Here are the top 21 tourist attractions to see in Anuradhapura:

1. Sri Maha Bodhi

4.5 /5

4 km
from city center
1 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is one of the most ancient trees which are living even today standing tall in the Mahamewna Gardens in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. The tree is believed to have sprouted from a cutting brought from Bodh Gaya in India, where Gautama Buddha had attained enlightenment. The tree is an authentic and living link to Gautama Buddha and is often respected as the oldest tree in history which has a recorded date of the plantation.

2. Sigiriya Rock Fortress

56 km
from city center
2 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Sigiriya or the Lion Rock is an ancient fort located in the Matale District in central Sri Lanka. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is in the Matale District of Central Sri Lanka and lies between the towns of Dambulla and Habarane at the height of 370 metres. It consists of a citadel and has ruins of palaces, the Lion Gate, gardens, moats, the Mirror Wall, and many beautiful frescoes (paintings made in wet plaster on walls). The place got its name from the Lion claws, carved at the entrance of the Lion Gate. You can reach the Sigiriya Fortress either by bus or by train, from the main towns of Dambulla or Habarane.

3. Ruwanweliseya

4.3 /5

4 km
from city center
3 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

The Ruwanweliseya stupa is one of the largest stupas or dagobas, which is in the heart of the beautiful heritage city of Anuradhapura. This magnificent stupa was built by King Dutugamunu, who was hailed to be the hero of the island. The Ruwanweliseya stupa is also known as the Maha stupa and is one of the most adorned structures of the people of Sri Lanka.

4. Jetavanaramaya Monastery

3.8 /5

5 km
from city center
4 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Jetavanaramaya monastery is one of the largest monasteries in the heritage city of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. This magnificent structure was the third-largest structure in the ancient world. Legend has it that a part of Buddha’s sash or belt was tied and preserved here at the Jetavanaramaya monastery.

5. Thuparamaya

4.2 /5

5 km
from city center
5 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Thuparamaya, also known as Thuparama, is the first stupa which was constructed in Sri Lanka after the introduction to Buddhism and is in the beautiful city of Anuradhapura. The ancient stupa of Thuparamaya was built during the reign of the King Devamnampiyatissa somewhere in the 3rd Century BCE and is said to enshrine the right collar bone of Gautama Buddha. The ruins of the complex today cover an area of approximately three and a half acres of land.

6. Abhayagiri Vihara

3.8 /5

7 km
from city center
6 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

The Abhayagiri Vihara is one of the most beautiful and exciting structures which is in the atmospheric setting of Anuradhapura. The grand scale of the monastery ruins is genuinely breathtaking and can be viewed at any time, be it the break of dawn or dusk. The Abhayagiri Vihara has a beautiful and shimmering glow.

Top Hotels In Anuradhapura

7. Archaeological Museum, Anuradhapura

3.7 /5

4 km
from city center
7 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Established in the year 1947 by the efforts of Dr Senarath Paranavithana, the archaeological museum or Puravidu Bhavana of Anuradhapura holds some exciting artefacts, carvings and ancient everyday items found after excavations in Anuradhapura and other historical sites around Sri Lanka. It is a rich source of information on the heritage and culture of the place. The museum displays artefacts connected with ancient capital located at Polonnaruwa which are worth watching, especially the miniature models of buildings, which are currently in ruins at Polonnaruwa. Many objects kept in the Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum date back to the pre-Christian period and reflect the grandeur of a bygone era when Sinhalese civilization was at its peak. Apart from that, the museum has some precious Buddha statues, inscriptions, coins, drawings and antiques. Both the interior and exterior parts of the museum display historical items.

8. Ratnaprasada

3.7 /5

7 km
from city center
8 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Famous for its beautifully carved stone structures, the Rathna Prasada is the Uposatha house (a place for the cleansing of the defiled mind) of the Abhayagiri Viharaya. It holds great importance to Buddhists and is a historical landmark in Anuradhapura. Built-in 192-194 AD by King Kanitta Tissa who ruled Ceylon, Rathna Prasada or Gem palace was originally a seven storeyed skyscraper with tiered roof, had beautiful guard stones (Mura Gal) and a statue of Buddha made of gold.

Book Anuradhapura Activities

9. Lovamahapaya

3.6 /5

4 km
from city center
9 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

The Brazen Palace or Lovamahapaya is a 2000-year-old palace constructed by King Dutugemunu in 2nd century B.C and had 1600 stone columns that supported nine stories reaching 150 feet and sides of 400 feet length with 1000 rooms. It is also known as the Brazen Place because of the bronze tiles that were used on its roof.

10. Mihintale

0 km
from city center
10 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Ceylon, as it was formerly known rests on a beautiful landscape down south of India; hills, beaches, valleys and waterfalls adorn this country. One such ancient marvel is the hills of Mihintale located 12 km from Anuradhapura which are known for religion, monarchy, warfare and the underlying sense of scenic diversity.

