Pseudonymized as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” Sri Lanka, popularly known as Ceylon, is one of the best countries to pick from a traveler. So, here we cover the best places to visit in Sri Lanka.
The best travel destinations in Sri Lanka are as follows:
- Sigiriya (සීගිරිය)
- Kandy (මහනුවර)
- Arugam Bay (ආරුගම් බේ)
- Ella (ඇල්ල)
- Colombo (කොළඹ)
- Udawalawe Sanctuary (උඩවලව)
- Mirissa Beach (මිරිස්ස)
- Hikkaduwa (හික්කඩුව)
- Trincomalee (ත්රිකුණාමලය)
- Riverston and Knuckles (රිවස්ටන්/ නකල්ස්)
- Kitulgala (කිතුල්ගල)
- Galle (ගාල්ල)
- Nuwara Eliya (නුවරඑළිය)
- Horton Plains and World’s End (හෝර්ටන්තැන්න/ ලෝකාන්තය)
- Jaffna (යාපනය)
- Yala National Park (යාල ජාතික වනෝද්යානය)
- Sinharaja Forest Reserve (සිංහරාජ වනාන්තරය)
- Wilpattu National Park (විල්පත්තු ජාතික උද්යානය)
- Adam’s Peak (ශ්රී පාදස්ථානය)
Let’s take you on the most delightful escapade on the must-visit destinations around this beautiful island.
19 Most Amazing Destinations In Sri Lanka To Visit As A Traveler
Sri Lanka is a small island that makes an amazing tourist destination. People from around the world love visiting Sri Lanka to appreciate its proud and ancient civilization, blond sandy beaches, sensual mountain ranges, wavering coconut palms, and plush tea estates. You could be able to experience wonderful cultural diversity as you travel across the country, moving from one province to another.
There are a ton of mesmerizing places to visit in this country once you land at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake. And, while traveling across the island, you’ll catch a glimpse of beautiful colonial architecture from the days when the Dutch, Portuguese, and English ruled. So, grab your backpacks and get ready to see the best destinations you could hit in every corner of this warm little island!
01- Sigiriya (සීගිරිය)
Distance from Colombo- 177 km | Location- Northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka
Sigiriya (see-ghiri-ya), or the Sigiriya rock fortress, is one of the most significant locations situated in Sri lanka. You’ll be able to witness the remains of an ancient fortress, which is believed to have been built on top of the Lion Rock, and its myriad exquisite and well-preserved draws.
The convoluted hydraulics system at the fortress enriches the site’s prominence as a captivating illustration of classical city planning. In addition, you’ll see graffiti art, the boulder garden, the water garden, etc. This place was declared a world heritage by UNESCO in 1982. This can also be recognized as Sri Lanka’s most iconic destination since it boasts the incredible archeological competency of the ancient builders.
You’ll find plenty of luxury and comfortable accommodations around Sigiriya. Thus, you can speak with the place of your accommodation and arrange some bicycles you can take for a free ride for sightseeing the countryside. And, if you visit Sigiriya from November to April, you could also try a hot balloon ride!
Moreover, take your chance to visit Pidurangala rock, which is located a few kilometers away from Sigiriya. You can also add seeing elephants to your bucket list at the Minneriya National Park. It’s well-known for attracting vast herds of elephants all throughout the dry season for its comprehensive collection of other wildlife, especially birds.
Safety and Special Notes – The place is usually open from 7.00 AM- 5.00 PM, and it is ideal for climbing the rock between 8.00 AM- 10.00 AM or between 3-4 in the evening to avoid the hot sun. There are about 1200 steps, and the staircase is secured with railings so you can safely climb up. Taking infants with you is not recommended, but kids above eight can visit Sigiriya.
02- Kandy (මහනුවර)
Distance from Colombo- 125km | Location- Central province of Sri Lanka
Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka, situated in the heart of this beautiful island. This fascinating laidback city brags for outstanding cultural and historical attractions, placed amidst forested hills. It is also named as a World heritage city by UNESCO and known as a pilgrimage destination for the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic (a consecrated tooth of the Lord Buddha).
