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22 Sri Lanka Beaches With Idyllic Settings

Unawatuna beach aerial view

22 Sri Lanka Beaches With Idyllic Settings

Are you planning to spend your next holiday on a tropical beach? Then! Why not consider beach Holiday in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka beaches are some of the finest in Asia and give you top-notch beach holiday experience. This tiny tropical island is known to every traveller in the world for many centuries and no need to have a lengthy introduction on it. Sri Lanka beaches had been the main reason for Sri Lanka’s popularity as a holiday destination among the travellers around the world. Still, this well-acclaimed beach holiday destination attracts a large number of leisure seekers from all around the globe. Thirty years civil war started in 1983 was a hindrance for the development of tourism industry, but since the end of the war in 2009, Sri Lanka has been able to get its due place in the world’s tourism map.

Planning a beach holiday in Sri Lanka? Well, you might be thinking of the best Sri Lanka beaches! definitely think of Bentota, Kalutara, Unawatuna, Negombo or Hikkaduwa because they are the most popular Sri Lanka beaches, all are on the west coast. Yes, they can be categorized under the best Sri Lanka Beaches, but we do like to add several other places for this list of best Sri Lanka beaches.  Because these unpopular beaches also offer same top-notch beach holiday experience to travellers like any other beach resort in Sri Lanka. After all, these are emerging beach holiday destinations are still hungry for travellers. Most of these beaches largely unexplored, still uncrowded and very affordable.

If you like to have a peaceful beach holiday in Sri Lanka under the sun while dipping into the waters of Indian Ocean now and then. Then this is the time to think and act beyond the scope of the average traveller, who spend a holiday in Sri Lanka. Most travellers think that west coast beaches are the best Sri Lanka beaches and choose west coast beach resorts for their holidays and very rarely go to other beautiful beaches elsewhere. Due to this trend, especially among the foreign travellers, prices of accommodation, food, beverage and other holiday related services in the west coast is very expensive, compared to other beach holiday destinations in the country. Choosing an uncrowned beach not only allow enjoying the privacy but also real value for your money too, therefore we have added those emerging Sri Lanka also to the list of places to be considered for your next beach stay.

Following are some of the best Sri Lanka beaches, which will surprise you with its beauty and serenity.

Sri Lanka beaches

West Coast Sri Lanka Beaches

Kalpitiya beach resort

Kalpitiya is a relatively unheard beach resort, which is located in the North-west of Sri Lanka. The beaches here ranked among the finest beaches in the country. The beaches are untouched in the past due to the civil war that prevented tourists going there. The beach resort is fast developing and a large number of resorts appeared in the recent past.

Negombo

If you very limited time for your Sri Lanka beach holiday, Do not look further,  Negombo is the best place for you. Negombo is the nearest beach resort to the international airport and just 15 min drive from the airport. Negombo provides a wide range of possibilities for international travellers with regards to wine and dining, accommodation, and recreation facilities. If you have timing constraints and wish to have a relaxing holiday Negombo is one of the best options for you. The secluded beaches of Negombo have snow white clean beaches providing the best setting for a beach hopping. There is a large number of activities in Negombo to keep you busy such as boating, fishing, snorkelling, sea bathing etc. There are many interesting attractions such as Henarathgoda botanical garden, Muthurajawela wetland, Negombo fish market, Buddhist and Hindu temples, as well as Dutch built Catholic churches within easy reach of Negombo.

sri lanka beaches

Marawila Beach

Marawila is a place where you can have a peaceful beach holiday. When the large part of Sri Lanbak tourist traffic is heading to southern coast only a fraction of the travellers in Sri Lanka going to the beaches of Marawila. Therefore you will not encounter a large number of tourists here like in Bentota. still, Marawila is a nice place to have a enjoyable swimming, sunbath, parasailing or relax. there are many accommodation facilities in Marawila and rates are far better than beach holiday spots such as Bentota and Negombo.

