The ambience on the island is very suitable for an enjoyable beach holiday. Sri Lanka beach holidays are very popular among travellers around the world, thanks to the year–round warm sunny climate. Warm seawater, snow-white, clean and very happening beaches of Sri Lanka are simply irresistible for any beach tour enthusiast…here is a list of Most Popular Sri Lanka Beach Resorts
Most Popular Sri Lanka Beach Resorts
Thinking of a Sri Lanka holiday, well you definitely can’t ignore Sri Lanka beaches, it is one essential part of every Sri Lanka holiday package. In fact, some of Sri Lanka beach resorts are ranked among the best places for beach holidays in the world such as Unawatuna beach, which won the “5th best beach in the world” title many times.
The ambience on the island is very suitable for a refreshing beach holiday. All year round summer climate makes the island is a perfect destination for sun worshippers. Warm seawater, snow-white, clean and very happening beaches of Sri Lanka are simply irresistible for any beach holiday enthusiast.
Beach holiday is a must for a summer vacation, that’s why we see a large number of travellers on the tropical beaches of Sri Lanka spending few days (some are staying weeks), enjoying the sun, sea, sand, and surf. A large number of foreign traveller, especially European travellers flock into the west and southern coast of Sri Lankan beaches from November to April to enjoy the heat of the sun, while east coast beaches attract visitors from April to Novembers.
Sri Lanka provides access to unlimited sun, sea and sand throughout the year. The coastal belt is more than 1300 KM long and full of twists and curves into little nooks, bays and coves.
The crystal clear, blue and peacock bright waters of the Indian Ocean are warm and maintain the temperature at 27C? There is a large number of beach resorts with excellent facilities along the beaches from Kalpitiya in North-west Sri Lanka to the Southern coast of the island. But the best Sri Lanka beach resorts are undoubtedly located on the South-West coast of the country.
What activities available in the beach resort of Sri Lanka?
- Whale/dolphin watching
- Beach hopping
- Water sports
- Rainforest trekking
- Exploring archaeological monuments
- Wildlife tours from the beach resort
The Indian Ocean along the southern and North-west parts of the country is full of Dolphins and whales. Therefore Sri Lanka is a reputed destination for whale watching in the world. Watch out for Sea turtles on the beach while you are strolling. Sri Lankan beaches are frequently visited by Sea turtles. The sea around the island can be used for various water sports such as surfing. The water sports centres provide you with the necessary equipment and know-how to do it properly.
The underwater world around the island takes you to an entirely fascinating world, which is full of Coral reefs, exotic fishes and centuries-old shipwrecks. Travel agents like Seerendipity tours are always willing to help you to arrange excursions to various interesting places on the island.
6 popular road trips of Sri Lanka from Sri Lanka Beach resorts
- Sri Lanka one day trip to Sigiriya rock fortress– This one day trip starts from Colombo and beach resorts on the west coast. The trip includes few Buddhist temples as well as Sigiriya rock.
- One day trip to Kandy to explore important tourist attractions
- Sri Lanka hill country tour – One of the most popular Sri Lanka tours and there is a very high demand for this Sri Lanka trip package. The tour takes you to the most scenic Sri Lanka’s hill country. These 2 days Sri Lanka tour includes many interesting tourist places in Sri Lanka such as tooth relic temple, royal botanical garden, tea plantations and Pinnawala elephant orphanage.
- Sri Lanka 3 days tour with cultural triangle tour– The 3 days tour starts from Colombo and ends in Colombo. There are many 3 days trips offered on the island, however, the trip to Dambulla, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa trip is the most popular among the travellers.
- Sri Lanka 2 days trip– These Sri Lanka tours cover most parts of the island from, tourist attractions in the cultural triangle to Sri Lanka hill country and tourist places on the south coast. E.g 2 days cultural triangle tour includes important places in Polonnaruwa ancient city, Sigiriya rock as well as Dambulla cave temple.
