A girl surfing amidst the waves of Arugam Bay

What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the name ‘Sri Lanka’? Surely, it should be the golden sandy beaches that lie surrounding this splendid island. Yes, of course, beaches in Sri Lanka are one of the most significant features that make this land well known. The roaring mighty blue waves, the fringe of coconut palms that stand tall, the rays of sunshine, and the astonishing underwater environs further enhance the splendor of these beaches. Thus, beaches in Sri Lanka hold an irreplaceable place in the hearts of thousands of visitors worldwide.

Certainly, it is not only this scenic beauty that makes the Sri Lankan beaches stand high among the rest. They are sites that could make a bunch of your dreams a reality. If you are dreaming of a place to relax and soothe yourself, they would provide you the perfect atmosphere for that. If you are planning to indulge yourself in an ultimate surf, dive or snorkeling, still, Sri Lankan beaches are the best. Moreover, if you are dreaming of an unforgettable weekend getaway, why not? These gorgeous gleaming shores are awaiting to welcome you with love.  

Of course, beaches here tops in the list of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka, as well as in the world. Moreover, a cluster of luxurious resorts and villas, as well as budget hotels are awaiting on the coastline, to serve you with the best you can imagine of. Needless to say, a visit to a beach here would undoubtedly be a trip of a lifetime that fills your soul with a true sense of joy. So what are you still waiting for?  Make sure you add these beaches in Sri Lanka, to your list of ‘must-visits’.

Choosing the Best Beach for You to Visit

Being an island, Sri Lanka is blessed with a coastline that spreads over hundreds of miles. This simply means that this country is bestowed with a number of scenic shores around. Thus, it is not surprising if someone has a doubt of choosing the best among them. Nothing to worry! We are here providing you a full guide on finding the right spot at the right time. However, the coast that you pick as the best, might not be the best for another! Precisely, that is because the best beach to visit in Sri Lanka solely depends on a few factors. Wondering what they are? Take it easy! All of them are lined up just for you.

Below are some of the factors that will help you in selecting the best beach for you to visit.

What are the activities that you plan to do in Sri Lanka?

Of course, Sri Lanka has got plenty of exciting activities that would certainly enchant your heart beyond words. Among them are a good collection of water activities such as snorkeling, surfing, diving, dolphin watching, and fishing. However, the nature of the blue waves of the Indian Ocean makes certain areas ideal for specific water activities. Therefore, it is important to consider your interests when picking the best coast for you to visit.

During which time of the year are you planning to visit Sri Lanka?

Surely, Sri Lanka is an island that is well known as a year-round destination. It is blessed with plenty of sunshine over the year. Still, two main monsoons influence this land by bringing rain to different areas in different time periods. Hence, deciding when to visit Sri Lanka, would obviously help you solve a series of doubts that you will get when planning your journey ahead. Following your decision on when to visit Sri Lanka, you can check the weather and climate of that area through the official website of the Department of Meteorology, Sri Lanka. This will help you in avoiding times that would have a high possibility of natural disasters.

What will be your budget and what will be your expectations?

This is a definite factor that would influence several decisions. Yet, open discussions about this subject is a bit rare. When considering the real scenario, some of us would love to enjoy our stays with luxurious comfort and international cuisine. Meantime, some of us would love to experience a stay at a simple bungalow. However your desire is, the Sri Lankan coastline has got them all, and wherever you go, genuine Sri Lankan smiles and hearts would serve you at their best. But do remember, accomodation and other facilities during the peak seasons would go quite high, yet you would find many for affordable prices.

First things first! Before anything else, just do a bit of thinking to figure out your answers for the above questions. If it is already done, explore the sections below. We have lined you up the top ranking beaches in Sri Lanka that anyone would pick as the best. Surely, they have got many and more things to amaze you with. So visiting them would be one of the best decisions that you ever make!

The Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

All of the beaches below are lovely stretches for nice walks, and to experience the scenic sunsets. Apart from that, each of them have a set of significant things, about which we will discuss later.

  1. ArugamBay
  2. Bentota Beach
  3. Kalpitiya Beach
  4. Hikkaduwa Beach
  5. Galle Beach
  6. Koggala Beach
  7. Mirissa Beach

Now, knowing what they are, let us have a look at where they are located on this magical island, their significance, and the best time periods to visit them.

Arugam Bay

Lovely Arugam Bay is simply one of the most picturesque beaches in Sri Lanka. Moreover, it has got perfect waves for surfing, and its famed point is considered as the best surf point in this land. Further, the shallow waters around are ideal for water activities such as snorkeling, diving and wading. And why not? You can even book a boat ride to go on a search for dolphins as well!  

The golden sand, sparkling sun rays and the blue waves of Arugam Bay collectively create a breathtaking view. Thus, it is widely used as a location for photography. Besides, perfect waves there create ample opportunities for underwater photography as well.

