South coast of Sri Lanka: Best beaches uncovered

South Coast Of Sri Lanka: Best Beaches Uncovered

by Juliet Dreamhunter

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For such a small country Sri Lanka has an absolutely crazy amount of things to do and see! Climbing Sigiriya Rock, watching wildlife on safaris in national parks, tasting Ceylon tea, staying in a homestay with a local family, swimming in waterfalls, riding in a tuk-tuk, and learning to cook Sri Lankan food on a cooking class, just to name a few.

But being on an island, surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian ocean, and not explore the beaches… this just doesn’t sound right! You need to unwind after all the adventures and enjoy all the perks the south coast of Sri Lanka has to offer. And there are many!

From snorkeling and swimming with turtles at a secluded beach to catching the best waves on your surfboard, this guide tells you all about the best places along the southern shore. You’ll know where to go for the calm sea if you are with kids, how to avoid huge tourist crowds, and why I had never swum in half of these beaches despite having my swimsuit ready!

I also cover some typical beach activities and answer the most common questions you may come up with while planning your beach vacation in Sri Lanka. Let me know in the comments if you have any more questions!

Now, enjoy your virtual tour through the worst and the best beaches of southern Sri Lanka!

South Sri Lanka Beaches Map

What to bring – Sri Lanka beach essentials

Beach clothes

The golden rule of travel: always bring a swimming suit with you!

Even if you don’t plan to swim. I mean, you never know, there might be a lake nearby or a swimming pool in your accommodation. You might even end up going with locals to a secret beach you didn’t know existed! Better be prepared at all times, right? Check out my favorites in my Pinterest swimsuit selection if you’re on a hunt for a new look!

Besides showing off your new (or old but still cool) swimsuit, in Sri Lanka it’s a good idea to have some kind of beach coverup. Tourist areas are safe, but you are not allowed to walk around in your bikini anywhere else. Even if the beach is located across the road from your homestay, you still need to cover up a bit to get there. This is nothing like those all-inclusive resorts in Turkey where you can spend a week in your bikini and get away with it. Sri Lankan people are modest, so be respectful and bring a shawl just in case!

girl in a hat on the beach
Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash

You’ll also need a hat as Sri Lanka is quite hot and bright, and a pair of swimming shoes – a lifesaver for rocky beaches and reefs!

Sun protection

Sri Lanka is close to the equator and the sun is quite harsh all year round. With that said, you’ll need some kind of sunscreen lotion. Please go for a reef-friendly version if possible to limit your bad influence on the local ecosystem! Also, in less touristic areas sometimes there aren’t any stores around, so you can’t easily buy it there.

Despite the protection, you might still get sunburned depending on your skin type (happens to the best of us!). For such cases, make sure to have a cool down gel or lotion to calm your skin.

And if you are like me, and your lips are always suffering from the windy weather and salty water, don’t forget to pack a moisturizing lip balm! My all-time favorite is Carmex, but anything will work as long as you actually apply it regularly.

Other stuff

Beaches in Sri Lanka don’t always have sunbeds (or have very few), so it’s a good idea to bring your own compact beach blanket, that can also be used as a towel. A roomy tote bag is also a must, especially if it’s a cute tropical themed one!

I think I covered all the necessities (tell me in the comments if I forgot something important!) for a good beach holiday in Sri Lanka. Now it’s finally time to see my beach rating – up to the favorite one!

13 southern beaches in Sri Lanka – My personal rating

13. Dewata Beach

This beach is kinda double-faced. If you walk all the way from one side to another you’ll notice how it changes.

The southern part of the Dewata Beach starts with what feels like a rubbish dump: trash everywhere, seemingly abandoned buildings, no people around, a small canal (I just wouldn’t dare call it a river) that flows into the sea. And all of this is topped with an awful smell.

