Sri Lanka may be a small island in the Indian Ocean but that’s the only thing small about it. The country, formerly known as Ceylon, boasts an ancient civilization, golden sandy beaches with swaying coconut palms, mountains, and rubber and tea plantations.

While visiting the island, you’ll see colonial architecture from the days when the Portuguese, Dutch and English ruled. You’ll see lots of elephants, some of which participate in local festivals and, if you’re lucky, perhaps a leopard or two at a wildlife sanctuary. An overview of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka are mentioned below

9. Colombo

Colombo is the most populated city and the metropolitan capital of Sri Lanka. You will likely be landing in the Airport in Colombo. What you need to know is that it’s the financial and commercial capital, it’s big and it’s busy. There’s lots to do here and you can definitely spend with your card, there’s uber to get around and plenty of fast-food joints to satisfy any craving. If fast-food isn’t your thing, not to worry, because Colombo is the best place to sample traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. You can get some shopping done or visit a modern movie theater. Colombo offers modern gastronomy, a street food scene and a vibrant night life.

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8. Galle

Galle is loved by locals and tourist alike. If you are in Sri Lanka, you should not miss out on visiting Galle and the neighbouring Unawatuna Beach. This old colonial coastal town is filled with history and beautiful Dutch architecture. With palm trees, white sand and turquoise waters, it’s easy to see why it’s one of Sri Lankas most popular beaches. There are shopping strips along the Galle Fort and Unawatuna beach for souvenirs and restaurants. Unawatuna Beach also has a buzzing night life where you are sure to catch a party along the beach on weekends.

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7. Tangalle

Tangalle is one of the popular beach towns in Sri Lanka located in the deep-south of the Island and is well-known for its long stretches of pristine unobtrusive beaches. If you are a fan of peace and quiet and would like to just sit on the beach to tan or read a book, this will be your top choice. There are several ultra-luxury resorts existing in the area as well as small affordable guest-houses for the budget traveller. Neighbouring bays of Hiriketiya and Dickwella are also popular tourist hot-spots and are lined with surf spots and oceanfront cafes, located minutes away from Tangalle.

6. Udawalawa

This might come as a newsflash to some. Sri Lanka has the best safari outside of Africa since the country has one of the highest rates of indigenous plants and animals in the world. Sri Lanka is a bio-diversity hot-spot, Udawalawe national park is a personal highlight of our team and home to some 200 different species. If you are looking for elephants, Udawalawa is the best place to see wild ones as the national park boasts the largest concentration of wild elephants on the Island. Take a safari early in the morning or later afternoon when they are avoiding the heat to spot these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

5. Nuwara-Eliya

Nuwara-Eliya is the Tea Capital of Sri Lanka. The prestigious Ceylon tea known around the world grows in and around these mountains. Nuwara-Eliya sits at an altitude of 1868m (6128ft) above sea level and is famous for its picturesque landscape and cool climate. The tallest mountain in Sri Lanka Pidurutalagala overlooks the city and many beautiful waterfalls can be witnessed nestled within far reaching the tea estates.

4. Kandy

Kandy is known as the last ruling Kingdom of Sri Lanka and is filled with remnants of the past. When you get to Kandy you must visit Sri Dalada Maligawa or The Temple of the Sacred tooth relic of. It’s a beautiful temple built during the era of the Kingdom and houses a tooth which belonged to the Buddha. The Kandy Temple is also known for the Asela Perehera Festival which is hosted annually in the month of August. When in Kandy be sure to catch a performance of the Kandyan Dance and visit a Gem Museum. Also, nearby is the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary and the beautiful Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. Both home to thousands of indigenous flora and fauna and are remarkable places for spending a day.


3. Dambulla

Dambulla is most famous for its epic rock cave temples which is filled with huge buddha statues. Posing for pictures with the buddha is frowned upon as according to locals its custom to never have your back to him. If in doubt always follow the locals and do what they do. Speaking of locals while in Dambulla you will inevitably to run into a toque macaque, a type of monkey endemic to Sri Lanka. Do not leave your bags unattended as these cheeky chaps will snatch even the most well-hidden snacks in your bag.

2. Sigiriya

Also, in the Dambulla area is the ancient city of Sigiriya. It’s an ancient rock fortress and the remains of a palace which was built in the 5th century, on top of a rock 180 meters in height. It is one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka and is an ancient marvel. Sigiriya is the most visited tourist sites in Sri Lanka. If you prefer to stay away from the crowd, then you need to check out Pidurangala Rock instead. It is less well known but offers stunning views of the main attraction Sigiriya, it’s also much cheaper. Although I must say the climbs are not for the faint hearted, go around 4.30pm to make it up for Sunset.

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1. Ella

Ella is all about stunning views and breathtaking scenery, you are guaranteed to be in awe when visiting this town. Ella has a very unique climate and an attraction than any other destination in Sri Lanka. You must really take the time to explore the areas natural beauty and ample vista points. No trip to Ella is complete without a visit to the famous Nine-arch bridge for a selfie and a hike up Little Adam’s peak to take in the breathtaking views of the waterfalls and valleys below. It’s also worth mentioning that the most iconic train journey in Sri Lanka is from Ella to Kandy which is a 6-hour train ride with magnificent views of the Sri Lankan highlands.   The Ella town is filled with small cafes, restaurants and bars, all packed into a 1 km radius and really is a buzzing town on any day of the week.