A tear-drop shaped island that rests on the Southern end of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has attracted one and many travellers during the course of its role as a spiritual, cultural and merchant destination – from times back then. With a historical legacy that dates back to more than 2500 years, the country has revolutionised itself all throughout the ages to finally reveal the ethnicity that is has today, coupled with influences from foreign dominance by the Portuguese, Dutch and British respectively.

What’s more, the country’s close proximity to the equator brings forth lush vegetation and warm climatic patterns, therefore making key places of interest in Sri Lanka inviting and enjoyable all year round – no matter the region!

As per popular demand, here is our list of the top 5 places to visit in Sri Lanka that are most sought for when it comes to deciding where to go, when and how:

Colombo

the prime metropolis of Sri Lanka, this capital city features urbanised landscapes amidst a plethora of historical attributes – mainly age-old buildings and other monuments from colonial times.

SEE Also : Holidays in Colombo

Kandy

The capital city of the Central Province, Kandy is home to numerous ethnic facets that have helped shape Buddhist culture for what it is today, such as the Sacred Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa).

See Also : Places to Visit in Kandy

Nuwara Eliya

also situated up in the hills of the Central Highlands, Nuwara Eliya is home to the country’s fair share of plush tea estates, along with mountain peaks that promise spectacular views and cascading waterfalls.

Galle

Accessible by rail or road that takes approximately 2 hours from Colombo, this coastal destination is famous for its sandy beaches and relentless sunshine, not to forget the ancient Galle Fort which is still present today.

Trincomalee

A natural harbour since ancient times, Trincomalee was and still is one of the country’s most important sea ports. Comprising of Hindu influences from South India, prepare to witness a collaboration of Hinduism and Buddhism in this sunny, seaside locality.

See Also : Best Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

For a complete breakdown on all these famous tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, kindly refer to the guide as elaborated below.

Colombo

The cosmopolitan hub of Sri Lanka, this city is bound to be the first spot for most tourists upon arriving to the country. Out of all the best places to visit in Colombo, a few of them are:

Galle Face Green

a promenade that lies parallel to the coast at the very heart of Colombo, Galle Face Green is an open park that is enjoyed for strolls, picnics and roadside gastronomy by locals and tourists alike.

Colombo National Museum

the city’s flagship museum, consisting of artefacts not just from the country, but from around the world.
Independence Square/The Arcade/Racecourse – With the Independence Square being a memorial ground, The Arcade as well as the Racecourse are both nearby buildings with much colonial charm, now a lively spot for shops, dining and other amenities.

Find out more about Places to Visit in Colombo.

Kandy

The country’s second most prominent city after Colombo, Kandy’s significance in Sri Lankan history has played a prime part in Sinhalese culture which dominates the rest of the country today. Key areas of interest here include:

  • Dalada Maligawa (Sacred Temple of the Tooth)

formerly a castle, this building now pays homage to the holy tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Read more about Dalada Maligawa also known as Temple of the Tooth.

  • Peradeniya Botanical Gardens

About 30 minutes away from the main hub of Kandy, this garden is home to over 4000 species of trees, shrubs and flowers, making this spot the perfect place for a walk or picnic.

  • Sigiriya –

Sri Lanka’s famous rock citadel, climbing atop its summit is undoubtedly bound to be one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka!
Find out more about Places to Visit in Kandy Sri Lanka

See AlsoHolidays in Kandy

Did you know that Kandy Perahera is one of the famous festivals in Sri Lanka held in July/August every year. Learn more about Kandy Perahera.

Nuwara Eliya

Located at an altitude of 1868m above sea level and overlooking Sri Lanka’s highest mountain peak of Pidurutalagala, Nuwara Eliya was fondly known as ‘Little England’ by British governors who came and settled down over here during the 19th century.

Horton Plains National Park –

Consisting of Montane grassland and forest, this nature reserve is home to the Sri Lankan Leopard and Sambar, making for a great hike up in the hills.

Pedro Tea Factory –

One of the famous tourist attractions in Sri Lanka for tea connoisseurs, this tea factory has been processing world renowned tea since the late 19th century.

Nuwara Eliya Golf Club –

For those who would be glad to enjoy a game of golf, the NEGC has been making its mark as a premier golf course in Sri Lanka as well as the rest of Asia since 1889!

Learn more about Best Tourist Attractions in Nuwara Eliya.

Galle

From cool breezes to delightful sunshine, this coastal city situated approximately 125km from Colombo makes for a quick getaway, in that you can even make a trip during the course of a day (if you’re coming back to Colombo, that is).

The Galle Fort –

Constructed by the Portuguese during the 16th century, remnants of this once majestic structure still remain, a prime spot for strolls, picnics and fruit vendors.

National Maritime Museum –

Opened for public viewing in 1992, this museum is stationed inside a warehouse of the Galle Fort, displaying artefacts from bygone times with relation to marine biology and anthropology.

Pedlar Street –

All it takes is a walk down this concrete laden street for you to realise the mystical charm of a former era, what with colonial buildings on either side. Enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the cafes here, or go shopping for gems and jewellery!

Trincomalee

With so much cultural influence dominating this part of the country, Trincomalee undoubtedly makes it on the books of being one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka by:

  • Pigeon Island

Located 1km off the coast of the Nilaveli Beach, this island is great for nature lovers, while also being a prime spot for snorkelling and diving.

  • Kanniya Hot Wells

Having a number of legends from the Ramayana associated with these hot springs, the naturally warm and bubbly water here is a therapeutic experience nonetheless.

Koneswaram Hindu Temple –

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple overlooks the Trincomalee harbour, while perched atop Swami Rock.