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Tangalle

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About Tangalle

Conjuring up images of golden sands studded with rocky promontories and towering palm trees, Tangalle is one of southern Sri Lanka’s most popular coastal destinations. Accommodation options are wide-ranging, with everything from simple beach cabanas to exquisite luxury resorts, fit for a whole host of tastes and budgets. There’s plenty for families, couples or groups of friends to explore both on the beach and beyond, too. Many of the best places to stay in Tangalle boast superb ocean views, but a couple of our favourites overlook the paddy fields and lush jungles of the interior, which are also very special.

Southern Sri Lanka’s big draw is undoubtedly its sandy shores, and the enormous stretch of Tangalle Beach does not disappoint. Tranquil Mawella Beach, just nearby, is also beautiful — the waters are calm enough for swimming, and brightly-painted fishing boats sit high on the edge of the sea. Speak to your hotel or guesthouse about the best surf spots, take a boat trip to spot whales, try fishing, or play a game of beach volleyball.

History buffs will find Mulgirigala Raja Maha Vihara, an ancient Buddhist temple built on a 205-metre hill, particularly fascinating. Aim for a volunteer-guided tour for a real sense of the site’s past, and expect spell-binding views. If you’re keen to marvel at the island’s wildlife, the wetlands of Bundala National Park are brilliant for a day trip — as is Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary. Finally, Mirijjawila Botanic Gardens showcases myriad dry zone plants, sure to intrigue nature lovers.

Tangalle town itself is very quiet, but the markets and heritage buildings are worth a wander. Hip Hiriketiya, just 9 miles away and easily accessed by three-wheeler, is a wonderful spot for a lively lunch, evening sundowners or great surf. The best places to stay in Tangalle fill up fast during the high season, so book your trip well in advance!

The Best Places to Stay in Tangalle

For Couples

  • Taru Villas promises a chic boutique stay on picturesque Mawella Beach. Spacious suites feature Sri Lankan antiques and artwork with a monochrome palette and a grown-up feel. The Tangalle Social is a top spot for some superb seafood, and the Taru group has a reputation for exquisite attention to detail. Restful and romantic.
  • Villa don Hendrick is a collection of three elegant bungalows in lush gardens overlooking verdant paddy fields and a big infinity pool. Pick this place for a real sense of seclusion and tranquility. Perfect for honeymooners or friends on holiday, the heritage property is adults-only unless you book all three villas for a large group. Very stylish.

For Families or Groups

  • The Last House is a bright beachfront hotel with antique furnishings, handloom fabrics, exposed beams and flexible, family-friendly rooms. Book the whole villa if travelling as a bigger group, and enjoy yoga classes, Ayurvedic massages or strolls along the beach after exploring the area by bicycle. Architecture buffs will adore the Geoffrey Bawa connection. A classic choice on Mawella Beach.
  • Anantara Tangalle has three restaurants, an extensive wellness centre and a popular kids club. Contemporary rooms and private villas are swish and well-appointed, and there's an enormous ocean-facing pool. A brilliant resort for fun family trips, large group stays or for travellers eager to feel restored and rejuvenated.
  • Buckingham Place gets its name from the owner's surname, and features 16 rooms and suites, many of which have space for families or small groups. Think excellent views over jungle-fringed Rekawa Beach, two swimming pools and fun activities including table tennis, snooker and volleyball. An off-the-beaten-track choice.

For Great Value

  • Mangrove Beach Cabanas are simple wooden or polished-concrete bungalows on a quiet stretch of beach. Some cabanas have space for families, there's great Sri Lankan cuisine at the restaurant, and the beach bar is buzzing during the season. Laid-back and great value.

For Barefoot Luxury

  • Amanwella takes minimalist luxury to the next level, with thirty serene suites — each boasting its own plunge pool — gazing across golden sands to the Indian Ocean from between swaying palm trees. Treat yourself to marvellous afteroons at the spa after days spent bird watching, snorkelling, windsurfing or perfecting your Sri Lankan cooking skills. The sundowners are terrific. Understated indulgence for couples or friends.

FOR AN APARTMENT OR VILLA

  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Tangalle is three hours’ drive along the expressway from Bandaranaike International Airport. Most hotels will be happy to arrange an airport pick up with a reliable driver.
  • Alternatively, regular trains and air-conditioned highway buses run from Fort Station (and the nearby bus stand) in Colombo to Matara, the nearest large town (25 miles from Tangalle). It’s easy to hop aboard a local coastal bus or negotiate a three-wheeler for the remainder of the journey. Trains and buses are the most affordable way to travel, and the train is especially scenic — though it risks being a sticky ride!
  • For car hire prices, we recommend contacting our online partner Rentalcars. Driving in Sri Lanka, however, is not for the faint-hearted. We'd suggest choosing another form of transport unless you have experience of driving somewhere similar.
  • Sri Lanka's south coast is in season between November and March, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures of around 26 - 32°C. This is also the best time to surf. Expect temperatures to reach their peak in April, and for the monsoon rains to fall in June/July and October. Travel in late October or early November for quieter beaches and great hotel deals.

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Best Hotels in Tangalle

  • Mangrove Beach Cabanas Tangalle 9 rooms from £42

    Value chic  -  Private cottage accommodation at an excellent price
    Fishing  -  Tangalle is a sleepy fishing village - trips can be arranged in town
    Kayaking  -  Get on the waters in your very own kayak
    On the beach  -  Located on Tangalle Beach
    Air conditioningRestaurantViewsParkingNo pets

    Simple yet chic this unassuming little cluster of wooden cottages has been welcoming guests for years. Ideal for travellers or couples on a budget, seeking some relaxation. There is a popular bar where guests congregate plus a beach restaurant serving tasty Sri Lankan dishes. Great value. See More

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  • Villa don Hendrick Tangalle 3 rooms from £103

    Romantic Break  -  An adults only resort offering seculded private villas, beautiful paddy fields, romantic in room dining and an infinity pool
    Hotel Entertainment  -  The hotels food is out of the this world, a magical fusion of western and Sri Lankan dishes
    Local markets  -  The nearby coastal market town of Tangalle is an interesting spot to pick up souvenirs
    Birdwatching  -  The jungle is filled with birds and their songs will be the sound track to your stay
    RestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViews
    Recommended by  -  I Escape

    A stunning historic building, turned luxury adults only resort in the jungles and paddy fields near Tangalle. The three private villas offer a romantic and luxurious retreat, while the main house oozes colonial charm from its seating and dining areas littered with antiques and leather-bound books. See More

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  • Taru Villas Tangalle (Moraketiara) 5 rooms from £165

    Beach Life  -  Just steps from a gorgeous stretch of uncrowded beach.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara where the Buddha himself was said to have meditated.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenParkingNo pets

    A boutique villa tucked away on one of the quietest, yet prettiest, of Sri Lanka's southern beaches. Five individually styled rooms are simply designed with soft hues, four posters and large windows overlooking the tropical gardens. Fabulous service lends that perfect mix of homely luxury. See More

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  • The Last House Tangalle 4 rooms from £140

    Families  -  Children are well looked after and there is a three bedroom suite ideal for families
    Architectural  -  Famed architect Geoffrey Bawa’s final creation - an iconic stay
    Local markets  -  A tuk-tuk tour of the sleepy fishing town of Tangalle
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Swimming PoolGardenParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith

    Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa's final creation The Last House provides an iconic and stylish stay. Think colourful interiors, plenty of antiques, exposed beams and roll-top baths: a perfect mix of old and new. Meals are served al fresco and (bar breakfast) are arranged on request. Superb. See More

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  • Anantara Tangalle Tangalle 152 rooms from £185

    Families  -  Baby sitting services, two-bed villa accommodation and a kids club they won't want to leave
    Spa breaks  -  Providing ancient, trusted Ayurvedic therapies the wellness centre has a lot to offer
    Restaurant  -  There are various dining options from international to traditional Sri Lankan or Italian
    Cooking classes  -  Take home some local flavours from Spice Spoons
    Air conditioningTennisSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    Recently opened this modern wellness resort is ideal for individuals, families or couples seeking relaxation. Private villas allow for ultimate privacy, whilst a popular kids club means grown ups can leave the little ones behind. Dine on Italian dishes at Il Mare or fusion cuisine on the beach. See More

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  • Buckingham Place Tangalle (Nettolpitiya) 15 rooms from £227

    Romantic Break  -  A place of tranquility and privacy with gorgeous airy rooms overlooking the surrounding nature.
    Back to Nature  -  An abundance of biodiversity with architecture designed to merge living and nature.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the magnificent Mulkirigala Rock Temples in Tangalle.
    Sailing  -  Spot sperm whales and dolphins on a boat trip.
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    A newly built and cleverly designed hotel, in spacious grounds brimming with exotic plants. Minimalist guest lodges with stunning views, excellent food and friendly service. A tranquil escape yet close to the beach - a great spot for nature lovers and couples. See More

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  • Amanwella Tangalle 30 rooms from £488

    Beach Life  -  Sitting on a beautiful private 800m crescent beach- enjoy turtle watching, 'fresh-off-the boat' seafood and golden sands.
    Back to Nature  -  Submerge yourself in the lush green environment and observe sea turtles, monkys, birds, lizards and mongooses.
    Cooking classes  -  Accompany the hotel's chefs to the early morning fish and spice market, and learn to cook your favourite curry.
    Sailing  -  Take a trip on a restored Indonesian fishing boats out to sea to try your luck at whale watching.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Kiwi Collection, Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet

    Top end luxury and serene zen spaces on the edge of a coconut grove overlooking a wonderful beach. Sparing contemporary-chic design and fantastic facilities in this natural location. Sumptious cuisine enjoyed with a lovely sea view. A contemporary beach haven. See More

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