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Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka


10 Best Places to Live on the Coast in Sri Lanka

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: If you're looking to live on the coast of Sri Lanka, here's a list of the 10 best places to live on the coast of Sri Lanka.

Galle

Galle, is a picturesque coastal city located on the southwestern tip of the island, boasting a population of approximately 100,000 people. The waterfront of Galle is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers. The city is situated about 119 kilometers (74 miles) south of Colombo, the country's capital, and is easily accessible via public transportation, including buses and trains. Galle experiences a tropical rainforest climate, with average temperatures ranging from 26°C (79°F) to 31°C (88°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in Galle are abundant, with popular attractions such as the Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Galle International Stadium, which hosts cricket matches. For nature enthusiasts, the Kottawa Rainforest and Arboretum is a must-visit spot. While there are no golf clubs within Galle itself, the Shangri-La's Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa is located about 130 kilometers (81 miles) away, offering a world-class golfing experience. Galle is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors with its rich history, stunning beaches, and vibrant culture. Rental properties in the area vary, with a modern 2-bedroom apartment near the water costing around LKR 100,000 (€430 or $510) per month, while a 3-bedroom property may cost around LKR 150,000 (€645 or $765) per month. For grocery shopping, residents can visit local markets or supermarkets such as Cargills Food City and Keells Super. People enjoy living in Galle for its laid-back atmosphere, friendly community, and the perfect blend of historical charm and modern amenities. The city offers a high quality of life, with beautiful natural surroundings, a variety of recreational activities, and easy access to essential services.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, head to Lucky Fort Restaurant, where you'll be treated to a delicious 10-curry meal that's perfect for sharing. If you're craving seafood, the Galle Fort Hotel's restaurant offers a sumptuous selection of fresh catches, served in a stunning courtyard setting. For a more casual dining experience, try Poonie's Kitchen, a hidden gem that serves up healthy, flavorful dishes in a cozy atmosphere. When it comes to accommodation, the luxurious Amangalla is a top choice, boasting a rich history and elegant colonial-style rooms. Alternatively, the charming Fort Bazaar offers a boutique experience, with stylish rooms and a serene spa to unwind in after a day of exploring Galle.

Unawatuna

Unawatuna, is a picturesque coastal town located on the southern coast of the island, boasting stunning sandy beaches and a vibrant coral reef. With a population of around 3,000, this charming town is situated just 5 kilometers southeast of the larger city of Galle, making it easily accessible by public transportation such as buses and tuk-tuks. The climate in Unawatuna is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 26°C to 30°C (79°F to 86°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in Unawatuna are abundant, with a focus on water sports and beach activities. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving at the Unawatuna Diving Centre, or take a relaxing yoga class at the Sri Yoga Shala. While there are no golf clubs or swim clubs in the immediate vicinity, the town's beautiful beaches and warm waters provide ample opportunities for swimming and sunbathing. Unawatuna is a popular tourist destination, known for its laid-back atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, and delicious local cuisine. Rental properties are available for those looking to stay near the water, with a modern 2-bedroom apartment costing around LKR 100,000 (€450 or $530) per month, and a 3-bedroom apartment costing around LKR 150,000 (€675 or $795) per month. For grocery shopping, residents and visitors can find a mix of local markets and smaller stores, such as Cargills Food City and Keells Super, which offer a variety of fresh produce and household items. People love living in Unawatuna for its relaxed lifestyle, friendly community, and beautiful natural surroundings, making it an ideal destination for both tourists and long-term residents alike.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, head to Bedspace Kitchen, a cozy and stylish eatery that offers a fusion of local and international flavors. Don't miss their signature dishes like the Sri Lankan curry and the seafood platter. Another must-visit is Wijaya Beach Restaurant, where you can enjoy delicious wood-fired pizzas and fresh seafood while taking in the stunning views of the Indian Ocean. For a more upscale dining experience, reserve a table at Kingfisher Restaurant, known for its exquisite seafood dishes and romantic beachfront setting. When it comes to accommodation, the luxurious Thaproban Pavilion Resort and Spa is a top choice, offering elegant rooms, a private beach, and a rejuvenating spa. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the charming Flower Garden Eco Village, which boasts beautiful cabanas surrounded by lush gardens and a serene atmosphere.

