10 Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

by Danushka Tharindu
Aerial view of a tropical beach with clear blue ocean water and white sand

Sri Lanka, an island country in the Indian Ocean, is a tourist paradise. It has everything one might desire in a vacation spot.

Traveling throughout this amazing island country is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as it is home to an astonishing assortment of old archaeological sites, stunning national parks full of animals, and, of course, an abundance of jaw-dropping beaches.

Offshore, you’ll find wonderful coral reefs and pods of whales, and its lengthy coastline is dotted with picturesque hidden coves, magnificent sandy beaches, and tranquil small fishing villages.

It’s no surprise that tourism is thriving in Sri Lanka, thanks to the country’s abundance of breathtaking attractions. Beautiful beaches are only one of the many attractions here.

10. Yala Beach

A beautiful sunset over the ocean in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

A stunning sunset scene captured in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka. Image source: Kay Wiegand/Shutterstock.com

Although most tourists come to Yala to see elephants in Yala National Park, Yala Beach is every bit as wild and alluring.

This remote beach has a wild, untamed appearance and is not safe for swimming due to the large waves that often batter the shore. However, if you want to disconnect from civilization and enjoy a beautiful beach with few other people around, you’ve come to the correct location.

Although there aren’t many places to eat or sleep, the area’s seclusion is really a major selling point for many visitors. Many tourists combine a trip to the beach with a tour of the beautiful Yala National Park.

9. Uppuveli Beach

A beachfront with palm trees and clear blue water in Uppuveli, Sri Lanka

A serene beachfront in Uppuveli, Sri Lanka. Image source: TravelNerd/Shutterstock.com

Uppuveli Beach, located in northeastern Sri Lanka on the outskirts of Trincomalee, is beautiful and perfect if you’re seeking a relaxing vacation surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty.

It has approximately five kilometers of pristine white sand and several hotels and restaurants tucked away in the shade of the palm trees. If you want to learn more about Sri Lanka’s fascinating past and delectable food, Trincomalee is a great place to do it.

Dolphin and whale watching, as well as scuba diving and snorkeling along the stunning coastline, are just a few of the popular day trips that depart from Uppuveli Beach.

This gorgeous region of Sri Lanka is becoming more popular each year, so you should visit while it’s still quiet and attractive.

8. Hikkaduwa Beach

People walking on the beach at Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

A group of beachgoers enjoying the beautiful scenery at Hikkaduwa Beach in Sri Lanka. Image source: Naumenko Aleksandr/Shutterstock.com

This beautiful beach can be found on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, and it is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination because of its idyllic setting and the presence of towering palm trees.

As a result of its growing popularity, the area immediately next to the beach has become home to a wide variety of commercial establishments, including a number of excellent dining options, lodging options, and nightlife spots. The town has a relaxed vibe during the day, but as the sun goes down, it comes alive with music and dancing beside the Indian Ocean.

Hikkaduwa Beach is fantastic for scuba divers due to the nearby gorgeous coral reef; while exploring the rich marine life, you’re almost certain to observe several elegantly swimming sea turtles.

7. Hiriketiya Beach

People surfing on a beach in Dikwella, Sri Lanka

A group of surfers catching waves at Hiriketiya Beach in Dikwella, Sri Lanka. Image source: Marius Dobilas/Shutterstock.com

Hiriketiya Beach is a small, picturesque bay on the outskirts of Dikwella. As a result, the calm waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Trees clump together on the golden dunes, creating a stunning sight. The region still seems quite underdeveloped compared to some of Sri Lanka’s other beaches, despite the fact that there are a variety of hotels and resorts tucked away along the coastline.

Hiriketiya Beach is close to many other beautiful beaches, making the market town of Dikwella an excellent home base for those who want to go all along the coast without sacrificing seclusion.

6. Tangalle Beach

A tropical beach with palm trees and clear blue water in Sri Lanka

A serene and tranquil tropical beach in Sri Lanka. Image source: Val Shevchenko/Shutterstock.com

Tangalle Beach, located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, is calmer and more easygoing than the majority of the other beaches in the region. The calm waters of the Indian Ocean lapping at the coast and the powdery white sand provide for ideal strolling conditions.

Tangalle is a great vacation spot since it boasts a wide variety of hotels, restaurants, and nightlife options. Scuba diving at the local coral reefs is becoming more popular, contributing to the area’s rising profile.

