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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for 5 Best Beaches in Sri Lanka – A Guide to the Top Beaches around the Island!
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Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Best Beaches in Sri Lanka – A Guide to the Top Beaches around the Island!

With so many stunning beaches available, Sri Lanka is truly beach lover's paradise! We've narrowed downed the top 5 beaches from all corners of the island for you to enjoy.

1

Unawatuna

Located along the southern coastline, not far from the city of Galle, is the famous Unawatuna beach. A popular beach resort for both locals and tourists alike, it's best known for its long stretch of white sands, clear water, and coral reef that lies just off the coast which provides ample opportunities for snorkelling. The beach is part of a horseshoe-shaped bay which is protected by a rocky outcrop, so the water is calm enough for swimming. Fringed by swaying palm trees, hippie cafes and budget hotels, the beach is a great place to chill with family and come evening, takes on a party atmosphere with plenty of nightlife options. Its close proximity to Galle makes it a popular weekend destination for anyone looking for a quick getaway from the big cities.

2

Negombo

Situated just 10kms away from the international airport, the coastal town of Negombo is the ideal place for travellers who want to get as much beach time as possible before leaving the country. Negombo is well-known for its long stretches of golden beaches, and you will find plenty of activities here to keep you entertained. From windsurfing to paddle boarding, or just soaking up the sunshine, you won't find yourself bored any time soon. The town has plenty of chilled out restaurants, bars and hotels, ranging from budget to resorts lining the beaches. The Negombo lagoon is also worth checking out if you have time. The lagoon is home to several species of birds and reptiles and lagoon cruises can be easily arranged for those interested.

3

Arugam Bay

First-time visitors to Sri Lanka's east coast should definitely check out the beautiful beaches of Arugam Bay. This crescent-shaped bay is internationally recognised for its excellent surf breaks and attracts surfers from around the world to its pearly white shores. If you have no plans of surfing, the beach itself is beautiful and there are coral reefs quite close to the shore that are worth exploring. Due to its remote location, the area around the bay is less developed and resembles a sleepy fishing village. However, as long as you don't expect accommodation similar to a Bentota resort, you'll find the laid-back beach experience of Arugam Bay to be absolutely perfect.

4

Bentota and Beruwala

With a scenic lagoon on one side and golden beaches on the other, it's no surprise the coastal town of Bentota is the first choice for many sun worshippers. Beachgoers can choose from a range of outdoor activities such as sailing, jet skiing, windsurfing and many more. The beach is fringed by coconut trees and a string of resorts like AVANI Bentota Resort & Spa, for example, as well as several restaurants and bars. Because of its location midway between Colombo and other southern beach destinations like Galle, Bentota is a popular stopover for travellers for hungry travellers.

5

Hikkaduwa

Famously known for its hippie crowds back in the 70s, Hikkaduwa has once again risen in popularity among beachgoers looking for something different. Hikkaduwa's beaches are quite lively and the coral reefs of the coast are ideal for snorkelling. Budget hotels and resorts can be found along the beachfront, but it's the restaurants that serve fresh seafood that is the real draw here. The town has a pretty good nightlife as well, and every year a 3-day beach party featuring international DJs takes place here.