19 Best Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

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An ideal destination to visit would be where you can find lustrous tea gardens, golden beaches, chirpy environment, emerald forests, and a potpourri of chaotic and soothing places, and Sri Lanka is just that! This teardrop-shaped island country is amongst top tourist destinations, with no shortage of awe-inspiring sights to keep one in high spirit ‘ALWAYS.’ In Sri Lanka, a plentiful moment of serendipity waits, and if you have not visited here yet, there is no time for you to waste. Visit Sri Lanka to fill up that one blank space in your travel bucket list where you wanted to place a travel destination that was full of life, warm people and exotic places. Once done with that, start planning your visit, and refer to this blog of ours to find out the must visit places during your holiday in Sri Lanka.

1. Colombo

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Photo: A Riveting Sight of a Blissful Destination Colombo | http://bit.ly/2ucPwon

Since it is here you will place your feet first, why not talk about this capital city’s brilliance then. Colombo receives all international travellers and a stay here won’t be a hassle at all. The city has good transportation system, al fresco cafes and well-maintained hotels. It is also a good place to soak in the lively ambience of the city’s nightlife with drinks and music. Check out a few party venues and casinos for a carousing night and pay a visit to the seaside promenade, Galle Face Green. A stroll early morning on the beach would definitely vivify you. Colombo has many attractions but the famous ones are listed below.

Places of Interest:

  • National Museum
  • Old City Hall
  • Dutch Period Museum
  • Viharamahadevi Park
  • Old Dutch Hospital
  • Galle Face Green
  • St. Anthony Church
  • Wolvendaal Church
  • Pettah Markets
  • Old Galle Buck Lighthouse
  • Mt. Lavinia Beach
  • Turtle Conservation Villa

2. Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Photo: Delightful Train Journey amid the Lush Greens of Nuwara Eliya | http://bit.ly/2tDq3mU

An antidote for tourists to escape the coastal heat, Nuwara Eliya is a charming hill destination that offers a cool and relaxing climate. The ambience it creates is like that of a traditional english town with colonial-era bungalows, tended hedgerows and clean cut gardens. This land filled with picturesque landscape is definitely a must visit to detox your senses from the never resting city life. While here, you can rejuvenate amid the craggy hills and lustrous tea gardens that spread far and wide, and also visit the impressive golf course. Nuwara Eliya boasts many other sights to see and they are mentioned below.

Places of Interest:

  • Hakgala Botanical Gardens
  • Gregory Lake
  • Bale Bazaar
  • Victoria Park
  • Strawberry Field
  • Ambewela Farm
  • Buddhist Temple

3. Kandy

Kandy, Sri Lanka

Photo: Laidback Ambience of Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth | http://bit.ly/2v6Qqzh

Sri Lanka’s greatest gem, Kandy is one of the most popular places to visit that is wrapped by awe-inspiring vistas, tea plantations and spice gardens. The place is decorated with lush greenery and is blessed with a temperate climate making it a righteous abode to have a romantic holiday. Kandy is known for Temple of Tooth and Esala Perahera, these two attractions are widely visited.

Places of Interest:

  • Kandy Lake
  • Temple of the Tooth
  • Sri Dalada Museum
  • Kandy Garrison Cemetery
  • Ceylon Tea Museum
  • World Buddhism Museum
  • Malwatte Maha Vihara
  • St Paul’s Church
  • Degaldoruwa Raja Maha Vihara

4. Mirissa

Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Photo: Romantic Evening Under the Orange Sky in Mirissa Beach | http://bit.ly/2sZvX2E

What seemed to be a distant dream holiday in a tropical paradise will come true in Mirissa in Sri Lanka. This place located in the southern tip of the country charms every visitor with its palm-fringed shores and thrilling nightlife. In Mirissa, you are to find some of the best beaches and sea front cafes that are swarmed by tourists. Besides that, it is a perfect place to unwind and connect with nature and the best part about Mirissa is, you can go for a tour to watch whales and dolphins in the ocean. While here, you can sights other places as well, if at all, sunbathing or relaxing is not your way to have fun.

