Top 10 Paradise Beaches in Sri Lanka

Top 10 Paradise Beaches in Sri Lanka

Top 10 Paradise Beaches in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka beaches are well known for their idyllic looks and beautiful scenery. The country owns many beaches like these. From east to west the beaches vary from long golden ones to the perfect wind and waves. And the best part is, the majority of these Sri Lankan beaches are really as beautiful as you’ve seen in the guidebooks. Visiting beaches is an absolute Must Do in Sri Lanka! This guide to the best beaches of Sri Lanka includes ratings for crowdedness and surfing.

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Sri lanka beaches map

1. Wijaya Beach

Our absolute favorite beach of all the Sri Lanka beaches we’ve seen is called Wijaya beach. It’s a clean, white-sand beach with palms leaning over the water. Don’t be surprised when you see the little turtle heads pop up out of the sea at the end of the day. The coral reef in front of the beach forms a natural swimming pool where you can take a swim.

Read: Great Things To Do in Unawatuna

Season: December to April and July to September
Crowded: A little bit
Surfing: Not great

sri lanka beaches unawatuna palm swing

2. Mirissa beach

Mirissa attracts all kinds of people, surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers. The 2km long Sri Lankan beach, divided by the Parrot Rock is full of great restaurants and bars. Mirissa beach is one of the most well-known beaches in Sri Lanka. The left side of the bay is particularly popular with snorkelers while the right side of Mirissa Beach is a great surfing hot spot. You can climb up on the Parrot Rock by walking through the water, but we didn’t see any parrots.

Read: Things To Do in Mirissa

Season: November to April and August to October
Crowded: Quite popular
Surfing: Good surfing

sri lanka beaches mirissa parrot rock

3. Secret Beach Mirissa

A tiny secluded beach and a little hard to reach. There is one small bar and a local lady selling coconuts. Enjoy an incredible sunset from Secret Beach.

Read: Secret Beach of Mirissa

Season: November to April and August to October
Crowded: A bit crowded
Surfing: Not great

4. Hiriketiya Beach

Hiriketiya Beach, also called Hiri Beach, is getting more and more famous for its waves and surfers find Hiri a perfect place to hang out for a while. Rent a board and maybe get a lesson directly from the guys on the beach.

Season: November to April and August to October
Crowded: A little bit
Surfing: Great surfing

Read: Beautiful Dikwella and Hiriketiya Beach

Hiriketiya Dikwella palm swing header

5. Trincomalee beach

Trincomalee Beach and Nilaveli Beach are 10-minutes away from each other and belong to one of the greatest beaches on the east coast. Tip: From March to August you will have the chance to spot dolphins and whales.

Read: Things To Do in Trincomalee

Season: February to August
Crowded: Quiet
Surfing: Not for surfing

6. Tangalle Beach

Hidden on the south-eastern coast, Tangalle is one of those Sri Lanka beaches that are made for paradise seekers. It’s a little bit hard to reach since it’s dislocated from the usual Sri Lanka route but so worth a visit! Tangalle beach is very quiet and only contains a handful of visible resorts.

If you’re planning to visit in September or October then keep in mind that swimming will be difficult due to big waves.

Season: November to April and May through October
Crowded: Very quiet!
Surfing: Not for surfing

sri lanka beaches tangalle drone

7. Koggala Beach

Koggala is a relatively unknown beach paradise in the deep South of Sri Lanka. It’s located between Unawatuna and Mirissa. The white sand and the few people that are on the beach make Koggala beach a great location to stay for a little while. Koggala also has a small rainforest reserve where they offer boat trips.

Read: Great Things To Do in Unawatuna

Season: December to April and July to September
Crowded: Quiet
Surfing: Possible but not great

8. Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay, located on the east coast, is very famous for its surfing points that attract surfers from all over the world. Many of them make Arugam Bay their home during the surfing period.

➳ Read: Things To Do in Arugam Bay

sri lanka beaches arugam bay

Best Sri Lanka Beaches for Surfing

Yearly International surf competitions are organized in Arugam Bay. It really depends on the tourism of the surf season so please note that some hotels will be closed when you visit outside that season. From Arugam Bay, you can go to Ella or one of the national parks Yala or Udawalawe.

