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With its incredible offerings, Sri Lanka is a country that should be on every holiday maker’s bucket list. The beautiful island boasts a whole host of attractions and really does offer something for everyone. Aside from its wildlife, rainforests, historical sites and endless travel opportunities, the island country of Sri Lanka is also widely famed for its stunning gold coastlines - and rightly so. Sri Lanka beaches are renowned for their beautiful scenery and the country has a whole host to choose from. So it’s little surprise that visiting beaches is considered a must during a holiday in Sri Lanka. Whether it’s crowd less coastlines, amazing sunsets, beautiful palm trees, or world-class surfing that you are seeking, you can rest assured that Sri Lanka will have a beach that suits.
With so much coast to choose from, we’ve put together a list of some of the best beach resorts within easy reach of the country’s capital, Colombo. So, you could fly into Colombo airport and be unwinding on an idyllic beach within a couple of hours…
This dreamy stretch of beach on Sri Lanka’s west coast sits beside the still waters of the Bentota Ganga and is backed by lush greenery. With eight kilometres of white sands and beautiful blue water, the beach is popular with tourists seeking a relaxing seaside holiday. However, on Bentota Beach, you’ll also find plenty of fun-filled activities with water-skiing, jet-skiing, sailing and windsurfing all popular year-round water sports. The nearby lagoon is also a great spot for a boat safari along the Bentota River, where you can spot aquatic birds amongst the exotic mangrove scenery. Situated just 45 minutes’ drive from Colombo, it’s easy to see why this resort is a popular choice for holidaymakers.
Located about an hour and 20 minutes’ drive from Colombo, this golden beach is large, generally quiet, fantastic for swimming and renowned for its stunning sunsets. With its close proximity to Colombo airport and a cluster of top-notch hotels, Wadduwa Beach has become a popular choice for all-inclusive holidays in Sri Lanka. Despite its popularity, the beach still manages to maintain a raw, natural beauty. When you’re not unwinding on the beach or utilising your hotel facilities, Wadduwa boasts a traditional fishing village that’s well worth an amble, and plenty of nearby markets selling local handicrafts and souvenirs.
The small, charming town of Kalutara sits around an hour and a half’s drive from Colombo and boasts a well-kept beach that attracts swarms of fishermen each morning. Lined with a backdrop of thick, lush palm trees, this beach has a beautifully remote feel but still offers a wealth of attractions nearby. As well as unwinding on the beach, during a Kalutara holiday you can visit the world’s only hollow Buddhist shrine, the impressive Richmond Castle (a British-era Edwardian mansion) and an array of scenic train bridges. You’ll also find a cluster of restaurants selling mouth-watering seafood dishes and offering gorgeous sea views.
Under an hours’ drive from Colombo, Negombo Beach is a huge stretch of golden sand backed by an array of high-class hotels. A nice beach for swimming and with plenty of nearby shops and restaurants, Negombo is a popular stop on a Sri Lanka beach holiday. Away from the beach, you’ll find a wide collection of Catholic churches, a bustling fish market and a myriad of waterways where you can enjoy boat tours. The Dutch influence is also hard to miss in Negombo town, where you can visit the old Dutch Fort that sits on a grassy hilly, nestled within exotic greenery.
A two-hour drive from Colombo and close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle, Hikkaduwa is considered one of Sri Lanka’s best beaches by many and is a popular choice with surfers. You’ll find plenty to do on this beach, with hotels, shops, bars and restaurants all lining the kilometre-metre-long stretch of sand. You’ll also find delicious seafood here, coconut palm trees and clear waters (turtle-spotting is possible at certain times of the year). There’s a turtle sanctuary that’s well worth a visit or wildlife fans can take a trip to Hikkaduwa National Park.
Just over two hours’drive from Colombo, Unawatuna boasts a palm-lined coastline with a great selection of bars, restaurants and hotels. Popular with couples, UnawatunaBeach has a laid-back vibe with plenty of trendy haunts to relax in - when you’re not enjoying a dip or relaxing on the sand. The warm water on the beach is great for swimming, and snorkelling trips in Unawatuna are extremely popular. Aside from the beautiful coastline, Unawatuna is home to a huge Japanese Peace Pagoda, and with Galle just six kilometres away, there is plenty to see and do.