1. Arugam Bay
Here’s one for the surfers and for committed beach bums. Head to Arugam Bay if you’re in the mood to have a time-stopping sojourn and truly escape the mad urban rush. You can spend all day in a beach shack sipping cocktails and watching surfers ride killer waves or attempt a bit of that activity yourself. Beginners should head to Crocodile Point for the gentler waves and just ask any local guest house about teachers and surfboard rentals. Visit The Seahorse Inn if you have a craving for excellent pizza.
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2. Pigeon Island
Located off Sri Lanka’s eastern coast near Trincomalee, this protected national park is very secluded and has spectacular examples of local marine life. Get there by boat to enjoy the buttery yellow sands and brilliant azure blue waters. Go diving or snorkelling by just wading into the water till your feet don’t touch the ground anymore and you’ll be able to enjoy one of the country’s best surviving coral reefs with over three hundred species of coral fish and hundred species of coral. It truly offers the best of Sri Lanka tourism. Park entry costs INR 3150.
Read more: The best snorkelling destinations in India
3. Nilaveli beach
About 15 kilometres from Pigeon Island is the almost tourist-less, quiet stretch of powder-soft sand that has a small line of food shacks and fishing-boats for company. Indulge yourself in large Jaffna crab curries, one of the country’s specialities and cheap cocktails. Possibly one of the country’s best hidden secrets for now, this little piece of paradise will be a nice surprise if you’re looking to become a recluse on your Sri Lankan holiday.
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4. Mirissa beach
This sandy, tropical, crescent-shaped beach is located in the Southern part of the country and has some of the most stunning sunsets and sunrises for photographers to capture for eternity. Apart from sunning yourself on the palm-fringed, empty beach or snoozing in a hammock, you can stroll along the fishing harbour and watch the fishermen bringing their boats in after a catch or enjoy fresh seafood in one of the many shacks lining the beach. It is the ideal place when seeking solitude figures on your list of things to do in Sri Lanka.
5. Tangalla Bay beach
Along the south coast of Sri Lanka is the small, unhurried resort town of Tangalla. Think vast expanses of beautiful golden sand, a freshwater lagoon, a fishing harbour and a small town centre all making for the perfect lazy beach holiday. Explore the town which still has touches of colonial influences in it, like The Rest House, built in 1774 by the Dutch. While it may not pull in the crowds, it’s still one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
6. Rekawa beach
For a truly different experience, between April and September, head to Rekawa beach. Green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles come ashore to at night to lay their eggs here. Rekawa is just 10km east of Tangalla and volunteers from the local turtle conservation project run tours where you can see the turtles nesting at night. You’ll need to hire a driver from Tangalla to get you to the beach and do call ahead to check whether turtles are being sighted before you make the trip there.
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Photo credit: www.ecoislandsrilanka.com
7. Unawatuna beach
This is probably among the most popular beaches in Sri Lanka but is worth a visit because of the allure of its attractions. Off the coast of this beach lies shipwrecks and stunning coral reefs. The area is known for its rich biodiversity especially of bird species like herons and egrets but also the much rarer black bittern and Loten’s sunbird. If watching a spectacular sunset is among your list of things to do in Sri Lanka, you’re in for a splendid treat, as the light descends over the silvery sands creating a haunting, mystical and unforgettable image.
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