Best Places To Visit in Sri Lanka

Best Places To Visit in Sri Lanka

Journey Through Sri Lanka: Discover the Top 10 Places

PUBLISHED ONJanuary 2, 2024

Make the most out of your visit to Sri Lanka by exploring its wide range of spectacular views and iconic tourist spots. This place is a treasure trove, from pristine beaches perfect for water sports, to the magnificent Sri Lanka Buddhist temple that exudes an aura of peace and tranquillity.

Whether you're planning a day trip or a longer stay, there are endless things to do in Sri Lanka. Every corner of this beautiful island nation offers thrilling experiences and scenic landscapes that will leave you in awe.

Join me as we discover some of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka that you should not miss.

1. Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Our first stop is the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in history. This stunning monument, a remnant of a royal past, is renowned for its high-rise views that take your breath away.

As you ascend, you'll come across ancient rock paintings, a testament to the artistic talent of a civilization long past. From the summit, gaze upon the lush green jungle canopy stretching into the horizon, a sight that etches itself into your memory. Truly, Sigiriya is a place where history and nature come together in a stunning spectacle.

2. Kandy

Next on our list is the charming city of Kandy, the cultural heart of Sri Lanka. Home to the revered Temple of the Tooth, which houses a sacred tooth relic of the Buddha, Kandy pulses with spiritual significance.

This temple is a marvel, with intricate carvings and stunning architecture that truly embody Sri Lankan heritage. While in Kandy, you'll also get a chance to witness the traditional Kandyan dance, a vibrant display of Sri Lankan culture filled with mesmerizing rhythms and colorful costumes.

But Kandy isn't just about culture and history. It's also a haven of natural beauty. The picturesque Kandy Lake, with its placid waters and tree-lined banks, offers a tranquil retreat right in the heart of the city. A leisurely stroll around the lake at sunset is an experience not to be missed.

Just a short drive from the city center, you'll find the serene Royal Botanical Gardens. Home to a myriad of tropical plants, exotic trees, and brightly colored flowers, these gardens create a paradise for nature lovers.

3. Ella

If you are a fan of lush greenery and stunning views, Ella is the perfect spot for you. This charming hill station is home to verdant tea plantations, providing a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The iconic Nine Arch Bridge is a sight to behold, set against a backdrop of rolling hills and emerald-green tea leaves. Ella is also famous for Little Adam's Peak. From the summit, the mesmerizing views of the sprawling countryside will surely take your breath away.

Ella, with its serene landscapes, is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

4. Galle Fort

With its rich historical background, Galle Fort is a blend of colonial charm and local culture. Built in the 17th century, this historic fortress is known for its Dutch and Portuguese influences that are evident in the architecture and city planning. As you explore its cobblestone streets, you'll come across well-preserved buildings, each telling a story of the past.

The picturesque seaside promenade, known as Galle Face Green, offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean, making it a perfect spot for evening walks. There are several ways to explore the Galle Fort, one of the most popular being the Galle full-day tour bus tours.

These tours offer an engaging and informative way to learn about the fort's rich history. If you prefer a more personalized experience, you can also rent a car for a day or two, allowing you to explore at your own pace.

5. Yala National Park

If you are traveling with your kids, Yala National Park is a must-visit. This wildlife sanctuary is famous for its Yala safari, where you can spot wild elephants, leopards, and a variety of bird species. The park is teeming with life, making every safari ride a thrilling adventure.

From grassy plains to dense forests, Yala's diverse ecosystems are a joy to explore. Here, children and adults alike can come face-to-face with nature in its most genuine form, bringing an unforgettable experience of wild beauty and excitement!

6. Mirissa Beach

If you are traveling during the summer months, make sure to add Mirissa to your must-visit list. This tropical paradise is home to a beautiful beach, famous for its golden sands, clear blue waters, and a relaxed atmosphere that lets you forget the worries of daily life.

Bask in the sun and enjoy the cool ocean breeze, or take a refreshing swim in the sparkling waters. Mirissa is also a perfect spot for water activities such as surfing and snorkeling, so adventure-seekers will never get bored.

