Sri Lanka was ranked by 800,000 readers of Conde Nast Traveller as one of the best countries to travel to in Conde Nast Traveller 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards.
In 2019, Sri Lanka claimed the top spot in the world’s leading travel guide, Lonely Planet as the best travel destination in the world.
Sri Lanka is known for its diverse culture, heritage, history and is exceptionally known for its unparalleled south coast beaches.
Why visit the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka’s southern coast boasts of many palm fringed beaches lining its pristine white sand shores.
Each city stretching down Lanka’s south coast from Galle to Yala is renowned for some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka– owing to its calm blue waters, its diverse food culture and its exceptional beach hotels. It is no wonder that Sri Lanka was selected by travel influencers as the top destination in Asia for 2019, and is becoming increasingly popular whilst doing its title ‘Paradise Isle’ justice.
Best Places to Visit on the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka
Among the most notable places to add to your Sri Lankan itinerary is the Galle fort, a fortress built during the 1500s which is by far the most important tourist attraction in Galle.
Spread over a humongous area of 36 acres, the fort is a settlement in itself which showcases the colonial heritage of Galle.
Spend your day here walking along the idyllic cobblestoned streets and appreciate the beautiful architecture that Galle has to offer. There’s something there for everyone, from an array of cafes to the chic little boutique shops which sell Batik prints, and there’s even something for all you adrenaline junkies! Visit the Galle Cliff Divers, fondly known as the ‘Daredevils of Galle Fort’ and watch them effortlessly dive into the cool blue ocean from unimaginable heights.
However, if you prefer something more off the beaten track, take a tuk tuk down to Jungle beach, which is 15 minutes away from Galle Fort and spend your day lazing about by the beach and trying out the fresh seafood prepared just how you like it.
Sri Lanka is one of the most reliable surfing destinations in the Indian Ocean, and has two different surfing regions – the Southern Province and the Eastern Province. Each is exposed to different swell and wind conditions, making it possible to surf in
Sri Lanka all year round. Head down to Lanka’s south coast for some top notch surf lessons and learn to surf!
A little further past Galle are the towns of Talpe and Unawatuna; satiate your adventurous spirit and embark on finding the secret rock pools of talpe which is a well-kept secret by the locals.
Most of the beaches in the coast of Sri Lanka are celebrated for its efforts to rescue and protect endangered large sea turtles and also, for its turtle hatcheries.
Watching the turtle eggs hatch under a moonlit sky makes it a fun activity for the entire family!
Mirissa beach offers many activities such as dolphin and whale watching. Sail into the sunset as you sip a glass of champagne and tune into nature whilst being surrounded by dolphins.. if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of a few blue whales!
Tangalle beach is perfect for swimming and exploring, this little town has much to offer and should definitely be visited.
Sri Lanka’s south is notorious for its beautiful bays such as the ones in Weligama, Mirissa and Hiriketiya, these shallow bays make it the best locations to learn how to surf, however—many admit to coming for the waves, but staying for the food and warm hospitality!
Once you’ve experienced the South Coast to the fullest, head over to the South East coast for a change of pace and visit the infamous Yala National Park. The guided wildlife safaris and camping experiences are definitely bucket list essentials.
Where to Stay on Sri Lanka’s Southern Coast?
In recent years there have emerged many boutique hotels and hostels along the coast of Sri Lanka. Ask your tour operators to recommend the best accommodation for you and enjoy the incomparable Sri Lankan warmth and hospitality.
Mirissa, Ahangama, Weligama and Hiriketiya are becoming increasingly popular places to stay in the South owing to their many types of accommodation– from boutique villas and high rise hotels to backpacker’s hostels, there’s an expansive selection of accommodation to fit everyone’s budget.
Where to Eat on Sri Lanka’s Southern Coast?
The BBC Good Food Team has named Sri Lankan Cuisine as the no: 1 trending cuisine in 2019 on their list and most recently, it is noted that Sri Lanka might just be the ultimate vegan travel destination in 2022. As a primarily vegetarian culture, most local dishes are naturally vegan.
Not only is Sri Lankan food delicious and nutritious, it’s some of the most affordable food in the world!
Galle fort has an array of restaurants to choose from which are all equally great, however one particular place that needs to be visited is Peddlar’s Inn Gelato, nothing else quite hits the spot on a sunny day in Galle.
Visit Matara for its infamous rendition of Sri Lankan rice and curry and head over to the Doctor’s House for some sunset tunes and good vibes.
Head further down south to Dalawella beach for an instagram worthy picture whilst perched on its famous palm tree swing and end your evening at Wijaya Beach for their scrumptious wood-fired pizzas.
Breakfast at Skinny Tom’s Deli in Unawatuna is a must try for all you breakfast fans, it’s known for its ingenious fusion dishes such as a classic eggs benedict served in a rice hopper and for their double shot coffees.
If you find yourself in Weligama, visit Rise, an Italian restaurant well known and loved for their authentic italian pizzas and W15 for their seafood delicacies.
Hiriketiya, previously a precious secret kept among the locals, has taken Sri Lanka by storm by becoming the most popular surf spot in the south coast.
They have a handful of cafes and restaurants; Smoke and Bitters being one of them is listed as one of Asia’s best bars in Asia’s 50 Best Bars List.
Dots Bay guesthouse doubles as a wonderful restaurant overlooking the hiriketiya bay and is host to many music gigs each week.
Cafe Monde, a cafe with minimalistic swiss architecture is a great breakfast or brunch spot offering stellar views high above hiriketiya bay.
In addition to having many vegan options, most eating places in the south coast are Gluten Free friendly too– Sri Lankans use food as a love language and there is always plenty for everyone!
Transport Along the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka
Travelling in Lanka’s south coast is easy with many options to choose from.
The easiest and most fun way to travel along the south coast of Sri Lanka is by tuk tuk.
You can choose to hire tuk tuks which are readily available both day and night on the side of the road, or opt to rent one and learn to drive it!
Public transport such as buses and trains are available too for a very affordable fee.
Intercity Ubers and PickMe cab services are available in most areas depending on the demand in the vicinity.
The Visit Lanka Tours is a travel agency approved by the Sri Lankan Tourists Board and has 15 remarkable years of experience in tailor-made round tours in Sri Lanka, offering you the best and most comfortable way to experience the many wonders of the Island.
Come experience the Paradise Isle that is Sri Lanka, we warmly await your arrival!