This busy, rapidly developing city is a commercialized town that you meet along the Southern coastline, about 160 kilometres from Colombo. The entire trip all the way from the International Airport would take roughly 5 hours and you are at liberty to pick either the bus or the train to travel in. Both these modes are available every 30 minutes for the convenience of tourists and the railway track terminates at Matara as it is the last station along the line.
Blue waters from the sea form the façade of the city and its beaches extend about half a kilometre. Shady and peaceful, this beach is home to many trees, allowing you to rest on a comfortable beach bed, relishing the perfect green-blue gradient that is right in front of your eyes.
A major river in Sri Lanka, the Nilwala, which begins at the Sinharaja Forest Reserve runs through Matara and meets the sea at Totamuna. At the mouth of this river is the popular Crow Island. Due to it being positioned very strategically by Mother Nature, it is subjected to strong gusts of wind making it an ideal location for kite flying. Apart from this, you can also hike along the island while enjoying the diverse ecosystem and brilliant views.
On the Eastern bank of the river is the Star Fort. The name comes from its unique form which is a six-sided star and was built after the Matara rebellion. In it is the Archaeology Museum of the Matara District, and this along with the impressive architecture has made it a much-visited location of many scholars and tourists alike.
The Polhena beach in Matara houses many coral reefs so vibrant, forming a fence of sorts, allowing safe swimming. The many varieties of dazzling and colourful marine life along the shallow and calm waters make a perfect spot for snorkelling and diving.
Titled as the tallest lighthouse in Sri Lanka, the Dondra Head Lighthouse is amongst the many attractions in Matara. A spiral stairway leads you right to its top and from the balcony there, you are able to feast your eyes on a spectacular aerial view from a 160 feet elevation. Towards the North, you can witness the smooth outlines of the mountain ranges, while on the South area is the view of the vast blue Ocean.
Amongst the many others, another awe-inspiring spot is the ‘Parawi Duwa Temple’. Built quite recently, it is on a tiny island offshore called the ‘Pigeon Island’. This can be reached by doing a short yet picturesque walk across the bridge while enjoying the cool winds along with the spectacular views of the temple gardens.
Luxury and boutique hotels, inns and guesthouses with both fine and casual dining are all available here to suit your needs. The city is a fast developing commercial hub also has plenty of shopping outlets for all your necessities.