Among other tropical beaches in Sri Lanka, Unawatuna Beach and Dalawella Beach are also worth a visit for their stunning beauty and serene settings. Besides its beach charms, Mirissa is a renowned destination for whale watching. Board a boat early in the morning, and get ready for an awe-inspiring encounter with these majestic marine creatures.

Seeing the whales leap out of the water in a playful show is a sight you'll remember forever. In the evenings, the town transforms into a laid-back hub with beachside cafes offering delicious seafood and refreshing beverages.

7. Polonnaruwa

Known as the ancient city of Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa houses the ruins of an ancient capital that still echoes tales of its glorious past. This beautiful city is filled with well-preserved archaeological treasures, including the grand Royal Palace, a testament to the regal architecture of the era.

Another jewel in the city's crown is the Gal Vihara, an impressive rock temple renowned for its intricate Buddha carvings. Exploring Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, takes you back in time, offering an insightful glimpse into Sri Lanka's rich history.

Walking amidst these ancient ruins, you can almost hear the whispers of the past, making your visit a truly remarkable experience.

8. Nuwara Eliya

If you want to experience a unique blend of colonial charm and natural beauty, then Nuwara Eliya is the place to be. Known as "Little England", this charming town is loved for its cool climate and lovely colonial architecture.

The picturesque landscapes of Nuwara Eliya, sprinkled with sprawling tea fields, are a sight to behold, making a visit here one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka. A stroll through these verdant tea plantations, especially, is a must-do.

They paint a scene that's as peaceful as it is breathtaking. For a more immersive experience, hop on a scenic train ride. As you journey through the lush countryside, you'll be treated to incredible views that will surely make your visit unforgettable.

9. Anuradhapura

One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Anuradhapura holds incredible historical and religious significance. As the heart of Sri Lanka for over 1,000 years, it's filled with ancient ruins of palaces, temples, and monasteries.

Most notably, it's home to the sacred Bodhi Tree, believed to be a descendant of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. This city is also famous for its ancient stupas, large dome-like buildings where Buddhists perform religious activities.

These towering structures, some dating back over 2,000 years, are a testament to the city's rich spiritual history.

10. Horton Plains National Park

Last, but definitely not least on our journey through Sri Lanka is the Horton Plains National Park. This park is a must-visit for its unique biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes. Hiking through this park is an exciting adventure, where each step reveals a new facet of nature's beauty.

You might spot a variety of birds, animals, and plants that can't be found anywhere else in the world. Most prominent among the park's attractions are World's End and Baker's Falls.

Standing at the edge of the World's End cliff, you get a panoramic view of the stunning countryside, while Baker's Falls is a gem nestled amidst lush greenery.

More Spots to Explore

And since you've made it this far, let me share with you a few more notable mentions that you might want to add to your Sri Lankan itinerary.

  • Minneriya National Park: This park is known for its large gathering of Asian Elephants. Watching these gentle giants roaming freely is a treat to the eyes.
  • Udawalawe National Park: Here, you may spot a baby elephant among the wildlife. The park is also home to herds of water buffalo.
  • Kumana National Park: A paradise for birdwatchers, this park has a lush tropical rainforest teeming with life.
  • Colombo City: The bustling capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, has lots to explore. The majestic Gangaramaya Temple and serene Beira Lake are must-visits.
  • Golden Temple: This sacred place is a revered site for Buddhists. It's located in the city of Dambulla, also known for its historic caves.
  • Ramboda Falls: Nestled in the mountains, this spectacular waterfall offers breathtaking panoramic views.
  • Mount Lavinia: This popular town near Colombo is loved for its beautiful beach and colonial architecture.
  • Coastal Towns: Sri Lanka is dotted with charming coastal towns, steeped in history. Many of these towns date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, offering a glimpse into the country's past.
  • Pidruragala Rock: For a stunning 360-degree view, visit the top of Pidurangala Rock. The sunrise here is not to be missed.

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