When it comes to travelling to tourist places, Sri Lanka is not short of options. There are different kinds of tourist places in Sri Lanka that cater to different kinds of tourists. There are hills for the mountain lovers, beaches for sea lovers, wildlife for nature lovers and archaeological destinations for the history lovers. Sri Lanka offers its visitors an assortment of tourist places that they can plan their trip around!
Here is the list of 17 Tourist Places in Sri Lanka To Explore The Emerald Country
Known For : Cinnamon Island | Moragalla Beach | Ventura Beach
Bentota is a rural, beach and resort town located in the southern part of Sri Lanka, around 62 kms from the capital city, Colombo. Bentota is famously known for the Bentota Beach, which is a loved by tourist place in Sri Lanka. The town known for its pristine waters and lush green landscapes, with the dominance of tall palm trees. Interestingly, the name ‘Bentota’ is derived from Ben, a demon who once ruled the Tota or river bank.
Known For : Sigiriya Rock | Pidurangala Rock | Elephant rides
Declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, Sigiriya serves as a fine example of ancient urban planning. Sigiriya is a significant site of the Cultural Triangle and perhaps Sri Lanka’s most iconic historical destination. The site, also known as Lion Rock, is recognized all over the world for the remains of the ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress and its numerous enchanting and well-preserved attractions. The complex hydraulics system at the fortress enhances the site’s reputation as a beautiful example of classical city planning.
Best Time : February to April
Known For : Old Dutch Market | Flag Rock
The port city of Galle is situated along the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Primarily known for the famous Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has played a significant role in the country’s lengthy colonial history. It is popular beach tourist place in Sri Lanka.
Best Time : February
As one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in the Indian subcontinent, Adam’s Peak is a 7,359 feet tall mountain in Sri Lanka, frequently visited by people of almost all major religions.
It is widely known for Sri Pada, a foot-shaped indentation at the summit of the pyramid-like mountain. Also called the sacred footprint, the Buddhists believe that it is the footprint of Lord Buddha, the Hindus as that of Shiva, the Muslims as Adam’s, and the Christians as that of St. Thomas the Apostle.
Known For : Nine Arches Bridge | Ravana Falls
Ella is a beautiful tourist place in Sri Lanka located in the Badulla district of the Uva Province. The pride of Sri Lanka, Ella showcases some fantastic views of the valleys, tea gardens and cafes while offering a pleasant climate throughout the year.
The town is most famous for its iconic nine arches railway bridge which is a fine example of colonial-era construction in Sri Lanka. A trek down the railway track to the bridge is a popular activity, especially around the time the train arrives. There are numerous quaint cafes, walking trails and guest houses nestled in the hills for a peaceful getaway. One can also visit the famous Lipton's Seat where the tea mogul Sir Thomas Lipton would oversee his ever-expanding empire.
Known For : Sri Maha Bodhi | Sigiriya Rock Fortress | Ruwanweliseya | Jetavanaramaya Monastery
Anuradhapura is a historical paradise as it houses several heritage monasteries, palaces and monuments. It is known for its vast dagobas or brick stupas, ancient ponds and pools and magnificent temples. The city was established as the first capital of Sri Lanka in 377 BC. It was also at this time that Anuradhapura rose to prominence as a seat of political and economic importance.
Best Time : April and September
Known For : Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium
Dambulla is the city of the ancient. Along with being a major tourist place in Sri Lanka, it is also a major commercial joint in the country due to its location. It is the centre of the vegetable distribution in the city.
Other than that, the town is widely known for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Golden Temple and the Buddhist Cave temple. Due to its religious and spiritual monuments, the town has a very peaceful environment. The city has become a representation of the countries rich and elegant history and culture.
Yala National Park was originally a hunters arena during British colonial rule but now has the highest population of leopards on earth. Not only animals but it also provide a quaint environment for birds as well. It is Sri Lanka’s largest national park with a total area of 900 Sq Km. Yala National Park is a popular tourist place in Sri Lanka due to its high density of leopards, sloth bears, crocodiles, and deers.
