At the very bottom of Sri Lanka is the beautiful South Coast – filled with small coastal towns and some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. In this 10 day South Coast Sri Lanka Itinerary, we’ll show you where to go in South Sri Lanka, where to stay, the best restaurants, and the best things to do on the south coast. You can spend your days looking for turtles, catching the waves or bathing on crystal white sand beaches.
If you're heading to Sri Lanka for the first time, you should check out these: 20 Tips to Know Before Travelling to Sri Lanka (2024)
It’s very popular to visit South Coast Sri Lanka at the start or end of your Sri Lanka itinerary. We’re writing this Southern Sri Lanka itinerary starting from east to west as we visited the south beaches at the end of our trip. It’s 100% possible to switch this itinerary around as it will also work from west to east.
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Where to go on the South Coast of Sri Lanka?
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If you have 10 days on the South Coast of Sri Lanka we recommend picking 3-5 places that have lots of things to do. With 10 days you can explore many of the best spots in southern Sri Lanka and find the best spots for surfing! Maybe you want to do some sightseeing in the historic Galle or do some shopping in Mirissa.
We recommend picking 1 or 2 places if you only have a few days in the South. It’s still possible to do day trips to nearby towns or beaches. You can also make this a 1 or 2 week South Sri Lanka itinerary.
Our 10 day South Coast Sri Lanka itinerary can be adapted in many ways to fit what’s best for you, so this is our guide to 5 places to visit in Southern Sri Lanka.
When is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?
The best time to visit South Coast Sri Lanka is between December and mid-April. However, Sri Lanka is actually a year-round destination! The country experiences two monsoons at different times of the year.
The southwest monsoon is from late April to September with the wettest months being between April and June. If you want to visit Southern Sri Lanka during these times, be prepared for some rainy downpours and fewer chances of seeing the sun. The northeast monsoon begins from November to March and is wettest from November to December.
Also check out our Ultimate 3 week Sri Lanka Itinerary: Best Things To Do (2024)!!
How to get around the South Coast of Sri Lanka?
One of the best ways to get around in South Sri Lanka if you’re on a budget is to use public buses. They’re so easy to catch on the South Coast because they’re either going east or west. Just wait at a bus stop and shout your destination to the staff on the bus, they will tell you to jump on if it’s the correct bus.
Another way to get around is to catch local tuk-tuks along the coast, there will be plenty of options when you’re in popular towns. You can also rent a car for your Sri Lanka trip and then you’ll have transport everywhere you go!
We definitely recommend reading our 20 Tips to Know Before Travelling to Sri Lanka (2024) to know what you should or shouldn’t do before visiting this amazing country!
10 Day South Coast Sri Lanka Itinerary
This ten day South Sri Lanka Itinerary is your guide to which small towns and beaches you should visit in Southern Sri Lanka. Whilst in Sri Lanka we also spent time exploring the mountains, the cultural triangle and spending a day in the capital city Colombo.
The entire South Coast stretches along some of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka and all the places we mention have short travel times between them. It’s possible to drive the whole coast in only 3 hours! This makes travelling the south coast of Sri Lanka easy to explore, as you can take many day trips to nearby beaches and towns. Let’s discover how you can spend 10 days on the South Coast of Sri Lanka!
Tangalle – Day 1
Tangalle (pronounced Tangalla) is a great spot to start your 10 day South Coast Sri Lanka itinerary if you’re arriving from the mountains, Udawalawe or Yala National Park. Beware, it definitely gets hotter down here on the coast!
It’s a very relaxed and chilled area in Sri Lanka and you’ll find long sandy beaches with local fishermen and small restaurants. Although you can spend more than 1 day here, we recommend spending 1 night if you only have 10 days on the south coast.
What to do in Tangalle?
Spot the fishermen at Harmony Beach
Harmony Beach is a long stretch of sand leading up to Tangalle town centre. There aren’t too many sights to see in the town, but a lot of fishing happens in Tangalle and you can see locals casting nets at Harmony Beach!
A short journey away from Harmony beach is Goyambokka Beach and it’s a beautiful place to spend an afternoon on your southern Sri Lanka itinerary. It’s a much smaller beach and close to more luxury resorts. There are a few restaurants here where you can enjoy a King Coconut, swim in the water or play with the beach dogs!
Silent Beach is said to be one of the best beaches as it’s a fine white sand beach with many palm trees surrounding it! It’s also very secluded making it harder for many people to find.
Kayaking in Tangalle Lagoon
Explore the beautiful lagoons of Tangalle by kayaking through a maze of jungle finding birds that are calling Tangalle home for the winter. You can book these trips at local stands or with your accommodation, we also found this number online!
