15 Stunning Beaches of Sri Lanka!

Do you love golden sands, warm sunshine, and a day without worry? Sri Lanka’s best beaches has that to offer—and more! Historical sites. Snorkeling. Scuba diving. Deep sea fishing. Parasailing. There are so many wonderful things to do!  But why choose just one place? Here is a list of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.

Why not visit them all?

Image of Beautiful untouched beach at Nilaveli
Untouched Nilaveli beach, Can a beach get any more pristine?? | Source:  shutterlk/Shutterstock.com

1. Trincomalee and Nilaveli

Image of Boulders around the coast of Pigeon Island
Boulders around the coast of Pigeon Island near Nilaveli village | Source:  Matyas Rehak/Shutterstock.com

Trincomalee, a simple harbor town in Sri Lanka’s east coast, is probably the most romantic beach experience Sri Lanka has to offer. From its gorgeous beaches to delicious dining experiences Trincomalee is a dream holiday come true!!!

Nilaveli is the crown jewel among many gorgeous beaches in Tricomalee. One of the cleanest and still untouched beaches in all of Sri Lanka. The waters are calm and shallow – perfect for exploring the sea and the treasures hidden within. The endless stretch of pristine beach filled with white sand and tranquil water makes people want to stay forever!

Image of Nilaveli beach in Trincomalee
Nilaveli beach in Trincomalee | Source:  Kenneth Dedeu/Shutterstock.com

Pigeon Island just few kilometers away from the Nilaveli beach provides a chance to experience a true desert island in the Indian Ocean. It is one of the only two declared national marine sanctuaries in Sri Lanka with other one in more crowded Hikkaduwa. Pigeon Island offers an excellent snorkeling experience with its colorful corals and marine species.

Trincomalee is also one of the best places in the entire world for Blue Whale watching. Make sure you vist during May – October if you would love a close encounter with the giants of the planet.

Image of Pigeon Island National Park near Nilaveli village
Pigeon Island National Park near Nilaveli village | Source:  Matyas Rehak/Shutterstock.com
Image of Koneshwaram temple Trincomalee
Koneshwaram temple Trincomalee | Source:  shutterlk/Shutterstock.com
Image of Fort Frederick Trincomalee
Fort Frederick Trincomalee | Source:  Gerardo C.Lerner/Shutterstock.com

The miracle of Trincomalee is the Kinniya hot springs, a must visit for anyone who wants to see wonders. Other noteworthy experiences in Trincomalee include scuba diving around shipwrecks belonging to world war II era and visiting the Koneshwaram Temple which offers stunning views and great cultural insights.

Also, the picturesque Dutch Bay in Trincomalee town overlooking the harbour and open seas attracts many with its beauty and rich history.

We suggest you stay 3 days in Nilaveli, dedicate one just to enjoy the beauty of Nilaveli beach. Use the other 2 to go explore Pigeon Island, go Whale watching, and explore the sites of Trincomalee. But if you have got only 1 day, stay it in Nilaveli and explore Trincomalee on your way back.

Image of Beautiful Tropical beach
Pasikuda for Sunsets | Source:  Saman527/Shutterstock.com

2. Pasikuda and Kalkuda

Kalkuda and Pasikuda doesn’t have the bright tourism light shining on it yet, and therefore, now is the time to beat the crowd and visit these quaint beach towns.

From the shallow water that lets you walk deeper into the oceans than any other beach on the island to the breathtaking sunsets and endless stretch of beaches, this is the beach loungers vacation come true.

Image of Palm tree and Stone in water on the beach Pasikuda
Pasikuda Beach | Source:  Amateurs/Shutterstock.com
Image of Pasikuda popular resort
Pasikuda popular resort | Source:  Amateurs/Shutterstock.com
Image of Beach on the Indian Ocean island of Pasikudah Sri Lanka
Pasikudah | Source:  Olegmalyshev/Dreamstime.com

Snorkel, scuba dive, and swim your way through the vacation. Sleep to the sounds of the ocean, dine under the stars, roll about the pristine sandy beaches and swim in the clear water of Kalkuda and Pasikuda beaches while you make memories that will last a lifetime and have you coming back whenever you can.