The northern part is much better. At some point, it stops looking abandoned and you start to see restaurants, places to stay, and those eager to talk surfing instructors I’ll tell you about in a bit. The waves are nice for surfing and not very big if you are a beginner, and there are sunbeds and all the usual beach things available. We also saw local children playing cricket at the end of the beach. This part of the Dewata Beach looks good by itself, but after we passed that smelly canal flowing into the sea just two hundred meters down the beach, we wouldn’t want to swim there anyway.

dewata beach sri lanka

And there is this thing with annoying people! During our 10-minute walk, we were forced to talk to around 10 different surfing instructors. We soon started to feel frustrated because we were just calmly walking on the beach (romantic and all) but literally every few meters another guy would come to us and start to ask the same questions.

– Where are you from?

– How many days in Sri Lanka?

– Do you want surfing lessons?

– Have you tried surfing?

– Come with me, I have lessons and food and rooms!

It was entertaining at first but after the 5th similar conversation in 5 minutes, you don’t feel like answering politely anymore and just want those people to stop disturbing your peaceful walk. Sometimes someone would come and ask ‘How can I help you?’. I mean, why do you think we need help, man?

So, the choice is yours, but our final verdict is: not recommended.

Anyways, here is where you can stay near Dewata Beach, if you still wanna go

12. Habaraduwa Beach

If you are looking for a huge wild beach with no people around, this might be a place for you.

Other than a couple of beach homestays and one or two restaurants, there is literally nothing there. You can walk, and walk, and walk, and there will still be just you surrounded by sand, trees, and waves. No tourists come there whatsoever, not much to do, just a big empty space stretching until the eye can see.

habaraduwa beach in sri lanka
Huge waves in Sri Lanka – can you spot a human?

In Habaraduwa you can spend a few peaceful days, but then you will probably get bored. Unless this is exactly what you want! Your cheap sea view accommodation will most likely provide you with everything you might need for a nice time chilling on the beach: umbrellas, sunbeds, outside dining area, beach towels, etc. As there are trees, you’ll hear a lot of screaming crows and see playful squirrels running around. The water is not safe to swim as there are always big waves full of sand and it gets deep very fast.

Generally, I wouldn’t recommend staying in Habaraduwa unless you wanna relax on a secluded beach doing nothing and are fine with not swimming.

Where to stay near Habaraduwa Beach

11. Mirissa Beach

Mirissa Beach is one of the most crowded tourist places we’ve seen in Sri Lanka. Although you can hardly swim there, it seems to attract tourists from all over the world with a high number of restaurants and bars. The overall infrastructure is better than at most other beaches in Sri Lanka, but swimming is not safe, which is why Mirissa is close to the end of my list.

mirissa beach south sri lanka

The waves are big and strong: the ocean shows you how it can do everything it wants with you and how you can’t do anything about it. The huge wave twice my height ate me for lunch, made me do a summersault under the water, then, while I was reaching for the surface to grab some air, another wave covered me again, forced me to do another summersault while throwing me against the bottom, rinsing my nose and my throat, and putting tons of sand into my hair (it took me a few days to fully rinse it all out!). Needless to say, that was my only attempt of swimming at Mirissa beach.

However, it’s still a nice place to have a sunbathe, to chill, and spent some time relaxing with a glass of fresh juice and watching people fighting the waves. Besides, Mirissa is the best place for whale watching tours!

Where to stay near Mirissa Beach

10. Gandara Beach

This is a 100% local place with no tourists ever. A part of a small fisherman village where you are an attraction for locals, for a change.

south coast of sri lanka gandara beach

Although beautiful, this beach is not for swimming. The shore is covered with fisherman boats and it’s hard to even find a way to the water through all the ropes and fishing equipment. Hard waves, big rocks, and lots of boats in the water make it not suitable for your usual vacation. But it’s still calm and beautiful because of no people around, just lovely stray dogs. Worth exploring, but I wouldn’t stay there much longer.

Where to stay near Gandara Beach

9. Dikwella Beach

This beach has everything you need, even a free rope swing!

