It's a must experience is to spend some time just lazing on a beatiful, tranquil beach. Struggling to choose between them? Here's a brief overview of the country's coastal regions,followed by our selection of the best Sri Lanka beaches...Sri Lanka's west coast shows the island at its most developed, its most Westernised, and its most tourist-oriented. A string of fine beaches,backed by hundreds of hotels and guesthouses of all sizes and standards, dot the coast from Negombo in the north to Hikkaduwa in the south. Despite increasing development in other parts of the island, the large resort hotels of Negombo, Kalutara, Beruwala and Bentota all reachable from the capital, Colombo continue to serve as the main engine of the island's substantial package-tourist industry, offering to sun-starved European visitors, particularly during the northern winter.

Negombo is also a short trip from the airport in Katunayake. With fabulous sunsets, strolls along the shore, little shops selling garments and souvenirs, live bands playing, restaurants peppering almost the entirety of the seaside strip, water sports at the beach park; fishing, kite surfing,snorkeling, scuba, are a part of the everyday sights, sounds and things to do, when in Negombo.This beach town is easily accessible from E03 expressway while leaving from Colombo to the airport or after arrival in Sri Lanka. A short stay on your way, if time permits, would be something to experience.

The South Coast is one of Sri Lanka's most rewarding places to visit. This is the island in a microcosm: gorgeous beaches, colonial townscapes, stilt fishermen, superb wildlife parks and Buddhist shrines and temples aplenty - not to mention the island's most alluring selection of places to stay, from luxurious beach hotels to atmospheric colonial-era villas. Active types will find a never-ending range of things to see and do here although, despite piecemeal development around the coast, much of the region's charm lies in its somnolent and quintessentially rural atmosphere. Innumerable comatose villages nestle in the shade of toppling palm trees, and the pace of life is unashamedly indolent. For proximity to more action, look for resorts near Galle.

One of the south coast's most intimate beaches, with a picture-perfect arc of sand screened by toppling palms - and a great place to go whale-watching too.

Sri Lanka's East Coast is unquestionably beautiful. Its major towns Trincomalee and Batticaloa are bustling with life and commercial activity while all 5 star luxurious hotels unlocking the massive tourism potential of the superb coast albeit at the inevitable cost of changing its formerly remote and magically unspoilt character for ever. Check out Passikudah Bay for some of the best new hotels. A pretty little horseshoe beach backed by one of Sri Lanka's most enjoyable villages. One of the finest stretches of beach on the west coast, running south from the magnificent Bentota lagoon and lined with a string of alluring hotels.