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Updated by Maggie Tulliver (Umanga Kahandawaarachchi) on Jul 22, 2015
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Best Beaches in Sri Lanka - Exploring the Island’s Top Coastal Hotspots

A beach Mecca for the masses Sri Lanka is home to some of Asia's most pristine beachscapes. From popular beach hubs in the south to secluded beaches in the east here are the country's best beaches.

1

Bentota Beach

Bentota Beach

Located in the district of Galle, Bentota Beach is 62km from the commercial capital Colombo. Occupying pride of place along the south-west coastline the breathtaking beach hub is one of the most accessible and popular beachscapes in the island. Offering holidaymakers a variety of water sports activities Bentota is also famed for its engaging river cruises and cultural attractions on show at the town's theatre.

2

Hikkaduwa Beach

Hikkaduwa Beach

Often regarded as Sri Lanka's party beach, Hikkaduwa is home to some of the most stunning coastlines in the country. As the host of the Hikka Beach Fest and countless other events this coral haven is a marine life enthusiast's dream come true. With its underwater landscapes blessed with innumerable fish species and vibrant coral gardens, glass bottom boat rides have become a staple activity among vacationers in the sunny holiday hub. Visitors in search of luxury Sri Lanka hotels in the area should look no further than the establishments under the Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts group, one of the leading names in hospitality in Sri Lanka.

3

Kalkudah Beach / Passikudah Bay

Kalkudah Beach / Passikudah Bay

Located in the country's eastern coastline, Passikudah Bay is a secluded stretch of beach situated south of Kalkudah. Stretching across 4km the pristine beach is one of the clearest and most tranquil beaches in the island where swimming and sunbathing are popular activities. A variety of water sports are also available in Passikudah Bay while nearby Kalkudah Beach is a snorkelling haven littered with exotic fish species. The best time to visit the beach is during the period between May and September when the dry weather season is in effect.

4

Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay

Situated in Ampara, Arugam Bay is the self proclaimed surfing capital of Sri Lanka hosting many an international professional surfing contest each year. Blessed with sunny skies and ideal wind conditions for a plethora of water sports the shallow waters off the coast of Arugam Bay's beach also makes it an underwater photographer's dream. Scuba divers should not miss the opportunity to go wreck diving in the area as several shipwrecks litter the seabed off the coast of this popular bay.

5

Kalutara Beach

Kalutara Beach

A mere 40km from the country's commercial capital and less than three hours away from Sri Lanka's main international airport, Kalutara Beach is another well-known weekend getaway for locals and tourists alike. A cultural epicentre in its own right with landmark temples such as the Gangatilaka Viharaya occupying its confines this golden beach Mecca is a relaxing alternative to the country's more crowded beach capitals.

6

Nilaveli Beach

Nilaveli Beach

Situated in the Trincolmalee district, Nilaveli Beach is deemed to be one of the island's most captivating beaches thanks to the turquoise hues of its waters which earned the locale its name. A must-visit highlight for fishing enthusiasts and whale watchers, this iconic beach is a mere 10 minutes away from Pigeon Island. Snorkellers should make it a point to explore the vibrant coral species and marine life occupying the coast of Nilaveli Beach.