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Mirissa

Mirissa is a picturesque coastal town located on the southern coast of the island, known for its stunning sandy beaches and vibrant turquoise waters. The town is situated approximately 150 km south of the capital city, Colombo, and is easily accessible via public transportation, such as buses and trains. The climate in Mirissa is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F) throughout the year. Mirissa is a popular tourist destination, offering a variety of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. The town is particularly famous for its whale and dolphin watching tours, which provide a unique opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Additionally, Mirissa is a great spot for surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving, with several dive centers and surf schools available for those looking to learn or improve their skills. For a more relaxed experience, visitors can simply unwind on the beautiful Mirissa Beach or take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque coastline. While Mirissa is a relatively small town, it offers a range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. The average monthly rent for a modern 2-bedroom property near the water is around LKR 150,000 (€675 or $800), while a 3-bedroom property would cost approximately LKR 200,000 (€900 or $1,067). For grocery shopping, residents can visit local markets and small shops, which offer a variety of fresh produce and essential items. People are drawn to living in Mirissa for its laid-back atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and friendly community. The town's idyllic setting and range of recreational activities make it an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxed, beachside lifestyle.

Local Recommendations:

Discover the culinary delights of Mirissa, by indulging in mouth-watering dishes at these top-notch restaurants. Dewmini Roti Shop is a must-visit for its delectable rotis and kottu, offering a cozy atmosphere and friendly service. For a taste of the sea, head to Zephyr Restaurant & Bar, where you can savor fresh seafood and scrumptious cocktails while enjoying the stunning beach views. Another great option is Little Tuna Sushi Cafe, which serves up delicious sushi rolls and poke bowls, perfect for a light and healthy meal. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Sri Sharavi Beach Villas & Spa, boasting elegant rooms, a rejuvenating spa, and a beachfront infinity pool. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the tropical paradise at the charming Palm Villa Mirissa, featuring comfortable accommodations and a serene garden setting.

Tangalle

Tangalle, is a picturesque coastal town located on the southern coast of the island, boasting a stunning combination of sandy beaches and rugged coastline. With a population of approximately 60,000, Tangalle is a relatively small town but offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere for both residents and tourists. It is situated about 195 kilometers (121 miles) south of the capital city, Colombo, and can be reached via public transportation such as buses and trains. The climate in Tangalle is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 22°C (72°F) to 32°C (90°F) throughout the year. The town experiences two monsoon seasons, with the heaviest rainfall occurring between October and January. Despite this, the weather remains warm and sunny for most of the year, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Recreational activities in Tangalle are centered around its beautiful beaches, such as Medaketiya Beach and Goyambokka Beach, where visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The town is also home to the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, a popular spot for birdwatching and nature walks. While Tangalle does not have any golf clubs or swim clubs, the natural beauty of the area provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation. Tangalle is not as touristy as some other coastal towns in Sri Lanka, which adds to its charm and appeal for those seeking a more authentic and laid-back experience. Rental properties near the water can be found at varying prices, with a modern 2-bedroom apartment averaging around LKR 60,000 (€270 or $320) per month, and a 3-bedroom house averaging around LKR 100,000 (€450 or $530) per month. For grocery shopping, residents can visit local markets and smaller stores, such as Cargills Food City and Keells Super, which offer a variety of fresh produce and household items. People enjoy living in Tangalle for its tranquil atmosphere, beautiful natural surroundings, and friendly community. The town's relatively low tourist traffic allows residents to fully appreciate the beauty and serenity of this coastal paradise.

Local Recommendations:

Indulge in the exotic flavors of Tangalle, by dining at the Moonstone Villas Restaurant, where you can savor mouth-watering seafood dishes and traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, all while enjoying the breathtaking ocean views. For a more casual dining experience, head to the Turtle Bay Restaurant, where you can feast on a variety of international and local dishes, including their famous wood-fired pizzas. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, a tranquil oasis nestled amidst a coconut plantation and golden crescent shores. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the local culture by staying at the charming Buckingham Place, a boutique hotel that offers a unique blend of modern amenities and traditional Sri Lankan hospitality.

