Must Visit Places in Sri Lanka
Location: 31 min (16.8 km) from Sri Lanka via Inamaluwa
Timings: Opens daily from 7 AM to 5:30 PM.
Best time to visit: This area will be early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
World's End Nuwara Eliya
You can see animals such as leopards and deer. Experience the amazing flora and fauna which will be an amazing experience.
Location: The nearest station is in Nanu Oya which is about 8km.
Highlights: Baker’s fall which is truly spectacular
Best Time to Visit: The best time to reach there is before 10:00 AM before it gets too cloudy because you will not be able to see anything after that.
Yala National Park
Amidst both nature and wildlife, you will also find some faint cultural ruins which give the travellers a deeper insight about the earlier civilization. the Yala National Park lies in the south-eastern part of Sri Lanka closely hugging the Indian Ocean. It is amongst the famous Sri Lanka tourist places that attracts a lot of tourists every year.
Highlights: A safari to this natural park will surely leave you jaw drop as you will be able to witness Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Leopards, and Elephants in big numbers.
Galle Face Green
For people who don’t mind putting on that extra calorie can try some street side food from the local hawkers, who gather there to fill up your stomach with some tasty food.The local food is too hard to resist for food lovers who would love to tickle their palate with the same
Highlights: If you breathe shopping then this place is aptly for you. You can buy hand-loomed bedspreads, cushion covers, lampshades available at different price range from Designer Barbara Sansoni which is located in old villa.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sinharaja Forest Reserve (kingdom of the lion), is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. It is home to a vast number of endemic species of birds and mammals of Sri Lanka. About 95 per cent of Sri Lankan endemic birds and more than 50 per cent of endemic mammals are known to have their habitats in this Forest Reserve.
Year round, the forest is covered by plenty of rain clouds. It is one of the famous places to visit in Galle. You can experience the leisurely pace of wildlife and the splendour of dense and copious evergreen rainforests.
Location: Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Southern Province
Timings: Opens daily from 6:30 AM to 6 PM
Price: Approximate price ranges from INR 260 to INR460 (664 LKR to 1160 LKR)
St Anthony's Church
Location: The church is located at Kochchikade.
Highlights:The main altar holds the statue of St. Anthony, which was brought all the way from Goa, in a safe bullet-proof glass container. Tuesdays are considered too special days here and there are special masses and benediction services in Tamil, English, and Sinhala all through the day. On week days, the church conducts Tamil and Sinhala Mass. During weekends, the church conducts Tamil, English and Sinhala masses.
Timings: Open all through the day.
Price: Entry is free of cost.
Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue
You can either climb the steps to reach the viewpoint or else hire a tuk-tuk to do so. The beauty of the statue doubles during the night when it is lit by lamps. Best hour to visit this place is early morning or after sunset. This place should be definitely there on your list of places to visit in Sri Lanka.
Highlights: Panoramic view of the city down, including a view of the lake, tea factory, and football stadium; gallery that has artefacts based on the life of Buddha; a souvenir shop which has lovely goodies at a much friendlier price
Location: Peradeniya, Kandy.
Price: Approximate price starts from 200 LKR.
Timings: Open 24 hours a day.
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Housing the legendary Budda tooth, the temple is a World Heritage site though very little are the remnants of the original temple built around 1600. Amazing ornamentation with golden fence and extravagant Canadian architecture makes it a blissful sight for the visitors.
Dedicated monks unanimously chant the prayers of Malwatte and Aegirine, three times every day, during dawn, noontime and evening at the inner temple. Every Wednesday a holy symbolic bath of the Relic is done is fragrant water and that water is distributed among the visitors known to have healing powers.
Location: Royal Palace, Kandy
Timings: 5:30 AM to 8:00 PM
The mesmerizing view of the sea will leave you speechless. If you are planning to break the monotony of the routine just try your hands at adventure sports found alongside the palm trees. You should not miss to visit this Sri Lanka tourist place as it is quite popular amongst tourists.
Highlights: You can visit Kasgoda Turtle Hatchery and also go on a boat cruise on the Bentota River.
