South Zone


Southern coast of Sri Lanka has a belt of coastal destinations including Hikkaduwa, Galle, Unawatuna, Weligama, Koggala, Tangalle up to Hambantota. Bowing at popular beach destinations in Sri Lanka, all of these has a different taste to offer in their segment to a traveler. While Hikkaduwa is more appealing to youth and hippie traveler, Tangalle is a vibrant clean beach which is a good destination for the travelers who wants relaxation. Among the southern coast destinations Galle is the most popular city destination holding cultural, historical and the archeological significance. Galle has an Old Dutch Fort and an amazing set of attractions listed in which is a central point of destinations to a traveler who wants to learn more about the actual Sri Lankan travel. Much less package oriented than west coast, the spectacularly scenic bays and beaches of the south coast are a magnet for independently travelling sun and sea worshippers, with fewer crowds and some good value accommodation. While the city life focuses on Matara and particularly Galle, whose colonial origins provide some historical interest.

south Zone


Hikkaduwa is Sri Lanka’s beach party capital, so if you are looking for a quiet peaceful beach to yourself, better avoid Hikkaduwa. The coastal stretch has a vast number of high quality guest houses and hotels relating to all price ranges. The food, specially the seafood is often excellent with so much competition. Hikkaduwa has opportunity for all kinds of watersports including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and so forth. Hikkaduwa is island’s original surfer hangout stop which has now lost a little its spotlight due to new locations being popped and overcrowding.



Galle is the most important town in the south and its fort area, with its mighty ramparts, encloses some wonderful examples of colonial architecture. A laid back and enchanting place to wander, it was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1988. Rather away from the busy modern town, the fort retains a village atmosphere. Galle for history runs to 1344, being under several conquerors from time in time. The fort in its way is a separate story teller of own and walking around studying about it is a trip in itself. The new town of Galle in comparison to the old town doesn’t have much cultural conquests to offer yet is the home of  international cricket stadium which interest the cricket fans.



Unawatuna’s picturesque beach along a sheltered bay was once considered one of the best in the world. Although rather narrow, it is more suitable for year round swimming. As the bay is enclosed by a double reef which lessens the impact of the waves. For divers, it is a good base to explore some of the wrecks in Galle Bay, and there is some coral within safe snorkeling distance of shore. The Western end of the stretch is particularly popular with local day trippers during holidays.



The coast road passes the old wartime airstrip, which is being functioned as a domestic airstrip at present defines Koggala. the town has an attractive tranquil lake with rocky islets to the North, and free trade zone with some light industry. The lake, which is actually a  lagoon, is lined with mangrove and is rich with birdlife.  Martin Wickramasinghe folk museum, houses respected Sri Lankan writer’s personal collection, his family photographs and memorabilia and some history about the area, housed in his own childhood home. Even if you are not a reader this small museum is worth a visit housing a collection from the olden day lifestyle.


Dalawella Beach

Dalawella is an up and coming beach similar to Unawatuna, but quite less populated. While Unawatuna is a great tourist destination Dalawella is quiet great for swimming, stretching for straight miles only separated by coves and bays. Dalawella is now getting famous for its beach swing, a single rope hanging from a coconut palm, popular among the social users as a perfect photo spot. Apart from the famous swing, Dalawella is also known for magnificent sunsets and viewing drop rock called the Frog rock looking onto the sea which also is a standpoint in Dalawella.



Weligama is a busy center for the surrounding fishing villages. Though the town itself is a little crowded, the sea is a picturesque location, with a magnificent sheltered and sandy bay safe for diving and snorkeling beyond the usual season on the Southwest coast and some good surf to the eastern end of the beach, and is backed by the attractive Polwatta river. While there is a number of history and related stops in Weligama it is however famous for the tiny island called Taprobane island which houses a lovely island abode which has been passing down from a French count to now a luxury hotel.



