Mount Lavinia Beach in Sri Lanka is a main sea-bathing spot in the island. Here, depending on season, the waves can be swimmable and it’s host to some amazing sunsets. It also recides in a city steeped with history.
The city’s name is built up around the original residence of Sir Thomas Maitland who was the Governor General of Ceylon from 1805-1811. At a welcoming party held in his honour on his arrival in the island he set his eyes upon Lovina, a local mestizo dancer, whose father was the Headman of the troupe. It is said that Sir Thomas was smitten by her beautiful smile and charms and soon found himself obsessed by her and took every measure possible to see her more.
As it was highly unconventional for an unmarried British Officer to be seen associating with a local dancing girl, Sir Thomas and his lover met in secret. Legend says she was smuggled into his mansion through a secret tunnel that led from her father’s well into a wine cellar in the house.
As history recalls their love was not meant to last long as by social convention and duty to his King, Sir Thomas Maitland had to ultimately leave the country for Malta in 1811, where he lived and died as a bachelor.
The tunnel was eventually sealed up in 1920 and the Gypsy village that surrounded the Governor’s mansion developed into a modern bustling city that took its name from the beautiful Lovina. But the Governor’s home which he named “Mount Lavinia House” and his monument to his only love has been preserved within the walls and high ceilings of what is today the world famous Mount Lavinia Hotel. In remembrance of this tale a statue of ‘Lady’ Lavinia, as the girl became later known as, is still found in the middle of a water fountain at the entrance of the Mount Lavinia Hotel.
Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia has population 245,974 (2012) is the second largest municipality of Sri Lanka after capital Colombo. It is situated immediately south of the Colombo Municipality and immediately north of Moratuwa. It is a combination of certain key urban suburbs and communities combined for administrative purposes. It is home to Sri Lanka’s National Zoological Gardens, which remains one of Asia’s largest. Dehiwala and Mount Lavinia lie along the Galle Road artery, which runs along the coast to the south of the country.
It is a town consisiting largely of the middle class and mostly residential suburb of Colombo that had until now escaped most of the damaging industrialisation of neighbouring cities and urban centres.
Even though the Mount Lavinia Beach in Sri Lanka is renowned for its amazing beach depending on season, the waves can be either swimmable or not.
However it should be noted that this is not a bay like Unawatuna. So the waters can be very rough at certain times of the year.
The beach is usually bustling with life. People sell swimsuits, inflatable balls, sour mango, and manioca chips if you need. The strip also consists of higher end restaurants like Lavinia Breeze, Long Feng, Steamboat, Belize, etc.
It is always advised that people swim near groups and always keep a close eye on children (and pets). If you’re just wading up to your hips and building sand castles, however, Mount Beach is fine. And if you like to stay long enough around 6 PM you cab view some amazing sunsets in the Western Indian ocean.
“Mount Lavinia is a great spot to stay if you do not want to stay in the heart of Colombo. The beach is clean, huge and has many places to grab a beer or food. The local train station is nearby and you can simply pop into Colombo for a ridiculously cheap fare…..
…I would stay in this area again for sure.”
“One of the best beaches in close proximity to Colombo. There are many restaurants on the beach where you can grab a beer or drink while you enjoy a swim in the sea or relax with a view of a breathtaking sunset. A word of caution though; be aware; make sure that you take a dip where its marked safe for bathing.”