11 Best Things to Do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka

7 min read

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A beach with palm trees, waves coming to shore, and a small rocky island nearby
You can experience the wonders of nature as you explore the coastal town of Mirissa

Mirissa is a small, vibrant town located on the South Coast of Sri Lanka in the Matara District. It is one of the best places to enjoy the coastal side of the country with its pristine beaches and laid-back lifestyle. It is also only about two to three hours from Colombo and Ella (in different directions, though).

As a top destination filled with natural wonders, you'll find many things to do in Mirissa. From spending time with ocean creatures to immersing yourself in water sports, Mirissa will keep you busy throughout your stay.

Spending at least three days in Mirissa is recommended to experience everything the area offers. The best way to get to Mirissa is by train, but you can hire a private cab if you need a convenient way to carry your luggage. If you're planning a trip or want to learn more about this destination, keep reading to discover all the fun activities to enjoy in Mirissa!

Organizing a last-minute visit to Mirissa?

To make the most of your visit to Mirissa, we recommend you book accommodations and experiences soon. Below are some top recommendations to get you started.

🏨 Top accommodations in Mirissa

☂️ Top tours and experiences in Mirissa

11 Places to Visit in Mirissa

Mirissa Things to Do Video

Check out our highlights video of Mirissa things to do.

Mirissa Things to Do Map

A map of Mirissa. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

Mirissa Things to Do Map

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Waves crashing into some rocks along the shore with trees and an island in the back
You can cool off at Mirissa Beach, then hang out at a beach bar with a drink

Relax on Mirissa Beach

Imagine yourself idly relaxing on a pristine beach with golden sandy shores lined with coconut palm trees while admiring a blue-hued sky blanketing the vast ocean. Well, Mirissa Beach can make that happen for you! You can swim here, or choose a sunbed and lie down in the shade as you watch the waves.

There are also many bars near the beach, so you can head to one of them and grab your favourite drink. You will also find plenty of restaurants to try great food at, especially Sri Lankan cuisine. If you prefer to stay in a place overlooking the beach, check out the great boutique hotels nearby as well!

🏨 Places to stay near Mirissa Beach

A surfer riding on a wave while another man swims to catch it
Mirissa is a surfer's haven, whether you're a beginner or a pro

Go surfing

Some tourists visit Sri Lanka 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 to enjoy the warmth of the waves as they hit you.

If you haven't surfed before, there are Sri Lankan surf schools around offering short courses to get the hang of the basic techniques. Also, don't worry if you haven't come prepared because you can easily hire surfboards.

🏨 Accommodations close to Mirissa Beach

See marine life while snorkeling

Snorkelling, along with scuba diving, is one of the fun things to do in Mirissa as it gives you a glimpse into the extraordinary marine life not too far from Mirissa's beaches. While snorkelling, you will encounter beautiful coral reefs, aquatic plants, and different fish species.

Depending on the time you visit, you might also get a chance to snorkel with turtles, whales, and dolphins! It would be an unforgettable experience, so if you are interested, make sure to get in touch with a tour operator who specialises in these experiences!

🏨 Accommodations in close proximity to Mirissa Beach

An empty beach with chairs, palm trees, clear waters, and some rocks near the shore
Secret Beach is the perfect spot for people who want some alone time along the coast

Discover Secret Beach

If you find Mirissa Beach too crowded and prefer somewhere quieter, tiptoe over to this secret haven. It's not guaranteed that it will be very secluded, though, as the secret is somewhat out, but it will still be less crowded!

The easiest way to reach this beach is by tuk-tuk, but you also have the option of walking along Mirissa Beach until you arrive here. However, this can be quite exhausting on a hot and humid day!

Secret Beach has two main areas: Palm Cove and the Blue Lagoon. Palm Cove is dotted with beautiful coconut palm trees and is ideal for snorkelling. The Blue Lagoon, with its still waters, is perfect for a quiet swim. There's also a bar nearby to grab drinks and cool down.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to Secret Beach Mirissa

Experience a whale watching tour

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 by the marine life in this area.

