Must Visit Places In Sri Lanka
Located in the serene Indian Ocean to the southeast of the Arabian Sea and to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal, Sri Lanka is a popular holiday destination in South Asia being an all-in-one center that would entertain all sorts of travelers, regardless of age and interest. With a noteworthy history that dates five millennia back, Sri Lanka is a small island country with an all-diverse physical land stretch that consists of central high lands, the plains, and the coastal belts; also plenty of off-shore islands.
Perfect for all kinds of people who retain different tastes for fun and merry-making, Sri Lanka boasts of a wide range of tourist places that can be labeled under three categories; adventure tourist sites, historically relevant places, and natural tourist attractions. When the plains and central portions feature vibrant wild lives, jungles, and hills, the coastal areas are irresistibly charming with beaches fringed with palm trees and rocks and shallow waters suitable for various water sports and leisure. Sri Lanka's cultural triangle in the central region consists of various UNESCO's world heritage places and tourist spots like Adam's Peak and Sigiriya Rock.
Here we would like to introduce you to the best tourist attractions in Sri Lanka including both the historical and natural ones with short descriptions. The outstanding characteristic of Sri Lankan Tourism is that it fits everyone's needs and suitable for all kinds of travels like honeymoon, family holidays and other solo sightseeing because it holds all the desirable ingredients of fun and culture. If you are more into exploring the most cultural and antique entities, then Sri Lanka has various historical places and heritages. Jungles and hills are here if you would rather the pure essence of nature. Also, if you are more of an adrenaline junkie who would prefer fun elements on the water and the beach, well, the nation has adorable beaches and turquoise water too.
Anuradhapura - The Historical City
Anuradhapura is a sacred ancient city in Sri Lanka with lots of historical values attached to it. Being the first capital city of the nation, this tourist place gets all the more attractive for its grand collection of historical monuments that spreads 40 sq kilometers wide featuring Buddhist temples like Ruwanweli Stupa and Srimaha Bodhi, statues, antique made ponds and gardens and plenty of historical palaces of ancient ruling classes. Anuradhapura had been the ruling capital of the country for more than 1000 years; from 300 BC to 11th century. In ancient times, the city was among the only few centers in South Asia known for civilized urban life and political stability. Located in the middle of the nation, Anuradhapura is 168 kilometers away from Colombo Airport that would take you around 4 hours to reach on a car.
Dambulla Golden cave temple
Located in the central province of Sri Lanka, Dambulla is a historically relevant tourist place in the country where you have Dambulla golden cave temple that belongs to the UNESCO's world heritage list. With high ceiling and stone walls that have been furnished with the ancient religious things and engravings, this spectacular Buddhist monastery has five natural granite caves and over 150 Budhha statues inside that would reflect the ancient craftsmanship in its purity. With a history that dates back to the 1st century BC, Dambulla Golden cave Temple is one of the biggest cave temples in the world itself. Ibbankatuwa, a prehistoric burial site with the evidence of ancient civilization, is just three kilometers away from here. 128 kilometers away from Colombo airport, Dambulla Golden Cave Temple shall be reached by a comfortable car drive that would take you around 3 hours and 30 minutes to this cultural triangle of the nation.
Kandy - The home of the sacred tooth relic
Listed as one of the seven world heritage in Sri Lanka recognized by UNESCO, Kandy is both a cultural and regional arena of the nation where the main tourist attraction is the sacred Buddhist temple which is also known as Tooth Relic Temple that still has in possession the left canine tooth of Lord Buddha. Large groups of religious monks and devotees that wander the temple is the usual sight of the city. Also known as Maha Nuwara, Kandy that has a geographically adorable landscape encircled by mountain peaks is the capital city of the central province. Located 104 kilometers away from Colombo Airport, Kandy shall be accessed by 3 hours of car drive. Here you will see ancient temples, cultural sites, and wildlife reserves and shall take part in fun elements like hiking, trekking, and visiting museums.
Polonnaruwa - Crumbling ancient city
Just like the name suggests, Polonnaruwa is an ancient city from 10th Century BC and a prominent historical tourist attraction in Sri Lanka being the clear-cut depiction of vibrant ancient life and civilization of the nation that was so rich even though situated isolated amidst the Ocean. Looking back into history, Polonnaruwa was the historical capital of Sri Lanka in the 10th and 11th century AD when it was made the kingdom of King Vijayabahu after the collapse of the Chola army. Here you can visit national parks, museums, cultural sites, ancient temples and go trekking and hiking in wildlife reserves. 193 kilometers away from Colombo Airport, the city of Polonnaruwa is reached by 5 hours of car drive.