How to get to Tangalle from Udawalawe?
From Udawalawe there is one direct bus a day going to Tangalle and it’s around 12:30 pm. It’s the number 61 bus and it will be red. It takes about 2 hours to get from Udawalawe to Tangalle. If you want to leave earlier you will need to get a bus to Embilipitiya and then change over to Tangalle.
Where to stay in Tangalle
Natural Cabanas – A great budget accommodation in Tangalle ($)
Natural Cabanas is a 3-minute walk away from the beach and breakfast is included! They can help with renting scooters, bicycles, any activities in Tangalle or onward travel. The place is surrounded by a jungle vibe with hammocks and outdoor seating, it’s a very peaceful place to stay in Tangalle.
Find them on Booking.com here – Natural Cabanas (Tangalle)
Best Restaurant in Tangalle
Tangalle Rice & Curry Restaurant ($$) – This amazing restaurant in Tangalle serves some of the best food in Sri Lanka! They are only open in the evenings and create a big buffet of Sri Lankan cuisine for you to try. Our favourite is the fried eggplant curry and the fresh Sri Lankan salads. Find them on Google Maps here – Tangalle Rice & Curry Restaurant
Hiriketiya – Day 2 & 3
If you’re heading to Hiriketiya, you will need to tell the bus drivers you want to go to Dikwella as that’s the town closest to Hiriketiya. Hiriketiya is actually the name of the surfing beach nearby Dikwella, but this is where it’s best to base yourself for 2 nights! Hiriketiya is worth visiting, especially if you’re into surfing – or maybe it’s time to give it a try?
What to do in Hiriketiya?
Surfing at Hiriketiya Beach
Hiriketiya Beach is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka and also one of our favourites. It’s a very cosy beach with great surfing which means it can get a little crowded in the peak season. There are many locals offering sunbeds for a small price or you can simply pop your beach towel on the sand, although be careful of the waves!
Hiriketiya beach is great for beginners or advanced surfers and you can rent surfboards here for up to Rs500. It’s one of the main reasons people visit this beautiful beach! You can spend the day here and try out the local restaurants nearby.
Blue Beach Island
A hilly walk away from Hiriketiya is Blue Beach! Blue Beach Island is iconic in Sri Lanka as the island is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of beach where you can cross by foot when the tide is low. It’s one of the best beaches on the south coast!
It’s best to visit when it’s not high tide so you can experience the sandy strip in between the water. We couldn’t find the exact tide times so used the times for a different beach.
Dikwella Beach is very long! It would take a while to walk down the whole thing. It’s a great place to end your day, watching the sunset over the southwest coast. It’s also not as busy as its popular Hiriketiya Beach.
Mulkirigala Raja Maha Viharaya
Wondering what to do in South Sri Lanka? Mulkirigala / Mulgirigala Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple complex with amazing cave shrines carved from rock. It’s amongst the known ancient rock temples of Sri Lanka and is similar to Sigiriya in architecture and style. While not as famous as the Lion Rock; this temple is even more ancient by almost a couple of centuries!
It’s only a 30-minute drive from either Tangalle or Hiriketiya, and as you may be spending more time in Hiriketiya, we’ve added it to this Sri Lanka itinerary.
How to get to Hiriketiya from Tangalle?
If you’re taking a car, or a tuk-tuk you might want to ask the driver to take you to Hummanaya Blow Hole on the way! It’s considered one of the largest blowholes in the world and shoots water up to 30 meters high.
Our favourite way of getting around Sri Lanka is by public bus if you head to any bus stop on the side of the road heading west and shout ‘Dikwella’ you’ll find the right bus. We caught the 334/1 bus from Tangalle headed to Matara for Rs 75 each.
Where to stay in Hiriketiya
Indunil Place (Hiriketiya) – The perfect homestay in Hiriketiya ($)
Indunil Place is located in the best area to access many areas in Hiriketiya. It’s a short walk to the best restaurants and the famous Hiriketiya beach! They offer one of the best Sri Lankan breakfasts we’ve had in Sri Lanka, all included in the price. It’s an amazing value and the family are so lovely and they will help you with anything, including surf lessons from other family members!
