Do you love golden sands, warm sunshine, and a day without worry?
Sri Lanka’s best beaches have that to offer—and more! Snorkeling. Scuba diving. Deep sea fishing. Parasailing. There are so many wonderful things to do!
Enjoy water sports on Bentota, go snorkeling in Hikkaduwa, or have the best surfing experience of your life at Arugam Bay. If it’s golden sand beaches that you want, check out Trincomalee, Pasikudah, Bentota, Mount Lavinia, and Negombo. Places like Galle, Jaffna, Batticaloa, and Mullaitivu offer a fresh glimpse into Sri Lanka life, both recent and historical.
As with all of Sri Lanka, there is more than meets the eye!
Here is a list of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. Why not visit them all?
1. Trincomalee and Nilaveli
Trincomalee, a simple harbor town on 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 Trincomalee. 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!
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.
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, Kalkuda and Pasikuda are the beach lounger’s vacation come true.
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!
The name Bentota dates back to a mythical story about a demon named Bem who ruled over the river (tota means riverbank). Some of the most established beach resorts in Sri Lanka are located here.
You will find all kinds of water sports in Bentota, including swimming, bodysurfing, diving, jet-skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, and river safaris. But 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 visits to activity centers. They take local excursions to temples, cinnamon estates, as well as nature resorts. Or sign up for snorkeling cruises, deep-sea fishing, whale watching tours, river safaris, bicycle and jeep tours, as well as yoga and meditation classes.
4. Arugam Bay
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.
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!
Do you like a little flair with your history? You’ll love the city of Galle – A UNESCO declared World Heritage City.
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.
Mirissa is a small beach paradise inside a fishing village. Its beaches are beautiful, pristine, and full of nature. Also, Mirissa offers one of the best blue whale watching opportunities in the world.
Make sure to come between November and March so you don’t get rained out during the monsoon season! With 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 the Indian Ocean. The time spent here would definitely provide you splendid and indelible memories. With numerous accommodation options and remarkable cuisines, this friendly place is loved by many recent travelers to Sri Lanka.
Kalpitiya – the kite surfers’ paradise – is a gem 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 48 kilometers long and 7 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 in Kalpitiya is now available with resorts and hostels.
Located in the Galle district of Sri Lanka, Unawatuna is serene beach town and satisfying escape. With abundant accommodations, a variety of cuisines, and beautiful nature, 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.
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 popular amongst tourists for a long time, 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 snorkeling, dive to a shipwreck, or travel to Hikkaduwa lake and discover the moonstone mines.
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 in Hikkaduwa!
For most vacationers, the beach resorts of Negombo are the obvious choice to start exploring Sri Lanka! Negombo is a small city containing Sri Lanka’s first beach resort and is located just north of Colombo (It’s even close to the airport!). It faces a lagoon and is known for the historical 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 windsurfing to diving to even dolphin watching is available here.
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! Batticaloa is the ideal vacation for people who want to explore religion, culture, and the beauty of Mother Nature.
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.
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, religions, and cuisine, 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 its friendly people and scenic environment. Jaffna has several new hotels for a lavish stay and multiple restaurants offering an endless variety of delicious food.
Have you ever wanted to explore a quaint Sri Lankan fishing village recovering from the scars of conflict? 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 small tourist destination offers glimpses into Sri Lanka’s difficult history, delicious cuisine, and natural beauty you won’t forget.
14. Mount Lavinia
Picture a mile of resorts, perfect beaches, and a sea breeze washing past your villa. Does that excite you? Fantastic! Mount Lavinia is a beach resort town located just 10 kilometers south of Colombo, and is best known for its 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.
Mount Lavinia House, which is now The Mount Lavinia Hotel, is the heart of the city. It attracts movies, wedding parties, beach lovers, and Aryuveda enthusiasts alike.
15. Galle Face
Do you love urban promenades with wide-open spaces and soft lawns? Visit Galle Face Green,
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.
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!
When you come to visit a beach in Sri Lanka, you get so much more! Clearly, Sri Lanka boasts the best beaches in the world!