Tangalle Beach has a pleasant atmosphere, and it’s near several interesting places, such as the cave temple of Mulkirigala and the picturesque landscape of Rekawa Lagoon, all of which are definitely worth seeing.

5. Weligama Beach

Weligama beach view with clear blue sky and ocean

Weligama beach, one of the most popular beaches in Sri Lanka. Image source: Paul Prescott/Shutterstock.com

Weligama Beach, one of the nicest spots to visit on the south coast, is shielded by a bay of the same name and has gorgeous golden sands.

The beach’s natural appearance is preserved by a line of trees, but just beyond them is a strip of hotels and restaurants. Since fishing is a major industry in this area, there is an abundance of high-quality seafood available.

You can go swimming or snorkeling in the bay, and there’s even a little reef to check out. There are a few surf breaks and surges, making it a popular destination for surfers and surf instructors alike.

4. Arugam Bay

Scenic view of Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

A scenic view of Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka. Image source: Thomas Wyness/Shutterstock.com

Arugam Bay is the ultimate destination in Sri Lanka for surfers. Beautiful palm tree-lined beaches are constantly being pummeled by large waves.

Arugam Bay is growing in popularity as a vacation spot, yet it has managed to retain much of its natural beauty by remaining relatively underdeveloped. Its allure stems, in part, from the fact that its little cafés, restaurants, and cabanas retain their authentic local flavor.

Along with the stunning coastline, there are a plethora of exciting things to do in this area. Arugam Bay is full of exciting activities, from sightseeing at the picturesque Pottuvil Lagoon to watching the sunset at Elephant Rock to going on safari and seeing real elephants in Yala National Park.

3. Bentota Beach

A beach cafe with palm trees and beach chairs in Bentota, Sri Lanka

A summer beach cafe in Bentota, Sri Lanka. Image source: Oriole Gin/Shutterstock.com

Bentota Beach, on the narrow strip of land that lies between the Bentota River and the Indian Ocean, is the place to go if you want to be pampered while visiting one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

There are a variety of luxurious hotels and resorts around the river’s mouth, as well as several first-rate health spas and health facilities. Many of them include all-inclusive rates, but if you get the chance, stop by the seaside bars and restaurants to try some of the delectable local food.

People from all over the world go to Bentota to take advantage of the town’s world-class watersports facilities, and the river and ocean are always teeming with kayakers, jet skiers, and sailors. One of the most popular activities is a “river safari” up the Bentota, where you’ll float through scenic, isolated canals and maybe even see some crocodiles sunning on the shore.

2. Unawatuna Beach

Colorful fishing boats on a beach with a Pagoda monument in the background

Colorful fishing boats and Pagoda monument at Unawatuna Beach in Sri Lanka. Image source: Matt Deakin/Shutterstock.com

Unawatuna Beach, located in the middle of Galle, is one of the best beaches in the country, with gorgeous golden sands and the sparkling Indian Ocean as a backdrop.

The beachside village is quaint and friendly, perfect for a relaxing vacation. Bars, restaurants, and motels are plentiful and can be found in a broad price range.

It’s one of the best places to go scuba diving or snorkeling in Sri Lanka, and that’s only one of the reasons why this beach is so popular with visitors from all over the world. Sea turtles may be nesting along the shore if you time your trip perfectly.

If you can pull yourself away from Unawatuna’s magnificent beach, you can also visit Galle, which is home to many important cultural and historical treasures.

1. Mirissa Beach

Aerial view of a tropical beach with clear blue ocean water and white sand

Aerial panorama of the tropical beach in the town of Mirissa, Sri Lanka. Image source: Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock.com

Mirissa Beach is an absolutely breathtaking stretch of beach that curls gently around the bay on which it is situated, with magnificent palm trees clustered along its golden sands. The waters are perfect for swimming, and the nearby coral reef makes it a great place to go snorkeling as well. On the other end of the beach, surfers can enjoy some of the best waves in the world.

Guests can pick from a wide variety of seaside bars, restaurants, and hotels, all of which are discreetly tucked away inside the tree line, despite the area’s pristine appearance. Even though it’s a quiet location to relax, there are a few fun bars in the area that provide breathtaking views of the ocean when the sun goes down.

Mirissa Beach, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, is a great place to go on a whale or dolphin-watching tour.

Mirissa Beach is a must-see while visiting Sri Lanka due to its convenient location, pleasant weather, and plenty of attractions.

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