Sigiriya rock fortress - 5th century marvel
Sigiriya Rock is one of the historical monuments in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka with a history that dates back to 5th century AD. This tourist attraction is highlighted for this big piece of monolithic granite rock and a time-old royal palace put up by King Kashyapa when he made this rock area his residence. Now this royal palace and the rock is the most visited tourist places in Sri Lanka featuring a well-planned landscaped garden, a swimming pool, ancient paintings and works, granite throne, ponds, and natural fountains. Located 143 kilometers away from Colombo airport, Sigiriya Rock Fortress is just 3 hours and 30 minutes ride away. Here you visit ancient temples and cultural sites and go trekking in wildlife reserves.
Since a beautiful island country crafted by nature, adorable beaches and oceanfronts are the main attractions of Sri Lanka with the majority of them situated on the southwest coastal line of the nation. Beaches in here that are marked with golden sands and shallow oceanfronts are perfect for sunbathing and relaxing and offering the opportunities to carry out a wide range of water sports like surfing and kayaking. Many of the beach destinations are recognized for the existence of historical and cultural heritages in its neighboring cities, so taking a tour of them would cater to different tastes of your gypsy-self. Welcoming honeymooners and family vacationers, all of the beach spots in Sri Lanka facilitate luxury accommodation in hotels and resorts nearby. Some of the popular holiday beach destinations in the country include; Batticaloa, Beruwala, Hikkaduwa, Kalkudah, Kalpitiya, Matara, Negombo beach, Nilaveli, and Weligama.
Adam's Peak -The temple in the sky
Also known as Sri Pada (sacred foot), Adam' Peak is a huge conical mountain in the central province of Sri Lanka towering over with a height of 2,243 meters (7359 ft). The mountain-top where there is a temple as well carries a 'sacred footprint' in a rock which is believed to be Lord Buddha's in Buddhist tradition, to be Hanuman or Lord Shiva's in Hindu Tradition and prophet Adam's in Islamic and Christian beliefs; thus being a revered thing that is equally important for all religions. Located 131 kilometers away from Colombo airport, Adam's Peak, one of the most visited tourist places in Sri Lanka, facilitates the longest trekking and moonlight hiking for hours. A 4-hours car drive would take you here.
Galle-Old world charm and Colonial Heritage
Galle is both a leading beach destination in Sri Lanka and an outstanding colonial heritage from the medieval time contributed by Dutch East Indian Company in 1656. It made UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998 being a well preserved urban ensemble that shows the interaction of South Asian traditions and civilizations and European architecture in the time period of the 16th to 19th centuries. This archeological urban city is noted for the original 17th-century sewer system and has churches, clock tower, lighthouse, houses, bungalows, stores, and streets. Located just 154 kilometers away from Colombo airport, you shall reach here in two hours on a car. Enjoy sightseeing and water sports.
Jaffna, better known as Yalapanum
Situated on the northernmost peninsula of Sri Lanka, Jaffna also known as Yalpanam was one of the main cities in Northern Province in the colonial period and it was the artificial production of imperial British (1815 - 1948). The history of this district has to say a lot about communal struggles. Now, this tourist place is a calm beach destination perfect for island sundown where fishing is abundant. Your visiting here would be all the worthwhile visiting the fort, residue of colonial existence, historical monuments and religious sites. Learn both the indigenous and colonial cultures from Jaffna which is located around 360 kilometers away from Colombo airport and reached by 7 hours car drive.
Arugam Bay -The surf paradise
Located on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, 360 kilometers away from Colombo airport, Arugam Bay is a stunning beachfront village perfect for carrying out a wide range of water sports and activities. Arugam Bay, also known as 'Arugam kudah', is a prominent surf spot and is also the only venue in Sri Lanka for international surf competition that has been rated as one of the best surf destinations sites in the world itself, having hosted plenty of international surfing competitions in Sri Lanka since 2004 including So Sri Lanka Pro 2019. Perfect for holidays and honeymoons, this spectacular beach destination of Sri Lanka is 7 hours car drive away from Colombo International Airport.
Bentota Beach - Blue seas and unspoiled beaches
Also known as Golden Mile, Bentota is one of the most attractive beach destinations in Sri Lanka situated on the west coast of the nation. Setting up both luxurious accommodation and various recreational activities and amenities, Bentota has always been the best pick of honeymooners and vacationers here. Its adorable blue ocean and golden colored extensive sandy beach spellbind you right at first glance. Here you wind down on the beach and take part in a wide array of motorized and non-motorized water sports. Bentota is famous for a bunch of ancient and traditional arts of healing like Ayurveda. Other interesting facts about this coastal city are that it is known for its own unique toddy production, an alcoholic variety made from coconut nectar and It possesses a turtle hatchery near on Induruwa beach. Located just 100 kilometers away from Colombo airport, Bentota Beach, one of the must-visit places in Sri Lanka can be reached by a 1-hour car drive.
