One amongst the many diverse landscapes that Sri Lanka is known for is its absolutely stunning coastline, boasting some of the finest beaches in all of South East Asia! So, if you are planning a holiday in Sri Lanka, make sure to include a few of these best beaches in Sri Lanka into your itinerary and be stunned!
- Arugam Bay
On the east coast, we have the quiet and off the beaten track beaches of Uppuveli and Nilaveli, slightly north of Trincomalee. For decades, this beautiful beach was in accessible due to the civil war in Sri Lanka, hence it now remains an unspoilt paradise for tourists wanting to be away from the crowdy west coast beaches. In addition to the white sands and turquoise blue waters, this beach also offers snorkeling on pigeon island national park, which is just a 10-minute boat trip from Nilaveli beach.
Passikudah and Kalkudah are also quiet, recently discovered tropical east coast beaches in Sri Lanka, just 30 minutes away from the popular town of Batticaloa. Because this location has two naturally forming bays nestled together, the waters are very calm and absolutely swim safe for up to 200 meters from the shore. Over the last few years, several luxury beach resorts have been introduced in Passikudah to encourage locals and tourists to explore and enjoy the east coast beaches. While the west coast is popular for gorgeous sunset views, don’t miss an early morning sunrise experience on the east coast.
Arugam Bay is another crescent-shaped bay that comes with a famous break point, making it a top surf destination in Sri Lanka. Depending on the swell, the tip of the bay waves goes up to ten meters in height. The tiny village of Arugam Bay offers a peaceful surfing vibe on its palm-fringed beach that is lined up with boutique shops, rentals for surfing equipment and local restaurants. March to October would be the best months to make the most of swimming and surfing on the east coast beaches.
Koggala on Sri Lanka’s south coast is an ideal location for a peaceful beach as well as some lake-oriented activities. With clear tropical waters and strikingly soft sands, Koggala beach also offers an opportunity to mingle with turtles and local stilt fishermen practicing their skills. A boat trip on Lake Koggala allows you to explore the cinnamon plantations, spice gardens and ancient Buddhist temples.
A short walk from Dickwella beach is the hidden gem of Hiriketiya. A stunning horseshoe shaped bay outlined with swaying palm trees and tempting turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean where swimming and surfing are a common activity. Local beach huts selling fresh juices, beer, and tasty Sri Lankan street food are popular among the tourists who spend their days indulging at the Hiriketiya beach.
Tangalle beach is another palm-fringed, white sandy beach hidden deep in the southern coast of Sri Lanka. In addition to several chic beach resorts, Tangalle is a wonderful location for soaking up the sun and dipping in the blue waters. You could visit the nearby Rekawa Turtle Hatchery and the Mulkirigala rock temples for a touch of adventure.
If you are looking for a lively beach and stunning sunsets, Mirissa beach is the perfect location on the south coast of Sri Lanka. Ideal for swimming and surfing, this crescent shaped bay boasts crystal waters, near-white sands, and some exotic beach resorts and Ayurvedic massage centers. Mirissa is also a popular beach destination for whale watching, sailing, and turtle observations. November to March is the preferred season for whale watching and for visiting any of the Sri Lanka beaches on the south coast.
Just over an hour from Colombo, on the south west coast is the beautiful beach of Bentota, a perfect choice for the adventurous beach lovers. The Bentota Lagoon offers a whole lot of water sports such as jet skiing, banana boat rides, deep sea diving, kayaking and paddle boarding. From Wadduwa to Galle, the entire stretch of the south west coast offers a series of exclusive, highly recommended luxury and boutique hotels, boasting an excellent range of Ayurvedic spas for relaxation and unwinding.
While Bentota is an hour south of Colombo, Negombo is an hour’s drive North of Colombo, featuring golden sandy beaches regularly visited by locals and foreigners. Because Negombo is just a 20-minute drive from the international airport, tourists often choose to stay here for the first night to unwind after a long flight journey, and to adjust to the weather and vibes in Sri Lanka before heading out to explore the rest of the country. Live music bars, beachfront restaurants, and gorgeous sunsets present a typical island life atmosphere on the beaches of Negombo.
A little further north of Negombo, along the west coast of Sri Lanka is Chilaw, which is also popular for its golden sands on one side and swaying coconut trees on the other. Be sure to stroll the beach around late evening because the sunset views from here are just unmatchable!
Looking for some lazy beach days? Head on over to Kalpitiya in the west coast of Sri Lanka for some peace and calm on the beach. November to April is the best season for west coast beach life, and Kalpitiya waters are home to some majestic whales and playful dolphins. Particularly in February and March, there have been sightings of sperm whales, spinner dolphins and the humpback dolphin as well! Kite surfing is also a popular activity along the Kalpitiya peninsula while you relax and unwind at top notch beach resorts along the coast.