Places of Interest:

  • Mirissa Beach
  • Polhena Beach
  • Kushta Rajagala Statue
  • Turtle Bay
  • Weligama Bay
  • Midigama Beach

5. Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

Photo: A Soothing Sunset View from the Arugam Bay Beach | http://bit.ly/2u3bQk8

This place can rightly be called as a little hamlet for surfers located at Lanka’s southeast coast. Arugam Bay has a number of quality surf hubs and the most popular ones are Whiskey Point, Peanut Farm, Pottuvil Point, Elephant Rock and Okanda. This bay is also considered as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Sri Lanka because of its soft sand, tranquil water, alluring palm trees and riveting ambience. This one of the best destinations for surf tourism in Sri Lanka, italso has plenty of other things to do to keep the non surfers accompanied.

Places of Interest:

  • Rent a moto and tour around
  • Yoga and Spa
  • Relax in the beach
  • Visit the Panama Tank
  • Kumana National Park
  • Mambos saturday night

6. Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Photo: An Impressive Standing Statue of Buddha in Lankatilaka | http://bit.ly/2uLRZDk

Polonnaruwa is an ancient and culturally opulent city, and it displays the early civilisation of Sri Lanka. In the center of the city, there lies an astonishing ruin, the royal palace complex, it is a religious building that displays the finest remains of Polonnaruwa. This place is a large area that stores a melange of ancient structures such as tombs, temples, statues and stupas. Thus, Polonnaruwa is considered as one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka, if you love history and enjoy every second meandering amid the ruins. Here, apart from the palace, you can explore other attractions as well.

Places of Interest:

  • Alahana Pirivena
  • Jetavana
  • Audience Hall
  • Sacred Quadrangle
  • Shiva Devale No. 2
  • Buddha statue at Lankatilaka

7. Galle

Galle, Sri Lanka

Photo: Bird’s Eye-View of Sri Lanka’s Tropical Paradise Galle | http://bit.ly/2sZZg5v

One of the finest travel destinations in Sri Lanka you will come across is Galle. It is located in the southern part of the island and it has a tropical ambience perfect for holiday. This fortified city is surrounded with Dutch-colonial buildings and is adorned with a number of remaining fortress built by Europeans. As a matter of fact, Galle is recognized to be a heritage destination in Asia. Besides, the below mentions are few famous and important attractions in Galle.

Places of Interest:

  • Flag Rock
  • Old Gate
  • Historical Mansion
  • Main Gate
  • National Museum
  • Point Utrecht Bastion
  • National Maritime Museum
  • Lighthouse Beach
  • All Saints Church
  • Kalutara and Seenigama temple
  • Marine Archaeological Museum

8. Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Photo: Overwhelming Sight of Mirisaveti Stupa | http://bit.ly/2v6JDFJ

Another well-preserved site, Anuradhapura was once the centre of Theravada Buddhism. A visit here is definitely an overwhelming experience, adorned with sheer historical treasures and monasteries populated by many monks, Anuradhapura is indeed the best historial place to see in Sri Lanka. The city has a large collection of archaeological and architectural sites that spreads over an area of over sixteen square miles. Amongst the many temples and the enormous dagobas, you can visit severalother attractions as well.

Places of Interest:

  • Sri Maha Bodhiya
  • Ruwanwelisaya
  • Thuparamaya
  • Lovamahapaya
  • Abhayagiri Dagaba
  • Jetavanarama
  • Mirisaveti Stupa
  • LankaramaIsurumuniya
  • Magul Uyana
  • Rathna Prasadaya
  • Queen’s Palace

9. Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

Photo: Charming Resort Overlooking the Azure Waters of Hikkaduwa | https://booki.ng/2u8j8Tk

If you look up a travel guide for a place simply to meditate during sunrise, relax or tour during the day, party at night then, it will direct you here at Hikkaduwa. This place that gives a hippie hangout vibe is another treasure Sri Lanka possesses. It is known as a destination for surfers and party goers and it throngs with wild crowd especially during Hikkaduwa Beach Fest, which is a nightlong fiesta with international DJs a party loving crowd. This three day beach party is usually held every July/August. Apart from sun toasting sessions and party, this place has other interesting sights to keep one companied, few mentions are below.