- Sinharaja one day rain forest tour – The one day tour starts from Colombo. The tour also can be booked from any other beach resort on the west and south coast. Most tourists like to visit the rain forest during their road trips such as 5 days Sri Lanka trip, 4 days Sri Lanka trip and fortunately, the rain forest trek can be added to most multi day trips with a small detour.
When is the best time to travel to the south and west coast of Sri Lanka?
The best time to travel to the southern and western coast of Sri Lanka is from November to April. The 6 months from November to April is known as the north-east monsoon period, during which the east and the northern part of Sri Lanka is heavily battered by the rain, while the rest of the country see a bright and sunny sky. This period is particularly special for beach holiday lovers and water sports enthusiasts as the southern and western coastal belt see very favourable weather conditions for their activities. The sea off the south and west coast become very calm like a lake and there is hardly any waves and underwater current, therefore, this is the best time of the year to surf, snorkel, swim, and engage in other waters ports off the west coast.
Sri Lanka beach holidays on the West coast
By far west coast beaches are the most popular places for Sri Lanka beach holidays. These beaches attract the largest portion of sun-worshippers to arrive in the country. The beaches of the west coast are the most suitable places for Sri Lanka beach holidays from November to April (this is also the peak holiday season in Sri Lanka), during this period the east coast beaches are highly unsuitable for outdoor activities due to the rain. West coast beaches are well developed for the tourism industry with endless possibilities for accommodation, dining, transportation, Sri Lanka day tours and excursions.
What are the best beaches to travel in the south and west coast of Sri Lanka?
- Kalpitiya beach
- Negombo beach
- Kalutara/Wadduwa beach
- Bentota/Beruwala beach
- Galle/Unawatuna/Koggala beach
- Hambantota/Tangalle beach resort
Kalpitiya beach Sri Lanka
Discovered in North-west Sri Lanka, this is the northernmost beach resort on the west coast of Sri Lanka. Kalpitiya is the newest addition to the beach holiday destinations on the island and still an off the beaten track tourist attraction in Sri Lanka. It has emerged as a hot beach holiday destination after ending the civil war in 2009. Widely unexplored beaches are developing fast with the advent of large-scale hotels. Distance from Colombo international airport to Kalpitiya – 240 km.
Popular beach resorts in Kalpitiya
Blue whale resort is a boutiques hotel located on the pristine beaches of Kalptiya. It is modern and provides world-class facilities and amenities for luxury seekers. The hotel is built on the Kalpitiya beach and you open your door to the mesmerizing Kalpitiya beach. The resort offers a large number of interesting activities for its visitors such as kitesurfing, dolphin and whale watching trips.
The beaches of Negombo are one of the best beaches on the island with easy access to international travellers, who lands at the airport of Katunayake. Negombo is just 6 km away from the International airport and it is located 37km from Colombo city.
This is the ideal place for foreign travellers who wish to have a beach stay only for a short period because Negombo is only 10 km from the international airport. If you have timing constraints and still like to have a nice place to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, don’t think twice, Negombo is the best place for you. Negombo is a fishing village where a lot of people are actively engaged in the fishing industry.
The beaches are located a little further south of Kalpitiya near Colombo. By far Negombo is the most popular beach holiday destination near Colombo and it has a well-developed infrastructure for the tourism industry. The travellers have easy access to all services such as accommodation, eateries, tours and excursions required for a relaxing and enjoyable beach holiday.
Negombo is an ideal fishing town as well as a paradise for the seafood buffets. You can enjoy watching the old -world fishing crafts like outrigger canoes and the catamarans bringing a variety of marine fishes like seers, skipjacks, pomfrets and amberjacks. In the lagoon lobsters and prawns are caught and served as fascinating delicacies in the nearby restaurants.
There’s much more in Negombo than just a sandy stretch of beach, where much history has been witnessed. During the time when Dutch were ruling the coastal areas of Sri Lanka, a fort, a canal and many a church were built and cinnamon cultivation took high priority. Negombo has a rich colonial heritage and a large number of Catholic churches is a reminiscence of the colonial influence. Remains of these provide a glimpse of the past and adorn the beach in Negombo along with fishing villages, which are sprinkled in the area.
