Sri Lanka is a beautiful country blessed with lovely landscapes, lush green tea gardens, unique culture, historic sites, and much more. A pear-shaped island, similar to the shape of a teardrop, the country has an apt nickname, “a drop of tear in the Indian Ocean” or “the pearl of the Indian Ocean”.

If you want to sit back and discover the beauty of nature, indulge in water sports or surfing, and enjoy a lovely romantic walk with your better half on soft white sands, then a beach vacation in Sri Lanka is a right choice for you. But which is the best beach in Sri Lanka? To answer the question, read further!

To be honest, there is no one right answer to this question, as Sri Lanka is filled with a lot of gorgeous beaches. However, the weather in Sri Lanka is quite complicated even for a fairly small island, and sea conditions vary hugely through the breadth of the country. Therefore, the best beaches to visit in Sri Lanka depends on the weather, which is tropical and there is no distinct monsoon season throughout the country. That implies the beaches are suitable to visit during different times of the year and the sea is safe to swim only from certain beaches at a specific time of the year.

If you want to go for sunbathing on the beach with low tides, it will be wise to choose a Southern or Western beach from December to April. From May to September, a beach vacation on the Eastern side of the island is your best bet. You can occasionally enjoy excellent weather on Eastern beaches from February to April, but low tides are not guaranteed. Beaches in the Southern and Western part of Sri Lanka usually have good weather from late July to September, though, swimming in the sea is rarely safe at this time of the year.

The best surf beaches are found towards the Southern end of the island where you’ll find waves, from long point break walls to punchy beach break peaks and everything in between. One of the best things about Sri Lanka is that if you need a break from beaches and water activities, the country has a lot to offer. Jaw-dropping scenery, exceptional wildlife parks, plantations, and ancient culture are just some of the things and that too all within a driving distance.

Discover the top beaches and soak in the beauty of Sri Lankan beaches

Beaches On The West Coast Of Sri Lanka

From Negombo down to Galle, the beaches on the western coast of the country are the most popular with tourists – wide, sandy, palm-fringed, most Westernized and tourist-oriented.

Among the beaches here are Bentota Beach, one of the most famous, which has thrived as a popular beach since the 1970s. If you want to indulge in water-sports, enjoy hospitality in some of the best hotels and restaurants or plan to make day trips to nearby places of interest, this is the beach to visit.

Towards the North of Bentota, beaches such as Wadduwa, Beruwala and Kalutara have the benefit of being close to the capital city, Colombo (the city with the International Airport). The reefs in Wadduwa and Kalutara are a distinctive feature.

Bentota Beach

Towards the south, the Hikkaduwa Beach is known for its party culture, while beaches in Balapitiya, Ahangama and Dodanduwa have excellent hotels, quiet spots and easy access to Galle and beyond. Hikkaduwa Beach is also loved for its surfing experiences and breath-taking sunsets. So, make sure you’re at the beach for sunset with your loved ones, followed by a long night visiting the nearby nightclubs.

In this part of the country, the sea is safe for swimming, usually from January to March.

Deep South Beaches

The south coast of Sri Lanka is among the most rewarding regions to visit. This part of the country offers gorgeous beaches, colonial towns & superb wildlife parks, and is dotted with Buddhist shrines & temples. Also, the coastline in this part is home to some of the island’s most extravagant places to stay. It is filled with luxurious beach hotels to atmospheric colonial-era villas. The region’s charm also lies in its quintessentially rural settings with countless sleepy villages nestled in the shade of toppling palm trees, where the pace of life is unashamedly slow-moving.

Of the beaches in this part of the country, Mirissa, a pretty little bay, is midway between Galle and Tangalle. There are miles of golden sand beaches, as you go further down the coast, with Tallala being a stand out example.

beach Mirissa

Mirissa, often regarded as one of Sri Lanka’s best-kept secrets, is one of the best places for surfing as well as for whale-watching. You can spot migrating blue, sperm, Bryde and fin whales and dolphins here. For a water sports enthusiast or a nature lover, a visit to Mirissa Beach will fulfil all your beach holiday dreams. It is blessed with natural beauty, and another amazing thing to do here is to take a River Safari to explore the best of nature.

On the other hand, Tangalle is perfect for travellers who love tranquillity, miles away from the crowds of the west coast. It is one of the most beautiful and cherished beaches in Sri Lanka. Make sure you capture some stunning clicks to fill your Instagram, while in Tangalle.


This stretch of the country is not very famous with sea swimmers, as it is often unsafe in Tangalle.

The East Coast Beaches

Off the usually followed tourist trail, for many years due to the long-raging civil war and compounded by the damage due to the 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka’s east coast is unexplored and unquestionably beautiful. A fairly new region for beach holidays in Sri Lanka with a superb coastline, the east coast part of Sri Lanka has the best beaches in the country and also known for the best sea swimming experience. Following the end of the civil war, there has been a slow and steady development in the region with its major towns, Trincomalee and Batticaloa, bustling with life and commercial activity.

arugam beach

Among the most famed places here, Trincomalee is one of the favourites, which is loved for its beach. But just north of Trinco though, there are the famed sandy stretches of Uppuveli and Nilaveli.

Uppuveli Beach is known for its stunning landscapes, classic accommodations, and mouth-watering seafood that will definitely light up your vacation in Sri Lanka. While at the Uppuveli Beach, make sure you take a moonlight stroll with your better half for a romantic experience. The Nilaveli beach is a broad sandy beach lined up with palm trees and is a famous spot for fishing and plenty of water sports activities as well.

A couple of hours drive south is the famous Passekudah Bay. This part is revered by Sri Lankans, mainly because of the wide gently sloping bay, which makes swimming in the sea safe year-round and during the season time provides the kind of waters people dream about. It used to be quiet area too – but due to the development for water sport activities, as well as springing up of accommodation options, it has become one of the busy but best choices among locals as well as tourists alike.

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