Not only is Sri Lanka the perfect playground for energy-hungry holidaymakers, but the destination is also ideal for rest and relaxation. In fact, why not see the 1340 km of coastline offered by the island, along with its many opportunities from surfing or snorkeling to meet turtles, as well as hundreds of kilometers of beaches where you can bask in the sun with coconut water and a good book!
Exploration trip with friends or family, honeymoon or sports stay … here is a small description of the beaches of Sri Lanka so that everyone can find their ideal beach according to their desires!
Note that Sri Lanka is an Asian country that can be visited at any time of the year. Watered by two different monsoons, one in the southwest and the other in the east, at two different periods, there is always a part of the island in the sun!
THE BEACHES OF THE SOUTH
The south coast of Sri Lanka, made of numerous bays and coves lined with palm trees, is ideal for stays from December to April. It is along the South coast that you can admire the incredible fishermen on stilts, a Sri Lankan uniqueness. Rather populated, the coast still offers wild beaches, especially going east.
Mirissa – Weligama
Mirissa and Weligama are two different beaches but close, and especially complementary to each other.
In fact Weligama, large sheltered bay, is ideal for swimming, and especially, for surfing. Apprentices and expert surfers will find their happiness in Weligama. On this beach, it is possible to find deckchairs for the day and something to refresh and nibble, however there are no bars and restaurants.
Mirissa, on the other hand, is known for its many restaurants and bars. In the evening it is here that everything happens. At nightfall, all the restaurants come out from a fresh fish stall, just choose. Tuna, snapper, barracuda but also shrimps and crabs, we always find happiness!
In Mirissa it is possible to swim but you still have to pay attention to the currents. Finally, it is possible toleave for sea excursions from the port city, to observe dolphins and whales off the coast.
Hiriketiya is a beautiful bay with turquoise water, far from the road – which is sometimes very close to the shore – and preserved from any construction that “disfigures” the landscape.
The atmosphere is “bohemian” and there are many trendy cafés and restaurants. A paradise for lovers of “healthy food” and yoga. Bars and restaurants are present on the beach and we particularly like the fact to be able to enjoy a pizza on the wood fire feet in the water. A pizza with local shrimps of course!
The beautiful beach has the advantage of being partly shaded – the sun beats in the tropics! – and it is easy to find sunbeds for the day. Finally, the bay is ideal for novice surfers but also more advanced!
Tangalle is a fishing town, known for its long sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, magnificent and wild, cut by small tropical creeks. The city is therefore a border and a mix that differentiates the small little bays and creeks of the south coast and the long linear beaches of the East
Again relatively uncrowded, Tangalle is a haven of peace where one feels in symbiosis with nature. The waves are powerful and here we feel the strength of the Indian Ocean. Beware, the sea is rough, caution when swimming, it is better to swim in the natural pools.
In Tangalle, time seems to have stopped and we take the time to live. On the program: walks by the sea, discover the market and its countless exotic fruits and vegetables, visit the fishing port, walk inland to visit Buddhist temples and, it is possible to observe the laying of sea turtles … A canoe trip in the mangrove is also highly recommended to observe, in particular, many birds. Finally, for avid adventurers, it is possible to make an excursion in the Yala National Park to meet elephants and, for the lucky ones, leopards.
THE BEACHES OF THE EAST
On the east coast of the island the beaches are longer and more deserted than on the South coast. The best time to get there is from mid-May to the end of September. Here are some beaches from South-East to the North-East:
Arugam Bay is one of Sri Lanka’s best-known beaches. It owes its reputation to surfers who consider the bay as the best surf spot in the country. The city hosts many bars, restaurants, and charming hotels on the beach. Despite everything the atmosphere is carefree and ‘chill’. In high season, from June to September, the city is very lively and many evenings, full of young Australians and Europeans fill the city.
The inner land is still wild and it is pleasant to rent a scooter to explore in the countryside. In the evening we often see, in the distance, wild elephants. Also, the nearby Kumana National Park is ideal for a safari. It is renowned for its many migratory waterfowl and waders. You can also see crocodiles, hinds, elephants and leopards.
This beach is ideal for lovers of idleness. Indeed, from April to October the sea is calm, it looks like a lake and you can do some snorkeling. The turquoise water is superb. The beach (where cows sometimes come!) looks like a postcard …
Multiple resorts, most with large pools overlooking the sea, are available to travelers. Here, the most difficult thing is to get out of your hammock to get a coconut water!
Also, this beach is not far from the city of Batticaloa, perfect for discovering the local life and strollingin the market full of exotic vegetables and fish. The rural inner land can also be visited, by bike or tuk-tuk. As for the sea, it is possible to go on a catamaran excursion or to go scuba diving. For the early risers, go to the beach to see incredible sunrises!
Nilaveli – Uppuveli
Near Trincomalee w,here you can see the Hindu temple of Koneswaram, perched at the top of Swami Rock, are the beautiful beaches of Uppuveli and Nilaveli.
