For many people, holidays are about beaches and Sri Lanka is no disappointment in this department. This small island located off the Southern tip of India has some seriously beautiful golden shores on offer. We picked out the top 10 prettiest beaches that need to go on your radar – and what to see and do if you visit…
Hit by a tsunami in 2004, the hotels lining Hikkaduwa’s shores have had a complete makeover – and now it’s one of Sri Lanka’s most vibrant resorts, attracting partygoers after an energetic nightlife scene.
It’s also worth visiting during the annual 3-day beach festival to experience International DJs playing tunes on the beach all through the night.
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If you’re looking to soak up the rays all day on the sandy shores, this isn’t the beach for you.
However, Negombo has so much more to offer. Think scenic boat rides with spectacular views, leisurely strolls along the shore, and even a glimpse of a local fisherman or two!
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Situated on the South Coast only 5km from Sri Lanka’s charming ancient town of Galle, this popular beach resort offers the most magical of sunsets – but it’s equally beautiful in the daytime too.
Meanwhile, the coastline is dotted with pastel coloured houses and authentic jewellery and handicraft shops.
Those looking to explore local culture or get peace and quiet should head to Galle where everything winds down around 9:30pm.
It’s definitely worth it if you’re a foodie though, as the town’s packed with restaurants offering everything from fresh sushi to weird and wonderful health juices made with local herbs.
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It’s no wonder this romantic beach is a hotspot for newly weds on honeymoon thanks to its breathtaking scenery and serene atmosphere.
The beach is also ideal for swimming, snorkelling or learninga bout Sri Lankan lace making, while foodies flock to the local haunts offering mouthwatering seafood pasta and veggie curries.
Take the time to find Dickwella’s hidden gem, Hiriketiya Bay; it’s a little slice of paradise. (And there are beach huts offering seriously yummy fresh juices and banana pancakes).
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Passekudah and Kalkudah
Located in one of Sri Lanka’s fast-growing resorts, these twin beaches offer plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained.
Boat rides, jet skiing and beach volleyball are just some examples of what’s on offer; or go for a dip in the warm, crystal clear waters.
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Yala National Park
If you’re looking to swim, this isn’t the beach for you; the strong currents make it too dangerous and people are advised to stick to land.
However, the more active can enjoy some seriously picturesque coastal walks – and the powerful tide makes for exciting views.
As for animal lovers, the nearby wildlife safari park is great for spotting elephants, crocodiles and even leopards.
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Have you ever been whale-watching? Well this is your chance..
Mirissa is one of the best places in the world for spotting blue and sperm whales, who migrate around Sri Lanka’s southern coast.
Back on the beach, go looking for mussels and stones along the beach, or try a spot of surfing.
The vibe is laidback, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants dotted along the coast should you get peckish during your adventures.
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This area is slightly more pricey than others on the west coast, however it’s great for surfing – and even yoga if you’re looking for something a little more zen.
If you feel like being adventurous, walk south along the beach to Elephant Rock where you can, unsurprisingly, spot elephants in the early hours of the morning.
Not to mention you’ll get a glimpse into local life while watching the fishermen at work on the beach.
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This family-friendly beach is one of the most beautiful shores on the west coast.
Think clean, fine sand, crystalline shallow waters and plenty on offer if you’re looking to try water sports; waterskiing, jet skiing, sailing and windsurfing are just some of the options available year-round.
Or, for something a bit different, try a boat safari along the river and look out for aquatic birds, lizards and even crocodiles!
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These beaches have remained blissfully unspoiled as their east coast location meant they were avoided by tourist during the civil war.
Nowadays there are a few resorts and hotels dotted along the coast, and you can expect paradisical sea scapes of white sand, palm trees and abandoned rustic fishing boats.
Visiting between May and September? Then make sure to stop off for a spot of snorkelling or diving.
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