Getting there: Bentota is very well connected with the cities and is very easily accessible. You can ride from Galle or you can take a ride from Colombo. Bentota is approximately 101km south of the airport from Colombo
There are two waterfalls namely Maha Ella " Maha Ella " (Sinhalese "The Greater Fall"), (260 ft) high and "Kuda Ella", (Sinhalese "The Lesser Fall"), which (160 ft) high and located immediately downstream of the main fall. These breath taking waterfalls are located along the Kotmale River.
Highlights: This cascading waterfalls falls under one of the six waterfalls affected by the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project.
Location: The St Clair’s Waterfalls are located at Tawalantenne - Talawakele Rd, Sri Lanka
Price: Free entry for the waterfalls.
International Buddhist Museum
There are separate rooms dedicated to different countries illustrating Buddhism in that location. There are photographs, models and gigantic statues which portray the spread and influence of Buddhism on people in various places.
Location: Close to Temple of Tooth, Kandy
Highlights: To get a better knowledge about the spread of Buddhism displayed here one can opt for a free audio guide which is available at the ticket counter or can opt for a tourist guide at 1070LKR who explains the whole location. Do wear covered clothes from shoulder to toe and remove the shoes. There’s an elevator in the Museum which allows disabled visitors to access the Museum.
Time: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Price: Approximate price starts from 1070 LKR per adult
Mahiyanganaya Sorabora Lake, Uva Province
There is a beautiful sluice gate here which is a known to be quite old built in around 162 BC but believed to be still in use.Camping here is a pleasure with unlimited leisure options of fishing and enjoying boat ride on the lake. The scenic extravaganza, especially during the sunrise and sunset time, is simply breathtaking.
Highlights: Fish viewing and bird watching
Location: Uva Province, Sri Lanka
Best Season: Throughout the year
Highlights: Standing tall at an elevation of 338 ft this stupa is one of the world’s tallest monuments. This stupa took 33 years and 3 months to complete.
Location: Ruwanwelisaya is located at Abhayawewa Rd, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
Price: The entry is free while entering this stupa.
Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Each of these historical remains is blessed with a glorious past of their own.Once you have reached the place it will keep you glued to it that you wouldn’t even realize when time flies by.
Location: Approximately a 5 hour drive from Colombo
Highlights: You shouldn’t miss the chance to see the statue of Parakramabahu I who had his reign during the golden age. You can also witness a spectacular view of the Lotus Pond with its lotus-shaped petals built on 4 tiers, the majestic view is not supposed to miss.
Visit Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage
The unique and rarest collection in these gardens is the Giant Bamboo of Burma which grows 12 inches each day to a height of 40 meters. Apart from this other amazing collections include Javan fig tree, Cannonball tree, Double Coconut Palm and about 200 other varieties of palm trees and versatile collection of flora.
Highlight: One can pack some food to enjoy an open-air picnic here or can relish the cafeteria inside serving local and western cuisine. The Peradeniya Botanical Garden is one prime tourist attraction of hill country and remains quite flooded with tourists every weekend.
Timings: Opened daily from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM
The tree is well protected from wild elephants during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha. It is one of the popular Sri Lanka tourist places to visit.
Highlights: Apart from the Bodhi tree, you can have a look at the Ruwanwelisaya which is one of the magnificent stupas.
Best time to visit: April and September.
Location: It is approximately hours from Anuradhapura-Padeniya highway
Entry Fee: 25$
The Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications
The best way to explore this beautiful place is by hiring a bike and wandering the streets of Galle. Best time to visit is January and February which are comparatively drier periods. It is said that the mighty and the strong fortifications which were built around the city of Galle was started by Portuguese and was further developed by Dutch people. It is Galle which is the cultural world heritage site.
Highlights: You can check out the gelato shop and the other restaurants which are around.
Price: Approximate price starts from 3000 LKR to 30000 LKR
Horton Plains National Park
Location: 11 kms approx from Ohiya.
Highlights: An array of wildlife such as Samba deers, leopards, wild boars, purple faced langoor; an ideal site for birdwatchers as you may encounter a variety of flying wonders such as bulbul, Ceylon blackbird, Ceylon white eyed arrenga, mountain hawk etc; the epic walk to world’s end(4kms) and Farr Inn hunting lodge.
