The South coast is one of Sri Lanka’s most rewarding places to visit. This is the island in a microcosm: gorgeous beaches, colonial townscapes. Stilt fishermen, superb wildlife parks and Buddhist shrines and plenty of temples
Ideally, the South coast starts with Hikkaduwa. A name known around the world for its nightlife. Somewhat overrated these days, but Hikkaduwa starts the surfing culture that goes on to the rest of the South coast. With new off-the-beaten path beaches coming to light, Hikkaduwa is now more frequented by local travelers than foreign although that changes completely during the Winter. Hikkaduwa is also famous for snorkeling. Probably the only place in Sri Lanka where you can take a glass bottom boat ride to see the underwater glamour. Hikkaduwa is home to the many dive shops as well.
Galle for example, is a great beach destination. Travelers from around the world know Galle Fort but not what’s around Galle which I have already covered above. Galle Fort however, is not really a beach spot, It’s more a colonial city (Really tiny when compared to the many others around the world) with its old world charm. Best to spend 2 nights here than more because it’s quite busy during Winter and Summer equally. The preserved architecture from the 16th Century to the 20th Century while being occupied by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British is one of its main attractions..
The next most notable beach spot is Unawatuna. Unawatuna is a very cozy beach spot. One of the best beach stretches and one of my personal favorites to spend the New Years Eve. Unawatuna is frequented by a lot of European travelers. You will meet many locals who speaks a combination of European languages here. Unawatuna is also one of the best places to go Diving. During winter, when the water is clear, you will see a lot of travelers on boats heading to catch a glimpse of the marine life.
Followed by Unawatuna are a galore of beaches that are perfect for Surfing. Thalpe, Ahangama, Midigama, Weligama, Mirissa are some well known spots frequented by surfers. During the winter season, you will see many on the line ups from sun-up to sun-down. Weligama is perfect for beginners as it’s a bay which is less affected by the winds while Mirissa consists of advanced surf breaks that’s perfect for goofy footers. The water is turquoise blue in the South coasts and Mirissa is one of the best examples to see that. Mirissa also has a large fishing harbor and is also a well known starting point for whale watching enthusiasts.
From here on, the beaches are more for relaxing. Locations like Dickwella, Tangalle, Hambantota all have great many resorts and boutique villa’s perfect for those who are looking for a bit of luxury and seclusion. This doesn’t mean the other spots I mentioned above don’t have that, but these cities are more laid back. It takes close to 6 hours to reach these locations from the Airport. That means it’s not the best option for a quick getaway stay.