The palm fringed bay and picturesque coves of Tangalle are a natural treasure. This is a lazy town littered with gentle reminders of the Dutch days of the 18th century and beautiful villas looking out over the shimmering sands of Seenimodera. Located 195 kilometres form the beautiful capital of Colombo and 35km east of Matara, is a pleasant fishing port situated on one of the finest and largest bays in the island, which is protected from the ocean by an enclosing reef. You can arrive at this exquisite destination both by train and bus or hired transport within 4 to 5 hours. Exhibiting fine beaches which are good for swimming and more than reasonable for diving, Tangalle is a popular beach destination on the south coast. It is believed that the name is derived from ran-gala or golden rock, from a legend that tells of a time when a holy man once partook of a meal there, and the rock was turned to gold whilst further research also reveals that it means the “projecting rock”, because long ago the town was protected from the ocean by a long rocky slab that projected into the sea across the mouth of the bay.

Tangalle has spread since those days, so that it now comprises not just one bay but a series of them. Approaching Tangalle from the west, you will encounter Goyambokka and Pallikkudawa, situated on a double bay south of the town.

Beyond the town and harbour are the larger bays, Medaketiya and Medilla. Medaketiya in particular has fine white sand, excellent swimming conditions, and is rarely crowded. The most popular day excursion from Tangalle is to the stunning rock temple of Mulkirigala, 20km to the north where after ascending a series of rock steps you will reach a few natural caves with numerous wall paintings and Buddha statues.

One cave houses a library, in which a most important discovery was made in 1826 by a British administrator who found some long-unseen palm-leaf manuscripts containing the key to translating the Mahawamsa, the Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka.

Tangalle Beach
Tangalle Beach

Mulkirgala has a strenuous climb in some places while it is reasonably easy in most. It is well worth making it to the summit, for there are magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.

Special sightseeing tour packages covering Sri Lanka

Explore the hidden beauty of the Sri Lanka. All Packages are fully customizable.

What is certain is that Tangalle has for long been considered a good anchorage. The Dutch were the first Europeans to discover the maritime benefits of Tangalle and their influence can be seen in a few remaining examples of architecture, such as the Rest House, Court House and Fort. The Dutch Fort stands on a slope above the bay. Unfortunately it has undergone considerable alteration since it was turned into a jail in the mid 19th century. This fort differs from many others of the Dutch era since there are no massive ramparts. There are four main walls, which are 12 metres high, enclosing a space similar to a rhombus. The British too, used Tangalle as an anchorage. Furthermore, tea planters began to develop it as a resort, finding the clean white sand and deep blue water there the best antidote to life in the sometimes chilly and damp hills.

The best months to visit this scenic town start from November through to April. Tangalle the land of white sand and basking sun is a place not to be missed when you visit the coastal South of Sri Lanka.

Map of Tangalle Sri Lanka

Filter by

Puranagama Eco Lodge - Starting from USD 45

Lagoon House.
The most beautiful house in Puranagama Tangalle and the first bulit, is the Lagoon House. You have a wonderful view on the lagoon and you can watch hundreds of beautiful birds return to the lagoon in the evening. I...

Ranna 212

Ranna 212 consists of a range of stylish and elegant guestrooms offering vibrant colour palettes and large windows that provide natural light. Guests can choose from modern deluxe rooms or suites which are designed to offer space, relaxation and ultima...

Coco Tangalla - Starting from USD 144

Offering stylish accommodation, 6 air-conditioned bedrooms are available at the Coco Tangalla. All rooms are furnished with twin or double beds while they all vary in colour and design offering a sense of uniqueness. Facilities include...

Maya Tangalle Villa - Starting from USD 368

Maya which is a regal and ancient Walauwa consists of 5 elegantly adorned luxury suites that lead out to a gorgeous 20 meter swimming pool. The suites are named as 'Thekka', 'Khumbuk', 'Amba', 'Ehela' and Kohomba which are named after ...

Lagoon Paradise Beach Resort - Starting from USD 47

A wonderful spread of accommodation choices is available at the Lagoon Paradise Beach Resort in Tangalle. The deluxe room range consists of beautiful placements offering a fine angle of the lagoon, the sand dunes of Tangalle and the Indian Ocean. All d...

Ganesh Garden Beach Cabanas - Starting from USD 78

A variety of accommodation units are offered at Ganesh Garden Beach Cabanas in Tangalle. Cabanas can be chosen according to your budget and according to your taste.

Wooden Cabana - Built of pure Sri Lankan w...

Palm Paradise Cabanas - Starting from USD 43
The Last House - Starting from USD 306

When you arrive at the Last House you can either book the entire house, the Cinnamon Hill suite or even rooms namely Moonamal, Atteriya and Na.

The Cinnamon Hill Suite - Spread across the entire upper floor of the house, this suit...