Sri Lanka’s 10 Best Small Cities

Small Cities with Big Appeal

Lockdown restriction is fading gradually from most parts of the world; however, some countries are still maintaining their travel restriction while some are tightening the travel restriction in fear of fast-spreading the pandemic. Sri Lanka is one of the countries that controlled pandemic very successfully. Sri Lankan government eased the restrictions related to COVID-19 gradually over the last few weeks, making now it has zero COVID-19 related restriction on the island by July.

What to see in a Sri Lanka trip?

With the national parks, cultural monuments, museums, rain forests and other tourist places are open as usual, more Sri Lankans are looking to get out of the city, with a large number of people are in search of domestic tourist places as part of the growing staycation trend. The Google search trend for Sri Lanka travel is largely increased over the last few weeks in parallel to the easing travel restrictions. However, the travellers are not venturing on Sri Lanka tours like 5 days Sri Lanka tour or 7 days Sri Lanka tour and they tend to book short trips such as 1 day Sri Lanka tours and 2 days Sri Lanka trips.

We have seen a sudden increase of readers on our blogs and travel website over the last few weeks and they are in search of tours and destinations in Sri Lanka. More than 90% of these users are from Sri Lanka and very from foreign countries.

If it sounds like you here are a list of attractive small cities in Sri Lanka to venture on your Sri Lanka next trip? We have chosen the below list of cities by considering various factors such as weather, safety, landmarks and sights, parks and outdoors, connectivity, diversity, culture, museums etc. here is the list of 10 best small cities to travel in Sri Lanka.

What are the 10 Best Small Cities to visit in Sri Lanka?

  • Balapitiya
  • Junglke beach
  • Mirissa, Matara
  • Kitulgala
  • Belihuloya
  • Peradeniya
  • Ella
  • Kataragama
  • Kurunegala
  • Tangalle
Sri Lanka's 10 Best Small Cities

10. Balapitiya

Home to a pristine uncrowded beach on the west coast of Sri Lanka, Balapitiya is one of the most picturesque places on the island, which is also a top-ranking beach holiday destination for travellers, who love to explore a peaceful and isolated beach. While the beaches are the key ingredient of Balapitiya’s tourist draw, there is a lot of activities to keep you busy beyond the beaches, including exploring Madu River estuary, diving and snorkelling, scenic trails among other activities.

Sri Lanka's 10 Best Small Cities, jungle beach

9. Jungle beach  

This one-mile-long secluded beach is tucked away 2km from Galle city. This is the beach is well off the main road and surrounded by a thick forest. Thin jungle hideout is very unpopular and you will not encounter hordes of tourist here. The beach is visited by a few local travellers that are coming to see the nearby peace pagoda (peace temple).

Sri Lanka's 10 Best Small Cities, Mirissa

8. Mirissa, Matara

Matara is the capital of southern Sri Lanka, which is also one of the biggest cities of Sri Lanka. Mirissa is a small city between Galle and Matara, this oceanfront small city has a large number of rest houses and guest houses as well as other economical accommodation facilities.

Mirissa attracts a large number of foreign travellers and most of them are beach holiday lovers. The food scene is a big Mirissa is also popular for seafood as well as water sports. In fact, Mirissa is the most popular city, where travellers gather to witness blue whales. A large number of travellers set off on a whale-watching boat in search of giant blue whales in the whale commissioned sea off southern Sri Lanka.

sinharaja rain forest tour

7. Kitulgala

Located at the foothills of Sri Lanka’s central mountain range, Kitulgala is a dream destination for the adventure enthusiast. Nick-named as the adventure playground of Sri Lanka, it offers places for white water rafting, caving, trekking, hiking, rain forest explorations, waterfall abseiling, bird watching and many more.  

Sri Lanka's 10 Best Small Cities, Belihuloya

6. Belihuloya

Belihuloya is a small city located between Colombo and Bandarawela, which is a popular mountain resort in Sri Lanka. Belihuloya is predominantly a nature holiday destination and it is an appeal to a wide variety of activities including rain forest exploration, bird watching, trekking and hiking. The remote but accessible nature tourist spot ranks among the best places in Sri Lanka for nature tours and outdoors.

Sri Lanka's 10 Best Small Cities, Peradeniya botanical garden

5. Peradeniya

Home to the Peradeniya University, which is one of the oldest universities of Sri Lanka, nestled among the green-capped mountain and valleys. Peradeniya considered being one of the smartest small towns in Sri Lanka.

Peradeniya university produces thousands of graduates every year and it is one of the most reputed higher education institutions on the island. However, from the tourism point of view, it is not the university, which is the main draw in the city, there is a much more important tourist attraction, which is the Peradeniya botanical garden. The city offers many things to do and see beyond the campus, including visiting tea gardens, scenic trails, rock climbing among other activities.

Sri Lanka 5 Nights 6 Days Package, Sri Lanka Tour, Ella

4. Ella

Another popular mountain resort in the south of Nuwara Eliya. By far Nuwara Eliya is the main tourist destination in the mountain, which attracts a large number of local travellers. But Ella is visited by foreign travellers. They all gather to Ella to enjoy the peaceful mountain resorts and its pristine mountains, waterfalls and tea gardens. Trekking and hiking are the most popular activities here and mini-Adams peak, Ella rock, nine-arch bridge and Idalgashinna are some of the most popular places for hiking in Ella.

Sri Lanka's 10 Best Small Cities, Kataragama

3. Kataragama

A secluded small town tucked away near the southern tip of Sri Lanka. Kataragama had been one of the least populated towns of Sri Lanka and it was surrounded by thick forest. Yala national park, which is one of the most popular wildlife reserves for a safari in Sri Lanka, is sharing the same border with Katargama in some areas.

Kataragama is the home to the most sacred temple on the southern province, which is popular as Kataragama temple of Murugan temple. The temple hosts the annual festival of Esala ceremony in the month of July, which is one of the most popular festivals on the island and attended by Buddhist as well as Hindu devotees.

Insider's Guide to Kurunegala

2. Kurunegala

Kurunegala is one of the oldest cities in Sri Lanka, and it was the capital of Sri Lankan kings in the 13s. Its population exceeds 200000. Kurunegala is home to a large number of temples and many other archaeological places. This central province city places fourth in the culture subcategory while ranking first for sights and landmarks and cracking the top three in terms of shopping.

Bentota and Hikkaduwa sits on the west coast of Sri Lanka, kissed by the blue coloured, warm waters of Indian Ocean

1. Tangalle

Boasting plenty of white-sand beaches, Tangalle conquers the parks and outdoors subcategory but also fares extremely well for restaurants, museums and watersports and culture, ranking second, fifth and eighth, respectively.

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