Mt.Lavinia

Just a few kilometres south of Colombo are the best beach resort in the commercial capital. Mt.Lavinia is the best place to anchor, for visitors, who look for a possibility to engage in business while having leisure on the beaches in free time. The beach is only 30 minutes away from Colombo and it takes around 1 hour to reach Mt.Lavinia beach from the airport. The beach located towards the southern end of Colombo, this wide strip of beach has white, sandy beaches and a place to have tranquil beach stay. The beaches of Mt.lavinai attracts a large number of city dwellers, especially during the weekend.  Mt.lavinia beach is a place where many special events are been organized such musical shows, sports events and parties.

Wadduwa Beach

Wadduwa beach resort in the west coast Srisri Lanka li 40 kilometres south of Colombo. Wadduwa is another uncrowded beach resort on the island. a peaceful enjoyable beach holiday can be guaranteed here it also has a small tranquil town. You can enjoy your beach holiday by laying in a hammock and basking in the sun while having a dip in the waters of the Indian ocean now and then. Wadduwa is easily accessible from any part of the country due to its location on the Galle-Colombo main road. Wadduwa beach can be reached with buses or trains and it takes only 1 hours from Colombo, therefore Wadduwa is a popular gateway for an enjoyable day tour. There are many interesting places to explore near Wadduwa and some of them are Gangatilaka temple Kalutara, Kalutara beach, Bawa’s garden, Kande vihara.

Kalutara

Kalutara is one of the popular beach resorts in the country and attracts a large number of sun worshippers every year. Kalutara beach is one of the most spectacular beaches in the country and popular mainly due to its clean and wide sandy beaches. The beach is most suitable for a beach holiday from November to April (during the north-east monsoon), the beaches get washed off during the rest of the year due to the erosion.

Beruwala beach

Beruwala is one of the most popular Sri Lanka beaches on the island with snow-white sandy beaches. It is located about 55 kilometres from Colombo on the west coast of Sri Lanka.  Here you get the opportunity to do water sport and many other fun activities such as whale watching, diving, and snorkelling. There are many places in Beruwala to keep the guests busy during their beach stay of Sri Lanka holidays, visiting mask museum, boat tour on Bentota river, water sports centre, and many Buddhist and a Hindu temple are few of them. By visiting several historical places such as mask museum, Bawa’s garden, Kande vihara, one can get an insight into the history and culture of the island.

Bentota

Romantic beaches of Bentota have located about 60 km from the city of Colombo. By far Bentota is the most popular among all the Sri Lanka beaches in the county and most well developed for tourism today. More than half of the beach holiday lovers base in the Bentota during their beach stays and therefore Bentota is a very crowded place. A large number of foreign visitors opt for Bentota for their beach holidays, therefore Bentota is one of the best-developed resorts for tourism. here you get a large number of tourist hotels with varying prices and varying facilities. Unlike Hikkaduwa, which is a popular beach holiday destination among the budget travellers Bentota attracts a large number of high-0end luxury seekers. There is plenty of recreation activities for beach holiday lovers in Bentota such as boating, fishing, banana boating, surfing, jet scooter riding, snorkelling, diving etc.

Ambalangoda

Ambalangoda and its exotic beautiful beaches are an open secret. Narrow beaches of Ambalangoda are about 83 km from Colombo. Ambalangoda is the centre of mask carving industry in the country. The fishing industry is also playing a big role in the income of the people of Ambalangoda. This vibrant coastal village draws beach holiday lovers from all over the world who readily succumb to its beauty. The best time to visit this beautiful west coast beach is from November to April, this time around the sea is very calm and inviting, sandy beaches are very wide providing plenty of space for sun-worshippers. Ambalangoida is a laid-back city brimming with magnificence from all sides. The options for accommodation may not on par with other major beach resorts on the island but it is not difficult to find a nice place to stay.

stilt fisherman, Sri Lanka Beach Holiday

Hikkaduwa

When you need fund, have no doubt, choose Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka’s fun-filled beach resort on the west coast. This is a beach where you can see a large number of travellers have a sunbath, sea bath, surfing, fishing and snorkelling every day. here you can see relaxing people in beach restaurants and be sipping a glass of arrack (Sri Lankan alcohol), a glass of beer, a glass of wine and many other drinks while exposing their taste buds for delicious Sri Lankan seafood. The wide-sandy beaches are a great place to enjoy your beach holiday. Hikkaduwa is a place for an affordable beach holiday with plenty of accommodation and dining options at varied prices. Whatever the budget you have there is something for your here.

