Mirissa or Unawatuna or Hikkaduwa? 3 of Sri Lanka’s best beaches

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.


Coconut tree point Mirissa Sri Lanka


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.


Want to know the top 5 things to do in Mirissa?

5 best places to eat in Mirissa.


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.


The best day trips from Unawatuna.

The top ten places to eat in Unawatuna.


Hikkaduwa – Swim with turtles in Sri Lanka!

Beach south coast 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.


Swim with turtles Sri Lanka Hikkaduwa Green Turtles


Feed Green Sea Turtles in Hikkaduwa


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.


Mirissa Unawatuna Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka

How to travel better for less

Skyscanner – For flights at the best prices this is my go to site. I have also started using them for car hire and they can’t be beat!

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.

World Nomads – Travel insurance is one of the most important things you can have while travelling. Don’t leave home without it! World Nomads provide the very best cover.

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.

Hey, some links in this post are to affiliate sites. If you purchase something through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

A note on Amazon Affiliates – LW no longer uses this program, instead focusing on eco friendly alternatives. Read the reasons why here. LW will not profit from any links that may remain on this site. Please advise us if you spot any. Thanks!

Travel like a pro

Did you know travel doesn’t have to be expensive? Imagine being able to afford a trip every month. Or how about not going back to work at all?

Lost Wanders gives you the tools you need to know right now to work less and travel more.

Jo Williams

A Brit that got fed up of the 9 to 5 corporate life, I sold everything to become a full time wanderer. Having travelled to over 70 countries so far, I share my money-saving tips and secrets from inside the travel industry. Hoping to inspire you to work less and travel more.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. cath Roberts

    Thank you for all this information Jo its been a huge help. We are a couple in our 70s who have a place in Goa and have spent 6 months of the year there over the last 25 yrs. We have back packed through Cambodia Loas and Thailand manytimes with a trolly dolly haha and love this life. Because of what is happening with visas etc in Goa we have not been able to get back and a lot of people we know have gone over to Sri Lanka so we are now planning a trip there hopefully at the back end of January for a few months and your blog has helped make our decision so thank you again Jo.

    1. Jo Williams

      That’s so nice to hear and it’s my pleasure! I haven’t had a chance to visit Goa yet but it sounds incredible. Sri Lanka is absolutely wonderful and easily remains one of my top 5 favourite countries, I’m sure you will have a fantastic time. If you get a chance to go further north Minneriya and Kaudulla National parks are great for seeing huge herds of wild elephants and the ancient ruins of Pollonnaruwa are nearby too.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, it gives me the motivation to keep writing!

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