You could experience the real charm of the wonderful climatic transformation as you get through Kadugannawa from Colombo when the soothing, relieving, and cool breeze strikes you. If you visit Kandy in August, you’ll be able to witness the vibrantly joyful Kandy Esala Perahera, popularly known as the Festival of the Tooth, a significant 10-day religious celebration hosted by the most important place in this city, The Temple of Tooth Relic.
Here’s a list of places that you could visit within a day in Kandy:
- Embekka and Lankathilaka Temples
- Bahirawakanda temple
- Udawatta Kele Sanctuary
- Hanthana mountain range
- Royal Botanical Garden
- Kandy viewpoint
- Digana Golf Club
Some of the best hotels in Sri Lanka are located in the heart of Kandy city and places near the city. If you plan to stay close to the city, you can take a walk down the town and wander around Kandy Lake round in the evening for a fascinating, peaceful experience. Every corner within Kandy is filled with lush and serenity so that you can have a great time even outside the city limit.
Kandy City Center is another place that could offer you a premium shopping experience. The place comprises international and local branded shops with a multi-cuisine restaurant, The World Spice. Do not miss your chance to explore the spice shops inside the Kandy Central Market, and there are a few more shops that’ll interest you in Dalada Veediya.
03- Arugam Bay (ආරුගම් බේ)
Distance from Colombo- 350 km | Location- South-east coast of Sri Lanka
Arugam Bay is known as a surfers’ utopia and boasts its golden sands as one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. This must-visit place in the country is blessed to be surrounded by a plethora of wildlife like elephants, monkeys, birds, and crocodiles. The bay is dapper and a splendid place to spend a great vacation.
It’s essential to know that the active season lasts from June until August. You could engage in flamboyant beach parties that go through the night. The atmosphere around Arugam Bay is cheerful 24/7, with many shops and restaurants offering whatever you need! You could rent a board in town and troll the popular surf spots such as baby point, peanut farm beach, elephant point, or main point.
However, surfing is not the only thing that Arugam Bay has to offer you. You can just trek around the beaches, visit neighboring places like Lahugala National Park, or head further to the Kumana for birdwatching. There are a few more hidden stunning beaches to hunt out, and if you admire religious sites, you could take a visit to Magul Maha Vihara or Muhudu Maha Vihara.
After some surfing, chill out at one of the best cafes. There are also many functional yoga sessions going throughout the whole bay’s high season. And you could arrange accommodation in luxury hotels throughout your stay in Arugam Bay.
04- Ella (ඇල්ල)
Distance from Colombo- 327 km | Location- Badulla District of Uva Province, Sri Lanka
Find yourself lost in dreamy, misty tea plantations lodged amongst viridescent hills while taking an awe-spiring tour to Ella by train! This is a smaller hill station compared to Nuwara Eliya, but it will never disappoint you as Ella offers waterfalls, caves, joyful train rides, unflustered vibes, and scenic terrains.
Ella can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit is between March and June and from December to February. As a start, if you visit Ella by train, you will stop by the impressive Nine Arch Bridge, which is a magnificent construction made with stones and cement bricks. If you visit in the morning, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the serene sunrise.
Another fun and adventurous thing to do in Ella is to hike the Ella rock. If the sun is bright enough, you can pack a few things up for a picnic, and don’t worry; there are plenty of things you could do in Ella for free! Another trekking site is Little Adam’s Peak- admire the panoramic views around and capture some great shots for your Instagram feed! You’ll find more adventurous activities in Ella rock, with a mega zip-line adventure along with ATV/quad bike rides, abseiling, archery, and air rifling to warm you up in the chilly climate!