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Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa, is a picturesque coastal town located on the southwestern coast of the island, boasting stunning sandy beaches and a vibrant coral reef that attracts tourists and locals alike. The town is situated approximately 100 kilometers south of the capital city, Colombo, and is easily accessible via the Southern Expressway or by train, with Hikkaduwa Railway Station being a major stop along the coastal railway line. The climate in Hikkaduwa is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in Hikkaduwa are centered around its beautiful beaches and the ocean, with water sports such as surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving being popular choices for visitors. The Hikkaduwa Coral Sanctuary and the Hikkaduwa Turtle Hatchery are two notable attractions that showcase the area's rich marine life. Additionally, the town is home to several parks, such as Hikkaduwa Lake Park, which offers a serene environment for relaxation and birdwatching. Hikkaduwa is a popular tourist destination, with numerous hotels, guesthouses, and restaurants catering to visitors from around the world. Rental properties are available in various price ranges, with a modern 2-bedroom apartment near the water costing around LKR 60,000 (€270 or $320) per month, while a 3-bedroom property may cost around LKR 100,000 (€450 or $530) per month. For grocery shopping, residents and visitors can choose from a mix of local markets and smaller stores, such as Hikkaduwa Sunday Market, as well as larger supermarkets like Food City and Cargills Food City. People enjoy living in Hikkaduwa for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful natural surroundings, and the friendly, welcoming nature of the local community. The town offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, making it an ideal destination for both tourists and long-term residents.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, head to Home Grown Rice and Curry, where you'll be treated to a delicious array of traditional dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. If you're craving seafood, The Crab is a must-visit, offering a variety of fresh catches prepared to perfection. For a more casual dining experience, try the vibrant and lively Bookworm Library Restaurant, which serves up a mix of local and international dishes in a cozy, book-filled setting. When it comes to accommodation, the Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon is a popular choice, boasting stylish rooms, a stunning beachfront location, and a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Alternatively, the Coral Sands Hotel offers a more intimate experience, with its charming rooms, lush gardens, and warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Weligama

Weligama, is a picturesque coastal town located on the southern coast of the island, boasting a population of approximately 23,000 residents. The waterfront is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers and surf enthusiasts. Situated about 144 km south of the capital city, Colombo, and 30 km east of the popular city of Galle, Weligama is easily accessible via public transportation, including buses and trains. The climate in Weligama is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 22°C (72°F) to 30°C (86°F) throughout the year. The town offers a variety of recreational activities, such as surfing, snorkeling, and whale watching. Some popular spots include the Weligama Beach, Mirissa Beach, and the Kushtarajagala Statue. While there are no golf clubs or swim clubs in the immediate vicinity, the town's beautiful beaches provide ample opportunities for water-based activities. Weligama is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors with its stunning beaches, vibrant local culture, and delicious cuisine. Rental properties are available for those looking to stay near the water, with a modern 2-bedroom apartment costing around LKR 60,000 (€250 or $300) per month, and a 3-bedroom apartment costing around LKR 90,000 (€375 or $450) per month. For grocery shopping, residents can visit local markets and smaller stores, such as Cargills Food City and Keells Super, which offer a variety of fresh produce and household items. People enjoy living in Weligama for its laid-back atmosphere, friendly community, and beautiful natural surroundings. The town offers a perfect balance between modern amenities and traditional Sri Lankan charm, making it an ideal place to call home for both locals and expats alike.

Local Recommendations:

Discover the culinary delights of Weligama, by indulging in mouth-watering dishes at these must-visit restaurants. Start your gastronomic journey at Hangten Rooftop Restaurant, where you can savor delectable seafood and traditional Sri Lankan cuisine while enjoying panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. For a more laid-back atmosphere, head to Ceylon Sliders, a trendy café that offers a fusion of Western and local flavors, perfect for a leisurely brunch or sunset cocktails. Don't miss out on the authentic Sri Lankan street food experience at the bustling Weligama Beach Food Stalls, where you can sample kottu roti, hoppers, and fresh seafood right by the shore. After a day of feasting, retreat to the luxurious Cape Weligama Resort, perched atop a cliff with stunning ocean views, or unwind at the charming W15, a boutique hotel that boasts a serene beachfront setting and exceptional service.

