Things to do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka

When it comes to Sri Lanka holidays, there is no missing out on the beaches. And when it is about beaches, my highest recommendation would be Mirissa, Sri Lanka. A peaceful beach town along the south of Sri Lanka, it offers you plenty to enjoy. From pretty shores to fun day trips and water fun to vibrant nightlife, the list of things to do in Mirissa will cast a magic on you. Having experienced it, I am ready for yet another holiday in Mirissa. I am pretty sure that by the end of this post, you will be booking one too.

Mirissa - a beach town in Sri Lanka
Mirissa – a beach town in Sri Lanka

Since I am so sure that you will want to get to Mirissa beach soon, I am going to help you will all the information that you need to do so. With this post, you will not just get to know what are the top things to do in Mirissa but also, how you can get to Mirissa, what is the best time to visit it, where to stay in Mirissa and other useful information regarding this destination. So, let’s get started – shall we?

About Mirissa

A renowned fishing port, Mirissa falls on the way to Matara from Colombo. It is located along the Southern coast of Sri Lanka and is becoming quite popular as a tourist destination in Sri Lanka.  Quite like the other coastal towns of South Sri Lanka, Mirissa was also, affected by the 2004 Tsunami. However, thankfully, it has slowly sprung back to its normal state. What I personally loved about this place was the fact that not only were its beaches clean and gorgeous, they were devoid of the large crowds that you typically get at locations like Bentota.

Returning back to the Mirissa Coast
Mirissa Coast

Mirissa is all about lazing around and yet having enough to do. The pace of life ensures that you have a great holiday without getting bored.  Frankly, that is my key reason to recommend Mirissa as one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka.

Best time to visit Mirissa

Like most beach towns across the world. Mirissa too has its peak season. The time when the water is the clearest, gentle and yet full of waves and the sun – just right to get you that golden tan. This would be between October to end of April. After this season, you can still visit Mirissa but you will find a lot of tour operators and hotels shut down. Most of them shift to the north-east of Sri Lanka – around Trincomalee.

How to get to Mirissa?

Best way to get to Mirissa
Best way to get to Mirissa
  • Mirissa is 150 km from Colombo.
  • You can get to Mirissa directly from the airport by using one of the prepaid cabs or Uber. You can try getting one from the airport counters. It should cost you anything between 13000 – 15000 LKR. In case you are looking at booking them online, you can book one at a small discount using this website.
  • There are plenty of buses from Colombo to Mirissa. From the standard public buses to the luxury private ones, you can catch one at the Colombo bus station. The price for the same would be between 900 to 1500 LKR. While the cab might take you 3 hours to reach Mirissa, a bus is likely to take longer.
  • Opting for a train from Colombo is yet another option to get to Mirissa. You can catch an express train and reach Mirissa in 200 LKR. To plan this, refer to this link for the train schedules. This is how I got to this town. It was convenient and a beautiful journey but more on that in another post.

Where to stay in Mirissa?

Sira's Chalets - my Mirissa accommodation.
Sira’s Chalets – my Mirissa accommodation.
  • Mirissa is full of luxury and budget accommodations. You can find one that suits you by using this website.
  • You can opt for a guest house by the beach and book one of the several options mentioned here.
  • There are luxury resorts like this one with a private beach. As tempting as they were, we chose to stay at this mid-priced holiday home, right by the Mirissa beach.

Things to do in Mirissa

Now that we are sorted your transport and Mirissa accommodations, it is time to discover the fun things around the place. I am sure you will find your choice of activities on the list that I share below.

Spot the whales in Mirissa

The number one in the list of Mirissa attractions is whale watching. The largest living creatures on earth love the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The sea safari to spot them is quite an experience. You should go through my entire journey of Mirissa Whale watching  – from the time I got onto the boat to actually spotting them. The bonus on my trip was finding the dolphins.

Whale Watching in Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Whale Watching in Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Most whale watching tours in Mirissa guarantee spotting of these whales. They even give you a money-back guarantee. These tours can be booked online and websites like this one can also, get you a bargain. Just remember to check the tips that I share in my experience before booking these tours.

Conquer the waves with surfing in Mirissa

Surfing in Mirissa
Surfing in Mirissa

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you will love surfing in Mirissa. Depending on the day conditions, you will encounter waves rising between 3 ft and 6 ft, strong enough to surf to a distance of 150 m. There were plenty of surfers trying their luck by the reef, which I believe is quite safe but challenging. The main Mirissa beach had several surf schools that kept tempting me to enroll. From a single day lesson to week-long sojourns, they definitely seemed like a lot of fun. No doubt I would have stumbled and hit the sandy floors of the ocean but would have finally conquered the waves. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Weligama – 8 km away from Mirissa is yet another surf destination. It is an easy Tuk Tuk ride away and can be explored by the seasoned surfers as a day trip.

