The 26 Best Beaches In Sri Lanka (For Swimming + More)

Tristan Balme The 25 best beaches in Sri Lanka my favorites

I spent about a month travelling around Sri Lanka, and exploring the natural beauty of this country’s beaches one one of the highlights of my trip! There are so many stunning beaches in Sri Lanka, each with its own unique charm and appeal

(Whether you’re looking to surf, swim, snorkel or just chill and relax)

The best beach for swimming is Hiriketiya Beach as it’s always calm, and secluded, but also a stones throw away from some really great bars and restaurants. For surfing, I recommend Aragum Bay and for taking stunning photos, Secret Beach in Marrisa is stunning! For a secluded and romantic beach, check out Talalla beach down south – it’s gorgeous!

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my list of the 25 best beaches in Sri Lanka, based on my own experiences and preferences.

Also check out my guide to local Sri Lankan food, and what to do on your visit here

What I look for in a beach

When I visit a beach, there are a few key factors that I consider. First and foremost is the swimmability (is that a word?) of the water. I want to be able to jump in and enjoy a refreshing swim without having to worry about strong currents or dangerous marine life. Next, I consider how crowded the beach tends to be – I prefer more secluded, peaceful spots where I can relax and unwind. Of course, for those who enjoy surfing, the quality of the surf is also an important factor. Easy access to the beach is another consideration, as is the photo-worthy Instagram potential of the scenery.

  • Swimmability
  • Crowdedness
  • The surf!
  • Access
  • Instagramability (or at least how good it looks in photos!)

So, What Are The Best Beaches In Sri Lanka (My Opinion)

Right, let’s cut to the chase.

The Best Beach For Swimming – Hiriketiya Beach One of my personal favorites for swimming is Hiriketiya Beach. This crescent-shaped bay is sheltered by rocky outcrops on either side, creating calm, clear waters that are perfect for swimming. The beach itself is relatively small, which means it never gets too crowded, and there are plenty of shady spots to relax in. There are also a few cafes and restaurants nearby where you can grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink

The Best Beach For Photo Taking – Secret Beach Mirissa For those who love to snap photos of their travels, Secret Beach in Mirissa is an absolute must-visit. This secluded spot is tucked away behind a rocky outcrop, accessible only by a steep stairway. Once you make it down to the beach, you’ll be rewarded with crystal-clear waters and a stunning view of the surrounding cliffs. The beach is relatively small and quiet, which makes it the perfect spot for a peaceful photo shoot.

Best Secret Beach – Muhathuwaram If you’re looking for a secluded spot that’s off the beaten path, Muhathuwaram is a great choice. This hidden gem is tucked away between two larger beaches, and it can only be accessed via a narrow path that winds through the jungle. Once you make it to the beach, you’ll be greeted by soft white sand and clear blue waters. There are no facilities on this beach, so be sure to bring everything you need with you.

Best Surf Beach – Arugam Bay For those who love to catch a wave, Arugam Bay is the ultimate surf destination in Sri Lanka. This small town on the east coast of the island is home to a long, sandy beach that boasts some of the best surf in the country. The waves are particularly good during the summer months, and there are plenty of surf schools and rental shops in town for those who need equipment or instruction.

Most Romantic Beach – Talalla South If you’re looking for a beach that’s perfect for a romantic getaway, Talalla South is a great choice. This secluded spot is located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, and it boasts soft sand, calm waters, and breathtaking sunsets. There are a few small resorts in the area that offer private bungalows and villas, perfect for a romantic escape.

The 25 Best Beaches In Sri Lanka (Ranked)

1. Hiriketiya

Hiriketiya is a sheltered crescent-shaped bay with calm and clear waters that are perfect for swimming. The beach is relatively small and never gets too crowded. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby where you can grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink. The beach is located about 20 minutes away from Dikwella city and can be reached by tuk-tuk.

Hiriketiya Beach sri lanka tristan balme
Hiriketiya Beach the best beach for swimming in sri lanka

2. Mirissa Beach

Mirissa Beach is a popular beach for swimming and surfing. The beach is known for its long stretch of white sand and clear blue waters. There are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby, making it a great spot to spend the day. The beach can be reached by bus or taxi from Matara city, which is about 30 minutes away.

Sri Lanka Mirissa Beach
Photo Credit: Dmitry Rukhlenko

3. Tangalle Beach

Tangalle Beach is a beautiful and secluded spot with soft sand and clear blue waters. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is located about 15 minutes away from Tangalle city and can be reached by tuk-tuk.