11. Samadhi Buddha Statue

7 km
from city center
11 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

The town of Anuradhapura served as the first and ancient capital of Sri Lanka. It is believed to be auspicious to the Sri Lankans, as many times in the past, Anuradhapura served as a city of peace and protection against wars and disharmony. Samadhi Buddha statue is one of such marvels. Placed in Mahamevnāwa Park, this 4th-century statue is considered the best works of Buddha.

12. Anuradhapura Ruins

0 km
from city center
12 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura’s history and existence go back as early as the 4th century BC. Being that ancient and encountering over 2000 years of historic events, Anuradhapura is now home to ruins fortress, palaces, temples, stupas museums and everything one thinks of when they think of Royalty.

Best Sightseeing and Tourist Attractions in Anuradhapura

13. Ritigala Forestry Monastery

36 km
from city center
13 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Ritigala situated between Polonnaruwa and the old town of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka is a hilly forest and a place of Buddhist worship. The monastery is named after the 40m tall Ritigala trees in the mid slopes of the hill; this Buddhist monastery has inscriptions that date back to 1st century BC.

14. Isurumuniya

3 km
from city center
14 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Sri Lanka's ancient capital city, Anuradhapura is home to relics, stupas and rocky hills that bring an aura of serenity. Isurumuniya is one of the granite, marble and stone structures located near Tissa Wewa, and this Buddhist temple boasts of architecture and sculptures that showcase the emancipation of the artists.

15. Ranmasu Uyana

3 km
from city center
15 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

A park in the pre-Christian era of Sri Lanka, Ranmasu Uyana is a sculpted rock-carved for bathing purposes during the days’ monarchy. Anuradhapura is the heritage capital of Sri Lanka hosts structures with intricate stone carvings and excellent craftsmanship. The Ranmasu Uyana was one among them.

16. wilpattu national park

0 km
from city center
16 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Wilpattu National Park is situated on the western coast of Sri Lanka, approximately an hour away from the ancient city of Anuradhapura. This national park has the enviable distinction of being the oldest and the largest national park in the country.

17. Jayanthi Viharaya

0 km
from city center
17 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Jayanthi Vihara is a temple in Anuradhapura, the ancient royal capital of Sri Lanka. As the structure functions as a Buddhist temple and school, it is also a great place to observe the daily life of monks and Buddhist teachings.

18. Kadireshan Kovil

0 km
from city center
18 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

The temple of Sri Kadhiresan, also known as Kadhiresan Kovil, is a Hindu temple close to the Jayanthi Viharaya Buddhist temple.

19. Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya

0 km
from city center
19 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

The Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya is an important maha viharaya (large Buddhist monastery) for Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

20. Lankarama Dagoba

0 km
from city center
20 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

Lankarama Dagoba is a stupa built by King Vattagamini Abhaya around 1st century BC. One of the sacred Buddha sites in Anuradhapura, the dagoba(stupa) houses stone-pillar ruins around the main stupa.

21. Brazen Palace

4 km
from city center
21 out of 21
places to visit in Anuradhapura

The Brazen Palace or Lovamahapaya is a 2000-year-old palace constructed by King Dutugemunu in 2nd century B.C and had 1600 stone columns that supported nine stories reaching 150 feet and sides of 400 feet length with 1000 rooms. It is known as the Brazen Place because of the bronze tiles that were used on its roof. It was constructed as a residence for Buddhist monks who assembled on “Poya” days (poya means full moon day, in modern-day Sri Lanka poya marks a holiday) to recite the “Pirith” (Buddhist practice of reciting certain verses and scriptures in order to ward off misfortune or danger) and could accommodate 1000 monks.

FAQs on Anuradhapura

What are the top hotels in Anuradhapura?

There are 316 Hotels in Anuradhapura which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Anuradhapura are Niwahana Holiday Residence, Wenasa Hotel, Ceylonima Home Stay, Sidangana, Kulama, THE Lake Villa, Yaluwa Tourist Rest. You can see all the hotels in Anuradhapura here

How can I commute within Anuradhapura?

Tuk Tuks, buses and walking are the favored means of commuting
Read More

What are the top sightseeing places in Anuradhapura?

The top sightseeing places in Anuradhapura are Sri Maha Bodhi, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Ruwanweliseya, Jetavanaramaya Monastery, Thuparamaya, Abhayagiri Vihara.

What are the top activities in Anuradhapura?

The top activities in Anuradhapura are Dambulla, Pidurangala, and Sigiriya Day Trip from Anuradhapura, Minneriya National Park Safari Experience from Anuradhapura, Private Anuradhapura Buddhist Pilgrimage Half Day Tour , Private City Transfers between Anuradhapura and Colombo, Kandy, Trinco and More, Private Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) Transfers for Anuradhapura, Private Polonnaruwa Ancient Ruins and Pilgrimage Day Tour from Anuradhapura.
Book Customized Package