Snorkel with the turtles

With turtles teeming around this island country, it is not very difficult to find one to snorkel with. When you snorkel around the reefs near Mirissa, you are bound to be in the company of these lovely creatures. They are not only comfortable having you around but are happy to eat a weed or two from your hands. Snorkeling in Mirissa also, treat you to colorful corals and shoals of Parrotfish. There are a few resorts that have these snorkel reefs by their beach. They are likely to loan snorkeling equipment to you for free.

Snorkeling with the turtles in Mirissa - our first encounter with the turtle
Snorkeling with the turtles in Mirissa – our first encounter with the turtle

However, for a proper snorkeling experience, it is best to book a tour with a Dive shop. The PADI certified instructors tend to give out good equipment and keep an eye on you while you explore the reefs. If you are a beginner like my daughter, they are happy to guide you by holding your hand and teach you to brave the waves.  The snorkeling tours in Mirissa cost around 20 USD or 3500 LKR per person. The duration of the same is usually for 2 hours. If you are looking to book one online, you should try to do it through this website.

Explore underwater with Scuba Diving in Mirissa

With at least 5 dive sites, scuba diving in Mirissa is something that you should definitely consider. The dive spots will enthrall you with its mini caves and narrow ridges and its hidden marine life. If you are lucky, a turtle will accompany you on your journey or maybe, you get to spot the stingrays steering clear of the barracudas. Stonefish, moray eels, lionfish, clownfish and surgeonfish are pretty common in these reefs.

Scuba Diving - one of the things to do in Mirissa
Scuba Diving – one of the things to do in Mirissa

No doubt the certified PADI divers will enjoy meandering through the depths of the ocean but if you are a beginner, you can opt for an assisted dive. You also have an option of signing up for a PADI scuba diving certification in Mirissa. For those looking to do an advanced open water dive certification or are looking for night dives, Mirissa dive shops are a good option.

If you are looking at completing a PADI Open Water certification, you should look up my post on the same. The post tells you the various phases of the certification, what is expected of you, how many days you would need and what kind of skills you are expected to demonstrate in your tests.ย 

Attempt Bodyboarding in Mirissa

It was the first time that I tried this – Bodyboarding or Boogie boarding. It is almost like an entry-level surfing experience. A short board that is carried by the waves straight to the shore – with you on it ๐Ÿ˜‰ . The surf quality waves ensure that you have the time of your life. Of course, it also, means a little bit of dunking underwater – after all learning experiences have be memorable. There are enough of Bodyboards on rent and sale along the Mirissa beach. Alternately, you will find your resort or guest home offer you one on loan.

Try some water sports

Parasailing - a fun activity on the beach
Parasailing – a fun activity on the beach

Feel the wind in your hair and mist on your face as you zoom up those waves on a Jetski. If you want to add some more thrill to this experience, add some height and go parasailing. And if you want to have some company to enjoy these water sports, go for a banana boat ride. Sure these thrills are there at other beaches across the world. What makes it fun in Mirissa are its dancing waves. You can find plenty of operators on the main beach. The prices there are competitive and you can bargain for it. Just remember that you will have to pay in cash for them.

Explore the Mirissa beaches

The main Mirissa beach frankly was my hub. With enough to do on it, I had no desire to see any other shoreline. The crescent-shaped beach with soft sand is well equipped with beach chairs and lounges – most of them belonging to the beachside holiday homes or the beach shacks. However, if I did have some more time, I would have loved to explore the rock at the far end of Mirissa beach. Called as the Parrot Rock, the patch of green is a short climb from the main shore. You need to wade through water to reach the narrow stairs to the cliff – one that promises amazing views of Mirissa.

Parrot Rock as seen from the main beach
Parrot Rock as seen from the main beach

The other beach that I would have liked to see would be the Coconut Tree Hill Beach. As the name suggests, it is full of coconut trees that sway in the sea breeze and evoke a fresh feeling within you. The beach is termed to be private property but I believe that you are still allowed to enjoy it. It needs a bit of walk from the main road. This beach is a short drive away and will cost you around LKR 200 by Tuk Tuk. In case you are opting to take this ride, bargain for one more – the one that leads you to what is called the Secret Beach. The Secret Beach is not really a secret but is a secluded beach with very few visitors and no beach shacks.

Beaches in Mirissa can be done within a day itself as they are not very big. While they are all amazing, the main beach is the one where all the key activities take place.

Sample Sri Lankan food

It does not matter where you stay in Mirissa. All you have to do is step out of your accommodation and walk down the main Mirissa-Matara Road. Delicious cafes and restaurants are bound to tempt you with wafts of its local offerings. Throughout our stay, we feasted on the local rotis – quite like the Indian ones except that the vegetables were wrapped inside the paratha/ roti. If you are a non-vegetarian, the variety in their seafood offerings – from barbequed fish to the Sri Lankan Fish curry will delight you. I loved the Sri Lankan meal option for lunch and dinner – the one with red rice and local curries.

