11 Best Beaches in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka (2024) - Feel Free Travel Blog
11 Best Beaches in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka (2024) 11 Best Beaches in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka (2024)

11 Best Beaches in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka (2024)


Written by Josh Band

Posted, 24th April 2024

Looking to spend some time at the beach while visiting Unawatuna?

Then you’ve come to the right place as we’re experts on the south coast of Sri Lanka and know all of the best beaches in Unawatuna.

In fact, we run Sri Lanka Group Tours so we’re always looking for beaches for catching waves, snorkelling with tropical fish or lounging on the sand.

We’ve found there are so many incredible spots for having a beach day in Unawatuna – trust us, you’ll find plenty to fall in love with.

So without beating around the bush any longer, let’s get into it!

Beaches in Unawatuna 🏝

Unawatuna is well connected to other coastal towns such as Weligama and Mirissa, which you’ll likely have plans to visit if you want to try your hand at a bit of surfing.

But not to worry if you can’t find your way around a surfboard, there are plenty of places to learn. Or, you can simply opt to relax on the sand and take a dip in the ocean.

Unawatuna is known for having pristine beaches with clear water and lots of marine life. Many beaches look like the tropical paradises that you tend to only see in movies – white sand, perfect palm dreams and turquoise calm water.

The phrase “heaven on Earth” could not be more true for these beaches – they’re straight out of a dream!

1. Unawatuna Beach

A serene beach scene with a curve of golden sand lined by tropical palm trees and small boats, with a few people swimming in the clear, calm waters.

You can’t visit Unawatuna and not visit the beach that is named after it! Unawatuna Beach is the most popular beach as it has the easiest access from the town.

The beach is known for being a haven for snorkellers and divers as there is a huge range of tropical fish and sea creatures inhabiting the coral reefs near the beach to spot while you enjoy swimming in the warm, calm waters.

As always when snorkelling in coral reefs, make sure you wear safe sun cream, don't stand on the coral and definitely don't take any of it home with you!

As always when snorkelling in coral reefs, make sure you wear safe sun cream, don’t stand on the coral and definitely don’t take any of it home with you!

If you’re feeling more adventurous then there are plenty of water sports to take part in at Unawatuna Beach such as windsurfing and jet-skiing – the perfect activities to get your heart racing and adrenaline up.

There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants dotted along the beachfront to get your fix of traditional Sri Lankan dishes and as the sun sets you’ll see plenty of locals arriving at the beach to build fires and dance into the night. Sri Lankans know how to party, that’s for sure.

You can’t go wrong with a trip to Unawatuna Beaches. It’s one of the best beaches Sri Lanka has to offer!

2. Jungle Beach

Jungle Beach in Unawatuna is one of the most secluded beaches on the southern coast of the island. With stretches of golden yellow sand and bright blue water, the beach looks like something from a movie.

Jungle Beach is surrounded by greenery (hence the name) making it feel a lot more private. It is usually quite peaceful and has a lot less visitors than some of the other contenders. You’re best reaching it by tuk-tuk…through the jungle. It’s quite the trip!

The entrance to the beach is the most crowded area as there are sunbed hire stands and a small cafe that tourists like to huddle around, but a short walk down the beach will reveal expanses of open sunbathing spots.

Jungle Beach is also a great and protected spot for swimming. To be honest, pretty much every beach in Sri Lanka offers amazing snorkelling opportunities.

3. Wijaya Beach

Wijaya Beach is one of the more popular beaches for tourists and is actually named after the beachfront bar and restaurant, located on Dalawella Beach. 

Once upon a time, it was considered a “hidden gem”

It is a secluded spot with a coral reef that breaks the waves and forms a natural swimming pool. If you’ve packed a snorkel, then make sure to bring it with you to discover a mix of different marine life.

Keep an eye out for turtles too as they often venture right up to the shore during both low and high tide.

When you’ve finished exploring, you can dine in the cosy bar it’s named after and watch as the sun sets while palm trees frame your view of the ocean.

4. Dalawella Beach

If you speak to backpackers who have travelled Sri Lanka extensively, many will report back that they think Dalawella Beach is the most beautiful in all of Sri Lanka – and it is definitely a top contender for that title!

