South Coast

One of the most popular areas with travellers is Sri Lanka’s inviting, warm, sunny southern coastline. It has been so for many decades. Plush accommodation, long stretches of sandy beaches, old towns and seaside restaurants has added to its appeal in recent times.

Sri Lanka’s south coast is well-known among travellers as one of the best places to soak in the sun. What’s less known about this region is that it has a plethora of small towns and villages that are as equally interesting as their bigger counter parts. Long stretches of sandy beaches, turquoise Indian ocean, rocky cliffs, heritage towns, swelling rivers, fishing communities, and ancient temples make Sri Lanka’s south coast extra special. South coast is known as ‘down south’ by most. The region starts with the charming heritage city of Galle with the Dutch/Portuguese Fort as its centre piece. This UNESCO World Heritage city is rich with charm and beauty with quaint boutiques and restaurants found along narrow, pebbled pathways. It’s a unique place where old world charm and the simple life of the locals has blended seamlessly with chic boutique hotels and keen travellers. Read more on Galle here.

The next stretch of the south coast has its own quirky character. A multitude of small towns spread along the beaches, some of which are more popular than the others. Unawatuna, adjacent to Galle, became a popular traveller’s destination from an early onset. Further down the coast is Talpe, with a small, secluded beachfront and Weligama, a surf hotspot with a considerably good break. Koggala, Ahangama, Midigama remain quiet with visitors who are seeking discrete stays. Mirissa on the other hand has gained recent popularity due to its clear, clean beachfront and whale watching expeditions. Mirissa, like many other small towns on the south coast, was unknown except among backpackers. However, today it caters to travellers of all ages and budgets. With this increased interest, restaurants and cafes have mushroomed in Mirissa to keep travellers sated. The south coast gets quieter from here with small towns and villages dotted along the way.

The coastline up to Tangalle is much less explored and best left as it is, as it is home to all four types of endangered sea turtles. The area around Tangalle including Mawella and Kalamatiyawa are largely sought after by more experienced travellers looking for hide outs away from busier, tourist centres. This area has some of the best untouched beaches coupled with natural habitats for a diverse range of wildlife. Another reason why the south coast is attracting more visitors is the chance for wildlife viewing, with Yala National Park being the most famous of Sri Lanka’s parks due to its high density of leopards. Apart from leopards, there is so much more for wildlife enthusiasts in this region including whale watching, turtle watching and bird sanctuaries.

The average temperature in the south coast remains around 28°C although it reaches 30°C and above during the day, with high levels of humidity. December to February are particularly dry and attract many visitors. This is also the best time for whale watching expeditions although national parks can be visited throughout the year. The south coast has one of the largest ranges of accommodation options in Sri Lanka. These include midrange, quaint, boutique hotels to upmarket, uber luxury properties, not to mention chic, boutique accommodation on the beach and within Galle Fort. For those who are seeking barefoot luxury there are equally good options. This region is best explored from November to April when waters are clam and the weather is dry. However, it is equally good throughout the year for visiting. Travel to the south coast can be incorporated at the beginning or at the end of an itinerary.


Here are sample itineraries featuring the South coast of Sri Lanka. Click below to read more about accommodation on the South coast of Sri Lanka or get in touch to receive a detailed, tailor made itinerary for your Sri Lanka holiday.


Sri Lanka Unbound has done a very  good job in putting together travels that matched our diverse requirements – i.e birding,  wildlife and Bawa experience Glennis Von Bibra & John Roberts – Feb 2020