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.
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.