Tangalla, 48 kms from Matara, is a nice beach resort with long stretch of white sand providing an excellent opportunity to have a lazy beach holiday. Facing east, the village center straddles a freshwater lagoon where a small river flows into the sea, with a fishing harbor at its mouth.
Crow Island is a small beautiful island that stands facing the beach of Matara covered completely with greenery. The river Nilwala meets the sea at Totamuna that is also a part of the city.
Matara Lighthouse was built by the European rulers in 1894 at Devinuwara (Dondra edge). The height of the lighthouse is 172 ft that makes it one of the highest lighthouses in Southern Asia and a must visit for tourists visiting Matara. Dondra, 3 miles from Matara, is the southernmost point of Sri Lanka.
Polhena beach, is an important tourist attraction as it is a nice beach resort. The beach is safe for swimming as the coral reef that encircles the beach provides protection and makes the water level around the beach shallow. There are many beach huts and shacks here.
The sea front at the boundary of Matara city is half a kilometer in length and provides a serene look to tourists. There are also numerous small beaches lying in between Galle and Matara. Tourists interested in diving enjoy Hikkaduwa beach, where there is a marine sanctuary abundant with coral and tropical fish. Unawatuna beach near Galle provides a beautiful stretch of safe sandy beach. At Kudawella a novel feature is a blowhole that throws huge columns of water into the air when ocean waves break on the rocks.
Matara beaches are also known among travellers for Stilt fishing that means fishing by standing on stilts in the water.
Mulgirigala, 16 km from Tangalla, is a monolithic rock temple with numerous images of reclining Buddha in smiling pose.
Devinuwara is a small village in Matara district, around 6 km from Matara city, which is known among travelers for the local holy shrine of Hindu God Vishnu. There is a huge festival organized in Devinuwara to honor God Vishnu every year.
Old Dutch Church is located inside the Matara fort, and is one of the oldest structures in Matara.
Wevrukannala temple, situated near Dickwella (15 miles from Matara), is known for a 150 ft high Buddha statue. It is the highest Buddha statue in Sri Lanka, which can be accessed from inside by tourists and ascended to enjoy the view from top. The temple also displays hundreds of brightly painted and gilded models depicting scenes from the life of Buddha.
Weherahena temple is famous and a must visit attraction for tourists visiting Matara for the 39m high colorful Buddha statue. Weherahena temple is in Weherahena village about 6 km from the town centre. There is also a tunnel temple behind the statue, which is about 600 feet long. There are depictions of Lord Buddha in the form of paintings in this temple.
Star fort was built by Dutch in 17th century in the shape of a star with the purpose of guarding the river crossing. The fort now contains a museum featuring collection of historic paintings and frescoes on wooden panels. There is an old Dutch church inside the fort, which is the oldest building inside the fort.