The perfect sandy beaches, golden sunshine and clear waters paint the perfect picture for a vacationer and Kalkuda and Pasikuda fits the bill like no other!

3. Bentota

Image of wonderful holiday on Induruwa beach
Induruwa beach in Bentota | Source:  fifty2d/Shutterstock.com

The name Bentota dates back to a mythical story about a demon named Bem who ruled over the river (tota means riverbank). You will find all kinds of water sports in Bentota, including swimming, bodysurfing, diving, jet skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, and river safaris. Some of the most established beach resorts in Sri Lanka are located here. But don’t worry! There’s more than just water sports! Visit the Turtle Hatchery Project, where turtle eggs are protected until they hatch and returned to the wild. Culture enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Malubanna Activities Centre. They take local excursions to temples, cinnamon estates, as well as nature resorts. Or sign up for snorkelling cruises, deep-sea fishing, whale watching tours, river safaris, bicycle and jeep tours, as well as yoga and meditation classes. World class or budget accommodations await even the pickiest traveler.

Image of Exotic house to Bentota River
Exotic house to relax on the Bentota River | Source:  LIUDMILA ERMOLENKO/Shutterstock.com

4. Arugam Bay

Image of Surfing at Arugam bay beach
Surfing at Arugam Bay beach | Source:  Miles Astray/Shutterstock.com

The ultimate vacation destination by the beach, Arugam Bay offers a bit of two worlds, for both the adventurer and the tranquil wanderer in you. Whether you catch the highest waves at the hottest surf points or take a few lazy walks, read your books and people watch your way through the vacation, this is the place to be at. Feel the highs at the adventure spots and reflect on the perfection that Arugam Bay is at those cozy nooks by the beach. Sleep in well-made beds and wake up to the sounds of the ocean, refreshing change is it not? Exotic food, cold drinks, sunshine, adventures, hidden beach trails, beautiful people, breathtaking views and a town that is known for its hospitality and never ending activities, Arugam Bay will quench your thirst for a break, no matter what you crave!

5. Galle

Image of Galle Fort in sunny day view
Galle Fort in sunny day view | Source:  Efimova Anna/Shutterstock.com

Do you like a little flair with your history? You’ll love the city of Galle. It’s situated on the south-western tip of Sri Lanka. Galle is a town of color, texture and sensation unlike anywhere else in Sri Lanka. It is at once endlessly exotic—bursting with the scent of spices and salty winds—and yet vaguely familiar, with its collection of slowly decaying Dutch-colonial buildings. The highlight of this city is the Old Galle Fort, of course. It’s living history, and the view is stunning. Galle also boasts of having the Maritime Archeology Museum, the Folk Museum, and a National Park that is a well-known biodiversity hotspot. If you want luxurious resorts to relax in, there are plenty of those too! Try out several delicious local restaurants, prop your feet up at the end of a long day, and look out on the ocean. Don’t miss a visit to this charming old town!

6. Mirissa

Image of Mirissa beach
Mirissa beach | Source:  Janos Somodi/Shutterstock.com

Mirissa is a fishing port and a small beach paradise. With numerous accommodation options and remarkable cuisines, this friendly place should definitely be on your to-do-list. Make sure to come between November and May so you don’t get rained out during the monsoon season! With our mild weather, you can swim, snorkel, surf, or sun on our soft sand beaches. Enjoy the rare experience of getting close with the gigantic blue whale. Or simply sit on the beach and appreciate the magnificence of Indian Ocean. The time spent here would definitely provide you splendid and indelible memories.

