1. Mount Lavinia Beach: The Golden Mile
Located just ten kilometers from Colombo, Mount Lavinia is an excellent beach town with classy hotels as well as budget accommodation options. Romance is where this story begins—between an English officer and a beautiful Sri Lankan dancer. Which is probably why so many people come here for their weddings! History enthusiasts will love the historic Mount Lavinia Hotel, which is the pulse of the city. That’s not all! Treat yourself to delicious seafood, calming Ayurveda treatments, and a long, peaceful day on the beach.
Mount Lavinia is renowned among travelers for its “Golden Mile” of beaches, sea food restaurents, and resort hotels.
A refreshing sea-breeze washes over the town which is studded with villas and hotels.
The Mount Lavinia Hotel is a focal point in the city, and many activities and centers in the town are run by the hotel. This world-renowned five star hotel was the setting for David Lean’s classic “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and attracts many visitors who are hoping to experience a living piece of Sri Lanka’s colonial past. Undoubtedly, the Mount Lavinia Hotel is among the most famous hotels in Sri Lanka for foreign and local tourists alike.
The beach itself in Mount Lavinia is perfect for sunbathing and is also good for swimming. There are waves enough to practise surfing in some areas, although Mount Lavinia is not the best destination for avid surfers, who had better go a bit further south to find their paradise.
How to get in: One can take a bus from Colombo along the route A2 and get down at the Mount Lavinia stop. You can also board a train and get down at the station by the same name [Mount Lavinia station]. Getting around the place is best served by tuk-tuks or taxi-cab, although the bus service is frequent to Colombo, from where it’s easy to move around. It takes about half an hour to reach Mount Lavinia in a taxi from Colombo.
The Bentota River is located close to the coast of the Indian Ocean and provides a perfect mix of tranquility and adventure. The plethora of outdoor activities is sure to entice your wildest need for adventure; from paragliding, scuba diving, parasailing, and snorkeling, to surfing, swimming, fishing boat rentals, and river safari’s, we know you can find something fantastic to fill your time. If you don’t feel like water sports, stop by the turtle hatchery, or take a thirty kilometer bike ride. When you come to Bentota we know you’ll have fun and love it here!
Once of the most cherished excursions available in Bentota is a visit to the “Brief gardens” which are located on the property of an estate a 10 minute drive from Bentota and well worth it. The estate was owned by a former Sri Lankan architect and artist and his gardener still tends to the grounds. The gardens cover about 2 hectares and are groomed with many landscaping styles from British lawns to exquisite Japanese gardens and secret sitting areas.
How to get in: Bentota is only a ninety minute drive away from Colombo. There is a small railway station here but all trains do not stop here. The trains stop at Aluthgama; so visitors can get down there and from there walk the ten minute distance to Bentota. Once you have reached there, there are lots of local tuk-tuks available for transportation. Walking is also another option as the place is small with lovely weather for most parts of the year.
3. Hikkaduwa: The Most Alluring Beach Town in Sri Lanka
One of Sri Lanka’s best known and oldest beach destinations, Hikkaduwa lies on the southwestern coast about 98 kilometers south from Colombo. Being the only coral sanctuary in southern coast, it has garnered quite a bit of fame for itself.
Hikkaduwa is one of the most exotic, alluring beaches along the Sri Lankan coast. In a beautiful place like this, there’s something for everyone!
Animal lovers can visit Hikkaduwa Lake for bird and lizard watching, while surfers can catch the best waves in Sri Lanka at the beach, and religious enthusiasts have several Buddhist temples to explore. Hikkaduwa has a coral sanctuary, which makes for a major tourist attraction, with its many different kinds of coral fishes and shallow water enclosed by the reef. There are tiny islets too in the surrounding area.
If you are adventurous, try exploring shipwrecks off the coat of Hikkaduwa. There are over four shipwrecks to explore under the sea’s surface.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to settle down and relax stop at the Naga Viharaya.
Do you want some home-grown rice and curry? Local restaurants offer delicious Sri Lankan food in a homely ambiance.
The dry season is from November to April and the waves are best for surfing. During the season the little town fills with all kinds of travelers. Monsoon season is from May to October, and many restaurants and shops close their doors until the rains stop. During this time the water can also be a bit rough for swimming and surfing.
Negombo has plenty of short activities for the layover tourist.
The best thing Negombo has to offer is its natural beauty and diverse culture—plan your visit to make the best of your time here!
