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12 Totally Awesome Things To Do In Mirissa (Sri Lanka) In 2020

Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
March 31, 2020
Travel stories
Located on the southern shores of Sri Lanka, Mirissa was one of our favourite destinations to visit; and here's a look at the top things to do in Mirissa.
things to do in Mirissa
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Oh Mirissa, the Southern beauty of Sri Lanka. A place filled with beautiful scenery, stunning beaches, and wonderful restaurants. You certainly won’t be stuck for things to do in Mirissa.

To ensure you have the BEST time, make sure you don’t miss out on these top 12.

And to help with your trip planning and to make this a little bit of a Mirissa travel guide too, I’ve answered some common questions associated with travelling to Mirissa before we delve into what is there to do in Mirissa.

surfing in mirissa

How to get to Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Getting to Mirissa from Colombo

If you have flown into Colombo international airport (as most people do), then you have a few different options for your journey to Mirissa.

  1. Train and bus: Take the train to Matara and then go by bus or tuk tuk to Mirissa (which should be around 300 for tuk tuk and around 50 for local bus). You can book your train here.
  2. Uber: By car it should take around 3 hours to get to Mirissa from Colombo and since you’re starting in Colombo, you can make use of Uber. An approximate price is: LKR7,553-9,956 and it’s a beautiful drive. You can use the airport WiFi to book your Uber- that’s what we did.
  3. Tuk-tuk: You could do what Bradley and I did and rent your very own tuk-tuk for the duration of your stay in Sri Lanka. We had ours for almost 4 weeks, but you could easily take it for a week and have your own south coast road trip. It gives you a lot of flexibility to get off the beaten track and go wherever you want, and also means no haggling for tuk tuk rides! (To save some money, here's our unique 5% TukTuk Rental discount code).

Remember you can book your train from Colombo here for the cheapest transport option.

Getting to Mirissa from Ella

Lots of people head to Mirissa after they've finished with the hills country locations of Nuwara Eliya and Ella. You have a few options:

  1. Bus: Get the bus from Ella to Matara then either get a tuk tuk to Mirissa from there, or get a bus to Badulla which will go through Mirissa. It should take around 4 hours.
  2. Taxi: You could get a taxi, which will be cheaper if you have 4 people sharing. But you’re probably looking at around £50. Maybe less, maybe more.

Top tip: Get yourself a Revolut card card before you fly, and use this to get the best exchange rates when in Sri Lanka.

When is the best time to visit Mirissa?

The “peak” time to visit Mirissa is from November to May. This is when the weather is at its best and the tourists flood in.

However, Bradley and I visited in October and the weather was stunning and there were still tourists. This meant everything was cheaper but we still got a great atmosphere. So, I’d personally recommend mid-October.

May and September is monsoon season, so you’ll probably want to avoid then as everything is typically shut.

beaches in mirissa

How long should I spend in Mirissa?

I recommend a solid 3-4 nights.

You could easily see everything you want to in 2 nights, but if you truly want to relax, surf, and enjoy the Sri Lankan sun and atmosphere, then I’d say a minimum of three nights is needed.

You’ll probably find yourself wanting to stay longer.

We did, but we ran out of time so had no choice but to leave!

Read Also: Our Sri Lanka Packing List

The 12 top things to do in Mirissa

And now, the part you’ve been waiting for...the top 12 things to do in Mirissa as voted by me (and Bradley!)

1. Find the “Secret” Beach

Despite it's name, this is easily one of the most unsecret beaches I’ve ever been too. But, it’s still worth a visit!

It’s a secluded beach that has a beach bar serving drinks and snacks. It’s not the easiest place to get too if you don’t have your own transport.

secret beach mirissa

Bradley and I had our tuk-tuk and used it to get to Secret beach, simply by popping it in Google. Don't worry if you get lost, the locals will direct you where to go.

Park up as close as you can then walk down to the beach. The same goes for if you are on a moped (which are easy to rent in Mirissa).

It’s supposedly a good place for sunsets (but we didn’t get the chance!) Also, they have cute little swings to take pictures on for free.

selfie at secret beach

2. Enjoy a sunset dinner

Mirissa beach is filled with lovely restaurants and is the perfect place to enjoy a sunset dinner. As an added bonus, the alcohol in Mirissa turned out to be the cheapest we found anywhere in Sri Lanka.

90% of the restaurants operate a happy hour that runs from 3 pm to 10 pm which makes all drinks 200-300LKR. So, less than $2; can’t complain about that!

Food is also reasonably priced, albeit a little more expensive than you might pay away fromt he beach. However, it’s worth the view. Also if you are into sea food then this is the best place to get it as its all freshly caught.

Read Also: The 50 best things to see in Sri Lanka

3. Party on the beach

Well, since I mentioned those cheap cocktail prices, you can probably imagine why lots of backpackers find themselves in Mirissa. There are a few bars on the beach front that have little dance floors and turn into “nightclubs” (i guess) once the sun sets.

The music is loud, the atmosphere is fun, and the drinks are cheap!

So, if you are looking for a party, then Mirissa is your place to go. We went in October, which isn’t peak season, but there were still lots of people and an atmosphere. So I imagine in peak season it’s even better.

Read Also: My guide on the best things to do in Unawatuna.

4. Go Whale watching

Mirissa is known for its whale watching, but there is a “season” for it, which Bradley and I missed. But, I still know all the information for it since I was planning on doing it!

There are lots of tour companies, all over the main tourist area offering trips to the Indian ocean to spot dolphins, whales and turtles. The best season is from the end of November until March.

