Beaches and Watersports

Sri Lanka, with its dreamy azure skies, idyllic beaches of golden sand and turquoise waters, hidden coves, dramatic coconut palm fringed landscapes, gorgeous sunrises and kaleidoscopic sunsets; is undeniably a ‘beach-lover’s paradise.’

Whatever your wish list, Sri Lanka’s endowed coastline has got you covered – whether it is pampered lounging on the beach lulled by the soothing symphony of the sea, engaging in some exhilarating water sports, walking endless stretches of golden beaches, diving or snorkelling in the vibrant technicolour  coral reefs or observing wondrous marine life such as whales, dolphins and turtles. To top it all, Sri Lanka’s coastline has excellent accommodation with scrumptious food and drink on offer.

Sri Lanka’s delightful beach regions have their own distinct character.  The south coast is blessed with dazzling aquamarine waters, a sultry shoreline of white sand and a string of shady coves set against emerald green hills and alluring beach towns.Galle is the south coast’s versatile administrative hub. It is an iconic destination with an intriguing blend of colonial heritage charm and exuberant modern appeal. The city’s idyllic beach landscapes, luxury accommodation, trendy tourist centric ambience and colourful festivals make it an exceedingly popular hangout for most tourists on their southern coast jaunt. Its endowed suburb Unawatuna, is a busy beach destination packed with tourists enjoying the gorgeous beach, sheltered bay, a good selection of guesthouses, eateries, and the ever-lively party atmosphere. The water sport scene is ever alive and buoyant in Unawatuna, where many beach goers indulge in the thrills of diving, snorkelling and surfing. Further south on the coastline lies the charming fishing village of Weligama nestled in a tranquil bay. Weligama is a remote village with lovely colonial villas lining its streets and a myriad of colourful boats docked in the azure blue bay. Quite apart from the wide golden beach and gorgeous turquoise seafront, the blissful southern town of Mirissa is famed for hosting many migratory whales in its warm inviting coastal waters.Beguiling Tangalle with its scenic natural bay, wide sandy beach and rocky coves fringed with towering coconut palms affords another blissful beach escape for the discerning beach enthusiast.

The west coast of Sri Lanka, with its string of idyllic beaches, numerous hotels, villas and guesthouses and tourist amenities of every conceivable standard, presents a fine prelude to the island’s versatile tourism industry. The upbeat and effervescent west coast beach town of Negombo,  conveniently located 10km north of the international airport, offers an ideal respite for those jet lagged travellers upon arrival, or as a base to relax, unwind and make the last few memories of their stay in Sri Lanka, before departure. Beruwala with its alluring wide beach is the island’s Ayurvedic hub specialising in native medical and wellness treatments.  Chic and upmarket Bentota is famous for high end luxury resort hotels and boutique villas, with access to a gorgeous beachfront, protected lagoon and river mouth.

It is also the unrivalled water sport capital of Sri Lanka, offering many water sport experiences ranging from windsurfing, water-skiing and jet-skiing to snorkelling, scuba-diving and canoeing.  Upbeat Hikkaduwa with its many reasonable guesthouses, string of beachfront bars and restaurants, multitude of water sport opportunities, rich coral reef eco system teaming with exotic marine life, and buoyant party atmosphere, is another popular beach hangout for travellers seeking a cheerful sun-sea-sand experience.

The eclectic east coast of Sri Lanka is famed for its pristine and mostly uninhabited stretches of white sandy beaches, calm azure waters and clusters of remote fishing villages with a multicultural and earthy local feel. At the southern end of the east coast lies Arugam Bay, the famous surfing paradise, offering a range of breaks catering to all skill levels. This delightful town has beachfront guesthouses, ocean view restaurants and a tranquil easy-going vibe that will keep even the non-surfers happy. Further higher on the east-coast is Trincomalee, best known for its famous natural harbour, one of the largest and finest anchorages in the world. A few kilometres north of Trincomalee, one will encounter the ravishing yet low-key coastal villages of Nilaveli and Uppuveli, each with an endless swathe of fine white sand and seamless turquoise seas embracing the shores. The Pigeon Island National Park just off the coast at Nilavel boasts of a fine selection of live coral and colourful tropical fish. Pasikudah Bay is another stunning location on the east coast, dotted with many lavish and upmarket beachfront hotels. The nearby village of Kalkudah is a secluded coastal destination consisting of a selection of modest guesthouses, popular with travellers allured by the prospect of enjoying the pristine beauty of its beach as well as the surrounding amenities on a ‘budget’.

The north of Sri Lanka with its splendid palmyra and coconut palm lined coastline remains somewhat secluded and unexplored. The city of Jaffna with its sweeping sea views has an exceptional blend of colonial era charm and vibrant modern-day Hindu culture. The Mannar Islands, despite its arid climate, is an emerging tourist attraction with excellent kitesurfing and bird-watching opportunities.

In Sri Lanka, there is literally a ‘beach for everyone’. With so much choice, enthusiasts are bound to find their ideal beach escape, somewhere along the stunning 1340km coastline surrounding this paradise island.