My favorite Sri Lankan meal
My favorite Sri Lankan meal

My favorite among all the Sri Lankan food is the breakfast with string hoppers and local curry. They are akin to the Iddiappams that you get in South India but it is the coconut curry that differentiates the taste. These are also, accompanied by the steamed rice cakes called Appams. Again, similar to the Indian ones but the Lankan ones had egg included. Most Mirissa hotels serve the local breakfast on demand. Since a lot of guests prefer continental spreads, they serve that as a priority. However, the local spread is available readily.

Alternately, you can step out to the local cafes and request for the local fare. Sri Lankan food is quite affordable and you must give it a try for its tangy and spicy flavors. Try out the Dewmini Roti Shop in Mirissa for the rotis. I even, enjoyed Mirissa Cafe and Bistro.

Experience Nightlife in Mirissa

The beach at night
The beach at night

As the sun goes down, Mirissa beach showcases a different shade of fun. The flickering candles along the beach add a beautiful glow to the night. The beach shacks set out their menu for the night and the seaside bar counters open with peppy music. The nightlife here largely involves shack hopping – though there are plenty of pubs and bars in the main Mirissa town too. The drinks are quite cheap here. One of the places recommended for dancing and live music is called Zephyr Restaurant and Bar.

Sign up for Day Trips

Galle Lighthouse
Galle Lighthouse

Mirissa is quite close to a lot of Sri Lanka Attractions. You can visit quite a few of these by just signing up for day trips. One of the trips that we took was a beach-hopping tour all the way from Mirissa to Unawatuna and Galle. Along with the famous Stilt fishermen and gorgeous beaches, you can visit the famous Galle fort on this trip. The other trip that I would have been keen on is Yala National Park, Sri Lanka. You can plan for these trips right away and book them online through this website. The day trips from Mirissa are quite refreshing and allow you to see a very different side of Sri Lanka.

Guess my job is done here as I do believe you are beginning your vacation plans for Mirissa. Don’t forget to pin this to your board for a ready reckoner. I am sure you are going to have the time of your life in Mirissa, Sri Lanka.

Things to Do in Mirissa
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22 thoughts on “Things to do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka”

  1. Iโ€™ve been to Mirissa and loved it, wish I couldโ€™ve stayed longer and taken some surfing lessons or gone scuba diving. I didnโ€™t know about the Bodyboarding there, that sounds like fun. I went whale watching and saw the dolphins too, really enjoyed the experience. We went cycling for a day which was a cool way to explore the countryside. Lovely article.

    • I too, wish we had stayed a little longer in Mirissa. The place has just so much to do and yet nothing to do. Am sure this post set off a lot of good memories

  2. Wow the Galle Lighthouse is so pretty! I would love to see it one day. Of course the beach in Mirissa is beautiful and it would be very fun to snorkel there! It also sounds like there is a great nightlife scene — who doesn’t want to party on the beach? A beach shack pub crawl could be so fun!

  3. I loved Mirissa. I think what really made it great for me was all the non-touristy things like all the local cafes hidden in back streets serving amazing authentic food. And the street parties away from the beaches with cool local music. Such a great place to get off the tourist trail in Sri Lanka.

  4. I am all about all the adventure activities here! I just got PADI certified last year so I’ve been trying to take advantage of every opportunity to scuba when I travel, and I have been wanting to learn to surf for a long time! Also, I’ve never gone whale watching before and that sounds like a special experience too.

  5. We did not get a lot of time at Mirissa due to our tight schedule. Now I am thinking we missed a lot of things to do there ๐Ÿ™‚ Ekta is keen on doing a PADI course and SL will be a good option it seems, thanks for the information.

  6. I never knew about Mirissa when I visited Sri Lanka but it looks a great place with so many things to do. Good to know that it is 150km away from Colombo and so it is good to connectivity. Whale watching looks interesting and I would surely go for it. Your stay at Sira’s chalet is awesome.

  7. Wow! This is interesting. I haven’t been to Sri Lanka but a trip to Mirissa just made me excited. I would love to experience whale-watching and all the other water activities. Thank you for sharing.

  8. I’ve never been to Sri Lanka so it’s really lovely to know about Mirissa. I’d love to go whale watching and to try some amazing Sri Lankan food! Sri Lankan fish curry sounds like something I’d absolutely love! The beaches look so dreamy and peaceful. And snorkeling? Sign me up!

  9. Mirissa is my kind of a destination. Good Food, beautiful beaches, tons of activities to do in water, and amazing diving conditions. With every article I read about Sri Lanka, my urge to visit keeps on increasing, but the plan never materialises. Looking forward to visiting soon, and experiencing the beauty of Mirissa my self.

  10. I’m yet to head to Srilanka! I really hope to hop around this island country atleast for a week, hopefully next year. Let’s see!
    I’m a big fan of secluded, pristine beaches and Mirissa totally looks like my kinda place to go. Train journey from airport sounds picturesque and more importantly economical as well!
    Scuba diving here would be perfect. The place is so pristine & clean. I hope to go there, before the world’s crowds become aware of here, lolz!


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