The ultimate travel guide Mirissa: trendy restaurants and golden beaches in Sri Lanka!

Last Updated on by Charlotte van de Sande

In this Mirissa travel guide, we tell you everything you need to know about Mirissa in Sri Lanka. The highlights and hotspots of Mirissa, best activities here and the most remarkable hotels in Mirissa!

A golden beach surrounded by palm trees. Dozens of beautiful restaurants with delicious dishes on the menu. Surfers, trendy shops and hidden design hotels. Welcome to Mirissa, one of the most popular beach spots in Sri Lanka and this is not without reason!

Sri Lanka Mirissa


Travel guide Mirissa: Everything you need to know about Mirissa!

Mirissa is located in the south of Sri Lanka, between major cities of Galle and Matara. Initially, it was just one small street with a few accommodations and a roti shop. This now has become the popular beach hotspot of Sri Lanka. Nowadays you will find a wide variety of boutique hotels, hostels and cosy guesthouses here. There are also more than enough restaurants, beach clubs and coffee shops.

Mirissa is very popular among tourists. It can get pretty busy here. If you are looking for a lesser-known beach town with fewer crowds, consider going to Dickwella or Trincomalee. In addition, keep in mind that accommodations, especially the high rated ones on Booking.com or Agoda are sold out fast in Mirissa.

Mirissa beach beds


Need more time to relax at a different beach? Then make sure you travel to our favourite beach spot: Dickwella. Read the travel guide here!


The best activities in the beach town of Mirissa

Mirissa is the place to relax for a while. Depending on your route, chances are that you will end or start your journey through Sri Lanka here. Make sure that you set aside enough days for Mirissa. This beach town has a relaxed vibe and there more than enough things to do besides chilling at the beach.  Below are cool things to do in and around Mirissa.

1. Take the famous “palm tree photo” on coconut tree hill!

If you Google images of Sri Lanka, the well-known “palm tree photo” will be the fifth picture you will see! And you have certainly seen this image on Instagram. Near Mirissa Beach is the Coconut Tree Hill located, a beautiful place full of perfect shaped palm trees with a gorgeous view of the ocean. The setting makes this a perfect spot to shoot a few tropical photos or pop the magical question to your girlfriends (yes, we witnessed a marriage proposal when we visited this place). However, keep in mind that this is a very popular place and waiting lines for taking pictures are common. Click here for the location of Coconut Tree Hill on Google Maps.

Tip: make sure you are at Coconut Tree Hill during sunrise. You still won’t be the only one, but at that moment the least people are here and the light is perfect.

2. Relax with a wonderful massage

After a (long) travel day, nothing is more satisfying and relaxing than spoiling yourself with a great massage. Pamper yourself for a while and unwind, after all, it’s a holiday! You will find several massage salons and spas in Mirissa. One of the better salons is Good Spa. This spa is surrounded by nature, has good masseuses and offers a variety of beauty treatments.

3. Take a day trip to Fort Galle

Fort Galle is just an hour’s drive from Mirissa. This Dutch fort from the seventeenth century is still in good condition. You will find various churches, museums, the old fortress walls and many more historic buildings here. Some roads still have Old Dutch names such as Kerkstraat and Zeeburgstraat. In the original houses, many still in good condition, there are now restaurants, boutiques, museums and shops. This makes it feel like a charming little town. You can perfectly stroll around here all morning.

Road to Galle Lighthouse with Charlotte

Tip: visit Fort Galle early in the morning or at the end of the day. It can get very hot during the day! The best way to see the sunset is from the western wall.

Which sights shouldn’t be missed in Fort Galle?

There is so much to see here that you can easily spend a full day in Galle There are more than enough hotels in the fort itself, for example, Pension Sirène or the luxurious Prince of Galle. This way you also see the fort when the day-trippers and bus tours are gone.

