Sri Lanka: resorts, beaches and attractions

Top 10 Best Sri Lankan Resorts for Recreation

The area of the island state of Sri Lanka, known as Ceylon, is more than 65 thousand square kilometers. Its only large neighbor is India. However, this did not prevent the indigenous peoples to create a true civilization here, some elements of its culture live to this day.

On the island, the shape of which resembles a tear, there is a large number of ancient Buddhist temples, the remnants of the architecture of the old urban areas, medieval forts. This makes it possible to develop a variety of excursion programs in the country.

Today, Sri Lanka, whose name in the local language means “blessed island”, is an important center of world tourism. Every year, millions of travelers from around the world come to Sri Lanka for experiences.

Sri Lankan resorts are actively transforming. New hotels and hotels for different categories of visitors are under construction, the restaurant chain and the sphere of medical services are developing. At the same time, the local population carefully preserves its cultural heritage, traditions, and worldview in spite of the onslaught of the modern world.

Top 10 Resorts in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has quite a few different resorts. However, whether you like a vacation in one place or another depends on many factors, particularly your goals, requirements, and time of year.

10. Negombo

One of the most popular places in the country, close to the airport. They are separated by only 30 kilometers, which is very convenient for tourists. Negombo is a fishing center, so wishing on vacation to fish should go here. In addition, the local reefs can fully engage in scuba diving.

But the beach vacation here may not impress. The number of fishermen is off the charts, and the water is not transparent. The exception is expensive hotels with their own beaches and territory. However, these shortcomings are compensated by a good excursion program. Highlights of the resort are: St. Mary’s Cathedral, old buildings, an ancient fort and the canal, built by the Dutch. It is also worth visiting the park with mangroves and bird sanctuary. The resort welcomes tourists all year round, but because of the high humidity and dampness is not worth going in late spring and early autumn.

Top 10 best holiday resorts in Sri Lanka

9. Hikkaduwa .

Another resort with a large attendance of tourists. It is suitable for both family and youth holidays. Hikkaduwa is an important center for diving and surfing, thanks to the big waves and coral park.

On the local beaches you can meet real turtles and even feed them. The resort will give you interesting excursions to Buddhist temples. In the evening, everyone is welcome in the nightclubs. The best time to rest at the resort – from November to May.

8. Vadduva .

If you want to sunbathe on perfect white-sand beaches, then you are here. The resort is also close to the airport. Here you will find serene relaxation under the coconut palms. In Vadduva, you can also go scuba diving, surfing and go to the ocean under a sailboat. The hotels have tennis and golf courses.

Wadduva is also an important sightseeing center. There are more than 50 different temples and monasteries in and around the resort. The most favorable time of rest at the resort is from October to March.

  • Reef Villa and Spa 5 * (tours on level.travel, Travelata)
  • The Villa by Contemporary Ceylon 4 * (tours on Travelata)
  • The Villas, Wadduwa 5 * (tours on level.travel, Travelata)

Wadduwa is one of the closest resorts to Colombo, the beaches are covered with fine golden sand.

Wadduwa is one of the closest resorts to Colombo, the beaches are covered with fine golden sand. Photo: © Yasitha Kasthuri

7. Bentota

A premium resort. Located on the oceanfront in the village of the same name. Suitable for romantics and for those seeking solitude with nature. Beaches with white sand complemented by exotic nature, represented by jungle and mangrove forests. Here you can organize a fishing trip, rafting on the local river with crocodiles, an excursion to a farm with turtles or the ruins of ancient temples.

The resort is also the largest center for the development of water sports, much attention is paid to diving lessons. Holidays are better to come between October and April.

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Top 10 best holiday resorts in Sri Lanka

6. Unawatuna

A resort for those who want to save money. It is located in a small fishing village. This resort does not have luxury hotels and inns, but quite a lot of tourists who prefer to vacation on their own.

Unawatuna boasts one of the best beaches in the country, which is located directly in the local bay. There are no strong waves, thanks to the coral reefs, which makes it possible to safely rest with children. The resort has all the necessary tourist infrastructure. You can do diving, snorkeling and other water sports, order excursions and walks through the local jungle, visit ancient temples. The best time of rest here begins in December and lasts until April.

