvenir shops and great eateries.
How to get there: Located in the Galle District, transportation to Unatuwa beach is similar to that of Bentota’s. From Colombo, you can reach Unawatuna Beach via bus or car ride.
Where to Stay: Beach Resorts near Unawatuna Beach
Hikkaduwa Beach is an ideal location for recreational beach activities as well as for relaxation. It’s a great place for swimming and catching the waves for beginner surfers. There are also a huge number of beach chairs that you can rent to stay on the sand and under the sun. Not to mention the sunsets are beautiful on this beach and there’s also a small turtle hatchery you can visit.
How to get there: From Colombo, you can take the train heading directly to Hikkaduwa Station. You can also reach Hikkaduwa Beach via bus or car.
Where to Stay: Hotels and Resorts near Hikkaduwa Beach
Another beach located in the Galle District, Weligama Beach is a much more peaceful destination where visitors can unwind and beginner surfers can practice their surfing on the blue waters.
Weligama beach is also famous for the stick fishermen that are often photographed fishing, however, nowadays the stick fishermen are mostly actors looking for tips from tourists for photographs. On the coast of Weligama Beach, you can also see Taprobane Island with a villa built on top by an exiled Frenchman.
How to get there: You can reach Weligama Beach from Colombo via train or bus.
Where to Stay: Weligama Beach Hotels and Resorts
Located in the Southeast District of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay is the ultimate surfer’s destination as it’s easily considered as the best surfing spot for Sri Lanka because of its swelling waves during the high season. There is a yearly surfing competition in Arugam Bay that always guarantees a boost in the number of tourists. During the offseason though, non-surfers are treated with a more laidback and peaceful experience at the beach.
How to get there: There are many buses with different routes that can take you to Arugam Bay from Colombo. This can take about 6-16 hours depending on the route and number of stopovers.
Where to Stay: Beach Resorts near Arugam Bay
Located at the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka, Dickwella Beach is known for its calm waters and popular seaside market. The beach is less developed compared to the other entries on this list but there are several resorts in the town. Plus, its tranquil atmosphere and the presence of the long beach and ocean make for a great romantic destination with your significant other.
How to get there: You can catch a plane from Colombo heading to Dickwella airport then grab a taxi to the town. You can also reach Dickwella from Colombo via bus.
Where to stay: Best resorts in Dickwella Beach
Wijaya Beach is a pristine stretch of coastline that is still relatively unknown to most backpackers. It’s located just south of Unawatuna beach. The palm trees that line the coastline is the perfect place to relax while watching the sunset. You can also snorkel at the coral reefs just off the coasts with the local sea turtles.
How to get there: You can reach Wijaya via bus or train.
Where to stay: Wijaya Beach Resorts
Tangalle Beach is probably the most picturesque beach in Sri Lanka that you’ll ever visit. The beach has minimal tourists visiting so it’s pristine beaches and beautiful turquoise waters remain largely unspoiled. What’s more, there are several local attractions in this little piece of paradise including the nearby shrines and temples.
How to get there: You can reach Tangalle via train from anywhere in the country with a train station or via bus from Colombo or Matara.
Where to Stay: Resorts near Tangalle Beach
Koggala Beach is located in the Southern Province near Mirissa Beach and Unawatuna Beach. It’s still mostly a hidden gem with little tourists visiting. The stretch of beach is one of Sri Lanka’s longest where visitors can sit back and relax to enjoy the tranquil experience. There’s also a nearby turtle hatchery, lake, and museum for visitors to enjoy.
How to get there: It’s an easy 15-minute drive from Galle to Koggala Beah via car or taxi.
Where to stay: Beach Resorts near Koggala Beach