Dalawella Beach is most well-known for its Insta-worthy swing that many travellers rush to get pictures of, with the gorgeous palm tree scenery in the background. The swing is located at the western side of the beach right in front of the Dream Cabana Guesthouse, which is a really good accommodation option near Unawatuna.

Unfortunately, due to its increasing popularity, there is now a small charge for using the swing – which is understandable given the number of tourists that rock up wanting a go!

Another reason to visit Dalawella Beach is that it is a prime location for spotting sea turtles swimming in the ocean. Remember not to get too close to them though, they hate being touched and startle easily.

5. Mihiripenna Beach

Mihiripenna Beach is just a short distance from Unawatuna and has a very relaxed vibe, but there are still plenty of things to do. 

The beach is regarded as one of Sri Lanka’s best swim spots and if you have a snorkel and mask, you’ll have an opportunity to see a huge range of fish and other marine life. It’s a very safe area for swimming, making it popular with families.

Our tours always include food to an extrent, in fact, we have a whole blog section on blogs for foodies, so we really love to eat while travelling, and the restaurants which line the beachfront not only allow you to grab a quick bite between beach activities, but will have some of the tastiest “quick bites” you’ll have in Sri Lanka!

Our favourite place to enjoy lunch with a view is 'Persian Kitchen'. Right overlooking the beach 👌🏼

Our favourite place to enjoy lunch with a view is ‘Persian Kitchen’. Right overlooking the beach 👌🏼

6. Koggala Beach

Koggala Beach is located just a few kilometres from Unawatuna and is a good spot if you like surfing, with reliable waves and good reef breaks.

Don’t worry if you’re a complete surfing beginner, there are plenty of private surf schools offering lessons for reasonable prices. Otherwise, you can still enjoy yourself sunbathing on the sand or having a refreshing dip in the sea.

The beach has some lovely tropical views and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby to enjoy, with seafood dishes and cocktails being among the most highly-reviewed items. Told you we love our food. By the way, make sure to check out our best places to eat in Unawatuna guide.

You can also venture just a few minutes to see Koggala Lake which can be accessed by boat rides.

7. Habaraduwa Beach

A pristine tropical beach with a clear blue sky, the ocean in varying shades of blue, and waves gently breaking on the sandy shore.

Habaraduwa is a peaceful town not too far from Unawatuna and has some beautiful beaches with golden sand. Habaraduwa Beach isn’t too far from Koggala Beach so you could easily explore both in one day.

Habaraduwa Beach is another peaceful option for swimming, away from the huge crowds but is particularly popular in the evening as there is an opportunity to watch stilt fishers hard at work.

The beach serves as a big nesting ground for sea turtles so is a great location to see the creatures and their babies in their natural habitat, but you must keep your distance from them!

There are a couple of hatcheries along the coast in this area that will try to entice tourists with unethical turtle experiences and beach releases. Please avoid these as they are very harmful to the turtles!

8. Weligama Beach

A group of surfers in black rash guards sitting on surfboards on a sandy beach, attentively listening to a surfing lesson.

Weligama Beach is a great spot that locals and tourists head to from Unawatuna to surf and is perfect for all skill levels. It can be a lot more crowded than some of the other beaches along the coast but it is still worth a trip.

The beach has small and consistent waves which are perfect for those still finding their way around a surfboard but if you venture further from the shore, you can test your skills on larger breaks.

The spot has plenty of surf schools nearby for complete beginners with a range of lesson packages available to allow you to gain some confidence on the boards.

Our Lanka Loop Tours include surfing in Weligama, so we can assure you it’s one of the best places for it in the whole country!

But in terms of the beach, Weligama Beach is a great all-rounder beach if you want to just have a swim or sunbathe too, with plenty of shops and restaurants nearby to keep you fed and watered.

9. Mirissa Beach & Coconut Tree Hill

Mirissa is one of the most popular beach destinations along the entire southern coast and makes for a good day trip from Unawatuna.

Mirissa Beach, although often quite crowded, is a calm beach which is perfect if you’re looking to relax on the sand with a good book and a drink or have a leisurely swim.