Located close to much more popular Hiriketiya Beach (more about that one below), Dikwella Beach seems to be not yet discovered by many. Compared to Mirissa, it feels like a breath of fresh air with just a few people around. Beautiful palms as a backdrop, refreshing drinks and quiet atmosphere make it a great fit for a nice peaceful vacation.

Dikwella beach in Sri Lanka

There isn’t as much infrastructure here as in Mirissa because there isn’t as many tourists. But this is even better, right? I can hardly find anything to complain about, besides the fact that the waves are still big enough to keep you from swimming.

Where to stay near Dikwella Beach

8. Talalla Beach

This was one of our favorite destinations in Sri Lanka! More so because of the wonderful homestay with a tropical garden we stayed at, but the beach is very beautiful too! There are a few sunbeds here and there and one average restaurant, but other than that it’s just a calm quiet wide stretch of clean sand. Perfect for walking and sunbathing, but not for swimming.

Talalla quiet beach in Sri Lanka

There is also no shade at all to hide from the burning sun, so don’t be like us and don’t come in the afternoon!

Where to stay near Talalla Beach

7. Hikkaduwa Beach & Narigama Beach

Another very popular beach in southern Sri Lanka. One of the nicest among the tourist-loved beaches and I fully understand why it’s one of the most known ones.

There are plenty of seafront accommodations and restaurants, surfing instructors, beach yoga classes, and sunbeds for rent, as well as clothing and souvenir shops close to the beach. Hikkaduwa Beach can be a great place for your vacation if big waves don’t scare you (surfers, I’m looking at you!). We noticed different kinds of waves in different parts of the beach, and surfing instructors spread accordingly.

Hikkaduwa beach Sri Lanka

Consider not renting accommodations at the beach as it’s crowded all the time. We managed to find a nice calm place across the road from the Hikkaduwa beach with a garden, a hammock, a swimming pool, and a good breakfast. Such stays are also cheaper and more peaceful than beachfront ones.

There is also a place called Turtle Beach nearby where huge turtles can be spotted every day, so you can come and see them and even feed. But don’t be like those abusing people who grab them for photos and limit free roaming of those wise creatures!

Where to stay near Hikkaduwa Beach

6. Unawatuna Beach

Finally the first place on my list where you can actually swim!

Although the waves are small, the sea gets deep quite fast: the water level was by my neck after around 3 steps, which you can probably see with people on the photo below. Maybe it’s not the best destination if you travel with children, but better than many others anyway. It’s crowded during the high season, but I’d recommend this area for most cases, especially if you are coming to Sri Lanka for a beach vacation.

Sunset at Unawatuna Beach in Sri Lanka
Sunset bathing in Unawatuna

Unawatuna had the best infrastructure we’ve seen in Sri Lanka: many clothing and souvenir shops, restaurants, places to stay, fruit stalls, and small supermarkets. On the beach itself, there are also some restaurants, sunbeds, and equipment for rent. Even though there are a lot of people around, it’s still a nice place to chill and maybe see a sunset every now and then.

Where to stay near Unawatuna Beach

5. Madiha Beach

A wild and less-known beach that might be good for snorkeling, sunbathing, and relaxing without crowds. There is a coral reef nearby that you can explore, but the downside of it is that sand is full of coral pieces. If you decide to go there, I’d recommend bringing special shoes or flippers for snorkeling. Not recommended for families with kids.

Madiha Beach Sri Lanka

Where to stay near Madiha Beach

4. Weligama Beach

Weligama is the longest beach we’ve explored in Sri Lanka. The wide line of sand stretches for about three kilometers on which you can find everything you might need. From a pier with fishing boats to high-end hotels and restaurants, this can easily be the only place you want to stay at. A huge amount of sunbeds and surfing equipment for rent, as well as umbrellas and surfing instructors every few meters.

Beautiful Weligama Beach in Sri Lanka

Probably a good place to learn surfing, as it’s quite safe and there is a long way ahead until the water gets deep. The waves are nice for newbies to learn, and we saw a lot of surfers there including children. Weligama beach is nice, clean, and perfect for everyone, whether you are a luxury traveler, on a budget, or with kids.

