Best Places To Visit In Sri Lanka
Located in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is often considered as one of the finest islands in the world. From ancient ruins to picturesque cities to local temples, the amazing diversity of its wildlife, Sri Lanka doesn’t fall short when it comes to a range of diverse tourist destinations. Explore its history and the beaches, jungles and tea plantations. Here are only some of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka.
1. Sigiriya & Anuradhapura:
Sigiriya is an ancient citadel built atop a rock built by King Kashyapa in the late 5th century. It is named for the large lion paws flanking the entrance to the palace. Protected by two moats and three ramparts, you can hike up to the citadel. It is located in the Central Province and Anuradhapura is the capital city of North Central Province and one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka. Explore its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization. Hike Pidurangala and visit the Minneriya National Park. Mihintale, Ruwanwelisaya, and Isurumuniya are some of its major attractions.
2. Adam’s Peak:
The “sacred footprint” or Sri Pada or Adam’s Peak is located in a diverse biological site. It is a pointed mountain in central Sri Lanka and a common pilgrimage. The sacred footprint is believed to be an impression of Buddha’s own footprint near the summit. Witness the amazing sunrise or the sunset from the top of the mountain. This 2,243 m tall is a must visit Sri Lanka.
3. Galle & Arugam Bay:
Galle is a well-preserved colonial city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. Its most famous attractions are its 17th-century fort built by Dutch colonists, the Galle Light, and its museum. The fortified old city was founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century and expanded by the Dutch. The natural harbor, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and Galle International Stadium are some of the other destinations in Galle.
Located on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay attracts surfers and beach lovers from around the world. It is one of the places to relax by the sea in Srilanka. You can also visit the Kumana National Park.
4. Dambulla Cave Temple & Kandy:
Dambulla is 72 kilometers north of Kandy and it is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. It is one of the World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. The amazingly crafted murals cover a total area of 2,100 square meters holds five cave temples containing a huge collection of Sri Lankan Buddhist artwork, including statues, shrines, and murals. There are around 153 Buddha statues throughout the complex.
Kandy is placed on a plateau surrounded by mountains, home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. Kandy has a number of places to visit, the most famous is being the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and Kandy Lake. Kandy is a large city filled with famous sites so take your time to explore it.
5. Yala National Park & Horton Plains National Park:
Sri Lanka has a number of national parks, showing its diverse wildlife, Yala National Park & Horton Plains National Park are being the most famous ones. Yala National Park is home to big cats and the highest collection of leopards in the world, and also Sri Lankan Elephants, aquatic birds, monkeys, crocodiles, and others.
In Horton Plains National Park you will see beautiful waterfalls, scenic plains, diverse wildlife and abundance of flora. It offers great hiking trails.
6. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage:
Observe baby elephants playing in the water in the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, an orphanage located at Pinnawala village. It is a nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants. Founded in 1975, Pinnawala has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.
7. Nuwara Eliya:
Nuwara Eliya is a city located in the hills of central Sri Lanka. It is the country’s tea production capital and home to some gorgeous waterfalls. Visit the Hakgala Botanical Gardens home to roses, tree ferns, and monkeys and blue magpies. There are religious sites like Seetha Amman Temple and national parks with amazing wildlife. Lake Gregory, Galway’s Land National Park, Moon Plains, and its tea factories are some of its major attractions.
Polonnaruwa is the second oldest kingdom in Sri Lanka known for its ancient ruins. From the Polonnaruwa at the Archaeological Museum to the massive Royal Palace consisting of 50 buildings with its well-preserved audience hall and the stunningly decorated Sacred Quadrangle, Polonnaruwa is home to some of the best preserved ancient ruins of the country. Gal Viharaya and Polonnaruwa Vatadage are some of the must-see sites here. You can also visit the Minneriya National Park and Parakrama Samudra from here.
9. Bentota & Mirissa:
The Southern beaches of Sri Lanka are perfect for a beach holiday or if you are looking for a little relaxation. Bentota is a resort town with a long stretch of Bentota Beach. Here you will find the Bentota Lagoon along with Canoe Rock and centuries-old Galapota Temple and much more. On the other hand, Mirissa is a small town located in the Matara District. Mirissa is a tropical paradise known for its sandy beaches and nightlife and it is a perfect place to watch dolphins and whale.
10. Colombo & Ella:
Rich in history, eclectic culture, and buzzy culinary scene, Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka and for many people, it’s the start of their Sri Lankan tour. There is a lot to see in the capital including the Galle Face Green, Gangaramaya Temple, National Museum of Colombo, and Beira Lake and others.
200 kilometers east of Colombo is situated the small town of Ella with a rich bio-diversity, dense with numerous varieties of flora and fauna. Ella is one of the best destinations in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by lush green countryside, Ella is home to epic hikes, railways, waterfalls, spectacular bridges and famous tea plantations.