Head to the beach to admire the sunset and enjoy local food, and for the brave-hearted a visit to the local fish market is recommended.
A boat ride on the Hamilton Canal may be the highlight of any trip to this part of the country.
At the sea-front, the 1678 built Dutch Fort not only stands with its debris, but the green spread out before it, named Esplanade, hosts many a cricket matches. The town’s prison is within the walls of this fort.
The town being at the northern bend, Negombo’s Fish Market overflows with crabs and lobsters and prawns, to say the least. It’s great to watch the fishermen drawing its sail towards the beach and giving up their day’s catch for an auction. There is also another Fish Market across the lagoon bridge.
Nicknamed as Mini Rome, Negombo portrays quite mentionable number of Catholic buildings. The city’s residents are mostly Christian converts. St. Mary’s Church is one such Catholic building. It has its ceilings decked up with huge religious paintings.
Buddhism might be on a decline in this modern town, but there are considerable number of people residing there, who follow Buddhism. Angurukaramulla Temple still pulls visitors with its 6m- high reclining Buddha statue.
Waikkal and Marawila are the two places worth a visit. These are situated 3 Km inland and offers a picture quite unlike that of Negombo. The beaches are long stretches of golden dunes and from restaurants to pubs to hotels, everything stands out.
How to get in: From Colombo, you can come to Negambo either by taxi or by trains or by frequent bus.
5. Wadduwa: A Tranquil Beach and Picturesque Village
Located near Colombo, Wadduwa is a quiet beach town and a place to geet close to envioronment. With top notch beach resorts and delicious cuisines on offer, this place deserve a spot in to do list of anyone having fewdays to spare after visiting Colombo.
Wadduwa is still a laidback fishing village and if you take a stroll, you can still see fishermen hauling in the catch for the day. There’s not much else here other than some bars and the odd restaurant, but this minimalism gives Wadduwa its unique charm. If the big-city rush and madness of Sri Lanka’s bigger resorts leaves you exhausted, this is the place to be.
Wadduwa is located between Colombo and and Bentota, and is an ideal destination for a luxurious, tropical retreat. It is hidden between lush coconut plantations and faces a peaceful beach.
It’s not all about sunbathing here, though. The waves provide endless fun in the form of windsurfing and other water-sports. And on terra firma, you’ve got games like beach volleyball going on.
If you are interested in Sri Lanka’s traditional Ayurveda treatments, Wadduwa is well known for authentic and professional Ayurveda SPAs and Retreats.
You can also go shopping for traditional Sri Lankan handicrafts, masks and wood-carvings in Wadduwa markets. For the ladies, there are boutique and jewelry shops that do not burn a hole in your pocket.
How to get in: Wadduwa can be reached from Colombo Fort (a distance of 30 km). From Kalutara, it is just 12 km to the north and easily accessible by road. If you wish for something other than the sun, sand and sea that Wadduwa has to offer, hop on to the train from Wadduwa. It gives you a great view of the coastline and offers plenty of photo-op opportunities. Of course, the nation’s capital Colombo lies 35 km to the north, so a trip there to catch up is also a good option.
. From windsurfing to kitesurfing, deep sea fishing or swimming in the Indian Ocean, there are a myriad of water sports offered on these beautiful golden beaches.
The waters here are the main habitat for a variety of water animals such as dolphins, whales, tropical fish, and turtles. Catch a glimpse of the rare Sperm whale or spinner dolphins while on a rented boat, or visit the Ruwala Nature Resort and Puttalam Salt Plains.
The Bar Reef is easily accessible from Kalpitiya and is known to be one of the most pristine coral reefs with the greatest biodiversity of any reef in all of Sri Lanka. The reef itself is made up with over 150 different species of corals and 283 species of tropical fish as well as manta rays, reef sharks and turtles. There are several agencies in Kalpitiya offering day trips to the Bar Reef for experienced divers.
In Alankuda beach, there are many resort hotels and backpacker hostels alike and it is the perfect jumping-off point for several tours, especially dolphin watching and diving tours.
The best season to visit Kalpitiya and the Alankuda beach is from October to May during the dry season, and some of the most popular water sports offered in the area include; wind surfing, kayaking, sailing, kite surfing, snorkelling, diving and canoeing. How to get in: There are frequent buses to Colombo from where one can board connecting trains or buses to other places. To travel to/from Puttulam, regular/air-conditioned buses are available in plenty. From there, one can board buses to other places.