Where to stay near Weligama Beach

3. Hiriketiya Beach

This is a surfing paradise!

Great waves, clear water, pleasant smooth sand… What’s not to love?

Our accommodation in Hiriketiya was directly in front of the beach entrance: step out of the door and you are at the beach! Many places to stay also give you a discount for surfing equipment, that alone gives up Hiriketiya bay as a surfing spot. There are quite a few nice romantic restaurants in the area with local food and fresh juices, but everything seems a bit overpriced because of how popular this place is.

Even though Hiriketiya is mainly surfers-oriented, the sea is very pleasant here as it’s a small bay surrounded by land. You can of course come here just to swim and relax in the shade: there isn’t much of a beach space out there, but some sunbeds are available near the trees.

South coast of Sri Lanka - Hiriketiya beach

Along the road outside of the Hiriketiya beach, there is one shop where you can find everything you might want: from clothes to souvenirs, from sunscreen lotion and snacks to toiletries and aroma oils. Not a lot of other shops in the area.

When it comes to food, I’d recommend a place called Mond, especially for breakfast. It takes a few minutes to walk there from the beach, but it’s worth it! Overall chill atmosphere, finally good non-black coffee (I loved their flat white!), not big but tasty menu, and a nice roof terrace. They only work from 8 am till 2 pm, in case you decide to check it out.

Where to stay near Hiriketiya Beach

2. Polhena Beach

Polhena Beach is so nice and untouched that I’m almost hesitant to share it.

It’s one of those unknown wild beaches that are wonderful because they are unknown.

Basically a short piece of clean sand, Polhena Beach offers smooth water level increase, almost no waves, and little to no tourists around. We saw some locals spending time there chilling and playing beach games. Polhena is a great place for swimming and snorkeling, and you can rent snorkeling equipment right there on the beach for 300 LKR/hour, which is as always a subject to discuss.

Walking at Polhena beach in Sri Lanka

The main thing Polhena Beach is popular for is giant turtles, that can be spotted there almost every morning. While snorkeling for about one hour, we got to swim together with three huge about 1-meter long turtles and even feed them together with locals. Such an amazing experience!

The beach itself is very small and there isn’t any infrastructure besides that guy who offers snorkeling equipment for rent. Nevertheless, there are many accommodations and restaurants in the area, which offer a sea view, local food, and yoga lessons.

Where to stay near Polhena Beach

1. Jungle Beach

Drumroll, please! It’s time to reveal my absolute favorite beach in the south coast of Sri Lanka!

Meet Jungle Beach! Located in a quiet bay and hidden from the direct ocean influence, it’s surrounded by the wild jungle that actually justifies its name. The beach consists of two parts with very different entrances and attitudes. If you look closely at the map, you’ll see two pieces of sand that are connected by Jungle Beach Road (spoiler alert: there is no road) and both are called Jungle Beach. You can either swim from one to the other or climb the rocks.

The left one (if you are still looking at the map) is more popular: you can get there either by tuk-tuk or on foot, and you’ll see many shops on the way. Just to name a few, they offer fresh coconuts, cold water, fruit, tuk-tuk rides, restaurants, and all kinds of beach essentials like balls, swimming rings, etc. The right side is much more quiet, short, and has a coral reef, but the way there requires a bit of a steep hike. If you manage to get there, you are up for the very nice water, small waves, and beautiful surroundings. Better come early when some sunbeds in the shade are available. This Jungle Beach is minimal but it has snorkeling equipment for rent and a restaurant in case you fancy a drink.

Jungle beach - best beach in Sri Lanka
Jungle Beach – my favorite beach in Sri Lanka

Jungle Beach sometimes gets really crowded with locals. I guess it’s not advertised much to tourists, that’s why there are many more locals there than foreigners. Apparently, Jungle Beach is a locally popular place to spend time: on weekends a lot of buses with big groups of Sri Lankan people arrive at the beach and it gets very loud as they play music, dance, and have fun.

