With 830 miles of coastline, finding the best beaches in Sri Lanka is no mean feat.
This enchanting country is teeming with palm-fringed paradises, but which ones are the cream of the crop? We’ve carried out the laborious task of sipping cocktails, digging our toes in varying sands, and perfecting our tan lines to give you our rundown of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
This is truly one of the finest stretches of sand in the world. Unsurprisingly, this stunning part of Sri Lanka has not gone unnoticed. Running alongside the magical Bentota Lagoon, this coastline is peppered with an array of luxurious hotels.
This affluent slice of paradise is also a hub for watersports. Sitting just behind the beach, the lagoon is a paradise for thrill-seekers. The options of kayaking, jet-skiing and wakeboarding add a dash of adrenaline to what is an otherwise blissful resort. If you are feeling adventurous, zoom up the river and meander through the mangroves to spot crocodiles and hear howls of the purple-faced leaf monkey. Another unmissable experience is a visit to the Kosgoda Turtle Conservation and Research Centre. Head here to learn about these endangered animals, and even help release some baby turtles into the wild.
Hiriketiya is where the jungle blends into the sea. For those seeking a helping of unspoiled heaven on earth, this is the go-to. Although, In the last few years, its popularity has skyrocketed. Yet unlike Bentota, the majority of visitors are seeking a retreat from the grand complexes dotting the coastline of Sri Lanka.
One of the benefits of being, trendy, young and extremely instagramable, is the array of first-class cafes on offer. Most of these hipster hangouts offer fantastic brunch options and cocktails; their menus wouldn’t look out of place in glitzy areas of London or New York. After a lazy lunch, rent a surfboard to glide across the waves of this horseshoe cove. Surfing not your cup of tea? Try renting a boat to gaze back inland at the lush forest bordering the creamy sands.
Arugam Bay is not only one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka; it also has some of the best waves. This carefree village became extremely popular amongst the surf scene, but has now started to attract an array of travellers.
Due to the local’s strong resistance, there’s not a luxury complex in sight; instead, a range of quirky guesthouse line the shore. Tours of nearby Pottuvil Lagoon leave from the beach, as well as motor-boat trips out to sea in search of dolphins. Visit this beach if you crave laid-back vibes and dreamy sunsets.
Lying just north of Trincomalee, the sleepy village of Uppuveli is far from the beaten track. Because of its close proximity to the former civil war zone, the soft white sands are relatively free of development. Although, this is likely to change soon; this quaint village is carving out a reputation as one of the best places to embark on whale watching tours.
Sitting on the south coast, the fine sands of Mirissa Beach are lapped by lively waves. Except for a small cluster of hotels and guesthouses, this part of Sri Lanka is again relatively unspoiled.
Mirissa beach is truly stunning but is not the only attraction on offer; every year thousands of visitors flock here to embark on whale watching tours. Often these majestic creatures can be seen crashing through the just offshore from December to April.
Feeling inspired to discover the best beaches in Sri Lanka? Click below to see our staggeringly low-priced tours to this jewel of South Asia.