If you are planning your next vacation to this peaceful country, check out these amazing tourist spots in Sri Lanka. Here is a comprehensive list of the best places in Sri Lanka to enjoy some great time away from the hustle and bustle.
Dambulla Cave Temples – the largest temple complex in Sri Lanka
Yala National Park – Home to many wild animals and birds
Arugam Bay – turquoise paradise for adrenaline junkies
Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa – power on the green
Galle – a miracle of the 16th century
Jaffna – looking into the past
Kandy Commonwealth War Cemetery – Remember the brave martyrs
Temple of the Tooth in Kandy – a treat for the eyes and soul
Nuwara Eliya – closer to untouched nature
Trincomalee – an unforgettable beach vacation
Holy City of Polonnaruwa – Discover Sri Lanka’s Golden Past
Anuradhapura – the largest monastic ancient city
Bridge of nine arches – a bridge in the sky
Mihintale – the birthplace of Buddhism
Udawalawe National Park – a must for nature lovers
Ravana Waterfall – Enjoy the stunning view of the waterfall
Adam’s Peak – an important place for pilgrims
Mount Lavinia – a popular neighborhood
1. Dambulla Cave Temples – the largest temple complex in Sri Lanka
Dambulla Cave Temple_23. Oct
The most popular among the top attractions in Sri Lanka is the Dambulla Cave Temples. It topped the tourist destinations in Sri Lanka. The largest temple complex in Sri Lanka, its statues and paintings date back to the 12th century AD. The temple complex has five rooms of different sizes; All rooms have the Buddha in different positions and look serene and peaceful. This temple is built on top of a black stone mountain which is a stark contrast to the white walls of the temple. Don’t miss the view from the top. This temple is easily accessible from Colombo and Kandy.
2. Yala National Park – Home To A Host Of Wildlife And Birds
Missing Yala National Park while Sri Lanka sightseeing might bring regret to wildlife lovers. It is home to a host of wildlife and birds you are bound to run into a group of elephants bathing in streams, tossing their trunks wildly or leopards nestling lazily on tree branches. You could opt for the safari drives or a nature trail among the thick green foliage of the forest. Some tourists also camp at Yala and enjoy a barbeque under the stars. With so much to see and do here, Yala is indeed one of the best tourist places in Sri Lanka. Yala is the perfect place to try your hand at wildlife photography.
Getting to Yala National Park is quite simple. All you will have to do is drive down to the Park from Colombo. Another way is by taking a bus to Tissamaharama.
Famous For: Wildlife, Flora & Fauna
Things To Do: Wildlife Safari, Trekking
Location: Katagamuwa, Yala, Sri Lanka
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
3. Arugam Bay – turquoise paradise for adrenaline junkies
Professional ocean surfing in Arugam Bay on the beach in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has more than 1,000 miles of coastline and is ideal for windsurfing, speed boats and other water sports. Arugam Bay has blue skies and crooked coconut trees. If you want to surf in the turquoise waters, Arugam Bay must be included in the list of tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. Located on the southeast coast about 320 km from Colombo.
This is the perfect place to sip coconut water, inhale the scent of jasmine, and bask in the southern sun.
Apart from Arugam Bay, other beaches that rank among the best in Sri Lanka are Unawatuna in the south; and Tangala again to the south about 195 km south of Colombo.
Getting there – Colombo has an international airport and is conveniently located. So if you are flying into Colombo the best beaches are almost within walking distance.
Known for: Coastal destinations
Activities: surfing, snorkeling
Airfare from India: INR 15,000 per adult if booked two months in advance
Best beaches around Colombo: Benota, Mirissa, Kogala, Trincomalee, Pasikuda, Unawatuna, Tangala and Arugam Bay
Best time to travel: Between November and March
Best Hotels to Stay: Weligama Bay Resort, The Fortress Resort Galle, Palace Mirissa, and Mirissa Number One
4. Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa – power on the gridiron
Sigiriya is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka
Sigiriya or Mount Memories is a World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka. Appearing out of nowhere, this massive rock formation towers above everything around it. The climb to the top is quite difficult, but once you get there you will have a panoramic view of the nearby attractions and the Sigiriya Fortress. The Rock Fortress is a piece of history perched on a rock and well worth a visit.
