What are the top 10 spots to visit in Sri Lanka?

Here is a list of ten compact cities of Sri Lanka also ranked as top 10 spots to visit in Sri Lanka, that would not be easy to omit on your visit to Sri Lanka. These cities represent a complex web of cultures, ancient historical cities, tropical rain forests, wildlife reserves and adventure.

For starters, try climbing adams peak (the holy mountain), with perfect cones that poke above the cloud line. Rambling jungle walks lead past Buddhist temples, through the dark canopy where leopards, sloths, howler monkeys and jackals live. Surfing towns line the Indian ocean shoreline, where waves rush gold-sand beaches. Diving is dirt cheap, and certification programs can lead even beginners to see sea turtles and nurse dolphins in a maze of coral reefs.

Beyond the palm fringed beaches, there is a dozen of historical cities with many thousands of years old crumbling monuments, green capped mountains surrounded with tea gardens, waterfalls and perennial waterways, and the cobbled streets of beautiful Dutch built towns, where hawkers push squeaky carts of king coconut, Ice-cream or bread items.

What are the top 10 spots to visit in Sri Lanka?

  1. Dambulla golden temple
  2. Sigiriya rock fortress
  3. Gregory Lake Nuwara Eliya
  4. Rail journey Nuwara Eliya
  5. Kitulagla
  6. Hikkaduw marine sanctuary
  7. Adams peak
  8. Galle Fort southern Sri Lanka
  9. Pinnawala elephant orpahnage, Sri Lanka
  10. Kandy

1. Dambulla golden temple

The most striking fact of the temple is its antiquity. The temple of Dambulla dates back to 1st century BC and temple also has an extraordinary location up on the western flank of Dambulla mountain. Five granite caves that are nestled on the steep western side of the mountain house this ancient religious site. The temple is located about 50 meters above the foot of the mountain.

The temple is still surrounded by lush green vegetation, it is hard to find as it is located deep in the jungle. It had been probably a perfect hideout for the kings, who was evading the invaders to save his life in the 1st century BC. The temple is located in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. Today there is a paved stone stair that leads to the temple and the immediate surrounding area is cleared of trees, veins and rocks. The temple is largely restored to its former glory, but still the 20 minutes hike takes place under the dense canopy of rainforest.

2. Sigiriya  rock fortress

The iconic tourist attraction of Sigiriya rock fortress nestled in the center of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. This 5th century fortified city was the official residence of renegade king Kashyapa. The travelers that explores the site in latter period (10th century, 11th century), had left their valuable thought about this marvelous creation of ancient engineers and artisans. The Mirror wall, which shines like a mirror even today, hides many thousands verse and poems left by travelers in the ancient time. These verses are called “Kurutu Gee” or scribble songs, and some of them are translated to modern language.

Today even seasoned travelers marvel at Sigiriya rock fortress by seeing its landscaped gardens, fountains, swimming pools, and Sigiriya ancient paintings. Sigiriya rock fortress is one of the most visited tourist sites on eth island and included in most Sri Lanka trip packages like 5 days Sri Lanka trip, 4 days Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour. Sigiriya is surrounded by fertile land, which are full of trees, plants and creepers permeating the entire area with a mysterious beauty.

3. Gregory Lake, Nuwara Eliya

A large expanse of water sheet nestled among the mountain peaks and tea gardens are tumbled down from green hills to its shores. A large number of boaters ply the lake’s aquamarine surface, which is one of the most popular activity in Nuwara Eliya.

The British colonial rulers and wealthy planters, used the Gregory lake for trout fishing, which was one of the most popular past time activities in the health resort of Nuwara Eliya. Gregory Lake is one of the most striking features of Nuwara Eliya and attracts a large number of travelers every day. Today it provides much more than fishing and boating, horse-riding, speed boating, water scooter riding, house boating is some of the popular activities for the visitors of Gregory Lake.

4. The Hill country rail journey

Passing through the jagged mountains, jungles and tea gardens as it skirts the Sri Lanka’s hill country, the rail journey on the Sri Lanka’s hill country offers a near constant procession of picture-perfect vistas. The hill country rail journey considered being one of the most scenic rail trips in the world and a large number of travelers are venturing on this memorable experience.

If you make the Sri Lanka’s hill country road trip, there are many places to stop along the way chief among these being Ramboda waterfalls and the plateau, Tea factory and tea gardens, strawberry farm where you can buy fresh delicious strawberries. The huge tea plantations with its rugged terrain, offer many thrilling adventures like trekking, hiking, mountain climbing.

5. Top 10 spots to visit in Sri Lanka: Kitulgala

A trip to Kitulgala of Sri Lanka’s west coast is a one-day trip from most west coast beach resorts or from Colombo. The trip of 100-km long winding road passing tea, rubber, coconut plantations as well as patches of forests is a memorable experience for most travelers.

