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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Places to Visit in Matara - Top 5 Tourist Attractions in Matara
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Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Places to Visit in Matara - Top 5 Tourist Attractions in Matara

As one of Sri Lanka's most popular beach hubs, Matara is also a cultural hotspot in its own right. Here are five must-visit highlights when holidaying in the seaside hamlet.

1

Polhena Beach

Often regarded as one of the best beaches on the southern coast, Polhena Beach has achieved mythical status among local and foreign vacationers for its pristine waters and stunning shoreline. The emerald-hued waters off the coast of Polhena Beach are an anomaly in Sri Lanka's southern coast which mainly consists of blue shade oceans. Not only can visitors spend time bathing and lounging around on the white, sandy beach but also engage in a plethora of water bound activities including snorkelling. The bay is also ideal for long walks on the beach while frequent vacationers to the area also spot the odd turtle on the shore. Don't forget to take some Instagram worthy shots at this breathtaking beach hub.

2

Our Lady of Matara Shrine

Occupying pride of place in the heart of the city, the Our Lady of Matara Shrine is no ordinary religious edifice in the seaside resort hub. Built facing the sea, the spiritual hub is one of the few Catholic shrines in the area that welcomes non-devotees to its confines with open arms. Those who are lucky enough to visit the annual feast at the shrine can not only take part in the festivities but also witness the pomp and pageantry of the annual procession where thousands of pilgrims also walk behind the procession to show their faith and devotion.

3

Dutchman's Street

Those who are looking to grab a bite while sightseeing in Matara should look no further than the local favourite named Dutchman's Street. A cafe and restaurant all rolled into one, the venue is the perfect spot to try some of the best international and local fusion dishes in a charming setting. Located inside the Matara Fort the restaurant has a unique colonial feel in its interior and exterior. Some of the menu highlights include its batter fried prawns while other burgers and cafe favourites are also served piping hot and rivals the fare served at the best boutique hotels in Sri Lanka. Live music events and Dj's are also part of the Dutchman's Street lineup every now and then

4

Old Dutch Trade Centre

Another colonial landmark in Matara, the Old Dutch Trade Centre takes visitors on a trip back in time to when this ancient venue was the main trading point and market in the city. Located in the western quarter of the town, the T shaped structure is a stunning architectural marvel in its own right. Featuring a steep roof as well as an elaborate entrance the three cone-shaped towers set this colonial building apart from similar structures in the area.

5

Weherahena Temple

Visitors based in Soul Resorts or any other similar base in Matara should also take the time to visit the Weherahena Temple. Officially dubbed the Weherahena Poorwarama Rajamaha Viharaya, the temple is found in the village of the same name in Matara. The key highlight at the locale is the mammoth 39 m tall Buddha sculpture as well as the 600-foot long tunnel featuring murals depicting scenes of Jathaka tales.