Hotels and tours to Unawatuna

    • Ridee Villa 4 * (tours on Travelata)
    • Tartaruga Beach Resort 3 * (tours on level.travel, Travelata)
    • Neptune Bay Hotel 3 * (tours on level.travel, Travelata)
    • Banana Garden Unawatuna Hotel 3 * (tours on Travelata)
    • Wimals Resort 3 * (tours on level.travel, Travelata)
    • Dalawella Beach Resort 3 * (tours on level.travel, Travelata)

    Top 10 best holiday resorts in Sri Lanka

    5. Trincomalee

    This resort is located on the northeast coast of the country. Because of its remoteness from the airport, almost 7 hours away, Trincomalee is less popular among tourists. Although most travelers consider it the most beautiful resort area in Sri Lanka.

    At one time it was discovered by the famous General Nelson. Here you will find gorgeous beaches, sheltered by a bay, developed tourist infrastructure, inexpensive hotels and hotels. The resort has an unforgettable natural beauty: tall palm trees, walking lemurs, white sand. Here are also engaged in water sports, the pride of Trincomalee – hot springs, located nearby. You should visit the resort between March and August.

    Top 10 best holiday resorts in Sri Lanka

    4. Mirissa

    Mirissa, originally a small fisherman’s village, was forgotten for a time. Surfers and whale watchers gave a second life to Mirissa. You can see the latter here from December to March. In addition, the resort has beautiful landscaped beaches, which are suitable for lovers of romance. The peace, tranquility, serenity and incredibly beautiful sunset of Mirissa will be remembered for a lifetime.

    An interesting fact about the resort area of Mirissa, located between Veligama and Matara, is that the village itself appeared here thanks to tourists who loved to vacation in these places and the development of tourist infrastructure.

    An interesting fact about the resort area of Mirissa, which is located between Veligama and Matara, is that the village itself appeared here thanks to tourists who loved to rest in these places and the development of tourism infrastructure. Photo: © Adrian Korenic

    3. anuradhapura

    A resort town in the central part of the island with a long history. Until XI Anuradhapura was the capital of the state. Later it was conquered by Indian tribes and looted. The local population left and the town became desolate. Today, however, the former capital has been restored, dividing it into a historical and modern part.

    There are a huge number of attractions such as a temple with the sacred Bodhi tree, statues of Buddha made of stone, various buildings and structures. In the city are placed museums, galleries and parks. The only drawback is the lack of beaches. The best time to rest here is from October to April.

    Top 10 best holiday resorts in Sri Lanka

    2. tangalle

    Many travelers believe that this resort is the best beaches. And not without reason. The beaches of Tangalle are really wonderful, with mesmerizing scenery.

    Tangalle is a port, located in the bay. It is well-developed gastronomic tourism, the local restaurants will offer you delicious dishes of the national cuisine. More at this resort organize interesting excursions to national parks, ancient Buddhist temples, you can also inspect the medieval fort. The pride of Tangalle – rain forest, which is under the protection of the World Organization of UNESCO. The “high” tourist season in Tangalle begins in November and lasts until April.

    Tangalle is considered one of the most beautiful resorts in Sri Lanka, on the shores of the Indian Ocean

    Tangalle is considered one of the most beautiful resort places in Sri Lanka, on the shores of the Indian Ocean Photo: © kvaky

    1. Koggala

    The fame of this resort has brought a large lake on which there are hermitages – the ancient shrines of the early Buddhists. In addition to the historical treasures, there are beautiful beaches with numerous diving centers. There are also excursions to the Sinhalese villages, where the ancient ways of the Sinhalese people have been preserved.

    Sri Lanka – an amazing island. Every corner of this world is filled with unforgettable beauty and its own characteristics. You can travel around the island and visit several resorts at once. You want to fly here many times, and each such trip will be filled with new wonders and emotions.

    Koggala is a small coastal village located on the edge of the lagoon, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka

    Koggala is a small coastal village on the edge of the lagoon, on the south coast of Sri Lanka Photo: © Roman Kondrakov

    When is the best time to visit?

    Sri Lanka has a tropical climate. The average annual temperature is +27 ° C +32 ° C. Only in some foothills and mountainous areas of the country, the temperature drops a little lower. The island has no typical seasons (winter, spring, summer, autumn), as on the continent. The only indicator of the changing seasons is the tropical rain, which most often comes with the monsoon.