Popular Sri Lanka beach resorts in Negombo beach
Dolphin hotel sits on the pristine beaches of Waikkal, just north of Negombo and Katunayake international airport. The luxurious hotel is built in harmony with nature and featured one of the largest swimming pools on the island. Blue skies, torques warm water of the Indian ocean, and friendly dolphins will accompany you. The hotel provides an in-house animation team, which helps the guests to engage in various pastime activities.
- Dolphin beach resort
- Club pal bay Waikkal
- Ranweli beach resort
- Sooriya beach resort
- Camelot beach resort
- Paradise beach resort
Mount Lavinia/Colombo beach
Mt.Lavinia beach is situated just south of Colombo (12 km) and one of the few places suitable for sea bath in Colombo. Mount Lavinia beach resort is situated beside a windswept headland jutting into the waters of the Indian Ocean. Mt.Lavinia is formed by a piece of ground that intrudes into the ocean from the mainland, which rises abruptly about 100 meters from the water surface.
This is one of the best-kept secrets in Colombo and one of the few places to have a peaceful time in Colombo, even though it is very close to Colombo you do not feel the hustle and bustle of Colombo. Mt.Lavinia is an ideal place to relax and indulge and enjoy the sea.
Mt-Lavinia beach is noteworthy in historical value as well as in beauty. The Governor’s House built in 1805 by Sir Thomas Maitland is still in very good shape. Mt-Lavinia Beach is quite busy on Sundays and public holidays with large crowds gathered to participate in many beach sports activities such as swimming, windsurfing, beach volleyball, beach rugby, etc. Music by Live bands & Entertainment by DJs keep the toes of the crowd tapping.
Popular Sri Lanka beach resorts in Mt.Lavinia
Mt.Lavinia hotel nestled among swaying palms of the mount Lavinia beach. The hotel is one of the finest beach resorts in Sri Lanka with a great history. Its roots going back to many centuries and it was constructed during the British Era (210 years ago). Its colonial heritage is still very evident and the grandeur of the hotel is well maintained with constant renovations. However, the hotel has been able to improve its infrastructure on par with the other leading luxury hotels on the island.
The location of the hotel is unique and sits right on the beach allowing you to be greeted by the Seabreeze as you wake up in the morning. The hotel has its own beach in the backyard, which means you can have a sun and sea bath with maximum privacy.
Most luxury hotel in Colombo are concentrated in the city and you have hardly any space to walk and relax. You will feel the rotten city life. You feel the vehicles are knocking on your door often but Mt.Lavinia hotel is spared from the chaotic Sri Lanka traffic. The hotel is tucked away from the city and you are well over 5 km from the nearest city.
Other popular Sri Lanka beach resorts in Mt.Lavinia
- Mt.Lavinia hotel
- Plam beach resort
- Berjaya Mt.lavinia
The first of its row of pristine beaches just south of Colombo. There are dozens of wide sandy beaches along the coast starting from Kalutara. This little coastal resort showcases a totally different atmosphere to most busy beach resorts in the west. isolation and calmness are swapped for infrastructure, resulted in an ideal atmosphere for an everlasting beach holiday. Distance to Kalutara from Colombo international airport is 83 km.
Popular Sri Lanka beach resorts in Kalutara
- Tangerine beach resort
- Royal palms beach resort
- Hibiscus beach resort
- Club Waskaduwa
- Turyaa beach resort
- Kamili beach resort
- Citrus Waskaduwa
Bentota is the most popular Sri Lanka beach resort and located 62 km away from Colombo. Bentota is a well-developed tourist resort with a large number of hotels, recreation centres, Beach restaurants, beach bars, nightclubs and shopping area in the city.
Bentota beach resort is formed by a land intruded into the sea from the mainland, which is surrounded by the sea from three directions. Bentota beach is the most popular beach resort on the island and an anchoring beach spot for most European travellers. The beach is very crowded during the peak season from November to April.
