1. Tangalle – Marakolliya Beach
Marakolliya beach is now officially one of our favourite beaches in the world. BIG STATEMENT from two complete beach snobs but seriously this place has miles of deep luscious sand, sea that’s like floating in a bath and is lined with big leafy palms…absolute heaven!
Marakolliya beach is around 3km from Tangalle and we think what makes it so special is that it’s virtually undiscovered! It’s hard to find beaches these days which aren’t lined with hotels or guesthouses and restaurants with those tacky plastic chairs but at Marakolliya there’s a maximum of four guesthouses on the actual beach, all of which are hidden behind the trees so it feels like you’re in complete seclusion! Back on the road leading to the beach there are a few more accommodation options – like the dreamy Aloe Vera Garden where we stayed – and restaurants but it’s still relatively undeveloped. This means the eating options are quite limited, especially for budget travellers like us, but it is so worth it to spend a few days away from the world on this stretch of paradise.
We loved it so much at Marakolliya we came back for a second time and can’t recommend it enough to anyone visiting Sri Lanka! We only hope that it will retain its natural beauty and not turn in to one of the many commercial beaches in this area!
2. Unawatuna – Delawalla Beach
Delawalla is another special little beach we found hidden away next to the more well known Unawatuna beach! Walk or take a tuk tuk around 2km along the road away from Unawatuna itself and find yourself on this small slice of paradise. Although situated next to a road it is sheltered by greenery and a few private villas and guesthouses so once down on the beach with the waves crashing on the shore you won’t even notice!
Delawalla has a deep sweeping sand dune which you just melt into; we visited three times, each in the afternoon, and were always two of just a handful of people soaking up the atmosphere on this gorgeous little beach. The absolute BEST thing here, however, is this amazing palm tree rope swing out over the waves! If this doesn’t feel like paradise then we really don’t know what will!
3. Unawatuna Beach
Although much more commercial than Delawalla, Unawatuna still has its charms! It’s a long sweeping bay which means that even when it’s busy you still feel quite spread out and can find yourself a quiet patch! The sea here is so calm compared to the other beaches on this coast which means you can simply float and bob around for hours!
The beach is lined with an array of restaurants with a mixture of cheaper and more upmarket options; many of which have quirky beach cabanas laden with pillows which you can run and take haven in during the heat of the day…and believe us it does get hot!
Unawatuna beach is also a fantastic place for a sunset beer or an evening meal by candlelight with your toes in the sand!
4. Hikkaduwa – Narigama Beach
Hikkaduwa has a few stretches of beach all of which are okay but with the tourist industry booming here they are all very busy and full of the dreaded package holiday tourists!
Take a walk down the main road (browsing the shops as you go!) until you reach “Drifters Hotel”, find a place to nip through to the beach and you’ve reached Narigama! Although still busy and touristy it’s a lot longer and wider than the other beaches here which means you can still find some peace! Like Unawatuna, Narigama beach has the chilled beach-side cabanas for lounging in as well as some fantastic beach cafes to while away an afternoon with a beer or cocktail in hand.
Tip: this beach is the best place to spend a day but as the sun begins to set take yourself back to Hikkaduwa to watch as the turtles find their way ashore!
5. Weligama Beach
Weligama is undoubtedly the surf spot of the south coast and luckily the beach is pretty nice too! The sea is always full of surf boards bobbing around; from beginners taking their first lessons to pros far out in the distance riding the waves. If surfing isn’t for you then it still makes for great viewing whilst sunbathing!
Take a long walk along Weligama beach and as you come to either end you will also see the traditional Sri Lankan fishing boats moored up ashore and if you’re lucky some traditional Sri Lankan stilt fisherman. The fisherman no doubt will give you a cheery wave!
There are few beach front hotels and lots of surf shacks which also double up as cafes here but they are set far enough back so that you still get a nice wide stretch of golden sand to relax on! If you’re feeling peckish after a morning on the beach head to Hangtime Hostel for some delicious home comforts or to the Roti shop right underneath it which was our favourite place by far! They serve traditional rotis or kottu in huge portions for very cheap! No wonder this place is always busy!
Sri Lanka’s coastline is one long stretch of dreamy beaches which you could explore forever but, with limited time, we think these are the pick of the bunch! Sit back, unwind and enjoy these idyllic beaches.
C & J