Sri Lanka, a tropical island nation off the coast of South Asia in the Indian Ocean, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It is a place where the essence of Buddhism lives on and where the natural world is still pristine.
Stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, compelling cultural heritage, and one-of-a-kind experiences are all within easy reach in this tiny destination.
There are 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometers of coastline (much of it pristine beach), 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, and a culture that dates back over 2,500 years all within this relatively small area of 65,610 square kilometers.
Top 7 Places To Visit In Sri Lanka
See these stunning sights in Sri Lanka on your next trip to this tranquil nation. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation in a beautiful setting, go no further than this comprehensive guide to Sri Lanka’s top attractions.
1. The Dambulla Cave Temple
The Dambulla cave temple is the most well-known attraction in all of Sri Lanka. It’s the best of Sri Lanka’s tourist hotspots. These statues and paintings from the 12th century AD can be found at Sri Lanka’s largest temple complex.
There are a total of five chambers in the temple complex, each of which features a Buddha statue. The stark contrast between the black rocky mountain and the white temple is beautiful. The vista from above is worth the climb. Both Colombo and Kandy have convenient transportation options to the temple.
2. Yala National Park
Wildlife enthusiasts visiting Sri Lanka could be disappointed if they don’t get to see Yala National Park. You can see leopards leisurely resting in tree branches or see a herd of elephants splashing around in streams while their trunks flap madly.
You may go on a nature hike through the dense forest vegetation, or you could go on a safari drive. Some visitors to Yala even pitch tents and throw a cookout under the stars. Yala is one of the top tourist destinations in Sri Lanka, and with good reason. If you want to practice your wildlife photography skills, Yala is the place to go.
3. Arugam Bay
With over 1600 kilometers of coastline, Sri Lanka is a great place to do windsurfing, speed boating, or any other water sport you can think of. The sky in Arugam Bay is blue, and coconut trees lean in the breeze.
Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka is a must-visit for every surfer in search of blue seas. Around 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Colombo, near the seashore. Here you can bask in the southern sun while sipping coconut water and taking in the heady aroma of jasmine.
4. Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa
One of the most breathtaking sights in all of Sri Lanka is Sigiriya, often known as the mount of remembering. This massive granite outcrop appears out of nowhere to dominate the landscape.
After a strenuous ascent, visitors are rewarded with a breathtaking vista of the surrounding area and the Sigiriya fortress. The rock fortification, positioned on a cliff, is a fascinating historical relic. Polonnaruwa is the southern equivalent of the famed ancient city of Petra, however it receives far less attention.
Galle, a major city in Sri Lanka, is a great place to go if you only have time for one visit. The Galle Fort is an excellent example of Sri Lanka’s rich history and culture. Galle Fort is known for its broad, cobblestone streets and plenty of restaurants and cafes. If you’re there at sunset, it’s a must-see.
Many galleries and souvenir shops await your exploration. It’s a popular tourist destination in Sri Lanka. The Japanese Peace Pagoda is another beautiful site in Sri Lanka. A white domed oasis of calm, it’s located not far from Unawatuna Beach.
The city mixes the conveniences of a modern metropolis with the country’s rich indigenous and colonial past. Sri Lanka has historically been of great strategic importance to European commercial powers due to its position on the world’s spice trade routes.
A unique synthesis of Indigenous and European cultures has developed in this former Portuguese, Dutch, and British colony. Colombo is a melting pot of cultures, and you may experience all of them through the city’s food, architecture, and art.
Visit Kandy if you’re interested in Sri Lankan culture and history. The city was the seat of the Sri Lankan royal dynasty and the country’s primary capital before colonial rule. It is located in the geographic center of Sri Lanka.
Between the 15th and 18th centuries, when most of the coastal districts were colonized by European powers, the inland interior flourished during what is known as the “Kandian Period.”
The National Museum of Kandy is an excellent resource for learning about the area’s history and its inhabitants through displays and relics. Part of the royal palace, the nearby Temple of the Holy Tooth Relic is a highly revered Buddhist temple.
8. Udawalawe National Park
About an hour’s drive from the vacation town of Hambantota in the south, you’ll find this massive wildlife park. The park sits on the transition between the country’s rainy and dry zones, hence the landscape and ecosystem are rather diverse.
There is a big population of elephants in the park, and visitors can also observe crocodiles, water buffalo, and other animals. In fact, other than Africa, it’s one of the best sites to watch wild elephants anywhere in the world.
There are leopards in the area, but they are notoriously difficult to find. In addition to the many species of deer and small creatures, you can also spot monkeys. It’s also a great spot to see local avian life.
Sygiria, Nuwara Eliya, the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage, the Polonnaruwa Sacred City, Mirrisa, Yala National Park, Jaffana, Ulpotha, Trincomalee, Udawalawe National Park, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Horton Plains National Park, St. Clairs Falls, Tawalantenne, Arugam Bay, and dozens of other destinations. Sri Lanka’s rise in popularity can be attributed, in part, to the island nation’s rich cultural offerings.