A Guide To Sri Lanka’s Most Stunning Beaches

Sri Lanka has no shortage of beaches offering everything from long stretches of glistening, untouched sands to lively seafront towns teeming with happy, sunkissed people. Whether you’re a surfer, diver, snorkelling enthusiast or someone who enjoys sipping cocktails on the beach and watching the world pass by, there’s a beach for you.

Let’s explore where you can find the most stunning beaches of this beautiful country.

Ultimate relaxation

The South Coast of Sri Lanka is a beach lovers paradise. If sparkling shores of golden sands and gentle waters lapping soft bays is what you’re looking for, head to the Matara District. Hiriketiya has a distinctly bohemian aesthetic to it, with whimsical craft stores, yoga workshops and plenty of cafés serving delicious titbits, with plenty of vegan options. The beach curves around a horseshoe bay, bringing in smooth waves that are perfect for surfing and swimming.

Sri Lanka has a vibrant collection of marine-life, and Mirissa is the perfect place to see blue whales as they migrate along the coast between February and March, with designated boat trips departing frequently. Dolphins and turtles are also frequently seen around Mirissa, as well as plenty of people snorkelling and surfing in the clear waters. The headland consists of three beaches, each unique in its beauty with rock pools, coconut palms and seafront restaurants waiting to bring you barbecued lobster and a cold beer as you chill out in a hammock.

Photo by Daniel Klein on Unsplash

Away from the crowds

If you aren’t a fan of beach-going with other tourists and are looking for a more authentic experience with the locals, you’re best to head to the East Coast. The wide sandy beaches of Uppuveli, in the Trincomalee District, are largely ignored by tourists and instead are frequented by local fishermen in colourful wooden boats. With swaying palms and fine white sands iconic of Sri Lanka, these beaches are a good place to immerse yourself in the local culture. There are also some shorefront bars to choose from and a few smaller restaurants, serving delicious seafood and Indian dishes.

Marakolliya, in the southeast, is another well-kept secret beach where you can get some solitude with your relaxation. A beautiful elongated arc of sand and turquoise waters hides here, so quiet that turtles frequently nest on this beach, so be sure to tread carefully.

Of course, there are a multitude of perfect beaches in Sri Lanka such as the jungle beach of Unawatuna, but another of our favourites is Goyambokka. This picturesque bay has a few low-key beach cafés and little but the local people and abundance of marine-life to keep you company as you snorkel along the calm shore.

A Guide To Sri Lanka's Most Stunning Beaches
Photo by Tomáš Malík on Unsplash

Water Sports

If you’re keen to dive in with your surfboard, Arugam Bay is the best place to find laid-back surfing vibes. Known as Sri Lanka’s best surfing beach, the breaks are a great place to enjoy the stunning scenery of this moon shaped shoreline. The area also features eclectic restaurants, bars and a bustling nightlife scene where beach parties happen often.

The West Coast of the country is an excellent spot to stay if you enjoy a bit of kite-surfing, with strong winds gracing the azure waters between May and September. Kalpitiya is largely untouched by tourism as of yet, and is one of the best hidden gems of Sri Lanka. Home to Spinner dolphins, Sperm-whales and sea-turtles, a busy coral reef and the Wilpattu National Park not far away from the beach, this is a great place to explore the tropical wildlife.

Where will you go first?

Ultimately, whichever shore you choose to explore in Sri Lanka, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. So, grab a snorkel and enjoy soaking up the sun as you discover the abundance of dreamy bays this stunning country has to offer.

A Guide To Sri Lanka’s Most Stunning Beaches

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