Ella is also rich in water bodies. Explore the Ravana Ella, and you could even take a dip at this waterfall. But you should be careful as the rocks around this waterfall can be slippery. Check out the Ellawala fall, a true hidden beauty between the mountains! It is a fabulous little place away from the main road, offering privacy and separateness.
You’ll get to stay in many upscale hotels, beautiful affordable small villas and resorts, and the amenity of great Ayurvedic spas. Visit some cafes and restaurants to indulge in palatable local food, and you could also explore a few ancient places like Dhowa Rock Temple if you admire religious attractions. Or else, roam around the serene, little Ella town in the evening for a tranquil experience.
05- Colombo (කොළඹ)
Distance from The Katunayake Airport- 31km | Location- Western Province, Sri Lanka.
Colombo is the best place to have the vibrant and urban city experience on this island. This is the commercial and financial capital of Sri Lanks and the largest city, which is a combination of modern life and ancient historical colonial establishments and remains that delivers a hodgepodge of experiences.
At present, this rapidly evolving city has become a great place that offers coworking stations for digital nomads. You’ll be able to get a laidback working experience. At the same time, there’s a plethora of high-end and affordable cafes, restaurants,s and hotels that could be in need of refreshment and accommodation.
Lotus Tower is one of the city’s most iconic and the latest places to visit. The Colombo Lotus Tower is South Asia’s tallest freestanding construction, and a journey to the top divides visitors with unrestricted views across the city and the surrounding landscape and sea. Inside the tower, you’ll find a telecom museum, a shopping mall on the ground floor, and a rotating fine dining restaurant with outdoor and indoor observation spots.
This seaside city presents a superabundance of exhilarating ventures and places to visit. Rapture in an exciting tuk-tuk ride around the city, indulge in high tea at a majestic colonial-style hotel overseeing the sky-blue ocean in areas like Mount Lavinia, or play a round of golf on panoramic green courses.
A shopper’s ecstasy, magnificent boutiques feature international brands in high-end shopping malls, and enchanting shops offer vivid local craft and textured fabrics. You could admire Colombo’s multi-ethnic legacy by visiting places like Gangarama Temple, Maha Kali Amman Kovil Modara, Red Mosque, St. Lucia’s Cathedral, etc.
Nightlife in this buzzing city is an experience of another level since this is the right place for you (which is not heavy on the pocket) whether you are a party animal or someone who would like to spend some quality time with a chilled beer accompanied by fantastic music.
The pubs, nightclubs, and Casinos are open all night long for you to relish the ultimate nightlife in this dynamic city. If not for any of these, you could just wander around the town, enjoying the variety of street food from the stalls in places like Aluthkade, Galle Face Green, and Marine Drive.
06- Udawalawe Sanctuary (උඩවලව)
Distance from Colombo- 172 km | Location- located in Udawalawe, on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces in Sri Lanka
Venture on an exciting wildlife safari in Udawalawe National Park, which will be an adventure of a lifetime. This is the best place to witness Sri Lanka’s most treasured Sri Lankan Elephants. The site also pledges to troll a superabundance of other species to admire, making it one of the most fulfilling trips for you during your stay on this island.
The best time to visit is during a weekday, as public holidays or weekends could be overcrowded. Ideally, you can start the safari either at 7 AM or 6 PM. That is, preferably early in the morning or sunset when the animals come out. It could be too hot during the daytime, and they’ll be resting somewhere in the shade.
The most effortless way to get there is either by hiring a safari jeep and driver or with an organized tour. And you can arrange the elephant safari with your lodging once you reach, or you can book online ahead of time. There’s plenty of accommodation around Udawalawe that you could choose to stay in before your visit to the sanctuary.
You’ll be able to capture some great photos and even visit the Udawalawe Dam, Elephant transit home, Mahapelessa hot springs, Ussangoda national park, and Ramba Vihara to indulge in more interesting adventures.
07- Mirissa Beach (මිරිස්ස)
Distance from Colombo- 170km | Location- south coast of Sri Lanka, located in the Matara District of the Southern Province.
