Top Cities and Provinces


Nestled in the midst of hills, the sheer beauty of Kandy will take your breath away. Popular attractions of this city include the Temple of the Tooth, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha, and the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. If you happen to be here in July or August, you must experience the Esala Perahera Festival. It features dancers, jugglers, musicians, fire-breathers, and beautifully decorated elephants. Considered by many to be the cultural capital of the country, kandy is a picturesque place to visit. Brightly-colored houses dot the forest-covered hills, and at the center of town, majestic buildings can be found bordering a glimmering lake.

As the former capital of Sri Lanka’s ancient kings, there is loads of history to devour, as well as lots of fantastic colonial-era architecture. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – one of the most important Buddhist sites in the world – exhibits some beautiful Kandyan architecture that dates to the 16th century. In addition to spectacular palaces and temples, Kandy also hosts the annual Esala Perahera festival, which showcases the rich Kanyan culture in all its splendor. A fascinating place with lots to offer, Kandy’s beautiful scenery, interesting history, and rich heritage makes it one of Sri Lanka’s most enticing cities to visit

Colombo, the capital of this country is a beautiful place and invites travelers throughout the year with its tropical climate. For history buffs, the Natural History Museum and the Dutch Period Museum will be rewarding experiences. You can also visit the Turtle Conservation Villa and enlighten yourself on the significance of protecting turtles, the adorable sea dwellers. For the art lovers, hit the Nelum Pokuna Theatre, a performing arts center, which hosts operas and orchestra concerts. Once known as ‘the garden city of the East’ due to its pleasant and verdant appearance, the nation’s largest city still retains many of its leafy boulevards and landscaped gardens, despite its urban sprawl and rapid growth.

The commercial center of Sri Lanka seamlessly mixes modern malls and skyscrapers with beautiful colonial buildings. A range of architectural styles can be found in the city, with the Murugan Hindu temple being one of the best. While colombo can be a chaotic place, it has everything you could want in a city. You’ll undoubtedly come across fantastic restaurants, fascinating museums and a plethora of great stores. There is also lots of great nightlife to be had.



Galle, the fifth largest city in Sri Lanka, is an abode of temples, beautiful churches, and unimaginable beauty. Visit the Seenigama temple and get lucky. Legend has it that if you make a donation and say your prayers here, you will be blessed with good luck. A photographer’s delight, the Galle Lighthouse is nestled within the walls of the ancient Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which offers breathtaking vistas of this tropical haven. With beautiful mosques and churches lying next to elegant colonial-era mansions, interesting museums, and a crumbling fort, Galle is full of history and is one of the country’s most impressive cities. Located on the south-west coast, Galle is lovely to wander around. Amidst all the historic sites and cultural landmarks, you’ll find lots of atmospheric cafes, trendy boutiques, and little art galleries. The highlight is the 17th-century Dutch fort that lies on a peninsula jutting out into the ocean. Particularly spectacular at sunset, the fort is a living monument; its interior houses lots of souvenir stands and little bars

Treat your eyes to greenery by visiting Nuwara Eliya. It’s a serene hill station popular for its charming landscape and is an important location for tea production. It houses the best golf course in Sri Lanka and is home to the stunning Hakgala Botanical GardensWith its landscaped gardens, colonial-era buildings, and temperate climate, it is no surprise that Nuwara Eliya has earned itself the moniker of ‘Little England.’ Immaculate golf courses and a charming post office only add to the picture.

Lying in Sri Lanka’s scenic Hill Country, the city is surrounded by tea plantations and forest-blanketed hills. It was once a favorite retreat amongst British colonialists.Due to the unique feel and look to the place, Nuwara Eliya is an interesting site to visit; the surrounding countryside is home to some fabulous mountains and waterfalls.



First settled around 900 BC, Anuradhapura is home to some of the most impressive ruins in the country. As such, there are a wealth of amazing archaeological sites for you to explore.In addition to the fabulous array of palaces, temples and ancient buildings, the city itself is a laidback place, with a couple of local markets to check out. The Archaeology Museum is well worth a visit to see its interesting collection of local artifacts.

The former capital of the Sinhalese is also home to one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites in the form of the Bodhi Tree Temple. It is still in use, and some colorful festivals take place here during the year.

The cultural, spiritual and political homeland of Sri Lanka’s Tamils, much of Jaffna was affected by the decades-long civil war that plagued the country, although it still exhibits a considerable amount of charm.With a friendly and welcoming population, you’ll immediately feel at home in the city. There is much to see and do in its wonderful temples, churches and colonial-era buildings.Because it hosts many local festivals and ceremonies, it is the perfect place to get to know the Tamil’s rich culture. There are lots of beautiful islands and lagoons nearby, as well as a national park if you want to explore the northern tip’s incredible natural bounties.