Find them on Booking.com here – Indunil Place (Hiriketiya)
Best Restaurants in Hiriketiya
Garlic Cafe ($) – Garlic Cafe have an amazing menu of mostly Sri Lankan cuisine! They are open all day and have a rice and curry buffet for only Rs500! They’re definitely worth checking out on your Sri Lanka South Coast itinerary. Find them on Google Maps here – Garlic Cafe
Dots Bay House ($$) – Located right next to Hiriketiya Beach is Dots Bay House, a very chill spot to take your surfing break. We tried a vegan pizza, which isn’t very common to find in Sri Lanka! They also have accommodation here! Find them on Google Maps here – Dots Bay House
We noticed that the South of Sri Lanka has more of a western influence when it comes to restaurants and it’s easier to find international food. This is because South Sri Lanka generally gets more tourists than the rest of Sri Lanka so you’ll find smoothie bowls and french fries a lot easier here! Don’t worry you can still find amazing Sri Lankan cuisine in Southern Sri Lanka.
Mirissa – Day 4, 5 & 6
If you’re wondering where to go in south Sri Lanka, Mirissa is one of the best places to visit! It’s one of the most popular beach destinations in southern Sri Lanka and you’ll find many things to do here. You can spend your days finding amazing restaurants, beautiful beaches, catching waves and there’s also great nightlife.
Mirissa definitely made it onto our 10 day South Coast Sri Lanka itinerary and it’s the place we recommend spending the longest amount of time in the south. 3 to 4 days in Mirissa is a great amount of time to spend in this chilled coastal town and you can even take trips to nearby beaches to explore more!
What to do in Mirissa?
Mirissa Beach is one of the most popular beaches here, it’s close to all the restaurants and shops. It’s a popular spot for whale watching, although be sure to check if the companies are friendly to the whales and the environment.
Coconut Tree Hill
One of the best places to see the sunset in Mirissa – Coconut Tree Hill! It can get very busy in the evenings, if you’re interested in photos without crowds it’s best to come during the daytime. It’s worth a visit on your South Sri Lanka itinerary.
Weligama is one of the best places to surf in Sri Lanka! It’s great for all skill levels and there are many companies offering surfing lessons! In true surfing culture style, treat yourself to a nice cream or smoothie bowl at Cruising Smoothly! Find them on Happy Cow too!
How to get to Weligama from Mirissa?
Hop on any of the buses heading west (they might say Galle on the front). The fare is very small and then just jump off at Weligama when the bus stops. Alternatively, you can catch a tuk-tuk or a PickMe ride.
Secret Beach earns its name for not being as easy to find as other beaches in Mirissa. It’s definitely not so secret anymore, however it is a very beautiful beach that’s worth visiting on your southern Sri Lanka itinerary. How to get to Secret Beach? Head through Harbor Road and follow the way to the beach.
Parrot Rock is another great place for sunset in Mirissa, very close to Coconut Tree Hill. It has great views of the nearby surfers and is usually less crowded than Coconut Tree Hill.
See turtles at Madiha Beach & Shop at The Doctors House
Madiha Beach is just outside of Mirissa and it may be easier to rent a scooter or catch a local tuk-tuk ride out there. Madiha Beach is a great place to spot turtles and you can rent snorkels from nearby shops so you can explore the underworld. They also pop their heads up near the shore so you can watch them from the beach. It’s important to give them space and not touch them as it can harm their bodies! The Doctors House has lots of markets to look at in the late afternoon. It’s a great stop on your South Sri Lanka itinerary.
Where to stay in Mirissa
Eco Square Resort – Great location & hotel in Mirissa ($)
Eco Square Resort are very friendly and also offer breakfast included in the price – a mix of western and Sri Lankan cuisine! Very close to Mirissa beach and amazing restaurants in Mirissa. They have both fan and air-conditioned rooms depending on what you prefer.
Find them on Booking.com here – Eco Square Resort (Mirissa)
Best Restaurants in Mirissa
Dewmini Roti Shop ($) – One of the best restaurants in Mirissa! We ate here multiple times as it’s very affordable and offers a great variety of Sri Lankan food including kottu roti and vegan sweet roti. It’s only minutes away from our Eco Square Resort! Find them on Google Maps here – Dewmini Roti Shop
Shady Lane Mirissa ($$) A popular vegan-friendly cafe in Mirissa! Popular for their smoothie bowls, avocado toast and cakes – Find them on Google Maps here – Shady Lane Mirissa
Unawatuna – Day 7 & 8
On your way to Unawatuna from Mirissa, check out Animal SOS Sri Lanka – Sanctuary to support the animals of Sri Lanka. They do daily tours in the morning.
What to do in Unawatuna?
Unawatuna Beach is one of the best places to catch a sunset in Unawatuna! You’ll find people doing many activities here such as stand-up paddleboards, diving and we also saw many jet-skis!
