Do you want to leave behind all your work deadlines and travel to a distant land far away from all maddening rush? Are you looking to relax lazily on a hammock? Do you want to let go of all anxieties? Well, then a trip to Sri Lanka is all that your ultimate healer. With its pristine beaches, mosaic landscape and picturesque topography, Sri Lanka has so much to offer. So back your virtual bag and let’s run through the best Sri Lanka tourist places.
Before we move forward with this blog post, let us first get an idea of the essentials. Sri Lanka boasts of some of the world’s best beaches, and the interiors of the island nation also have a lot to offer. Here are some of the must-see tourist attractions in Sri Lanka.
18 Best Sri Lanka Tourist Places
While planning your next vacation to this serene country, do check out these amazing Sri Lanka tourist places. Here is a complete list of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka where one can enjoy a great time away from the hustle-bustle.
- The Dambulla Cave Temple – The Largest Temple Complex In Sri Lanka
- Yala National Park – Home To A Host Of Wildlife And Birds
- Arugam Bay – Turquoise Heaven For Adrenaline-Junkies
- Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa – Ruggedness Amidst The Greenery
- Galle – A 16th Century Marvel
- Jaffna – Peep Into The Past
- The Commonwealth War Cemetery At Kandy – Remember The Brave Martyrs
- Temple Of Tooth At Kandy – Treat To The Eyes And Soul
- Nuwara Eliya – Get Closer To Pristine Nature
- Trincomalee– An Unmissable Beach Getaway
- Polonnaruwa Sacred City – Explore The Golden Past Of Sri Lanka
- Anuradhapura – The Greatest Monastic City Of Ancient World
- Nine Arch Bridge – Bridge In The Sky
- Mihintale – The Birth Place Of Buddhism
- Udawalawe National Park – Must-Visit Place For Wildlife Enthusiasts
- Ravana Falls – Enjoy The Impressive Sight Of The Magnificent Fall
- Adam’s Peak – An Important Pilgrim Site
- Mount Lavinia – Popular Neighborhood
1. The Dambulla Cave Temple – The Largest Temple Complex In Sri Lanka
The most popular among the best places to visit in Sri Lanka is the Dambulla cave temple. It tops the Sri Lanka tourist destinations. The largest temple complex in Sri Lanka, its statues and paintings date back to the 12th Century AD. The temple complex has five rooms of different sizes; all rooms have Buddha in a different position looking calm and peaceful. The temple is built on a black rocky mountain which serves as a nice contrast with the white walls of the temple. Don’t miss the view from the top. The temple can be easily accessed from both Colombo and Kandy.
Famous For: Historic significance
Things To Do: Architectural tour, Sightseeing
Must Read: 31 Reasons Why You Should Never Visit Sri Lanka
2. Yala National Park – Home To A Host Of Wildlife And Birds
Missing Yala National Park while Sri Lanka sightseeing might bring regret to wildlife lovers. It is home to a host of wildlife and birds you are bound to run into a group of elephants bathing in streams, tossing their trunks wildly or leopards nestling lazily on tree branches. You could opt for the safari drives or a nature trail among the thick green foliage of the forest. Some tourists also camp at Yala and enjoy a barbeque under the stars. With so much to see and do here, Yala is indeed one of the best tourist places in Sri Lanka. Yala is the perfect place to try your hand at wildlife photography.
Getting to Yala National Park is quite simple. All you will have to do is drive down to the Park from Colombo. Another way is by taking a bus to Tissamaharama.
Famous For: Wildlife, Flora & Fauna
Things To Do: Wildlife Safari, Trekking
Location: Katagamuwa, Yala, Sri Lanka
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
Suggested Read: 9 Best Resorts In Sri Lanka That Are A Perfect For Your 2021 Vacay!
3. Arugam Bay – Turquoise Heaven For Adrenaline-Junkies
Sri Lanka has a coastline of over 1600 km and is ideally suited for windsurfing, speed boating, and other water sports. Arugam Bay has azure skies and slanting coconut trees. If you are looking to surf in turquoise waters, Arugam Bay must be in your list of must-see tourist places in Sri Lanka. It is on the southeast coast around 320 km from Colombo.