Sri Dalada Maligawa is the Sinhalese name for this holy shrine. Famously called Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, it is touted to be the most sacred Buddhist temple in the world. It houses the tooth of Buddha nestled in a golden chamber and is within the premises of the royal palace complex (formerly a princely state). Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is said that whichever state holds the tooth relic, maintains an essential place in the governance of the country.
Known For : Victoria Park | Pedro Tea Estate | Gregory Lake
Nuwara Eliya is tourist place in Sri Lanka's famed for its tea production. This hill station has a multitude of gorgeous attractions ranging from waterfalls and tea plantations to gardens and lakes, Nuwara Eliya is the epitome of scenic beauty. Add to that the colonial-style buildings dotting the area, a golf course and the cold climate— and you'll feel like you have entered a world unlike Sri Lanka's iconic landscape; no wonder it is also called Little England!
Best Time : February to April
Known For : Crocodile Rock, Arugam Bay | Arugam Bay Beach
The Sri Lankan coastal town of Arugam Bay lies on the Indian Ocean, 320 kilometres from the capital city Colombo. With several surfing spots scattered across the area, for both beginners as well as skilled surfers, Arugam Bay is often called a surfer’s paradise. The famous surfing points here are Main Point and Whiskey Point, with surfboard rentals in their proximity. If you’re a non-surfer, you can choose to chill on the beautiful beaches. At night, the beaches play host to many beach parties, offering a chance to soak in the lively atmosphere.
Known For : Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage | Giragama Tea Plantations | Temple of the Tooth
Kandy is a prominent Sri Lankan city found precisely in the middle of the country. A city of both historical as well as religious importance, Kandy is renowned for being the site of the Temple Of The Sacred Tooth Relic, unarguably the most famous among all the temples of Sri Lanka. Kandy is also home to numerous remarkable museums and scenic attractions. Kandy is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site declared in 1988.
Best Time : December to April
Known For : Surfing in Weligama, Mirissa
Mirissa, what was a faint old beach town on the Southern of Sri Lanka has risen to be one of the most popular surfing and whale watching destination. This tourist place in Sri Lanka is situated 150 kms south of Colombo and is dotted with palm trees, blue waters and colourful boats adorning the shores.
Mirissa has a beautiful view along by the million things to do over here – Whale watching, Snorkelling, Surfing, Bodyboarding. The city offers the right balance between the calm days and lively nights by the beach.
Known For : The Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu | Rankoth Vehera
Polonnaruwa, a marvel of a place, is in Northern Sri Lanka. The city once served as the capital of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa under the Chola Empire in the 10th century. This makes it the second most historic kingdom in Sri Lanka after Anuradhapura.
The entire town has two sections - the development and infrastructure part called the Polonnaruwa new town and the Old Site with ancient remains and monarchical structures.
The old part of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has numerous ruins dating back to 800 years comprising of tombs, temples, statues and stupas. Within the town, is the celebrated quadrangle, Gal Vihara – Buddhist 12th century rock temple, Archaeological museum, Polonnaruwa Vatadage – holds the relic of the tooth of Buddha, Rankot Vihara – a 12th century stupa, Hatadage - an ancient relic shrine and the Lankathilaka – a cathedral type Buddhist temple and many other statuettes dedicated to Lord Buddha.
Known For : Gangaramaya Temple | National Museum of Colombo | Kelaniya Raj Maha Vihara
Colombo is Sri Lanka's prime city. The official capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is also within the urban area of Colombo, so Colombo is often called the capital of Sri Lanka as well. This popular tourist place in Sri Lanka has a rich colonial heritage, and also some very scenic and popular attractions.
Best Time : December to March
Known For : Casuarina Beach | Jaffna Library
Jaffna is probably Sri Lanka's most historical city located at the northern tip on the country and the city from time to time had been passed under the rule of various kingdoms, governments and the armies.
Unlike the country’s southern parts which are more influenced and in a way controlled by the Buddhist and the Sinhalese, the northern realms including Jaffna have a strong influence of the Tamil and the Hindu cultures. Historically, it was the centre of the LTTE power struggle to capture the city in 1995 which resulted in the devastating Battle of Jaffna.
These tourists places are optimised for travellers to avail the best experience. Don't wait for long and plan a trip to a few or all of these tourist places in Sri Lanka!