Top 25+ Sri Lanka Beaches

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Having recently moved on from decades of uncertainty the country has slowly begun to be discovered and appreciated by the outside world. It is still a great time to visit Sri Lanka as the lack of crowds still don't reflect what a world class destination this is. For what is really a pretty small country Sri Lanka packs an awful lot in.

This island nation is something of a beach lover's paradise, but it offers much more. Incredible landscapes, welcoming people, fascinating historic sites and truly amazing wildlife.

Most visitors head towards the south of the country, and to be honest this is where the best of the beaches are. With dazzling white sand, an abundance of palm trees and tropical climate these are as good a beaches as you will find anywhere. Throw in some quality surf and all the boxes are checked.

One of the great things about Sri Lanka is you'll find everything within a stone's throw. You can be at the beach in the morning and off to see a ruined temple or colonial fort in the afternoon. Whatever you see, make sure you don't miss out on Sri Lanka's wildlife; this is elephant country, but there are also leopards, monkeys and clourful birds. Not only this but Sri Lanka is the best place to see the world's biggest creature - the blue whale.

  • 1. Unawatuna Beach // South

    Unawatuna Beach
    Bernard Gagnon

    Unawatuna Beach is one of the most popular and best-known tourist destinations in Sri Lanka. The beach, with its golden sands, is backed by palm trees interspeersed with cafes and bars. The waters here are sheltered, clear and blue. Some say the beach is shaped like a banana, although most would probably call it a crescent.

    On the west end of the beach, you can climb the wooded headland to see… read more »

  • 2. Hiriketiya Beach // South

    Hiriketiya Beach

    Hiriketiya Beach is another Sri Lankan spot with fantastic surfing and a slow-paced beachy life. The small horseshoe-shaped bay is lined with coconut palms, and beginner surfers can learn on one side while the more advanced surfers can catch bigger, more powerful waves on the other.
    Arugam Bay

    There are a few cafes along the beach as well as a variety of places to stay. This spot has something of… read more »

  • 3. Tangalle Beach // South

    Tangalle Beach
    © maxos_dim

    Tangalle Beach has soft white sand which seemingly stretches on forever along the turquoise ocean. Backed by coconut palms and tropical greenery this is a perfect paradise. You will find peaceful relaxation on this beach, where you can walk and enjoy the sunset, read a book, or play games in the sand.

    The waves and currents can be rough, especially in the afternoons as the wind picks up. Therefore the… read more »

  • 4. Mirissa Beach // South

    Mirissa Beach
    claire rowland

    Mirissa Beach is a beautiful spot with a laid back atmosphere. Consisting of a generous crescent of smooth, golden sand the beach is large with plenty of room to lay out your towel and relax on the warm sand.

    If you want to swim, the left side of the beach is best because you will find rocks and sea urchins along with strong waves on the right side. Mirissa is… read more »

  • 5. Bentota // South

    Amila Tennakoon

    Bentota Beach is famous for its breathtaking scenery. Backed by tall cocnut palms, this is a secluded beach with beautiful golden sand stretching out to the clear blue waters. This is low-key and chilled out spot with quiet surroundings, and people come here to relax.

    The water is safe for swimming unless you see red flags which indicate there are strong currents. If you want to participate in water sports, you… read more »

  • 6. Hikkaduwa // South

    © lapping

    Hikkaduwa Beach is an attractive stretch of golden sand which is idael for snorkeling, surfing, and more, plus it is a great place to unwind and explore. It has been a hotspot for backpackers since the 1970s, and although it has seen some development it still remains laid back and welcoming.

    The waves here can be up to three meters high between November and March, putting it firmly on the travelling… read more »

  • 7. Dikwella Beach // South

    Dikwella Beach
    © Dinith Thenuwara

    Dikwella Beach is not as widely known to tourists as many of South Sri Lanka's beaches, and it is generally quieter. Set in a horeshoe-shaped bay near the southern tip of the country it is a generous stretch of powdery white sand backed by leaning palm trees. It is usually safe to swim because the beach is protected by offshore sandbars and reefs which take most of the power out… read more »

  • 8. Negombo Beach Park // West

    Negombo Beach Park
    © Timo Volz

    Negombo is a small beach town located near the airport in Bandaranaike. It is often the first spot tourists visit since it is so close to the airport. It is full of churches because the Europeans converted many locals to Catholicism. For this reason you may hear the area sometimes reffered to as "Little Rome".

    Many of the hotels and guesthouses are on the main road parallel with the beach,… read more »

  • 9. Arugam Bay // East

    Arugam Bay
    Sarah Owermohle

    Arugam Bay is a favorite for surfers, as it has some of the best waves in Sri Lanka. Also known as A-Bay, the left-hand point break here is regarded as world class in terms of both waves and backdrop.

    The beach Arugam Bay is pleasant enough. A long crescent of soft golden sand backed by leaning palm trees runs alongside the blue ocean waters. Besides surfing there isn't a great deal… read more »

  • 10. Nilaveli Beach // East

    Nilaveli Beach

    The beautiful Nilaveli beach has long been regarded as one of Sri Lanka's finest. With groves of coconut plams swaying over the pale-golden sands and the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean it certainly feels like a tropical idyl. Stretching for over 3 km and with only a few low-key resorts along its length there is plenty of space to pretend you have been stranded on a remote island… read more »

  • 11. Uppuveli beach // East

    Uppuveli beach

    This long beach of golden sand has clear waters with little in the way of waves as it is located on Sri Lanka's calmer east coast. Just 6km from Trincomalee it draws a bigger tourist crowd and has a more vibrant scene than neighboring beaches such as Nilaveli. Uppuveli beach is a great spot to enjoy some fresh seafood or drinks and music from a beachside bar such as… read more »

  • 12. Pigeon Island // East

    Pigeon Island

    Pigeon Island is set in a marine national park just over a kilometre from the white sands of Nilaveli beach near Trincomalee. It actually consists of two islands; the imaginatively named Large Pigeon Island and Small Pigeon Island. There isn't very much to the smaller island and the coastline is mostly rocky.

    The larger island is fringed by coral reef that is around 200-meters long and 100-meters wide. This… read more »

  • 13. Koggala Beach // South

    Koggala Beach
    Jan Arendtsz

    Koggala beach is another of Sri Lanka's great surfing beaches. Located on the south coast of Sri Lanka, not far from Unawatuna beach, this is beautiful stretch of pale golden sands that reaches into the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean. With a backdrop of coconut palms and jungle vegetation it has a real feel of tropical paradise to it. This is the perfect spot to sip on… read more »

  • 14. Wijaya Beach // South

    Wijaya Beach
    Samal Nadeeshan

    Wijaya Beach is located on the Galle Coast of Sri Lanka, not far from Unawatuna. The laid back nature of this place makes it a favorite among locals, tourists, and expats alike. And the beach won't disappoint with its clean, white-sand beach and backdrop of coconut palms leaning over the clear blue water.

    There is a coral reef that forms something of a sheltered natural pool where people often swim.… read more »

  • 15. Pottuvil Point // East

    Pottuvil Point
    Indi Samarajiva

    Pottuvil Beach is a favorite for surfers. Located just along from Sri Lanka's surfing Mecca of Arugam Beach, it is a place to sunbathe and relax on the long stretch of golden sand as you look out over the blue ocean waters. There are rocky formations towards the point itself, and the long sandy beach is wonderful for walking and watching sunsets.

    Behind the beach is the beautiful Pottuvil Lagoon… read more »