Hikkaduwa is one of the most popular beaches in Sri Lanka and emerged as a surfing and backpacking hotspot in the 1970’s. Since then, the area has developed rapidly and contemporary Hikkaduwa offers a number of star classed resorts, boutique villas and budget guesthouses that cater to the tourist. However, the town, continues to maintain its laidback atmosphere, as well as a vibrant nightlife, which attracts large numbers of young travellers.
There are three major zones in Hikkaduwa, with their own character that provides different experiences to the beachgoer. Wellawatta, the northernmost section comprises of the commercial hub, main fishing harbour, market, railway station and other facilities. The southern end of Wellawatta emerges seamlessly with Wewela, where the tourist strip begins. Narigama, further south, contains bars, cafés and tourist shops. The lively activity in this area attracts young tourists to hang out.
In Hikkaduwa, beginner and intermediate surfers can enjoy the waves, while even enthusiasts and professionals would find more challenging waves when conditions are right. The coral reef is perfect for exploring while scuba diving, and several historic shipwrecks can be found offshore.
The Mitiyagoda moonstone mine nearby is a perfect outing if you would like to explore the area. Meanwhile a leisurely bike ride over the meandering Hikkaduwa River is ideal to soak in the way of life down south and the Gangarama Maha Vihara along the way contains several interesting paintings. All in all, Hikkaduwa is a fascinating spot to enjoy a sunny beachside vacation.
A few minutes away from the historic city of Galle, Unawatuna is a popular beach that is frequented by tourists. The wide bay is fringed by beachfront buildings that offer accommodations, refreshments and other facilities to make your visit pleasant.
Protected from the ocean swells by the bay, the glistening waters of Unawatuna are perfect for a swim all year round. Despite the crowds that the beach attracts, the nearby tropical trees, numerous cafés that dot the landscape and the laidback vibe create a sense of tropical paradise.
In addition to swimming, Unawatuna also provides tourists the opportunity to snorkel amidst the marine life. Adventure enthusiasts can explore the shipwrecks that can be found offshore. As the sun sets down, the nightlife begins to come to life, and guests can enjoy delectable meals and cold drinks or dance the night away to lively beats.
A short drive away from Unawatuna, tourists can also enjoy the sight of fishermen perched on traditional stilts and patiently waiting for the fish to arrive on the high tide. From Unawatuna, visitors can also visit the Jungle Beach, a secluded strip of beach where they can sunbathe or take a dip.
Dalawella is a playful beach, where waves lap at boulders that dot the sea near the beach. The moss covered rocks form tidal pools where colourful fish can be seen swimming around. The turbulent waves that greet the rocks send up sprays of white mist that greet the visitor.
A rock barrier forms a natural pool that is protected by the strong waves. Here, beachgoers can take a leisurely dip while the waves continue to crash against the rocks. Beyond the pool, there is a sea-grass meadow where sea grass gently sways as the waves rush over them. On its other side, there is a rocky outcrop that ensures that the meadow does not experience the full force of the wave. Instead, the water here is shallow and dotted with tidal pools.
The beach then gives way to challenging waves where experienced surfers can enjoy surfing. The rolling waves appear as molten emerald glass as they roll towards the beach. The sandy beach, lined by restaurants, hotels and chic cafés, is ideal for sunbathing or enjoying a refreshing king coconut. Depending on the time of day, you can also see fishermen standing on a convenient boulder with their fishing rods, undisturbed by the waves as they attempt to catch fish.
A unique beach with an eclectic atmosphere, Dalawella is the perfect destination to head to for an interesting holiday.
A wide strip of sandy golden beach give way to the glimmering sea at Polhena. Here, makeshift stalls offer colourful paraphernalia including inflatable rubber tubes, snorkelling masks and swimming flippers, beach balls and clothing, so that you can have a wonderful time at the beach.
An offshore reef barrier protects Polhena from rough waves. Therefore, the sea is calm, shallow and host to a multitude of sea life that thrive in the waters. The waves that lapped at the shore brings pieces of coral and as you stroll along the beach, you can spot beautiful sea shells hidden among the coral.
The shallow and calm water is ideal for snorkelling. In Polhena, a thriving underwater life can be observed. As you slowly snorkel, you will encounter schools of vibrantly coloured fish, turtles, stingrays and other fish darting in and out of the coral.
Polhena is an idyllic stretch of beach where you can have fun building sand castles, sun bathe, snorkel or take a dip in the cool sea while the sun shines brightly. Here, you can also see fishermen wading into the sea to perch on stilts standing upright in the water with their fishing rods. Seagulls, their competitors, also swoop through the air, darting towards the sea occasionally and flying away with their catch. Situated away from the busy roads of Matara, it is a serene beach to enjoy the sun, sand and the waves.
A small cove on the southern coast, Hiriketiya is also known as the ‘Blue Beach’ by the international tourists who make their way to the beach, attracted by the splendid surfing opportunities. Discovered by backpackers only a few years ago, it is now rapidly becoming more known.
The narrow road that leads to the beach eventually opens up to the cove fringed by palm trees. The land gradually rises in a gentle slope and forms a protective shield that surrounds the cove. The fine, pale golden sand at the beach gives way to rocky outcroppings at the mouth of the inlet.
Waves crashed against the rocks, sending plumes of frothy mist into the air. However, despite the turbulence at the side of the mouth of the cove, once past the entrance, the waves are gentle, and perfect for surfers at the beginner and intermediate levels. With three surf points – left, right and middle – surfers have a choice of waves. The milder waves at the middle of the cove are ideal for beginners and intermediate level surfers. Only the experienced and hardy surfers would dare to approach the rougher waves at the edges of the inlet.
The clear blue water is shallow and protected by the two headlands and is perfect for a swim. Restaurants and cafés are available near the beach offering refreshments and delicious dishes.
If you want to enjoy a sunny tropical holiday, head to one of these beaches to create unforgettable memories.