In addition, the surrounding area of Arugam Bay has got everything you need to enjoy your stay. Casual Lodgings, village guest houses,bungalows and cabanas are available for affordable prices. However, it is the warm smiles and innocent hearts of the villagers that make your Arugam Bay visit the most comfortable and significant. 

Location of Arugam Bay

The village of Arugam Bay is located towards the southern end of the East coast of Sri Lanka. Specifically, it is in a proximity of around 400 km away from Colombo. You can simply get a bus from Colombo to reach Pottuvil, a nearby town, and then get to Arugam Bay using a tuk or a  taxi service. The ride from Colombo will take around 7 hour approximately. 

Best Time to visit Arugam Bay

The period between March to October is the peak season for surf tourism in this area. Rainfall is at the lowest during that time, so it is the ideal time for other water activities around Arugam Bay as well. However, if the rain doesn’t disturb, it is always an excellent place to relax and chill while enjoying its charming beauty.

Other place that you can visit around Arugam Bay

  • Pottuvil lagoon: It is a tranquil lagoon area that draws visitors by the charms of its beauty.
  • Yala National Park: The second-largest national park in Sri Lanka, which accommodates a variety of wild animals.
  • Hulannuga Caves: A not so popular site that houses a statue of Lord Budhdha, which is situated on a top of a hill in the vicinity.

Bentota Beach

If you are ever planning for a beach holiday, or a weekend getaway, Bentota Beach would be your best choice. It is a scenic coast that houses a resort complex with several resorts, villas, shopping arcades, cafeteria and theatres. Yes, it might sound like a modernized city with hustles and bustles. Yet, believe us, this is one of the calmest and peaceful beaches to relax and soothe yourself. 

This area also provides a perfect atmosphere for a series of water activities. The lonely waters there are rich with the finest deep sea fish species. Thus, Bentota is ideal  for an unforgettable deep sea fishing experience.  Moreover, you can even indulge yourself in many more exciting water activities such as banana boat riding, rafting, kayaking and canoeing.

Location of Bentota Beach

Bentota is located in the Galle district, in the southern coast of Sri Lanka. It is 62 km away from Colombo, and easily reachable from both the cities Galle, and Colombo. If you are taking a bus from Colombo, you have to take a bus that goes to Aluthgama, which is around 2 km away from Bentota, and then take a tuk, taxi or another bus to reach your destination. A bus ride would approximately take nearly 3 hours, yet a train ride would be faster. You can get a train to Aluthgama from Colombo fort, but those trains are not that frequent.            

Best Time to visit Bentota

By chance, if you are planning to have fun in the middle of blue water, the perfect season for Bentota visits would be from November to April. Unless it’s rainy, you can even plan your visit in the rest of the months as well.

Other places that you can visit around Bentota

There are no significant sites around Bentota for you to visit. Still, there are plenty of places in the shore and around that you surely can enjoy. Below are few of them.

You can,

  • experience a few hours with turtles, and release a few of them to the seas at the aquatic life protection centers in the vicinity.   
  • enjoy a relaxing spa and the ayurvedic centers in the resorts, 
  • And witness the beauty of folks and mask dances in open air theaters.

Kalpitiya Beach

Of course, this is one of the finest stretches of sand that surely makes another notable addition to the stunning beaches of Sri Lanka. And you know what? Dolphins and Whales swimming around are prevalent in these waters. So, Kalpitiya beach keeps attracting more and more whale and dolphin lovers there. Surely, it is the beauty of these playful magnificent sea creatures that make your tour wonderful than ever.

Apart from that, this shore offers you an excellent spot for a perfect sun and sand holiday in this paradise. Hence, it continues to attract both locals and tourists. Besides, a bunch of bungalows and villas nestled in the vicinity of the coast, are awaiting there to welcome you with happy hearts. All these together make Kalpitiya Beach a lovely place for a memorable stay.      

Location of Kalpitiya Beach

Shores of Kalpitiya lie upon the Northwest Coast of Sri Lanka, and belong to the Puttalam district. To be more specific, this sunny and warm area is located around 165 km away from Colombo. Of course, it would be a ride of nearly 3 hours, yet reaching there is not that hard. You can simply get a bus from Colombo, to Puttalam. Kalpitiya is 23 km away from Puttalam, and you can use another bus or a taxi service to reach there.  

Best Time to visit Kalpitiya

Best time to visit Bentota is from November to March. You can easily spot a great number of whales and dolphins during this time. Apart from that, all the other days with a fine weather would create you the opportunity to relax and spend some quality time here.  

