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Sri Lanka, the island country, sparks several pictures in our minds. The tea plantations, elephants, green mountainscape, picturesque coastlines are just a few examples. This destination attracts families, solo travelers, and honeymooners, regardless of their geographical boundaries.

Being a budget destination, you really would not have to think twice before you pack your bags and get going. But before you hit the payment option and book that Sri Lanka tour package, make sure you are visiting the listed destinations!

Visit Sri Lanka to enjoy its many lovely beaches and green landscapes. Sri Lanka has many old forts and colonial buildings that are worth seeing. Explore the caves; check out the wildlife and the country's heritage. Climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress for top views, and check out the Golden temple of Dambulla.

Visit Kandy and explore its botanical garden, Gregory Lake and golf course. Be sure to visit at least one of these beautiful beaches - Bentota, Nilaveli, Negombo or Trincomalee.

Top Places to Visit in Sri Lanka photos

1. Colombo


There are fair chances you will begin and end your trip from this point, as Colombo serves as an international gateway for traveling Sri Lanka. Plus, you have lots of entertainment and sightseeing option that will keep you asking for more. If you are browsing through Colombo tour packages, it is suggested that the itinerary consists of attractions such as National Museum of Colombo, Beira Lake, National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka and Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple. Going south of the island is Talpe Beach and on that beach you can see turtles.

2. Galle


Galle was for several centuries one of the most important ports of the road to Asia, in the heart of a prosperous trade. The Portuguese landed there as early as 1605 pursuing an Arab fleet that was trading spices to the Maldives. The Dutch stormed their fortress in 1640. Today it is a tropical port which, sheltered from its walls, is longing for a bygone era.

Galle Fort was built between 1588 and 1649 by the Portuguese and fortified by the Dutch. The lighthouse and the clock tower are the most photographed spots. The lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in Sri Lanka.

Wander in a labyrinth of lanes slumbering with ocher houses, turquoise or jade with faded shutters, traversed by nonchalant cyclists and in its shaded places by big banyans, where old people play backgammon.

3. Unawatuna


Go to Unawatuna beach, one of the best beaches in the country very close to Galle. From the Unuwatuna beach it is about 15 minutes by motorcycle to Dalawella beach. Just 5 minutes walk from Dalawella around the corner is the paradise of Wijaya Beach. There are several hotels (their terraces) arranged along the beach and a couple of beach clubs with lots of tourist and lots of parties.

4. Weligama


Go to Weligama to try to have some notions of surfing. Eat exquisite calamari in a restaurant next to the beach.

5. Mirissa


You can get to Mirissa from Tissamaharama by local bus. Mirissa is a place to surf, to take a refreshing swim, to snorkel in isolated coves of the waves, there is an especially pleasant place to the left of a small island viewpoint. In Mirissa there is a certain atmosphere, that by the music that sounds in its restaurants of the beach, it could seem that we are in a beach of Jamaica. You can enjoy one of the best Kottu in the country.

6. Tangalle


Sri Lankan waves are attracting more and more snowboarders, so why not try a surf lesson? Nilwella and its sandy bottoms are an ideal spot for beginners, while Unakaruwa will delight the most experienced.

Tangalle is an invitation to pure relaxation. If, despite everything, you need to move, try surfing, discover hidden temples, go out to meet whales, explore the national parks that house elephants and leopards. Visit a local market, in Tangalle or Dickwella where you can find stalls pressed against each other, merchants squatting on their mat, and an extraordinary profusion of fruits.

You can buy mangoes of twenty-one species, papayas, guava, lychees, coconut and dwarf bananas. You have to step over the squares of bright red peppers, slalom between the woven baskets, in the scents of cinnamon and vanilla. You can visit the Mulkirigala temple, 30 minutes from Tangalle, nicknamed the little Sigiriya.

There is a Buddhist temple on the mountainside whose rise is punctuated by three levels where you can visit a room filled with many statues of Buddhas and various offerings.

Scattered in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and other parts of the island, the remarkable architectural ruins left by the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka are an unmistakable sign of the influence and power that these kingdoms once exercised over the country. The driving distance between Ella to Ussangoda National Park is 125 km.

7. Yala National Park


Sri Lanka has made its mark with its lifestyle and boasts of having the highest density of leopards across the globe. That's not it, there are numerous other endangered and rare species of avifauna, flora, and fauna; such as fishing cat, water buffaloes, Sri Lankan elephant, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, night herons, egrets and purple swamphen.

