Sri Lanka Beach Resorts for mesmerizing beach holidays

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 the 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 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. The island’s year-round summer climate makes it an ideal destination for sunbathers. The warm seawater, snow-white, clean, and very happening beaches of Sri Lanka are simply irresistible for any beach holiday enthusiast.

A 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 a few days (some are staying weeks), enjoying the sun, sea, sand, and surf. A large number of foreign travellers, mainly European travellers flock to 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 November.

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 are available in the beach resort of Sri Lanka?

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 around 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.

Yearly Sea water temperature fluctuation in Sri Lanka

Yearly sea water temperature variations in Sri Lanka based on Colombo, Jaffna, Galle, Mirissa and Tangalle

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 are heavily battered by the rain, while the rest of the country sees a bright and sunny sky. This period is particularly special for beach holiday lovers and water sports enthusiasts as the southern and western coastal belts 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 watersports 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
  • Hikkaduwa/Ambdalangoda
  • Galle/Unawatuna/Koggala beach
  • Matara/Mirissa
  • 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 is 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.

Blue whale resort is a boutique 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 best places to find Sri Lanka Beach Resorts for your holidays from November to April are on the west and southern coast. The east beach resort is suitable for holidays from April to November

Negombo beach

The beaches of Negombo are one of the best beaches on the island with easy access to international travellers, who land 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 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 the 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.

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 is one of the few places suitable for sea baths in Colombo. Mount Lavinia beach resort is located 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’s 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 for its historical value as well as its beauty. Sir Thomas Maitland constructed the Governor’s House in 1805, and it is still in very good condition. 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 and Entertainment by DJs keep the toes of the crowd tapping.

Mt.Lavinia hotel is nestled among the swaying palms of Mount Lavinia beach. The hotel is one of the finest beach resorts in Sri Lanka with a great history. Its roots go back 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 hotels 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.

  • Mt.Lavinia hotel
  • Plam beach resort
  • Berjaya Mt.lavinia

Kalutara Beach

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, resulting in an ideal atmosphere for an everlasting beach holiday. The distance to Kalutara from Colombo international airport is 83 km.

  • Tangerine beach resort
  • Royal palms beach resort
  • Hibiscus beach resort
  • Club Waskaduwa
  • Turyaa beach resort
  • Kamili beach resort
  • Citrus Waskaduwa

Bentota Beach

Bentota is the most popular Sri Lanka beach resort and is 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 areas 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 the beach on 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.

  • 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 make a living from 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 colors 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 time the resort is well-prepared to serve foreign travellers with a well-developed infrastructure. Travellers can find accommodation facilities, eateries, shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and many recreation centres without any trouble.

  • Circuit beach resort
  • Hikkaduwa beach resort
  • Lavanaga beach resort
  • Citrus Hikkaduwa

South coast for Sri Lanka beach holidays

With the opening of the Southern Expressway, 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’s 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 resorts that attract 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 is suitable for year-round sea baths, snorkeling, 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 scuba divers; there are several wreck 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.

  • 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

Matara/Mirissa Beach

Just a few kilometers south of Unwataun is the popular beach resort of Mirissa. The pristine beaches of Mirissa are very popular among leisure travelers as well as among surfers. The peaceful wide sandy beaches of Mirissa are ideal for a leisurely beach holiday. It is popular among travelers for a good reason! The wide sandy beaches of Mirissaare beautiful, unpolluted, and safe for sea baths and water sports, the waves are ideal for surfing, and the waters teeming with marine life, from endangered sea turtles to big blue whales. Spend your days enjoying fresh coconuts in your hammock, eating delicious fresh seafood from beachside restaurants, and zooming around by motorbike. Allocate at least 3-4 days for your trip to Mirissa, because apart from beach hopping and saltwater activities mirissa offers many other interesting activities activities such as visiting wildlife parks, visiting ancient temples,s, etc.

What are the top things to do in Mirissa?

  • Swimming in the sea
  • Diving/snorkeling
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Surfing
  • Sampling delicious seafood
  • Visiting Coconut hill
  • Whale watching


Discovered in the 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 on this isolated remote beach, perhaps due to the time it took 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 regard to the transfer time between the airport and the resort making it easy to access and curtailing the time taken on the transfer.

Sri Lanka beach holidays on the East coast

Since the end of the civil war, the East Coast has emerged as a popular tourist destination in the Asian regions. Beautiful, pristine beaches off Trincomalee, such as Nilaveli, Arugam Bay, Pasikudah, and Kalkudah, attract 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 are the best beach resorts to travel to in Sri Lanka from April to November?

  • Nilaveli
  • Arugam Bay
  • Pasikudah
  • Kalkiudah

Eastern Coast is also considered to be 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 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 on by many a traveller of 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 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 tourists every year and the number of visitors in the area sharply increased after the end of 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.

Batticaloa Beach

Discovered in the eastern corner of Sri Lanka, Batticaloa is consisting of the 2 most popular beach resorts, Kalkudah and Pasikudah. The 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 British.

Kalkudah Beach

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 labeled 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 the 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 the rates of beach hotels. The monsoon wind brings heavy rain either to the northeast or to southwest Sri Lanka in an annual rhythm. And the room rates of each beach holiday destination drop sharply parallel to the monsoon rain due to the low demand.