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Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

TeamAckoOct 27, 2023

The Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in South Asia. Sri Lanka is a go-to place for travellers seeking unparalleled natural beauty, relaxing beaches, breathtaking scenery, and diverse experiences. 

This island nation provides you with a unique blend of mesmerising landscapes, captivating cultural heritage, delicious cuisine and friendly locals. Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, has a rich cultural history and ancient ruins that attract tourists from around the world. 

Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

Whether you are planning a trip for a honeymoon or venturing on a solo or family trip, this tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean will not disappoint you. Here is a comprehensive guide to the stunning destinations Sri Lanka has to offer, ensuring you have the most unforgettable travel experience of your life. Take a look at the places to visit in Sri Lanka that can help you plan your journey.



Top 8 Must Visit Places in Sri Lanka

Dambulla Cave Temple

One of Sri Lanka's top tourist spots, the Dambulla Cave Temple, is a must-see destination. It's the largest temple complex in the country, with a history dating back to the 12th century AD. Inside, you'll discover five different-sized rooms, each housing a serene Buddha statue. The temple is perched on a dark, rocky mountain, strikingly contrasting its white walls. Be sure not to miss the breathtaking view from the top. You can easily reach the temple from both Colombo and Kandy. It's famous for its historical significance, and you can explore its architecture and enjoy the stunning sights. 

  • Address: Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

  • Famous For: Rich Historical Significance

  • Things To Do: Explore Intricate Architecture, Enjoy Sightseeing

  • How To Reach: It is easy to reach the temple's base from Sigiriya with convenient tuk-tuk services, while it's just a 15-minute walk from the Dambulla bus terminus.

  • Where To Stay: You can stay at Richwin Villa, Sevonrich Holiday Resort or Hotel Sigiriya.

  • Timings: Daily from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm

  • Ticket Price: Entrance Fee - 384.97 INR


Sigiriya, also known as the Lion Rock, is a fascinating place in Sri Lanka. It's not too far from Colombo, about 169 km away, and it's on the way to Anuradhapura or Polonnaruwa. Sigiriya became a special place in 1982 when it became a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. People love it because old palace ruins are at the top of a giant 200-meter-tall rock. The rock itself is like a leftover piece from an ancient volcano. It's also famous for its ancient paintings, similar to those in India's Ajanta Caves. Starting around the 5th century BC, some Buddhists used Sigiriya as a place for worship. They made caves here for that. There's a museum nearby that has pictures of how they dug up Sigiriya, copies of the paintings, and translations of words written on the walls.

  • Address: Sigiriya, Central Province, Sri Lanka

  • Famous For: Historic Rock Fortresses and Ancient Frescoes

  • Best time to visit: January to April, July to August

  • How To Reach: To get to Sigiriya from Colombo, you have several transportation options, including buses, trains, tuk-tuks, flights, and rented vehicles. On average, the journey takes about 3-4 hours.

  • Where To Stay: Some of the best accommodations are Aliya Resort & Spa, Water Garden Sigiriya, Jetwing Vil Uyana and Sigiriya Village Hotel.

  • Things To Do: Climbing to the Top, Exploring the Ancient Ruins of Singriya and Pidurangala Rock

  • Timings: Open Daily from 5:30 am to 8:30 pm

  • Ticket Price: Foreigners: 415.84 INR; Local adults: 25.66 INR; Local children:12.83 INR

Polonnaruwa - Explore Ancient Ruins

Polonnaruwa is another fantastic places to visit in Sri Lanka, known for its temples and rich history. You'll find well-preserved archaeological wonders here, including tombs, temples, statues, and stupas. Sri Lanka is famous for its temples and historical sites, and Polonnaruwa is no exception. It's a favourite among tourists who want to experience the authentic essence of Sri Lanka. If you appreciate spirituality and are curious about different countries' history, culture, and traditions, Polonnaruwa should be on your list. It offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka's glorious past and vibrant culture. The remnants of old buildings and monuments once stood tall in this ancient city.

  • Address: Polonnaruwa District, North Central Province, Sri Lanka

  • Famous for: Its lush green environment and charming tourist hotels

  • Best time to visit: The best months to visit Polonnaruwa are July, August, and January. It's better to avoid May and June, as they are the hottest months.