Other places that you can visit around Kalpitiya

  • Of course, you can enjoy the beauty of the verdant landscapes and vibrant fluttering birds, if you visit the Kalpitiya Lagoon.
  • Further, kitesurfing stretches along the long sand route of Kalpitiya, would be a perfect spot for you to indulge yourself in some fun. Wellai island is one such popular place which allows you to kite in flat and shallow waters.

Hikkaduwa Beach

Hikkaduwa Beach, also known as ‘Hikka’, is undoubtedly a place that promises a unique splendour of its own. Its magic has made it popular not only among the Sri Lankans, but also among millions of tourists across the globe. Below its waters are a delightful coral garden, which makes it one of the most popular underwater garden attractions in the country, as well as in Asia. This area was also declared as a wildlife sanctuary a few decades ago, to protect its wonders to the future. Thus, we would suggest that exploring its beauty is a must, yet enjoying without harming it is the best.

Moreover, playing among the mighty waves of Hikkaduwa is one of the best experiences that you can ever have. There are plenty of water activities that you can give yourself to. Snorkeling, surfing, and whale watching are the most popular among them. Further, Hikkaduwa houses a wide range of luxurious hotels, and nightclubs where you can relax and enjoy at its best. By chance, if you find them quite expensive, nothing to worry about! The villas and resorts around would always give you a choice that suits your budget.

Location of Hikkaduwa Beach

Hikkaduwa is a small town in the southern province, and thus, its sandy shores lie upon the south coast of the island. It is closer to the city of Galle, and is nearly 100 km away from Colombo. Reaching Hikkaduwa is quite easy. You can either take a highway bus from Colombo to Galle, and take a taxi or another bus to Hikkaduwa. If not, you can reach Galle by train. Still, the drive of around 15 km to Hikkaduwa from Galle, should be taken in any of the above mentioned methods.     

Best Time to visit Hikka

Many say that March to September is the best time period to visit Hikka. The waves are ready to give you the perfect fun, along with the warmth of the sun during those days. Unless it is rainy, you can make any other day the best time to visit Hikkaduwa as well.

Other places that you can visit around Hikkaduwa

By now, you know that Hikka has got  marvellous oceanic views and underwater ecosystems. Thus, if you are an ocean lover, you surely have many and more places to visit around.  Below are few of them.

  • Hikkaduwa National Park: This is one of the main marine national parks in Sri Lanka. It is a perfect place for you to witness and learn about the wonderful underwater biodiversity.
  • You can learn and witness the corals, as well as about the life of turtles, at the Coral sanctuaries in the vicinity.   
  • Moreover, you can also enjoy the Hikkaduwa Beach Festival, which happens over days in the months of July or August, focusing on this town.

Galle Beach

It is the Galle Beach that bounds the fortified city of Galle built by the Portugues. Hence, the blue waves coupled with the colonial architecture make it a must visit for all the tourists worldwide. Accordingly, it has now become one of the most visited beaches in Sri Lanka.Therefore, Galle beach is quite crowded most of the days. Due to the scenic views that it creates along with the Galle Fort, many choose it as a spot to enjoy the evenings and soothe their souls.

Dondra point, the southernmost spot in Sri Lanka which is perfect for whale watching is just easily accessible through Galle. So, many who visit Galle never forget to go searching for the gigantic whales as well. Besides, Galle beach is popular for water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and banana boat rides. Further, Galle is a coast which nestles hundreds of resorts and luxurious hotels for affordable prices. So, a holiday in Galle would be a perfect stay with true joys of beauty, fun, and comfort.    

Location of Galle Beach

Galle is around the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka, and belongs to the Southern Province. Further, it is 119 km away from Colombo, yet easily reachable in a highway bus which approximately takes around 1 hour to reach Galle. Of course, you can even reach Galle by train. If you plan to visit the beach by the Galle fort, it is just a walking distance from the Galle main bus stop. By chance, if you are planning to explore more, you will certainly need a tuk or a taxi for your convenience.

Best Time to visit Galle

The best time to visit Galle is normally between September to March. Yet, it is more popular as a year round destination. 

Other places that you can visit around Galle

By now, you certainly know that Galle is a city of beauty and culture. So, there are many and more places to visit around. This is the sole reason that makes Galle top among the best lists of every traveller. Here are some of the popular attractions in the city.

  • Galle Fort: This is of course a living city filled with fine restaurants and shops, and is surrounded by huge walls of the colonial era.
  • Museums: Galle houses a number of museums such as, Maritime Archeology Museum, Historical Mansion Museum, and the Galle National Museum
  • Rumassala mountain: It is a hilly area that leads to a fascinating environment. It is home to hundreds of beautiful creatures and it is not that hard to reach it.
  • Japanese Peace Pagoda: This is one of the buddhist temples located amidst the verdant scenic views. It is on the top of the Rumassala Mountain, and is visible to the Galle city itself.
  • Jungle Beach: If you find the Galle beach a bit crowded, this would be the best choice for you. The path through a small forestry area leads you to the jungle beach, and it is a perfect place to enjoy with breathtaking verdant surroundings.

