Mirissa is one of the most popular beach destinations in southern Sri Lanka, and for a good reason! The area has it all, beautiful Sri Lankan beaches, great waves for surfing, and waters teeming with marine life, from turtles to big blue whales. Spend your days enjoying fresh coconuts in your hammock, eating delicious food from beachside restaurants, and zooming around by motorbike. Four days is the perfect amount of time to absorb the laidback culture of this sunny beach town, enjoying all the top things to do in Mirissa.
Secret Beach might not be a secret anymore, but it still feels like a remote island paradise! The small, secluded beach is tucked around the corner from the main beach in Mirissa and is a little harder to get to. Because of this, fewer people visit the beach, and if you get there early enough, you can even have the whole place to yourself! There are 3 beautiful beaches to choose from on this headland, each with its own unique characteristics, from rock pools to coconut palm trees. Spend the day enjoying the crystal blue water, snorkeling among incredible marine life (make sure to keep your eyes peeled for turtles!), and enjoying every moment of this slice of heaven.
(Tip: There’s no entry fee to visit the beaches, but please buy some food, drinks, sunbeds, or snorkels from the locals working here to support the economy)
Parrot Rock sits directly In front of Mirissa Beach: a huge red-colored mound that towers over the water. It’s become one of the best things to do in Mirissa as it has beautiful views of the palm tree-lined beaches below. Because Parrot Rock sits out at sea, you’ll have to research the tides as low tide is the safest time to cross over (and you’ll avoid getting wet). It can be dangerous to cross over during high tide, especially in the monsoon season when the waves will be high. Once you reach the rock, climb the rickety stairs to the top. From here, you’ll see beautiful views across Mirissa. It’s particularly popular to visit at sunset but can get very crowded. Because of this, we recommend getting up early and climbing at sunrise. At this time, you can see the beautiful early morning pinks and oranges of the Mirissa skyline, and watch the light filter through the green palm trees.
Coconut Tree Hill is one of the most Instagrammable spots in Sri Lanka and one of the top things to do in Mirissa. The private coconut farm is just a 15-minute walk from Mirissa Beach and offers some of the best views in the area! Once you reach the top of the hill, the headland stretches out ahead of you, allowing you spectacular views over the ocean through the many leaning palm trees. We recommend going at sunrise to take photos when there are fewer people around. If the weather is good and the tide is low, you can walk along the beach. Be aware that at certain times you may need to walk through water. If not, you can walk along the road that hugs the coastline.
(Tip: True to its name, there are coconuts in the trees at Coconut Hill. Be careful, as they can fall, so never stand directly under the trees.)
Weligama is a small beach town that’s widely known as the capital of surfing. Surfers flock here from all over the world to enjoy the fantastic waves and beautiful white-sand beaches. Because of this, there’s also excellent tourism infrastructure, with plenty of trendy bars, cafes, restaurants, and beach resorts.
Mirissa has some of the best marine life in the whole of Sri Lanka. It’s especially famous for its whale population, which can be seen from the end of November until March. This is the period when whales migrate from further south. Join a whale watching tour, many of which you’ll find at the beach, and a guide will take you out into the deep blue Indian Ocean to see whales, dolphins, and turtles. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a big blue whale – the largest animal on the planet!
Please research your tour carefully and make sure the company you are using respects international whale watching rules, and works to protect these beautiful creatures. Sustainable and ethical companies will be passionate about conservation and never allow the boat to get too close to the whales.
Unawatuna is one of the most popular beach towns on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It’s famous for its sandy beaches, hipster restaurants, and lively nightlife. As it’s only a short 50-minute drive from Mirissa, it’s the perfect place to visit on a day trip. Hire a motorbike and drive along the coastline to spend the morning in Unawatuna. Swim at the beaches, enjoy the famous Dalawella beach swing, or snap some photos of the ocean views from the Japanese Peace Pagoda. It’s also a great place to hire a board and learn to surf, as it’s known for its beginner-sized waves.
Galle Fort is a 15-minute drive from Unawatuna and a must-see on your day trip! The ancient fort town is a melting pot of culture, having survived the Portuguese, Dutch and British invasions. It’s the perfect place to spend the afternoon, shopping at the cute boutique shops and admiring the charming, traditional buildings. Make sure to watch the sunset from the Galle Fort wall – the perfect way to end the day!
Sri Lanka is known as a surfing hotspot, and Mirissa Beach is no exception! It is known for its waves which attract both beginners and intermediates. Beginners can enjoy the mellow waves off the main beach, and intermediates can look for one of the reef breaks off the headland.
In the right season (October to March), you can find ideal surfing conditions, and it’s one of the top things to do in Mirissa. Plus, after burning all that energy surfing, you’ll be able to take advantage of the delicious food at one of the many beachside restaurants and cafes!
Mirissa Beach is also exceptionally popular for holidaymakers who are simply looking to relax and swim. Although it can get crowded, the sandy bay sandwiched between coconut palms and rocky headland is still very peaceful. It’s also not super busy with surf schools, unlike some other locations on the southern coast, so it’s easy to enjoy a refreshing dip. A handful of excellent restaurants are located on the edge of the beach, all offering different kinds of foods. Spending an afternoon here soaking up the chilled Sri Lankan way of life is a top thing to do in Mirissa.
Experience real Sri Lankan local life in Matara. The busy commercial town is not known as a vacation destination so there’s very little tourism. Because of this, the town is a true representation of beautiful Sri Lankan culture. Wander the streets, doing as the locals do: hanging around on the peaceful, sandy beach or playing sports inside Matara Fort. One of the top things to see in Matara is the stunning Paravi Duwa Temple. This traditional Buddhist temple sits on an island surrounded by the beautiful blue Indian Ocean. Most unique of all is that the temple is connected to the town by a steel bridge.