Mirissa is a small but charming fishing village that in the last decade or so has developed into one of Sri Lanka’s premier tourist destinations. This might be just a little coastal settlement but Mirissa, Sri Lanka has a lot to offer visitors.
The village was severely affected by the 2004 Tsunami, but recovery efforts have ensured that tourism came back, bigger and better than before, and now more than ever is a great time to visit.
Despite the ever-increasing numbers though, Mirissa has yet to lose the quaint, local feel that brought tourists here in the first place. There might be more developments than ever but you can still enjoy the quiet, peaceful life and take in the beautiful beaches with little care in the world.
To help you plan your trip to this beautiful fishing village, here’s our guide to Mirissa, Sri Lanka.
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How to Get to Mirissa
Mirissa Sri Lanka is located in the Southern Province, and being just 90 miles away along the coast from the capital Colombo, it’s an incredibly easy destination to include in your travel itinerary.
Mirissa can be reached in 3 to 4 hours by public bus, or even less if you hire a car or have a private driver. Buses run regularly throughout the day and are exceptionally cheap by Western standards although of varying quality.
If you would rather take a train from Colombo then the closest station is found a few kilometers away at Weligama, from where you can catch a public bus or take a tuk-tuk the rest of the way.
After Mirissa, it’s easy to carry on along the south coast to travel to the famous Yala National Park. Getting around Mirissa is best done by local tuk-tuk, although it’s also possible to simply walk to most destinations or even hire a bicycle.
Best Time of Year to Visit Mirissa
Mirissa Sri Lanka enjoys warm to hot weather all throughout the year, with a beautiful tropical climate that makes it perfect for holidays. As with anywhere in Sri Lanka however, the monsoons dictate the busiest periods for tourism.
The driest time of the year is generally December to May while the rest of the year can see monsoons, with the bulk of the rain falling in October to November.
The absolute busiest time of year tends to be December and January when lots of tourists arriving looking for winter sunshine. If you want to see the whales, then you are best traveling here in the dry season, between November and April.
Things to do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka
There are a lot of fantastic activities waiting for travelers in Mirissa Sri Lanka. From whale watching and surfing to water sports and great sunsets, here are our favorite things to do.
Perhaps the best thing to do in Mirissa is whale watching. This is one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic whale watching locations, because not only is this rustic fishing village home to a spectacular coastline, that coastline boasts the best conditions possible to attract large marine mammals.
The whale watching season runs from November through to April, when you can enjoy the sight of these magnificent creatures migrating along the coast.
The waters around Mirissa are extraordinarily rich in plankton and the whales are likely to hang around in the area for a while feeding before they move on again, giving you plenty of chance to spot them in the wild.
Our top recommended tours for Whale Watching:
- Blue Whale Watching -from Kosgoda & Ahungalla Hotels
- Whale Watching and Galle Dutch fort Day trip from Colombo
- Whale Watching Tour
- Whale watching Trip to Mirissa (Galle) From Colombo
Second to the whale watching opportunities, Mirissa Sri Lanka is best known as a beach holiday destination. That’s because the beaches along the coast here are quite simply stunning.
Huge stretches of white sands are fringed by palm trees and run for mile upon mile, untouched and in many cases quiet for much of the day, despite the tourist numbers.
One of the most popular, although of course, also the most crowded beach, is Mirissa Beach. This is the most developed beach because it’s the easiest to travel to and one of the best looking.
It still has a rustic, laid-back beach vibe to it though and you can easily enjoy lazy days in the sunshine on the soft sands. There are plenty of local restaurants and bars serving up food and refreshments too, for when you need a quick break from the sun and sea.
Secret Beach was once Mirissa Sri Lanka’s most hidden of beaches, but because it’s so spectacular, word of its beauty quickly got out to the masses. It’s no secret anymore but it is definitely one of the best beaches in the area, and because it’s not quite so easy to reach as Mirissa Beach, it still remains mostly quiet throughout the day.
The beach is hidden away from the main road behind thick palm trees, and you have to walk down a rough trail to reach it. It’s worth the effort though, and you even enjoy the rustic charm of a small beach bar serving up cold drinks to travelers.
Mirissa has some excellent surf locations along its many long beaches and it’s become a firm favorite amongst surfers looking to tackle some big breaks.
There are some huge waves to ride here and even the pros visit to take them on, but for those not so experienced, there are also many sheltered bays where you can take things a little easier on the ocean.
Our top recommended tours for Surfing:
Mirissa enjoys great conditions not only for surfing but for many other water sports too. The windy coast makes it perfect for windsurfers, while other activities such as jet skiing or paddle boarding are all being pioneered here by local companies and hotels.
If you don’t know how to do it, then you’ll find plenty of instructors ready to teach you how in the village, and it’s difficult to imagine a more spectacular place to begin to learn a new water sport than in Mirissa.
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With such an abundance of marine life waiting out in the ocean here, one of the most popular activities among locals and tourists alike is fishing.
While you might be able to head out as the locals do on a rustic fishing boat and learn from the fishermen themselves about traditional Sri Lankan methods, you can also join more organized tours in modern boats with deep sea fishing equipment too.
If you make a catch, you can even bring it back to Mirissa to be cooked up for dinner local style.
Unawatuna is a town along the south coast that’s just a day trip away from Mirissa Sri Lanka. This is a famed tourist spot because it’s found in absolutely beautiful surroundings. Here you can find beaches to match Marissa’s as well as pristine coral reef that’s literally teeming with a diverse array of colorful marine life.
It’s an excellent place to visit if you love snorkeling or diving, and you can arrange tours out on the reef in either Mirissa or directly in Unawatuna itself. You can also visit other attractions here such as the Turtle Sanctuary and the many temples found in the town.
Our top recommended tour in Unawatuna:
Galle is one of Sri Lanka’s most historic destinations and it’s located just an hour down the road from Mirissa, making it the perfect place to day trip.
Galle is the site of an old Dutch fort that is remarkably well preserved and that demonstrates the long colonial history of the country as the fort changed hands many times during the last few centuries. Spend the day exploring the fort and taking in the local atmosphere waiting for you in Galle.
Our top recommended tours of Galle:
- Galle Full-Day Tour
- Whale Watching Cruise from Galle
- Galle Fort Walking Tour with a Local
- Half-Day Lagoon and Village Cycling Tour in Galle
Wherever you have tourists, then inevitably, nightlife follows and Mirissa is no exception. It might be a small fishing village but these days there are also an extraordinary number of pubs and bars catering to the ever growing demand.
You can enjoy one of the best nights out in Sri Lanka, almost any day of the week during peak season.
Where to Stay in Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Mirissa is a beach lover paradise and many of the best places to stay in Mirissa are located right on the beach. Just Imagine yourself lounging a hammock with fresh coconut in your hand, gently rocking in the sea breeze, relaxing there.
That’s what’s magical about Mirissa Sri Lanka, it is a small town with just a beach strip. So there is no need to worry how far away your hotel is from the beach because everything is located on the beach. Below are our top recommendations for where to stay in Mirissa, Sri Lanka.
- Luxury hotel: Triple O Six ***** Excellent Traveler Rating
- Mid-range hotel: Handagedara Resort ***** Excellent Traveler Rating
- Budget hotel: Dilara Resort ***** Excellent Traveler Rating
- Hostel: Ranjith Guest ***** Excellent Traveler Rating
Find Accommodation in Mirissa, Sri Lanka: Read reviews and check prices for hotels in Mirissa, Sri Lanka.
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