Best time to visit: April until September
Crowded: Popular in high-season
Surfing: Best waves!

9. Unawatuna Beach

Swaying palms, golden narrow sandy beach with a few dozen simple beach bars and restaurants. Unawatuna is the most popular beach of the southern Sri Lankan coast. When you say busy in Sri Lanka, you cannot compare it to the busy beaches of Thailand or Spain. Unawatuna is a great laid back village with the beach located in a bay, which means that you can safely swim.

Read: Things to do in Unawatuna

Season: November to April
Crowded: Popular in high-season
Surfing: Possible but not great

sri lanka beaches unawatuna main beach

10. Hikkaduwa Beach

The beach of Hikkaduwa is one of the Sri Lanka beaches that is located on the west coast and the closest to Colombo. Sunsets on this beach are priceless. It’s good to stay overnight a little bit out of town, as the tourism can be a bit crazy in Hikkaduwa center. Hikkaduwa also has a few huge turtles that swim near the beach.

Season: November to April
Crowded: Yes, popular
Surfing: Great surfing!

Blog comments (73)

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  • Thanks for this blog! It’s been really helpful with planning our trip. We’re in Unawatuna and looking for a good beach and wondered if Wijaya beach is still worth going to? Couldn’t find much online and wasn’t sure how old the blog was. Does it have loungers and parasol? Thanks

  • Hi

    Great blog as always. I was wondering if you know other places than Hidda to swim with turtles? And what about the koggala turtle hatchery? I’m read good things about it but also bad things…

    • Salt in our Hair

      Non on the hatcheries is recommended at this moment. Turtles are in Unawatuna too but it depends on the season which I’m not sure of.

  • Great blog! thank you very much for the tips!

  • Hello guys,

    We are planning to travel to siri lanka on 20th of march for 7 days 8 nights, we are 4 families with kids age ranged from 4-13 yrs, could you please advise the best places to go we are planning to visit 3 places including beaches?

    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi, Mirissa all the way to Unawatuna are great beaches for your needs. If you want to do a Safari, add Yala and Tangalle Beach.

  • Hi Guys
    An awesome blog. I’m planning to visit Sri Lanka in Mid December. My wife is pregnant and we just want a nice, relaxing luxury stay at a top resort with a beautiful beach. I’ve been trying to find a resort with a quiet beautiful beach. However, there are so many options and I cannot decide.
    I would really appreciate your help in recommending me some resorts or guiding me as to which area of Sri Lanka I should book for.

    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi Ali,

      Yes we would recommend Tangalle or Amanwella. Both beautiful! Have an amazing holiday and congratulations on your baby :)

  • Hi, we are a family of 4 (with young teenagers), coming for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year. We have booked a week in Hikkaduwa for Christmas – which I am beginning to regret having read your blog… Can you recommend nice quiet beaches/beach restaurants & bars in the area?
    Also any recommendations for beaches to stay in for the rest of the time? I seem to have left it too late, and am struggling to find accommodation… Many thanks! Janey

  • Hi. I am planning a 7-day trip to Sri Lanka in December with family. Your blogs posts have been so informative and absolutely beautiful, it’s got me so excited for the trip! Considering we have only 7 days, and will be flying in and out of Colombo, am planning Colombo-Ella-Mirissa Beach with 2 nights at each. I would like to try some beginner surfing and snorkeling, so would you recommend recommend Unawatuna over Mirissa? Thank you!
    P.S: Plan to rent a car and drive around, since we are 3 people and will have luggage.

    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi Riti. Thanks for your comment! Sounds like you have a great itinerary. Unawatuna may have slightly calmer waters than Mirissa for snorkelling although both have great snorkelling spots. Another option may also be Weligama. All are beautiful- have a great time!

  • Gamika Premarathne

    Next time you should try pasikuda beach its really nice beach

  • Aww!! Awesome blog, I would like to suggest that Do visit India also, sure you will have a great time there!!

  • Great post! Thank you!
    I am going to visit Sri-Lanka this July 1-7th.
    I can’t find any information about storm in the ocean. I wonder if there is somewhere on these popular beaches? In am not afraid of rain, but afraid of ocean storms.

    • saltinourhair

      Hi Julie, sorry but we don’t know this either. Yes it can be rainy but you might have great weather as well.