Mirissa is a beautiful laidback sunny beach town in Sri Lanka to enjoy some lavish waves for surfing and waters swarming with marine life, from turtles to giant blue whales. You could spend your stay at Mirissa enjoying reinvigorated coconut palms, indulging in scrumptious food from beachside cafes, and soaring around by motorbike.
Mirissa is renowned as one of the best places in Sri Lanka for whale watching. You’ll be able to join a guided cruise tour, preferably from the end of November until March, to see enormous whales, dolphins, and turtles. This beach is also known as the surfers’ paradise, serving the right waves no matter whether you are a beginner or an expert!
While the hidden beach makes a perfect romantic getaway, you can engage in surfing at the Weligama or Mirissa beach itself. Visit Coconut Tree Hill for some great pictures and enjoy the luxury of the outstanding tourism infrastructure, with plenty of dapper bars, bistros, cafes, restaurants, and beach resorts.
The captivating beauty of Mirissa Beach is something you should never miss out on during your stay in Sri Lanka. Click on this link as we have a complete guide to this beach, and you’ll learn why you should visit it!
08- Hikkaduwa (හික්කඩුව)
Distance from Colombo- 136km | Location- south coast of Sri Lanka located in the Southern Province.
Hikkaduwa is another great place to explore on this island if you love the beach. With the luxury of pretty beaches, you’ll be able to enjoy great surf and watch turtles. One of the greatest things to do in Hikkaduwa Beach is snorkeling. You could simply rent some snorkeling gear and take a quick boat ride over to the Hikkaduwa Coral Reef to dive in and enjoy the sceneries of the underwater world.
Moreover, several water bodies close to town will make it quite an expedition. You can try out on a river safari to explore the backwaters of the Madhu River near Balapitiya by renting a canoe and paddling up the Hikkatuwa lake system. As you sail through the mangroves, you’ll be able to observe the wildlife, such as birds, monkeys, and maybe even a crocodile or two.
You could also relish in delicious and fresh seafood and quench your thirst with fresh fruit punches while enjoying the amenities of high-end boutique hotels, resorts, or affordable accommodations around Hikkaduwa. Rent a surfboard and enjoy the great waves, watch how the baby turtles have been released to the sea, and make a trip to the turtle hatcheries you find around.
09- Trincomalee (ත්රිකුණාමලය)
Distance from Colombo- 265 km | Location- located in the east of Sri Lanka in the Eastern Province
Trincomalee is one of the most iconic places on this beautiful island to sprinkle some wanderlust onto your travel diary! Lying modestly on a wonderful natural harbor on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka, this captivating town with scads of history and attractive sites is a fabulous getaway from the touristy south.
From ancient temples and forts to mesmerizing beaches, coves, and a maritime museum, Trincomalee has lots to show off to perceptive travelers. Whether you seek comfort at the serene religious sites or explore marine diversity at the captivating Pigeon Island, there is no shortage of places to visit in this place!
Nilaveli and Uppuveli beaches lie a few kilometers from Trincomalee, some of the best beaches you could find on the east coast of Sri lanka. These seas are so pretty, with turquoise blue waters and pearly sand. Take a trip to the neighboring Pigeon Island and enjoy its impressive marine life, including many turtles and Blacktip reef sharks. This, along with a gorgeous coral reef, makes it one of the most pleasing things to do in Nilaveli Beach.
In addition, whale-watching is another exciting activity to do during your stay in Trincomalee. The whale watching season in Trincomalee technically begins in May and ends in October. So, you could enjoy these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat!
Snorkeling is the most favored activity on the seas of Trincomalee. Apart from snorkeling, Pigeon Island is also an excellent dive spot, and you could try out scuba diving tours from Nilaveli and Trincomalee. Do not miss out on your trip to Marble beach to enjoy some good sun, trek along the coast, and dive into crystal-clear water while indulging in tasty meals for fair prices.