    But a surprising feature of Sri Lanka is that even the rainy season does not come to the country at the same time. On the southwest coast, in the central part of the island tropical showers begin in May and end in September. In the north-east, on the contrary, it rains from October to March. During the rainy season, there is a shortage of sunny days, rivers are overflowing with water and floods begin, but tsunamis are rare.

    This uneven climate makes it possible to develop year-round tourism in Sri Lanka. However, giving preference to the southwestern resorts, tourists form a “high” season from December to March. But it is only a matter of choice, in other months you can also have a good rest in the tourist areas of the northeastern coast. Especially high demand for trips to Sri Lanka during the New Year holidays. Many tourists do not want to celebrate the New Year in a cold country, and on the warm beaches of the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, along with the demand grows the price of such a rest. Therefore, if you want a high-quality, but inexpensive holiday on the island, buy tours in advance and at the beginning or end of the “beach season”.

    10 the best beaches in Sri Lanka

    If your vacation falls in the winter, but you do not leave the idea to relax in a faraway resort, dip in the sea, then you direct route to the tropical adventure! Here you will learn about the best beaches in Sri Lanka, where you can catch a little summer heat and sunbathing on the golden sand.

    Gentle ocean, fast surf or kite, magical reefs, unusual cuisine and tropical fruits, the atmosphere of a mysterious exotic country – it’s all there in Sri Lanka, the state of South Asia! In this wonderful land you will not only find the real tea, but also feel the real pleasure of life.

    Bentota is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka

    As you can see from the many photos, the beaches of Sri Lanka are conditionally divided into two categories. The first is the more crowded beaches, popular among tourists. They are located to the south and west. The second category is the more deserted beaches of the east coast, known for their wonderful marine life and reefs.

    Absolutely all of them are expanses of ocean coast with sand that crumbles underfoot like dunnage, coconut palms, like in the ads, and colorful fish under the water.

    We must remember that the ocean has its own character, storms very often, so carefully choose a resort in Sri Lanka, if you want a quiet swim.

    Beach Negombo

    Photo: Negombo Beach

    The closest beach to the international airport in Sri Lanka. It is located four dozen miles north of the capital Colombo. You can get here by any means of transport, so this beach is often chosen to stop here on the way to various excursions. The hotel area sprawls not far from the town of the same name. Multifarious hotels and restaurants are stretched in an endless dance along the beach.

    In general, the beach is rather wild, despite its proximity to the city. A wide strip of sand. There is no free rent of sun beds and umbrellas. The water is rather muddy, on storm days litter is nailed to the shore. If to choose hotel on the first line, it is possible to settle down literally at ocean, no more minute walk to coast.

    Holidaymakers on Negombo Beach

    You can take priyatelnye sun loungers and move to the water’s edge. A deck chair with a towel will cost 500 rupees. There are no showers on the beach, and the waves can knock you down. In general, the ocean is not calm, there are almost always waves of varying sizes, though it all depends on the weather. If you’re going on vacation with children it’s better to look at other resorts. But fans of surfing can like it here.

    From the sights – a lot of brave crows, which even have the audacity to snatch delicious things from the hands on the fly. On weekends, locals gather here for family vacations, and on Sunday there are fewer empty seats, but still enough for everyone. The vendors are very active, offering to buy souvenirs.

    By the way, girls should be prepared for the fact that most likely, you will not leave without attention, will come up to get acquainted. In general, Negombo is a fishing village, only partly aimed at attracting tourists, so if you’re not just looking to admire the work of fishermen in the early morning, it is better to go further.

    Mount Lavinia

    Mount Lavinia beach

    If you’re looking for wave-free beaches in Sri Lanka, this is where you might find your treasure. There are two big beaches in Mount Lavinia. The first is citywide and is dirtier and more crowded on holidays and weekends. Umbrellas and sun loungers are not enough, and all stand at the cafes. About the price you can always negotiate. Other option – to buy a cocktail and then to lie for free.

    Sunset at Mount Lavinia

    The second beach – at hotel. It is much cleaner, having a rest there less, and with umbrellas too tight. But for all bathers a lifeguard watches. You can find it by walking through the left wing of the hotel. At the opposite end of the beach from the hotel there is a creek – a sewage drain. There is no smell in most of the beach. Behind it, by the way, they built a turtle farm, where for a modest fee they let you hold and feed sea turtles of different species.