Polonnaruwa is not much heard of or talked about, but this ancient city is no less southerly than Petra. A gem among Sri Lankan tourist attractions, the ruins of this ancient city stand amidst its austere columns and architecture. The best way to explore this ancient city is to rent a bicycle and explore the ruins. The site is well preserved and an example of insight into Sri Lankan history and culture. Polonnaruwa is easily accessible via Sigiriya. You can take a tuk-tuk or bus from Sigiriya. Or you can take a bus from Dambulla to Polonnaruwa.
Best Hotels to Stay: Jetwing Vil Uyana, Camelia Resort and Spa, Hotel Sigiriya, Camellia Resort and Spa, and Lal Homestay
5. Galle – a miracle of the 16th century
An important city in Sri Lanka, Galle is a one stop destination where you can enjoy all the sights and sounds. One of the best spots in Sri Lanka is Galle Fort. The Galle Fort area has wide cobbled streets and a number of restaurants and cafes. Try to catch the sunset while you’re there. There are a number of jewelery shops and galleries to visit. This is one of the most visited places in Sri Lanka.
Another beautiful destination for sightseeing in Sri Lanka is the Japanese Peace Pagoda. Located right on Unawatuna Beach, it is a white dome of serenity.
Best Hotels for Sty: Jetwing Lighthouse, Anggalla, Tamarind Hill, Apa Villa Thalpe, and The Fortress
6. Jaffna – looking into the past
Jaffna Fort is one of the major tourist attractions in Sri Lanka
Although a bit crowded, the Nallur Kovil Temple is a good choice among the best places to visit in Sri Lanka. Another point of interest is Jaffna Fort This fort is located in the city center and is a tourist center. While you are in Jaffna, don’t miss Nagadipa Purana Vihara, this temple can be reached by boat. The temple is one of the most peaceful tourist places in Sri Lanka, a real and beautiful place to meditate.
Best Hotels to Stay: PJ and Morgans Hotels
7. The Commonwealth War Cemetery At Kandy – Remember The Brave Martyrs
The Commonwealth War Cemetery in Sri Lanka
Yes, a weird one in the list of best places to visit in Sri Lanka, the war cemetery is well maintained and the grounds are well kept. Overall it is a very humbling experience. This cemetery is hard to find without a guide, but once you get there, it is worth the effort.
Location: Kandy, Sri Lanka
Timings: 7 am to 4 pm
8. Temple Of Tooth At Kandy – Treat To The Eyes And Soul
Temple of Tooth in Kandy
The temple of the tooth is again a popular one among tourist places in Sri Lanka. This temple in Kandy is iconic because of the history attached to it. With a quaint setup and interesting artifacts, this temple is worth a visit.
Location: Sri Dalada Veediya, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka
Timings: 5.30 am to 8 pm
9. Nuwara Eliya – closer to untouched nature
Nuwara Eliya lush green hill station in Sri Lanka
Nuwara Eliya is known for its tea gardens and nature. This is the perfect place for a romantic getaway or for someone looking for a relaxing trip. With misty clouds, lush green hills and trains that look like something out of a Harry Potter movie, Nuwara Eliya is a hilltop paradise and a great addition to Sri Lanka’s tourist attractions. Popular attractions in Nuwara Eliya include Victoria Park, Bale Bazaar, Moon Plains, Ramboda Falls and St. George’s Falls. Clairs.
10. Trincomalee – a beach vacation to remember
Beautiful beach at Trincomalee in Sri Lanka
Trincomalee is blessed with beautiful beaches among the many tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. If you are ready to dive, SLDT (Sri Lanka Diving) will offer you the best experience. Apart from water sports, Trincomalee also offers many temples and beaches. There is also a military cemetery surrounded by lush gardens, making it one of the best places in Sri Lanka.
