The Beaches in Sri Lanka
If you are looking for stunning white sandy beaches, colorful coral islands and clear blue seas with sunshine all year round, Sri Lanka certainly should be on top of your list.
You can choose from wide golden beaches to small uncrowded ones, from laid-back, secluded ones to a famous party beach. On this island encircled by 1,340 km of white beaches, you’ll find your ‘dream beach’. Guaranteed!
Picture perfect – this is the only way to describe the endless beaches of Sri Lanka.
Fine white sand, turquoise blue water, offshore coral reefs and many things to see and to do just nearby. The choice can be difficult considering the large selection, but there is something for every holiday type. Pristine sandy beaches await honeymooners and those seeking tranquillity. If you like to party, you should choose a beach with many bars and active nightlife.
For all those who want to do more than just swimming in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is the place for outstanding water-sport activities. From snorkelling to scuba diving, surfing to stand-up paddling, kite-surfing to jet skiing, the choice is yours!
The Best Beaches in Sri Lanka
South and East Coast
West & South Coast BeachesWhile the cities of Sri Lanka’s South Coast are blessed with rich cultural treasures, you can find breathtaking beaches just outside the city limits. A 20 minutes drive from the Colombo city centre brings you to the first picture-perfect beach in the suburb of Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia. The fine sandy beach stretches over many kilometres and is lined with coconut trees. The light surf of the ocean ensures a real Caribbean feeling. Many sections of the beach are completely untouched, while others offer a well-developed infrastructure with hotels, bars and restaurants right by the sea. A little further south, Beruwala is ideal for Ayurveda treatments with beach access. Follow the coastal road past Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Koggala Beach, to Weligama, famous for its fishermen who traditionally do their work on stilts in the surf. ‘Deep South‘, close to the Yala National Park, lays charming Tangalle Beach, an endlessly long bay peppered with lovely beach hotels.
KalpitiyaKalpitiya is known for its uncrowded beaches and a marine sanctuary with a diversity of habitats ranging from bar reefs, flat coastal plains, saltpans, mangroves swamps, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches. The sanctuary includes 14 small islands and has a total area of 16.73 km2. Dolphin watching off the Kalpitiya Coast is one of the main attractions as well as diving for coral reefs and colourful schools of fish. Due to the off-shore winds, Kalpitya is one of the main kite-surfing spots in Sri Lanka. Distance from/to Sri Lanka’s international airport is 90 km.
NegomboNegombo Beach was Sri Lanka’s first ‘official‘ beach resort and is the perfect city at the start or the end of your holiday in Sri Lanka. Used by the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial powers as the main export harbour for cinnamon you still can see many of the historical buildings. We recommended exploring historical Negombo by travelling on the Dutch Canal which connects the Negombo lagoon and the ocean. Another not-to-miss attraction is the Negombo fish market, the 2nd largest in the country. Enjoy watching old world fishing crafts like outrigger canoes and sailing catamarans bringing in a variety of fishes like seers, skipjacks, pomfrets and amber-jacks. In the lagoon lobsters and prawns are caught and served at the many seafood restaurants. Main water sport activities include scuba diving, water-skiing, SUP (stand-up-paddling) and kite surfing. Distance from/to Sri Lanka’s international airport is 15 km.
Wadduwa BeachWadduwa is a hidden gem on Sri Lanka’s Southwest coast, a laid back paradise conveniently located just south of Colombo. Hidden between lush coconut plantations and facing an un-crowded beach, Wadduwa is the perfect tropical hideaway for couples, families and solo travellers alike. Safe swimming conditions combined with fun water sport and exciting excursions are the ideal background for a beach-orientated holiday in Sri Lanka. Distance from/to Sri Lanka’s international airport is 70 km.
BeruwelaBeruwela’s long beaches are good for swimming and there is always a breeze, making even a mid-day stroll very pleasant. The centre of Beruwela is a busy commercial town, but it has maintained its small fishing village charm and early in the morning you can watch the fresh catch brought in by the colourful fishing boats. Nearby is also a turtle hatchery where baby sea turtles are looked after until released into the ocean. There are five varieties of Sea Turtles found in Sri Lanka, the Olive Ridley Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and Leatherhead Turtle. Around sunset time you often can see adult sea turtles floating in the surf. Distance from/to Sri Lanka’s international airport is 90 km.
BentotaThe Bentota Beach on Sri Lanka’s South-West Coast is the ideal family beach holiday destination with a teeming growth of hotels, shopping arcades, pubs and an open-air theatre that shows folk and mask dancing. ‘Paradise Island’, the northern part of the is facing the Bentota Lagoon from where you can embark on nature river safaris. Another recommendable excursion is to visit Lunuganga, the estate and gardens of famous architect Geoffrey Bawa. Distance from/to Sri Lanka’s international airport is 97 km.
TangalleFeaturing a stunning coastline, Tangalle is dotted along the coves and beaches which line the oceanfront. Laid-back and low-key, it’s the ideal destination for holidaymakers looking for a quiet barefoot holiday without the non-stop parties that are a trademark of the beaches further west along the coast. Tangalle’s beaches stretch for several kilometres either side of the sleepy town, long, straight stretches of golden sand lined with a string of small boutique hotels and guesthouses. Distance from/to Sri Lanka’s international airport is 239 km.
East Coast BeachesIf your holiday falls between May and September, the beaches of the East and North-East coast offer you perfect conditions for swimming and diving. Best known is the Nilaveli Beach, just outside Trincomalee, where you can enjoy tropical luxury, a warm ocean, and great snorkelling trips to coral reefs and the Marine National Park. Arugam Bay, on the other hand, is one of the Top 10 Surf Spots in the world. Its two bays are perfect for new surfers as well as for advanced and professionals. Arugam village radiates a very idyllic atmosphere with candlelit restaurants along the cosy main street and on the beach. A recommended excursion from Arugam to the Kudumbigala Rock Monastery offers incredible views over the coast and the jungle inland.
TrincomaleeTrincomalee is a port city built on a peninsula, which divides the inner and outer harbours. Historically referred to as Gokanna or Gokarna it has been a seaport that has played a major role in maritime and international trading history of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee is a natural deep-water harbour, which is rated as one of the finest of its kind in the world. It attracted great seafarers like Marco Polo, Ptolemy and traders from China and East Asia since ancient times. The long and wide beaches here are perfect for surfing, scuba diving and fishing and whale watching. This sea town is also home to the Thirukonesvaram Kovil, which is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. Distance from/to Sri Lanka’s international airport is 285 km.
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