Price: Adult – 1895 LKR Child: 1011LKR.
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
When you are here, do not miss the impressive performances from elephants, chimpanzees and sea lions. It is one of the most amazing places to visit in Sri Lanka.
Location: This zoo is located at Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Dehiwala.
Highlights: This place is one of the members of WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums). In order to encourage breeding, this zoo is actively involved in animal exchange programs. The place is known for its exotic varieties of mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and marine invertebrates
Timings: The zoo is open from 8.30 AM to 6:00 PM on all days.
Price: Approximate price starts from 100 LKR for adult and 30 LKR for child, for foreigners 500 LKR for adults and 250 LKR for child.
Also Check: Best Attraction Visit tours in Colombo
Highlights: The fall is framed by the Uduweriya Haputale Mountain and Kuda Oya, a tributary of Walawe River.
Location: The Bambarakanda Falls is located at Kalupahana - Ohiya Rd, Sri Lanka
Price: The entry is free in the waterfalls
Places to Visit in Colombo
Stroll Dutch Reformed Church
A walk through the Fort ground along with the humble caretaker, immersing in his never-ending fancy stories will take you back to the era whence it was built. The Church is also known as Groot Kert.
Location: Church Street, Galle fort
Highlights: Many tombstones dating back to the 17th can be observed; this church also is a Cruciform with shorter transepts separated by two arches. The floor is marked with gravestones. The beautiful pulpit made from Malaysian wood, calamander is a beautiful sight and near to the pulpit is the memorial of De Ly Family.
Timings: 9 am to 5 Pm
Best Time to visit: The best month to visit this place in February
Attidiya Bird Sanctuary
Highlights: A large number of water monitors, butterflies, insects and other birds tend to catch your attention as you walk through the muddy paths of the sanctuary. The biodiversity of this place is highly commendable, as you cannot help but feel awe-struck at the diverse species of birds here. As the place is replete with mosquitoes, you need to be fully covered while visiting the park.
Location: The sanctuary is located at Boralesgamuwa in Colombo.
Timings: The sanctuary is open all through the day; however early mornings and evenings are best to visit migratory birds.
Best Season to Visit: You must visit this place during the months between December and January, as this is the peak season for migratory birds to seek protection here.
Price: Entry to the place is free of cost.
Also Check: Best things to do on your Colombo trip
Udawalawe National Park
This National Park was an attempt to protect the wild animals who were displaced because of the construction of the Udawalawe reservoir. It is one of the must-visit places in Sri Lanka.
Location: South East of Colombo.
Highlights: Elephant Transit Home which is the elephant orphanage which has housed 25 baby elephants who have lost their parents. Pinnewala is the spot where you can spot elephants quite closely because usually, elephants are bottle fed there.
Best time to visit: July and August
Tea and Herb Tour in Colombo
And for the tea lovers, this is like a heaven where you will get to taste after manufacturing directly from the factory.
Highlights: You not only get to witness the process of manufacturing tea in the factories here, but you also get to taste the different brands of tea. Sounds interesting, isn’t it? You will find tea of different kinds of price ranges here and you will get to know the minute differences among each variety.
Timings: These tours are available all through the year from leading tour operators.
The pathways and doors that lead into the main sanctum sanctorum contain intricately carved sculptures that are simply breath-taking.
Highlights: The ceilings and walls contain pictures and miniature paintings that explain stories from Buddhism religion. In the main sanctorum, a huge Buddha statue exudes a brilliant sense of calmness in the devotees. Built in a mix of various architectural styles including India, Burmese, Thai and Chinese, this temple also houses a museum.
Location: The temple is located right on the Jinaratana Road in the heart of Colombo city.
Timings: The temple is open from 5.30AM to 10PM.
Price: Entry fee is LKR200 per adult.
National Museum of Colombo
Established during 1877, this is the biggest museum in the island nation and is undoubtedly the pride of Sri Lanka. The place houses some of the best and personalised collections of the ancient Kandyan dynasty rulers.
Location: The museum built in Italian architecture style, is located right in the heart of the Colombo city.
