11 BEST SRI LANKA BEACHES – The Ultimate Guide

The Sri Lanka beaches are beautiful untouched stretches of golden sand flanked by palm trees and blue ocean water. With a coastline that is over 1,585 km long, it is not hard to find your own spot of tropical paradise. For surfers there are plenty of Sri Lanka beaches offering the best waves. But also for peace seekers there are quite some hidden beaches in Sri Lanka where you can relax without too much people around. We traveled for a month through Sri Lanka from the east coast to the southern coast and via the west coast back the airport. We visited quite a few beaches during our Sri Lanka trip and made this blog post about the best Sri Lanka beaches to help you find your own perfect Sri Lanka beach.

Best Sri Lanka tours

If you are looking for a designed tour to explore the best of what Sri Lanka has to offer, then these are the best guided tours. All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.

  • 2 day Southern Sri Lanka tour including whale watching. Visit Galle, Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, Bentota beach, Unawatuna beach and go whale watching during this 2 day tour to the Southern Sri Lanka coast.
  • From Colombo: 8-Day Private Tour of Sri Lanka with Transport. Explore Sigiriya, Dambulla Cave temple, Minneriya, Kaudulla, and Hurulu national park. Kandy and Nuwara Eliya including waterfalls, Yala National Park, Mirissa and Galle on this private trip from Colombo.
  • Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour. Experience the wonder of Sri Lanka with this tour to Sigiriya, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Peradeniya Royal lush tea farms in Ella, and an elephant safari in Udawalawe National Park.
  • Sri Lanka: Honeymoon in Paradise Island All-Inclusive Trip. Book this exclusive and all-inclusive 8 night honeymoon trip tailor-made to give you a journey of a lifetime. Explore Negombo, Kandy, Ella and Galle during this unforgettable honeymoon trip.
  • From Colombo: Hikkaduwa Village Tour with Boat Ride & BBQ. The ultimate one day tour to experience the Sri Lankan village life in Hikkaduwa and enjoy the pristine beaches of Sri Lanka. You will be served a locally prepared barbecue dinner that includes fresh catches from the Indian ocean.
  • Whale watching in Mirissa. Get a chance to see blue whales, sperm whales, and fin whales as they swim in their natural habitat in Mirissa. A once in a lifetime experience!
  • Sri Lanka: 7-day Island Highlights Tour. See all the most important highlights of Sri Lanka on this 7 day, 6 night tour. Travel in comfort in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced driver/guide to see wildlife, discover nature, and visit Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, and Yala.
  • Yala safari experience with lunch at campsite. Experience a private full-day tour. Be collected from Galle or Mirissa to Yala National Park to witness leopards, bears, elephants, deer, crocodiles, and many more. Then enjoy a 4-course lunch with beer at Leopard Nest campsite in the jungle.

Our favorite Sri Lanka beaches

After traveling through the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, we have made this extensive guide about the best Sri Lanka beaches to help you find your perfect paradise beach. But, what makes a beach the best beach? It depends on what you are looking for right? What are your needs and preferences? We like the more hidden and quiet beaches, while someone else maybe likes the busier beaches with all conveniences available. Anyway, if you ask us, our top 3 best Sri Lanka beaches is:

  1. Hiriketiya beach
  2. Secret Beach Mirissa
  3. Tangalle beach

Have fun reading this ultimate guide with the 11 best Sri Lanka beaches! Share it with fellow travellers so they know where to go. And if you have questions about Sri Lanka, don’t hesitate to ask!


Secret beach Mirissa

Secret Beach in Mirissa is one of our favorite beaches in Sri Lanka. The reason for that is the ‘hidden’ location and effort you have to put in to get to this beach. The V shaped beach with the jungle in the background gives an untouched feeling and has a very chill vibe. You can spread your towel on the beach, or if you like more comfort you can hire a sun-bed. There is a beach bar where you can order drinks and food, and they also offer snorkel sets for rent. While snorkeling you can spot tropical fishes and turtles in the beautiful waters of Secret Beach, so if you’re into snorkeling it’s really worth a try! Secret Beach Mirissa is absolutely worth a visit! Especially if you like the more quiet an hidden beaches.

