Think about a picture-perfect spot that feels like paradise on Earth, and now – make it real. From gorgeous beaches to UNESCO sites, Sri Lanka boasts the best of nature, all tucked away in one country and waiting for you to explore. But that’s not all, if you need a little bit of souvenir shopping experience during the trip and want to watch the locals go through their busy days, Colombo will also show you all the metropolitan madness – making this country, not just a mere trip, but a wholesome experience. Take a look at our roundup of 10 of the most amazing places in Sri Lanka and pick out your starting point!
If you’ve done any research, this name must have popped up, and rightfully so. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this rock served as a palace and is often referred to as ‘The Eighth Wonder of The World’ by the locals. Literally translating to ‘Lion’s Rock’, the Sigiriya Rock is famous for its legendary frescoes and the lush gardens all around it. Additionally, its urban planned Garden City and Water Garden are sure to leave you spellbound with all of their distinctive features.
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy
You simply can’t skip Kandy if you’re in Sri Lanka. And if relics mean anything to you, this temple is definitely worth a trip. Kept away safely in a golden casket is the tooth of Lord Buddha at this temple. One of the holiest sites in the country, this temple boasts everything from charming golden roofs to breath-taking views of the Kandy lake.
Elephant Orphanage, Pinnawala
The orphanage was created to foster orphaned elephants (both babies and adults) with the help of over 100 employees. The elephants are free to move about in this huge space and tourists can interact with them in a bunch of ways including bottle feeding the elephants and watching their herd move towards the river.
Hakgala Botanical Gardens, Nuwara Eliya
Not only is this the second-largest garden in the country, but it is set up in the hills (over 1000 meters above sea level) with flower beds that will leave you awestruck. Legend has it that this is the exact spot where Queen Sita was held captive by Ravana. Today, the Hakgala Gardens are home to over 10,000 species of plants and flowers, and wildlife including bears and monkeys.
Koneswaram Temple, Trincomalee
Created for worshippers of Lord Shiva, this temple is situated on raised rocky land. The sea surrounds three sides of this beautiful temple that contains magical sculptures, holy bathing ponds, and more. It also hosts an exciting annual festival for God Shiva every April.
Adams Peak, Sri Pada
This marvellous mountain peak gets its name from the legendary story that reveals Adam first set his foot on Earth here after leaving the Garden of Eden. However, other stories also claim that the footprint belongs to Lord Buddha as he headed towards paradise. Hindus too, associate this site with God Shiva, saying that he is the one who left his footprint there.
Besides being the land of the Hakgala Botanical Gardens, this lovely city has been dubbed ‘Little England’. The entire city brings English countryside vibes with colonial architecture and tea plantations covering a major portion of the land. Feel free to take a quick boat ride in Gregory Lake or stroll away in the evening at Victoria Park. If you step into Nuwara Eliya during the winters, you can even be able to treat the family at the Bale Bazaar or the Winter Market.
Galle Beaches, Colombo
A trip to Sri Lanka is truly incomplete without a dip into one of their pretty beaches. Colombo’s finest sand beaches are located alongside mind-blowing boutique hotels. The Galle beaches offer everything – from comfortable sunbathing spots to exciting water sports, making it fun for the whole family.
Galle Fort, Colombo
While you’re at the beaches, don’t skip their neighbor – The Galle Fort. A wonderful regal structure that overlooks the sea on one side and the legendary Galle Cricket Stadium on the other, it is definitely worth a visit.
Arugam Bay Known as the ‘surfer’s paradise’, the beach at Arugam Bay is famous for its high waves that can accommodate a bunch of surfing spots. If you’re not an adrenaline junkie, you can even take a two-hour lagoon safari to explore the magic instead.