Take a moment to appreciate the vibrant Darvadian architecture in Koneswaram Hindu Kovil, the historic Fort Frederick, the navy museum, and Seruwila Temple. You could find accommodation in some star-grade hotels, choosing from over 50 luxury hotels and resorts. There are some extravagant lodges with private beaches while you could also find many places for pocket-friendly costs.
10- Riverston and Knuckles (රිවස්ටන්/ නකල්ස්)
Distance from Colombo- 137 km | Location- Matale, Central Province of Sri Lanka
Misty and breezy Riverston is one of the tourist attractions in Knuckles’ world heritage area. This place is rich in biodiversity with a constantly changing climate, another hikers’ utopia found in the hill country of Sri Lanka. This famous trekking destination is enriched with water bodies such as Bambarakiri Ella, Pitawala Pathana Ella, Sera Ella, Raththinda Ella, etc.
The view up the hill is breathtaking, and you can capture some great photos, which include exotic flora and fauna and views of the panoramic Pitawala Pathana (mini World’s End). Riverston Gap is usually a spot that gets incredibly windy. And make sure to wear proper footwear like high boots since leeches are waiting to welcome you almost in every possible place in Riverston!
Trekking the knuckles mountain range is a next-level adventure that should not be missed by any hike-lover who visits Sri Lanka. It would be indeed something off-beaten track; hence you’ll obviously need some good guidance. You can literally walk from one ecosystem to another and experience the unmistakable metamorphosis in the landscape that you sense as though you could be on several entirely different strolls.
11- Kitulgala (කිතුල්ගල)
Distance from Colombo- 96km | Location- Sabaragamuwa Province
Kitulgala is the right spot for you if you love watersports. This is one of the most famous adventure sites in Sri Lanka that offers the best canoeing and white water rafting experiences in your life, along with an exceptional camping adventure. You’ll also get to enjoy nature and birdlife around the camping site while indulging in a variety of fresh local fruits and vegetables.
Although Kelani River is broad at Kitulgala, it is shallow in most places providing safe areas to swim and enjoy the waters and surroundings, mostly in the first three months of the year. Not only rafting there are plenty of other adventurous water sports to do in this area for all age groups, including abseiling.
While enjoying your camping at Kitulgala, do not miss out on making short trips to neighboring sites such as Belilena Cave, Aberdeen Falls, Broadlands Dam, Makandawa Forest Reserve, and Nalangana Ella Falls. You could find some fantastic resorts, hotels, bungalows, and villas backed by the jungle in Kitulgala that provide you with accommodations with the best amenities.
While white water rafting is the top attraction in Kitulgala, it is also a known hub for jungle camping, birdwatching, and waterfall abseiling. Are you interested in getting to know more about this adventurous location? Then, click on this link and refer to our detailed article!
12- Galle (ගාල්ල)
Distance from Colombo- 145 km | Location- Southern Province, Sri Lanka
Another historical city in Sri Lanka, Galle, is surrounded by the azure down south ocean that runs to infinity. This location has plenty of places to explore, making you fall in love with the city and satisfying all your interests.
Start your escapade from the Galle Fort (Dutch Fort), a UNESCO World Heritage Site presenting travelers with a superfluity of things to troll from an ancient epoch. Visit historical monuments as you walk along the ancient ramparts of the fort. This archaic, culturally congruous town compares a retro European village with cobblestoned streets streaked with a Mansion Museum, bistros, cafes, restaurants, boutique retail venues, and more.
Galled is enriched with beaches like Unawatuna, Rumassala, Bentota, Jungle beach, Koggala, Ahungalla, Induruwa, etc. All these sea sites are must-visit spots that will offer a refreshing and rejuvenating experience. Get a tuk-tuk or a taxi to reach these destinations, and you could engage in a variety of adventurous sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and canoeing or discover the lagoons on a guided tour.
