Mirissa, Sri Lanka is a little piece of paradise, and if anyone asks us for a must see place in Sri Lanka, Mirissa would be our answer.
This little beach community has everything we personally love about travel:
- Crystal clear waters
- Pristine white sand beaches
- Beach chairs and shade (either from a palm tree or umbrella)
- Wide choice of restaurants and cuisines
- Cheap and affordable seafood dishes – Sri Lankan fish curry and rice on the beach AUD$3 / USD$2.30
- Good happy hours – a large Lion Beer for under AUD$2 / USD$1.50
- Live music on the beach every evening
- Wildlife in the main street – monkeys, squirrels, peacocks
- Lots of things to see and do
Here are 8 reasons why we love Mirissa in Sri Lanka, and why you will too!
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““When the dogs bark at the moon, the moon is not brought down because of it.”– Sri Lankan Proverb –
Where Is Mirissa, Sri Lanka?
Mirissa is a popular, laid back beach town on the southern-most tip of Sri Lanka.
Map of Sri Lanka
How to Get from Colombo to Mirissa
If flying in from overseas, you will arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo. From Colombo, you will have a variety of transportation options available to you to make your way down to Mirissa.
Due to the size of Sri Lanka, it does not take long by car to travel from point A to B, especially with the new modern expressways. The main forms of public transportation are trains and buses, however, although cheap, they are extremely slow and very overcrowded.
- PickMe app – Air-conditioned car, 150kms, 2hrs, 7500 LKR / AUD$52 / USD$40
- Bus From Colombo Bastian Mawatha Bus Terminal To Matara Station – 2hrs30mins, AUD$5 / USD$3.80 (Super Luxury A/C, every 2mins) + Taxi To Mirissa – 15mins, 11.6km, AUD$7 / USD$5.40
- Train Blue Line From Colombo Fort Station (Counter 4 (1st And 2nd), 13 and 14) to Beliatta Weligama – 3hrs, AUD$2 / USD$1.50, 10.30am + Taxi to Mirissa – 6mins, 5-6kms, AUD$4 / USD$3.00
What You Will Love About Mirissa in Sri Lanka
In general, Mirissa is an extremely affordable place to holiday. No matter what sort of traveller you are, you will find food, accommodation and tour prices to suit your budget. Accommodation will be your biggest cost, but the very reasonable price of food, drinks and transportation costs will balance this out.
2. Perfect for a Relaxing Holiday
Mirissa is a low-key coastal town located in the south of the island and is fast becoming one of Sri Lanka’s most popular tourist areas. This area is peaceful and quiet, so perfect for those of you wanting a relaxing holiday. Spend your days relaxing on a beach chair under the shade of a palm tree, and your evenings enjoying amazing Sri Lankan cuisine on the beach to the beats of reggae.
3. Mirissa Beach
Mirissa beach is a beautiful beach with crystal clear and clean waters, and pristine white sand beaches.
This quiet and peaceful bay is lined with palm trees and most restaurants offer complimentary use of beach chairs and umbrellas for their customers. The many restaurants and bars lining the beach are just steps away and serve amazing food and drinks.
Unlike most other tourist areas in Asia, you can relax in peace and quiet here on the beach without being hassled by people pedalling souvenirs, sarongs, paintings or massages.
4. Dining Options
As I mentioned above, the beach is lined with restaurants but prepared to pay higher prices due to their location. In saying this, the prices were still very reasonable and you can enjoy an amazing fish curry and rice for 600 LKR / AUD$4 / USD$3.
Back from the beach on the main road, you can eat at simpler restaurants or in the village and lunch can be as cheap as 400 LKR / AUD$2.50 / USD$2 for an unlimited vegetarian buffet at Dhana’s Curry Pot.
Some other restaurants we recommend are:
- Zephyr – Located on the beach, Zephyr is one of the nicer restaurants in Mirissa with a variety of different cuisines including fresh seafood.
- No. 1 Dewmini Roti Shop – Top quality restaurant serving fantastic roti, kottu and curry.
- Big Belly Roti Hut – Authentic Sri Lankan foods including rotis and tasty curries. Their vegetable spring rolls are awesome!
- Shady Lane Mirissa – Cozy place with unique cuisine. Try their smoothie bowls and coffee.
- Aloha Coffee Gallery – Hidden gem serving great breakfasts and the best coffee in Mirissa.
5. Lots of Things To See and Do in Mirissa Sri Lanka
Mirissa beach offers ideal surf conditions for beginners to intermediates. Board rentals are 350 LKR / AUD$2.50 / USD$2.
Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
The waters near the reef are great for snorkelling and dives start from as little as AUD$65 / USD$50. If you don’t have your own snorkelling gear, masks and snorkels can be rented for 500 LKR / AUD$3.25 / USD$2.50.
N.B. We always travel with our own masks and snorkels because we use these often so for us, it pays off to have our own not only because it is more hygienic, but also rented equipment is not often in the best condition. Read our product reviews on our Mask and Snorkel.
A lot of tourists travel to the south of Sri Lanka to go whale watching. The best viewing is from the end of November until March, and during this time you are almost guaranteed to see whales just meters from your boat. You will find plenty of tour operators who offer whale watching tours offering 100% guarantees of seeing a whale i.e. if you don’t see one on the day of your tour, you can go out again on another day free of a charge.
Whale watching tours range in price from 1500 LKR / AUD$10 / USD$7.50 to 6000 LKR / AUD$40 / USD$30. The more you pay, the better your experience will be in regards to comfort, space to move around the boat, lunch quality and service overall.
Near the lifeguard tower along Mirissa beach, there is a small turtle hatchery. Turtles are released 5:00 – 6:00pm most evenings and there is no cost.
Coconut Tree Hill
Cocount Tree Hill is an easy walk from Mirissa and is the best place to photograph amazing sunset views.
Secret Beach is a secluded little beach with one small bar, and is another great spot for sunset views.
Parrot Rock is best climbed at low-tide for views over Mirissa beach.
About 7km from Mirissa, or 15 minutes drive, Polhena beach is ideal for snorkelling straight off the beach.
Day Trip to Weligama
Weligama is a popular beach for surfing just 15 minutes drive around the bay from Mirissa. You will see stilt fishermen in this area but today, this is done mainly for tourist purposes. Be prepared to pay them for a photo.
Day Trip to Unawatuna and Galle Fort
Take a day trip to Galle Fort and Unawatuna. Allow 60-90 minutes of driving time each way.
Galle Fort oozes charm (lighthouse, old town, Dutch fort, museums, antique shops, R-Skinny Tom, visit Mt Lavinia Hotel and Galle Face Hotel).
Unawatuna is the busiest of all the beach towns with clean, calm waters. It also offerS a great range of beachfront restaurants, shops, guest houses and souvenir stores.
Day Trip to Udawalawe
Visit the Elephant Transit Home in Adawalawe. Ensure you allow 2 hours of travel each way or organise to do a safari in the national park.
As soon as the sun starts to go down, you will see the Happy Hour signs come out. Along the beachfront, bars and restaurants offer cheap Large Lion beers and cocktails from 300 LKR UD$2 / USD$1.50.
Live music is on offer in many bars and restaurants over the course of the evening. The real beach party starts about 11pm each night in a different beachfront location (the massive torch beam of light in the sky will lead the way).
7. Weather / When To Visit Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Mirissa, being in the south of Sri, enjoys favourable weather conditions during the winter months (October to February) when the monsoon season hits the east and north.
- Best weather expected between late November and April
- September and October can also see heavier rain
- By November blue skies are expected once again, with good weather expected through till May
For more info on the weather and when to go (based on your chosen destinations) read our post: PLANNING YOUR HOLIDAY TO SRI LANKA.
8. Easy to Get Around
Mirissa is not very big so it is very easy to get around by walking, however, tuk-tuks are also readily available to take you wherever you need to go. Renting a scooter (recommended for experienced motorbike riders only) is also an option and the perfect way to see sight further afield.
Where to Stay in Mirissa
We stayed at Sun Ocean Inn, a very clean, but basic hotel just 150m to the beach. Our room had a beautiful view of the ocean from the balcony outside and each morning we enjoyed the included breakfast from the rooftop overlooking the ocean. We loved the location due to its proximity to the beach but it was also walking distance to most of the main sights, restaurants and supermarkets. Alternatively, we recommend booking.com to find other options in Mirissa.
In Summary: 8 Reasons Why We Love Mirissa Sri Lanka
When people ask us where to stay in Sri Lanka, we unreservedly recommend Mirissa. Being one of the main beach destinations in southern Sri Lanka, Mirissa has it all… Beautiful beaches, surfing, whale watching, sunsets, and great bars and restaurants.
If you are planning on visiting the south of Sri Lanka, ensure you set aside at least 3 days to stay in Mirissa and see why you will also love it!
Have you been to Mirissa? Leave your comments below.
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