Kitulgala is the adventure playground of Sri Lanka and offers opportunities to pursuits adrenaline pumping activities like mountain biking, trekking, hiking, canoeing, waterfall abseiling and rainforest exploration amidst its waterfalls scattered remote countryside. Located at the foothills of Sri Lanka’s hill country, one of the longest rivers of Sri Lanka cuts through Kitulgala and feed a large tract of rainforests and a dozen of cascading waterfalls.

6. Top 10 spots to visit in Sri Lanka: Hikkaduwa marine sanctaury

Hikkaduwa marine sanctuary move to a lyrical reggae beat and offer one of the best places for surfing and snorkeling in Sri Lanka. Perched on the western coast of Sri Lanka-one of the two marine sanctuaries on the island – this is a diving-lovers dream, a large number of sea creatures and coral reefs.

A large number of exotic fish species, sea grass, sea turtles and coral reefs in the marine sanctuary is capable of keep divers and snorkelers busy for days on end. Budget friendly travelers and back packers will love this beach holiday destination as it offers many possibilities for cheap accommodations. However, Hikkaduwa should not essentially be for budget friendly travel and it offers many luxurious hotels (most of them are new) for older crowd, families and folks looking for a bit more on the creature-comfort scale.

7. Top 10 spots to visit in Sri Lanka: Adams peak

Rising up to 2243m from the sea level, Adams peak is the third highest mountain in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has more than 100 mountain that goes above 100-meter mark. However, none of the mountains are so sacred like Adams peak, none of the mountains are so special like Adams peak, none of the mountain are so popular like Adams peak, none of the mountains are so easy to climb like Adams peak.

Adams peak is one of the most popular historical monuments in Sri Lanka and the biggest draw of the Adams peak is the foot print of Buddha, which resides at the pinnacle of the mountains. A large number of Buddhist devotees make the arduous journey on foot in order to seek the blessing of the foot print of Buddha. The mountain has captured the attention of everyone from 4th century AD from Fahien (a Chinese monk that travelers across Asia) to modern Buddhist monks as well as common folk.

8. Galle Fort, southern Sri Lanka

Galle fort has played host to all colonial rulers on the island, which is a classic example of colonial influence on Sri Lanka. This 15th century Portuguese built fort was later occupied by Dutch and British colonial rulers of Sri Lanka. Buzzing with energy and, at times, drop dead gorgeous, Galle fort is an ancient city of awe-inspiring houses, bungalows, churches fabulous art collections, stunning streetscapes, cosmopolitan eateries and all-week, walk-everywhere happening nightlife.

The Galle fort offers a totally different vibe compered to all other beach resort in Sri Lanka, perhaps not as polished as other popular beach resorts, but many people love it precisely for its rough, exciting edges.

9. Pinnawala elephant orpahnage, Sri Lanka

If you have little time, E.g. you are on a cruise ship and look for a shore excursion in Sri Lanka, take the road trip from Colombo to Kandy – you are in for one of the most beautiful rides in Sri Lanka. At the beginning you will traverse through the busy cities on the west coast of Sri Lanka but very soon you will hit the beautiful country side, which is relatively less crowded. The road winding though the green, plantation-rich agrarian region passes through prosperous, quaint towns bright with jacaranda and African tulip.

You will encounter, if weather permits you to, the smoking peak of bible rock will loom in the distance as you pass Kadugannawa. Past Kegalle, the paved road towards Rambukkana takes you to one of the most popular tourist places in Sri Lanka, Pinnawala elephant orphanage. Near by the Pinnawala elephant orphanage is the Mahaoya river, which makes the bathing spot for hundreds of elephants. The elephant orphanage is home to hundreds of elephants with different ages and different sizes, making it one of the best places to spot these jumbos without any difficulty.

10. Kandy

One of the most cosmopolitan cities on the Sri Lanka’s hill country, Kandy city is the gateway to Sri Lanka hill country, which is rich in natural resources and is a vibrant destination in its own right. Hub of Sri Lanka’s tea industry, Kandy hosts many leading tea plantations and tea factories as well as the only tea museum on the island.

Kandy also has a rich historical past and was the capital Sri Lankan monarchy starting from 3th century AD to 1815 AD. The beautiful city is surrounded by mountains, patches of forests and tea plantations. In the middle of the town is the tooth relic temple, which is the most sacred Buddhist temple on the island. The colonial neighborhood of Kandy is full of British built buildings and most of them are still in very good shape. After the city was abandoned by British colonial rulers the buildings have been converted to shops, galleries, restaurants and hotels.

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