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Kalutara

Kalutara, is a picturesque coastal town located approximately 42 kilometers south of the bustling city of Colombo. With a population of around 80,000, this charming town is known for its pristine sandy beaches, which stretch along the Indian Ocean, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure for both locals and tourists. The waterfront is characterized by swaying palm trees, golden sands, and clear blue waters, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers. The climate in Kalutara is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C (75°F) to 30°C (86°F) throughout the year. Public transportation is available in the form of buses and trains, connecting Kalutara to nearby cities and towns. The town is also easily accessible via the Southern Expressway, which links it to Colombo and other major cities in the region. Recreational activities in Kalutara are abundant, with water sports such as surfing, snorkeling, and diving being popular among both locals and tourists. The town is also home to several parks, such as the Kalutara Bodhiya Park, which houses a sacred Bo tree and offers a serene atmosphere for relaxation and meditation. While there are no golf clubs or swim clubs in the immediate vicinity, the nearby city of Colombo offers a variety of such facilities for those interested. Kalutara is moderately touristy, with a range of accommodations available, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts. Rental properties near the water can be found, with a modern 2-bedroom apartment averaging around LKR 60,000 (€270 or $320) per month, and a 3-bedroom apartment averaging around LKR 90,000 (€405 or $480) per month. For grocery shopping, residents can visit local markets or supermarkets such as Cargills Food City and Arpico Supercentre. People enjoy living in Kalutara for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and rich cultural heritage. The town offers a perfect balance between modern amenities and a traditional Sri Lankan lifestyle, making it an attractive destination for both locals and expatriates.

Local Recommendations:

Discover the culinary delights of Kalutara, by indulging in mouth-watering dishes at the Garden Beach Restaurant, where you can savor fresh seafood and traditional Sri Lankan cuisine while enjoying the stunning ocean views. For a more intimate dining experience, head to Mangrove, a hidden gem nestled among the mangroves, offering a unique fusion of Asian and Western flavors. Don't miss out on the authentic Sri Lankan street food at the bustling Kalutara Food Market, where you can sample local favorites like kottu roti and hoppers. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Anantara Kalutara Resort, boasting elegant rooms, a serene spa, and a picturesque lagoon setting. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the colonial charm of the Tangerine Beach Hotel, featuring lush gardens, a private beach, and warm Sri Lankan hospitality.

Negombo

Negombo, is a picturesque coastal town located on the western coast of the island, boasting beautiful sandy beaches and a vibrant waterfront. With an approximate population of 150,000, Negombo is situated just 37 kilometers north of the bustling capital city, Colombo. Public transportation is readily available, with buses and trains connecting Negombo to other major cities in Sri Lanka. The climate in Negombo is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C (75°F) to 30°C (86°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in Negombo are abundant, with water sports such as windsurfing, diving, and fishing being popular among both locals and tourists. The Muthurajawela Marsh, a unique wetland habitat, offers birdwatching and boat tours for nature enthusiasts. Negombo is quite touristy, with numerous hotels, restaurants, and bars catering to visitors from around the world. Rental properties in Negombo vary in price, with a modern 2-bedroom apartment near the water costing around LKR 60,000 (€270 or $320) per month, while a modern 3-bedroom apartment may cost around LKR 100,000 (€450 or $530) per month. For grocery shopping, residents have access to both large chain stores such as Cargills Food City and Keells Super, as well as smaller local markets and shops. People enjoy living in Negombo for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and friendly community. The town's rich history and diverse culture, influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial periods, add to its charm and appeal. With its convenient location, numerous recreational activities, and welcoming environment, Negombo is an attractive destination for both tourists and residents alike.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, head to Lords Restaurant Complex, where you'll find a delightful fusion of local and international flavors. The seafood dishes are a must-try, with the crab curry and jumbo prawns being crowd favorites. Another great option is Black Coral, a charming beachfront restaurant offering a variety of seafood, from grilled fish to calamari, all served with a side of stunning ocean views. For a more casual dining experience, visit the popular Dolce Vita, where you can indulge in delicious wood-fired pizzas and homemade gelato. When it comes to accommodation, Jetwing Beach is a luxurious option that boasts stylish rooms, a spa, and two swimming pools, all set amidst lush tropical gardens. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Gomez Place, a cozy guesthouse with comfortable rooms, a lovely garden, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

