12 Attractions in Sri Lanka To Visit

Sri Lanka has firmly positioned its place as one of the world's most popular tourist destinations and for good reason. CNN even named it one of the best destinations to visit this year. And after its economic crash earlier this year, the country is now making a comeback and is once again a safe destination for solos. 

With beaches, hills, rainforests, archaeological sites, heritage, culture, wildlife, and delicious cuisine, there are many reasons to visit Sri Lanka. I spent a week here and loved it. The people, the culture and the rugged nature all make this island a fantastic place to visit. 

Hop on SriLankan Airlines and fly to Colombo, with its ultra-modern facilities, tall towers, and vibrant nightlife. Sri Lanka is a large country with a lot to discover and there is never a shortage of things to do there. If you’re considering a visit to Sri Lanka, I’ve included 12 attractions in Sri Lanka that you must visit on your next holiday. 

Attractions in Sri Lanka

Bentota's beaches

1. Bentota's Beaches

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Bentota is a southern coastal town in Sri Lanka situated 90 minutes south of Colombo. One of Bentota's main attractions is its stunning beaches which are calmer than the surfing beaches in the west. Here you can also visit the renowned and historic railway lines. 

Attractions in Sri Lanka

See elephants at Udawalawe National Park

2. Udawalawe National Park 

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Visit Udawalawe National Park, one of Sri Lanka's largest National Parks. Udawalawe is home to many elephants, leopards, water buffalo, and, if you're fortunate enough you may see, the Sri Lankan sloth bear. 

Attractions in Sri Lanka

A lotus pond at Polonnaruwa Vatadage

3. Polonnaruwa Vatadage 

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Another World Heritage Site are the majestic remains of the old Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. These remains date back to the 11th Century and are breathtaking. It is one of the most sacred monuments in the city with stone platforms and stone carvings. You can walk up the stairs and through the entrance to see the stupa and the Buddha statues surrounding it. 

Attractions in Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa

4. Polonnaruwa's Historic Royal Baths

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If you're in the region, head to Polonnaruwa to see some of the magnificent, ancient bathing ponds that the Sri Lankan aristocracy had constructed after fleeing the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. These stunning artificial pools were originally used for bathing and have striking architecture. 

Attractions in Sri Lanka

Dambulla cave temple

5. Dambulla Cave Temple

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Step inside the stunning Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is one of the most stunning and well-preserved ancient temples in all of Asia. These caverns were formerly a precious and particular destination for Sri Lankan Buddhist monks, and they still are today. 

Attractions in Sri Lanka

Ruwanwelisaya

6. Ruwanwelisaya

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Ruwanwelisaya is apparently, one of the biggest Buddhist stupas in the world. More than 2100 years old, it is situated within the historic city of Anuradhapura and has to be seen to be believed. At 103 metres tall, it is one of the most beautiful structures in the country. 

Attractions in Sri Lanka

Kandy, home of the Temple of The Tooth

7. Temple of The Tooth

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A few hours inland from Sri Lanka's breathtaking beaches lies the Kingdom of Kandy. This peaceful city in the Central Highlands of the country was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. Situated around a gorgeous lake, Kandy is home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which is located in a stunning Buddhist shrine known as the Temple of the Tooth. This place should be high on your list to see. 

8. The Madu Ganga River 

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More of a large water basin than a river, the region is made up of dozens of stunning islands that are worth exploring. To explore the numerous secret caverns in these waterways, hire a boat and a knowledgeable operator. Sail along the Madu Ganga River and along the journey, you may be able to see the Kothduwa Temple and one of the numerous little cinnamon farms that dot the area. 

Attractions in Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura

9. Anuradhapura 

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Take some time to explore the historic city of Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while visiting sights like Jetawavaramaya and Ruwanwelisaya. This city is unique since it is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the whole globe. 

Attractions in Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Rock

10. Sigiriya Rock 

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One of Sri Lanka's most famous historical sites and a wonderful place to visit is Sigiriya. Make sure you are prepared for the 1,200-step trek in the muggy daytime heat before you stroll or wander to the summit of Lion Rock Fortress. This is my favourite place in all of Sri Lanka.

Attractions in Sri Lanka

Galle

11. Galle

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Galle, one of Sri Lanka's most southern cities, lies tucked away on the country's southwest coast. Visits to this location are the ideal way to observe the Dutch, Portuguese, British, and, of course, Sri Lankan architectural styles that are prominent throughout the town. If you've ever seen the iconic image of Sri Lankan fishermen on stilts in the water, Galle is the place to see this long tradition.

12. The Temples At Beruwala 

Spiritual Girl about the Globe

Beruwala is a wonderful place to visit as well. Here you can tour the stunning Kande Viharaya Temple and take in the sight of its magnificent huge Buddha. You could hear Tamil spoken in the town as the Sri Lankan Moors, an ethnic minority in the country live there. 

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Attractions in Sri Lanka

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