Unawatuna Beach

With palm-lined beaches, turquoise waters and a good selection of guesthouses and restaurants, Unawatuna is very popular with travellers. The resort’s location is superb, with the historic city of Galle just 6km away and a wooded headland to the west dotted with tiny coves.

Years of insensitive development, however, have resulted in an unappealing sprawl of concrete hotels and restaurants packed together right on the shore, blocking views of the bay in many spots.

Erosion caused by the construction of ill-advised breakwaters have also hit Unawatuna hard, causing massive loss of sand to its fabled beaches. By 2012 the resort was in a poor state. But recent initiatives have certainly improved things, as the authorities have pumped sand from deep water offshore to widen the beach, which now is looking in better shape than it has for years.

Atmosphere-wise, Unawatuna is lively without being rowdy: think sunset drinks rather than all-night raves.

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