It is the ideal place to sip coconut water, take in the scent of jasmine and allow the southern sun to tan your skin.
Besides Arugam bay, other beaches among best places to visit in Sri Lanka are Unawatuna in the South; and Tangalla again in the south around 195 km south of Colombo.
How to get there- Colombo has an international airport and is strategically located. So if you fly to Colombo, you are pretty much in close proximity to the best beaches.
Famous For: Seashore Destinations
Things To Do: Surfing, Snorkeling
Flight Charges from India: INR 15,000 for an adult if booked two months in advance
Best beaches around Colombo: Benota, Mirissa, Koggala, Trincomalee, Pasikudah, Unawatuna, Tangalla and Arugam Bay
Best time to visit: Between November and March
Best Hotels to stay: Weligama Bay resort, The Fortress Resort Galle, Palace Mirissa, and Number One Mirissa
Suggested Read: Sri Lanka In August: A Guide To Treat Yourself With The Magic Of Monsoon!
4. Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa – Ruggedness Amidst The Greenery
Sigiriya or the mount of remembrance is a World Heritage Site and one of the most stunning places to see in Sri Lanka. This giant formation of rock rises out of nowhere towering over everything in its vicinity. It is quite a climb to the top but once up there you will get to see a panoramic view of the nearby sights and the Sigiriya fort. The rock fortress is a slice of history perched on a rock and is really worth a visit.
Not much is heard and said about Polonnaruwa, but this ancient city is no less than the Petra of the south. A gem among Sri Lanka tourist attractions, this ancient ruined city stands amidst its erstwhile sturdy columns and architecture. The best way to explore this ancient city is to hire a bike and zoom around the ruins. The site is well maintained and is a telling example of Sri Lankas history and culture. Polonnaruwa can be easily accessed via Sigiriya. You can take a tuk-tuk or a bus from Sigiriya. Or you can take a bus from Dambulla to Polonnaruwa.
Best Hotels to Stay: Jetwing Vil Uyana, Camelia Resort and Spa, Hotel Sigiriya, Camellia Resort and Spa, and Lal Homestay
Suggested Read: Ramayana Tour In Sri Lanka: Exploring The Religious Trail In The Island Nation
5. Galle – A 16th Century Marvel
Galle is an important city in Sri Lanka and is a one-stop destination wherein you can take in all sights and sounds. One of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka is the Galle Fort. The Galle Fort area has wide cobblestoned roads and a number of eateries and cafes. Try and catch the sunset while you are there. There are a number of trinket shops and galleries that you can visit. It is among the most visited places in Sri Lanka.
Another picturesque destination for sightseeing in Sri Lanka is the Japanese Peace Pagoda. Quite close to the Unawatuna beach, it is a white dome of serenity.
Best Hotels to Sty: Jetwing Lighthouse, Amangalla, Tamarind Hill, Apa Villa Thalpe, and The Fortress
6. Jaffna – Peep Into The Past
Although a bit crowded, the temple Nallur Kovil is a nice pick among the best places to see in Sri Lanka. Another place of interest is the Jaffna Fort. This fort is in the center of the city and is a tourist hub. If youre in Jaffna, you cannot miss the Nagadipa Purana Vihara, the temple can be accessed by boat. One of calmest among Sri Lanka tourist attractions, the temple is surreal and a wonderful place to meditate.
Best Hotels to Stay: PJ Hotels, and Morgans
Suggested Read: 19 Photos that will make you wish you were in Sri Lanka Right Now!
7. The Commonwealth War Cemetery At Kandy – Remember The Brave Martyrs
Yes, a weird one in the list of best places to visit in Sri Lanka, the war cemetery is well maintained and the grounds are well kept. Overall it is a very humbling experience. This cemetery is hard to find without a guide, but once you get there, it is worth the effort.