Unawatuna Main Street
This is the area you’ll find the best restaurants in Unawatuna and it’s also a great place to shop. It’s a narrow strip where you can find clothes, necklaces and many different cuisines. It’s also located next to the beach so it’s hard to miss!
Japanese Peace Pagoda
The Japanese Peace Pagoda is a unique Buddhist shrine on the hilly side of Unawatuna. It was made as a symbol to promote peace on the island and guarantees peace to anyone who visits. It’s a short hike up to the temple, but you can also catch a local tuk-tuk ride. There are great views of Galle Fort from the Japanese Peace Pagoda! It’s definitely worth visiting on your 10 day South Coast Sri Lanka itinerary.
Jungle Beach is very close to the Japanese Peace Pagoda, so they are perfect to do together on your South Sri Lanka itinerary. It’s a little hilly in this area of Unawatuna, so if you’re planning to walk to Jungle Beach from the town it may get hot! Once you start seeing signs to descend to the beach, it’s only a short walk down. There are a few stalls selling drinks and boat tours here!
The Palm Rope Swing
If you’ve been looking at Sri Lanka on Instagram or Pinterest you may have come across the famous palm tree with people swinging from the tree. It’s located near Dalawella Beach which is a 30-minute walk from Unawatuna beach. Here’s the location here: The Palm Rope Swing. It’s located next to a restaurant and they may ask for a small fee to swing on the rope!
Spend the afternoon in Galle
Galle definitely makes it onto our 10 day South Coast Sri Lanka itinerary! The main reason it’s so popular is because of Galle Fort – which was first built in 1588 by the Portuguese.
Things to do in Galle Fort:
- Galle Fort Lighthouse
- Wonder around the historic Fort
- Shopping & dining within the maze of the walls
- Indulge in some vegan icecream at Cafe 82
- Watch sunset from the fort
Where to stay in Unawatuna
The best area to stay in Unawatuna is near Unawatuna beach!
Unawatuna Guest – Perfect location & value in Unawatuna ($)
Unawatuna Guest is in a great location in Unawatuna to see the main sights! It’s also close to Unawatuna beach where the main street is to find the best restaurants in the town. It’s only a short walk to the road to catch a bus to Galle and all of the rooms are air-conditioned.
Find them on Booking.com here – Unawatuna Guest (Unawatuna)
Best Restaurants in Unawatuna
Mahesh Roti Shop ($) – Located right in the hustle and bustle of the main street in Unawatuna is Mahesh Roti Shop. They have a big menu full of Sri Lankan cuisine and of course, specialize in roti! Their kitchen is at the front of the restaurant so you can see your food being made in front of your eyes! Find them on Google Maps here – Mahesh Roti Shop
Coconut Style Restaurant ($) – Further down the street you’ll find Coconut Style Restaurant, we’re adding this to our south coast Sri Lanka itinerary because they have a Jackfruit Kottu Roti on their menu! Kottu Roti is a great Sri Lankan dish, but instead of using roti, they use savoury jackfruit and it tastes so good! Find them on Google Maps here – Coconut Style Restaurant
Hikkaduwa – Day 9 & 10
Is Hikkaduwa worth visiting?
Yes! If you’re not tired of the best beaches in Sri Lanka yet, then Hikkaduwa is a great spot for the last few days on your southern Sri Lanka itinerary.
How to get to Hikkaduwa from Unawatuna / Galle?
This is another easy journey in South Coast Sri Lanka! The easiest option is to ask a local tuk-tuk to drive you to Hikkaduwa. The next option is to jump on a public bus heading west and ask for Hikkaduwa. Alternatively, you can actually catch a train from Unawatuna or Galle. The trains from Galle are much more frequent as it’s a city, so you may have to transfer here. Both buses and trains are incredibly affordable.
What to do in Hikkaduwa?
Narigama Beach is another great surf destination in Sri Lanka! This area was our favourite in Hikkaduwa and it has such a chill vibe. You can find restaurants along all of the beach and we managed to grab a coconut, string hoppers and dhal along here for breakfast. You can rent surfboards for only Rs 250 and there are also lots of companies offering lessons if you want to learn to catch the waves!
Hikkaduwa Beach is the main beach of the town. It’s popular for snorkelling and scuba diving as there are a lot of beautiful corals here. It’s possible to see turtles at the end near Turtle Beach.
Tsunami Honganji Viharaya (big Buddha statue)
Hikkaduwa and the south coast was severely affected by Tsunami in 2004. When taking a visit to Tsunami Honganji Viharaya, you will see how tall the 14 m Tsunami was when it hit the coast. Nearby there’s also a Tsunami Museum if you want to learn more about the history of the tragedy.