7. Kalpitiya

Image of Kitesurfers at the Kalpitiya beach
Kitesurfers at the Kalpitiya beach | Source:  saiko3p/Shutterstock.com

Kalpitiya is a quiet gem along the west cost—especially for water sport enthusiasts! Located on a peninsula about one hundred and fifty kilometers north of Colombo, Kalpitiya has a strategic location nestled between a lagoon and the sea. The peninsula is forty eight kilometers long and seven kilometers wide. Stunning beaches dot either side! Don’t miss the fourteen islands in the sea and in the lagoon. If you’re not up for beaches, Kapitiya offers Wilpattu National Park, the Bar Reef, and many other wonderful features. Thanks to a major tourism development program, Alankuda beach is now available with resorts and hostels. It’s the perfect place to find a tour and start exploring!

8. Unawatuna

Image of Jungle beach Unawatuna
Jungle beach Unawatuna | Source:  Diego Fiore/Shutterstock.com

Located in the Galle district of Sri Lanka, Unawatuna is serene beach town and satisfying escape. With abundant accommodations, a variety of cuisines, and fantastic nightlife, you can indulge in a truly relaxing getaway. Don’t miss the turtle hatchery, Mihiripenna Beach, or a local fishing charter. Locals will tell you the best cuisine is the fresh seafood and friendly hospitality—with beaches right outside your door. Literally! There are so many opportunities to relax and enjoy your family vacation, you won’t want to leave Unawatuna.

9. Hikkaduwa

Image of Hikkaduwa's beach and night life
Hikkaduwa’s beach | Source:  Naumenko Aleksandr/Shutterstock.com

Hikkaduwa is one of Sri Lanka’s most tempting beach destinations. It lies on the southwestern coast, about ninety-eight kilometers south of Colombo. Hikkaduwa is most popular amongst tourists, boasting some of the best surfing waves on the island. If you want more than just time to work on your tan, check out Hikkaduwa Coral Sanctuary, go snorkelling, dive to a shipwreck, or travel to Hikkaduwa lake and discover the moonstone mines. Do you crave homegrown rice and curry? Great! Visit the local restaurants for a homey ambiance and delicious cuisine. Many hotels sit on the beach here, so you can prop your feet up at the end of a long day and appreciate the gorgeous sunset. Whether you’re a surfer, snorkeler, diver, or sun worshipper, you will find your place right here in Hikkaduwa!

10. Negombo

Image of Negombo beach
Negombo beach | Source:  Goran Bogicevic/Shutterstock.com

For most vacationers, the beach resorts of Negombo are the obvious choice!  Negombo is a small city containing Sri Lanka’s first beach resort and is located north of Colombo. (It’s even close to the airport!) It faces a lagoon, and is known for a one hundred meter canal that runs through the city. You can even get a unique perspective on the city by touring from a canal boat tour! Thanks to well-maintained, sandy beaches, water sports also have a major place in Negombo. Shops and schools abound in this quaint little spot. Everything from wind surfing to diving or even dolphin watching.

11. Batticloa

Image of Traditional fisherman in dugout canoe Batticalao
Traditional fisherman in dugout canoe Batticalao | Source:  Utopia_88/Shutterstock.com

Beaches connect us to Mother Nature, ourselves, and to a fresh perspective. Fortunately, Batticaloa—the land of the singing fish—is the ideal location to provide that experience! The beaches in this peaceful town are pristine, with fine white sand and a quiet ambiance. If you listen at night, you can hear fish singing from a nearby lagoon. Seriously! The beach also offers exciting sports, safe swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Restaurants abound with delicious local and foreign cuisine. Whether you want a resort, or simply a place to crash at the end of a fun day, there’s all kinds of accommodations here for you. Batticaloa is the ideal vacation for people who want to explore religion, culture, and the beauty of Mother Nature.