It is a sheltered area between two headlands and the palm trees lining the shore make it feel more secluded than it actually is, especially at sunset.

With plenty of other bays and beachfront restaurants and shops nearby, you can definitely make a day of visiting Mirissa from Unawatuna.

10. Kabalana Beach

Ahangama has some beautiful beaches and Kabalana is probably the most popular along the coast of the town, and isn’t too far from Unawatuna. The journey only takes around 20 minutes in a tuk-tuk or taxi.

It is another all-rounder beach with opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, surfing and snorkelling and makes for a great beach getaway location.

The beach is well-maintained and usually very clean, with lifeguards stationed along the stretch of sand to ensure sea-goers are kept safe.

With plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas for hire, you can’t really go wrong with lounging at Kabalana Beach, while surfers will be able to try out the reliable, mellow waves that form from the breaks at either end of the beach.

11. Thalpe Beach

Thalpe Beach is close to the city of Galle, but still within a good distance of Unawatuna and is a popular beach location for locals as well as tourists.

The beach is relatively clean and calm, and offers similar vibes to Unawatuna Beach. It is a good spot for a walk along the sand as the sun sets, with the palm trees swaying in the distance.

You’ll find less crowds at Thalpe Beach than at Unawatuna Beach too, making it a good location for just chilling out, which is what beach life is all about. Though if you’re feeling a bit more active then renting a kayak to paddle the length of the shoreline is a good idea.

Unawatuna Beaches: FAQ

Below are some commonly asked questions about beaches in Unawatuna along with our expert answers to each question.

Can you swim in the sea in Unawatuna?

Yes, you can swim in the sea in Unawatuna. During the dry season, the waters are generally very calm and suitable for swimming.

How to get to Unawatuna Beach?

To reach Unawatuna Beach, from the airport, travel to Galle in Sri Lanka, then take a short 10-minute tuk-tuk or taxi ride eastward along the coast to reach the beach.

Which is the safest beach in Sri Lanka?

The safest beaches in Sri Lanka are generally considered to be those that line the southern coast around Unawatuna. They have calm waters and are well-maintained, making it suitable for swimming and water activities.

Is Unawatuna worth it?

Absolutely! Unawatuna is definitely worth visiting for its stunning beaches, vibrant atmosphere, and array of water sports activities. Its close proximity to other towns like Mirissa, Galle and Weligama make it a popular stop on a tour of the southern Sri Lankan coast.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of great beaches in and nearby to Unawatuna that offer the opportunity to try a range of different activities such as surfing, snorkelling, walking and sunbathing and also the chance to see some stunning scenery.

Unawatuna has a fabulous atmosphere that encourages spending time by the ocean and there are plenty of beach options to explore without travelling for miles and miles.

When you’re in Unawatuna you have to visit as many beaches on this list as your itinerary will fit as they are some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see!

And if you want us to show you around, plus show you the other highlights Sri Lanka has to offer, then join us on one of our group tours of Sri Lanka!

Whether you’re looking to travel solo or bring a friend along for the ride, our group tours in South East Asia & Australia are the perfect balance of culture, adventure, chill time & nightlife. You’ll arrive as strangers and leave as the best of friends.

Here are a few useful links to help with that planning;
👉🏼 View all Trips
👉🏼 Frequently Asked Questions
👉🏼 Check out our Reviews
👉🏼 Why choose us?
👉🏼 How does it all work?

If you’ve got any burning questions or just need a little travel inspo… jump in the DM’s with the team via either Whatsapp, Livechat or Instagram.


Written by Josh Band

Josh is one of our travel writers here at Feel Free Travel. You'll find him anywhere in the world typing away at what he sees in front of him. When he's not submerged in his laptop, he'll be in a local gym he's found while travelling or hiking up to the nearest viewpoint, especially if there’s a sunset pending.

Posted, 24th April 2024


Written by Josh Band

Josh is one of our travel writers here at Feel Free Travel. You'll find him anywhere in the world typing away at what he sees in front of him. When he's not submerged in his laptop, he'll be in a local gym he's found while travelling or hiking up to the nearest viewpoint, especially if there’s a sunset pending.

Posted, 24th April 2024

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