If you are looking for an ideal romantic beach resort in Sri Lanka, you should seriously think of Bentota. Bentota is one of the most popular Sri Lanka beach resorts that can be very crowded during the peak season from November to April. Bentota beach resort long, narrow strip of beach flanked by the ocean on one side and beach from the other side.
The place is a small town fast developing, teeming with the growth of hotels, shopping arcades and cafeterias. There is also an open-air theatre where folk and mask dancing is performed. This section of the southwestern coast gives a typical picture of a tropical beach dotted with palm trees; white sandy drenches and blue waters.
Popular Sri Lanka beach resorts based in Bentota
- Eden resort and spa
- Lanka princess hotel
- The palms beach resort
- Avani Bentota
- Anantara beach resort
- Taj resort
- Muthumuni Ayurveda beach resort
Ambalangoda Beach west coast Sri Lanka
Ambslangoda is a laid-back city just south of Bentota (85 km from Colombo). It has very beautiful sandy beaches and many rocky little islets off the coast. Ambalangoda is also popular for handicrafts, folk dancing and mask manufacturing.
Mask manufacturing is a cottage industry in Ambalangoda and a large number of people making a living of it. Don’t forget to visit the Ariyapala mask museum in order to see some of the very old masks in Sri Lanka and to learn the folk dancing and rituals of the island. You can find many types of traditional Sri Lankan masks beautifully painted in attractive colours in Ambalangoda. These masks are used in sorcery and some traditional rituals.
Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka Beach
Hikkaduwa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in southern Sri Lanka and one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. Hikkaduwa is a destination for a memorable beach holiday in Sri Lanka. It lies 98 km south of Colombo and its beautiful beaches a lot of glamour to this town. It has all the ingredients you required for a top-notch beach holiday experience.
Wide sandy beaches, affordable yet comfortable accommodation, a beach restaurant to sample Sri Lankan seafood, bars, shops, discos and many many more. Hikkaduwa lies about 100 km south of Colombo and it is just 2 hours drive from the international airport. Hikkaduwa is one of the 2 designated marine sanctuaries. the shallow waters of Hikkaduwa harbour a large number of marine creatures and it is one of the best places for snorkelling and diving in Sri Lanka.
It is the place where you can have a glimpse into the fascinating underwater world and see the creatures that inhabit the unfathomable depths of the sea. The famed coral gardens are located here. Just get hold of a glass-bottomed boat or goggles and flippers and plunge into the ocean!
The beach resort attracts budget travellers as well as wealthy tourists to its beaches. Here you get a wide range of accommodation facilities from dormitories type of cheap accommodations to luxurious boutique hotels. Same times the resort is well prepared to serve foreign travellers with a well-developed infrastructure. The travellers can find accommodation facilities, eateries, shops, bars, restaurant, nightclubs and many recreation centres without any trouble.
Popular Sri Lanka beach resorts in Hikkaduwa
- Circuit beach resort
- Hikkaduwa beach resort
- Lavanaga beach resort
- Citrus Hikkaduwa
South coast for Sri Lanka beach holidays
With the opening of Southern Express way, the travel time between Airport and southern Sri Lanka is considerably shortened. Therefore, the southern coastal belt also has emerged as an attractive Sri Lanka beach holiday destination for foreign travellers. Most of the beautiful beaches on the southern coast were not on the radar of international travellers due to the time-consuming transfer from the international airport of Colombo.
Today, one can see a large number of hotels along the southern coastal belt, and some other beach resorts are rising to the sky hastily. Some of the big players in the hospitality industry such as Shangrila have set their foot in southern Sri Lanka in order to cater to the increasing demand for accommodation facilities in the region.
Unawatuna Beach southern coast
Unawatuna Beach is located just south of Galle, the main city in the south and 125km from Colombo. Unawatuna is located between Galle and Matara of southern Sri Lanka. Unawatuna is one of the most popular beach resort that attracts budget holidaymakers. Unawatuna beach resort has a large number of affordable accommodation facilities and it is one of the main reasons for its popularity.