  • Hi! Great great great posts really!
    We are coming to Sri Lanka for seven days on the 2nd June and leaving on the 9th.
    Starting Colombo – heading to Danbulla to Sigirya (two nights stay) + Kandy (one night) + Ella (one night) + Galle OR Mirissa OR Unawatuna as the rest (two nights stay).

    Is it only us travelling in June?
    We have a fixed holiday and already booked flight tickets yet a bit worried..
    Our driver told it’s not clear yet but I check the bbc weather all the time it seems rainy with 30-32 celcius.

    What do you the think?

    If it happens to be mansoons all the time at this route, how would you advise us please to tweak the route?

    Thank you!

    • saltinourhair

      Hi! Thank you! :D

      No, you won’t be the only travelers haha. The weather is hard to predict, you should expect to see both sun and rain. The east is best during your visit so you might want to tweak it when the weather seems to get worse.

  • Hi! glad I found your blog, very informative! My husband and I are planning to visit Sri Lanka in mid-July and can’t decide which beach to go to. Do you think Mirissa beach is good at such time of the year? And will it be possible to go snorkeling?

    • saltinourhair

      Hi Rima, Mid-July is the end of rain so we can’t say for sure. Best seasons are from November to April and August to October so you might be lucky.

  • Sharang Gupta

    Hi planning 1 week honeymoon in December. Pls suggest the best beach destinations.

    • saltinourhair

      Tangalle is a very nice area but please check the strength of the waves online because sometimes it’s too strong for swimming.

  • Hello- thank you for your blog post it has been very helpful!!

    From your experience if you had to pick two areas to stay , between unatawuna, Mirissa or Tangalle where would you pick!
    We are looking for good food, some relaxed bars and laidback vibe!

    I’m finding it difficult to decide!! They all look amazing!

    We are travelling at the beginning of April.

    Thank you x

    • saltinourhair

      Hi! Hmm I would say Mirissa and Tangalle. Mirissa and Unuwatuna are quite similar, however, don’t skip Galle Fort near Unawatuna. Enjoy.

  • Hi, so happy I found this, Realky want to travel to Sri-Lanka but finding it difficult to chose which my month to travel, would love to go January, would this be a good time to visit the South west..
    Recommendations needed

    • saltinourhair

      Hi Jodie!
      Yes, January-April and Mid. July-September are the best months to travel Sri Lanka :)
      Have fun!

  • Hi,

    I am traveling solo to Sri Lanka in March and flying in and out of Colombo, I want to travel around for 2 1/2 weeks and so far I have Colombo, Kandy and Ella on my list, I need some beaches for the extra time and so far have Wijaya beach/ Unawatuna beach and Mirissa Beach – do you think they are good options and would you recommend anywhere else in this area that has nice white clean beaches with good sunsets. Turtles would be a bonus. Will there be any opportunities at the beaches I have listed?

    Thank you so much!

  • Best place to get engadged in Feb??? :) (including sunset)

  • Angela white

    We are going to sri Lanka next month, can’t wait.
    We’d like to end with 5 days on the beach, preferably somewhere with a chilled out vibe, good beach, nice restaurants. Where would you recommend for mid/late October as we aren’t sure which will have the best weather.
    Thanks in advance!

    • saltinourhair

      Hmm you’re right in the middle of seasons. Arugam Bay or Trincomalee could still be very nice. Otherwise, I would keep an eye out for Mirissa and if you’d like no tourists check out Tangalle.

  • We’re all booked up for Dalawella for the last 5 night of our trip in Feb! We’re looking forward to exploring Galle, Koggala, Unawatuna and and maybe even Hiriketiya from there! Thanks so much for the tip!

  • Thanks for your detailed blog on Sri Lanka! I used your blog to plan my trip to thailand last year and it was a great help! Klong Dao in Koh Lanta was my fave beach destination there. Where would you suggest gor a similar chilled vibe in Sri Lanka? Im looking for a beach destinatiin for the last 5 nights of my trip in February. I like sunset cocktails and a good selection of restaurants but not too crowded.

    Thanks again for your fabulous work!

    • saltinourhair

      Just outside of Unawatuna (Dalawella) are more quiet beaches. Trincomalee is also great but the beaches are not as nice as in the south.