Do not miss out on exploring the beauty of chaste coral reefs and turtle hatcheries. Take a guided cruise trip for majestic blue whale-watching in their natural habitats. You’ll get plenty of luxury hotels, resorts, and Ayurvedic Spas around Galle. You could discuss the places of accommodation and get the details on booking ahead the cruise trips for whale-watching, so they’ll pick you up at the hotel premises.
If you plan to spend some time in the southern province of Sri lanka, you can visit Tangalle, located in Hambantota District. This location has some of the best beaches in the southern province and some rewarding attractions in the surrounding countryside.
If you adore religious attractions, you could visit the monumental Buddha and ostentatious shrines of Wewurukannala and the majestic rock temples of Mulkirigala. That’s not all; the neighboring beach at Rekawa is Sri Lanka’s deluxe spot for turtle-watching. You could also take a trip to the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, which can be merged with a visit to the reserved plateau at Ussangoda.
Unwind by a pristine beach or walk along the wall of the Galle Fort on a peaceful evening to catch the breathtaking sunset. Galle has much to offer more than you expect–click here for more information!
13- Nuwara Eliya (නුවරඑළිය)
Distance from Colombo- 172 km | Location- It is a city in the hill country of the Central Province, Sri Lanka
Nuwara Eliya offers a picturesque landscape, lavish mountain ranges, vibrant mountain flowers, plush tea estates, and a temperate climate. If you visit Kandy, do not miss your chance to have a train tour to this awe-inspiring location. Nuwara Eliya is one of the significant tea-producing areas on the island, with the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka, “Pidurutalagala,” overseeing the city.
Nuwara Eliya is also pseudonymized as “Little England,” and you can witness a number of beautiful waterfalls around the area, such as Devon Falls, Ramboda Falls, and Lakshapana Falls. Trekking and hiking voyages usually evolve around these landmarks. Modern-day Nuwara Eliya buzzes with department stores, fresh fruit and vegetable stalls, and fast food chains.
You’ll find an array of recreational activities to do around Gregory Lake, such as pony riding, speed boat riding, and boat tours. This site is known to have the best 18-hole golf course in Asia, and you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of exquisite hill-country flowers everywhere in this beautiful city.
Here are some places you can visit in Nuwara Eliya and around the location:
- Victoria Garden
- Seetha-Amman Kovil
- Hakgala garden
- Hanuman Kovil, Ramboda
- Ambewela farm
- Strawberry farms
- Bale Bazar
- Horton Plains
If you need to indulge in premium Ceylon tea, heading to a tea factory in Nuwara Eliya would be your best bet. Damro Tea Lounge, Bluefield Tea Factory, and Pedro Tea Factory could be some of the best picks. On this site, you can find some of the best hotels in this country with top-notch amenities. It is also the ideal place to make a romantic getaway with your significant other.
14- Horton Plains and World’s End (හෝර්ටන්තැන්න/ ලෝකාන්තය)
Distance from Colombo- 106 km | Location- Central Province of Sri Lanka of Nuwara Eliya District
Horton Plains, or Horton Plains National Park, is one of the unique natural resources found in the heart of Sri Lanka. The park is extended over the area’s two highest mountains, Kirigalpotta and Totupolakanda. The plateau-like layout, along with plains on one rear, dense forests, and mountains on the other, create the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.
You will find many lakes, waterfalls, and rocky hills, with awe-inspiring sceneries in this part of the country. The forest provides shelter to a wide variety of wild animals and birds. However, most big animals remain untouchable and elusive. The best time for Horton Plains is the beginning of the year, especially from January to March. The weather in this site is quite foggy and hazy around the year. Nevertheless, the start of the year has fewer downpours, leading to more pleasing views.
You’ll get to the World’s End about one hour from the park’s entrance. This is the place where the Horton plains plateau suddenly comes to an end. You’ll be able to catch some great views from this location of the miniature town area, tea plantations, villages in the valley below, and an unbound scenery south towards the coast.
