Sand, Surf and Sunsets: Why a beach holiday in Sri Lanka should be on everyone’s bucket list

December 18, 2018 / Sri Lanka

Whether you pick beaches abuzz with activities or go off the grid to fishermen villages in non-touristy areas, Sri Lankan beaches will whip up that postcard-perfect tropical holiday to make you wish that you could live the beach bum life forever. Here’s a look at the best spots for a beach holiday in Sri Lanka.

West Coast

It’d be a good idea to start off your beach holiday easy in Negombo or Mount Lavina beaches, both very close to Colombo, before digging into the deeper coasts. Both the beaches bustle with people and activities, but you will also find plenty of shacks to watch the sunset with a cold beer in hand from. Also close to Colombo is Wadduwa, a fishermen village, with coconut trees on long stripes of white sand beaches. It is a great place to breathe in some laid-back air but does not have nightlife to write home about.

Located about in another couple of hour’s drive down from Colombo is Bentota where apart from swimming you can go diving  (Bentota is known for it), kite surfing, visit the nearby turtle hatchery and take a cruise to see the majestic blue whale. Nature lovers also book themselves a tour of the nearby mangroves to watch birds and fauna.

Fancy seeing dolphins out in the sea? Kalpitiya peninsula is famous for sightings of spinner dolphins performing brilliant acrobatics, a rare sight in other waters. It is an upcoming tourist spot, but fishermen villages still dominate the scene, making this rather untouched coastal area a sanctuary of peace and quiet. It is located about three hours from Colombo.

South Coast

This is where most beach lovers dock their ships and jump headlong into the perfect beach holiday in Sri Lanka. Compared to the East coast these beaches are more suitable for swimming, but years of popularity have also caused some beaches to lose their original charm. Hikkaduwa, the first beach on the trail, is very popular amongst surfers for its high waves and snorkelers for its gorgeous Hikkaduwa Coral Sanctuary. Plus, if you are looking for beach parties Hikkaduwa is your place to be.

Reminiscent of the colonial era, Galle is a charming seaside town with lanes of picturesque cafes and curio shops. There is a promenade but no beach to speak of, but close by is the lively Unawatuna for swimming and people watching. Only about an hour’s drive is Mirissa beach, another favorite tourist spot. Don’t miss out on the ‘Secret’ Beach and the insta-worthy grove of coconut trees (beware, there will be a crowd to contend with), and of course whale watching!

In the deep South, little off the tourist trail lies Tangalle. Here the beaches are emptier and if you are lucky you will find bays or sea coves that can become your private beach for the day! Visit Goyambokka beach for some beach fun and Silent beach just next door if you seek peace and quiet. Although snorkeling is great around here, it is kayaking through the serene Tangalle lagoon that will take your breath away.

East Coast

The beaches on the East coast suffered from years of civil war and 2004 tsunami, and that is exactly why the beaches here are fairly untouched by tourism and still dominated by fishermen and their way of life. Make a pit stop in Trincomalee to experience the rhythm of an authentic Sri Lankan fishermen town.  

Next are the beach villages of Uppuveli and Nilaveli where you can spend the day swimming, relaxing and interacting with smiling locals – all without beach vendors bothering you every minute. We are talking white frothy waves, emerald waters, stunning coral reefs (you can see reef sharks too!) with tall sashaying palm trees as the backdrop. Other beaches to visit are Pasekudah and Arugam Beach. Since this coast is emerging as a tourist destination it is recommended visiting before it loses bits of its paradise.

When it comes to beaches Sri Lanka is second to none! A word of caution: many beaches are often not suitable for swimming, it is advised to not swim if you don’t see anyone doing so. Make the best of Uber’s intercity service to arrive at your destination faster and hassle-free. Have a fabulous holiday!