Beach-fringed and beautiful, Mirissa is the perfect getaway spot for cracking a Sri Lankan cold beer and dipping your feet in the Indian Ocean.
At least, that’s what most visitors to this corner of south-western Sri Lanka are in for. Others might come to hit the hardcore surf breaks, party the night away in chilled bamboo bars, or relax in some of the best local guesthouses and B&Bs on the island.
From surfing Mirissa’s gnarly waves to catching some sun at Secret beach, let’s take a look at some incredible places to see and things to do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka, for a good time traveling.
Where is Mirissa in Sri Lanka?
Mirissa pokes out of the south-western edge of Sri Lanka. It occupies a sort of headland that makes up one end of the huge Weligama Bay.
In the other direction, a few beaches and river estuaries soon give way to the bustling town of Matara.
Behind Mirissa, to the north, are pockets of the jungle, wetland, and rice paddies that eventually rise with the foothills of the Central Highlands on the horizon.
How to Get to Mirissa
Because of its reputation for chilled-out vacationing, Mirissa is one of the first ports of call for those in search of sun, sand, sea, and surf in Sri Lanka. The upshot? There are loads of ways to arrive, even from as far afield as the airport in Colombo.
One of the most enjoyable ways is by train. Services link to Weligama town from Colombo Fort. And stopping at loads of the other popular beach destinations down Lanka’s western coast as they go.
You can catch your ride in the big city or hop on at stations in places like Hikkaduwa, Galle, and Midigama.
A full fare in second class costs around 220-250 LKR. Once in Weligama, grab a tuk-tuk straight around the bay to Mirissa (around 300 LKR, but be sure to haggle).
Local buses are a good alternative. They’re certainly more frequent and offer links to smaller towns further east. You can use them to arrive in Mirissa from Matara, Dickwella, or Tangalle.
There’s also even a connection to Ella in the mountains.
Private taxis to Mirissa from Bandaranaike International Airport will be priced at around 12000 LKR. You can usually reduce that with some determined bartering.
What to Do in Mirissa
It’s true what you might have heard about Mirissa – It’s the perfect place to chillax, kick back, and watch the waves roll in.
The stunning arc of gold-white sand and palm trees, which is the main Mirissa beach, takes care of that.
But that’s not all there is to do. Zippy surf breaks, bucket-list-busting marine safaris, and oodles more await. Let’s scratch the surface of the top things to do in Mirissa.
Go Surfing in Mirissa
Mirissa actually sits at the heart of one of the best regions for surfing in Sri Lanka as a whole. To the east, you’ve got the upcoming bays of Hiriketiya and SK Town.
And right next door is Weligama. That’s the beginner’s favorite, with reliable and protected beach waves where surf instructors and surf camps ply their trade.
A tuk-tuk to Weligama for a day should cost around 300 LRK one way.
Mirissa also has its own surf breaks. There’s one at the western end of the main beach. You can sit with a coconut and watch as the locals rip it when the waves are cooking.
It’s really only for experts, though, because it breaks over a sharp reef. Sometimes, the waves plump up a little, and you can even learn on Mirissa’s main beach.
There are lots of rentals located right on the sands offering lessons.
Go Whale Watching in Mirissa
Between November and April each year (conveniently in line with the high season on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka), Mirissa becomes a hub for whale watching.
You’ll see oodles of providers touting all sorts of trips across the deep blue of the Indian Ocean.
One of the highest-rated tours is Whale Watching with Geeth tours. They go slow to reduce noise levels for whales and don’t cross the path of traveling whales out at sea.
That all adds to the likelihood, you’ll spy one of the great beasts. Blue whales, Bryde’s whales, sperm whales, dolphins, sea turtles – there’s loads waiting out there!
Discover Secret Beach, Sri Lanka, Mirissa
The problem with Secret Beach, Mirissa, is that it’s pretty much known to everyone these days – thanks a lot, Instagrammers!
The real question is, who can be bothered to hike the muddy track through the jungle or pay the overblown tuk-tuk fare to get there.
You’ll need to navigate the streets behind the main beach and then turn left into the trees on a road that hairpins uphill.