11. Holy City of Polonnaruwa – Discover Sri Lanka’s golden past
This city used to be the ancient kingdom of Sri Lanka and stepping into it still feels like the Golden Age. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, it still has ruins of palaces, temples and stupas making it one of the best tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. All these sights hide remnants of history guarding a glorious past. This place has a lot to explore and a glimpse into the golden past of this part of Sri Lanka. This is one of the best tourist spots in Sri Lanka.
Highlights: One should not miss seeing the statue of Parakramabahu I who ruled during the Golden Age. Apart from that, visitors can also see the beautiful view of the lotus pond which is made of lotus petals and built on 4 levels.
12. Anuradhapura – The Greatest Monastic City Of Ancient World
This is one of the top Sri Lanka tourist spots which is also claimed to be one of the world heritage sites. The place gained its importance after the arrival of the Bodhi Tree which is also called the “tree of enlightenment”. The place protects the tree and keeps it away from the wild elephants during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Rangasingha.
Best Time To Visit: April and September
Location: It is approximately hours from Anuradhapura-Padeniya highway
Price: $25 (INR – 1781)
13. Bridge of Nine Arches – a bridge in the sky
Bridge in Sri Lanka
The Bridge of Nine Arches is also called “The Bridge in the Sky” and is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. Located in the small mountain town of Ella, it offers visitors a panoramic view of the surrounding area, which is made up of lush greenery and tea fields. What makes this bridge unique is that it is made of stone, brick and cement. Steel is useless. This is one of the best places in Sri Lanka for an unforgettable vacation.
Best travel time: sunrise
15. Udawalawe National Park – Must-Visit Place For Wildlife Enthusiasts
Udawalawe National Park Cover
Udawalawe National Park is a must-visit place for wildlife lovers. It is one of those few places where elephant sightings are quite frequent. Not only elephant, you get a chance to get a glimpse of many animals including peacocks, water buffalo, crocodiles, jackals, monkeys and deer. For the best experience of this top attractions in Sri Lanka, take a safari early morning when the animals are most active.
Location: Udawalawa, Sri Lanka
Timings: 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM
16. Ravana Falls – Enjoy The Impressive Sight Of The Magnificent Fall
A shot of the Ravana Falls in Ella region in Sri Lanka
The beautiful Ravana falls is one of the famous Sri Lanka attractions. The majestic and magnificent fall is an impressive sight especially during the rainy season. Located on the main road to Ella, it is a common stop for the visitors during their journey. During the hot summer months, the falls are used for bathing. It is among the most stunning waterfalls in Sri Lanka.
Location: Colombo – Galle – Hambantota – Wellawaya Rd, Ella 90900, Sri Lanka
Timings: Open 24 hours
17. Adam’s Peak – An Important Pilgrim Site
sri pada sri lanka
Adam’s Peak is another famous tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. The topmost point of the peak has a footprint cast in stone which has spiritual significance to different religions. Many pilgrimage trek to the top on full moon nights. Most of them also start hiking around 3 AM to reach the summit by sunrise for a splendid view. It is also one of the most popular honeymoon places in Sri Lanka.
Location: Sabaragamuwa, Sri Lanka
18. Mount Lavinia – Popular Neighborhood
Mount Lavinia is one of the most romantic tourist places in Sri Lanka. It is popular among the tourists for its vibrant nightlife and Golden Mile Beach. On your visit to this place, make sure to stay at the deluxe Mount Lavinia Hotel for an amazing experience. Located centrally, enjoy the gorgeous view of Colombo’s skyline and have the best seafood at Mount Lavinia beach and a lot more. This is one of the Sri Lanka tourism places you must not miss. It is also surrounded by some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
Timings: 7 am to 7 pm
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