15- Jaffna (යාපනය)
Distance from Colombo- 305km | Location- Northern Province of Sri Lanka
Jaffna is one of the best places to visit during your stay in Sri Lanka if you need to experience incredible cultural and climatic diversity. As it is off the beaten path, it is constantly discounted by Sri Lankan travelers. But gates to this little paradise were opened in 2009, after the end of the Civil War in Sri Lanka, revealing the true splendor and authenticity Jaffna has to offer to the world and to the other Sri Lankans who live across the country.
This northern territory is led by the Tamil minority and boasts a rich culture that has been influenced by south Indian culture in terms of food, rituals, architecture, and even how the locals wear. If you are looking for a natural and genuine travel experience, Jaffna is as true to life as it gets, especially for those with an intrepid spirit.
There are plenty of Hindu and Buddhist religious places to explore in Jaffna, such as:
- Nallur Kandasamy Kovil
- Nagadeepa Temple
- Maruthanamadam Anjaneyar Kovil
- Kantharodai Vihara – Kadurugoda Temple
- Sacred Bo Sanctuary Temple
- Selva Sannidhi Murugan Temple
- Dambakola Patuna Temple
- Varadharaja Perumal Temple
- Nagapooshani Amman Temple
You could visit the Jaffna Fort to witness some of the best-preserved colonial ramparts in Sri Lanka. You could walk along the open grounds, stroll around the gateways, and climb the old walls for panoramic views of Jaffna and the lagoon, especially to see the beautiful sunset. Explore the Jaffna Archaeological Museum, Point Pedro Lighthouse, Jaffna kingdom ruins, and the Public library if you need to indulge in the rich history of this site.
Would you like to learn more about Jaffna and why it is worth visiting this part of the country during your stay in Sri Lanka? We have shared a comprehensive article about Jaffna and its important details- click here!
Get a guide to help you to show the way to Jaffna’s local grape farms. Let them lead your way to other special places like Keerimalai Sacred Water Springs, Delft Island, Sarasalai Mangrove Ecosystem, and Periya Mandapam limestone caves. Get the ultimate sea experience from the pristine beaches around Jaffna, such as Casuarina Beach, Kankesanthurai Beach, Charty Beach, Akkarai Beach, and Karainagar Beach.
You will also get to admire the wildlife if you visit places like the Chundikulam National Park and Karaveddy Lagoon. When visiting Delft Island, you could also catch some beautiful wild horses roaming around in their natural habitat.
16- Yala National Park (යාල ජාතික වනෝද්යානය)
Distance from Colombo- 289 km | Location- The southeast region of Sri Lanks, lying in Southern Province and Uva Province.
Being one of the most visited destinations in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is a heaven of gorgeous pastel forests, dense plains, and saltish lagoons. This site showcases its rich geographical diversity with a variety of wildlife. You’ll be able to see elephants, crocodiles, buffaloes, aquatic birds, and monkeys, along with stunning peacocks, during your trip to this park.
The safari tours in Yala commit their team to absolutely eco-friendly experiences. The Safari takes you to the abyss of explorations into the core of Sri Lanka’s Yala wildlife. Watching these exquisite animals wandering into the deepness of nature will be an awe-inspiring moment for a lifetime. And, not to forget, the birdlife in this park is pretty magnificent as well.
Beyond Yala National Park, you could visit religious attractions like Kataragama Maha Devala and Sithulpawwa Vehera, which hold immense historical value in Sri Lanka. In addition, a number of beach activities and water sports are functional under the control of internationally trained lifeguards. At the same time, you could further experience sessions of sport fishing or even explore some of Sri Lanka’s most majestic shipwrecks at the Great Basses Reef.
A plethora of internationally recognized hotels and resorts are ready to provide their luxury amenities if you plan to stay around Yala for some days. You could also find some affordable accommodations and enjoy the luxury of local Ayurvedic spas.
Is Yala National Park really worth visiting? Click on this link and refer to our comprehensive article on the second-largest national park of Sri Lanka and learn why it is important to add Yala to your destination list!
