Top Choice Fort in Matara

Star Fort

About 350m from the main rampart gate, Star Fort was built by the Dutch to compensate for deficiencies in the rampart. However, it’s so small it could only have protected a handful of bureaucrats. The construction d…
Top Choice Historic Site in Matara

Dutch Rampart

The smallish Dutch rampart occupies the promontory separating the Nilwala Ganga from the sea. Built in the 18th century to protect the VOC’s kachcheri (administrative office), its structure is a little peculiar – it…
Buddhist Site in Matara

Weherahena Temple

On the east side of Matara, turn inland 1km off the main road for this gaudy temple that features an artificial cave decorated with about 200 cartoon-like scenes from the Buddha’s life. There’s also a huge Buddha st…
Buddhist Site in Matara

Parey Dewa

A pedestrian bridge near the bus station leads to a small island, Parey Dewa (Rock in Water), which is home to a tiny Buddhist temple with a very fancy modern bridge leading out to it. The beach on which it sits is …
Beach in Matara

Polhena Beach

The best beach in the area is hugely popular with locals at weekends who rent goofy inflatable toys and frolic in the surf. It's just west of town.