8. Ella


Ella is not the cheapest place in Sri Lanka. Go to a viewpoint to see Nine Arch bridge. It is one of the best English constructions of when Ceylon was a colony of the British Empire. A railway line was developed to be able to export tea to the outside of the country. In this viewpoint there is a small bar. In Ella there are two typical walks one is Ella Rock and the other the small Adam's Peak.

Very close to the southern population of Ella is the Ravana Falls divided into different smaller waterfalls that make the water slide over the rocks creating small calm pools that both locals and tourists use to cool off. Next to the waterfall you can visit the magnificent cave of Ravana Ella, one of the most popular tourist attractions.

Also, in places like Ravana Ella, Ussangoda and Konneswaram Kovil the oral tradition has its own stories whose central axis are the exploits of King Ravana who was possibly one of the greatest kings of ancient civilizations. The prowess of Ravana would turn him into the first king who managed to fly thanks to a flying machine that he had designed, known as Vimana that is connected to the famous Ramayana.

8. Haputale


Haputale is at 1400 meters of altitude and is surrounded by mountains where Thomas Lipton took advantage of these conditions to invest in tea plantations. Go to the Dambatenne tea factory. It is the fourth producer of tea in the world.

9. Badulla


Continue the route to Bambarakanda Falls in Kalupahana in Badulla, the highest in Sri Lanka about 23 kms from Haputale. Return along the A4 road towards the Diyaluma waterfall. It is the second highest in the country with 220 meters and the sixth in the world. This waterfall has an absolutely majestic view as it acquire a horsetail shape after falling and jumping off a cliff.

It is 6 km from Koslanda in the Badulla district. The name in the Sinhalese language means fast flow of water. When talking about the most beautiful waterfalls in Sri Lanka it is impossible not to mention the Dunhinda Waterfall. Formed by a deviation of the Badulu Oya river, it gets its name from the dew that falls as if it were smoke or spray.

You can get to it from the city of Badula in a tuk-tuk traveling approximately 4 km, and then it is necessary to walk one more kilometer.

10. Nuwara Eliya


Known for its scenic rail ride and tea plantations, Nuwara Eliya is yet another paradise in Sri Lanka. This hill station will further please you with Colonial structures and golf course. The landscape looks too dreamy to be true! Your visit to Sri Lanka stays incomplete without a rail ride taking you through waterfalls, hills and rich plantations. The journey begins from Kandy, which you will find featured in most of Sri Lanka tour packages.

Located about three kilometers east of the city of Talawakele, we find the St. Clairs Falls. Known as the little Niagara of Sri Lanka, it is only 80 meters high, but it has a width of over 50 meters, becoming the widest waterfall and one of the main waterfalls in the country.

Although it is not a spectacular waterfall in itself, its two unique pockets of water and the surrounding environment full of vegetation and tea plantations make this waterfall one of the most interesting. Like all the waterfalls in the country, the best time to visit Sri Lanka to appreciate these natural phenomena is during the rainy months.

Its almost 100 meters high allows the water to fall strongly on the base of the Devon Falls, making it one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Sri Lanka. Tea and coffee plantations surround this waterfall, giving it even its name. Finally the Ramboda Falls, located in the Pussellawa area can be visited after a short journey from Nuwara Eliya.

It is quite difficult to get to the base of the waterfall so one of the best snapshots can be taken from a viewpoint located directly opposite. Splashed by the glow of green pink-purple ferns and lush rhododendrons, Baker's Falls is a popular waterfall in Sri Lanka. It is one of the widest waterfalls in the country that forms many streams. It can be accessed through an easy short walk from the Horton Plains National Park.

In the past the park was known as Maya Eliya Thenna. In the park there are the mountains Kirigalpotha and Thotupola (second and third highest of the island) and the famous World's End. The two closest towns to access the park are Pattipola and Ohiya.

Head to Rambukkana and visit the dolmen. Visit the Kadodara temple. Kadadora Vihara also known as Kadadora Sri Priyabimbaramaya Vihara was a Buddhist temple, located in Kadadora. The temple was abandoned and covered by water with the construction of the Kotmale dam in 1979. The ruins of Vihara can still be seen when the water level of the Kotmale reservoir is low.

