Mirissa has to be the most popular Sri Lankan beach destination! And after spending a week there, we understood why! And, do not take it wrong, guys, there are many amazing beaches in Sri Lanka, but Mirissa – best Sri Lanka beach town, wins the crown! Starting from lazing at the beach to learning surfing and going on amazing day trips, Mirissa is the most fun place to be. However, if you are looking from serenity and tranquility, Mirissa offers many romantic escape options too! First, let’s plan the best way to get to Mirissa from Colombo or Ella. Then, let’s have a look at the best things to do in Mirissa and where to stay.
- How to Get to Mirissa from Ella or Colombo?
- How Many Days to Spend in Mirissa – Best Sri Lanka Beach Town?
- Mirissa – Best Sri Lanka Beach Town & WHAT TO DO
- Where to Stay in Mirissa? | BEST HOTELS IN MIRISSA
How to Get to Mirissa from Ella or Colombo?
- Our ranking:
- Bus – ☆
- Car – ☆☆☆
- Train – ☆☆
How to Get to Mirissa by Bus? ☆
You can grab a bus from either Ella or Colombo to Mirissa. However, it will be the longest and most difficult way to travel. You can jump into a direct bus from Colombo to Matara and get out in Mirissa (only 5km before Matara). It will cost only Rp. 500 ($3). You can also jump into an A/C bus if you’re lucky. However, the schedule is not too precise so you cannot be sure when the bus will depart. Non-A/C buses travel from Colombo to Matara via Mirissa almost every 30 minutes. The bus will take at least 4 hours and if you get trapped in a traffic jam – at least 5 hours. Buses travel very frequently so at least you can be sure that you can catch a bus almost any time of the day.
There is no direct bus from Ella to Mirissa. You will have to take a bus to Wellawaya, which is the main bus hub closest to Ella. From there you can take a bus to either Tangalle or Matara. From there you can take another bus or catch a tuk-tuk or hire a PickMe. There is a bus from Ella to Tangalle as well, but it goes less frequently so we would recommend grabbing the first bus going South and then change. It will make your trip easier as you can cut it into parts and have time to grab some snacks or use the toilet between the buses. Bus from Ella to Wellawaya costs Rp. 150 ($0.90) and from Wellawaya to Tangalle/Matara Rp. 500 ($3). It will take you 5 – 6 hours to get from Ella to Mirissa.
How to Get to Mirissa by Car? ☆☆☆
Car is the easiest way to get from Colombo to Mirissa. Make sure to just call a PickMe using the app. It is the same as Uber and Grab only Sri Lankan version. It is at least 4 times cheaper than a taxi, the price is more or less set and you do not have to negotiate or worry about your safety. PickMe would cost you approximately Rp. 6000 ($35), so if you are traveling with 4 people, it is a great alternative. Just make sure to book the maxi car, so you have space for all your luggage. Getting from Colombo to Mirissa will take you 2.5 hours.
You cannot hire a PickMe from Ella to Mirissa. However, you can negotiate and find a driver that will take you. Keep in mind though, as the app is currently not available in Ella, make sure to negotiate the price with the driver. A good price would be around $50 as it takes more than 4 hours to make the way. Usually, the first price you will hear will be twice as much, so make sure to haggle it down.
How to Get to Mirissa by Train? ☆☆
Getting from Colombo to Mirissa by train is very easy. Just to one of the main Colombo stations (Maradana Railway Station or Fort Railway Station) and jump into a train to Mirissa. The express train will take roughly 3.5 hours and cost Rp. 220 ($1.60). The benefit of taking the train is that if you arrive at the start station you will most likely get seats. Also, the train ride is scenic and very nice. Usually, there is plenty of space so you can enjoy the ride. Traffic jams do not affect the trains so they usually commute as scheduled.
Unfortunately, there is no train from Ella to Mirissa. There are no trains going to anywhere south from the middle of the island, so the best alternative is to take the bus if you want to save some money or choose to get a driver and go by car.
How Many Days to Spend in Mirissa – Best Sri Lanka Beach Town?
