West Coast
Sri Lanka’s West Coast

Sri Lanka’s West Coast was once a land of extremes, with the north a diverse yet isolated area barely visited by tourists during the Civil War, and the south offering beach resorts dedicated to mass tourism. Today, vacationers are beginning to choose the beach side resorts north of Negombo and making their way to the Kalpitiya Peninsula to enjoy the wildlife and beautiful beaches, while the famously attractive southern resorts continue to draw an ever-increasing influx of visitors.

Home to the capital city and principal coastal resorts, the West Coast is Sri Lanka’s most developed region, and tourism is the main industry here. Stretching over 100 km (62 miles), the unbroken, palm- fringed coastline attracts many travelers to this part of the island every year. A diverse region, the West Coast offers attractions varying from busy commercial resorts, bucolic towns and pristine white-sand beaches. For centuries, this region has served as a gateway into the country for foreigners; Arab traders as well as European colonialists were drawn to its strategic position along the major trade routes. Even today, the West Coast provides visitors their first taste of the country, as a major international airport is located here.

With numerous coastal resort towns, the northern seaboard is now firmly on the tourist trail. However, rural life carries on as usual in the region’s provincial fishing villages. Further up the coast, the Kalpitiya Peninsula has much arable land and crops grow here abundantly. Yet it also has a few urban boutique resorts and is frequented by those who wish to escape the tourist rush. In stark contrast, the picture-postcard southwestern beaches have always been popular with holidaymakers. There are water sports on offer as well as opportunities to observe diverse marine life. Premier resorts, such as Bentota, have a selection of high-end accommodation options as we! as budget alternatives. The West Coast also attracts backpackers, who are drawn to the party atmosphere Surf in Hikkaduwa.

The seemingly endless West Coast is ideal for travelers seeking sun and sand. Towards the north of the province ms the largely untouched Kalpitiya Peninsula, carpeted y white sand beaches and boasting exceptional resorts centred around Alankuda Beach. The peninsula offers great kite surfing and whale and dolphin watching, and trips to Wilpattu National Park can be easily arranged from here. While travelling along the southwestern seaboard, many visitors choose to stay in the resort towns of Bentota and Beruwela, which are great bases to explore the surrounding area. Bentota is particularly well-known for its golden beach and characterful accommodation. In addition, visitors can undertake half day excursions inland to the fantastic Brief Garden and the enigmatic Lunuganga estate. Surfers and diving enthusiasts are naturally drawn to Hikkaduwa, while Kosgoda lures wildlife lovers with its numerous turtle hatcheries. more

Sights at a Glance


Kalpitiya Peninsula

Located in the Puttalam District, between the Puttalam Lagoon and the Indian Ocean, Kalpitiya is no longer the isolated backwater it once was. The windswept peninsula and its.....


Wilpattu National Park

At 1,320 sq km (510 sq miles), Wilpattu is the largest national park in Sri Lanka comprising a wide range of habitats, including thick jungle, grassy plains, a section of coastline.....


Munnesvaram Temple

One of the few temples dedicated to Shiva on the island, Munneswaram is an important place of pilgrimage. The main shrine houses a lingam (a phallic symbol representing Shiva).....



Many visitors choose Negombo rather than Colombo as their gateway to Sri Lanka due to its proximity to the Bandaranaike International Airport. It was one of the first territories.....


Muthurajawela Marsh

Spread over 60 sq km (23 sq miles), this estuarine wetland encompassing the Negombo Lagoon as well as mangroves and marshes, make for a rewarding half-day excursion .....



Lively Kalutara is a large town situated next to the estuary of the Kalu Ganga River, from which it derives its name. Formerly a spice trading outpost, today it is more famous as a.....



The coastal town of Beruwala is popular with those seeking a quick dose of sun and sand. The beach here is board and lined with resort hotels and guest houses. Beruwala fish.....


Aluthgama & Bentota

The little coastal town of Aluthgama is lively place with photogenic markets, as well as a selection of charming accommodation set back from the beach across the Bentota.....


Induruwa & Kosgoda

Induruwa and its neighbor Kosgoda, are Sri Lanka’s prime turtle tourism destinations. Several endangered species of turtles nest along the coastlines of these towns. In fact, the.....



The tiny village of Balapitiya is the starting point for boat trips up the Madu Ganga river. These river safaris offer visitors the chance to see a range of birdlife as well as.....



The town of Ambalangoda is an interesting stopover en route to Hikkaduwa since it is a production center for traditional Sri Lankan masks. Hand-carved and hand-painted.....



Back in the 1970s, Hikkaduwa was Sri Lanka’s bona fide hippie hangout. Today the town is firmly on the tourist trail – a typical beach destination for a budget holiday, which.....