Places of Interest:

  • Coral Sanctuary
  • Hikkaduwa Beach
  • Tsunami Photo Museum
  • Moonstone Mines
  • Hikkaduwa National Park
  • Seenigama Vihara
  • Hikkaduwa Lake
  • Gangarama Maha Vihara

10. Ella

Ella, Sri Lanka

Photo: Refreshing and Spine-Tingling Green Hills of Ella | http://bit.ly/2u8xl2n

Feel rejuvenated and content here at Ella, as it is surrounded by alluring hills and emerald forest. It is considered to be one of Sri Lanka’s best holiday destination, well suited to rekindle your love and to spend some time where you can unwind. Ella is blanketed in lush tea gardens which provide a perfect place to stroll amid the greens overlooking the misty mountains. It is a soothing hub and a visit here is worth every penny.

Places of Interest:

  • Buddhist temples
  • Ravana’s Cave
  • Ella Rock
  • Uva Halpewatte Tea Factory
  • Ravana Falls
  • Nine Arch Bridge

11. Haputale

Haputale, Sri Lanka

Photo: Captivating Sight of the Lustrous Tea Estate of Haputale | http://bit.ly/2v6JTob

Sri Lankan town, Haputale is often regarded as a base while visiting the Horton Plains. However, its dramatic location seated on the southern edge of the hill country offers a beautiful sight to lay eyes on. Haputale gives an excellent view of the southern plains, the inland and the coast. The travellers can also enjoy quiet nature walks amid the surrounding hills. The town is filled with vibrant shops, and cosy cafés that are perfect to sit and chat admiring the town.

Places of Interest:

  • Adisham Monastery
  • Dambatenne Tea Factory
  • Lipton’s Seat
  • Diyaluma Falls
  • Thangamalai

12. Unawatuna

Unawatuna, Sri Lanka

Photo: Calm Ambience of Lanka’s Sleepy Coastal Town Unawatuna | http://bit.ly/2sZy5Yq

Once known as a sleepy town, commercialization has taken over with travellers of all genres entering from every corner. Unawatuna, a coastal town in Galle district is a popular beach destination and is also famous for the corals. The activities that keep visitors busy are surfing, yoga, cookery classes and sun bathing. Apart from that, Unawatuna has a good selection of places to munch delicious food and comfortable, shoestring places to stay.

Places of Interest:

  • Buddhist Temple
  • Lighthouse Beach
  • Koggala Lake

13. Dambulla

Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Photo: A Majestic Statue of Buddha in Dambulla Golden Temple | http://bit.ly/2t9joNH

A land that is known for its cave temples, Dambulla is a picture-perfect abode that displays a wide range of Sinhalese Buddhist Art in its small cavern that are fitted with statues and fine work of murals. The reason what makes Dambulla interesting is for the junction that connects Colombo – Trincomalee and Kandy – Anuradhapura roads. Thus, it provides a convenient base for travellers. There may not be many exciting attractions in Dambulla, however, you can opt for a sightseeing tour here that offer a visit a series of wholesale markets, clocktower, long stretch of shops, a blend of old and new concrete buildings and a 15 km road trip to Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

Places of Interest:

  • Cave Temples
  • Royal Rock Temple
  • Dambulla Produce Market
  • Dambulla Museum
  • Golden Temple

14. Sigiriya

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Photo: Impressive Kingdom of Kassapa, Sigiriya Rock Fortress | http://bit.ly/2uM38Ec

Sigiriya is most probably one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic site located 15 km northeast of Dambulla. Sigiriya Rock Fortress is located on a flat surface of a gigantic gneiss rock that towers dramatically. Its vertical walls rises up forming a kingdom of Kassapa where now only the ruins of an ancient civilisation exist. And in order to get there, if you are brave enough, you’ll have to climb a series of staircases that are attached to rock walls. Once you enter the fort, you will get to witness the ruins, frescoes and water gardens around the premises and the sight of the magnificent rolling hills and forest from the fort will simply baffle you.

15. Kataragama

Kataragama, Sri Lanka

Photo: The Sacred Kataragama Temple Looking Stunning as the Sun Sets | http://bit.ly/2u7ZG95

One of the most cherished religious sites in Sri Lanka, and 19 kilometres further inland from Tissa is Kataragama. This is a sacred pilgrimage site of the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist as well as Vedda people of Sri Lanka. This place receives pilgrims from far and wide where you can express devotion to various shrines dedicated to god Kataragama. If you plan to visit Kataragama during July or August, you must attend Kataragama festival.