Hikkaduwa is the first in the list of backpacking friendly Sri Lanka beaches and it is the most popular beach resort among the backpacking tourists. Same times Hikkaduwa provides many possibilities for luxury seekers with best hotels for high-end clientele. Hikkaduwa is known to be one of the best places for a beach holiday in Sri Lanka and Hikkaduwa is one of the most visited holiday destinations in the island of Sri Lanka. It is well known for its fascinating underwater world with coral reefs and beautiful beaches. But some of the corals in the seas of Hikkaduwa have been destroyed through lanina effect, the Global phenomenon in which the sea water was warmed. Still, the sea of Hikkaduwa considered being one of the best diving spots in Sri Lanka due to its richness of underwater fauna and flora. Hikkaduwa was badly damaged by the Tsunami in 2004 and most of the beach hotels were severely damaged. Today they are back to normal and most of the properties were upgraded during the renovation. Unlike most of the beaches, several areas in Hikkaduwa can be used for all year round beach holiday in Sri Lanka.

Unawatuna Beach

Unawatuna beach is the most popular Sri Lanka beaches in southern Sri Lanka, Unawatuna is connected to a bay and boasts soft white sand beach, crystal clear water. This is one of the few Sri Lanka beaches that allows you to have year-round sea bath. Unawatuna beach is well developed for the tourism industry and provide plenty facilities for leisure travellers. Unawatuna beach is one of the leading Sri Lanka beaches that attracts a large number of holidaymakers who book Sri Lanka holidays.

Unawatuna is primarily a beach holiday destination with plenty of opportunities for water sports such as surfing, diving, snorkelling, boating, fishing etc. If you really concern about the budget during your Sri Lanka beach holidays, you should seriously think about Unawatuna. Because Unawatuna is one of the best Sri Lanka beaches for budget holidays. Here you can spend your holiday with a budget of $50 per day and Unawatuna is one of the few places that allows you to have a really really cheap holiday. Hikkaduwa is the biggest rival of Unawatuna which known as backpackers paradise in the island. Hikkaduwa is well developed for budget Sri Lanka holidays and it attracts a large number of budget travellers. Whereas Unawatuna is concerned it is also very similar to Hikkaduwa in terms of accommodation facilities, eateries, shopping and all other amenities available for tourists.

East coast Sri Lanka beaches

The most popular beach holiday destinations on the east coast of Sri Lanka are Kalkudah, Pasikuda, Nilaweli and port city of Trincomalee. East coast is best suited for holidays from April to November when the sea is calm and clear and the rainfall is at its lowest.  East coast is not only suitable for sun-worshippers but also it is a heaven for divers.  The shallow waters of east coast harbour a large number of diving sites such s pigeon island. The ea is very shallow and one can walk kilometres into the sea, in some places.

There is a tourism boom in this part of the country (east coast). After thirty years of war doors are open to the east coast and tourists are heading to the coastal belt of eastern Sri Lanka. There had been a large influx of tourists to the east coast just after ending the civil war, mostly the local travellers and they were very eager to explore the unseen beaches for many decades from 1983 to 2009. But now the congestion is over and the beaches have become secluded again, making it a perfect destination for a peaceful beach holiday.