12. Jaffna

Image of Sunset of Nagadeepa boat yard in Jaffna
Sunset of Nagadeepa boat yard in Jaffna | Source:  shutterlk/Shutterstock.com

If you’ve come to Sri Lanka for a piece of ancient history, Jaffna is the place to go. The city itself is one of the oldest human habitation sites in South Asia and is populated by Tamil people. For tourists fascinated by different cultures and religion, Jaffna is a mecca! You could spend days exploring the many Kovils (Hindu temples), Catholic churches, convents, mosques, and other religious buildings. Despite all these wonderful places, Jaffna is best known for all for its friendly people and scenic environment. After years of occupation, Jaffna has settled into a peaceful, tourist friendly area with undergoing developments. Jaffna is a melting pot of influences from various cultures and a truly unique destination. Jaffna has many hotels for a lavish stay and multiple restaurants offering an endless variety of delicious food.

13. Mullativiu

Image of Farah III shipwreck
Farah III shipwreck in Mullaitivu | Source:  caorarua/Shutterstock.com

Have you ever wanted to explore a quaint Sri Lankan fishing village? Mullaitivu is the place for you! This small village situated on the northeastern coast of Sri Lanka has long been an anchoring harbor for goods transported between Colombo and Jaffna. Right now, tourism is not yet highly developed here. Many battles had been fought in the region since 1983 in the Sri Lankan Civil War. Fortunately, the future of Mullaitivu is bright! This area is being redeveloped and offers superb eco-tourism opportunities. The beaches near Mullaitivu are serene and gorgeous. This upcoming tourist destination offers glimpses into Sri Lankan history, comfortable accommodations, delicious cuisine—and lots of it—as well as natural beauty you won’t forget.

14. Mount Lavinia

Image of Hotel near a tropical beach in colombo sri lanka
Legendary Mount Lavinia hotel and beach | Source: Michael Smith /Dreamstime.com

Picture a mile of resorts, perfect beaches, and a sea breeze washing past your villa. Does that excite you? Fantastic! That means Mount Lavinia is where you need to visit.

Mount Lavinia is a beach resort town located just ten kilometers south of Colombo. It’s best known for the Golden Mile of beaches and resort hotels. It’s one of the few relaxing escapes near the busy capital.

The origin of the name of the town is based on a beautiful—and true—story. In the early 19th century, the Governor of Ceylon, Sir Thomas Maitland, fell in love with a local dancer who performed at one of his parties. He defied convention and had her brought to his mansion by a secret tunnel. When Maitland had to leave Sri Lanka, he named the manor after his lover: Mount Lavinia House. The Mount Lavinia Hotel is the heart of the city. It attracts movies, wedding parties, beach lovers, and Aryuveda enthusiasts alike.

15. Galle Face

Image of Panorama Galle Face Green in Colombo Sri Lanka
Galle Face Green promenade in Colombo | Source: TellyVision /Dreamstime.com

Do you love wide open spaces and soft lawns?

Galle Face Green is a five-hectare stretch of lawn facing the Indian Ocean. The Dutch originally cleared the area in order to give their cannons in the fort a clear line of fire.

The Galle Face Green is today the largest open space in the city of Colombo and has become a popular public space. A light sea breeze wafts in from the ocean, and the green grass is soft and lush. On one end of the Green you find the Galle Face Hotel, one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and most popular hotels. Woodcarvings adorn the building, as well as high ceilings and balconies. At the other end of the green is the old Parliament building, now used as the Presidential Secretariat. Food vendors fill the Galle Face every weekend. Keep an eye out for children flying kites, cricket and football games, and joggers using the open space as a natural gym. There’s a little bit of everything at the Galle Face. We know you’ll love it here!

Clearly, Sri Lanka boasts the best beaches in the world! Enjoy water sports on Bentota, or go snorkeling in Hikkaduwa. There’s so much sealife to see down there! Places like Galle, Jaffna, and Mullaitivu offer fresh glimpse into Sri Lanka life, both recent and historical. If it’s golden sand beaches that you want, check out Mount Lavinia, Negombo (famous for holding Sri Lanka’s first resort!) and Batticloa. As with all of Sri Lanka, there is more than meets the eye! You can spend your day relaxing on the beach, or exploring local religious places, delicious eateries, or other exciting places like Wildlife Sanctuaries.

When you come to visit a beach in Sri Lanka, you get so much more!