Location: Kandy, Sri Lanka
Timings: 7 am to 4 pm
Suggested Read: 20 Stunning Beaches In Sri Lanka To Visit In 2021 That Will Make You Go ‘Wow’!
8. Temple Of Tooth At Kandy – Treat To The Eyes And Soul
The temple of the tooth is again a popular one among tourist places in Sri Lanka. This temple in Kandy is iconic because of the history attached to it. With a quaint setup and interesting artifacts, this temple is worth a visit.
Location: Sri Dalada Veediya, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka
Timings: 5.30 am to 8 pm
9. Nuwara Eliya – Get Closer To Pristine Nature
Nuwara Eliya is most famous for its tea gardens and scenery. It is a perfect place to visit for a romantic vacation or for someone who is looking for a relaxing trip. With misty clouds, lush green sloping hills and a train that looks that it has come out of the Harry Potter films, Nuwara Eliya is a hilly paradise and another great addition to Sri Lankas tourist attractions. The popular places to visit in Nuwara Eliya include Victoria Park, Bale Bazaar, Moon Plains, Ramboda Falls and St. Clair’s Falls.
Suggested Read: Sri Lanka Travel Tips: 21 Dos And Don’ts For A Memorable Vacation In 2021
10. Trincomalee- An Unmissable Beach Getaway
Trincomalee, among many similar Sri Lanka tourist spots, is blessed with a beautiful beach. If you are up for an underwater diving tour, then SLDT (Sri Lanka Diving Tours) will give you the best experience. Besides water sports, there are also many temples and beaches in Trincomalee. There’s also a war cemetery which is surrounded by lush gardens, which makes it one of the best places to see in Sri Lanka.
11. Polonnaruwa Sacred City – Explore The Golden Past Of Sri Lanka
This city was once the ancient kingdom of Sri Lanka and walking into this still gives a feeling of the Golden Age. Inside one of the most popular Sri Lanka tourist spots, there are still ruins of palaces, shrines and stupas which makes it one of the top tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. All these landmarks give closure to the historical remains which hold a glorious past. This place has a lot to explore and gives a peek to the golden past of this side of Sri Lanka. It is among the best Sri Lanka tourist places.
Main Highlights: One shouldn’t miss witnessing the statue of Parakramabahu I who ruled during the golden age. Alongside that one can also see the magnificent view of the Lotus Pond which is made in lotus-shaped petals and built on 4-tiers.
Suggested Read: Sri Lanka In January: Best Places To Visit & Stay In 2021!
12. Anuradhapura – The Greatest Monastic City Of Ancient World
This is one of the top Sri Lanka tourist spots which is also claimed to be one of the world heritage sites. The place gained its importance after the arrival of the Bodhi Tree which is also called the “tree of enlightenment”. The place protects the tree and keeps it away from the wild elephants during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Rangasingha.
Best Time To Visit: April and September
Location: It is approximately hours from Anuradhapura-Padeniya highway
Price: $25 (INR – 1781)
13. Nine Arch Bridge – Bridge In The Sky
Nine Arch Bridge is also called the Bridge in the sky and is among the iconic Sri Lanka tourism places. It is in the small mountain town of Ella and offers visitors with splendid view of the surrounding area which comprises of lush greenery and tea fields. What makes the bridge unique is that it is made up of stone, brick and cement. There is no use of any steel. It is one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka for a memorable holiday.
Best Time To Visit: Sunrise
Suggested Read: Ekansh’s Anniversary Trip To Sri Lanka In April Was A Bouquet Of Beautiful Memories
14. Mihintale – The Birth Place Of Buddhism
Mihintale is among the top Sri Lanka tourist attractions. It is a birth place of Buddhism attracting hundreds of pilgrims to this site every year. It is a mountain located near the town of Anuradhapura where you can visit many religious and historical structures.
