The island of Sri Lanka is growing in popularity as an exotic holiday destination, and what better way to explore this stunning location than discovering places to visit down south Sri Lanka.
There is so much to do in the south of Sri Lanka, so many charming towns to visit and coastal beauty to enjoy.
This guide is your helpful itinerary to map out a week-long visit to the south of Sri Lanka.
If you would like to extend your trip to the North of Sri Lanka, be sure to checkout my travel guide to the North and Central of Sri Lanka.
Fly with SriLankan Airlines
When you fly with Sri Lankan Airlines, you feel the famous warmth and hospitality of this nation before you even arrive in Sri Lanka.
You get great service, a friendly cabin crew, wonderful onboard entertainment, and a fine selection of local dishes to choose from.
And did I mention that they also make a cracking cup of tea?
What better way to start your journey to Sri Lanka by flying with the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines.
Spend your first night in the capital city of Colombo
Before you journey to the south of Sri Lanka, be sure to spend some time in the capital city of Colombo.
Colombo is a port city with a rich colonial heritage on the Western coast that brings together races, religions and cultures.
The city is a place of many contrasts, with lush gardens, fine dining, street markets and all sorts of worlds to explore.
As a capital city, grab some rest in a truly beautiful hotel after your long flight.
The best way to get around Colombo is by jumping in a local tuk tuk ride if you wish to explore the city a little after you’ve caught up on sleep.
Colombo is a wonderful introduction to Sri Lanka and an excellent way to start your adventure.
Head to Madu Ganga river in Beruwala
Why not explore Madu Ganga on a one hour guided boat tour around the river.
Madu Ganga river is located 80km away from Colombo, close to Sri Lanka’s southern coastal belt.
You can take a boat safari around the mysterious mangroves marshes in the Madu River.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the many stunning rare bird species that be found resting on the waters.
You might also have a good chance of spotting a water lizard called a monitor, so be alert and have your camera ready.
You can also visit Cinnamon island along the river, where locals teach you about cinnamon production in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is the number one exporter of Cinnamon on the global market, and this is your special chance to try some cinnamon products made on the small island.
The wetlands spread over 900 hectares, and are mostly covered by water that connects to the sea.
The landscape here really is beautiful and unique, and cruising along in the boat being guided by an unfailingly lovely Sri Lankan local is really a nice way to spend an afternoon.
This boat ride is a great way to discover nature and life along the river, and experience a unique side to the south coast of Sri Lanka.
Walk around Beruwala Harbour
Beruwela Harbour you can see local fisherman bringing the daily catch in from the boats and selling at the market.
Be sure to try the locally caught fish in one of the many dining options around the area.
Local kitchens will sort out the best deals from the local fisherman so everything served is freshly caught from the day, catch to plate.
Whale watching off the coast of Mirissa
You might get a chance to spot the largest animal on our entire planet, the blue whale.
Whale sightings happen often in the South of Sri Lanka from the port of Mirissa. You can find many whale watching tours departing daily, and it’s one of the most popular sighting spots in Sri Lanka to get a glimpse of these beautiful animals.
The best season to spot a blue whale is between November and April. You might have to sail out a bit further from port to get a sighting, so be prepared to spend some time out at water.
When you finally spot a whale in the wild, the wait becomes totally worth it and it’s definitely a moment to remember.
Whale sightings are totally possible from Mirissa with a little bit of patience, and you just might get lucky.
It all depends on the season, but your best chances a good spotting are if you stay in the south of Sri Lanka close to Hikkaduwa.
Hikkaduwa is one of the many famous beach resorts on the south coast of Sri Lanka, and it’s certainly one of the best.
The beautiful coral reef can be found easily in shallow water, and is protected by a rock formation that makes for a perfect scuba diving location to get a better view of the watery world below.
The Dutch-built Galle Fort is located on the South Coast’s major city, also called Galled.
This oldest landmark of the city is a massive Portuguese and Dutch Fort – a World Heritage Site in which the central city is contained.
It’s also a good spot to catch some cricket action as the local stadium is right below you here.
The cobblestone streets are completely charming for aimless walks and days of exploration.
Stroll around the lighthouse and harbour, or pay a visit to the old town to visit traditional lace makers and wood carvers and purchase some of the finest souvenirs you can find in Sri Lanka.
It’s really fascinating to explore the colonial history of Sri Lanka and notice the Dutch, Portuguese and British influences.
Outside of Galle, there are beautiful beaches and rainforests very close by if you want to get out into nature again.
Be sure to not miss out on the stunning sunset that hits the coast and the fort offers a great viewing platform to enjoy the show.
Sithulpawwa Rock Temple
Sithulpawwa Rock Temple is a very historically significant place and is identified as one of the greatest 2nd-century sites of Buddhist scholarship.
With a history of over 2200 years, this is an ancient place of worship in the Hambantota district.
The modern name Sithulpawwa is derived from the ancient ‘Cittalpabbata’, which translates into the ‘the hill of the quiet mind’.
A really beautiful place to explore Sri Lanka’s deep sense of spirituality.
Spot wild elephants roaming in Yala National Park
Did you know that Sri Lanka has many options to go on safari?
The Yala National park in the south of Sri Lanka is a wonderful location to spot wild elephants and roaming leopards.
Rent out a safari jeep and a guide for the day to explore Yala National park, and discover the incredible wildlife to see in the region.
From exotic birds to water buffalos, you can spot so much wild action going on in the park.
Thank you for reading about the South of Sri Lanka
So, what are you waiting for?
Book your trip to explore the stunning south of Sri Lanka.
I can’t tell you enough how relaxing and stimulating the south of Sri Lanka is at the same time.
There is so much to see and do, with the unbelievably friendly locals guiding and looking after you in every way they can.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and get to explore this unique part of the world.