Destinations: Beruwala

Beruwela

The most popular beach resorts of the south coast area starting around here and streaches towards Galle and beyond. There are many large hotels catering the tourists but are often busy during the weekends with local tourists.

 

58 km or 1-¼ hours’ drive from Colombo, Beruwela marks the start of the commercial strip of southwest coastal resorts. This is one of Sri Lanka’s two top tourist destinations, the other being Bentota. The fine palm-fringed beaches here attract the majority of visitors to the island, especially towards the end of the year, when the northeast monsoon ensures calmer seas this side of the island. Beruwela is a predominantly Muslim town and boasts the oldest mosque in Sri Lanka, situated on a beautiful headland just out of town. It is believed that the mosque was built at the landing site (then known as Barberyn) of the first recorded Muslim settlers. Thousands of pilgrims flock to the mosque each year for the festival at the end of Ramadan.

 

The starting point for a major beach resort area on the south coast, Beruwela is believed to be the first Moorish settlement on the island, established by Arab traders around the 8th century AD. A large population of Sri Lanka Moors, many of them gem traders, still live in this area, particularly in the “China Fort” district. The oldest mosque in Sri Lanka – the Kachchimalai Mosque – is built on a rocky headland overlooking this town.

 

Chief among the package tour resorts, this town attracts mainly Europeans fleeing the intemperate winter for weeks at a time. Travellers looking for adventure won’t find much here, as the surrounding area consists mainly of mid to top-of-the-range hotels with beautifully landscaped gardens and all modern conveniences, and gem, handicrafts and tourist shops. All the hotels have facilities for water sports, tennis and other outdoor games, as well as indoor games such as pool, snooker, carom or table tennis. In addition, you will also find that some of the hotels also have gyms, ayurveda healing centres, conference and banqueting facilities.

 

There are some small islands out at sea that are worth investigating, and a reef-protected slice of sea that makes swimming safe virtually all year round. Deep-sea fishing is possible here, as well as windsurfing.