Sri Lanka overwhelms the senses. The air is heavy with the scent of jasmine, the food richly spiced and the landscape one of utter beauty; the radiant green rice paddies, forests of swaying palm trees and mountains puckered in tea plantations are utterly bewitching. But for many people Sri Lanka can be summed up in two simple words: the beach.
No matter what kind of beach bum you want to be, you’ll find a patch of palm-backed perfection here. You can book in for pampering at one of the island’s chic boutique beachside hotels, dive across glowing coral reefs, learn to surf on gentle sandbars, or merely toddle off to find your own little undiscovered corner of paradise.
Here’s our guide to the best of Sri Lankan beaches.
Lapped by lazy azure waters, the coconut-coloured beaches around Tangalla are hands down our favorite Sri Lankan bolt holes. Tangalla itself marks the dividing line between the picture-perfect tropical coves that dominate much of the southwest coast and the long, wave-lashed beaches that you’ll find in the southeast corner of the island.
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Crack open a coconut, slip into a hammock and rock gently in the breeze. Of all the bigger Sri Lankan beach resorts, Mirissa is the favorite of many visitors. In general, this is a place for sitting and being rather than doing, but if you need a shot of adrenaline then Mirissa is the best base for a waterborne safari in search of blue whales, the largest living creatures on earth.
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