Read everything about Secret beach Mirissa in our complete guide


How to get to Secret beach Mirissa

Located on the side of Weligama beach you’ll find Secret Beach Mirissa hidden on the peninsula of Mirissa. You can get to Secret Beach Mirissa by motorbike and TukTuk, but be aware that the road is very steep. So if you go by your rental bike you need some serious good motorbike skills. Otherwise the TukTuk can bring you to the entrance of the beach or you can walk the last part.


Hirikiteya beach

Hiriketiya beach is for several reasons in our experience one of the best Sri Lanka beaches. Also known as Hiriketiya bay, this horse shoe shaped bay is is one of the best surf and yoga Sri Lanka spots. There are lots of hipster cafes who serve delicious food, and the laidback vibe and idyllic feeling makes you want to stay here for at least a few days. Hiriketiya beach really is a jungle paradise and isn’t that well known yet which is why it isn’t busy at all. A perfect place for the peace seekers and off the beaten path travelers. 


How to get to Hiriketiya beach

Hiriketiya beach is located on the south coast of Sri Lanka right next door to Dickwella. You can get to Hiriketiya by bus, Tuk Tuk or when you’ve rented a scooter. In our opinion renting a scooter is the best way to go because you’re way more flexible to get around. A Tuk Tuk is also a good option, because the bus stops around 20 min away from the beach.

Read more about Hiriketiya Beach in our complete guide


Dalawella beach

Dalawella beach is located in the Unawatuna area and despite the main beach is pretty nice, it’s also a touristy place because of the two main attractions. You can swing at the famous palm tree rope swing and make instagrammable pictures at the ‘Ship Rock’, a rock formed as the bow of a ship. You really have to put Dalawella Beach on your Sri Lanka itinerary as it’s one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka!


How to get to Dalawella beach

Dalawella beach is easy to find as it’s located close to the main road, only with some small alleys in between. You can rent a scooter and explore the south coast on your own, but most of the time you need to leave your passport to be able to rent the motorbike. Because we never want to leave our passport with others, we didn’t choose to rent a scooter this time. So we explored Unawatuna beach and Dalawella beach by Tuk Tuk. The driver dropped us at a turquoise sign to Dream Cabana Guest house which leads via an alley to the beach. When you reach the beach you’ll see the famous Dalawella beach swing on your right side. This is actually not the main beach of Dalawella. So if you want to get to the bigger stretch of sand of Dalawella, you have to walk along the beach. 

Read more about Dalawella Beach in our complete guide


Hikkaduwa beach

Hikkaduwa is the name of a small beach town which is located on the south west coast of Sri Lanka. It is one of the best surfing spots in Sri Lanka and there are many fun activities to do like different types of water sports, delicious seafood curries to eat, relaxing massages to get and Buddhist temples to visit in Hikkaduwa.


How to get to Hikkaduwa beach

Hikkaduwa is located about 100 kilometers south of Colombo and 140 kilometers away from Galle. There are a few different options to get to Hikkaduwa. With a private driver, by train, bus, or you can rent a Tuk Tuk in Colombo. You will find more in detail information about the options in our complete guide about Hikkaduwa Beach.

Mirissa beach

Mirissa beach is a beautiful beach of a little kilometre long with a relaxed and laidback atmosphere. The waves can get a bit big which is why this beach is very popular among surfers. Along the beach are many small restaurants and cafes, serving delicious fresh seafood. After sunset, the restaurants put out tables and chairs on the beach, light the lanterns and candles, and serve seafood barbecues.


Parrot rock is located at Mirissa beach which is a small island connected with a bridge to Mirissa beach. It is really fun to climb the rock to get an amazing view on Mirissa Beach. This is especially in the afternoon a great thing to do to watch the sunset from this spot. Another activity which is popular in Mirissa is whale watching and scuba diving. The colorful coral reefs along the shore of Mirissa beach and its clear and calm waters provide for an excellent spot for all sorts of scuba diving and snorkeling.

Read more about Mirissa beach in our complete guide


Parrot rock Mirissa beach

Uppuveli beach

Uppuveli beach is located on the east coast of Sri Lanka and it is the main beach area in Trincomalee town. It is a long, sandy beach with clear waters and no waves. A lot of beach resorts and restaurants are located along this beach. Most tourists stay within walking distance of Uppuveli beach which makes it a vibrant but sometimes touristic spot. There are a few restaurants and beach bars which are fun to go to.


How to get to Uppuveli beach

Uppuveli beach can easily be reached by foot when you stay in Trincomalee town. Although the best way to get around in Trincomalee and explore the other places is to rent a scooter. The price is around 1500 LKR per day to rent a scooter, but it’s really worth it because all the small trips with a TukTuk add up fast.

Read more about Uppuveli Beach in the complete guide

Marble beach

Marble beach, also known as Marble Bay is one of the beautiful beaches in Trincomalee. Because it’s 17 kilometres outside of Trincomalee located, not many people know about this place. Run by the Sri Lankan air force, there is a resort and restaurant at the north end of the cove of Marble beach. Spend your time at the south end of the beach in beautiful emerald water and enjoy the quiet area. Marble beach is in our opinion one of the best Sri Lanka beaches!


How to get to Marble beach

Marble beach is 17 kilometres south of Trincomalee located. If you don’t want to hire a motorbike, you can go by Tuk Tuk for 1000 LKR from Trincomalee town to Marble beach. Right before the Kinniya bridge, there’s a turn-off on the left signposted. There you have to go in a narrow road to reach the huge parking space of Marble beach. There is a naval checkpoint when you enter the beach area where you have to buy a ticket to enter the beach. But if you say you will have lunch at the restaurant you might have the chance to get waived through without having to pay the entrance.

Read more about Marble Beach in our complete guide

Nilaveli beach

Nilaveli beach is located on the east coast of Sri Lanka at the small beach town next to Trincomalee. This beach is more intimate than it’s busier brother Uppuveli beach which is the main beach of Trincomalee. The beautiful stretched golden sands of Nilaveli beach brings locals from all over the country to this place during the weekends. There are some restaurants and sunbeds, but mostly this beach is very local with chill vibes. The sea water of the Indian Ocean is calm and very clear. Ideal to relax for a day! From this beach, you can also easily get a boat to the national park of Pigeon Island to snorkel.


How to get to Nilaveli beach

If you have a rental scooter the most convenient way to get to the beach is with the scooter, so you can visit other places in Trincomalee as well. But if you don’t drive a scooter, just ask a TukTuk to drop you at the beach for around 400 Rupee from Trincomalee town. It is a 10 minute drive from the main town of Trincomalee.

Read more about Nilaveli Beach in our complete guide


Unawatuna beach

Unawatuna beach is one of the most popular Sri Lanka beaches. The beautiful banana-shaped beach of golden sand with turquoise water is surrounded by green palm trees. Unawatuna beach offers many water activities for visitors and there are sun-beds laid out on the beach for rent. On the west side of the beach, you can take a stroll to the Japanese Peace Pagoda statue overlooking the beautiful Indian ocean. Unawatuna beach is very well connected to the centre of Unawatuna where you will find hip cafes and restaurants.

Read more about Unawatuna beach in our complete guide


Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay is a moon-shaped bay located on the east coast of Sri Lanka. It is home to a great point break which makes Arugam Bay very famous for the great waves for surfing. Every year there is an international surfing competition held at Arugam Bay, but over the past years more travellers and families flock to this beautiful beach during their travels through Sri Lanka. Arugam Bay consists of a coral reef which is home to an abundance of tropical fish which makes it an amazing snorkel paradise.


Tangalle beach

Tangalle beach is a bit of a hidden beach on the Southern coast of Sri Lanka. It is one of those Sri Lanka beaches that is made for the paradise and peace seekers. Because this beach is a little bit hard to reach, not many people go here. Tangalle beach is a bit dislocated from the usual Sri Lanka itinerary, but it is so worth a visit! Tangalle beach is very quiet without beach bars and only a handful of visible resorts.

If you’re planning to visit in September or October you have to keep in mind that swimming will be dangerous because of the current and big waves. There is no beach duty present, so be careful!


More Sri Lanka travel inspiration

We hope you enjoyed this blog post about the best beaches in Sri Lanka.

For more Sri Lanka inspiration, head over to these blog posts:

Best things to do in Sri Lanka

14 best waterfalls in Sri Lanka to visit

Best things to do in Trincomalee

Ella Sri Lanka best things to do

Best things to do in Galle

Best things to do in Nuwara Eliya

Yala National Park safari

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One Comment

  1. Hello Ilse, thanks for sharing your ultimate guide of the best beaches at Sri Lanka. We fully understand why you are there 🙂
    It looks all so beautiful and sunny. Keep on informing us about all the best places to go to👍

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