Highlights: The museum’s library deserves special mention as it contains rich manuscripts in palm leaves in languages like Burmese, Sinhala, Telugu, Tamil and much more.
Timings: The museum is open on all days except national holidays from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Price: Approximate price for local adults and kids are 35 LKR and 20 LKR respectively, whereas, for foreign adults and kids, the prices are 600 LKR and 300 LKR respectively.
Sri Lanka Cricket Museum
Highlights: A ‘Hall of Fame’ which displays the names of Sri Lanka’s test players.
Timings: 9 am - 5 pm
Adults – LKR 100
- Situated just 16 km from Kalutara towards Colombo.
Location: Located quite close to the famous Gangaramaya Temple, Beira Lake offers an excellent view of the temple, especially in the evenings, when the temple is fully illuminated.
Highlights: There is another temple right in the middle of the lake – Seema Malaka Temple. This temple contains lots of Buddhist statues and a few Hindu idols.
Timings: The lake is open all through the year to enable visitors; however evenings are the best to come here to get a panoramic view of the temple.
Price: Approximate price is 300 LKR however if you have paid for entry into the Gangaramaya temple, that will suffice here as well.
Highlights: There are lots of places to visit here like the aquarium, mini zoo, children’s play zone, war memorial, lake and the dangerous-yet-adventurous suspension bridge above it. When you and your kids are tired of running round the park, you can just relax on the cool resting places on the park, eating local delicacies like candy floss, corn and ice-creams from the sellers here. A canopy of green trees lends a beautiful ambience to this place.
Location: The Park is located right next to the famous National Museum in the heart of Colombo.
Timings: This Park is open all through the year.
Also Check: Most relaxing places to stay in Colombo
Places to Visit in Kandy
Kandy View Point
- Panoramic view of the city
National Museum of Kandy
The museum has approximately 5000 items showcasing the history from that period. (17-19 century A.D.).
Timings- Tues-Sat: 9 am - 5 pm, Monday and Sunday closed
Ticket Price- 500 LKR
From here one can witness the beautiful view of Kandy Lake, Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Tooth, and Trincomalee street.
Timings- Open 24 hours
Royal Palace of Kandy
The Royal court, another architectural capture has confronted many meetings formed by the king and it is here that the end of Kandyan Kingdom convention was signed.
The temple of Tooth contributes maximum attraction to the tourists. Even though, the original palace walls have been burnt and rebuilt, the interiors remain the same.
Highlights: Dalada Maligawa - Temple of Tooth (relic of Buddha’s Tooth), Royal Court (Magul Maduwa), Queen’s Bathing pavilion – Ulpange and the Royal gardens inside the Palace gates
Location: Sri Dalads Veediya
Entry Fee: 2483 LKR per head
Timings: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
The sanctuary, centuries back was a kingdom named Kandyan and jungle area on the far side of the palace was known as the Uda Wasala Watta or the upper palace garden; hence the name.
The forest reserve was made into a sanctuary in 1938. Additionally, the forest’s catchment areas provide fresh water to the lake and the city avail its air purification supplies from this royal forest reserve.
Highlights: Quite a few Buddhist temples, water pond, Kodimale Peak, Senkanda Cave and Garrison Cemetery.
Entry Fee: Rs. 570 for foreigners and Rs. 30 for Srilankans
Location: Wevelpitiya Road, Kandy
Timings: Everyday. But it is safe not to visit the sanctuary during rainy season
Independence Memorial Hall
Highlights: When you come here, you ought to visit the Independence Memorial Museum as well, which honours the people who fought for Sri Lankan Independence. Currently, this hall is the venue where Independence Day celebrations and other national events are being held.
Prior to the construction of the Sri Lankan Parliament, this Memorial Hall served as the ceremonial assembly as well. This place currently caters to the needs of fitness enthusiasts as the open spaces here are used for jogging, cycling, public gym, aerobic sessions and other relevant activities.
Location: The hall is located in Cinnamon Gardens and was formerly known as Torrington Square.
Timings: This hall is open all through the year.