There’s a shortcut that cuts through clusters of high palms before emerging onto the sand. The reward? A gorgeous little crescent of powder, where a few boulders jut from the azure ocean. It’s like a taste of Seychelles in Sri Lanka.
Party the Night Away at the Best Bars in Mirissa
Mirissa hasn’t garnered a reputation for hedonism and fun for nothing, you know. It’s surely one of the liveliest towns on the whole Sri Lankan coast.
Just a glance at the main beach reveals more than ten places to settle with a cocktail or a beer. You’ll also find bargain happy hour deals that reduce the cost of a beer to around 250 LKR (the norm is about 500 LKR).
Things really get pumping after sunset. The sandy decks of Mirissa Eye and Kama Mirissa start to fill with drinkers then. Once the light’s totally gone, you can look forward to fire shows, DJ parties, and more.
Where to Stay in Mirissa
Because thousands of travelers head this way to laze on the sands and spot big blue whales each year, there’s certainly no shortage of places to stay in Mirissa.
It all really depends on what you’re after. Will it be a deluxe resort with an infinity pool by the beach? Will it be a bargain hostel that leaves more rupees for the famous Mirissa happy hour.
Hangover Hostels Mirissa ($)
Sandwiched between the main Matara Road and the Mirissa beach in Sri Lanka, Hangover Hostels has been hosting backpackers for years.
The rooms are simple doubles, twins, and dorms, with shared facilities and access to communal gardens. Prices will never break the bank, and most fellow guests are usually up for a chat, a beer in the beach bars, and even a night out on the town.
Mirissa B&B ($$)
Budget-friendly, but with a twist of finesse, this lovely B&B has taken a lot from its Estonian-Sri Lankan owners. There are touches of both cultures, with a colonial-style exterior and rooms that have partitioned showers, along with free incense sticks and Sri Lankan fruit at breakfast.
An added bonus for animal lovers is the resident dog, not to mention the regular flying visitors – hummingbirds, colorful Sri Lankan magpies, and grass-green parakeets.
Ubuntu Beach Villas by Lantern ($$$)
Escape the buzz of Mirissa town to find your own little slice of paradise in these five-star villas and suites. They’re chic and stylish and spread out between a few coconut palms amid their own grassy garden by the Indian Ocean.
Most open to face a stretch of secluded sand, and there’s even a family-sized rental with a private swimming pool.
Where to Eat in Mirissa
Whether you’re craving a red snapper fresh from the BBQ or a potato-packed samosa off the street stalls, Mirissa has you covered.
Dilmi Roti Shop ($)
Bargains don’t come tastier than the offering at Dilmi Roti Shop. A simple, crooked shack on the side of the main A2 road, it’s hardly a looker.
But take a seat at one of the ramshackle plastic tables, and you can enjoy spicy local veg curries, some of the best samosas in all of Lanka, and rotis of different shapes and sizes.
Tip: There is beer, but it’s not listed on the menu.
Zephyr Restaurant & Bar ($$)
Zephyr is a regular mention when it comes to the top places to dine in Mirissa. And why not? The location is lovely. Most of the outdoor seats gaze straight over the golden sands of the main beach, and there’s an interior that’s clean looking and breezy (more like a Greek taverna).
The delicious Zephyr Mirissa menu offers a concoction of modern western dishes and Sri Lankan seafood. Midrange prices should be expected.
Margherita Italiano Restaurant ($$-$$$)
Okay, so Italian food might not be the option of choice when you’ve got the uber-fresh seafood of Mirissa awaiting just over the beach, but there’s got to be a time for a break from the local stuff.
Get in cue at Margherita Italiano Restaurant. It’s up there with the top pizza joints in Sri Lanka.
A wood-fired oven takes care of the crispy bases, while sides of salad and the real olive oil only add to the draws. Downside? That location on the main road can be a little noisy.
A Footnote: The Ultimate Mirissa Travel Guide
From surfing gnarly breaks at some of the most incredible beaches in Sri Lanka to finding Mirissa’s secret beach bars. There are plenty of places to visit in Mirissa.
If you can think of anything to add to this ultimate Sri Lanka, Mirissa guide, we’d sure love to hear it in the comments below!