11. Kandy


The Kandy Esala Perahera is a colorful, lively and noisy Buddhist procession imbued with tradition and history. For more than ten nights between July and August, the procession is a tribute to the sacred relic of the Buddha's tooth, which is located in the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa). Every year, almost a million people go down to Kandy where bands perform dances, acrobatics always accompanied by elephants.

They are different pink pavilions with red slate roofs surrounded by a solid white wall. It was built between 1687 and 1782, under the reign of several monarchs. The main building, where the relic of Buddha's tooth is really located, is Vahahitina Maligawa. Other interesting buildings are the Alut Maligawa, the Sri Dalada Museum and the Audience Hall (Magul Maduwa).

The tooth is placed in a reliquary surrounded by six others and is located in a small sanctuary. Reach the botanical garden about 6 kms from Kandy. The garden has more than 4000 species of plants, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. It attracts about 2 million people each year. The house of the orchids with more than 300 varieties of orchids is the highlight of the garden.

12. Pinnawala


You cannot really say you have been to Sri Lanka if you haven’t spent time with adorable elephants at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Since elephants appear in almost all of Sri Lanka tourism brochures, you would know how much this country loves them. Here at Pinnawala not only you get to bathe and feed elephants, you can also ride them and explore the verdant locale.

Surely, besides these four destinations, other places that deserve mentioning are Bentota, Hikkaduwa, and Sigiriya. Hope this short yet informative blog comes out to be a helpful resource for you. If it is! Don’t forget to bookmark this page, so it comes handy.

13. Matale


Matale is about 45 kms from Dambulla. Stop at Aluvihara Temple, one of the main attractions of Matale. It is a series of caves excavated in the rock, like those of Dambulla. Arrive at Sri Muthumariamman Temple. One of the pleasant surprises is Sembuwatta Lake and the road to get there. They are 22 kilometers on a narrow road and in sections without asphalt. Along the way see tea and rice fields in addition to small waterfalls.

Sembuwatta Lake is an artificial lake created from natural spring water. We skirt the lake and cross through tea fields. There is a pool next to the lake.

14. Dambulla


In Dambulla visit the temple caves. Upon entering the enclosure, the first thing you find is the Golden Temple and a museum, which is free. In the first cave, the Devaraja Viharaya or the Temple of the King of the Gods, there is a reclining Buddha statue measuring 15 meters. The second cave, the Maharaja Viharaya or the Temple of the King of the Gods is the largest one.

The statues of the gods found here correspond to Saman, Upulvan, Maithree and Natha. In the third cave, Maha Alut Viharaya, there is a statue of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha of Kandy. The fourth cave, Pachima Viharaya, is the smallest and in it there is a Buddha statue with the hand raised in dhyanamudra. The fifth cave is the Devana Alut Viharaya or Second New Temple, the most recent, more representations of the Buddha.

15. Sigiriya


Sigiriya, surrounded by jungle is the large granite rock 200 meters long, 120 meters wide and almost 200 meters high. The Palace of Sigiriya Fortress was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and is currently one of the major tourist attractions that can be seen in Sri Lanka. It contains the ruins of an old palatial complex, built during the reign of King Kasyapa.

At the beginning of the climb there is a Buddhist temple and almost at the end of the climb is a reclining Buddha. Hire an excursion to Kaudulla to go see elephants or the Minneriya National Park but Kaudulla is where more elephants would be seen.

16. Polonnaruwa


Polonnaruwa is about 40 kms from Habarana, which was the second capital of the kingdom after Anuradhapura. Start with the royal palace, seat of the Sinhala royalty. Although the building is deteriorated, its thick walls can give an idea of ​​how majestic it was. Hadatage is another of the best buildings in front of Vatadage. It was raised in just 60 days to guard the sacred relic.

Thuparama is known as the Mansion of the Buddha image with a beautiful vault. Nissanka Latha Mandapaya is a unique structure in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka. Gal Pota or stone book, is a huge stone with an extensive inscription commissioned by Nissanka Malla that resembles a book. Sathmahal Prasada Dagoba has a pyramid shape, with seven levels with Thai influences.

Rankot Vihara is the largest dagoba here and the fourth largest in the country. It is 55 meters high and 185 meters in circumference. Lankatilaka is one of the most impressive structures in Polonnaruwa. In the 12th century this was one of the most splendid Buddhist shrines in Asia and was built by Parakramabahu I. A few meters away Lankatilaka is Kiri Vihara, the second largest dagoba in the city and the only one that had not been restored.

