Blue Heights savours its spectacular situation at the summit of the eastern headland flanking Nilwella Bay, with views both across the bay and out towards the Indian Ocean. The beach is a five-minute walk away, via the gate at the bottom of the garden and down a narrow road, whilst Dickwella, the well-facilitated closest town, is either a fifteen-minute walk or a five-minute drive away.
Dickwella is a bustling fishing town set on a wide bay between Matara and Tangalle. Despite a growing number of tourist hotels and villas along this picturesque stretch of coastline, famous for its secluded coves and rocky headlands, Dickwella itself still feels authentic and unspoilt. The town is home to plenty of conveniences, including a supermarket, fresh produce stalls (and a Saturday market), banks with ATMs and liquor shops, but few obvious attractions aside from the sandy beach. The region is boosting a revival in the cottage industry craft of lace-making however, and the town has a few outlets where you can see the women at work and browse or purchase their designs. Dickwella’s biggest attraction lies three kilometres out of town, at Werurukannala Temple, where sits a 50-metre-high seated Buddha, the island’s tallest. Here you can actually climb into the Buddha’s head for a little divine inspiration and wander through a series of rooms where murals and models illustrate grizzly images of life in Buddhist hell. Other attractions near Dickwella include Dondra Lighthouse, marking Sri Lanka’s southernmost tip, the Devinuwara Buddhist temple and the two Dutch Forts in Matara. Towards Tangalle are secluded bays to explore and the inland temple of Mulkirigala, perched high on a rocky outcrop with stunning panoramic views. Wining and dining is fairly limited in Dickwella (the choice is either one of the rice and curry restaurants or the Dickwella Resort), but there are more options in, and on the way to, Tangalle.
Stretching between Galle and Hambantota, the south coast is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations in Sri Lanka. Characterised by historically significant fortified towns, numerous picture-perfect palm-fringed beaches, a sultry turquoise sea, swathes of iridescent green paddy fields fringed by lush green jungle, ancient Buddhist temples, expansive waterways, nature-filled rainforests and tea-carpeted hills it offers enough variety to be a destination in itself; fabulous for families, groups and couples alike.
Galle is one of the region’s most significant attractions for its sixteenth century Dutch fort filled with an evocatively rich collection of buildings, boutiques, museums and luxury digs that hug a peninsular to the south of town. Galle’s popular beaches are better-facilitated, more developed and safer for swimming than those in and around Tangalle, but the further you travel east the more expansive, deserted and nature-filled they become.
Surfing, snorkelling, diving, whale watching, sailing, fishing and kayaking can all be done along this magnificent stretch of coastline as well as cycling, walking and trying your hand at Sri Lankan cookery. Inland, the scene varies as the westerly wet zone’s lush jungle interior gives way to the arid dry zone plains a little beyond Tangalle. Taking off by bicycle is often the best way to explore the hills, plains, sanctuaries and jungle whilst a boat is a must to navigate the scenic lakes and rivers that wind in between.
Some of Sri Lanka’s most popular national parks – Uda Walawe for elephants and Yala for leopards and bears – as well as a trio of its most accessible rainforests – Sinharaja, Kottawa and Kanneliya - are easily visited on a day or overnight trip from anywhere along the south coast.
One-of-a-kind Geoffrey Bawa-designed 5-bedroom hillside house, dating back to 1984 and set in eight landscaped acres near Dickwella with fantastic panoramas over Kudawella Bay. Each bedroom has a sea view and there are two swimming pools, a dedicated staff team and direct access to a lengthy palm-fringed beach.
From the long front veranda of this charming 3-bedroom hillside house near Dickwella, views unfold across a tumbling garden, home to a swimming pool and sunset pavilion, towards the Indian Ocean beyond. Ideal for groups, Wetakeiya is staffed and well-endowed with lounges, including a TV snug.