Southern Sri Lanka has been able to gain much of the recent development in the island. The entire region was transformed into a new hub of Sri Lankan economy with the addition of International airport, International harbour, International cricket stadium and newly build the southern expressway. A huge upgrade of the infrastructure believes to accelerate the economic development in Southern Sri Lanka in the coming years. The region has been able to get the attention of international investors. Industries such as tourism, petroleum, electronic will be leading the development in the region and surpass the fisheries and agriculture sectors in terms of economic importance.

In southern Sri Lanka, a large number of hotels is under construction and other infrastructures such as roads, electricity and telephones are also being upgraded. There had been a lack of accommodation facilities for travellers in the region. Apart from several hotels, most accommodation facilities were managed by individual families and they were providing only basic facilities for the travellers. Therefore a large number of tourists were not much eager to drop into these beaches and they have opted to go to west coast beaches such as Bentota, Kalutara, Negombo.

South coast beaches such as Tangalle, Hambantota, Mirissa are fast becoming popular beach holiday destination in the island since the opening of the southern expressway, which curtailed the running time from Airport to the hotels more than 3 hours.  The palm-fringed pristine beaches of Southern Sri Lanka were out of travellers radar mainly due to the lack of accommodation facilities and the prolonged transfer from the international airport. The number of hotels rooms were also added in the region with the opening of new hotels such as Shangri-La, RUI, Anantara.

Apart from the opportunity for a peaceful beach holiday, all these places provide plenty of opportunities for various fun-filled activities such as watersports, whale watching, wildlife exploration, exploring archaeological and historical places.

Nilaveli

  • Trincomalee

Trincomalee is best known for its natural harbour, which played a leading role in the Second World War. It is the 5th largest natural harbour in the world.    it was used as the base for the combined East-Asian fleet for the allied forces. The region is suitable for all kind of water sports and other activities. The region is particularly suitable for fishing, sea angling, surfing and whale watching. Trincomalee is a historical city with a large number of ancient monuments.  Thiriyaya Buddhist temple, Thirukoneswaram and swami rock are some of the noteworthy places in Trincomalee.

  • Nilaveli

Nilaveli is among the best Sri Lanka beaches and shares the most tourist traffic heading to the east coast. The beaches of Nilaveli is the most popular beach in Trincomalee, where a large number of hotels are concentrated. Nilaweli is popular not only as a beach holiday destination in Sri Lanka but also as a place for diving, snorkelling and whale watching. April to November is the best time to hit Nilaveli and you can have the best possible weather during this time with calm and clear water in the ocean, while the sun is pouring its rays on to the wide beaches.

Nilaveli was badly damaged from the 30 years of civil war. Today the peace prevailing in the region and lives of the is back to normal. Several large-scale hotels are completed in order to cater to the increasing number of foreign travellers. The marine park, which is located near Nilaveli showcase rare type of corals and marine animals.

  • Batticaloa

Batticaloa is the shopping city of East Coast and it is the home for singing fish. The beaches of Batticaloa are also attracting visitors but stay behind with regards to the number compared to other beach resorts such as Pasikuda and Kalkudah. Batticaloa is a fishing village and still, the tourism is in its infancy and the development of infrastructure is also lagging behind compared to many other best Sri Lanka beaches. It might be difficult to find luxurious accommodation here and therefore be prepared to be happy with the basic type of accommodation if you wish to go there.

Batticaloa

  • Kalkudah and Pasikuda

These beaches are not usually filled with travellers and this is the place if you enjoy the privacy.  These pristine beaches are most suitable for beach holiday from April to November. Rest of the year is so-called tourist off-season due to the effect of monsoon. Your holiday can be very disappointing if you happen to travel to these areas during the monsoon. Intensive rainfall can occur for many several days and it may be difficult to see the sunlight for many days. If you like to see the sun-drenched beaches during your beach holiday in Kalkudah and Pasikudah you better plan your visit from April to November.