17- Sinharaja Forest Reserve (සිංහරාජ වනාන්තරය)
Distance from Colombo- 119 km | Location- south-west of Sri Lanka
Falling as another must-visit place on our list, Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a very momentous wildlife and verdant cover in Sri Lanka. It is a biodiversity park that conserves the last possible area of the major tropical rainforest in the country. It was announced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1988 and is also watched as a World Biosphere Reserve since 1978.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora. You’ll spot animals like elephants, leopards, and purple-faced langurs in this rampant forest if you are lucky enough. There are also various endemic and nomadic bird species. At the same time, this forest is known for eclectic flock feeding, and you could catch a glimpse of some exotic birds if you go bird-watching along with the inherent reptile species.
January to March and August to September are the best months of the year to visit this site. Make sure you come prepared with waterproof gear like raincoats, boots, hats, and thick socks when you visit Sinharaja, as you’ll be visiting one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka. En route to this forest, you could stop by the vibrant gem shops at Ratnapura to appreciate the elegance of gem-studded jewelry.
Explore and experience the resplendent beauty of the soul of Sri Lankan natural resources! Click on this link and refer to our comprehensive article to discover why you shouldn’t miss out on visiting the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
18- Wilpattu National Park (විල්පත්තු ජාතික උද්යානය)
Distance from Colombo- 190km | Location- Located on the northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka
Wilpattu National Park is located about an hour away from Anuradhapura city, which has the sought-after honor of being the largest and oldest national park in the country. It is home to a ton of mammals and reptiles, including exotic bird species. You’ll be lucky enough to spot leopards and spot some remains of an ancient palace.
This park can be visited throughout the year, but it is recorded that February to October is the best time. You could have a calmer Jeep safari ride through the park with your family, enjoying the wildlife and seeing hundreds of giant elephants roaming freely.
To get the best from your Wilpattu safari, we recommend booking a full-day safari to enhance your time in the park. Or else, dedicate at least 2-3 days so that you can go on several safari drives to witness every possible thing within the park.
However, you should also be prudent of the fact that the animals in Wilpattu may not be as used to noticing people and safari jeeps and, therefore, may be more nervous and timid if they hear you hovering.
19- Adam’s Peak (ශ්රී පාදස්ථානය)
Distance from Colombo- 146 km | Location- Southwestern Sri Lanka
Adam’s Peak, another one of the must-visit sites in Sri Lanka, is a massive conical mountain bearing on its top a sacred footprint equally worshiped by all religions. Apart from being a divine tourist destination, Adam’s Peak is quite popular among tourists for its bewitching beauty and incomparable trekking.
Moreover, the peak is the source of four major rivers in the country and miscellaneous other tributaries. It also features an abundance of waterfalls and provides a home to a vast range of uncommon birds, mammals, and reptiles. Adam’s Peak has in residence an opulent biodiversity consisting of elegant endemic flora.
The best season to explore Adam’s Peak is between January and May when there is less rain in the area and daytime would get enjoyable sun all day long. Locals usually organize pilgrimages to this sacred mountain during this time, so that it could get crowded around this time. Therefore, making your trip in the early months is recommended for peaceful and comfortable climbing. And most importantly, it would be best if you could climb the mountain at night to appreciate the daybreak on the top.
In pilgrimage season, there would be many food stalls established at regular intervals almost all the way up to the peak. You could sit for a while indulging in deep-fried local snacks, tea, and coffee. However, it would be better to keep your own food with you if you need to be on a particular diet. Since most people prefer to climb the peak at night, the nightlife on this site would be vibrant, buzzing, and more enjoyable!
Some even try hiking Adam’s Peak during the off-season, which could be a challenge and a great activity for adventure-loving souls! You’ll have to survive the sudden downpours and little flash floods. This is probably for the brave hikers, and we do not recommend this expedition unless you really want to accept the risk.