The following sights are really a must to see in Galle:

  • Groote Kerk (on Church Street) or All Saints Church (also on Church Street): we liked the All Saints Church better than the Groote Kerk, but because the latter is Dutch, it is worth a visit too.
  • The Clock Tower: this is a large tower near the entrance.
  • Galle Lighthouse: at the very tip of the fort is this large white lighthouse.
  • Old Dutch Hospital (on Hospital Road): this beautiful white building is one of the oldest buildings in the entire fort. Nowadays there are all nice restaurants and shops in this building.
  • National Maritime Archeology Museum (Queens Street): unfortunately, the museum was closed when we were here, but this Dutch building is impressive both because of its architecture and its art collection!

Shops in Galle

Tip: try to avoid weekends and holidays. On public holidays many museums are closed (we can tell from our own experience).

↠ Nice restaurants in Galle are: Pedlars Inn (cosy), the Calorie Counter (healthy) and The Blockhouse (local cuisine).

4. Learn to surf at nearby Weligama beach

The waves from Mirissa Beach are good for bodyboarding, but for the best surf waves, you should go to nearby Weligama Beach. This vast beach has nice long waves to learn how to surf! Choose from one of the dozens of surf schools on the beach for a surf lesson or rent a board for only Rs250 per hour (€ 1.25) to get yourself started. Go closer to the end of the bay where the waves a bigger, and see many surf pros at work!

Tip: In the neighbourhood of Weligama there are also a number of nice restaurants such as Moochies and Good Story Coffee.

Surf Sri Lanka Mirissa


Looking for more (surfing) beaches? Then read this blog where to find the best beaches in Sri Lanka!


5. Eat smoothie bowls, avocado toast and other hip dishes, in a different restaurant every day!

Ooo, I really had some stress when we were in Mirissa. There are so many nice, hip and beautiful restaurants! Most hotspots are somewhat hidden and you have to find your way through narrow streets, or you can find them behind concrete walls. On almost every menu there is a smoothie bowl, poke bowl or healthy juice section, but also burgers and pizza can be found often on the menu. Food lovers, you have come to the right place in Mirissa. Keep in mind that most restaurants have western prices, so eating out three times a day can become expensive!

Tuna Carpachio Mirissa

The best restaurants in Mirissa

Shady Lane: a nice restaurant with smoothie bowls (Rs700 each), burgers and avocado toast. The service is very good and the setting, with surfboards, coconuts and lots of wood, is the ideal place to update your Instagram profile photo. Note Shady Lane is closed on Tuesdays! Click here for the location of The Shady Lane on Google Maps.

Little Tuna: sushi in Sri Lanka and amazingly good sushi too! Little Tuna is situated in a pleasant garden with various terraces and seats. The sushi is priced at (Rs750 for a roll of six pieces) and all fish is fresh. Click here for the Little Tuna location on Google Maps.

Fresh sushi at Little Tuna in Marissa

Amazing food in Mirissa!

The Shack: is the place to be when you plan to spend a whole day on the beach. At The Shack you lie on covered beach beds (nice for some shade) or bean bags and jump into the sea as soon as it gets too hot. We only had some drinks here. Click here for the location of The Shack on Google Maps.

Aloha Coffee Galery: a nice place to work for a few hours. The music is not too loud at Aloha Coffee Galery, there is reasonable wifi and the smoothie bowls are big enough to fill you up for a few hours! Ries was also very satisfied with his poké bowl! Click here for the Aloha Shake location on Google Maps.

Number One Roti: after all that hip Western food, fancy a good Roti? Then go to Number One Roti. Good roti (even including avocado) for a very good price! Click here for the location of Number One Roti on Google Maps.

Salt: a very nice beach club on Mirissa Beach. They serve grilled tuna at Salt, a whole fresh tuna fish! More than enough for two persons. How delicious it was! Click here for the location of Salt on Google Maps.

6. Drink cocktails with your feet in the sand while the sun sets slowly!

The beach bars in Mirissa have the best happy hours in all of Sri Lanka. Between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., you get a cocktail for just a few euros. Perfect to see the sky turning pink with your feet in the sand, sipping from a drink. The ultimate holiday feeling!

Tip: on Mirissa Beach the “catch of the day” is displayed at the restaurants on the beach. So you can eat fresh fish here every night. You should have seen Ries’s eyes when he saw fresh tuna at restaurant Salt.

