Sri Lanka, or paradise island as most refer to it, has a coastline of golden beaches, that neighbour pristine blue waters. Rapidly gaining international popularity as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, Sri Lanka offers a range of landscapes, from rainforests to endless miles of sandy beaches.
Even with the two  monsoon seasons, there is plenty of sun, sand and beach on either coastline to keep you satisfied throughout the year. West and South coast beaches are best to visit from October to April; and East coast beaches are best to be visited between March to September.
Here is our list of the best beaches in Sri Lanka to visit in 2022.
East Coast Beaches
1. Uppuveli & Nilaveli Beaches
North of Trincomalee on the East coast lies the quiet village of Uppuveli identified by the endless stretch of soft white sand lining the unspoilt coastline; and Nilaveli Beach – a wide, sandy beach lined with palm trees and sprinkled with fishermen’s boats.
Compared to the beach at Uppuveli, considered off the beaten path – NIlaveli is quite popular with locals and tourists alike. Steeped with history dating back to the Second World War, Nilaveli’s warm, clear sea is a haven for marine life.
Activities: whale-watching, diving, moonlit walks, visit Pigeon Island National Park for snorkeling and scuba-diving.
2. Passekudah & Kalkudah Beaches
The East coast gems of Passikudah and Kalkudah are twin tropical beach resorts just a 30-minute drive north of Batticaloa.
Both bays are nestled together and are the backdrop to calm waters. Unlike other beaches in Sri Lanka, the surf here is gentle, due to the natural reef, providing shallow waters and a hundred yard walk into the ocean bed. White soft sand becomes the foundation for a beach lined with coconut trees.
Whilst Passekudah is a more popular destination for tourists and locals, Kalkudah is considered a quieter, private beach.
Activities: Enjoy swimming and light activity. Watch the deep-sea fisherman return just before sunrise with their catch.During September it is also ideal for surfing and windsurfing.
3. Arugam Bay
At the southern end of the East coast, awaits Arugam Bay! A popular destination for its dramatic beautiful, palm-fringed beach and bright white sands, this laid-back beach, along with its offbeat charm is its biggest appeal for a wide-range of holiday-goers.
Activities: Surf the best waves in Sri Lanka at this international surf destination, go dolphin-watching, visit ancient temples and Kumana National Bird Park.
4. Tangalle Beach
Tangalle’s light gold-colored sand beaches, dotted with rocky coves set against the contrast of the dark blue waters of the ocean and deep green forest that lines the beach, makes it a truly surreal holiday destination.
Activities: Relaxing, soaking up the sun, light swimming, turtle-watching at Rekawa and trekking to the Mulkirigala rock temples.
5. Mirissa Beach
Mirissa beach is the largest fishing village on the south coast, located on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, and is the most popular beach on the island, with its own natural jetty.
The fine sands of the arrow-shaped Mirissa Beach are set to the backdrop of a dense growth of palm trees, crystal clear waters and incredible waves. Add to this the true appeal of Mirissa is its popularity as the whale-watching hotspot of Sri Lanka.
Activities: Swimming, advanced surfing, whale-watching, fishing, sunbathing, snorkeling and visit Parrot Rock.
West Coast Beaches
6. Bentota Beach
Bentota is a popular resort town, abundant in natural beauty. The relatively quiet beach is ideal for both adventure seekers and holiday-goers in search of a soft, white sand beach to laze and relax on.
Activities: Sailing, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, water sports at Bentota Lagoon such as kayaking and paddle boarding and sight-seeing at nearby temples and remnants of Sri Lanka’s heritage and history such as the Galle Fort & Lighthouse.
Head down to Sri Lanka’s most tourist-oriented beach destination – Hikkaduwa. The water here is a bright aqua in colour and the sand is fine and white.
Hikkaduwa becomes the ideal setting to spend an entire day just relaxing, eating fresh seafood and sipping cocktails beneath swaying palm trees.
Activities: Surfing, snorkeling, trying local cuisine, bars and restaurants, enjoying the nightlife from dusk till dawn, visiting the marine park that features coral reefs, tropical fish, hawksbill and green turtles and blacktip reef sharks.
Negombo beach is dotted with an array of restaurants, bars, cafes and handicraft outlets, created to cater to incoming tourists. This relatively wide and flat beach offers a variety of experiences for all types of travelers, but is less so a gentle beach and is not recommended for swimming.
The city of Negombo is located just outside the Bandaranaike International Airport and is a great stop after a long-haul flight, particularly for its nightlife and Dutch Architecture.
Activities: Water sports and adrenaline sports, enjoy live music and live events after sunset, visit the gem mines.
The Kalpitiya Peninsula on the west coast is home to the Alankuda Beach. Known as a relatively undiscovered and deserted 2km beach destination in Sri Lanka, the waters at Alankuda Beach are pristine and clear, and home to schools of dolphins throughout the year.
The Alankuda beach has become the most sought-after location for truly relaxing, discrete and romantic getaways.
Activities: Dolphin watching, eco-tourism and kite-surfing.
From east to south to west, every beach has its own unique character, from white sand bars and tidal islands to palm tree beach swings and bohemian beach bars. There’s something for every kind of traveler, whether you are on the surf tour of a lifetime, or looking for a soft beach to relax with loved ones.
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