Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

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Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has lots of stunning beaches to retreat yourself. Surfers can catch and ride most of the waves at Arugam Bay beach, there’s Scuba diving for all you adventure fanatics at Hikkaduwa and people who love to party and dance could make themselves at home on the dancefloors of Unawatuna beach. Sandy beaches, stunning sceneries, splendid seafood and friendly people are assured at all of these beaches – and don’t forget to post a sunset photo on Instagram to make all your buddies jealous.

Here are the 12 most breathtaking Sri Lanka beaches you can find along Sri Lanka's dazzling coastline.

1. Unawatuna Beach

  • District: Galle
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 108 km
  • Best time to visit: November or April 
unawatuna beach

A lot of people have come to love this beach. Amongst Sri Lanka beaches, Unawatuna beach receives both local and international visitors through the year. In Unawatuna, you would find hotels, resorts, restaurants, and kiosks which sell a lot of beautiful things like clothing, seafood, etc.  This beach has an irresistible magnetism of sand, sun, sea and also it is a good place for relaxation. In this beach, you can comfortably indulge in water sport with your friends or family members. To watch the turtles in the sea or other beach fun activities, you can get to the southern expressway from Colombo. This beach was known all around the world until it got shrunken by erosion. Still, its popularity cannot be forgotten. 

2. Hikkaduwa Beach

  • District: Galle
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 98 km
  • Best time to visit: November to April 
hikkaduwa beach

The perfect place to catch fun, view the sun, sea, and sand or to go for sea-boat rides, sunbathing, snorkeling and scuba diving, is the Hikkaduwa beach, which is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. At the Hikkaduwa town, you can rent or buy any swim gear. From the beach to the city is just an arm’s length. The shops found in Hikkaduwa town have catered for tourist for many years. Here, you will find a lot of seafood restaurants which are affordable and has the tastiest of meals, and you will also see good clothing if you want to do some shopping. Visitors have always loved the beach for its uniqueness and beauty.  In the past, a trip to the Hikkaduwa beach would take several hours, but presently, you can get to the Hikkaduwa beach under one and a half hour on the southern expressway, when coming from Colombo or other coastal cities. 

3. Nilaveli Beach

  • District: Trincomalee
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 271 km
  • Best time to visit: May to September 
nilaveli beach

This beach is exactly like paradise with a beautiful allure. Less than twenty kilometers from the Trincomalee town, you will find the Nilaveli beach. Here, you can comfortably go scuba diving, snorkeling or simply relax on the shore, building sandcastles. You could even decide to take a boat ride to the Pigeon Island. Whatever fun activity you choose to engage in, out of all Sri Lanka beaches, Nilaveli beach is no doubt, one of the best places to have a splendid time. 

4. Arugam Bay Beach

  • District: Ampara
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 320 km
  • Best time to visit: April to October 
arugam bay beach

This Sri Lanka beach attracts surfers from different parts of the world. During surfing periods, most of the surfers relax comfortably at Arugam Bay. Depending on the condition of the ocean, at the Arugam Bay Point, the waves can rise from five to ten meters in height. For surfers with enough proficiency, the Arugam Bay point is a haven. You would find small hotels in the Arugam Bay. In a particular area of the beach, you will see a lot of fishing boats. 

5. Passekudah Bay and Kalkudah Beach

  • District: Batticaloa
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 282 km
  • Best time to visit: September 
passekudah beach

This Sri Lankan beach is situated on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Visiting the shores of passekudah is always a lovely experience.  The Passekudah beach is right to the north of Batticaloa, set closely on the side of the Kalkudah beach. Sea-bathing can be done perfectly on this beach. The flatbed of Passekudah Bay can be used for swimming as far as 200 meters from the shoreline.  The shores that separate Kalkudah and Passekudah are reef secured; hence the wave is calmer on the eastern coast. 

6. Mirissa Beach

  • District: Matara
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 150 km
  • Best time to visit: November through April 
mirissa beach

Mirissa is well-known for whale watching activities. Here, you can go for whale watching boats for a close encounter with blue whales, humpback whales, or even sperm whales that could be as long as 60 feet. 

7. Tangalle Beach

  • District: Hambantota
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 195 km
  • Best time to visit: November to April and May through October 
tangalle beach

You find this Sri Lankan beach on the southern coast. As one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, it is perfect for visual admirers. Tangalle Beach is one of the best places for relaxation in Sri Lanka. For sea bathing, head straight to the west of Tangalle town. On the other hand, if you want to sunbath, the east of Tangalle town is highly recommended; here you will have a feel of the sandy beach which is warm and irresistible. If you do not want to spend much time on your journey to Tangalle, go through the southern expressway to save yourself some time. 

8. Kalpitiya Beach

  • District: Puttalam
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 165 km
  • Best time to visit: February and March 
kalpitiya beach

This beach is indeed charming. Two words describe it; Whale, watching! Get there as early as seven o clock in the morning to get a pleasant view of the sea creatures, the dolphins, and whales. The best time of the year for sighting sperm whale and dolphin’s acrobatic pods is between the months of February and March. In the waters of Kalpitiya, you would find the humpback dolphin. Seeing this particular dolphin is rare. The fun on this beach promises to be so pleasurable that your journey of 160KM from Colombo would be certainly worth it. 

9. Bentota Beach

  • District: Galle
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 62 km
  • Best time to visit: November through April 
bentota beach

In this beach, you would experience a calmer ocean. Here, you can engage in snorkeling, scuba, water skiing windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, and canoeing. If you want to have a pleasurable time on the beach, choose the Bentota beach.  Finding a place to stay, whether you are just passing through or you are there to spend the holiday, is not difficult. However, in the peak season, this might not be the case.  You can easily access this part of the southern coast through the southern expressway. 

10. Negombo Beach

  • District: Gampaha
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 37 km 
negombo beach

Negombo is not too far from Katunayake international airport. The Negombo beach is about one hour’s drive from Colombo. It is a perfect beach for lovers of the sea. In Negombo, you can stroll along the shore, see garments being sold, experience music from live bands, visit restaurants, and engage in water sports, kite surfing, fishing, and snorkeling.  You can easily access this beach from E03 expressway when leaving from Colombo to the airport or in Sri Lanka after arrival. 

11. Uppuveli Beach

  • District: Trincomalee
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 270 km 
uppuveli beach

Located in East region of Sri Lanka this beach has a superb strip of sand which you can walk till you drop. 

12. Galle Face Green

  • District: Colombo
  • Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny
  • Distance from Colombo: 1 km 
galle face

The Galle Face Green is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. Here, you can engage in fishing, kite flying, volleyball, football, jogging, and playing various games with friend and family. It is situated close to the south of Fort Town and is a popular landmark in Colombo. A timeout at this beach is the best way to enjoy the sea, stars, and sun. 

Finally, do not hesitate to visit any of these beaches. They are indeed worth the time, effort and money. You definitely will relax and enjoy a pleasurable time.