  • Hey guys,

    Love the blog! I used it when I went to Bali alone last year and had the best time.

    I am tossing up between travelling to Sri Lanka or Turkey in Dec-Jan for 3 weeks. Where would you recommend I stay for a chilled beachside but social area? I love all the good stuff – food, hiking, beach, nature, people, etc. Reading your blog has got me really excited for the end of the year! :)

  • Looking to visit Sri Lanka in a couple of weeks (September) can you recommend a beach that will be good at this time of year? Also did you get hassled by beach hawkers a lot? I know it’s part of travelling but it’s SO exhausting

    • saltinourhair

      Hi! Every beach written here has its good month to visit included. (See the blog) Down south is usually pretty good during September.
      We haven’t had a single problem with hassles in Sri Lanka. (We’ve been twice)

  • Hi!
    Ten eerste, wat een gewelige blog! We zijn onze trip naar Sri Lanka aan het plannen (23 dagen in Augustus!) en hebben moeite met het kiezen van een goede route. We willen graag veel cultuur meekrijgen op het begin en op het einde chillen/yoga/surfen/snorkelen :)
    Voor nu onze route: Negombo (1d) – Anuradhapura + Mihintale (2d) – Trincomalee (2d) – Polonnaruwa (3d, vanuit hier Safari) -Dambulla (1d) – Sigiriya (1d) – Kandy (2d) – Nuwara Eliya of Adam’s peak (2d) – Ella (4d) – Arugam Bay (2d) – Mirissa (3d) maar we realiseren ons dat dit misschien wel heel enthousiast is.. (we houden wel van reizen en vinden het niet erg niet te lang op 1 plek te blijven).
    Gezien het weer overal verschillend is, en we hier niet zo’n goed zicht op hebben vroegen we ons af of jullie ons zouden willen helpen met een keuze:
    – zouden jullie Anuradhapura + trincomalee overslaan? (om zo meer tijd te hebben voor de rest van de route), we hebben nl gehoord dat Polonnaruwa een goede vervanger is voor Anuradhapura, en dan is Trincomalee wel uit de richting, echter schijnt dat in deze tijd van het jaar een goede plek voor walvissen + strand te zijn.
    – zouden jullie Adam’s Peak of Nuwara Eliya kiezen? Is het weer in Augustus goed om Adams Peak te beklimmen?
    – zouden jullie Arugam Bay of Mirissa aanraden? Of zouden jullie beide plekjes 2/3 dagen bezoeken?

    Nogmaals, awesome blog, helpt enorm in de voorbereidingen!

    Liefs, Loes

    • saltinourhair

      Hi Loes,

      Dank je wel! Super leuk om te horen. Inderdaad lekker lang nemen per locatie zodat je niet alleen aan het reizen bent.

      Hmm even kijken, het ligt eraan wat je wilt. Persoonlijk houden we van een mix van strand, natuur en cultuur. Als dat voor jou ook het geval is dan kun je het volgende doen;

      – Negombo (1d)
      – Trinco (3d)
      – Polonnaruwa (1d – niet geweest maar volgens ons heb je hier in een dag alles gezien)
      – Dambulla of Sigirya (2d) (dicht bij elkaar, vanuit hier Lion Rock, Minneriya, Kaudulla National Park bezoeken)
      – Kandy (2dagen, 1 volle dag de stad + botanical garden)
      – Trein van Kandy naar Nuwara Eliya (2 d) (Het regen seizoen loop t/m September, check het weer voordat je vertrekt)
      Stel het weer is heel slecht, dan kun je die dagen beter in Abay (dat is high-season) of aan de zuid kust verdelen.
      – Ella (4d)
      – Arugam Bay (2d)
      – Mirissa (3d)
      – Unawatuna – Galle (2d)
      – Colombo (1d)

      Met deze route beantwoorden we meteen je vragen denk ik :-)

      Heel veel plezier ermee!

  • Hey! I love your blogs about Sri Lanka. It’s really informative :) We are planning to visit Mid July to End, is the weather really that bad? Will visit Sigiriya,Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Mirissa, Unawatuna.

  • Cecilia Jensen

    I did yes! When are you coming back?
    And travel plans for the year?

