Mirissa is a small vibrant town, located on the south coast of Sri Lanka in the Matara District of the Southern Province. It is one of the best places to enjoy the coastal side of the country with its pristine beaches and impressive nightlife.
As a top destination that is filled with natural wonders, there are so many things to do in Mirissa.
From spending time with ocean animals to immersing yourself in water sports, Mirissa will keep you busy throughout your stay.
I recommend you spend at least 3 days in Mirissa, to experience the true essence of the area.
The best way to get to this beach town is by train, but you can also choose a private cab if you need a convenient way to carry your luggage.
Imagine yourself idly relaxing on a pristine beach with golden sandy shores lined with coconut palm trees while admiring the blue-hued sky blanketing the vast ocean. Well, Mirissa Beach can make it come true. You can spend time swimming here or choose a sunbed and just lie down in the shade watching the waves.
There are many bars available near the beach, so you can head out to them and grab your favourite drink.
You will also find plenty of restaurants to try out great food, especially Sri Lankan cuisine. Also, if you prefer to stay in a place overlooking the beach, check out the great boutique hotels nearby!
Some tourists visit Sri Lanka just to enjoy the surfing experience it has to offer.
As a playground for surfing, the beaches in Mirissa offer plenty of opportunities for both beginner and advanced level surfers.
The best time for surfing is between November and March. Choose sometime in the morning or evening to avoid the scorching sun and enjoy the warmth of the waves as they hit you.
If you haven’t surfed before, there are also surf schools offering short courses to get the hang of it with the basic techniques. Also, don’t worry if you haven’t come prepared because you can hire surfboards easily here.
Snorkelling is one of the awesome things to do in Mirissa as it lets you take a peek at the impressive marine world not too far from Mirissa's beaches.
You can explore underwater if you are in a fit and healthy shape. Get in touch with a reputable diving or snorkelling tour operator so that you can get the best experience during your visit to Mirissa.
While snorkelling, you will get a glimpse of the diverse ecosystems in the underwater world. You will come across beautiful coral reefs, aquatic plants, and different fish species.
Depending on the time you visit and of course luck, you might also get a chance to snorkel with turtles, whales, and dolphins! It will be an unforgettable experience, so if you are interested, make sure you get in touch with a tour operator specialized for it.
Located 50 feet from the shore, this island shaped rock formation is the perfect place to get a stunning view of the Mirissa Beach.
It is very easy to climb, so you don't have to allocate a lot of time for that. In order to get to the base of the rock, you will have to walk through water, which depending on the tide, can come up to your knee. There’s a flight of stairs leading to the top, but be careful as the railings on either side are not very strong.
The view from the top is indescribably beautiful, especially in the morning and evening. The Parrot Rock Bridge is also a great place to spend some time idling and taking photos.
If you take a walk to the other end of the rock and climb down, you will find some natural pools perfect for a dip. A lot of people don’t go there as it’s quite challenging to get down, so if you are ready for the challenge, here’s your private pool!
If you find Mirissa Beach to be too crowded and prefer somewhere quiet, tiptoe to this secret haven. I can’t guarantee that it will be very secluded as the secret is somewhat out, but it will still be less crowded!
The easiest way to reach the beach is by tuk-tuk, but you also have the option of walking along the Mirissa Beach until you get there, which is quite exhausting.
The Secret Beach consists of two main areas: the palm cove and the blue lagoon. The palm cove dotted with beautiful coconut palm trees is ideal for snorkelling and the blue lagoon with its still waters is perfect for a quiet swim. There’s also a bar to grab drinks while you are here.
Between November and April, Mirissa gets crowded with visitors who are keen to watch magnificent whales and dolphins roaming in the Indian Ocean. It is one of the best places to spot the rare and endangered Blue Whale, the largest mammal in the world.
The Sperm Whale, Fin Whale, and Killer Whale are some other giants you will see around here. Along with them, playful dolphins jumping in and out of the water will also leave you fascinated about the marine world.
There are several companies offering dolphin and whale watching tours in Mirissa, and the prices are quite similar.
You will need to be an early bird to catch the whales in action and be at the viewing spot by at least 7 am.
In some ways, the Coconut Tree Hill is a place that defines the exotic beauty of Mirissa, which is why it is featured in magazines, blogs, and articles that are about Mirissa. A lot of people head to this cliff-like hill perched on the east side of Mirissa Beach to take stunning photographs and enjoy the scenic view.
The hill is fenced by a large number of coconut palm trees. It is magnificent during sunrise or sunset, and you will be left wanting to spend more time enjoying the tranquillity of the area. It’s a romantic spot for couples to wander together in private. It takes around 15-20 minutes to reach here from the beach on foot, and you can easily get directions from a local.
If you are wondering what to do in Mirissa beyond exploring beaches, consider a spa!
An Ayurvedic spa treatment uses herbal-infused aromatic oils and unique massaging techniques to provide you with a deep sense of relaxation while promoting overall wellbeing.
If you are interested, it is better to go to a spa centre popular for their expertise and care like Secret Root Spa. It’s a great way to pamper yourself and unwind.
There are many other local spas offering massages at different prices so you can select one according to your budget.
Even though Mirissa is more popular for its natural scenic beauty, there are some cultural places to see in Mirissa as well.
Ratnagiri Hilltop Temple is located atop a small hill facing the ocean covered by trees. It is adorned with beautiful paintings and houses some interesting statues to observe.
The temple premise is quite large, and the surrounding is very peaceful. There’s also a yoga centre close to the temple where you can learn the art of meditation and yoga exercises.
If you are planning to spend 2 to 3 days in Mirissa, I highly recommend you to make a day trip to this Udawalawe National Park.
Udawalawe National Park is located on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, and it takes around 2 hours to reach from Mirissa.
It is the best place to spot large herds of wild elephants wandering about in their natural habitat. The park is also home to many other wildlife, birdlife, butterfly, and reptile species. Some interesting animals you will come across during Udawalawe National Park safari are sambar deer, water buffalo, golden jackal, foxes, and tufted grey langur.
The park also houses an elephant sanctuary where orphaned baby elephants are raised with care until they are fit to be released to the wild.
A trip to the charming Galle Fort only takes an hour from Mirissa, and you can go by bus or taxi. Keep it at the end of the list if you are heading out to Colombo after visiting all points of interest in Mirissa.
Galle Fort, with its colonial ambience, will take you back in time, and there are so many things to admire in this historic city. You can pay a visit to the famous Galle Fort Lighthouse and explore the Dutch colonial structure of the Fort. Then, head to the Pedlar Street to shop for souvenirs, clothes, artwork, and accessory items. There are also many mini restaurants along the street, tempting you to walk in!
You will surely love the laid-back setting of Mirissa and find it to be more slow-paced than other busy towns. It’s a great place to make everlasting memories while you are in Sri Lanka.
While the above list is a roundup of top things to do in Mirissa, you can also enjoy your stay in many other ways like joining beachfront parties at night to socialize with fellow tourists and locals or taking a walk along lesser-known trails to find uncommon places to visit in Mirissa.
As one of the final travel tips from me, you will enjoy your time in Mirissa more if you have casual chats with locals to get to know the town better! Enjoy your time in Mirissa!
This article was edited by Loredana Elena.
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