Places To Visit In Sri Lanka – Exploring The Coast
Sri Lanka’s coast line is among some of the most beautiful we’ve seen, and we really wish we could have stayed there much longer – there are many amazing beaches south of Colombo – with spice gardens and turtle sanctuaries to visit along the way. There are so many places to visit in Sri Lanka that it would take you months to see everything, despite the small size of the country.
Sri Lanka is famous for being the place where many beach and sunset postcards and ‘desktop screen savers’ are taken – and by visiting the beaches you’ll see why … The general vibe of the beach towns is very relaxed and laid back, making you feel like there is not a worry in the world – in other words, a perfect vacation destination. Here are three great places to visit in Sri Lanka along the coast…
Hikkaduwa is a laid back beach town with a lively main road and a beautiful long beach lined with guesthouses and restaurants. It was one of our favorite places to visit in Sri Lanka for both good swimming as well as nice restaurants. During high season it’s a good beach for beginners who would like to try surfing, while in the off season the waves get quite big, making it a popular place for professional surfers. There are parts of the beaches where you can swim in calm waters and even go snorkeling (and swim with turtles!) in the reef. We spent our days in Hikkauwa surfing, swimming and getting acquainted with all the different Sri Lankan food – and before we knew it almost a week had gone past!
There is a quiet calm over the streets in Galle Fort – locals half sitting, half lying down in chairs under ceiling fans, children playing cricket on the porches – there is not a sign of stress anywhere to be seen. We joined the rest of the locals in the little area, and sat for hours in cafes with a pot of tea, talking to our table neighbors and the waiter, feeling no need to leave any time soon. A light ocean breeze sweeps through the streets every now and then, making it possible to explore the town without fainting from the heat. Old colonial European-style houses line the streets, painted in bright colors with Hibiscus flowers hanging over the walls and from the balconies of the long and narrow buildings. In the old days you had to pay tax on the width of your home, which resulted in people building narrow homes and instead extending in length – these houses remain to this day. Quaint little tea houses and art galleries are scattered around the town, next to gem boutiques and antique shops – Galle is often included as one of the places to visit in Sri Lanka and is also a good base to explore the nearly beaches by bus or three-wheeler during the day.
Unnawatuna is a more quiet beach town without the hectic main road of Hikkaduwa, where the water is calm and clear, and where your hotel is located quite literally in the water. This is one of those places to visit in Sri Lanka where you go for pure relaxation, with palm trees hanging over the waterfront providing a nice shade, and three-wheeler drivers waiting to take you on day excursions to turtle sanctuaries and spice gardens. Having breakfast at the beach with the waves touching your feet is a lovely way to start the day.