Tangalle Beach
Photo Credit: MariusLtu from Getty Images

4. Kalkudah Beach

Kalkudah Beach is a long and wide beach with soft sand and clear waters. The beach is known for its calm waters and is a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is located about 30 minutes away from Batticaloa city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Kalkudah Beach
Photo Credit: Alan_Lagadu from Getty Images Signature

5. Kabalana

Kabalana is a popular surfing spot with great waves and a beautiful beach. The beach is located about 20 minutes away from Galle city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Kabalana Beach
Photo Credit: Hagen Production from Getty Images

6. Arugam Bay Beach

Arugam Bay Beach is a long and wide beach with great waves, making it a popular spot for surfing. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a great spot to relax and unwind. The beach is located about 4 hours away from Colombo city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Arugam Bay Beach
Photo Credit: Alan_Lagadu from Getty Images Signature

7. Unawatuna

Unawatuna is a popular beach for swimming and diving. The beach is known for its clear blue waters and soft sand. There are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby, making it a great spot to spend the day. The beach is located about 20 minutes away from Galle city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Unawatuna beach near galle sri lanka
Photo by Eirik Skarstein

8. Weligama

Weligama is a beautiful beach with calm waters, making it a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a popular spot for tourists. The beach is located about 30 minutes away from Galle city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Weligama Beach
Photo Credit: Dmitrii Anikin from Getty Images Pro

9. Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island is a beautiful spot with crystal-clear waters and soft sand. The beach is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving, as it is home to a variety of marine life. The island is located about 30 minutes away from Trincomalee city and can be reached by boat.

Pigeon Island
Photo Credit: proxyminder from Getty Images Signature

10. Mawella

Mawella is a beautiful and secluded spot with soft sand and clear blue waters. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is located about 10 minutes away from Tangalle city and can be reached by tuk-tuk.

Mawella Beach
Photo Credit: BeachSearcher

11. Casuarina Beach

Casuarina Beach is a long and wide beach with soft sand and clear waters. The beach is known for its calm waters and is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is located about 30 minutes away from Jaffna city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Casuarina Beach
Photo Credit: Thambu Illam from Pinterest

12. Nilaveli

Nilaveli is a beautiful and secluded spot with soft sand and clear blue waters. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is located about 15 minutes away from Trincomalee city and can be reached by tuk-tuk.

Nilaveli Beach
Photo Credit: erandalx from Getty Images

13. Secret Beach in Mirissa

Secret Beach in Mirissa is a secluded spot that is accessible only by a steep stairway. Once you make it down to the beach, you’ll be rewarded with crystal-clear waters and a stunning view of the surrounding cliffs. The beach is relatively small and quiet, which makes it the perfect spot for a peaceful day at the beach. The beach is located about 15 minutes away from Mirissa city and can be reached by tuk-tuk.

Tristan Balme exploring the secret beaches of marissa 1

14. Galle

Galle is a popular beach town with plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops. The beach is known for its long stretch of white sand and clear blue waters. The town is located about 2 hours away from Colombo city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Galle beach in sri lanka tristan balme
Photo Credit: Fredrik Öhlander

15. Uppuveli

Uppuveli is a beautiful and secluded spot with soft sand and clear blue waters. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is located about 20 minutes away from Trincomalee city and can be reached by tuk-tuk.

Uppuveli Beach
Photo Credit: Travel_Nerd from Getty Images

16. Kalpitiya Beach

Kalpitiya Beach is a popular spot for kite surfing and windsurfing. The beach is known for its strong winds and is a great spot to catch some waves. The beach is located about 3 hours away from Colombo city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Kalpitiya Beach
Photo Credit: T_o_m_o from Getty Images

17. Koggala Beach

Koggala Beach is a beautiful spot with soft sand and clear blue waters. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is located about 20 minutes away from Galle city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Koggala Beach
Photo Credit: Pisanu Thoyod from Getty Images

18. Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa is a popular beach town with plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops. The beach is known for its long stretch of white sand and clear blue waters. The town is located about 2 hours away from Colombo city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Tristan Balme Sunset on Hikkaduwa beach

19. Bentota Lagoon

Bentota Lagoon is a beautiful spot with calm waters, making it a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. The lagoon is surrounded by palm trees and is a popular spot for tourists. The beach is located about 2 hours away from Colombo city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Bentota Lagoon
Photo Credit: slava296 from Getty Images Pro

20. Dalawella

Dalawella is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is known for its soft sand and clear blue waters. There are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby, making it a great spot to spend the day. The beach is located about 20 minutes away from Galle city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Dalawella Beach
Photo Credit: bloodua from Getty Images

