In an island spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the perfect beach for you, we have shortlisted some of the best beaches in the island, making it easier for your to select your perfect beach getaway.

  • Unawatuna Beach is the sweeping bay that curves to the east beyond galle has lured travelers for decades ad retains a boho vibe and freewheeling ambience that provides a pleasant contrast to the organized and orderly tourist resorts of Bentota and Negambo. The bay is busy enough to have a lively feel without being crowded and visitors say this is the best plae to hang out in Sri lanka.

  • Beruwala Beach is best described as the heart of Sri lanka's package tour industry and is heavily developed providing visitors with all the luxurious resort but yet wild and beautiful. Situated about 60 km (36 miles) from Colombo and offers an alluring swathe of sand backed by a string of densely packed resort hotels which cater mainly to the European package holiday crowd. The area is also the island's main Ayurveda centre. Most of the hotels here offer Ayurvedic and spa treatments in dedicated Ayurveda centres and there are few specialist Ayurveda resorts.

  • The "New Town" of Aluthgama is a lively alternative to the more developed Beruwala and has a string of low-key guesthouses backing onto the beautiful Bentota Lagoon. This town is one of the liveliest along the west coast – a bustling little place with lively fish and vegetable markets, plus a surprisingly good selection of unpretentious shops selling masks and wood carvings.

  • Towards the Southern end of Bentota, visitors can expect to find some of the west coast's best boutique hotels – and large swathes of golden sand, plus one of the island's best sea turtle conservation projects. Bentota is also the water sports capital of the island. Backing the beach, the calm waters of the Bentota lagoon and river offer the ideal setting for myriad activities ranging from canoeing to jet-skiing. It's also possible to arrange interesting boat rides up the river, exploring the Bentota Ganga's tangled water ways, mangroves swamps and marine life.

  • Cheap and Cheerful Hikkaduwa is Sri Lanka's longest established budget beach hangout, and is home to a coral sanctuary. Located about half an hour's drive south of Ambalangoda and about 100km (62 miles) from Colombo this busy beach town has attracted a stream of surfers, divers and part-loving sun-worshippers for decades.

  • Niaveli and Uppuveli on the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka are stunning locations for catching some of the island's golden sun. This area was difficult to access over the year due to the conflict but is now easily accessible and a newly built road system in the north and east in the country make getting there that much easier. These two towns were savaged by the tsunami, but the wide stretches of soft white sand are once again stunning locations to laze around on. From Nilaveli it is strongly recommend you take a 45 minute boat ride to the recently opened Pigeon Island reserve, which has been closed to the public for decades. This islet is home to a rare blue rock pigeon and is a paradise for snorkeling.

  • Arugam Bay is easily the pride of the east coast, is a secluded little resort that is very popular with Australian surfers and the lone independent travelers. The area was largely wiped out on December 26, 2004 tsunami, but the rebuilding process has been conducted quickly and sensitively. With its mellow full-moon parties and fantastic location for discovering the delights of nearby nature parks Arugam offers a tantalizing glimpse of what vast swathes of Sri Lanka's East Coast could be like.

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