Depending on how many days you have in Sri Lanka and what are your priorities you should figure out how many days you will spend exploring Mirissa – best Sri Lanka beach town! We had 1 month in Sri Lanka so we decided to spend 12 days exploring the beaches. Out of these 12 days we spent 6 days around Mirissa. If you have less than 1 month in Sri Lanka we still recommend spending at least 3 days in Mirissa. For example, out of 2 weeks in Sri Lanka, spend 3 days in Mirissa.
Make sure to add a couple of other beach towns to the list, if time permits, such as Hikkaduwa and Tangalle! Allow at least 1 or 2 days for these gorgeous Sri Lanka beach towns!
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Mirissa – Best Sri Lanka Beach Town & WHAT TO DO
Visit the Parrot Rock
Parrot Rock is a very cool place you should not miss in Mirissa! It is just a couple of steps away from the Mirissa beach into the water. Tip: visit when the tide is low! If you visit when the tide is high you will have to walk through chest deep water to get to the small island. So then, make sure you have your swimwear on! Parrot Rock is a very nice place to watch the sunset or have a look at Mirissa Beach from higher up! If you have a drone, fly it from the Parrot Rock, the views from above are really cool!
Have Dinner and Watch the Sunset at Mirissa Beach
There are so many places to have dinner at Mirissa Beach. Every day the beach cafes offer sunbeds, drinks, and food. Most of them have happy hours from 2 pm till closing time around midnight. You can get a cocktail for as little as Rp. 450 ($2.80) and a beer for Rp. 250 ($1.50). After the sun sets those beach bars to transform into fresh seafood restaurants. You can choose your fish, weight it and send it to the kitchen to get it cooked. Do not forget to bargain for the price! We ordered a nice tuna with a side of crisps and coleslaw and paid only Rp. 1000 ($6).
If you feel like going out, there is a party going on somewhere every night! You just need to find the place! The easiest way to do it is to just ask at any of the beach bars where the party’s happening that night! Otherwise, head to Salt (it is a bit more expensive than other bars after the happy hour ends) but they have a party EVERY NIGHT!
If you are up for a romantic escape, wander off the Mirissa Beach to one of the hotels or villas that offer very romantic, more private dining options and enjoy the tranquility! We dined at Lantern Boutique a couple of times and both the food and service were exceptional.
Find the Secret Beach
The Secret Beach is probably the most beautiful beach in Mirissa. It is not crowded, it is secluded and it has a couple of restaurants, sunbeds, and activities to keep you busy. And, actually, the Secret Beach is not that secret at all. You can reach it either with a tuk-tuk, with a motorbike or walking, depending on where you come from. If you cannot find the right path down to the beach, as any local and they will help you out. There are several paths and roads leading to the beach, however, the most popular one has signs leading to the beach, so you will not get lost.
Of course, we took the path less traveled and ended up wandering through a small jungle and some locals’ backyards for around 15 minutes until we found the beach!
Watch the Sunset and Take Amazing Pictures at Coconut Tree Hill
Coconut Tree Hill has become extremely popular because it is such an Instagrammable spot. At sunrise and sunset, the hill gets quite busy and everyone lines up to take the best shot for their Insta feed. We recommend going slightly after sunrise at around 8 am or slightly before sunset at around 4 pm. The light will still be low so you will be able to make great pictures. Also, there will be fewer people around so you will have more freedom to get creative and wander around a bit.
It is very easy to find the Coconut Tree Hill, just drop a pin in Google Maps. It is at the very beginning of Mirissa Beach around 15 minutes away if you decide to walk, or 2 minutes away with a tuk-tuk.
Go Snorkelling and Spend a Day at the Sea
So, accidentally, we stumbled upon the best and cheapest snorkeling spot in Mirissa. Let me tell you how to find it! You have to stand facing the sea when you reach the restaurant through which you can walk up to the Coconut Tree Hill. The hill to the left and a narrow path along the beach to the right. Follow the path for about 100 meters and you will find a small sign saying “Snorkelling trips, snorkels for rent”. It is right next to a couple of fisherman boats. Or an easier way is just look up this pin!
