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A Guide to the Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

A Guide to the Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka offers stunning white sand beaches and turquoise ocean waters that make this destination ideal for beach-goers. To experience all that this island paradise offers, travel between November – April.

Unawatuna Beach in Trincomalee offers one of the most renowned locations for tourists. However, for an experience closer to its roots head further south. Dalawella Beach near Trincomalee provides more authentic experiences.

1. Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay is a serene beach village that epitomizes the laid-back vibe that first attracted surfers to Sri Lanka. Featuring soft moon-shaped sand curls and an iconic point break, Arugam Bay stands as an outstanding beach for surfing and swimming – its shallow waters and gentle waves making it one of the country’s best choices.

Arugum Bay is an ideal spot for spotting dolphins and whales between May and September, as well as offering great snorkeling conditions with giant stingrays and colourful reef fish dotting the shallow waters.

A Guide to the Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

Uppuveli Beach in Tincomalee is another of Sri Lanka’s best beaches, popular among surfers. Offering resorts, guesthouses and local restaurants as well as volleyball games and wading in the ocean – Uppuveli Beach has it all for any beachgoer to enjoy their vacation or simply laze around under palm trees – Uppuveli Beach truly has everything for visitors of any kind!

Unawatuna rounds off our list of Sri Lanka’s five best beaches as an active beach town that draws travellers of all kinds. It offers great shopping, with locally made clothing ranging from T-shirts with cute logos to boho-chic floaty dresses available here. Additionally, loungers are available to rent here along with drinks and snacks available from plenty of vendors, plus access to nearby Unawatuna Lake for serene birdwatching activities.

2. Hiriketiya Beach

Hiriketiya Beach is a stunning horseshoe bay framed by lush jungle, which spills down onto its sandy shoreline. Although slightly distant from Mirissa’s main surfing hub, Hiriketiya has quickly become known for its picturesque serenity and beginner-friendly surf conditions. Ginger Palm Villa provides an ideal place for relaxation, just moments from Hiriketiya’s shores.

If you’re staying nearby, a visit to the Batheegama Turtle Hatchery should not be missed. Their friendly tuk-tuk drivers are on hand to show you all of their nesting grounds free of charge (though tips are always welcome!).

A Guide to the Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

Unawatuna, an attractive beach town located nearby Galle Fort and with calm azure waters due to an offshore reef, makes for an excellent day trip.

Rope swings are a hallmark of Sri Lanka, and while Hiriketiya doesn’t feature many, Dickwella beach just 30 minutes away offers plenty. This tranquil bay offers ideal conditions for swimming and relaxation alike – particularly at sunset when its waters turn a beautiful golden pink!

3. Uppuveli Beach

Uppuveli Beach in Sri Lanka stands out for its calm waters and stunning white sand, creating one of the country’s most idyllic beach scenes. Home to local restaurants and bars where visitors can unwind with beer or coconut juice, Uppuveli is an ideal destination for family holidays, offering the ideal spot for snorkelling and diving as well as witnessing daily life among fishermen who take to their boats at dawn and collect their catch – perfect for snorkelling enthusiasts and divers alike!

Uppuveli Beach is an excellent location for swimming as the water is warm and doesn’t contain strong currents. Plus, you can soak up some sun on the sand, read a book, or take a stroll along the shore – Uppuveli is truly beautiful and tranquil place.

Sri Lanka’s northern region is an underrated gem with undiscovered beaches that may not be as well-known. This makes for an authentic beach getaway experience and offers an alternative to busy resort areas of the south. Activities available to enjoy on its beaches include swimming, snorkeling and whale watching.

4. Kalkudah Beach

Unawatuna (also affectionately referred to by locals as ‘Una’) is an exciting beach town that draws travellers of all types. From playing volleyball on its pristine sands to sampling local restaurants or just relaxing and taking in the sea air, Unawatuna provides plenty of activities and amenities that are sure to keep visitors busy here.

Soak in some people-watching on the wide ivory sands or take a refreshing swim in the calm lagoon protected from the turbulent Indian Ocean currents – both ideal spots for people-watching and swimming!

As well as offering great fishing opportunities, the bay offers excellent wildlife sightings such as dolphins and whales between May and September. Furthermore, catamaran sunset cruises or snorkeling tours around HMS Hermes wreckage are also offered here.

A Guide to the Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

Other attractions in the area include Kandasamy Kovil Hindu temple, which displays intricate Dravidian architecture. If history interests you, check out Magul Maha Viharaya ruins dating back to 5th century.

Kalkudah Beach offers the ideal combination of nature, tranquility and culture. Couples can indulge in romantic getaways while families can unwind on the beach or explore local villages. Plus you can become immersed in local lifestyle and learn about Sri Lankan heritage through cultural events held there!

5. Negombo Beach

Negombo Beach is often the first stop after landing or as the final stop before heading home for visitors to Sri Lanka – located close enough to Bandaranaike International Airport to make an easy stopover after landing or upon departing – offering visitors relaxing strolls along its wide stretch of golden sand, perfect for water sports activities and strolling. Beyond its golden shores lies much to discover beyond Negombo’s golden sand; for example visiting its iconic fish market or step inside beautiful Gothic cathedrals; taking boat rides through beautiful verdant lagoons filled with wildlife await!

Negombo offers plenty of adventure for visitors looking for something extra. As a base, Negombo makes a fantastic location from which to explore stunning locations further up the island’s coast; Chilaw offers fascinating Hindu temples while Waikkal boasts several idyllic beach villages with eco-resorts; further north can be found the whale watching beaches of Mirissa and Kalpitiya Peninsula – two fantastic experiences awaiting discovery.

Negombo’s calm waters make it one of the premier swimming destinations on Sri Lanka’s west coast during November to April, while its shallow depths make snorkeling accessible – ideal for discovering coral reefs and an ageing shipwreck nearby. Other popular activities include visiting traditional fishing villages, touring Dutch-era Negombo Fort and receiving Ayurvedic treatments.

6. Weligama Beach

Sri Lanka’s west coast beaches are dominated by large package-holiday hotels sprawled along fine stretches of sand. Bentota stands out for its long honey-hued beach that ends in an inviting spit of sand dividing the Indian Ocean from a lagoon, making for excellent swimming and water sports opportunities that draw families to its shores. Weligama stands out as an undeveloped yet peaceful beach destination that attracts surfers, yogis, and couples seeking romantic retreats.

Beginner surfers will find Hettiwidiya to be an ideal spot, as its waves break in a gentle manner along two kilometers of sandy beach, providing a safe and relaxing surfing experience. Seaside cafes, restaurants and shacks offering refreshing king coconuts also abound here. Those wanting a change from sunbathing should visit Hettiwidiya Temple; an ancient Hindu site which is best visited early morning or later at night when pilgrimage numbers are lower.

Galle is located in southern Sri Lanka and you can travel there by either tuk-tuk or train; both options offer quick and convenient travel times; trains can sometimes be noisy and are more likely to break down; therefore it may be more suitable to hire a tuk-tuk; just remember to negotiate before renting one as prices don’t remain fixed! Alternatively, bus travel might provide another alternative that’s often longer but more comfortable.

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