Where to stay in Hikkaduwa
We think the best place area to stay in Hikkaduwa is near Narigama Beach! This was our favourite area in Hikkaduwa and it’s also where you can find the best cafes and Sri Lankan cuisine.
Chami’s Place – Chill guesthouse in Hikkaduwa ($)
Chami’s Place has an amazing chilled-out vibe whilst being very close to Hikkaduwa beach. They have an amazing breakfast included in the price of the stay and mosquito nets to keep you safe. There’s also a small dorm at this accommodation, so it’s one of the best places to stay to meet other travellers!
Find them on Booking.com here – Chami’s Place (Hikkaduwa)
Best Restaurants in Hikkaduwa
Many restaurants in Hikkaduwa serve seafood or amazing Sri Lankan cuisine. Here are a few of our favourite restaurants to eat in Hikkaduwa:
Aroma Restaurant ($$) – Aroma serves amazing Sri Lankan cuisine with vegan friendly options in Hikkaduwa! We tried the rice and curry and came back again to try their amazing pancakes. Find them on Google Maps here – Aroma Restaurant
Salty Swamis ($$) – Located right on Narigama Beach they have a great cafe to have your morning coffee or smoothie bowls to start your day. Although the prices are a little more than Sri Lankan food, it may be what you’re looking for after a salty surf on the beach. Find them on Google Maps here – Salty Swamis
10 Day Itinerary South Sri Lanka: Breakdown
Tangalle – 1 day
Hiriketiya – 2 days
Mirissa/Weligama – 3 days
Unawatuna/Galle – 2 days
Hikkaduwa – 2 days
How do I travel south Sri Lanka?
The easiest way to get around is to hire a driver for your Sri Lanka South Coast itinerary, we found many options for drivers on Sri Lanka Facebook groups. Our favourite way is to get public buses around Sri Lanka – they’re reliable, fast and it’s a fun experience! South Sri Lanka is easy to get around as you just jump on a bus heading east or west to your destination. There are also trains that run on the southwest side of Sri Lanka that are very easy to catch!
How many days are enough for Sri Lanka?
Although it’s possible to see parts of Sri Lanka with any amount of time – we recommend 3 weeks in Sri Lanka to see a great variety. After reading this 10 day South Coast Sri Lanka itinerary you now know where to go in South Sri Lanka. We also have an Ella itinerary for when you visit the impressive mountains! We recommend spending 1 week in the mountain region and up to 1 week in the cultural triangle (Sigiriya area). It’s also possible to make this a 1 week South Sri Lanka itinerary.
What is the longest beach in Sri Lanka?
Koggala Beach! It’s a long and wide beach between Unawatuna and Mirissa. If you are looking for a quiet place for a family vacation on your southern Sri Lanka itinerary, this can be a great option for you. It’s quieter than the other places we’ve mentioned in this south coast Sri Lanka itinerary.
Where to go after the South Coast – Sri Lanka?
You’ve finished your 10 day South Coast Sri Lanka itinerary and you’re wondering – what to do next? Here are a few options for you:
- If you really don’t want to leave the beaches yet and you still have some time on your Sri Lanka Itinerary, head to Bentota Beach. You can catch the same train that goes to Colombo and get off at Bentota station.
- Head into the mountains! Central Sri Lanka was one of our favourites, filled with hikes, waterfalls, mountains and tea plantations. It gets a little chilly in the mountains so make sure you pack a jumper, especially coming from the beaches! It’s best if you do this itinerary from west to east, as you can then catch a bus from Tangalle area straight up to Ella. We have a 3 days in Ella guide if you do visit this beautiful mountain town!
- Udawalawe National Park or Yala National Park – after spending 10 days on the South Coast of Sri Lanka, you might want to head over to one of Sri Lanka’s National Parks! Udawalawe and Yala are both only a short bus ride away. You will definitely see elephants here and much more wildlife.
- Colombo! Your Sri Lanka South Coast Itinerary may be coming to an end and maybe even your Sri Lanka trip too. You will only need 1 day in Colombo to do some sightseeing and get yourself prepped for your departure flight. Whilst you’re there find one of the vegetarian Indian restaurants because they serve masala dosa’s for around Rs200 and they taste so good!
That’s the end of our 10 day South Coast Sri Lanka itinerary! We hope you found the information you were looking for and if you need any help with planning your Sri Lanka trip, send us a message on Instagram (@thesunrisedreamers) or leave a comment below!
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- Incredible 10 Day South Coast Sri Lanka Itinerary
- What to do in Colombo: 7 Amazing Places to Visit
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