Dambulla Cave Temple
The word ‘Damba’ means rock and ‘Ulla’ means fountain, hence you can see drip of water from the main house. If you have an eye for paintings then you can also see some of the historic paintings which shows the majestic manifestation of the first sermon of Buddha.
Highlights: Don’t forget to visit the Golden temple Buddhist museum which will leave you jaw dropped with its spectacular entrance from the golden mouth of lion like beast.
Location: You can come via Ambepussa and Kurunegala which is approximately 4 hours from Colombo.
Prices: There are no prices charged for the same, however you have to pay 200 LKR for keeping the luggage.
Kandy Lake is an artificial lake built by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1807. The lake, also called Kiri Muhuda or Sea of the Milk, is situated in the heart of the Kandy city. It covers an area of 6,544 sq. m. with a circumference of 3.21 km. The lake boasts of a small island at its center. A building, together with some earliest ruins is also located at the center of the lake.
The iconic serene lake is one of the greatest attractions for visitors for its lush green settings and pristine blue waters. It has several rest zones, where tourists can sit, breathe fresh air, and catch the glimpse of scenic beauty around them. Nature lovers and tourists can enjoy the picturesque surroundings and soothe their jittery nerves by taking a stroll around the 2.1 km pathway.
People generally stroll or jog the pathway in the evening, when the mercury drops considerably. It presents a beautiful sight at night. The palm trees in the middle of the lake add charm to the entire surroundings. Tourists can opt for boat rides and relish the experience.
One can hire the boat either for their party or join other passengers for a ride. The boat ride costs approximately Rs. 1500 to Rs. 2000 for a 20-minute boating experience around the Lake. Visitors can look forward to gratifying their senses, by buying products ranging from balloons to cashew nuts from vendors roaming around the lake.
Owing to the pollution and other factors, which led to shrinkage of the lake, the management has declared it as a protected area and banned fishing at this spot. However, animal lovers and ornithologists can revel in watching birds, fishes, and huge monitor lizards.
Places to Visit in Galle
Taking shape in the year 1939, this lighthouse has been constructed as a replacement for the pre-existing lighthouse which was destroyed by fire in the year 1934. It is an automated lighthouse that is still in use as well as it serves a perfect tourist spot for the foreigners and locals alike. With a height of 26.5 meters, the lighthouse is 2 meters taller than the former lighthouse.
People come here to witness the classic beauty of the lighthouse and laze around the nearby beaches. Also, visitors love to engage in various water sports like swimming, scuba diving, surfing and many more offered at the nearby beaches. Must try the authentic Sri Lankan cuisines which are being sold by the local restaurants and food corners which you could pair with a refreshing king coconut drink.
Along with the lighthouse, one can also enjoy the Galle Fort, Dutch Reformed Church, Galle Dutch Fort and Galle Fort Clock Tower in the same premises itself. All these factors make this place a not-to-miss while visiting the Sri Lankan city of Galle.
Galle Dutch Fort
Timings- Open 24 hours
Price- National Maritime Museum – 65 LKR
Highlights: You can indulge in water sports such as diving and snorkelling which will leave you completely thrilled. If you are a keen whale watcher then join the exciting journey of Whale Watching Cruise from Galle to Mirissa fishery port where you will witness the mighty Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Sharks and Turtles too, which will leave you completely awestruck.
Remember, there are no ATMs in Unawatuna, the nearest one is Holcim Cement Factory-Commercial Bank.
This hatchery in Galle has outer walls covered with themed murals portraying vibrantly coloured turtles. Inside, you will find a series of turtle preservation tanks. Every tank is accompanied with a precautionary sign board for visitors. The tourists visiting the hatchery are regularly guided through a live demonstration of depicting the entire life-cycle of sea turtles and their conservation period. The place functions as daycare for all those newborn sea turtles who opened their eyes here for the very first time. The hatchery homes to several small water tanks for protecting these newly born sea turtles.
Gradually, five different varieties of Sea Turtles are found here at the Sea Turtle Hatchery in Sri Lanka – Olive Ridley, Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, and Leatherhead Turtle. All the injured sea turtles are protected within a separate tank, which is specially reserved for their protection. Every member working here at the Galle Sea Turtle Hatchery is trained with the basics of helping all the sea turtles who are in thorough need of medical assistance or all those who are pregnant.
