Vitamin Sea: 9 of The Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

If you’re going travelling in Sri Lanka, you’re sure to be heading beachside for some serious bare feet, salty hair days. And when it comes to beaches, Sri Lanka has plenty to go around; all of which offer totally different experiences for ocean lovers and paradise seekers alike. Which is why I’ve chosen the best beaches in Sri Lanka to help you discover them for yourself.

From surf beaches to little sleepy fishing beaches and all the palm tree swingin’ in between, you won’t be heading for the hills in a hurry! In this post, I’ve chosen 9 of my favourite beaches in Sri Lanka – some rated for their natural beauty, some for the being off the chart turquoise and some for just how flippin’ deserted they are. PLUS! This guide includes a map to easily navigate to each location.

#1 Hiriketiya

Where: Southern Province

Perfect for: Surfing & enjoying emerald green waters

High season: December – April

I say high season, because this place is AWESOME in low season too. So perhaps the best time to visit is actually not in the high season? Either way you’re sure to love this little horseshoe shaped bay; with it’s emerald green waters and year-round surfable waves there’s not really a bad time to go. If you go in the off season, expect a little rain but don’t let that put you off. If you’re headed in high season, you can escape to Dikwella beach (#2) when the crowds get too much. Stay at Dots Bay House if you want beachfront or White House Hiriketiya if you want a bit of respite in the jungle away from the beach.

#2 Dikwella

Where: Southern Province

Perfect for: Palm fringed feels & skating or swinging with a coffee

When to go: December – May

If it’s high season and it all gets a bit crowded over in Hiriketiya, head over the hill to the west of the bay. Destination bound: Dikwella. Ok, so the picture doesn’t do this place justice but this is little slice of hangout paradise a unique selling point for Dikwella too. Set back from the beach (by about four metres…) Verse Collective is not only a hostel but also a great hangout cafe – complete with a mini ramp and skateboards to borrow AND swings indoors. Dikwella beach itself is palm fringed with Maldive-style blue water. And if you want surfing? A great little reef break pumps during the high season. Dreamy right?

#3 Whisky Point

Where: Eastern Province

Perfect for: Surfing, body surfing & relaxed beach days watching surfers

High season: June – October

Yes, another surf beach in Sri Lanka, but it’s not all about the surf, I promise. You can watch the surfers here, enjoy endless beach days and finish those off with some dreamy sunset colours thrown across the sky. Of course, you can also surf! If that’s what you’re after there’s a great little surf rental shop and cafe on the beach. Stay at the Coconut if you want to hang around a few days. Check out my guide to adventure and surfing in Arugam Bay if you’re looking for more information on this area.

The Ultimate guide to adventure & surfing in Arugam Bay

#4 Okanda

Where: Eastern Province

Perfect for: Surfing (if you’re advanced) & enjoying beachside national park vibes

High season: June – October

This is a great spot to head to early morning (I’m talking leaving Arugam Bay at 5:30am) to have the place pretty much to yourselves. Besides the monkeys, fresh elephant footprints, peacocks and maybe a few surfers, that is. The tuktuk drive from ABay (approx. 3,500 LKR return) through the scrublands leading to the beach give you all the national park feels without paying the high entrance fee of Kumana National Park. Beware when swimming, the currents were strong when we were there, perhaps dip if you feel comfortable depending on the conditions or just stick to land on this one.

#5 Manalkadu Beach

Where: Northern Province

Perfect for: Clear turquoise waters, meditating on the perfectly peeling waves & isolation

High season: June – October

I’m still too stoked we discovered this place; the white sand, the few fisherman pulling in the daily catch, the turquoise waters and the feeling of total isolation. This beach is long… like miles and miles long (all the way down to Chundikulam National Park kind of long (see map). It’s home to mostly fisherman, and with no resorts in sight at time of writing, you’re likely to be one of few tourists who make it here and stick around for a dip.

#6 Kuchchaveli Beach

Where: Eastern Province

Perfect for: total isolation & discovering this ridiculous rock pool

High season: June – October

We didn’t go naked swimming at this beach. We didn’t. Besides this ridiculously beautiful rock pool which we discovered on the southern end of the beach, you are again likely to be some of the only people swimming here at any time . There is a resort to the northern end of the beach where a sprinkling of people gather on the beach, but when we were there we were the only people bar two snorklers who then left and we felt so isolated like we were on our own stretch of deserted beach – it felt pretty special. There’s also HEAPS of shells on this beach if you love walking along the beach admiring beauts shells.

#7 Marble Beach

Where: Eastern Province

Perfect for: Crystal clear waters & getting off the beaten track

High season: June – October

STOP PRESS. This is an Air Force beach. Meaning the land belongs to the military. Meaning the beach is looked after. Meaning there’s very little litter and the waters are gorgeously clear. Meaning? It’s a great place to come for some serious beach chill outs. You’ll need to pay 20 LKR per person (about £0.10p) and you’ll need to stick to this beach. We tried to explore the area and hike to the beach just north of Marble Beach but we were shooed away by two military men with guns. Just FYI. There’s enough beauty to keep you occupied on Marble Beach. Watch out for the cheeky monkeys…

#8 Vienna Beach

Where: Southern Province

Perfect for: A sundowner coconut in a swing

High season: December – May

We discovered this little beach paradise on a drive one day out of Hikkaduwa on our first time to Sri Lanka. It was a fave spot then and remains a fave spot now. Why? IT HAS A SWING. Who doesn’t love a swing? It’s main feature is a ridiculously gorgeous palm tree which overhangs a small stretch of sand. The best time to go is sundown; set yourself up with a coconut from the lady who sells them on the road for 50 LKR each – but BYO steel straw to use in your coconut to help reduce your plastic consumption while travelling – and sit back to enjoy sunset.

#9 Nilaveli Beach

Where: Eastern Province

Perfect for: Bodysurfing, diving, going snorkeling to Pigeon Island

High season: June – October

Set yourself up in Nilaveli beach for a few days depending on what activities you want to do – you might want two days, you might want five! Either way this beach is just north of Trincomolee and boasts beautiful waves which are PERFECT for bodysurfing (I’ve just learned and it’s so fun) and a long stretch of the white sandy stuff. It’s a great base for explorations in the area – like heading to Kuchchaveli Beach or Marble Beach (#6 and #7) or of course Trincomolee. Stay in a budget hotel or homestay for the most authentic experience. Theepan’s Homestay or Sea Zone Hotel budget rooms  are the best locations for prices at time of writing. Be sure to take a snorkelling trip to Pigeon Island or book to go diving for under-the-sea explorations.

Find your bearings

Here is a map showing the locations of all beaches in this post…

Other Useful Information

Here are a few useful bits of info for exploring and finding your own list of best beaches in Sri Lanka!

  • Heaps of beaches!

A few other notable beaches to check out if it’s your first time in Sri Lanka: Weligama, Mirissa, Midigama, Coconut Beach, Tangalle (all December- April but worth checking out in their low seasons too!).

  • Use Google Maps

Obvs I know, but if you change Google Maps to satellite view, you’ll find heaps of little hidden beaches and stretches of sand for your own explorations. Some of which we’ve learned are owned by the military (mainly in the North East of the country). Just ask a local or your homestay host if you are unsure.

  • Scooter around

Exploring via a scooter will open up a whole wealth of opportunity when it comes to stopping off at beaches that look awesome as well as trying to find those ones on Google Maps. Just be sure to get some practice in your own country first before letting loose on Sri Lankan roads!

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