Koggala Beach

Koggala Beach is another spectacular tropical site, which endows heavenly features of a paradise. Moreover, the palm fringed shores here are known as the longest beach in Sri Lanka. The sunny climes, golden sands, and fine surroundings in Koggala continuously attract hundreds of visitors everyday. Hence, Koggala Beach has become one of the most loved spots of both Sri Lankans and overseas travellers.

The clear blue waves that hit the Koggala shores create a perfect atmosphere for a number of water sports. So, the visitors get excellent opportunities to participate in activities such as diving, windsurfing, kite surfing, and snorkeling. Further, the waters of Koggala are rich with a variety of marine life. Hence, some go deep fishing in this area as well.

There are two main significance in Koggala. One is that you can find the most uncommon and rare species of turtles namely Loggerheads and the Leathery turtles here. The other is the sight of stilt fishermen. These would be some of the rare scenes to be seen in the other popular beach areas in Sri Lanka.

And above all,  why not? While enjoying all these wonderful scenes, do not forget to enjoy a snack at the restaurants that are nestled among the palm trees.

Location of Koggala Beach

Koggala is a small town located on the Southern coast of Sri Lanka. Of course, it is closer to Galle, and it is nearly 150 km away from Colombo. The cheapest and the most comfortable way to reach Koggala is by train.

Best Time to visit Koggala

July end to October is well known as the perfect time to visit Koggala. However, it is warm and sunny during most times of the year. So, you can always have a walk there during any of the times as well.

Other places that you can visit around Koggala

Yes, Koggala has got a variety of places that suits your interests. Here are some of them.

  • Koggala Lake: This would be one of the perfect places for you to go on a boat ride, and enjoy the greenery surroundings and aquatic fauna.
  • Ananda Spice garden: This is a wonderful spice garden, near the Koggala Lake. You can also taste herbal wines and buy herbal products from here.
  • Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum: This is a place to get a good insight of the Sri Lankan culture, and also to learn about the famous writer, Martin Wickramasinghe.  
  • Turtle Tracheries: There are many more turtle tracheries in this area. You can spot few of the most uncommon turtle species here, and also take part in the turtle conservation projects.

Mirissa Beach

Mirissa, is certainly a serene paradise for beach lovers, and one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. The palm trees that dot the wide stretch of sand, coupled with the blue oceanic waves here create one of the most magnificent beach views that one could ever think of. Further, it has got a small fishing harbour too. Beache’s headland separates it from the beach, yet it certainly adds more colour to the beach surroundings.     

Various types of magnificent gigantic whales are common around the shoreline of Mirissa. So, it is well known as the whale-watching capital of Sri Lanka. Besides, it has got a variety of turtles as well. Not only that, its active rolling waves make it an ideal destination for surfing, wakeboarding, tubing, and jet skiing. Moreover, a cluster of restaurants and guest houses are available along the shore  to spend a night, and to taste a set of delicious cuisines. All these things together, would make your Mirissa stay memorable as ever.   

Location of Mirissa Beach

This vibrant beach town of Mirissa is located on the south coast of the island. It is around 150 km away from Colombo, and 15 km away from Matara. The easiest way to get there is by train. You will have to take a train to Weligama from Colombo Fort, and then travel to Mirissa in a bus or a taxi.

Best Time to visit Mirissa

If you are specifically visiting Mirissa for turtle watching, the best time period would be December to March. If not, you can visit Mirissa, in the course of August to October.

Other places that you can visit around Mirissa

It is quite hard to spot a place with a historical or religious value around this area. Still, you have the opportunity of going on a river ride to witness the beauty around.  Moreover, you can even experience an ayurvedic spa at the ayurvedic centers as well. And why not? Don’t forget to enjoy a delicious meal from a restaurant nearby!

And Finally,

by now, you have a good overview of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. These are just a few. As you already know, Sri Lanka is blessed with charming and attractive shores all around. So, all these beaches are just perfect for an excellent gateway to simply soak up the sun, walk along, and spend some time to soothe your senses.

And of course, there are many volunteer programs such as beach clean ups, and turtle conservation programmes that are happening around. So, you can even take part in one of them to indulge your time for a worthwhile cause. And something more to remember! The best times we have mentioned are solely based on general opinions. Still, various unpredictable causes and sudden climatic changes might affect them. So it is always better to do a quick check before you start your travel to visit any of these places.

So, we hope that this guide would help you to pick the best beaches in Sri Lanka, especially the one that suits your interests the most. As we always say, a little research would take you to the right place at the right time!