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Trincomalee

Trincomalee, is a picturesque coastal town situated on the eastern coast of the island, boasting a population of approximately 100,000 residents. The waterfront is characterized by pristine sandy beaches, such as the famous Uppuveli and Nilaveli beaches, which are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling. Trincomalee is about 257 kilometers away from the capital city, Colombo, and can be reached via train, bus, or car. The climate in Trincomalee is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 23°C (73°F) to 33°C (91°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in Trincomalee are abundant, with a focus on water sports and nature exploration. Popular spots include Pigeon Island National Park, which offers snorkeling and diving opportunities, and Koneswaram Temple, a historical site with stunning views of the Indian Ocean. While there are no golf clubs in Trincomalee, the town is still a popular tourist destination, especially during the dry season from May to September. Rental properties in Trincomalee vary in price, with a modern 2-bedroom apartment near the water costing around LKR 40,000 (€180 or $210) per month, while a 3-bedroom apartment may cost around LKR 60,000 (€270 or $315) per month. For grocery shopping, residents can visit local markets, such as the Trincomalee Market, or smaller stores like Cargills Food City and Keells Super, which offer a variety of products. People enjoy living in Trincomalee for its natural beauty, relaxed atmosphere, and friendly community. The town's rich history and cultural heritage, combined with its stunning beaches and recreational activities, make it an attractive destination for both locals and tourists alike.

Local Recommendations:

Discover the culinary delights of Trincomalee, by indulging in mouthwatering dishes at the popular Green Park Beach Restaurant. This beachfront eatery offers a variety of fresh seafood, traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, and Western favorites, all while enjoying the stunning ocean views. For a more upscale dining experience, head to the elegant Café Nilaveli, where you can savor delectable international and local dishes in a serene garden setting. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Anilana Nilaveli, a beachfront resort boasting contemporary rooms, an infinity pool, and a rejuvenating spa. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the local culture by staying at the charming Trinco Blu by Cinnamon, a retro-chic hotel that offers comfortable accommodations, a beach bar, and exciting water sports activities.

Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay, is a picturesque coastal town located on the southeastern coast of the island, boasting pristine sandy beaches and a laid-back atmosphere. The town is approximately 320 kilometers from the capital city, Colombo, and is easily accessible via public transportation, such as buses and taxis. The climate in Arugam Bay is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F) throughout the year. Arugam Bay is a popular destination for both tourists and locals, offering a variety of recreational activities such as surfing, snorkeling, and wildlife safaris. The town is particularly renowned for its world-class surf breaks, including the famous Main Point, Whiskey Point, and Pottuvil Point. Additionally, the nearby Kumana National Park and Lahugala Kitulana National Park provide opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to spot elephants, leopards, and various bird species. Despite its popularity among tourists, Arugam Bay maintains a small-town charm with a population of around 3,000 people. The town offers a range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. Rental properties near the water can vary, with a modern 2-bedroom apartment costing approximately LKR 60,000 (€250 or $300) per month, while a 3-bedroom property may cost around LKR 90,000 (€375 or $450) per month. For grocery shopping, residents can visit local markets and small shops, such as the Arugam Bay Food City, which offer a variety of fresh produce and essential items. The town's welcoming community, relaxed lifestyle, and stunning natural beauty are just a few reasons why people love living in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka.

Local Recommendations:

Discover the culinary delights of Arugam Bay, with a visit to the renowned Hideaway Restaurant, where you can indulge in mouth-watering local and international dishes amidst a lush garden setting. For a more laid-back vibe, head to the popular Gecko Restaurant, where you can savor fresh seafood and wood-fired pizzas while enjoying the cool sea breeze. Don't miss the chance to dine at Ranga's Beach Hut, a hidden gem offering authentic Sri Lankan cuisine and stunning beach views. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Jetwing Surf, an eco-friendly resort boasting stylish cabanas and an infinity pool. Alternatively, opt for the charming Paper Moon Kudils, a collection of rustic beach huts nestled among swaying coconut palms, offering a true taste of island life.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

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