Located west to Unawatuna, Jungle Beach is a pretty bay nestled in a forested area. It is one of the secret gems of Sri Lanka which has everything to make your holiday experience one of its kind. The place retains its pristine natural charm as it is not ventured by a large number of tourists throughout the year due to its secluded location.
Jungle Beach offers a plethora of water sports such as snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming, boat ride and many more. The reefs jutting out of water a few metres offshore make a good site for snorkelling which introduces you to the exotic marine life of the region. Apart from schools of colourful fishes you will spot moray eels, encounter crabs, barracudas, trigger fish and many other reef dwelling creatures. The other activities you can indulge in Jungle Beach include whale watching, visiting historical ruins, jungle hiking and many more.
There are top notch resorts and cabins at Jungle Beach furnished with plush amenities and offering you a tranquil retreat amidst the jungle settings. The resorts and cabins have private walkways which will lead you to the calm shoreline caressed by the lapping waves of the Indian Ocean. You can savour traditional Sri Lankan cuisine in a communal restaurant or enjoy private dining on a beachside restaurant. In a nutshell, Jungle Beach is the place which awaits you to explore its hidden treasure and spend your vacation in style and luxury.
You will surely treasure some of the fond memories of this beach. Get into the adventurous mood by trying snorkelling and diving. If you are not too fond of adventures you can sit by the beach and enjoy the sight of the mighty waves.
Highlights: If you are going to Koggala, you can’t miss the chance to visit the Turtle Hatchery which is an initiative taken against selling the turtle’s eggs for the purpose of food.
Places to Visit in Ella
The Mahamevnawa Monastery is one of the most important and revered Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka founded by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero and is amongst the top places to visit in Ella. This monastery serves as an educational institution for young people and adults who want to be ordained as monks.
Sri Lankan artists have adorned the Monastery with striking carvings, murals, and painting. Here, you can not only talk freely to the monks but also take personalised meditation lectures from them. Listening to the reverberating Buddhist hymns amidst the peaceful environs is a tranquil experience.
Location: Bandarawela, Ella
Timings: 8:00 am- 9:00 pm every day of the week
Price: There is no entry fee
The average time it takes to climb up and down is 4 hours making it the most loved Sri Lanka tourist place for trekkers.
Dhowa Rock Temple
The temple goes all the way back over two thousand years and is considered to be the best Sri Lanka tourist places.
The tunnels in the cave are the representation of Ravana's architectural genius that acted as a fast mode of transportation and also as a hidden passage through the hills. Historians and tourists alike can visit the place to witness the sight live where the epic saga took place.
- It has an underground lake with blue water known as Nil Diya Pokuna.
Price- LKR 150
Places to Visit in Mirissa
It comes amongst the must-visit Sri Lanka places as you will find a lot of restaurants to be serving the most delicious seafood.
- Witness whales and dolphins from afar.
The Doctors House
They serve pizzas, snacks, desserts, cocktails, and beers and have 2 dorm rooms available, it is certainly the most unique places to visit in Sri Lanka.
Timings- Fri, Sat, Sun- 12-10pm
Places to Visit in Bentota
For those seeking a vacation from the hustle-bustle of the city and who would love to indulge in sport and tourist activities, this lake will prove to be perfect.
It has clear blue water and is an excellent spot for water activities such as windsurfing, diving, and snorkeling. The gorgeous clean sandy beach is excellent for daily walks and watching the mesmerizing sunset.
- There is a tiny island in front of the beach.
Timings- 6 am- 6 pm
Witness how the beach boundaries were smattered by tiny fishing hamlets. Discover nearby attractions, such as the CityGalle and Ambalangoda's popular mask carvings. Surfers can also bask in the wave bliss of Hikkaduwa.
- Explore the flora and fauna.
Since it was unveiled in 2007, the colossal statue at this ancient temple has been popularly attracting more and more tourists.
- It features the Stupa, Bo Tree, Relic Chamber, Image House, Sri Vishnu Temple.
Timings- 5 am- 8 pm