Matara Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 1-3 days

Best Time: December - April Read More

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"For Beautiful, Serene Beaches and Temples!"

Matara Tourism

In the Southern Province of Sri Lanka, lies the beach city of Matara. Located 160 km from Colombo, Matara has a stronghold in the teardrop island – in terms of scenic shores, Buddhist temples, a frolicking local life and authentic food.

The name Matara translates to "Great ferry" which refers to the large seaport that facilitated immense volumes of trade. The Matara beach and the nearby Polhena beach is a humble abode for the local fisherman and traders. The Buddha temple

Sunrise and sunset here are gorgeous sights that reflect simplicity and warmth. You can fly kites, play fun games and gobble some of the freshly cooked fish alongside the shore, and the beach is ever bubbling with life. The roads are immaculately designed to celebrate Dutch architecture.

The old houses, churches and architecture stand as an ode to the past and ring antique vibes. The Matara Fort and Star fort dating back to 1560, Dutch reformed church of 1706, St. Mary's church of 1762, Old Nupe market of 1769 and Buddhist structures – Parey Dewa and Matariya Bodhiya, a sacred fig tree - are all sites of historical importance, architectural prowess and nature's elegance! An ideal tourist destination, Matara promises cosy stays, beach shacks, trips to the lighthouse (Dondra head), homebound pleasures like popsicles, tender coconuts and street music.

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History of Matara

Matara belongs to one of the three kingdoms of ancient Sri Lanka, Ruhana. King Weerabamapanam made Matara his capital and named it "Mapatuna". He also built a sacred Buddhist temple in the middle of the town, which is revered even today! Matara was governed by the Portuguese and the Dutch in the 16th and 18th centuries respectively. Though the fort was won over by the Kandyan kings, it stayed with them briefly for two years and was recaptured by the Dutch in 1762. The lighthouse at Dondra Head is considered the oldest in Sri Lanka. During this time Arabian traders settled in Matara and continue to live in harmony as an ethnic minority.

Restaurants and Local Food in Matara

The Dutchman's street, Bob SL Restaurant, Reef Edge Seafood Restaurant, Ambasewana Indian Restaurant are some famous food joints. They specialise in continental and Sinhalese cuisine. Seafood is a staple in their m, and the Sri Lankans are known to incorporate a lot of fibre in their food. Thus vegetarians and non-vegetarians have a variety of options. Most restaurants here close by 10.30 PM.

Transport in Matara

The Matara railway station is a major terminus of Sri Lanka Railways' Coastal Line. It runs between Colombo fort and Beliatta via Galle and Matara. The A2 highway runs through the city and provides connectivity. Within the town, tuk-tuks and private cab services are the ways to travel.

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What is the best time to visit Matara?

The best time to visit Matara is from December to April. The Matarians, as they are colloquially known, have their twist to festivities. Christmas and the new year are celebrated plum cakes that have their hint of homegrown spices, and the streets light up in the evenings. The temperature generally ranges between 24°C and 30°C. It faces a tropical climate with generous rainfall in October and November, cuddly winter nights during December and February, and summers days from mid-March to May. Being a coastal city, it experiences quite a bit humidity; but nothing that some sea breeze in the evenings won't suffice. Overall the climate is pleasant and welcoming!
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What are the places near Matara?

The top places near to Matara are Galle which is 38 km from Matara, Colombo which is located 132 km from Matara, Kandy which is located 148 km from Matara, Nuwara eliya which is located 113 km from Matara, Anuradhapura which is located 262 km from Matara

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