Colombo -The capital city
Being one of the time-old seaports in the nation, Colombo is a historically relevant city in Sri Lanka with lavish past of colonial enterprises and trade and commerce that connected this island country to the trading hubs of the world like China, Greek, India, and Arabia. Along with its seafarer things, the city is noteworthy for its colonial history and monuments. The city was occupied by both Portuguese and British powers at two different times. Though it enjoyed the status of the nation's capital only until 1978, Colombo is still recognized as the inevitable commercial center of Sri Lanka with an international airport in its premises. Colombo makes the list of must-visit spots in Sri Lanka for its ancient cultural residues, museums, adorable beaches and zoo, visiting where you would feel the true urban civilization of this country. Located 30 kilometers from the airport, you reach the city in 30 minutes in a car.
Ella - Home of mountain back packers
Apart from historical and cultural sites, there are some tourist attractions in Sri Lanka dedicated to adrenaline junkies. Nature lovers and adventure seekers sure would love Ella, a beautiful hill station located in the east of the island, that is marked with spectacular scenery and the genuine natural elegance. Activities that you could enjoy here include hiking, trekking, exploring wildlife reserves and rain forests, bird watching and visiting waterfalls and tea gardens. Ella rock, Lipton seat Hike, Bambaragala Peak, Ravan Ella Falls, & Mini Adam's Peak are just a few trekking places in the Ella region. Located 234 kilometers away from Colombo airport, you shall reach Ella in 6 hours of car drive.
Horton plains national park - The world end
Positioned in the central highlands of the nation, Horton Plains is a remarkable tourist spot in Sri Lanka that attracts tourists for a stunning national park perched more than 2,200 meters above sea level. The plateau that abounds in rich biodiversity and unique species of flora and fauna was made into a tourism-friendly national park in 1988. Interesting characteristics about Horton include; it is headwaters to three major rivers in Sri Lanka and boasts of the presence of a wide range of plants and birds that are endemic to this special high-altitude region. Named after one of the ruling elites in the colonial period, Horton Plains is also known as 'Maha Eliya' and is near to various tourist spots in the region like Ohiya and Nuwara Eliya. Located 178 kilometers away from Colombo airport, Horton shall be reached by around 6 hours of car drive.
Kitulgala - the adventure playground of sri Lanka
Located in the west of the nation, Kitulgala is another tourist adventure spot in Sri Lanka that facilitates a wide range of fun activities and sports in the forest. The city and outskirts attract people with mountain peaks, lush rain forest vegetation, waterfalls, a shallow and wide river, and rocky regions. Getting two monsoons a year, this must-visit Sri Lankan tourist spot is mostly wet and hence featuring charming green everywhere. Here you enjoy trekking, hiking, exploring the forest, watching birds, mountain biking, white water rafting and visiting the waterfall and historical monuments. Distanced by 85 kilometers from Colombo Airport, Kitulgala is easily accessible by a comfortable car ride that would only take you less than 3 hours.
Knuckles mountain range
Looking like the knuckles of a clenched fist, the Knuckles Mountain Range, a charming collection of mountain peaks, is one of the best tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, located in the central province of the nation. The area is blessed with fair landscapes replenished with lush vegetation under the beauty of pleasant clouds and blue sky. The region is abundant in the rich bio-diverse and eco-system featuring a host of secluded cloud forests and splendid flora and fauna with a wide range of endemic shrubs, herbs, and trees. Listed in UNESCO Natural World Heritage List in 2010, the region is noted for its climatic microcosm. Here you enjoy hiking and trekking in wildlife reserves exploring its lush landscapes. Located 145 kilometers away from Colombo airport, Knuckles Mountain Range shall be reached in 5 hours.
Nuwara Eliya - The little england
Also known as 'The Little England', Nuwara Eliya, one of the popular tourist places in Sri Lanka, is nestled at a high altitude of 1800 meters atop the sea level surrounded by beautiful landscapes and lush foliage blessed with a pleasant climate. Located in the hill station of central province, Nuwara Eliya has in possession for visitors various cultural sites, natural gardens of herbs and shrubs, adorable lakes and stunning waterfalls. At this mountain holiday destination, you shall take part in a wide range of adventurous activities like trekking, hiking and exploring historically and culturally relevant spots. Taking a car drive, you shall reach Nuwara Eliya in less than 5 hours, which is just 154 kilometers away from Colombo International Airport.