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Mirissa

Five kilometres from Weligama, at the extremity of Weligama Bay, lies the relaxed, picturesque and secluded bay of Mirissa. The beach is considered to be one of the prettiest in Sri Lanka. Once a much sought-after hideaway, the last few years have seen an increase in visitors and some development, though nothing to the extent of spoiling its charm. Formerly a fisheries harbour, Mirissa features a wide stretch of golden sand fringed by palm trees and rolling surf.

To the western end of the bay is a rocky headland. Cabanas can be seen poking through the green sea of trees. Down below, where the waves crash, are restaurants and guesthouses hidden by foliage, until the beach skirts the Matara road and stretches towards the far end at Giragala (“parrot”) Rock. This whole length of bay, though never far from the main road, is particularly tranquil.

Mirissa is great fun for body boarding and surfing. Equipment can be rented from the beachside restaurants and instruction may also be offered. Do be sure to ask where the safest places are to surf and be aware of strong currents. Swimming is good at the eastern end of the bay, on the far side of Girigala Rock, where small reefs provide opportunities for snorkelling. This is also a popular fishing spot. Girigala Rock is a great place to watch the sunset.

A small river runs behind the village of Mirissa. There is as well some forested jungle worth exploring on foot or bicycle. The village has reasonable accommodation, much of it comprising simple chalets or rooms. Beachside cafes and restaurants serve delicious, fresh seafood.

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