Places of Interest:

  • Maha Devale
  • Kataragama Museum
  • Ul-Khizr Mosque
  • Bodhi Tree
  • Sivam Kovil
  • Mahinda Rajapaksa National Tele-Cinema Park

16. Trincomalee

Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Photo: An Imposing Sight of the Beautiful Whale in Trincomalee | http://bit.ly/2u8w5fK

Dotted with a mix of holy shrines like temples, mosques and churches, Trincomalee is a charming coastal town that must be explored. It is considered to have Asia’s finest harbours and also Swami Rock which is known to be one of the best vantage point for spotting blue whales. Its sleepy streets makes a picturesque sight aligned with houses on sides and also the beaches nearby Nilaveli and Uppuveli, they are the two major tourist attractions that offer a stunning view of the sunset.

Places of Interest:

  • Fort Frederick
  • Kandasamy Kovil
  • Dutch Bay
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral
  • Manayaweli Cove
  • Fish Market
  • Kali Kovil
  • Gokana Temple
  • Koneswaram Kovil
  • Buddha Statue
  • Swami Rock

17. Jaffna

Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Photo: Serene Earthy Yellow Painted Nallur Temple in Jaffna | http://bit.ly/2uMsrpF

The largest town in northern Sri Lanka, Jaffna is quite close to the southern India as compared to the capital city, Colombo. This place is famous for its many attractions but most importantly its breathtaking beaches. Due to high density of salt, the southern coast seldom sees waves and mostly, it remains still, and thus, it provides an excellent place for sunbathing and relaxing. Such offers are found on beaches like Satti, Karainagar, Kankesanthurai. Besides, here you can explore its old buildings and ruins, Jaffna market, fish market and more.

Places of Interest:

  • Jaffna Fort
  • Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil
  • Jaffna Fish Market
  • Nainativu Island
  • Catholic Cathedrals
  • Clock Tower
  • Jaffna Archaeological Museum

18. Mount Lavinia

Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka

Photo: Brown Coated Sandy Beach of Mount Lavinia | http://bit.ly/2u3upod

A suburban city of the capital state, Colombo, Mount-Lavinia is a tourist hotspot in Sri Lanka. Here, you can take a long stroll along the beach and go for a quick bite in the city centre. This bustling city is well known for its beach activities and vibrant nightlife. Also, it has a number of chilled out dining places perfect for get togethers. Mount-Lavinia also host annual gay pride events and the famed Rainbow Kite Festival.

Places of Interest:

  • St. Thomas Chapel
  • Mount Lavinia Beach
  • Colombo city centre
  • Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya

19. Bentota

Bentota, Sri Lanka

Photo: Beautiful View of the Paradise Island of Bentota | http://bit.ly/2t8WohW

As the coconut palm trees sway in the breeze and you look at the far stretched ocean, love is what you will feel. Bentota, a tourist town on the southern coast of Lanka that entertains visitors with a melange of activities. Surfing, sailing and snorkelling are ever exciting sports but here also lies beaches where you can spend an evening watching the sunset. A visit to the sea turtle hatchery and conservation center will give you immense pleasure, so will a visit to the 17th century fortress and old Buddhist temples.

Places of Interest:

  • Brief Garden
  • Bentota Beach
  • Turtle Hatchery Project

Phew! Now that was exhaustive list of places to visit in Sri Lanka’s for you. Now that the list has been served, which one is your favourite pick, most probably ‘ALL’ right? Its alluring beaches, sacred sites, mesmerising forts, unique stone monuments, ah! this place simply makes my feet itch to travel to this island country. Sri Lanka is an enchanting and distinctive place to exist and basing on all that’s mentioned, if you seek to really explore the place instead of simply scrolling through this read, you can call us at +91-9212553106 or mail us at info@tourmyindia.com and we will help you have one grand holiday you need, desperately.

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About

Abhishek Gurung is a writer whose passion for food and travel is an unending affair. He likes going on treks and camping in the woods, loves exploring forts and architecture, he is a cycle enthusiast who likes to contribute something to the environment, travel photography and videography is another interest as he sees life in a cinematic point of view. He likes the idea of living in offbeat destination where the mode of communication is to interact with each other. Coming from Nagaland, he has visited some beautiful valleys and remote villages and appreciates nature as it is and as it should be.


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