The man working there will take you on his boat and around 100 meters in the water and give you a snorkel, apparently, it is one of the best snorkeling spots and you do not even have to go far to reach it! The key is that you have a boat around so you do not have to go deep in the water on your own and he knows the exact place! It costs only Rp. 500 ($3) and you have to come early. The best time would be around 7 am to 9 am. Well, you cannot really call it a snorkeling trip, but for that money, it is definitely worth it! The helpful man (we did not catch his name) can arrange whale watching and other fun activities for you as well!
Whale Watching in Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Did you know that Sri Lanka became so popular so sudden because a rare species of whales were found hanging out close to Sri Lankan waters? Well, that’s at least what the whale watching organizers told us! We’ll take his word for it! Thus, Mirissa – best Sri Lanka beach town is also famous for its whale watching tours. You can hop on and have a great adventure for as little as $45 – $50. This is one of the cheapest whale watching tour prices we have ever seen. It includes pick up, lunch, water on board and a GUARANTEE you will see the whales. If you do not see the whales that morning, you can return the next day and to the tour again for free. Honestly, it is a great selling point, as I would be quite disappointed paying $50 and not seeing the whales. The goods news are that you can actually see the whales almost all the time.
Unfortunately, we did not go on a whale watching trip as we had surfing classes in the mornings and we somehow felt that it would not be the same experience as seeing whales in the wild while sailing or in their natural habitat. I cannot assure that the whales are not just kept around the single spot and fed every morning, so the tourists can see them! If any of you guys have any knowledge on that, please let us know down below! We would love to hear about your experiences.
Enjoy the Sunshine and Relax at one of the Beaches in Mirissa
By now you probably know that there a few gorgeous beaches around Mirissa. Well, pick one and enjoy the warm sunshine! We love the sun and the ocean so much that we always make sure to allocate enough beach time during our trips. Especially if the beaches are as beautiful as the ones in Sri Lanka.
Mirissa beach is quite busy, full of restaurants and bars and activities! So if you want to have something to do all the time and have a drink in your hand, you know, Mirissa beach is the best place for that!
If you want to be in a bit more quiet environment, snorkel, lay under a palm tree and read a book, head to the Secret beach.
However, along Mirissa there are many small beaches with no one around! So if you want to have total privacy just wander off to one of the nearby small, hidden beaches along the coast. That’s what we did and found some amazing sunset spots!
Where to Stay in Mirissa? | BEST HOTELS IN MIRISSA
Mirissa probably was one of our favorite places in Sri Lanka because we had such an amazing accommodation. We stayed at Lantern Sri Lanka, more precisely, their Ubuntu Beach Villas. Lantern has a collection of three accommodations – two Ubuntu beach villas and one Lantern Boutique Hotel along the coast of Mirissa. The two villas are almost next to each other and some 5 minutes away from Mirissa beach by tuk-tuk. The great benefit of the villas is that you have a private beach in front of the villas so you can have a super peaceful time. The villa has in house restaurant and staff that will assist all your needs. Spa, dinners, special events, you name it and it will be taken care of.
We were so happy to end up in such a spacious and airy environment after a 5-hour bus ride! Also, the bathtub with the view of the ocean was an amazing surprise to us. And if you think that you would not feel like taking a bath when it’s 30 degrees Celsius steaming hot outside … wait until you see that bathtub. Rooms designed till perfection to give a great “home away from home” feeling. We came up with a great way to describe this concept – “affordable luxury”. If you are already getting excited, let me share another thing with you!
You can book your stay at any of the Lantern Villas with 15% discount! Drop us a comment or DM us in Instagram and we’ll make sure you get the best rate and the discount! Have a look at Lantern Villas and pick your favorite.
More accommodation options in Mirissa: Booking.com | Agoda.com
Well, is there something else holding you back to buy the first flights you see to Sri Lanka? It is a true paradise, with mountains, waterfalls, safari’s, beaches and amazing foods! Mirissa – best Sri Lanka beach town will leave you speechless and we can assure you will love it. Either for the amazing surfing or the gorgeous sunsets! There’s something for everyone visiting Mirissa. Make sure to include this stunning beach town in your Sri Lanka itinerary!