Unawatuna is a horseshoe-shaped bay and has a protective coral reef at the opening to the sea, which hinders the underwater current from entering the bay and the coral reef also reduces the force of the waves. Therefore Unawatuna suitable for year-round sea bath, snorkelling and diving.
This 4km expanse of palm-fringed sand is said by some to rank amongst the twelve best beaches in the world. This beach is a paradise for all those who yearn to enjoy the silence of the sea and dive deep into the blue waters of the ocean. There is a reef protecting the beach, which makes it perfectly a safe haven for bathing. Other major attractions of this southern beach include shallow waters for swimming and diving.
Within its reach, there is an accessible, reasonably well-preserved coral reef that serves as the base for snorkelling. For all those who fancy scuba diving, this tropical bay in the south will definitely catch your fancy since for the scuba divers; there are several wrecks dives only 20-30 minutes away from the beach by boat. Thus it is the most favoured beach for all those looking for some exciting water sports activity like swimming, scuba diving or snorkelling.
Popular Sri Lanka beach resorts in Unawatuna, Galle, Koggala
- The long beach resort
- Koggala beach resort
- Koggala village hotel
- The fort hotel
- The lighthouse hotel
- The Fortress hotel
- Unawatuna beach resort
- Flower garden resort
Discovered in the most southern point of Sri Lanka, Tangalle is one of the least explored beach resorts on the island. Most travellers did not opt for a beach holiday in this isolated remote beach, perhaps due to the time it taken from Colombo to reach the resort. Due to the low demand for tourism-related services in the area, as it was not a beach holiday hot spot on the island, the tourism infrastructure is yet to make huge progress.
However, some development is seen in the area during the last several years and big players in the tourism industry such as Shangrila had built several large hotels. The opening of the highway between Colombo and southern Sri Lanka made a huge change with regards to the transfer time between the airport and the resort making it easy to access and curtailed the time taken on the transfer.
East coast beach resorts
Sri Lanka beach holidays on the East coast
The East coast has been emerged as a holiday hot-spot in the Asian regions, since the end of the civil war. Beautiful, pristine beaches off Trincomalee such as Nilaveli, Arugam Bay, Pasikudah and Kalkudah are attracting hundreds of thousands of beach holiday lovers every year.
The best period for Sri Lanka beach holidays in the eastern coastal belt is the summer-monsoon (April to November) while the rest of the year is the best period to travel along the coastal belt of western and southern Sri Lanka. East coast beaches are best for beach holidays from April to November and the rest of the year the beaches are not suitable for outdoor activities due to the torrential rain. In fact, the travellers are not able to have a sea bath from November to April due to the underwater current in the sea and mighty waves.
Where is the best beach resorts to travel to in Sri Lanka from April to November?
- Arugam Bay
Eastern Coast also considered being one of the important regions with nice beaches for holidays, but still, the tourism infrastructure is at very low standards as it was neglected in the past due to the Civil war. Tourism was one of the industries badly hit by the 30 years of civil war that ended in 2009. Today after the civil war, the eastern province has been able to become one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. A large number of tourists are head on to the east coast since it has become one of the safest beach holiday destinations in the world. We have chosen below mentioned best Sri Lanka beach resorts based on customer reviews.
The coastal belt from North-West to South-West going through a rapid change, pertaining to the tourism infrastructure, a large number of the resort are being built in order to use the untapped natural resources (mainly the beaches) in the region.
Trincomalee Beach east coast
Trincomalee is regarded as one of the most magnificent harbours in the world. Its exceptional beauty is commented by many a traveller for the island in the past. Horatio Nalson, Great Britain’s greatest Admiral and naval hero of the 18th Century described Trincomalee as the finest harbour in the world. The British, at one time, wanted to use this as their chief naval base in the east. Trincomalee, 257 km away from Colombo is also endowed with excellent beaches and perfect hang-outs for beach buffets and offers some of the best sea- bathing places in the country.