Gal Vihara are 4 large Buddhist granite statues. The largest is a reclining Buddha of 14 meters. The first statue is a Buddha sitting in a deep meditation, on a throne decorated with lions and rays. Get to Pasikuda to see a fishing port.

17. Trincomalee


Trincomalee also known as Gokanna is located east of Sri Lanka. Located in one of the best natural harbors in the world, Trinco (as the locals call it) stretches on both sides of a narrow peninsula between the Indian Ocean and an inland port. While most travelers come here to enjoy the golden sands of the beaches of Uppuveli and Nilaveli, there is also a lot of history in this place.

In addition, it has many national parks (Leopards are seen in Yala) and Arugam Bay is ideal for surfing.Follow the sounds of Kandasamy Kovil, the revered and historic temple located on top of a rocky hill, at dawn. Konesar Road fish market is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the flavors of Tamil cuisine where crab and freshly caught squid become the center of attention, along with countless fruits and vegetables like pumpkins and mangoes.

The curries and sambars (stew made of vegetables, tamarind, lentils and spices) and kottu (local dish consisting of a roti and vegetables with chicken or cheese, all chopped) are the stars of the culinary scene. Dutch Bay, in the center of the city, offers a picturesque walk along the coasts lined with fishing boats.

The migratory blue whales arrive at this place in March and April, and are regularly seen next to the dolphins. Swami Rock is an ideal place to observe them. The white sands and coral gardens of Pigeon Island, just north of Trinco, offer an idyllic place to hike, snorkel and observe turtles.

18. Anuradhapura


The ruins of Anuradhapura is more than 2000 years old and is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from all over the world. Sri Sarananda Maha Pirivena houses a giant Buddha and a place inhabited by many young monks. A few meters away is Sandahiru Seya. Mirisawetiya Stupa is the only dagoba or stupa that can be visited for free.

Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba was built in the second century BC and is 55 meters high. It stands out for being surrounded by a wall with hundreds of elephant figures and has several Buddha images. Mihintale, 14 km from Anaradhapura, is a mountain that tells the legend that it was sanctified by the Buddha, which is why it is one of the 16 sacred places in Sri Lanka.

People climb about 2000 steps to a large rock, Aradhana Gala, at the top of this hill. The Kantaka Chetiya dagoba was the meeting place between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa, meeting that inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

Located on the northwest coast of Sri Lanka, Kalpitiya is one of the most beautiful and undiscovered areas of the country. A peninsula that separates Lake Puttalam from the Indian Ocean, where there is a marine sanctuary with a great diversity of animals that live between corals and mangroves where we can find exotic beaches of golden sand. Kalpitiya is known for being a destination frequented by lovers of kite-surfing and its beautiful beaches with an old Dutch fort.
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Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author

16 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to visit Sri Lanka. I'd love to build an entire trip around the suggestions in this post.

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  2. Sri Lanka hasn't crossed our radars much but thanks to this, we have many places to consider on our next adventure. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Oh wow, so many places to visit. I'd love to travel all over!!

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  4. Sri Lanka is on my bucket list. Thanks for the suggestions. I always try to get off the beaten path when visiting new places.

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  5. I love finding the more non touristy places when I travel. It makes for less crowds but also gives you more of an appreciation.

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  6. sri lanka is getting very popular these days. thanks for sharing!

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  7. I've never been to Sri Lanka before, but it looks like an interesting place to visit. Looks like some different things to check out there.

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  8. Does Weligama have surfboards to rent? Or do you have to bring your own? Thanks for the tips here for places to visit.

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  9. I want to visit Sri Lanka so badly. It would be such a beautiful place and these pictures really showcase that.

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  10. Sri Lanka is a destination I've always wanted to visit.

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  11. I've never been to Sri Lanka, but it is definitely on my list of future travels! All of these places sound amazing, I'll be book marking this blog post for when I visit one day!

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  12. We haven't been to Sri Lanka yet, but it's on our list. I'd love to visit a tea plantation.

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  13. I know someone who is always traveling to the area and boasts about it's beauty. Didn't know there were so many top places to see

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  14. I am yet to visit this beautiful country! The list is quite helpful and am sure it will come handy for people who are planning to visit Sri Lanka soon ☺

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  15. How incredible! I've never been to Sri Lanka, but it sounds like an amazing place to visit and experience.

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  16. You have made me want to visit Sri Lanka over and over again with your posts. Thank you for sharing so mayn wonderful things about this place!

    ReplyDelete

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