A Beautiful Escape: Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

Nirvana for beach lovers, we share some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, defined by charming golden-hued sands, horizon-less cerulean waters and beautiful landscapes

4 min
Best beaches in Sri Lanka
Author: Penny

Read on to discover the best beaches in Sri Lanka and why they should feature in your customized trip to spectacular Sri Lanka!

Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka boasts an overwhelming 1,340 kilometer coastline and is known for is its beaches, with the warm Indian Ocean waters delightful for swimming. The pristine, gin-clear waters with glinting coral reefs make for great dive locations, while gentle sandbars are ideal for first time surfers.

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
An island nation, Sri Lanka is blessed with soft sands and pristine waters

Beach frolickers are spoiled for choice – choose from long golden beaches to small delicate ones, from wind-lashed and wave-splashed beaches to secluded ones, from laid-back beaches to vibrant ones.

Regardless which you choose, the best beaches in Sri Lanka are bewitchingly beautiful.

No matter which time of year you decide to go beach-hopping in Sri Lanka, you can be rest assured that if it’s raining on one coast, it’ll be sunny on another. Being a tropical country without any distinct wet season, different beaches are best at different times. For sunny weather and calm seas, the best time to visit Sri Lanka‘s southern or western beaches is November – April, and eastern beaches from May – September.

Here’s our guide to what we consider to be some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.

Here is our list of the best beaches in Sri Lanka

Galle Beach

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Quaint and charming Galle Beach

The sleepy port town of Galle with its fine old-walled Dutch Fort, idyllic bohemian vibe and amazing nearby beaches is often the first beach that visitors think of in Sri Lanka.

Devoid of its own beach, Galle is perfect for exploring restaurants, shops and Unawatuna, Thalpe and Wijaya beaches.

Unwind to the sight of azure waters
Unwind, rejuvenate, relax.

Unawatuna Beach, south of Galle, is famous for its 18-karat hued sands, calm opaline waters and beachfront eateries.

This is one of the most beautiful and busiest horseshoe-shaped beaches, with a motley of cafes, shacks, all-budget hotels and ruins of old colonial buildings.

Watch your kids enjoy the gentle waves
Nothing spells fun for kids more than a vacation to a beach

The natural lagoon of Wijaya Beach forms a safe paddling pool for tots, while between the rocks lie many a natural Jacuzzi.

Beautiful sea shell
Take long walks on coconut tree fringed beaches

A couple of kilometers east of Unawatuna lies the unspoiled beach of Thalpe, providing tranquility to visitors unaccustomed to Unawatuna’s fast pace.

Thalpe’s reef with undisturbed golden sand has areas safe for swimming and surfing during the season.

Deep South Beach

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Ah, the magic of the greens and blues.

Nestled on the south eastern-most tip is a piece of paradise, Tangalle Beach. A splendid stretch of off-white sands kissed by azure waters and coconut palms, Tangalle is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.

Tangalle exudes an old-world charm and is the defining point between the panoramic tropical coves of the southwest coast and the long, wave-lashed beaches on the island’s southeastern corner.

Southwest Beaches

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Spend all day working on your tan

A two hour coastal drive from Colombo brings you to the small, picturesque fishing village of Balapitiya. The soft, golden beaches at Balapitiya make it the perfect getaway from mainstream tourist destinations.

Sweet water lagoons and tiny hamlets strewn along the beach can be found.

Nearby beaches include Bentota – a major beach destination, Aluthgama – famous for mask-carvings, Hikkaduwa – a surfers paradise and Galle.

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Warm waters and a gentle breeze await

Bentota Beach is a magnificent palm-fringed beach stretch along the southwest coast. The Beruwala Bay Beach at Bentota Bridge and Bentota Bay Beach just over the bridge, are the most popular coastal twin beaches.

Bentota is rife with busy restaurants, hotels and activities.

Go snorkeling to discover an amazing underwater world
Go snorkeling to discover an amazing underwater world

Calm waters from November to April make Bentota ideal for beach lovers, featuring windsurfing, sailing, water-skiing, diving, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing in traditional canoes. It’s consistently rated by travelers as one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.

An ideal surfing destination
Ready, set, surf!

The coastal town of Hikkaduwa Beach has some stunning beaches with dreamy sunsets and a party atmosphere at night.

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Coral gardens and colorful fishes to be discovered

Snorkeling and diving (to over four nearby shipwrecks) amazes with stunning underwater marine life, while multicolored coral gardens enclosed by limestone protected reefs house a variety of fish and turtles.

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Get an adrenaline high with some fabulous surfing oppurtunities

The shores of laid back Wadduwa Beach are considered the most beautiful here, with waves great for surfing, the long beach curve and clear waters ideal for swimming and the firm beach perfect for volleyball.

Best Beaches in Sri Lanka for Kids

Unawatuna and Uppuveli have the calmest, safest seas for swimming.

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Sand castle time!

Best Snorkeling

Pigeon island off Nilaveli beach with pristine waters, shallow reefs and colorful fish.

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Go scuba diving for an unparalleled sightings of the rich marine life

Best Boutique Hotels

Bentota Beach offers a wonderful collection of boutique hotels in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Unwind in stylish hotels that dot the coast

Best for Whale and Dolphin Watching

Whales and dolphins can be seen all along Sri Lanka’s coast, but Galle and Mirissa Beach are ideal for seeing five whale types and four dolphin types.

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Sri Lanka provides wonderful whale watching opportunities

Best  for Turtle Farm & Hatchery Visits

North of Balapitiya is a turtle hatchery constructed to rescue and protect turtle eggs. Visitors may get to release baby turtles into the ocean at night or perhaps glimpse two very rare albino turtles in conservation.

Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
Release baby turtles into the sea
Sri Lanka's Most Charming Cerulean Beaches - The Perfect Escape
We all need some Vitamin Sea

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