Both beaches are beautiful and large expanses of fine sand, but beware, the atmosphere is not the same!
In Uppuveli, the nearest beach in Trincomalee, there are more people and the atmosphere is more “young and lively”. Ideal for tourists traveling alone or wanting to meet other people and go out.
In Nilaveli, further north, the atmosphere is much more peaceful, there are no trendy bars but many resorts. The beach is quieter, cleaner and by strolling around one meets fishermen who pull up their nets.
Finally, whether you are staying in Uppuveli or Nilaveli, a trip to Pigeon Island is recommended. This small island is a veritable open-air aquarium where there are more than 300 species of fish, but also turtles and black tip sharks (harmless).
Be careful however, the site is very busy in July-August and the corals are in poor condition because of the 2004 tsunami …
THE BEACHES OF THE WEST
The west coast of Sri Lanka, less known than the South and East coasts, is hence much wilder. It is between December and April, as the southern coast of the country, that the ocean is the most favorable for swimming. Here are some of the beaches of this coast, from Northwest to the Southwest :
Kalpitiya is certainly the least known city on our list. In fact, located at the tip of a peninsula on the west coast of the country, very few tourists go there.
However, off the beaten track, the beaches of Kalpitiya, swept by the wind, are full of charm. It is not uncommon to see cows and donkeys roaming free.
On the peninsula, the population is unlike the rest of the country, a mix predominantly Catholic and Muslim. Many colonial churches are worth visiting.
Some tourists, kitesurf lovers, are still present. The Kalpitiya lagoon is internationally recognized as an excellent spot where the water is hot all year round. However, for visitors who do not want to go kitesurfing, the best time to discover Kalpitiya is from December to April. It is at this time that the sea is calm, which makes it possible to go snorkeling on the bar reef. It is also an excellent time to observe dolphin beds.
Finally, from Kalpitiya, trips to the Wilpattu National Park are also possible, starting in the morning by boat.
Negombo beach is certainly not the most beautiful beach in Sri Lanka, but Negombo has the advantage of being only a few kilometers from the airport. Indeed, this fishing town, located 40km north of the economic capital, Colombo, is often the first contact that tourists have with the country. And, although the sea is not ideal for swimming, the beach is still nice and the sunsets are superb.
In Negombo, it is possible to enjoy a boat trip to the Muthurajawela marsh, known as a sanctuary for over a hundred species of birds.
Early morning, it is essential to visit the fish market, it is the most important of the country. We see, just out of the water, all kinds of fish, crabs, shrimps, but also rays and sharks!
The beach of Bentota, long, wild and deserted, at the pace of the beaches of the East. However, this beach of fine sand retains the advantage of being in the West of the country … and thus to enjoy beautiful sunsets! In addition, this heavenly place is a breeding ground for sea turtles, and, depending on the season, it is not uncommon to witness egg laying or hatching. Moreover, several turtle hatcheries, which it is possible to visit, are installed along the coast. Also, in the corner of Bentota, it is possible to discover a garden of spices or the domain of Lunuganga, home of the famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. For the more adventurous and nature lovers, an exit on the Bentota River is a must, they can see, among others: crocodiles, monitor lizards, snakes, bats and many species of birds.
THE BEACHES OF THE NORTH
The northern region of the island is currently developing rapidly, but it is difficult today to name some “flagship” beaches. Indeed, the Jaffna Peninsula was the main theater of the civil war between Sinhalese and Tamils. This war lasted for nearly thirty years, ended in 2009. The north of the island opens gradually to tourists and reveals its beauty, still preserved and intact.
The landscapes of the Jaffna Peninsula, and the many islands around it, are flat, dry and filled with salt-water lagoons lined with palm trees. Far from Sri Lanka, said “lush”, where vegetation invades the streets … Here we should not expect something extraordinary, but precisely, all the charm of the region lies in the ordinary and the fact that tourists are still so few. The beaches of clear sand, wild and long, are of a breathtaking beauty.
This northern part of the island, very authentic, is home to a particularly welcoming population and happy to see tourists. Largely Tamil, the region is known for its Hindu festivities and its many temples (Hindu and others). Thus, the island of Nainativu astonishes by the diversity of its places of worship. There are places of Christian and Muslim worship as well as two well-known temples: Nagapoosani Amman Kovil (Hindu) and Nagadipa Vihara (Buddhist).
The island of Delf, the only island that has kept a Dutch appellation, is also worth a visit. Indeed, its dirt roads lined coral walls and its population of wild horses, descendants of mounts left by the Dutch, do not leave indifference.
On Kayts Island, the largest island of the peninsula (connected to Jaffna by a road), the beach of Chatti Beach, clean and calm, is worth it. Finally Point Pedro, the most northern point of Sri Lanka, is to be seen, however it is not ideal for swimming.
Attention, as said before, the area is just open to tourists, so a little modesty is needed for swimming.