Great cities for Sri Lanka outdoor activities

4 Great cities for Sri Lanka outdoor activities

Adventure seekers, as well as nature explorers, will find below-mentioned places ideal for Sri Lanka outdoor activities. The nature lovers and adrenaline seekers will find many interesting activities in these 4 cities and they are located in or near some of Sri Lanka’s finest wildernesses.

There are many interesting places in Sri Lanka that local people love being waist-deep in water or flinging themselves off a waterfall whenever the notion takes them. It is no surprise to see these destinations mentioned below are coming under most livable cities on the island, which has earned a reputation by giving easy access to the great outdoors and the active lifestyle that their residents enjoy.

Here is a list of 4 Great cities for Sri Lanka outdoor activities

  • Bentota
  • Galle
  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Kitulgala
Sri Lanka’s Overlooked Coastline, Sri Lanka West Coast Itinerary, Bentota beach for outdoor activities in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka outdoor activities in Bentota

This west coast city of Sri Lanka is a popular playground for people who love outdoor activities, it has a superb waterfront pristine beach, which is more than a dozen kilometres long.  During the 6 months from November to April, it is poured with sunrise and become number one holiday destination for sun, sea and sand. Rest of the year it can bit gloomy sometimes due to the effect of monsoon.

During the dry season, it is excellent for swimming, diving, snorkelling, boating, fishing and all other water sports. There is a number of world-class water sports centres at the northern border of the city.

Bentota River, which flows into the Indian ocean in Bentota is one of the best places for a boat safari in Sri Lanka [6 Best Places For Sri Lanka Boat Tours]. It takes you to mangrove lagoons and riverine vegetation, where you can witness many animals species such as crocodile, monkey, birds, monitors, lizards, snakes.

Few kilometres off the beach on the landside is a favourite with nature lovers and mountain bikers love the country trails and patches of forests. Few kilometres down the shore, southward is Hikkaduwa is a top spot for underwater exploration of the sea (Hikkaduwa marine sanctuary) and witness many species of exotic fish, coral and sea turtles.

Bentota beach resort is very desirable for family beach holidays and travellers can find many high-end beach holiday resorts here. If you love the beach and outdoor activities Bentota is one of the best places for our door activities in Sri Lanka. Diving, snorkelling, fishing, boating, surfing, water skiing and other water sports, exploring mangroves, bird watching, cross country biking are some of the popular activities here.

About 10 km south of Bentota is Balapitiya is home to a large tract of mangrove and 2nd biggest wetland in Sri Lanka, Madu estuary, which is designated as a Ramsar wetland, great for boating, canoeing, birdwatching, and trekking.

Sri Lanka outdoor activities in Galle

Galle is a popular city on southern Sri Lanka and sand switched between sweeping beaches and the picturesque countryside means most interesting outdoor sports are within easy reach. Nearby Ruhmassala mountain with rich historical background offers endless hiking trails and opportunities for bird watching. Few kilometres south of Galle is Weligama attracts world-class surfers who are looking to conquer the waves.

Galle is also popular as a cultural tourist attraction due to the Galle Fort, which is the best-preserved colonial fort in Asia. The Portuguese built and later occupied by Dutch is well preserved and had earned the prestigious emblem “UNESCO world heritage site.

Few kilometres south of Galle some other popular cities like Mirissa, Unawatuna and Weligama offers opportunities for surfing, fishing, whale watching, diving and surfing. Mirissa about 40 km south of Galle and it is a top spot for whale watching and sea turtle spotting, and the sea off Mirissa is also popular for surfing, diving and snorkelling.

Ravan waterfall

Nuwara Eliya

This hill country resort has good reasons to be billed as the adventure capital in Sri Lanka’s hill country. Situated on the shores of colonial Gregory Lake with the 2524m Pidurutalagala mountain towering above, this high-altitude holiday resort is one of the best places on the island for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts and leisure seekers. Nuwara Eliya is home to many thousand kilometres of tea plantations and rolling hills. Not to mention Nuwara Eliya is also where horse racing started on the island, during the early 18’s. You can still enjoy a horse riding in Nuwara Eliya.

Nuwara Eliya is given a facelift as a holiday destination in the recent past, especially the surrounding area of the Gregory lake was developed with play areas for kids, carnivals, shops, restaurants. A large area around the lake was landscaped and covered with grass. Year-round travellers are heading to Nuwara Eliya in search of trekking sites, hiking trails, waterfalls, mountains and rainforests. The rugged terrain in Nuwara Eliya with mountains and valleys abound with opportunities for adventure activities, bird watching or just relaxing.

Nuwara Eliya is just 4-hour drive from Colombo and an only 1-hour flight from Colombo. Most travellers heading to Nuwara Eliya are local travellers because they love the healing climate of this mountain resort.

Ella is also a popular mountain resort just south of Nuwara Eliya, also have similar vegetation, landscape and climate. But Ella is long being popular as the most popular hill country resort for foreign travellers. Ella attracts a large number of western tourists every year. Just a few minutes from Ella are places like 9 arch bridge, Ella gap, mini-Adams peak and Ella rock popular places for hiking, trekking and spectacular views.

The single tree hills, which rises about 300 meters from the surrounding area is an immediate neighbourhood of Gregory lake, has a spectacular view of the lake and the surrounding area. The trail which leads to the summit of single tree hills can be challenging for novices and it has a sharp ascent from the beginning to the end, the hike lasts about 30 minutes.


Located on the foothills of the central mountain range, Kitulgala is just a few kilometres westward from Nuwara Eliya. Kitulgala is considered as the adventure playground of Sri Lanka, which attracts a large number of travellers every year.  Kitulgala offers plenty of all-season activities on hand, from whitewater rafting to jungle trekking, hiking, canoeing, and waterfall abseiling and many many more.

The outdoor possibilities are endless around Ella during the dry season from November to April, which is also the peak holiday season in Ella and the most number of tourists hit the city during this period.

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