Suggested Read: Keep This Ultimate Sri Lanka Honeymoon Guide Handy For Your Tropical Vacation In 2021
15. Udawalawe National Park – Must-Visit Place For Wildlife Enthusiasts
Udawalawe National Park is a must-visit place for wildlife lovers. It is one of those few places where elephant sightings are quite frequent. Not only elephant, you get a chance to get a glimpse of many animals including peacocks, water buffalo, crocodiles, jackals, monkeys and deer. For the best experience of this top attractions in Sri Lanka, take a safari early morning when the animals are most active.
Location: Udawalawa, Sri Lanka
Timings: 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM
Suggested Read: 43 Best Places To Visit In Colombo In 2021 That Will Spice Up Your Sri Lankan Sojourn!
16. Ravana Falls – Enjoy The Impressive Sight Of The Magnificent Fall
The beautiful Ravana falls is one of the famous Sri Lanka attractions. The majestic and magnificent fall is an impressive sight especially during the rainy season. Located on the main road to Ella, it is a common stop for the visitors during their journey. During the hot summer months, the falls are used for bathing. It is among the most stunning waterfalls in Sri Lanka.
Location: Colombo – Galle – Hambantota – Wellawaya Rd, Ella 90900, Sri Lanka
Timings: Open 24 hours
Suggested Read: Top 10 Things To Do In Kandy For Couples That Assure Ultimate Fun In Sri Lanka!
17. Adam’s Peak – An Important Pilgrim Site
Adam’s Peak is another famous tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. The topmost point of the peak has a footprint cast in stone which has spiritual significance to different religions. Many pilgrimage trek to the top on full moon nights. Most of them also start hiking around 3 AM to reach the summit by sunrise for a splendid view. It is also one of the most popular honeymoon places in Sri Lanka.
Location: Sabaragamuwa, Sri Lanka
18. Mount Lavinia – Popular Neighborhood
Mount Lavinia is one of the most romantic tourist places in Sri Lanka. It is popular among the tourists for its vibrant nightlife and Golden Mile Beach. On your visit to this place, make sure to stay at the deluxe Mount Lavinia Hotel for an amazing experience. Located centrally, enjoy the gorgeous view of Colombo’s skyline and have the best seafood at Mount Lavinia beach and a lot more. This is one of the Sri Lanka tourism places you must not miss. It is also surrounded by some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
Timings: 7 am to 7 pm
Suggested Read: Koggala Beach: An Ultimate Guide To Explore This Hidden Paradise In Sri Lanka In 2021!
Best Time To Visit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka doesn’t experience extremes when it comes to weather conditions. The best time to visit Sri Lanka depends upon the region you’re keen to visit. December to March is the perfect time for visiting most of the country (Highlands, West Coast, and South coast). May to September is ideal for visiting the Eastern Coasts.
Further Read: Beyond Thailand: 10 Alternate Travel Destinations in Asia This Summer
If you want to make a trip abroad and benefit from the exchange rate, then book your trip to Sri Lanka. So pamper yourself and indulge your senses in the rich heritage and diverse beauty by visiting these top Sri Lanka tourist places.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sri Lanka Tourist Places
How safe is Sri Lanka from the Coronavirus epidemic?
The Sri Lankan government and the tourist department are taking strict measures to curb the situation related to the Coronavirus outbreak. Visa-on-arrival has been prohibited to tourists from China and screening tests are in effect at the international airports.
What are the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka?
There are various places in the country of Sri Lanka that are considered to be quite beautiful. Some of them are:
2. Yala National Park
3. Temple of the Tooth Relic
4. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
5. Adams Peak
6. Nuwara Eliya
7. Beira Lake
What is Sri Lanka famous for?
Sri Lanka is known for its culture. There’s a lot to explore and experience in this country. You can even go shopping at this place for a great experience. You can buy gems, tea, fabrics, handicrafts, antiques, ceramics, leather products, and more.
How many days are enough for Sri Lanka?
To cover maximum places in the country of Sri Lanka during your vacay and make the most of it, you need to plan a trip for at least 5 days and 4 nights.
What are the best Buddhist places in Sri Lanka?
The best Buddhist places in Sri Lanka are Mirisawetiya Stupa, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, and Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara.