Where should you spend a couple of weeks on the south coast of Sri Lanka? Mirissa or Unawatuna? Or how about Hikkaduwa? With so many serene beaches in Sri Lanka it’s hard to choose which one to visit. It depends what you are looking for, of course the best option is to do all three. Surfers paradise Mirissa, foodie heaven Unawatuna and the beautiful reef at Hikkaduwa. Here’s the low down on each.
Mirissa is relatively new on the scene of Sri Lanka’s must see beaches. With it’s wide, palm fringed beach, trendy surf restaurants and thriving bars it’s not hard to see why it’s become a hotspot for young backpackers. Surfing in Mirissa is the draw for most. The waves here are great for beginners and there are some great spots for more experienced surfers too. Lessons can be arranged on the beach along with jet ski and snorkelling trips.
If surfing isn’t your thing do not fear! There are plenty of other things to do in Mirissa. Coconut Tree Hill is a great place to watch the sunset and has become famous on social media for its palm fringed views. You might even spot a turtle in the bay below if you’re lucky! Secret Beach is another great spot a short 10 minute tuk tuk drive will take you to a steep path, trek downhill and you will discover a little slice of paradise.
Foodies will love the No.1 Roti Shop, famous for the best Roti’s in Sri Lanka. The resourceful family ended up turning their house into the restaurant after troubles with local land owners. Last but not least, go whale watching in Mirissa. People visit Mirissa from all over to see blue whales in Sri Lanka. Chances of seeing a couple of big blues are pretty high and a once in a lifetime experience for most. It’s one of many experiences in Sri Lanka I will never forget.
Mirissa to Unawatuna
You can easily get from Mirissa to Unawatuna by bus. Unawatuna is a little more established but don’t let that put you off. Read international cuisine at high standards, great dive operators and generally a good place to hop on a free sunbed and relax the day away. The beach here is the main attraction and when it’s this beautiful why go anywhere else?!
From the delicious pies at Toms deli to the fresh croissants at Le Cafe Francais it really does have, in my opinion, the best choice of places to eat in Sri Lanka. If you really have to leave your sunbed there are places nearby to explore.
Frog rock at Wijaya beach is worth a trip on the local bus, the Koggala lake and sea turtle hatchery are full of wildlife and the beautiful colonial town of Galle Fort is just a short 10 minute drive up the coast.
Hikkaduwa – Swim with turtles in Sri Lanka!
If it’s snorkelling you’re after Hikkaduwa is the number one choice. Dip in the warm waters of Hikkaduwa’s coral garden teaming with sea life. Or for a pretty much guaranteed swim with turtles head further down the beach. A few resident turtles hang around just outside the Hika Tranz Cinnamon hotel waiting for obliging tourists to feed them seaweed from the shallows.
There are plenty of cheap hotels in Hikkaduwa all providing tasty seafood. A favourite is Mamas Beach Coral Hotel known for playing live music well into the night. If you’re after something a bit different, head down to the Nordic burger house for the best burgers in Sri Lanka!
For diving in Sri Lanka there are a few sites accessible from Hikkaduwa including a 1800’s shipwreck. Or jump on a local catamaran and snorkel around the rocky outcrops for some bigger fish varieties that you wouldn’t normally find at the beach.
From Mirissa to Unawatuna, and lesser known Hikkaduwa, all three towns on Sri Lanka’s south coast are worth a visit. Soak in Mirissa’s charm, Unawatuna’s international food or Hikkaduwa’s friendly green turtles.
Travelling around Sri Lanka is easy. Whether you stay in Hikkaduwa, Mirissa or Unawatuna they are all linked by the coastal railway. It costs just a few dollars so why not do all three?! The choice is yours but whatever you decide you can’t go wrong in my opinion. Sri Lanka is a treasure trove for travellers. Read the full guide to Sri Lanka here.
How to travel better for less
Booking.com – I always book with this site if looking for cheap accommodation as the filters are so easy to use. Become a genius member after five bookings and get great discounts too!
Air BnB – Sometimes you can find great local places to stay on Air BnB. In some countries, like Cuba, it’s the only way to book!
Transferwise – A debit card you can use all over the world and get great exchange rates with no hidden fees. This bank has saved me £100’s in bank fees!
Monzo – A similar travel card to the above with additional features like joint accounts and bill splitting.
Ethical Superstore – My go to site for cleaning products, eco clothing and even groceries. All ethically tagged and delivered free from plastic packaging. Plus eco friendly alternatives to your toiletries.
Omio – The place to go for all of your public transport needs in Europe. Save a bundle!
G Adventures – A sustainable, fun, responsible travel company. I’ve travelled with them many times and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of their amazing trips.
Contiki – The day job. Group travel for 18/35 year olds and memories to last a lifetime.
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