Nilaveli Beach East coast
Nilaveli-situated at a distance of 271 km from Colombo-is a prime beach resort on the East coast. In the northern stretch of ‘Trinco’, known as Nilaweli, the shallow beach goes up to half a mile into the sea. The hot wells and the Pigeon Islands are the important places of tourist interest in the vicinity. There is an old Portuguese/Dutch fort reminiscent of the Colonial era. The beach has ample water sports facilities including fishing and sea angling. Nilaveli is ideally suited for sunbathing and diving. A few metres from the coast are a small rocky island good for snorkelling. This, only 8 miles from Trincomalee once possessed the chief slattern in the South- East of Sri Lanka.
Nilaveli is one of the most popular beach resorts located, on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Nilaveli beach attracts a large number of tourist every year and the number of visitors in the area is sharply increased after ending the North-East civil war. This is one of the most striking stretches of coastlines in Sri Lanka.
Nilaveli marine sanctuary is another important reason for the popularity of Nilaveli in Sri Lanka. The Nilaveli marine sanctuary is one of the best places for a top-notch diving experience in Sri Lanka. The best time to beach holiday in Nilaveli is from April to November during the South-West monsoon. Most travellers head on to Nilaveli during this period and therefore there is an upbeat for prices of accommodation facilities, meals, transportation and activities.
Discovered in the eastern corner of Sri Lanka, Batticaloa is consisting of the 2 most popular beach resorts, Kalkudah and Pasikudah. Beaches of Batticaloa are very similar to beaches in Nilaweli, where you find a wild expanse of snow-white sandy beaches. The best time to travel to Batticaloa is from April to November.
It is the famous ‘singing’ fish and is at the exit point of a picturesque lagoon made up of a series of connected lagoons filled with mangrove swamps that attract tourists to this serene beach. Situated at a distance of 314 km from Colombo, Batticaloa is famous for its `Singing Fish’ and picturesque lagoon. On full moon nights, a faint but distinct musical sound rises from the lagoon waters. This is attributed to a noise emanated by a kind of fish found in the lagoon. A Dutch Fort near the lagoon is another tourist attraction and the whole area around bears signs of European occupation, by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British.
32 km. from Batticaloa, Kalkudah is a popular tourist centre with the fine bay Passekudah lying close by. A calm reef-protected sea is an ideal place for having a sea bath. There is also a popular hotel along with other amenities required for the tourist. Kalkudah & Passekudah are two very fine beaches on the East Coast. Kalkudah Bay, a 2 km long wide stretch of beach-located 32 km north of Batticaloa-is well protected from the monsoons by an offshore reef. Passekudah Bay is another wide beach 4 km long, just south of Kalkudah. The two beaches form an ideal stretch for bathing, windsurfing and water-skiing.
Arugam Bay beach the surfing spot
Located 314 Km to the East of Colombo, Arugam Bay is a fishing village. The town has a sweeping beach and a beautiful bay that is excellent for windsurfing, which is regarded as one of the five best places in the world for windsurfing. The bay offers numerous possibilities for water sports and underwater photography. The many shipwrecks off the coast offer a tempting challenge to the divers.
Often labelled as Sri Lanka’s finest surfing spot, Arugam Bay is also a place for a memorable Sri Lanka beach holiday. Arugam Bay is one of the most popular beaches among European travellers and most of them head on to Arugambe during the South-West monsoon (from April to November). Arugam bay becomes one of the safest places for a sea bath during this period while rest of the year (November to April) sea off Arugam bay is not suitable for swimming.
Where can I find accommodation for my Sri Lanka beach holidays?
Every beach holiday destination on the island provides a wide range of possibilities for dining, accommodation and recreation activities. Especially the accommodation facilities are endless in popular beach resorts such as Hikkaduwa, Negombo and Bentota. The travellers can find very cheap accommodation facilities such as dormitories to high-end luxury boutique hotels in most Sri Lanka beach resorts.
By far, the monsoon is the single most reason that decides on the rates of beach hotels. The monsoon wind brings heavy rain either to the north-east or to south-west Sri Lanka in a by annual rhythm. And the room rates of each beach holiday destination drops sharply parallel to the monsoon rain due to the low demand.