Sri Lanka's coasts: where to go and best beaches

September 25, 2019

One of the reasons why you choose to visit Sri Lanka is also its magnificent sea: beaches are one of the most interesting places to visit during a trip.

Sri Lanka's beach

One of the reasons why people choose to visit Sri Lanka is also its magnificent sea: the beaches are certainly among the best places of interest while on a tour. After all, Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, with over 1,000 km of coastline, lends itself perfectly to those who, in addition to archaeological and cultural visits, also want to enjoy a little relaxation.

Beach in Sri Lanka
A beautiful beach in Sri Lanka

When to go to Sri Lanka beaches

The best time to go to Sri Lanka varies from region to region. From November to March it is preferable to go to the west and south coasts, while from April to October it is better to go to the east coast to avoid the monsoons.

Marvelous sea of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's coastline

The beaches of the west

The beaches of the west coast are the best developed for tourists, well equipped and often crowded. Here you will find beaches with sun beds and umbrellas, many hotels for every budget, restaurants and shops.

The most famous locations are Negombo, Beruwala and Hikkaduwa. Negombo is very popular with tourists, also because it is an accessible transit point in Sri Lanka, being close to the international airport.

The coast of Hikkaduwa, further south, is wonderful and well equipped both for those seeking total relaxation, both for those looking for a bit of adventure, for example surfing or snorkeling in the coral reef. For those who want to spot whales, the best is Kalpitiya beach.

A boat on the beach in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's beach with a traditional boat

The beaches of the south

The beaches of southern Sri Lanka are touristy, but a little more "local". Here there are uncontaminated coastal stretches, natural parks and some fishing villages. However, there are also luxurious colonial villas. In particular, the Galle area is lively and hectic, both for the day and for the night.

The beaches of Tangalle, all stunningly beautiful, offer glimpses of crystal clear waters, sea waves and very picturesque rocky coastal stretches. The long beach of Mirissa offers palm trees and golden sand, is usually frequented by surfers, but is sufficiently equipped to please even couples looking for comfort.

In December, with a little luck, here you can spot turtles laying their eggs. Bentota is a popular resort for snorkeling, canoeing and kayaking.

Palm trees on a beach in Sri Lanka
Palm trees on a beach

The beaches of the east coast

Sri Lanka's eastern beaches are the wildest and most pristine beaches, especially around Trincomalee. These beaches are very long, covered with white sand and dotted with palm trees, while the ocean is deep blue.

Opposite the town of Nilaveli is Pigeon Island, an unspoiled paradise and natural park where you can see sharks and turtles, easily accessible with excursions organized by many hotels and tour operators in the area. Passekudah beach, north of Batticaloa, is also very interesting, a very quiet area, with few elegant hotels surrounded by nature.