If you’re wondering how much it costs to go Whale watching in Mirissa then I’ve got you covered. You’re trip will usually start in the morning and last around 4 hours and depending on the company it can cost you anything from around $25 to $40.

The final price will depend on your negotiating skills, and the part of the season you are visiting. Plus if there are more of you, you can typically get a better deal.

TOUR: If you prefer booking your activities online {less chance of being ripped off}, then check out this great value and well rated dolphin and whale watching tour.

whale watching in mirissa

5. Day trip to Galle Fort

Galle Fort is located approximately 38 km from Mirissa and it should take around an hour to get there. If you’re visiting Mirssa on a holiday, then you should definitely make the day trip to Galle Fort.

It was built by the Portuguese in 1588 and offers lots of history, beautiful buildings, viewpoints and shopping opportunities.

You can get to Galle Fort via bus which should cost around 60 LKR (ask your hotel for directions and information). You can also get there by taxi or tuk-tuk!

While in Galle, you may as well check out Unawatuna and its awesome beaches.

TOUR: Don't miss out on Galle's best sights by taking the amazing full day tour of the area. 

galle fort

6. Visit Coconut island (watch your head!)

Coconut island is one of the iconic pictures associated with Mirissa. It’s a fabulous place to catch a sunrise, sunset or just general viewing.

It's basically a load of coconut palm trees that form a point offering a magical view. Just make sure you watch your head as a coconut falling from that height could kill you. It’s best viewed when the sky is blue, which is almost every day in peak season!

It’s free to visit, and there is a cool beach bar beside it (which was closed when we were there). One of personal favourite things to do in Mirissa.

TOUR: A great way to see all the iconic spots in Mirissa, including Coconut Island is via this private tour. 

coconut island mirissa

7. Body boarding at Mirissa beach

Bodyboarding is another one of the top things to do in Mirissa. It’s cheap, cheerful and lots of fun.

You can rent bodyboards from the beach at around 300LKR for one hour. Afterwards, enjoy a drink!

The waves can be fairly big, so don’t choke and near drown like I almost did.

8. Visit Parrot Rock Mirissa

I’ll be honest and say this is one of things to do in Mirissa that we didn’t complete. Timing was the issue.

But this rock is located on Mirissa beach and you can climb up a catch a view of the area. For anyone who likes views (like me!), then I recommend this as one of the best places to visit in Mirissa.

You need to walk through water to get there, so when it’s high tide, I would probably avoid it.

9. Go Surfing

Surfers rejoice, Mirissa is one of the hottest surf spots in Sri Lanka! If you missed the surf in Arugam Bay, like we did, then you can start chasing the surf in the south of the country.

The best surf spot is Weligama which is around 8 km away (so a quick tuk-tuk or moped ride away). It’s a brilliant beach for beginners, especially in the morning; and they offer really fantastic value surf lessons for around 2000LKR; which includes the board, a 1½ hour lesson and free time afterwards.

Not a bad deal!

There are also lots of places to rent boards right on the beach, usually for around 200LKR for an hour. More detailed information on surf breaks in Mirissa can be found here.

surfing in mirissa

10. Catch a tan

Most people who are visiting Mirissa are there to relax and it’s no surprise. There are lots of beautiful spots perfect for catching up on your tan.

Some of my favourite beaches include Mirissa beach itself, Polhena Beach with its turquoise waters and golden sand and Midigama Beach (also good for surfing).

Secret beach is also a good spot to catch a tan too! Get your favourite book and a cold drink and simply RELAX.

Read Also: How to spend 3 weeks in Sri Lanka

beaches in mirrisa
The cloud goes around 12 (it's still crazy warm)

11. Go Snorkelling or Scuba Diving

There may not be lots of coral, but the snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities in Mirissa will give you lots of chances to see interesting and unique sea life. You can do dives from USD$50 and you can even get your diving licence here for a reasonable price over a three-day course.

So if it’s something you’ve been considering doing so, then Sri Lanka in general is a good place to do it. It’s one of the cheapest places in the world to get your diving certification.

Trincomalee is another one of the best places in Sri Lanka to do your course aswell.

snorkelling in mirissa

12. Visit the Elephant Transit home

If you’re looking for a day trip from Mirissa with a difference, then this is what you should do. Visit the elephant transit home located near Udawalawe. It’s basically a sanctuary that looks after baby elephants and elephants in general who have been hurt, or rescued.

It has EXCELLENT reviews on the care and quality given to the elephants, which fills me with joy as they’re one of my favourite creatures.

It will take you around two hours to get there, but if you want to experience wildlife and something truly unique on your Sri Lankan adventure then you should go. This is truly one of the best things to do in Mirissa (even though it’s technically not in Mirissa :P)

Read Also: The best Wilpattu National Park safari

elephants transit centre

Where to stay in Mirissa

Mirissa is filled with great accommodation choices to suit all budgets. Bradley and I stayed in a hotel called I & I Rest which was just minutes from the beach and the main street with shops and cafes etc. It’s a great spot, with great staff and a cheap on-site restaurant which has a roti shop ( a bloody good one too!)

Also, if you want to stay somewhere really cosy, be sure to check out our guide on the best beach hotels in Mirissa.

Ps, the best coffee shop in Sri Lanka is called Buds and Beans. There are only like 3 of them anywhere in the country and one of them is also in Ella.

It’s the best coffee you will get in Sri Lanka, so if you are a coffee snob/lover like me, then their coffee is worth the price tag of £2 for a large.

So there you have it, my guide to the top things to do in Mirissa. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and if you’ve got anything else you think I should add to the list, then comment below!

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