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 15.
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.
If you have flown into Colombo international airport (as most people do), then you have a few different options for your journey to Mirissa.
Remember you can book your train from Colombo here for the cheapest transport option.
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:
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 it comes to getting around Mirissa, you've got a couple of options available.
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.
And now, the part you’ve been waiting for...the top 15 things to do in Mirissa as voted by me (and Bradley!)
Despite its name, this is easily one of the most “un-secret” beaches I’ve ever been too.
But, it’s still worth a visit!
It’s a very secluded beach that has a single beach bar serving drinks and snacks. It’s not the easiest place to get too if you don’t have your own transport but the locals all know where it is, so I’m sure they’d be happy to help.
Bradley and I had our tuk-tuk and used it to get to Secret Beach, simply by popping it into Google.
Again, 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.
All-in-all this is a great place to relax, have a drink, take a dip in the ocean and just enjoy the beauty of Sri Lanka.
Mirissa beach is filled with lovely restaurants which makes it 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 from the beach.
However, it’s worth the view. Also if you are into sea food then this is the best place to get it as it's all freshly caught.
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.
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.
Your 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.
If you miss Whale watching season in Mirissa, you can try Trincomalee.
Book: Check Klook
Times: Tours typically start in the morning
Galle Fort is located approximately 38 km from Mirissa and it should take around an hour to get there.
If you’re visiting Mirissa 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.
If you’ve rented your own moped in Mirissa, you could also drive yourself. The drive would also be beautiful because you’ll be by the coast.
While in Galle, you may as well check out Unawatuna and its awesome beaches.
To ensure you don’t miss out on any of the best Galle attractions, you can take a full day tour of the area.
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!
If you visit when it is cloudy, perhaps try another day if you want that iconic shot.
It’s free to visit, and there is a cool beach bar beside it (which was closed when we were there).
One of my personal favourite things to do in Mirissa.
Book: Check Klook
Body boarding 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 with a spot of lunch at one of the many restaurants lined along the front.
The waves can be fairly big, so be careful. I went under quite a few times!
This is a great way to cool off from the intense Sri Lankan heat too.
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 to 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.
I think this is probably a really romantic sunset spot too.
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.
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.
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 learn how to dive.
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.
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)
This probably seems really random, but I’m a coffee fanatic, and Sri Lanka does not have good coffee. Great tea of course, but it struggles in the decent coffee department.
So when I finally came across a brilliant coffee “chain”, I had to share it.
Buds & Beans is one of three stores (there is one in Ella) that serves delicious, real, espresso coffee. After 3 weeks, this was very welcome!
But it also does nice food and it’s a great place to just sit inside and take a few minutes away from the heat.
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.
For a unique and memorable experience that you won’t get anywhere else, we recommend visiting the local Snake Farm!
The farm is a hidden gem - just 20 minutes away from Mirissa by car or tuk-tuk. You’ll have to pay 1,000 LKR per person to enter.
Not only is it a sanctum for rescued snakes, the doctor who runs it uses the snake venoms to produce antivenoms.
Snake bites kill around 350 people in Sri Lanka each year and the guy is really doing his part for the community.
In the farm, the doctor and his son will take out different snake species to show you. From vipers to various cobras!
The good news is not all of them are venomous. If you’re feeling bold, try holding the non-aggressive snakes, such as the pythons.
Price: 1,000 LKR per person
Opening Times: Opens at 10.30am
If you are in Mirissa for several days, consider visiting a turtle hatchery. You can slip in this destination on your day trip to Galle Fort, as it’s located around 25 minutes into the drive from Mirissa towards Galle.
There are two hatcheries here which protect turtle eggs before they hatch and return to the wilderness. Not only that, these hatcheries also rescue injured turtles.
You can learn about the 5 different turtle species native to Sri Lanka. Better yet, you’ll get to hold some of the older ones too!
If you want to know how much this visit will cost you, the entrance fee is just 500 LKR per person for Turtle Farm Koggala.
We think conservations like these are a great way to immerse in the natural wildlife. It’s also a fun experience where you can help contribute to their overall survival.
Price: 500 LKR per person
Opening Times: 9am to 5pm on weekdays, 8.30 to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday
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 also meant everything was cheaper but we still got a great atmosphere.
So, I’d personally recommend mid-October.
May and September are monsoon season, so you’ll probably want to avoid them as everything is typically shut and the weather will be quite rainy.
This will depend on what you want to do and how long you’ve got to visit Sri Lanka in general, but 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: How To Spend 3 Weeks In Sri Lanka
After Mirissa, you're in a prime position to discover other parts of Sri Lanka's amazing coastline, including Arugam Bay.
Whilst there you can visit one of Sri Lanka's awesome national parks and partake in a safari experience.
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!