Sri Lanka is more than just Dutch forts and elephants. Blessed with unspoiled natural beauty, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Here’s a list of the 7 best beaches in Sri Lanka you HAVE to make a part of your next vacation.

1 Bentota

Bentota Beach
Spot turtles at Bentota

One of the best-known beaches in Sri Lanka, Bentota is a mere 100km from Colombo. The palm fringed beaches and shallow waters are popular among families. The beach is a hub for water sports with kite surfing, water skiing, and sailing offered all year round. A river cruise through the Bentota mangroves is also a great addition to your Sri Lanka tour package.

2 Unawatuna

Unawatuna
Sushi and Sun at Unawatuna

Located just a short walk from the charming Dutch outpost of Galle, Unawatune is an idyllic beach resort in southern Sri Lanka. The fine white sands and swaying palms of the beach are surrounded pretty pastel cafes and handicraft stores. Unawatuna is also a great place to sample eclectic cuisine. Try green juice and sushi and maybe some crab curry while watching the sun go down on your Sri Lankan holiday.

3 Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa
Live it up at Hikkaduwa

One of the most vibrant beaches of Sri Lanka, Hikkaduwa has seen a revival since being devastated by the 2004 tsunami. The beach is now known for its thriving nightlife and even plays host to the annual Hikkaduwa Beach Festival. Choose from tons of beachside bars or head inland for some of Sri Lanka’s hottest clubs.

4 Dickwella

Dickwella Beach
Dickwella Beach

Voted the most beautiful beach in Sri Lanka year after year, Dickwella is a serene stretch of surf situated in Sri Lanka’s southern province. The beach itself is hidden by dense palms and is largely empty except for the odd surf shop and snack seller. Try some fresh fruit juice and banana pancakes while you’re here or head out to nearby Hiriketiya Bay to soak up some sun.

5 Yala National Park

Yala National Park
Yala National Park

These aren’t swim friendly waters but that doesn’t stop Yala from being one of the most popular beaches in Sri Lanka.  Take a walk on the sand or climb onto an outcrop to breathe in the views of one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.

6 Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay is fun for the whole family

Popular among local families, Arugam Bay is perfect for an afternoon by the sea. Take a dip in the water or walk up to Elephant Rock to spot some pachyderms. The beach is also a hotspot for surfers due the great breaks found along the shore. If you do find yourself in the southeast coast of Sri Lanka Arugam Bay should definitely find itself on your Sri Lanka itinerary.

7 Mirissa

Mirissa
Go whale watching in Mirissa

This one is a whale watcher’s dream. Mirissa is the perfect place to spot whales that migrate to Sri Lanka’s southern coast. Hop onto a boat and take a trip to watch the whales or stay on dry land and enjoy the waves. Mirissa is also popular among surfers as well as a great spot to work on that tan. As far as beaches go, Mirissa gets a 10/10.

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