Mirissa is a small beach town located in the southern province of Sri Lanka. The area has a lot to offer, beautiful beaches, great surf waves, whale watching tours, fun bars and good restaurants. There are also a few fun day trips to do from Mirissa if you’re in for something different! Spend about 2 – 4 days in Mirissa and let this blog post about the best things to do in Mirissa inspire you!
Best tours in and around Mirissa
If you’re planning to explore the best of what Sri Lanka’s south coast 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.
- 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!
- Yala safari experience with lunch at campsite from Mirissa. Experience a private full-day tour. Be collected from 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.
- Private Whale Watching Tour With Sunset from Mirissa. Experience the thrill of searching for the Blue Whale and other whales and dolphins on this guided boat tour. Travel on a catamaran, swim, paddle board, and seek out marine life during sunset.
- Transfer to Ella with Udawalawe Safari from Mirissa. Enjoy a convenient shuttle service from Mirissa, Weligama, Unawatuna or Galle to Ella with a safari through Udawalawe National Park on the way. See wildlife in their natural habitat and enjoy a meal.
When to visit Mirissa
The best time to visit Mirissa is in the months of January, February, March, July, August and September when there is the most chance of sunny skies.The busiest months however, are July and August when many families arrive in town for the summer holidays. To avoid the crowds, the best time to visit is in February, March, April, June or September.
How to get to Mirissa
Depending on from where you’re coming from, there are a few options to get to Mirissa. From Colombo you can easily hop on the train and hop off at Mirissa train station. There you will have to arrange a Tuk Tuk which will bring you to your hotel.
Other options are to go by bus which will take a lot longer than by train. Or to book yourself an Uber, or PickMe, as its being called in Sri Lanka. They have fair prices and are cheaper than a private taxi.
Where to stay in Mirissa
Most of the best resorts in Mirissa are located a little out of town, further along the coast towards either Weligama or Kamburugamuwa. The cheaper hotels in Mirissa are located on the north side of the main road, along one of the many small alleys. Most are just a few minutes walk from the beach. The most luxury hotels in Mirissa are more tucked away out of town along the beach, but they are still only a short tuk-tuk ride away from Mirissa town.
Surfing at Mirissa beach
Mirissa beach is one of the most popular beaches in Sri Lanka to go surfing. Particularly the western end of the bay near Weligama beach has bigger waves which makes it perfect for surfing. You can rent a surfboard at one of the surf shacks for around 400 LKR per hour. Or you can take surf lessons if you’re new to surfing. The best time for surfing in Mirissa is between November and March when the surf conditions are optimal.
Snorkeling at Turtle Bay
Because the water is very clear at Mirissa beach it is a perfect place to go snorkeling. There is plenty of reef and rocks near the coast of Mirissa beach where marine life can be seen. The right side of Mirissa beach is the best spot for snorkeling. You can spot many species of marine life and lots of turtles!
Climb the Parrot rock
The Parrot rock is a small island which is 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 with sunset a great thing to do to watch the sunset from this spot.
Eat and drink at the restaurants
If you’re hungry from all the active stuff, there are enough restaurants along the beach or in Mirissa town to get your belly filled. Especially in the evening the great seafood restaurants pop up along the beach which makes it and unforgettable experience to dine on the beach! Another great spot to eat is Doctors House which has a big garden with a perfect laid-back vibe, great food, drinks and live music.
Enjoy Mirissa beach
There is enough space on Mirissa beach to spread out your towel and take in the beach life for a day. You can also rent sun beds if you want to make it yourself a bit more comfortable. For some people Mirissa beach might feel a bit too crowded. In that case, you can also go to Secret Beach Mirissa which is more secluded.
Do a safari on the Mirissa Eco Lagoon
If you are a nature lover and you’re looking for a relaxing and even romantic experience away from the busy surf beaches of Mirissa, this beautiful eco tour on the Mirissa Eco Lagoon is a must do. With a simple boat and local guide, you will explore the lake and mangrove where you can spot a range of fascinating animals like jumping fish, monitor lizards and fruit bats with sunset. If you’re lucky you will be the only ones on the lagoon. The peaceful environment makes you feel as if you’re in another world. You will being served delicious pancakes and tea as the sun set, sitting in the middle of the water. A unique experience which you can’t miss!
