Tourist attractions in Sri Lanka have accumulated over a long and interesting history, leaving many things to see including seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sri Lanka's history can be experienced at the fascinating ancient sites of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla and Panduwasnuwara. The National Museum in Colombo is a good stop for those passing through the city as it houses a variety of artefacts illustrating Sri Lanka's complex culture and history. The complexity of this multi-cultural country is also apparent elsewhere in the capital city, like in the Pettah Bazzar district where exotic smells and goods are traded. Calmer attractions in Sri Lanka include the lovely seafront in Galle, a coastal town very popular with tourists, or the peaceful lake city of Kandy, which has many historical attractions.
For those keen to leave the cities and towns altogether, attractions include treks into Yala National Park and up Sigiriya or Adam's Peak. Of course, many prefer Sri Lanka's beautiful sandy beaches, which stretch hundreds of miles, to any amount of sightseeing. The best beach destinations in Sri Lanka include the picturesque fishing village of Marawila, on the northwest coast, the resort town of Negombo, on the west coast, and the gorgeous Weligama Bay, in the south.
The remains of the ancient city of Anuradhapura are situated about 130 miles (205km) north of Colombo, standing majestically in the jungle that for generations hid away the palaces, monasteries and monuments, which have been there since the third century BC. The ancient city... see full details
The legendary mountain, towering 7,358 feet (2,243m) over the island of Sri Lanka, known as Sri Pada or Adam's Peak, has been venerated as a place of pilgrimage and worship for all major faiths in the country for generations. The holy mountain bears... see full details
The relaxed and peaceful atmosphere of Kandy, in the heart of Sri Lanka's hill country, is probably the result of being beautifully situated around a tranquil lake in a bowl of hills. It is a colourful, unique city, which resisted Portuguese and Dutch colonisation... see full details
The ancient port city of Trincomalee (affectionately called Trinco), on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka, has a perfect natural harbour, which has made the town a prize to be fought over by foreign powers for generations. The Danes first took the trophy... see full details
Yala National Park
Elephants are the most frequently spotted inhabitants of the vast Yala National Park (also known as Ruhunu), in the southeast of Sri Lanka, east of Matara, but they share the reserve with 130 different species of birds and other creatures like sambhur, spotted deer,... see full details
The port town of Galle, about 60 miles (100km) south of Colombo and a short distance west of Matara, is steeped in the heritage of the Dutch presence in Sri Lanka, and is dominated by the 36-hectare (89-acre) Dutch Fort, originally built by... see full details
Sigiriya is an important Buddhist site in central Sri Lanka, about 100 miles (161km) northeast of Colombo. The remains of an ancient royal fortress and city dating from 477 AD stand on a vast rock, which rises 600ft (180m) above the surrounding plain.... see full details
Dambulla Cave Temples
Sri Lanka's Buddhist heritage is nowhere as evident as in the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave-temple is the best preserved of its kind in Sri Lanka. The temple encompasses five separate... see full details
Horton Plains National Park and World's End
Located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, Horton Plains National Park contains some of Sri Lanka's highest mountains, covered in thick forest, misty lakes, and hidden waterfalls. The park is one of the only parks in Sri Lanka that allows guests to hike... see full details