Sri Lanka Beach Holidays: An Overview

The fortified old town of Galle is enjoying an artistic renaissance and its revival has in turn influenced its coastline, whose turquoise seas and palm-fringed beaches are now home to super-luxury and charming boutique hotels where guests can enjoy a fabulous luxury holiday.

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Image of Katie Terrington
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Miranda, Katie and Rosie are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • The miles of rugged, tropical beaches with local fishing boats and traditional stilt fishermen aplenty are colourful and beautiful
  • The cuisine is worth a trip alone - particularly the amazing seafood and gentle curries
  • There's plenty to do in the area when sun bathing gets too much, from shopping for gems to saving baby turtles and spotting blue whales

Luxury Beach Holidays in Sri Lanka

Historically, Galle has been an important trading port, and various nationalities have all left an indelible stamp on the rich history and character of the town. Although an important cultural site, Galle Fort remains a 'living' monument with a thriving community within.

In addition to Galle, Bentota and Tangalle are the best beach holiday destinations in the island, and also excellent bases for exploring its major wildlife parks and cultural heritage.

Galle is also the gateway to the coastal villages and sandy beaches of Unawatuna, Thalpe, Koggala, Habaraduwa and Ahangama. The sea is generally calm and in Unawatuna, the reef shelters more fish than the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

If you grow tired of lounging on the Sri Lankan beaches, local attractions include the Mulgirigalla Rock Temple and the Bundala and Uda Walawe National Parks, where animals including elephants, monkeys and water buffalo can be seen. Buddhist temples, tropical rainforests, and mangrove-lined lakes and waterways home to numerous species of birds and monitor lizards makes this area interesting for nature lovers as well.


Original Highlight

Image of Rosie Whitefield

My highlight? Wandering around the ramparts of the fortified town of Galle and ending up at either the Amangalla or the Lighthouse for a stiff G&T with a view….

Rosie, Original Traveller

A note on price

You can do a fantastic Sri Lanka luxury beach holiday that includes culture and the tea plantations for around £1,500 per person (excluding flights) if you’re staying in simple but charming boutique hotels. Those who want to splash out can expect to spend around £5,000 - £6,000. Direct flights to Colombo cost from around £600 per person, though stop-overs save money. Learn more about our pricing

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 27°C / 80°F
  • Rainfall — 7cm / 2.9 inches
  • Water Temp. — 28°C / 82°F
Flight from London

10:30 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +6 hrs

Top picks for Galle & the Southern Beaches

Lounge at Amangalla, luxury hotel in Sri Lanka


Galle & the Southern Beaches

Step back in time to the site of the famous 19th century New Oriental Hotel and allow yourself to be pampered by exquisite Aman hospitality and style.

Where to stay

The Fortress

The Fortress

Galle & the Southern Beaches

The Fortress is a boutique resort on one of the south coast's most expansive sandy beaches, Koggala Beach. Only 10 miles from the historic city of Galle the building design and interior furnishings successfully blend traditional Dutch, Portuguese and Sri Lankan architecture with contemporary design.

Where to stay

View of Tri from the Lake


Galle & the Southern Beaches

Perched on the shores of tranquil Koggala Lake, just a short drive from historic Galle, Tri is a new hotel opening in Sri Lanka that we’re really quite excited about. It’s a unique offering in Sri Lanka – a contemporary sustainable design hotel, if you will. The resort is built entirely from local materials, water is heated by solar power, and the buildings even have ‘living walls’ to camouflage themselves in the jungle setting.

Where to stay

Ocean at Apa Villa Thalpe, luxury hotel in Sri Lanka

Apa Villa Thalpe

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Just five miles from the UNESCO fortress port of Galle, Apa Thalpe is located right on the beach.

Where to stay

The pool at Why House, luxury hotel Sri Lanka

Why House

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Why Why House? Because this is one of the most relaxing places to stay in all of Sri Lanka, under a mile from renowned Thalpe beach and just a few minutes’ rickshaw ride from the lovely UNESCO city of Galle.

Where to stay

The pool at Frangipani Tree, luxury hotel in Sri Lanka

Frangipani Tree

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Frangipani Tree is an oasis of calm on Sri Lanka’s south coast, with the emphasis firmly on R&R.

Where to stay

Explore Galle & the Southern Beaches

Once again thank you for your attentive & professional assistance with our last 2 holidays.


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