The price is 3000 LKR per person.
Go on a whale watching tour
Mirissa is a great place to go whale watching. The whale watching season in Mirissa runs from November to April, but for your best chance to see a whale you have to visit in March or April.Book your whale and dolphin watching tour here to secure your spot. If you are lucky you can get to see many different types of whales and dolphins. Some examples are Blue whales, Bryde’s whales, Sperm whales, Fin whales and Orca’s have all been spotted along the coast of Mirissa. Other species that can be spotted are Common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Striped dolphins. You also have the chance of seeing turtles and various fish species. For example, Bluefin tuna and flying fish, so there are lots of options to spot marine life during a whale watching tour in Mirissa!
Explore Secret Beach Mirissa
If you want to relax on a more quiet and hidden beach, you might want to check out Secret Beach Mirissa. This idyllic V formed beach with overhanging palm trees was once only known by locals. But since it’s on Google Maps, more and more tourists found this Secret Beach. There is a local bar, the Secret Beach Bar which is located under the trees and is the perfect place to have lunch, a drink and relax in the shade. A perfect hideaway from the more busy Mirissa beach for a day!
Check out the Coconut Tree Hill
The Coconut Tree Hill gained a lot of attention through Instagram because of it’s beautiful view with the many perfect palm trees lined up. If you’re looking for a quick stop along the coast near Mirissa, this is a fun spot to snap a picture. But to be honest, there are many more hidden spots with many palm trees and views on the Indian Ocean. So if you can’t make it to this spot, you’re not missing out on something very special.
Spot the Stilt Fisherman
If you’re planning to go to Unawatuna or Galle, you will pass the beach where you can see the Stilt Fishermans. At Kogalla beach and Dalawella beach you can spot this old traditional fishing method in Sri Lanka which requires much skills and balance. The Stilt Fisherman sits a couple of meters above the water causing minimal shadows and little disturbance to the sea life. This results in a higher chance of catching their dinner. Although this is an authentic Sri Lankan tradition, nowadays the ‘fisherman’ are sitting there just for the tourists. Be aware that if you want to take a picture they ask (a ridiculous amount of) money for it! Or you have to have a tele lens so you can catch them in your lens from far away
Swing at the famous palm tree swing
If you go to Dalawella beach, you will find the famous palm tree swing and the so called ‘Ship rock’. Both are awesome photo spots and really worth a visit. Especially with sunset. You need to pay a little fee for the palm tree swing, but the Ship Rock is free of charge.
Go to Galle fort for a day trip
Galle is an Unesco World Heritage Site with imposing Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient mosques, churches and the famous lighthouse. It is really worth it to explore this town, walk over the thick ramparts which were built by the Dutch merchants that controlled the city in the 17th century. There are also lots of cute boutique shops and cosy cafes and restaurants to fuel your body.
Visit Dondra lighthouse
Dondra Head Lighthouse is a lighthouse located on Dondra Head which is the southernmost point in Sri Lanka. Dondra lighthouse is Sri Lanka’s tallest lighthouse with 47 metres, and is even one of the tallest lighthouses in South East Asia! The lighthouses was built by the British in 1889 and is nowadays still operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.
Chill at Unawatuna beach
Unawatuna beach is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Sri Lanka and is the most “famous” beach on the island. It is a beautiful banana-shaped beach of golden sand with turquoise water, surrounded by green palm trees. But because this beach is one of the better known beaches in Sri Lanka, it is also one of the busier places. Although, it is a nice day trip if you stay in Mirissa and looking for something different to explore.
Visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda
Very close to Unawatuna beach in the forest on the hillside is the impressive Japanese Peace Pagoda located. Constructed in 2005 by Japanese monks to build peace temples in conflict zones, the monument is a symbol of hope for people all over the world. It’s now a popular tourist attraction and with incredible views over the bay of Galle the perfect place to take in the impressive Sri Lankan sunsets.
More Sri Lanka travel inspiration
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the best things to do in Mirissa Sri Lanka.
For more Sri Lanka travel tips, head over to our other Sri Lanka travel guides: