Just offshore – you can walk out to it at low tide – is this tiny island. It looks like an ideal artist’s or writer’s retreat, which indeed it once was: novelist Paul Bowles wrote The Spider’s House here in the 1950s. The island was developed in the 1920s by the French Count de Mauny Talvande who perched his mansion on the tiny rock. You can stay or dine on the island with advance planning; five staff are allocated to cater for your stay.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Weligama attractions

1. Bandrawatta Beach

1.09 MILES

This lovely natural cove beach is well away from the main highway, has sheltered swimming and also a surf break further offshore. Look out for stilt…

2. Mirissa Beach

2.84 MILES

A vision of tropical bliss, Mirissa Beach boasts powdery pale sand, while its azure water is framed by an arc of coconut palms. The west side is the…

3. Handunugoda Tea Estate

5.25 MILES

This exquisite tea plantation in the hills above Koggala offers (free) highly informative tours of the estate. You'll sample and learn how they produce…

4. Kataluwa Purwarama Temple

6.26 MILES

Rarely crowded, this feels like the temple time forgot. Dating from the 13th century, it has some recently restored murals, including some large ones…

5. Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum


This interesting museum includes the house where respected Sinhalese author Martin Wickramasinghe (1890–1976) was born (the traditional southern structure…

6. Koggala Lake

6.91 MILES

Next to the road, Koggala Lake is alive with birdlife and dotted with islands, one of which features a Buddhist temple that attracts many visitors on poya…

7. Polhena Beach

7.28 MILES

The best beach in the area is a small sandy cove that's sheltered by a reef offshore. There's good snorkelling in the bay, and though visibility is not…

8. Old Dutch Trade Centre

7.66 MILES

On the western side of town, this magnificent T-shaped building (once the town's market) will fascinate architectural buffs: it has an imposing, steeply…