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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Must Visit Attractions Near Matara – Highlights for the Discerning Sightseer
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Must Visit Attractions Near Matara – Highlights for the Discerning Sightseer

The coastal town of Matara in Sri Lanka is an appealing locality to visit. Near Matara, you will find a number of attractions that will capture the imagination of the sightseer, like those below.


Matara Fort

Visitors can take the opportunity to explore the area known as the Matara Fort. At this rather run down but historically significant site, you will be able to experience its intriguing atmosphere and rather a melancholy charm. If you visit this part of the town you will have the chance to observe the distinctive colonial era architecture of the numerous magnificent mansions dating from this period. Although today sadly these mansions are in a state of disrepair, they still provide a suggestion of their glory in times gone by. You will also notice a riverbank in the vicinity which is rumoured to be inhabited by crocodiles.


Weherahena Temple

Sightseers and culture lovers visiting Matara should make it a point to visit this captivating Buddhist temple that is sure to capture the imagination of the visitor. Within this eye-catching temple, you will have the chance to observe a man-made cave that has been embellished with numerous vivid illustrations of scenes from the life of the Buddha. You will also notice a massive statue of the Buddha that will capture the eye of the visitor. Towards the end of the year, this temple conducts a 'perahera' or religious procession featuring elephants and various performers to celebrate the founding of the temple.


Polhena Beach

Leisure seekers visiting the area may take the opportunity to spend some quality leisure time at Polhena Beach, which is one of the well-known stretches of beach in the environs of Matara. Here you will encounter a pleasant and appealing cove which is seemingly protected by an offshore reef. Within the local bay, you will find good conditions for snorkelling. Despite the fact that the visibility here is hardly outstanding you may have the luck to see one of the sea turtles who make their home in the area. You will see that during weekends many locals descend on this beach to spend their leisure time, bringing with them a host of inflatable playthings.


Star Fort

No sightseeing tour of the environs of Matara would be complete without visiting the famous Star Fort. Star Fort was constructed by the Dutch in colonial times, with the intention of creating a sturdy fortress to protect the local areas. However, you may be surprised to learn that Star Fort is of modest size and not of massive proportions. If you visit Star Fort you will notice the year of its construction, 1765, imprinted above the principal gate; you will also notice other details like the coat of arms and insignia of the builders. Within this fort you will encounter a modestly sized museum that displays interesting exhibits regarding Matara's history. A choice of accommodation that you could consider from which this attraction would be within easy reach would be Surya Lanka Ayurveda Beach Resort which may be considered to be a conveniently located Ayurveda retreat in Sri Lanka.


Whale Watching at Mirissa

Nature and animal lovers will be entranced by the opportunity to watch whales in their natural environment at Mirissa, a town that is located in the environs of Matara. In the waters bordering this part of Sri Lanka, it is common to see a considerable number of whales as they pass by on their yearly movements. In the waters of Mirissa, you will have the opportunity to observe different kinds of whales such as blue whales, sperm whales, Bryde's whales, fin whales and others. You may also have the opportunity to view dolphins, turtles and different varieties of fish on these excursions.