Whole Jungle Beach has nice shallow water, which makes it one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka for kids. Also to the very left of the beach territory, there is a nice viewpoint where you can take some pictures of the sea with the waves breaking above your head and no people around. Be sure to take some water with you as it gets very hot and I was almost dying on my way back dehydrated from the heat and the hike.

Where to stay near Jungle Beach

Best beaches in Sri Lanka South coast province – Summary

So, what is the best beach in Sri Lanka?

If you need one, I vote for Jungle Beach! But if you want an easy path, Polhena Beach is a close second! Choose between Unawatuna and Weligama if you are coming solely for a beach vacation as they have a wide infrastructure.

Best beaches for swimming in Sri Lanka with kids | Beaches without waves

  • Jungle Beach (unless small hike is an issue)
  • Weligama Beach (long walk until deep)
  • Unawatuna Beach (some waves, but safer than most others)
  • Polhena Beach (just amazing)

Best beaches for surfing

  • Hiriketiya Beach (better if you are a pro)
  • Weligama Beach (better for newbie surfers)
  • Hikkaduwa Beach
  • Dewata Beach (I personally wouldn’t recommend this one for swimming, but there were instructors approaching us on every step, so it may still be a good choice for surfing)

Which beach is calling your name? Tell me in the comments!

Common questions about Sri Lankan beaches answered

Are Sri Lanka beaches clean?

Exceptionally clean!

Contrary to other countries, here we never noticed any issues with plastic, seaweed, or garbage. You can see by yourself how clean the sand is everywhere! The only thing was the presence of coral pieces at Madiha beach – but, well, it’s a wild beach with a coral reef nearby, so this is kind of expected.

However, this might probably change a bit depending on a season: in summer, when the monsoon comes, the sea on the south coast of Sri Lanka is rough and beaches might not be that clean. We only visited in February-March, and this is how it was at the time.

Is it safe to swim in the sea in Sri Lanka?

Definitely not everywhere!

This was a very disappointing and unexpected thing to realize as I’ve never seen anyone talking about this. And I’ve read a lot of blogs before going! So beware people, not all of those beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka let you swim! And this can be super frustrating if you only stay in one place for your whole trip and can’t even swim there.

The image from Habaraduwa Beach above illustrates the problem very well. Can you see a person in there? Compare the size of the head with the wave height behind it! And this is only a few meters from the shore: you might notice the shallow water at the bottom of the picture as I captured it without getting my feet wet.

I even shared in my Sri Lankan culture post a story of how I tried to swim for the first time in Mirissa (spoiler: it was also my last). Read it for more info on safety at Sri Lankan beaches.

Is the sea warm in Sri Lanka?

Yes it is! The temperature is always warm and the sea is comfortable to swim at all times.

What are the top beach activities in Sri Lanka?

So you are tired of attending cultural activities online and ready for something real. Let’s see what we can find to never be bored at Sri Lankan beaches! Check out my top-7 beach activities below!

1. Find some rope swings

I only managed to found two, but there are so many! South coast of Sri Lanka is covered with beaches and I couldn’t possibly visit them all in one go (13 is quite enough for one journey, don’t you think?). Explore by yourself to uncover the best opportunities to swing with such an amazing backdrop!

These two were open for grabs for free – there was nowhere around when we found them. But sometimes you might find a tourist trap like that Instagram-famous swing at Dalawella Beach where they charge you 500+ rupees for a couple of swings back and forth. I recommend choosing off-the-beaten-track destinations as they are usually quiet, empty, and if you find a swing you have it all for yourself!

rope swing in sri lanka
Sunset swinging in Mirissa
rope swinging in sri lanka
Swinging again at Dikwella beach

2. Learn surfing

surfing in southern sri lanka
Surfing spot in Weligama

Although big waves are not a good fit for swimming and family vacations, they are great for surfing! Sri Lanka is not that famous as Thailand or Bali, but there are tons of instructors and surfing centers around. A lot of them provide you with a full package that besides lessons and board rent also include accommodation and food.

3. Swim with turtles

I never planned this but we were able to swim with the giant turtles two times during our trip!

One time was at Polhena beach: we spotted 3 turtles while snorkeling for an hour in shallow waters! And followed them for a while to observe. Another time was at the Turtle Beach in Hikkaduwa – it’s a known place for turtles and a great spot for snorkeling. But as it’s so popular there are sadly many tourists who would grab or hold a turtle in order to make a photo. There was a local guy shouting at them trying to stop this behavior, but they didn’t seem to listen. Don’t be like those people, respect nature and all its creations!

4. Pick up some local fishing techniques

fishing in sri lanka
Fishing equipment in Weligama

I’m not into fishing, but this profession is huge in Sri Lanka. Fresh fish for dinner is a popular food choice in Sri Lanka, so you’ll see fishing boats on every corner. You might want to talk to locals to learn some techniques if this is your thing. Like, for example, sitting on a stick in shallow waters waiting for the fish. I’m sure there is a lot to learn!

5. Go snorkeling

Marine life is rich in Sri Lanka and there are many coral reefs to explore. We saw turtles at Polhena Beach, sea urchins at Jungle Beach, and even two small sharks in Hikkaduwa. We brought our own snorkeling masks as we like to explore wild beaches, but at some places you can rent or buy snorkeling equipment as well.

6. Play cricket

This is the most popular sport in Sri Lanka and we saw locals playing it at the beach. Why not try to join them?

locals playing cricket on sri lanka beach
Locals playing cricket on the beach in Sri Lanka

7. Go whale watching

whale watching experience in Mirissa
Cute whale’s back in Mirissa – It’s much bigger in real life!

It’s not the best photo of a whale out there, but it was an amazing first-time experience for us! Seeing so close how huge those wonderful giants are in real life was so awe-inspiring! Even if you only see their backs or (if you are lucky) tails, you’ll still remember this for life. And those cute little fountains they make before coming out! Aww… I just wanna go see them again!

What is the best month to visit Sri Lanka?

If you are interested in the south coast of Sri Lanka, November to April is your safe area, with the very best weather in January and February. The other part of the year is known as monsoon time for southern Sri Lanka when the sea is rough and there is a lot of rain. If your planned vacation is in summer, consider going to the northern parts of the island instead.

Pin it for later and share with friends!

south coast of sri lanka
sri lanka best beaches uncovered

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Leave a Comment


Nilakshi June 8, 2020 - 5:23 pm

Great post with lovely pictures. I love the swinging in the beach. Seems you had wonderful times and thanks for a detailed guide. I really enjoyed reading it.

Juliet Dreamhunter June 8, 2020 - 5:41 pm

Thanks Nilakshi, I’m glad it was helpful!

Syedah Shifa June 8, 2020 - 8:28 pm

This is an amazing post about my beautiful country. Sri Lanka is hugely popular for its beaches. The pictures are just LOVE!

Juliet Dreamhunter June 8, 2020 - 9:29 pm

Thank you so much Syedah! What is your favorite beach in south coast of Sri Lanka?

Sarah June 24, 2020 - 9:03 am

Wow, these beaches all look so gorgeous and clean. I had no idea there were so many just in the south of Sri Lanka. Everyone always raves about how great it is there so I definitely need to go at some point! What I would do to be there right now 🙂

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:31 pm

Sarah, this is by no means an extensive list! I’m sure there are like ten more beaches along the south coast, especially if you look for smaller ones like Polhena. But we couldn’t see all of them in one go 🙂

You should go! It was one of my favorite trip so far, even though it wasn’t ever on the top of my bucket list!

Sarah Barthet June 10, 2020 - 9:23 pm

Sri Lanka is definitely a dream I wish I was living right now! Gorgeous pics!

Juliet Dreamhunter June 12, 2020 - 10:39 pm

Me too! I’d rather stay there and explore more than be stuck here in my home country for who knows how long…

Cyclointuitio June 11, 2020 - 9:34 am

Beautiful photos! Nice article and blog! Thanks for sharing

Juliet Dreamhunter June 12, 2020 - 10:40 pm

Thank you so much for your support! I’m glad it’s helpful 🙂

Jacquie June 11, 2020 - 10:41 am

We love Sri Lanka and the beaches but as we have children, we are very careful to point out to people that not all beaches are family-friendly. Our favourite is Dikwella and the only one we feel really comfortable with. I do think it’s important to point this out, as you say. Great post.

Juliet Dreamhunter June 12, 2020 - 10:44 pm

Thanks for noticing it! That incident in Mirissa was really unexpected as we had no idea there are non-swimming-friendly beaches in Sri Lanka. We dedicated half the trip to the beach exploring and couldn’t even swim at half of them… Dikwella also had quite big waves, I’d rather go to Weligama, Polhena, or Unawatuna with children.

Kanupriyaa June 12, 2020 - 6:02 am

I love Sri Lanka and its top of my bucket list for all the natural beauty, forests and especially the elephant adventures I have heard people having here. Saving your guide for when I go!

Juliet Dreamhunter June 12, 2020 - 10:46 pm

Thanks Kanu, you should go! Sri Lanka is one of my top-3 visited destinations so far 🙂 It appeared to be much more than I expected, and I’m sure there is still plenty to see for the next time!

Lissa June 22, 2020 - 6:26 pm

These ALL look truly incredible! I could plan an entire trip just based on this beach guide!

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:03 pm

Thanks, that would be a great trip! Make sure to choose the ones where you can actually swim!

Moshe Huberman June 22, 2020 - 7:37 pm

I traveled between Hikkadua, Weligama and Mirrissa and this area of Sri Lanka is so beautiful. Now I see so many other beaches that I missed. and who know? Maybe one day I will get to be there again 🙂

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:04 pm

Yesss! Maybe next time go off-the-beaten track and find less known beaches like Polhena, Madiha and Jungle Beach 🙂

Rudy @ Backpack & Snorkel June 23, 2020 - 5:10 am

Beautiful photos. Sri Lanka is on our list. How long, would you say, is good time to explore Sri Lanka?

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:11 pm

As long as you can! Sri Lanka has a ton to offer. We spent a month and could easily spend another month or two, there is really a lot to see and do. Depending on what you are interested in, I could suggest a few itineraries for your preferred timeframe.

Anshul June 23, 2020 - 6:11 am

I didn’t get to visit a lot of beaches in Sri Lanka because I went there in March and it was so hot that I couldn’t tolerate it. Because of the weather, I also missed Whale watching. Hoping that the world gets back to normal and I get to go there again.

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:14 pm

Oh no, so sorry to hear that! March is supposed to be great time to visit. We actually visited from the middle of February to the middle of March this year and the weather was perfect! Were you in the right part of the island? Southern part is good in winter and till April, whereas in the North there is a monsoon at that time.

Zarina June 23, 2020 - 12:24 pm

I can’t swim so beaches aren’t really my thing but these photos look gorgeous though!

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:16 pm

I can’t swim much too, that’s why it was important for me to find specific beaches without those huge waves. But ironically I love water and would love to live near the sea 🙂 Maybe we’ll both learn to swim at some point!

Carly-jo Rosselli June 23, 2020 - 2:42 pm

Thanks for providing such a great list, there are so many beautiful beaches! However, I never realised that so many of them were too choppy to swim in so this is really good to know.

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:17 pm

I’m glad you find it helpful! I would change our itinerary a lot if I happened to know this fact in advance… It was really sad to be at beautiful beaches but not be able to swim 🙁

Mei and Kerstin June 23, 2020 - 5:06 pm

Wow Sri Lanka looks like a dream! We hope to visit someday when it’s safe to travel again! Thanks for inspiring us with this post!

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:18 pm

It is a dream! Happy to help, I’m sure you’ll have a ton of memorable experience when you go!