    It is probably the cleanest beach, one of the best, it is quickly cleaned of garbage.

    Without difficulty you can find a few cafes, where you can have a tasty snack. You can even get to the shore by bus and do not spend a lot of money on cabs.

    More information about Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Resort can be found on this page.

    Bentota

    Small sandy beach in Bentota

    Bentota is a developed resort village, in a better way than most beaches in Ceylon. It is located a hundred kilometers from Sri Lanka’s main international airport. Lovers of comfort can stay in respectable hotels, eat at good restaurants, enjoy a SPA, go on tours and excursions …

    Wonderful clean sandy spit, great for sunbathing as well as for a walk. With all this, Bentota is not crowded. And the beach is away from the polluted road. The beach line is long, up to 20 meters wide. There is everything for practicing scuba diving.

    View of Bentota

    This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka. In season (in winter and until April), the ocean is relatively quiet and calm, not scaring away waves. The approach to the water is sometimes gentle, but it is safe to swim here. Bentota Beach is suitable even for families with children.

    All serious hotels on this coast – with its own pool. By the way, in contrast to Hikkaduva or Unavatuna, there is no problem with the shade: both on a trampoline for money (from 500 to 1000 rupees), and lying just on the sand under the palm tree. Inexpensive coconuts are sold. The place disposes to sunset kisses and romantic walks. Of the minuses – the intrusive sellers, who are just trying to get into the “brothers.

    Mirissa Beach.

    Photo: Mirissa beach

    A popular place among Europeans in Sri Lanka with azure waters. There is no trash on the beach and it is cared for. A large variety of bars where you can have a little fun or take a break from the hot sun. Lovers of swimming in the waves and surfing will love the settlement of Mirissa in Sri Lanka! Here even beginners can learn how to surf. A long coastline with a sandy inlet. There are often decent waves here, but if you are just interested in swimming, there is a place (if you stand with your back to the water, on the right) where the ocean is calmer.

    The quiet lagoon is stunningly beautiful. Not many people, very nice to admire the tide! There is a wonderful cafe where you can eat crab soup. Sun loungers are free, black sand crumbles under your feet… Turtles dare to swim in the bay.

    Fishermen in Mirissa

    They put a breakwater here, so it’s easy to find a place for a relaxing swim – waves to suit all tastes. There are surf points, a place to ride body surf, parts of the beach with small waves for adults and no waves at all for the little ones. Wailwatching (Russian for whale watching) is one of the favorite activities among tourists looking for the best beaches in Sri Lanka with a calm ocean.

    Boats from other beaches come here to show the willing whales. The time to travel to Mirissa, of course, is paid by tourists, so it is better to go here right away and enjoy the games of sea giants.

    Hikkaduwa

    Calm ocean beach in Hikkaduwa

    This is the best coast for young people: a fun beach near Bentota. Surfers from dozens of countries around the world come here because it offers plenty of entertainment besides waves: bar nights, discos and affordable accommodation.

    There are not too many people, mostly tourists, but at weekends there are influxes of locals. They, by the way, can behave impudently: shoot cigarettes, begging money. Smoke a cigarette in two meters from you – and then ask again. Do not hesitate to send them there … the Russians know where.

    Narigama beach with big waves

    Store with cold beer is across the street. But beach goers should remember to wear outerwear when leaving the beach. Strict police officers like to fine those who neglect this rule. The fine is 1,000 rupees ($6.50). There are also dogs running around the beach and can tag your bag – be vigilant!

    There is everything you need: jet-ski rentals, surf schools and travel agencies with a selection of excursions. But step out of the way and instead of the noise of the discos you can enjoy the birdsong and the soothing splash of the waves. If you show patience, you may be approached by a sea turtle. The water is beautiful and you can’t see much with a mask, but you may get lucky and get a glimpse of the sea creatures, which sometimes reach gigantic sizes here. Learn more about holidays in Hikkaduwa.

