A trip to Sri Lanka always starts at the island’s capital, Colombo, where you plane lands. The island of Sri Lanka is endless in places to visit, things to admire and sites to be explored, from raw unspoilt nature and amazing wildlife to colonial heritage sites and ancient ruins. The options are endless! Here are the top tourist places of Sri Lanka:
Your starting point is Colombo, a sprawling colourful city – the biggest in the whole country – located right by the sea on the west coast of the island. Walk along the shady boulevard, visit the parks and lakes, try the delicious local food from street vendors and markets, ride a TukTuk, do some museum hopping and admire the city’s historical buildings and mansions from the Dutch and the Portuguese era. Colombo has everything from contemporary shopping malls to street stalls and it sure is an interesting place!
Sigiriya & the ancient city of Polonnaruwa
Sigiriya is the mysterious remains of the kingdom of King Kasyapa who lived in the 5th century, and it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The kingdom sits on top of a majestic rock that you can climb, passing ancient wall carvings and paintings. Once up there, you can see the ancient ruins of the old Kasyapa kingdom and you are treated to the magical view over the surrounding landscape. One hour driving distance from Sigiriya, in the middle of the jungle, awaits the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, packed with temples and ruins. The nicest way of exploring this world heritage site is by bicycle. You will love it!
Kandy is a big city in the central province of Sri Lanka and it was the last capital of Sri Lanka’s ancient king’s era. Kandy is found in the hills, surrounded by tea plantations and the city is home to ‘the temple of the tooth relic’, a sacred place for Buddhists, declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. Kandy is a real pretty city and there is an attractive man-made lake in the centre of town.
NuwaraEliya, found in the hill country, makes a great escape from the islands tropical heat. The fresh mountain air, the nice cool temperature and the scenic landscape make this place just wonderful! NuwaraEliya is famous for its endless lush green tea plantations and it was the favourite hill station of the English tea guru’s back in the colonial days. NuwaraEliya also features an amazing golf course and it is home to the beautiful Hakgala Botanical Gardens.
Yala National Park
Found on the south-east coast of Sri Lanka, awaits Yala Park. An amazing place to see wildlife! You will encounter leopards, elephants, monkeys, sloth bears and wild bears. Truly magical!
Mirissa is a charming beach town on the south coast of the island and it is the most popular place to go on an enchanting whale and dolphin spotting trip, meeting the most magical creatures of the sea. The town itself is also lovely and it is home to a pristine beach where you can go swimming and snorkelling, meeting another amazing creature of the ocean; the sea turtle. Mirissa is a great place to unwind and relax, perhaps renting a private villa in this town would be the absolute most perfect thing!
Galle is the place to go to admire colonial heritage sites from the Portuguese and the Dutch, such as the ancient fort and the lighthouse. It’s a sleepy, atmospheric town and also a great place to shop around for antiques. From Galle, you can take the train back to Colombo to catch your flight. A scenic train ride it is, and the perfect sad goodbyes to this beautiful country!