Sandy N Vyjay June 23, 2020 - 7:44 pm

All the beaches of the South Coast of Sri Lanka look so gorgeous. We have been to Sri Lanka for a very short trip and just visited Colombo, we are yet to explore the interiors and the coast. Now we know where to head to for some of the most amazing beaches.

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:20 pm

We actually decided to skip Colombo and go for less touristic places and more off-the-beaten-track destinations! You should definitely come again as there is so much to see!

Smita June 23, 2020 - 9:19 pm

I never realized Sri Lanka had quite so many beautiful beaches! Love the quiet ones especially Talalla Beach even though it’s not for swimming. Your top 2 choices blew me away though – Polhena looks like a piece of paradise! And Jungle Beach – wow! The landscapes are stunning. Add in the turtles and it just becomes magical.

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:24 pm

Thanks Smita! Honestly, this is far from all! There are many more we weren’t able to cover in two weeks. Also, this is just the South Coast of Sri Lanka, there are many beaches in the north too, in case you plan to come in summer.
Talalla was the first one we found that had no people at all. It would be much higher on my list if it wasn’t for swimming! I’m glad it was helpful 🙂

Kailyn Stogsdill June 24, 2020 - 1:21 am

Wow, these beaches are really beautiful! It’s cool that you got to explore so many, and that they’re all so different. I am so jealous you got to snorkel with sea turtles, that is on my bucket list for sure!

Juliet Dreamhunter June 24, 2020 - 5:28 pm

Thank you Kailyn! To be honest, swimming with turtles wasn’t even on my list! We learned about turtles at Polhena from the locals when we came to explore it, so we came back on another day with our swimsuits and snorkeling equipment 🙂 And even though I’ve heard about Turtle beach in Hikkaduwa, it was optional on my itinerary. But I’m glad we actually went to snorkel there, as it appeared to be one of the highlights and we even saw sharks!

Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions June 25, 2020 - 12:19 am

It’s so crazy to me that these gorgeous beaches are only one small portion of the island’s coastline! They are all so beautiful and it’s so good to know that they’re not overrun with resorts and commercialization. That is also very cool that you can whale-watch here! I did that for the first time in 2018 in Monterey Bay and LOVED it. It would be so cool to do another trip on the opposite side of the world!

Juliet Dreamhunter June 25, 2020 - 1:00 pm

Yeah, I would love to see whales again too! I guess in another ocean there is a different kind of whales 🙂
Well, the bigger beaches like Mirissa and Unawatuna are quite commercialized, but it’s nothing compared to Turkey for example. And it’s amazing that there are still so many secluded little beaches with no people around!

Nina Out and About June 25, 2020 - 3:11 am

Habaraduwa Beach and Talalla Beach definitely sound like the ones for me – fewer people, lots of walking, and sand sand sand! I love this guide to Sri Lankan beaches and will definitely bookmark it for whenever I’m finally able to get back to work and afford an Asian holiday

Juliet Dreamhunter June 25, 2020 - 12:38 pm

Yeah, they are the best if swimming is not essential for you! Dickwella is very similar to Talalla, but has a tad more infrastructure. If you like walking and sand, you should also consider Weligama: there are people, but we walked about an hour along the shore and there are many deserted pieces. This one is the longest 🙂

Josy A June 25, 2020 - 8:15 am

Eep for the touts on Dewata Beach! I mean I understand why they are trying to be chatty rather than ask straight up if you will hire them…but it must be tiring. I loooove the look of Polhena Beach and Jungle beach!!

Juliet Dreamhunter June 25, 2020 - 12:40 pm

Yeah, it was super frustrating after the third similar conversation, and we don’t wanna be rude, but damn… We just wanted a quiet walk. Thanks Josy!

Lydia June 26, 2020 - 4:58 pm

All of the beaches look incredible, but I can certainly see why Jungle beach is at the top of your list, it’s stunning!!!

Juliet Dreamhunter June 26, 2020 - 5:59 pm

Thanks Lydia, it really was the best, especially with all the marine life underneath!