    Pasikuda Beach

    Pasikuda, Sri Lanka

    The best place to take a morning stroll along the oceanfront! Nearby coral reef: a wonderful place to visit by boat. However, because of this there are a lot of big rocks and coral on the sandy bottom. Swimming without special rubber shoes is almost impossible. It is better to swim closer to the hotel “Anantaya” – there are not so many coral fragments.

    In Sri Lanka, the best beaches for swimming – it’s bright fine sand, calm blue ocean and unforgettable sunrises! Passikuda appropriates all these epithets. Entrance to the water is comfortable, the tides are not noticed.

    Near the hotel “Maalu” the coast is quite deserted, and half a kilometer away there is a public beach, where the local population rests in abundance.

    The depth of the ocean near the shore is safe, you can enjoy your vacation without problems. To take a shower, you have to pay 30 rupees. Of the minuses – a lot of garbage outside the hotel beaches.

    Goyamboka Beach

    Photo: Goyamboke Bay

    This beach in Sri Lanka is small, with few tourists, and the locals in general very rarely come here. On days when the waves in the ocean are not too strong, you can swim behind the breakwater line and swim in clear water. Be prepared for the current to drift to the left, so swim out only if you’re sure of your abilities. On big wave days, people are forced to flop on the surf line, where the sand floats even on the surface. After that you have to wash it out under the shower for a long time. There are life jackets and lifeguards to keep an eye on everyone.

    Palm Grove on Goyamboka Beach

    The boulders are only on the edge of the lagoon, where people swim, you can’t see the rocks. The scenery is great, the pictures will be amazing! There are three restaurants and sun loungers for a modest fee. You can also get one for free if you buy a meal at the establishment. The seafood is the freshest, just from the ocean, the portions are generous, and the food is delicious. Although some tourists complain about the unsanitary conditions. Beach area in Goiombokke fancied a few dogs. But there are more interesting wildlife: a lot of free walking chipmunks, peacocks, waterrats.

    Nilaveli

    Photo: Nilaveli Beach

    Fifteen years ago (before the horrific tsunami in 2004) Nilaveli was considered one of the most attractive and best places to stay in Sri Lanka. Since the tsunami, however, there are far fewer tourists, although there are still a couple of dozen hotels and hostels.

    Pigeon Island, Sri Lanka

    Nearby is an attraction that is still attractive to tourists – the small island of Pigeon, on which no one lives. It is a national park, for which you have to pay to enter. You have to sail to the island by boat. On Pigeon white beach, coral sand and clean water. Here come divers and snorkelers, because the side stretches of coral ridge, where there are colorful tropical fish, turtles and sharks.

    Eat on the beach will only get his hotel, the infrastructure is not very developed. Nearby there are no cozy cafes and restaurants (there are a couple, but far to go to them, the food there is specific, these institutions are oriented to the locals).

    Unawatuna

    Birch water in Unawatuna

    On the map of beaches in Sri Lanka, this beach has a place of honor. Unawatuna is among the best southern beaches. Holidaymakers here are a dime a dozen, but the beach area is quite modest in size. The coast is cozy and stunningly beautiful.

    Photo: Quiet Ocean Beach in Sri Lanka, Unawatuna

    It is hugged by a small cove, protected from the threatening surges of the ocean by a mighty shoulder of coral reef. Waves, for this reason, are few and far between on Unawatuna. The giants crash on the reef even on the approach to the shore. Even children come to the beach. Unawatuna is the right place for the enthusiastic snorkelers!

    The western edge of Unawatuna is shallower, the best place to swim with children and the beach is wide here. The eastern part is heavily eroded, where the sand has been washed into the ocean, and there are scatterings of stones underfoot.

    There are no big hotel chains, so there are no package tours. A detailed description of the Unawatuna resort can be found in this article.

    Obviously, it is a good option for “wild” travelers. Restaurants abound, for every taste and color, you can even find western national cuisine.

    We have presented you the best beaches in Sri Lanka. At all of them there is a danger of back currents, which are everywhere. They are dangerous in that they can drag swimmers into the open ocean. Take care and rest on health!

    Beaches described on the page, marked on a map of Sri Lanka in Russian.

    See the overview of the resort and beach of Mirissa, surfing and prices, whale safari – in this video.

    Author: Maria Sibirskaya

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    Extremely wrong information about Hikkaduwa Beach. Three years in a row for a month once a quarter rest there and never saw any surfers.

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