Culturally and historically rich, enveloped in rich greenery, scenic beaches, and views that are heavenly, Sri Lanka is an all-encompassing tourist destination. Situated in the South of India, this island is a perfect getaway from the monotonous life. Surrounded by the Indian Ocean on all sides, it has recently gained momentum as an increasingly popular tourist spot. Sri Lanka places to visit not only offers a peek into the bustling city life, with the classic retail therapy, top restaurants and resorts, but it also houses some of the most exotic sights.
Sri Lanka is home to not one, but several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A densely populated country, with people from a range of different cultures and ethnic identities, ensures a culturally diverse experience for all tourists. Formerly known as ‘Ceylon,’ the jaw-dropping views from the valleys to the abundance of wildlife, this comparatively small country has a plethora of experiences to offer to everyone. It is interesting to note that all the major attractions of Sri Lanka are situated in the cultural triangle of the country. A guaranteed adventure, if your next destination is Sri Lanka, then here are some of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka you should look out for:
The capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is easily one of the most visited tourist spots. If you are in Sri Lanka, Colombo is a destination you must go to. Mistaken as any other commercial city, many sometimes do not enter Colombo, do not make that mistake, Colombo in itself has a lot to offer. Enjoy a Sri Lankan experience while in the city of Colombo. Hail a tuk-tuk, enjoy the culinary scene, and the eclectic culture, the temples and the lakes. An activity for everyone, when in Colombo you will never get bored. If you are looking for some of hte uncommon places to Visit in Sri Lanka Colombo then you can hire a local travel guide.
- Sigiriya Rock Fortress
A UNESCO Heritage World Site all the way from the 5th century, this ancient rock fortress has much historical and archaeological significance. Often called as the ‘Lion’s Rock’, this fortress is built upon a giant rock by King Kashyapa. He built a small gateway in the form of an enormous lion. Beautiful frescoes are painted all over the rock. The amazing architecture also comprises of a mirror wall build by the King, but now it is covered with several poems, verses from the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries. The terrace gardens offer a picturesque view from atop. Often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, Sigiriya Rock Fortress is one of the most sought after tourist attractions of Sri Lanka for travelers from all around the world. All these reasons make this fortress one of the must-visit places in Sri Lanka.
- Yala National Park
The most famous national park in the country, Yala National Park is rich in fauna. Yala has one of the highest populations of leopards along with wildlife such as elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, buffaloes, and a variety of birds. Located in the south-east of Sri Lanka, Yala is spread over 1000 square kilometers of grassy plains, lagoons and a dainty forest. If you are a nature-loving enthusiast, Yala National Park is definitely for you. If you are searching for one of the ideal places to visit in Sri Lanka for couples then this park is an ideal alternative.
Often known as the Little England of Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya is a small hill station and one of the most visited tourist places of Sri Lanka. The name literally translates to ‘City of hill’ or ‘City of Plain’ and is one of the most important cities for tea plantations in Sri Lanka. Its cool climate and its charming location make it an ideal hill station. It is home to the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka, Pidurutalagala. Take the most beautiful train journey to reach Nuwara Eliya and while there, indulge in various activities like boating, fishing and bird watching. Engage in the guided tours of various tea factories and learn how one of the finest orange pekoe tea is produced. And while there, pamper yourself with one of the best cup of tea in the world served with amazing scenery on the side.
- Dambulla Golden Cave Temple
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site as declared in the year 1991, Dambulla Golden cave Temple is the largest and the best-preserved temple in Sri Lanka. This cave temple has over 80 caves out of which major attractions lie in the 5 caves that attract tourists. The caves are adorned with intricate paintings and statues of Lord Buddha. The images of Buddha were created over 2000 years ago, however, subsequent images were added later by the kings. The temple is located 160 meters above the road in the southern part of Dambulla. The soothing energy and the views make it a definite must-visit of Sri Lanka.
- Adam’s Peak
One of the most spectacular places in Sri Lanka is Adam’s Peak. Situated in the middle of Sri Lanka, it is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known for its spiritual and religious importance, the Peak is above a mountain. The peak is famous for it’s Sri Pada, i.e. footprints of Buddha. Apart from that, one can trek up the peak and enjoy the view of the sunrise. The climb could be a little difficult, but the view that awaits you atop makes all of the struggle worth it.
An archaeological treasure that houses ancient structures like tombs and temples, statues and stupas, Polonnaruwa is one of the most popular places amongst the tourists. Reigned by kings for over 800 years when it was a commercial and religious hub, Polonnaruwa provides a peek into the Sri Lankan history. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient ruins are archaeological marvels that depict the culture and history of Sri Lanka. The Polonnaruwa Museum and the Quadrangle are a must-visit. However, the most unique place of Polonnaruwa is the Gal Vihara. There lay four statues of Buddha, the highlight being the 14 meters reclining Buddha. Hence, if you are a fan of history, culture and love to admire the ancient architecture, Polonnaruwa is the perfect spot for you to start with when in Sri Lanka.
- Spice Garden
Famous for its rare herbs and spices, the Spice Garden has attracted a lot of tourists over time. While at the garden, one can witness how the spices are sowed and hone their knowledge on the rarest spices, their benefits and functions, the process of how they are made and more. Some of the common spices such as turmeric, nutmeg, cocoa, cinnamon are also grown here. Along with the knowledge of the spices, the beauty of the garden makes it a visit worthwhile.
- Arugram Bay
Along with being known as the country of temples, Sri Lanka is also famous for its wide array of beaches. The beaches in Sri Lanka are known to be as some of the most beautiful beaches in Asia. Arugram Bay is one of them. One of the most pristine beaches on Sri Lanka, Arugram Bay is a perfect beach destination. The blue water and the surrounding palm trees make it a holiday-worthy. The beach, along with offering one the most amazing views, also offers a range of activities. Indulge in water sports like diving, speed boating and more. If you are on the lookout for beautiful beaches, Arugram Bay is the one for you!
- Temple of Tooth
Located in Kandy, the temple of the tooth, as its name suggests, is like no other. In the heart of the country, amongst the luscious trees, in Kandy, you will find the Temple of Tooth. Kandy is the last ancient Kingdom capital of the country. The city of Kandy houses one of the most sacred temples of the country. Like several other places in Sri Lanka, this too has been marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds spiritual importance. The main attraction of the temple is that it is said that the tooth relic the temple has is of Buddha. Between the months of July and September, the temple hosts the festival of tooth, called ‘Kandy Perahera’ with beautiful processions, vibrantly adorned elephants, fire-eaters and dancers. If you are searching for some of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka Kandy then Temple of Tooth is an ideal option.
Your Journey Doesn’t End Here
Sri Lanka is not only an island with some of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites but also is home to some of the most striking beaches. A destination that has recently become popular among the tourists, Sri Lanka places to visit will never disappoint anybody. This island country offers a combination of history, culture, architecture and more. If you are planning to visit some other popular countries near Sri Lanka then check out our Asian travel guides to get all the information.
RIYA BAGARIA – From the City of Dreams, Mumbai, Riya believes in experiencing and exploring. Having completed her bachelor’s in media, majoring in journalism, Riya is always on the lookout for honing her writing skills. Writing is her escape. She loves travel and writing, and believes each destination as an unique experience to offer which is waiting to be documented.