Matara is South’s second biggest town after Galle. It is also an important transport hub, with terminus of the railway line and an enormous bus station. Matara has a rich history and an older town with narrow streets and colonial buildings. In the old marketplace there’s still a little bit of old world charm remaining. Matara is also known for the popular coral reef protected natural pool bathing beach, Polhena particularly popular among the locals. The town is known for its musical instruments and good batik.



Of all the South coast beach resorts to have developed in the recent years, Mirissa, with its beautiful wide stretch of golden sand backed by luxuriant vegetation, has received the greatest attention. Mirissa even though with its increased popularity is still one of the most idyllic places relax along this stretch of coast. The west end of the beach, is very popular with the surfers, swimmers and snorkelers. Mirissa packs with itself a great set of adventures, including the secret beach, a little hidden beach, the parrot rock and the ever famous coconut tree hill. Mirissa is acquiring its popularity from Whale watching in the far seas where boats are sailing from Mirissa to the deep sea.



Dikwella is a small southern town known for its surf and yoga spots. The town is known for its beach protected from the waves and is a great surf spot. Dikwella is in the upcoming of becoming a beach location for all beach enthusiasts with the resorts which caters to all ranges of spending. Vewurukannala Temple having the largest seated Buddha statue of Sri Lanka is along a few minutes’ drive, diving and water sports and world’s second largest natural blow hole (Hummanaya) is also in the vicinity.



Hiriketiya Bay in Sri Lanka, is another hipster upcoming beach spot great for surfers. All grades of surfers are encouraged to be surfing in the absolutely beautiful horseshoe shaped bay. Hiriketiya has a boho chic ring to it and is particularly popular among young travelers. Hiriketiya has a collection of beach cabanas, small restaurants and beach side chill spots unique and relevant to the theme of Hiriketiya. Most these restaurants are yoga prolonged, son downer serving, live music playing, vegan themed hangouts best for travelers looking for a different experience in their holiday.



Tangalle which is known for its Turtles, is also an attractive fishing port with a palm fringed bay. In the most distinctive colonial standing Tangalle has had a Dutch period Fort which had several buildings and a church built of coral which now is taken under the custody of Sri Lanka prisons. The city also has a fishing port a harbor and the sea is of excellent swimmable condition. Tangalle has a fair selection of Buddhist temples lead by the Mulkirigala Temple while the town shelters a clean sandy beaches and a lagoon behind.



Once a lonely far southern coastal town with a very large Muslim population, Hambantota now is backed by better infrastructure and engagements. As a turnaround, the small Hambantota port was developed to an international harbor and all vehicle imports to the country is handled from there. The Southern Expressway has been opened up to Hambantota and there is a new International airport at operation. Hambantota is known for its bird watching prospects with Bundala National park being flocked with migratory birds and a new bird research center, a safari park and a dry zone park in place.


 Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary

Kalmetiya, is one of the best and the oldest bird sanctuaries being founded in Sri Lanka towards the south of the island. It was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1938, revoked and again declared in the year 1984. The major parts of the sanctuary includes the lagoon and the mangrove and is a little away from the beach. There are over 150 species of  birds in Kalametiya bird sanctuary including 54 migratory birds. Additionally about 20 species of mammals, about 41 species of fish and 38 species of reptiles lives in Kalametiya. This is a haven for weaver birds, and there are many weaver bird nests in the bird sanctuary.



The busy town of Ambalangoda is an important commercial and fish trading center. With some local color, and a fine sweep of sandy beach to its north, some visitors opt to stay here over its more touristy resort neighbors along the coast, though the accommodation options in town are limited. The town is chiefly famous as the home of Devil Dancing  and Mask Making  which many families have carried out for generations. It may be possible to watch a performance of “kolama” (folk theatre). Ambalangoda is also famous as a major center for cinnamon cultivation and production.


Accommodation choices for South Zone

We’ve selected a range of accommodation options when you visit the South Zone. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities, and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

Suggested itineraries featuring South Zone

These sample itineraries will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in the South Zone, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.


Contact our Travel Consultants to start planning your tailor-made holiday of your dream vacation to tropical Sri Lanka.

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