7. Experience the underwater world while diving

You can dive well in the surroundings of Mirissa. Do not expect a lot of (healthy) coral, but you will see many fish and underwater life. From beautiful turtles to Nemo fish and barracudas. With a bit of luck, you can even see a whale shark or dolphin.

Diving is not expensive in Mirissa. You can do two dives for 50 euros. We can recommend diving school Polhena Dive Center!

Don’t in Mirissa: whale watching! It sounds like a very cool activity, whale watching. After our great experiences in Madagascar, we were looking forward to seeing humpback whales, blue whales and sperm whales. But after some research about the whale watching trips in Marissa, we decided not to do this. The conditions under which whale watching is conducted are by no means animal-friendly and can even be harmful to these beautiful animals. Even companies who pretend to keep the distance from a whale often crack under pressure when tourists want to get closer.

Secret beach Mirissa


The nicest hotels in Mirissa

Mirissa is full of beautiful hotels, hip apartments and luxury resorts. Below you will find three of the nicest hotels and hostels. Please note: during the high season, hotels are quickly full, so book in time.

Banana Garden €Banana Garden Mirissa Sri Lanka

This cosy hotel is close to Mirissa Beach. The rooms are spacious with a private bathroom and air conditioning. There are budget rooms, but also more luxurious rooms. You sleep here from €20.50 including breakfast (two people).

Book now!

Casa Mira Boutique Villa €€Casa Mira Boutique Mirissa Sri Lanka

A little from the centre, but still within walking distance, you will find the beautiful Casa Mira Boutique Villa. The suites have a seating area and a private terrace outside. You sleep here from € 40 including breakfast (two people).

Book now!

Morning Star €€€Morning Star Mirissa Sri Lanka

The popular Morning Star hotel has a swimming pool, beautiful garden and good rooms. With a bit of luck, you spot the monkeys that come to play by the pool in the afternoon. You sleep here from € 59 including breakfast (two people).

Book now!


Click here for our free hotel guide for Sri Lanka!


Travel guide Mirissa: How do you reach Mirissa?

How to travel from Colombo to Mirissa?

By taxi: 3 hours and 12,000 Rs (€ 60)
By taxi, you will be in no time from Colombo (or Negombo) in Mirissa. A new highway has recently been opened, resulting in a quick ride!

Per bus: 4 hours and 900 Rs per person (€ 4)
Express buses depart from the Fort of Colombo. These run to Matara in around 3.5 hours. From Matara, it is still twenty minutes by tuk-tuk to Mirissa.

By train: 5-7 hours and 700 Rs per person (€ 3.50)
One of the nicest ways to drive to Mirissa is by train. Almost the entire ride takes place along the coastline. You drive to Weligama, where you can transfer to a tuk-tuk that you drop in Mirissa in ten minutes.

Galle street and tuktuk

How to travel from Unawatuna to Mirissa?

By taxi: 40 minutes 3000 RS (€ 15)
By taxi, you will travel in no time from Unawatuna to Mirissa or vice versa. It is relatively pricey so maybe a tuk-tuk is also an option.

By bus: 45 minutes, 200 RS (€ 0.50)
You can really catch any bus that goes west, for example, bus 2 or 32. In 45 minutes you’re from Unawatuna in Mirissa (or vice versa).

Per tuk-tuk: 1 hour, 1800 RS (€ 9)
You drive from Mirissa to Unawatuna in less than an hour by tuk-tuk. The price is lower than that of a taxi.

Old timers in Galle

How to travel from Ella to Mirissa?

By taxi: four hours, 8000 RS (€ 40)
You can travel comfortably from Ella to Mirissa in four hours by taxi. It is not cheap, but more relaxed than by bus.

Per bus: six hours, 400 RS per person (€ 3)
It is a long ride, but eventually, you will get there: by bus from Ella to Mirissa. First, you take the bus to Matara, where you then transfer to the bus to Mirissa.

By train: it is not possible to travel by train from Ella to Mirissa.


Read more about Ella and the beautiful train ride from Ella to Kandy in this Ella travel guide.


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Travel guide Mirissa in Sri Lanka! Where to eat, sleep and what to do and see in Beach town Mirissa!


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