    • saltinourhair

      Probably next year! We just left :-)

      Travel plans for the year are Oman, Iceland, Indonesia, Philippines and more haha! :-)

  • Cecilia Jensen

    Hi guys
    Are you still in Sri Lanka?
    Skinny Beach House is booked out April but maybe May?
    Happy Sri Lankan New Year

    • saltinourhair

      Hi Cecilia!

      No, we just had the 30-day visa but we will be back for sure! This time we did a trip to document new areas on our blog.
      Did you notice that we were back via Instagram?

      All the best!

  • I am actually laying on Secret beach near Mirissa.. really a little gem. There are now 10 people and one nice bar. Worth a visit. Matteo

    • saltinourhair

      Haha that’s cool! We are actually planning to go here the day after tomorrow since we are in Sri Lanka again. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • sanjeewa Punchihewa

    Thanks for the nice blog post and beautiful pics… by the way how come you failed to hit the western province places like Bentota and Kalutara.

    • saltinourhair

      Thank you! That was just a planning / timing issue. We are heading back in March and April to cover the rest of the country! :D

  • Vincent Knafo

    Just few words.Congratulations and big big thanks !! I’ve just discovered your blog and it s amazing ! really helpful !! Thank you so much :) just a question about drone. did you ask for permission to go through customs with your drone ? Best regards ! Vincent from Paris.

  • Arabian Time Travel Tourism

    Amazing place to visit! there are many good beaches in south Asia where you can have good time!

  • Kasun Jayaweera

    This is a wonderful read on the beaches of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka being my home country I must say it brings justice to its name “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”. Just as you have mentioned we have absolutely beautiful beaches that will take your breath away, but I must say next time you do come over you have to also visit Negombo and do a small write up on it as well. It one of the most visited beaches in the country. Negombo is know for stunning hotels as well. one of my favorites is Hotel Club Dolphin, an absolutely beautiful hotel right besides the beach. Please when you do come over visit Negombo as well.

    • saltinourhair

      Hi Kasun,
      Thanks for your sweet words. We’ve actually been to Negombo :) But not long enough to write a blog about it.
      We’re probably coming back to Sri Lanka next year, so maybe we will contact the hotel. Thanks again!

  • Amazing post..! Really loved it.. nice list of southern beaches with some realistic captures… so nice to see.. Seems like you guys had a great time there… Make sure to visit the beaches of the east and north east on your next visit…Those are are the paradise for surfing.
    Have a great time..!


    Great post on the lovely Southern beaches of Sri Lanka. I really love the beach activities on the Southern part of the island, had nice time with a boat ride in Hikkaduwa, it is simply great.

    I am sure the Eastern beaches too have lots of fun and absolute different holiday experience compare to Southern beaches. Have you been to Nilaveli, Passikudah, Arugam Bay beaches in the east?


    • saltinourhair

      Thanks for your comment! No, we really have to get back to Sri Lanka next year to see the other side of the island.

  • Telma I Blank Canvas Voyage

    Hi Guys! Awesome pictures, as usual :)
    Wondering if you didn’t get to see the iconic Stilt Firsherman in the south of Sri Lanka?
    We are heading to Sri Lanka for 3-4 weeks next month, looking forward to following some of your itinerary, as you have great tips!

  • The Common Wanderer

    This is an awesome rundown of Sri Lankan beaches and it’s making us want to go back and explore them all again! Arugam Bay we missed last time :(

  • Can’t wait to go. Awesome blog guys xx

  • Tof! Ik ga in Januari naar Sri Lanka. Aan deze tips heb ik echt wat! Bij welk hotel/hostel zijn jullie verbleven in Talpe en Kogalle beach?

    Misschien is het ook leuk om jullie route te delen in een blogpost?

    • saltinourhair

      Hi Lidianne! Fijn om te horen dat dit je helpt! Koggale en Talpe waren zeer gemakkelijk te bereiken vanuit Unawatuna. Ongeveer 15 minuten met de motorbike of tuktuk! Wij verbleven zelf dus in Unawatuna.

      We zijn momenteel bezig met een Sri Lanka route artikel, deze komt voor het einde van dit jaar online!

      Hou onze facebook of instagram in de gaten zodat je het artikel niet mist! :)

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