  • Kalkudah

Kalkudah, one of the most attractive beach resorts is about 32 km from Batticaloa. The waters of Kalkudah are suitable for sea bath at any given time of the year due to the protective natural wall formed by the gigantic coral reef. These coral reefs provide protection against the underwater current that might harm the swimmers. Kalkudah is among the best Sri Lanka beaches for many travellers and who had been visiting these beaches over and over again. Even the war was not able to keep them away from these beaches.

  • Pasikudah

Pasikuda is located within the easy reach of Kalkudah and home for a fine bay with crystal clear water.  It attracts a large number of water skiers and windsurfers from all parts of the world. Passikuhad has been able to receive its due attention with the ending of the civil war. A large number of travellers are heading to east coast which accelerated the economic development of the area, invariably benefitting the war-battered poor people.

  • Arugambe

Arugambe is essentially a surfing spot. It is located at the most lower end of the east coast. It is ranked among best surfing spots (3rd best surfing spot among leading 20 surfing places) in the world. It provides easy access to many interesting places such as Lahugala, Kumana, Panama, Okanda as well as Yala. There are 3 major surfing spots in Arugambe with different wave conditions. Even you are a novice at surfing or well experienced you can have the best surfing experience by choosing the best place for your adventure.

  • Pottuvil

Pottuvil is also among the best Sri Lanka beaches and here you get some of the finest places for beach holidays in Sri Lanka. But lack of accommodation for travellers is very evident here. There is no large-scale construction providing luxury and comfort. Several family guest houses and rest houses managed by individuals are the only options for overnight stay. If you plan your holiday in Sri Lanka during the six months starting in April, you have the best chance for a peaceful beach holiday here. But the rest of the year Pottuvil is not suitable for a beach holiday in Sri Lanka, frequent rain, very strong waves, and underwater current isolate you from the beach areas.

Rekawa beach one of the main natural habitat in southern Sri Lanka, where travellers get the opportunity to spot sea turtles.

Southern Coast Sri Lanka Beaches

  • Tangalle

Tangalle is one of the most scenic beaches in southern Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, it is visited by a very limited number of travellers and newcomers is very rare to see. The beaches of Tangalle show very beautiful stone formations along the beach while clean white sandy beaches giving you ample space to lie down. The Crystal clear waters of Indian Ocean around Tangalle gives you the feeling that your way away from the crowd.

Sri Lanka beaches

  • Mirissa

Pristine palm-fringed beaches of Mirissa gives you the maximum satisfaction of a peaceful beach holiday. While the beaches of Bentota and Beruwala are not suitable for sea bath due to the current and strong waves, travellers in Mirissa can have an enjoyable sea bath. Mirissa is the setoff point for whale watching trips due to the very reason Mirissa has been able to earn a reputation as an important city in tourism perspective.

A large number of tourists are gathering here during their holiday in Sri Lanka for whale watching tours. Therefore the demand for accommodation facilities is considerably increased. A large number of privately owned small to medium size properties are providing the accommodation facilities for travellers, who look for a peaceful time on the beach during their Sri Lanka holiday.

  • Hambantota

This is the most southern part of the country and one of the most far away beach holiday destinations to international travellers, who lands in Colombo. Hambantota is among the least explored best Sri Lanka beaches. Maybe the remoteness is the main reason for its negligence among the travellers. But the beaches here are very wide and clean, perhaps better than west coast beaches.

The south coast has been able to claim for its share of beach holiday lovers after the opening of the southern expressway. The travelling time between the airport and southern coast has been drastically reduced due to the southern expressway. The travelling time will be further reduced with the opening of the last leg of the southern expressway from Matara to Hambantota.

Hambantota and other beaches in southern Sri Lanka are fast developing as a beach holiday destination during the last several years and high-end, luxurious hotels such as Shangrila has already fired their grip on the region.

Posted by

Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity tours)

This blog is all about travelling in Sri Lanka, I am trying to illuminate my readers with a wide range of information related to Sri Lanka travel. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you need more information. Furthermore, we can organize your holiday package or any travel related requirement in Sri Lanka. Please contact us on info@seerendipitytours.com

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