21. Dickwella

Dickwella is a beautiful and secluded spot with soft sand and clear blue waters. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is located about 30 minutes away from Matara city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Dickwella Beach
Photo Credit: Charlotte Plans a Trip from Pinterest

22. Trincomalee Beach

Trincomalee Beach is a beautiful spot with calm waters, making it a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a popular spot for tourists. The beach is located about 30 minutes away from Trincomalee city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Trincomalee Beach
Photo Credit: olli0815 from Getty Images

23. Muhathuwaram

Muhathuwaram is a secluded spot that’s off the beaten path. This hidden gem is tucked away between two larger beaches and can only be accessed via a narrow path that winds through the jungle. Once you make it to the beach, you’ll be greeted by soft white sand and clear blue waters. The beach is located about 20 minutes away from Tangalle city and can be reached by tuk-tuk.

Muhathuwaram beach
Photo Credit: Aviyana Ceylon Tours

24. Talalla South

Talalla South is a beautiful and secluded spot with soft sand, calm waters, and breathtaking sunsets. There are a few small resorts in the area that offer private bungalows and villas, making it the perfect spot for a romantic escape. The beach is located about 20 minutes away from Matara city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Talalla South
Photo Credit: Aurore Kervoern from Getty Images Signature

25. Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay is a long and wide beach with great waves, making it a popular spot for surfing. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a great spot to relax and unwind. The beach is located about 4 hours away from Colombo city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Arugam Bay
Photo Credit: Alan_Lagadu from Getty Images Signature

26. Negombo Beach

Negombo is a popular beach town with plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops. The town is located about 30 minutes away from Colombo city and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Negombo Beach
Photo Credit: BGStock72

Summary of all the Beaches

Beach NameSwimmabilityCrowdednessThe surf!AccessInstagramabilityOverall Ranking
HiriketiyaExcellentAveragePoorGoodExcellent1
Mirissa BeachGoodAverageGoodAverageExcellent2
Tangalle BeachGoodAveragePoorGoodGood3
Kalkudah BeachExcellentPoorPoorAverageGood4
KabalanaPoorGoodExcellentAverageExcellent5
Arugam Bay BeachPoorGoodExcellentPoorGood6
UnawatunaGoodPoorPoorGoodGood7
WeligamaExcellentPoorPoorGoodGood8
Pigeon IslandExcellentPoorPoorPoorGood9
MawellaGoodAveragePoorGoodGood10
Casuarina BeachGoodPoorPoorPoorGood11
NilaveliGoodPoorPoorPoorGood12
Secret BeachGoodGoodPoorPoorExcellent13
GalleGoodAveragePoorGoodExcellent14
UppuveliGoodPoorPoorGoodGood15
Kalpitiya BeachPoorAverageExcellentPoorGood16
Koggala BeachGoodAveragePoorGoodGood17
HikkaduwaGoodAveragePoorGoodGood18
Bentota LagoonExcellentPoorPoorGoodGood19
DalawellaGoodAveragePoorGoodGood20
DickwellaGoodPoorPoorPoorGood21
Trincomalee BeachExcellentPoorPoorGoodGood22
MuhathuwaramGoodGoodPoorPoorGood23
Talalla SouthExcellentPoorPoorGoodGood24
Arugam BayPoorGoodExcellentPoorGood25
NegomboGoodAveragePoorGoodGood26

Sri Lanka’s Best Beaches FAQ:

Q1. Which part of Sri Lanka has the best beaches?

Sri Lanka has beaches all around its coastline, so there are great spots to visit no matter where you go. Some of the most popular areas for beach lovers include the southern coast, the east coast, and the northwestern coast.

Q2. Which is the No 1 beach in Sri Lanka?

This is a difficult question to answer definitively, as everyone’s preferences are different. However, some of the most popular beaches in Sri Lanka include Mirissa Beach, Tangalle Beach, and Arugam Bay.

Q3. What is the most calm beach in Sri Lanka?

If you’re looking for a beach with calm waters, Trincomalee Beach is a great choice. The water here is usually very calm and clear, making it perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Q4. Which part of Sri Lanka is most beautiful?

Again, this is a matter of personal preference, but many people consider the southern coast of Sri Lanka to be particularly beautiful. Here, you’ll find palm-fringed beaches, turquoise waters, and stunning sunsets.

Q5. Which beach is best for foreigners?

All of the beaches on this list are great for foreigners – in fact, many of them are particularly popular with international travelers. However, some of the most popular spots for foreign visitors include Mirissa Beach, Unawatuna, and Arugam Bay.

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