The beaches of Sri Lanka are one of the finest in Asia and encircle almost the entire island. Many stretches of the pristine sandy beaches – of which many are bordered by beautiful palm trees - present a picturesque view to the visitor. They have still remained untouched by tourism, despite the fact that the beaches in the western and southern parts of the country have seen a rapid development during the last years to serve international tourists. Although the number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka is growing, one cannot speak of the country as a mass tourism destination, which makes the country attractive and charming for those who do not want to dwell among big crowds of tourists and resorts full of noisy discos. Obviously, Sri Lanka attracts a more exclusive crowd of tourists. Both, tourists who want to be pampered in a luxurious environment and budget travelers in search for the real Sri Lanka may enjoy an unforgettable vacation in this friendly country. The tourists who like to visit Sri Lanka mostly come for a number of reasons, because there are so many interesting things to see within such a compact area. A beach holiday will therefore mainly be considered as a relaxation along the scenic shores of the Indian Ocean, after a fascinating tour through the country.
How to choose your favourite beach resort?
Now something about the different beach resorts. The list is quite diverse, so I should say take your pick. The summary below is just a brief outline of the various beach resorts; each holiday maker can select its own favourite place to which he or she is being attracted to, depending on the type of holiday one prefers. Also take in mind that some stretches have a rough sea during the monsoon period and can be dangerous for bathing because of the strong undercurrent. However these wild seas provide with unbelievable photogenic sights and the hotels have safe swimming pools. There are three issues that you should take into consideration:
The first one is the weather. Sri Lanka is a tropical country, very close to the equator. The intensity of the sun can be very strong with risks of severe sun burn and heat strokes. If you are a sun-lover keep in mind that the country has two types of seasons, being the dry, hot and mostly sunny season and the wet monsoon season with many rain showers and moderate temperatures. When it is dry season in the south west, from November to April, it is rainy season in the north east of the country. That makes Sri Lanka an all year destination for beach lovers. The temperature is pleasantly warm year round in the coastal areas, between 28 and 32/34 degrees. The east coast can be warmer during the dry season (especially April) than the west coast. There is also a small monsoon period countrywide, being October and November. As the weather cannot be conducted and climate change has probably also effected Sri Lanka it may sometimes influence the seasons.
The second one is the location most convenient to travel to after your tour. Nilavelli Beach and Passikudah are two beach destinations, situated on the east coast, suitable to choose after a visit to the Cultural Triangle or as an intermediate break between visiting the mountains and the Cultural Triangle. Suitable destinations on the west coast after a visit to the Cultural Triangle are the quiet tranquil resort beach Alankuda and other beaches on Kalpitiya Peninsula and the busy beach resort Negombo, which is very close to the airport. Arugam Bay, on the southern part of the east coast is a surfer’s paradise during the surfing season (May – September) and a suitable destination after your tour through the upcountry. The beach resorts on the south coast, like Tangalle, are also easyly accessible from the mountain area.
The third one is your preference for a beach holiday. Do you like entertainment, many or specific water sports activities, big crowds, a tranquil, remote environment with lots of natural beauty, a resort with a nearby city, a luxury resort, a backpacker’s destination, a place which is suitable for families with children, etc.? It also depends on the expectations you have of a beach holiday. Keep in mind that the beach resorts in Sri Lanka offer limited public entertainment comparable with those in Thailand, Bali and the Mediterranean ones. Many big hotels, however, offer a number of activities to entertain their guests and visitors, such as pool-parties, barbeques, music, disco parties during the weekends, etc. Let’s say it like this: Sri Lanka offers its visitors a different kind of entertainment.
|BEACH RESORT||COAST||TYPE OF RESORT||SPORTS||ENTERTAINMENT||NEAREST CITY/TOWN|
|Mount Lavinia||Westcoast||The best beach near Colombo, restaurants on the beach||limited||Yes, especially in Colombo (13 km)||Colombo|
|Kalutara||Westcoast||Mainly resort hotels||Limited to the resort hotels||Limited to the resort hotels, but ample options||Kalutara|
|Bentota||Westcoast||High-end tourist destination, some budget places||All kinds of water sports||Yes, but mainly in the hotels||Aluthgama|
|Induruwa||South Westcoast||Mixed crowd, beach near the town,||See Bentota (it’s very close to Bentota)||limited||Aluthgama|
|Hikkaduwa||South Westcoast||Backpackers destination with some 4 star hotels||Surfing (experienced/intermediate surfers), diving, snorkeling||Yes, parties in hotels and during weekends some discos and several bars;
considered as the (beach) party centre of Sri Lanka
|Unawattuna||South Westcoast||Backpackers destination with several high-end accommodations||Diving, snorkeling||Yes, discos during the weekends and the atmosphere of Galle Fort
with many culinary surprises and coffee bars
|Koggala||Southcoast||High-end destination||Surfing:Kabalana (all levels)||Limited||Galle|
|Mirissa||Southcoast||Mixed crowd, the beach is beautifully situated along a bay||Whale and dolphin watching, snorkeling, surfing (beginner/intermediate) furthermore see for other water sports: (http://www.mirissawatersports.com )||Yes, but not too extended||Weligama/Matara|
|Polhena||Southcoast||Suitable for families because of the safe sea, protected by a reef||limited||Limited, but it is near to Matara||Matara|
|Matara||Southcoast||A city beach||Surfing (experienced) and snorkeling||Limited, but during the day there are many restaurants on the beach road and a children's playground||Matara|
|Dickwella||Southcoast||Tranquil nice beach, protected by a reef,limited crowd, but the town nearby||Limited||Limited||Matara|
|Tangalle||Southcoast||Goyakomba is the nicest beach, west of Tangalle.It has a mixed public.The beach is fabulous.||Limited||Tangalle|
|Arugam Bay||South East coast||A surfers' paradise during the season (between May and September).
The atmosphere is informal and during the monsoon the sea rough.
|Surfing:Main Point (advanced)Peanut Farm (intermediate/advanced)
Elephant Rock (medium)Whiskey Point – behind Pottuvil
(beginners/intermediate)Pottuvil Point (experienced)
|Yes (during the season)||Potthuvil|
|Batticaloa||Eastcoast||Nice wide sandy beaches,not many tourists.||Diving and snorkeling||Limited||Batticaloa|
|Passikudah and Kalkudah||Eastcoast||Nice sandy beaches;suitable for families because of the safe sea bathing||Limited||Batticaloa|
|Nilavelli and Upaveli Beach||North East coast||The most beautiful beach in Sri Lanka,white coral sand||Diving and snorkeling||Limited||Trincomalee|
|Casuarina Beach||North coast||No information available yet||Unknown||Jaffna|
|Kilaaly Beach||North coast||No information available yet||Unknown||Jaffna|
|Vankalay||Northwest coast||No information available yet||Unknown||Mannar|
|Kalpitiya||Northwest coast||Alankuda beach is a beautiful newly developed beach, but isolated||Kite surfing and other water sports||Limited||Chilaw|
|Negombo||Westcoast||Mixed crowd, the closest beach to the Colombo Airport||All kinds of water sports||Yes||Negombo|