Several companies offer 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, though, by being at the viewing spot by at least 7 AM.

🏨 Accommodations nearby Mirissa Beach

A hill with many coconut trees and rocks along the shoreline with waves rushing by
Coconut Tree Hill is a romantic spot for couples who want some peace and quiet

Admire the views from Coconut Tree Hill

In some ways, Coconut Tree Hill (aka Palm Tree Forest) is a place that defines the exotic beauty of Mirissa, which is why it is often featured in magazines, blogs, and articles about Mirissa. Many 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 area's tranquillity.

It's also a romantic spot for couples to wander together in private. It takes around 15-20 minutes to reach here from the beach on foot.

🏨 Accommodations in close proximity to Coconut Tree Hill

Climb Parrot Rock Bridge

Located 50 feet from the shore, this island-shaped rock formation is the perfect place to get a stunning view of Mirissa Beach.

It is effortless to climb, so you don't have to allocate much time for that. To get to the base of the rock, you'll have to walk through water, which depending on the tide, can come up to your knees. 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 tricky to get down, but if you're up for a challenge, you'll have your very own private pool!

🏨 Places to stay close to Parrot Rock

An elephant underneath the shade of a big tree with grass and bushes surrounding them
You can see herds of elephants when you visit Udawalawe National Park

Hike through Udawalawe National Park

If you are planning to spend two to three days in Mirissa, taking a day trip to Udawalawe National Park is recommended. Udawalawe National Park is located on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, and it takes around two hours to get here 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 other wildlife. Some exciting animals you will come across during a safari include sambar deer, water buffalo, golden jackals, foxes, and tufted grey langurs.

The park also houses an elephant sanctuary, the Elephant Transit Home, where orphaned baby elephants are raised with care until they are fit to be released back into the wild.

Unwind with an Ayurvedic spa treatment

If you are wondering what to do in Mirissa beyond exploring Sri Lankan beaches, consider a spa session! An Ayurvedic spa treatment uses herbal-infused aromatic oils and unique massage 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 known for expertise and care, like Secret Root Spa. Many other local spas also offer massages at different prices, so you can select one according to your budget. Sri Lanka can be a cheap Asian vacation destination, depending on how you travel!

🏨 Accommodations near Secret Root Spa & The Secret Guesthouse

A lighthouse surrounded by palm trees and people with the shore nearby on a nice day
Take a trip back in time when you visit Galle Fort, a former Dutch colonial structure

View Galle Fort

A trip to the charming Galle Fort only takes an hour from Mirissa, and you can go by bus or taxi. Galle Fort, with its colonial ambiance, will take you back in time. There are so many things to admire in this historic city!

You can pay a visit to the famous Galle Lighthouse and explore the Dutch colonial structure of the Fort. Then, head to Pedlar Street to shop for souvenirs, clothes, artwork, and accessories. There are also many restaurants along the street, ready to tempt you to walk in!

🏨 Stay nearby Galle Fort Attractions and Jumpers Sri Lanka

Visit Ratnagiri Hilltop Temple

Even though Mirissa is most famous 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.

The temple premise is quite large, and the surrounding area is very peaceful. There's also a yoga centre close to the temple where you can learn the art of meditation and yoga exercises.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to Ratnagiri Raja Maha Viharaya

In Conclusion

You will surely love the laid-back vibe of Mirissa and find it to be more slow-paced than other busy towns in Sri Lanka. While the above list is a roundup of some of the top things to do in Mirissa, you can enjoy your stay in many other ways too, like by joining beachfront parties at night to socialize with fellow tourists and locals.

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Written by Raeesha Ikram

Raeesha FORMER WRITER Raeesha is a travel writer based in Sri Lanka who is here to take you on journeys you haven't been on before!

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