Located on a peninsula, Trincomalee’s spectacular natural harbor and glorious bays have long made it sought after. Whereas once colonial powers flocked to its shores, nowadays, tourists have replaced them. While most people prefer to head to the nearby beaches, Trincomalee is more than just a pretty place; beautiful temples and the colonial-era Fort Fredrick represent just some of its 2500 years of history.

Its delightful waterfronts offer incredible views, and its lively port provides an exciting mix of people and cultures.

A stunning place to visit, Unawatuna’s laidback vibe and fantastic beaches make it an increasingly popular destination.With towering palm trees lining its golden sands and the Indian Ocean’s crystal clear water, it certainly paints a pretty picture; there are some excellent beachside bars and restaurants where you can watch the sun go down.Its proximity to Galle means that it’s straightforward to get to. With some excellent scuba diving and snorkeling to be had, as well as lots of excursions available, Unawatuna is a must if you’re in the area.



Known by locals as Tissa, this former capital of Sri Lanka’s ancient kings is a peaceful and pretty city that is often used as a gateway to the nearby national parks.Scenically located on the shores of the artificial Lake Tissa Wewa – which was impressively constructed in the third century BC – Tissa’s highlight is the white stupa of Yatala Vehera – itself built around 2300 years ago.While the city is a pleasant place to spend some time, its main attractions are the Yala and Bundala National parks, which are full of wildlife and lovely scenery. The famous pilgrimage site of Kataragama is also not far away.

With its beautiful beaches, sweeping bays, and laidback way of life, it comes as no surprise that Tangalle is one of the most popular places to visit along the southern coast.The small town has many nice beachside bars and restaurants, while its expansive and plentiful beaches are the main reason that people visit. Due to its closed reef, there are some great spots at which to go scuba diving.Just a short journey away, you can find the impressive cave temple of Mulkirigala, which has some beautiful wall paintings. Many people use Tangalle as a gateway to the secluded villages that lie along the coast.



Located in a beautiful setting with forest-covered hills, sweeping valleys, and picturesque tea plantations, Ella is a lovely place to spend time and is one of the most popular Hill Country villages.Due to its recent surge in popularity, most of Ella’s hotels, bars and restaurants are now aimed at tourists. It can be quite hard to find the authentic side to the town, although it is certainly there if you look hard enough.In any case, the surrounding countryside and stunning scenery are what most people come for; make sure to hike to some of the nearby waterfalls and temples, as well as to the top of Ella Rock for incredible views of Hill Country.

Nestled in the central Matale district, Sigiriya is an ancient fortress overlooking lush forests. Built on top of the rock, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is popular for its palace ruins and gardens. At its entrance, you’ll see huge sculpted lion paws which give this place, the name ‘Lion Rock’.


Top Attractions

Sri Lankan Heritage

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designates World Heritage Sites of outstanding universal value to cultural or natural heritage which have been nominated by countries which are signatories to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. Cultural heritage consists of monuments (such as architectural works, monumental sculptures, or inscriptions), groups of buildings, and sites (including archaeological sites). Natural features (consisting of physical and biological formations), geological and physiographical formations (including habitats of threatened species of animals and plants), and natural sites which are important from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty, are defined as natural heritage. Sri Lanka ratified the convention on 6 June 1980.[3]

As of 2022, Sri Lanka has eight sites on the list. The first three sites, the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, the Ancient City of Sigiriya, and the Sacred City of Anuradhapura, were listed in 1982. The most recent site, the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, was listed in 2010. The Central Highlands and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve are natural sites, the other six are cultural. In addition, Sri Lanka has three sites on its tentative list. The country served as a member of the World Heritage Committee in the years 1983–1989.


Despite its small size Sri Lanka boasts of one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world whether in plants or animals and is included among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world. Of the ninety-one species of mammals found in Sri Lanka Asian elephants, sloth bear, leopards, sambar and wild buffaloes engages the majority of the attention of wildlife enthusiast. Yet the rarest mammals of Sri Lanka are the red slender Loris, Toque Macaque, and Purple-faced Langur, who according to IUCN clarifications are endangered due to habitat loss.

Meanwhile the ocean around Sri Lanka is home to large families of cetaceans including the mighty blue whales, sperm whales and lively dolphins. Altogether 26 species of cetaceans rule the waters surrounding the country, making it one of the best locations for whale and dolphin watching.  

Despite the mighty elephants and rare amphibians found in the country birds are the glory of the Sri Lanka’s wildlife. Boasting nearly 433 bird species of which 233 are resident Sri Lanka holds 20 endemic species while another 80 species have developed distinct Sri Lankan races, compared to their cousins in Indian mainland.

Although less celebrated, Sri Lanka has one of the richest diversity of amphibians in the world, containing over 106 species of amphibians of over 90 of which are endemic. The country has long claimed to have the highest amphibian species density in the world with a high concentration in the Sinharaja rainforest.

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