  • How to reach: While there are no direct trains to Polonnaruwa, you can take a train from Colombo to Habarana and then continue your journey by bus or taxi.

  • Where to stay: Consider staying at EKHO Lake House, Wildescape Polonnaruwa, or Binara Home Stays.

  • Tourist attractions: Nearby attractions include Sigiriya, Gal Vihara, and Prakrama Samudra.

  • Timings: 7:00 am to 8:00 pm

  • Ticket Price: Non-SAARC foreign adults: 2079.23 INR; SAARC foreign adults and children: 1039.61 INR; Local adults and children: Free entry.

Also Read: Best time to visit Sri Lanka

Arugam Bay - A Thrilling Turquoise Paradise

Arugam Bay is a dreamy place for adventure-seekers and a must-visit place in Sri Lanka. With a coastline stretching over 1600 km, Sri Lanka is a perfect spot for thrilling activities like windsurfing and speed boating, and Arugam Bay is the show's star. This coastal gem, located around 320 km from Colombo on the southeast coast, offers vibrant blue skies and swaying coconut trees. Here, you can sip refreshing coconut water, bask in the aroma of jasmine, and let the southern sun give you a sun-kissed glow. Along with Arugam Bay, other pristine beaches you shouldn't miss in Sri Lanka include Unawatuna in the south and Tangalla, about 195 km south of Colombo. Getting to Arugam Bay is a breeze, as Colombo boasts an international airport conveniently located nearby.

  • Address: Surf Point Road, Arugam Bay, Pottuvil, Sri Lanka

  • Famous For: Stunning Seashore Escapes

  • Things To Do: Thrilling Surfing and Snorkeling

  • How To Reach: While there isn't a direct route from Colombo to Arugam Bay, you can opt for a bus to Kataragama and then continue your journey there by taxi.

  • Where To Stay: Check out options like Weligama Bay Resort, Palace Mirissa, Number One Mirissa and The Fortress Resort Galle for a comfortable stay.

  • Flight Charges from India: Typically around INR 15,000 for an adult when you book it two months in advance

  • Best Beaches around Colombo: Bentota, Mirissa, Koggala, Trincomalee, Pasikudah, Unawatuna, Tangalla, and of course, Arugam Bay

  • Best Time to Visit: Plan your trip between November and March for the perfect beach weather

  • Ticket Price:  51.31 INR per adult

Adams Peak - A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Prepare to be enchanted by Adams Peak, one of the most captivating tourist destinations in Sri Lanka. This natural wonder is a true gem of Sri Lanka, offering a mesmerising experience. Adams Peak is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a biodiversity hotspot. Its breathtaking views are truly unparalleled in all of Sri Lanka, making it a top pick among Sri Lanka's tourist spots. Located in the heart of Sri Lanka, it's famously known as Sri Pada, which means "sacred footprint." This sacred site features a rock formation at the mountain's summit, believed to be the footprint of Buddha. When you reach the peak, you'll be rewarded with awe-inspiring panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

  • Address: Central Sri Lanka

  • Famous for: Remarkable Rock Formation

  • Best time to visit: Weather-wise, January and May are ideal months. However, it's best to avoid full moon days and Sri Lanka holidays if you want to avoid long queues.

  • How to reach: While you must climb the steps, you can start your journey by taking a train from Colombo to reach the peak base. Catch a direct train to Hatton from Colombo, Kandy, or other cities, then proceed by bus or auto to Dalhousie, the nearest town to Adams Peak.

  • Where to stay: Consider staying at the slightly chilled hotel or the Grand Adams Peak Hotel for a comfortable visit.

  • Tourist attractions: Nearby attractions include the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and Laxapana Falls.

  • Ticket Price: Free entry

Clair Falls - The Little Niagara of Sri Lanka

St. Clair Falls is your ideal getaway if you're yearning to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Referred to as the "Little Niagara of Sri Lanka," this is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the region, drawing numerous tourists each year. Here, you'll encounter two magnificent waterfalls: Maha Ella, also known as "The Greater Fall," standing at a majestic 260 feet, and Kuda Ella, or "The Lesser Fall," at a still-impressive height of 160 feet, situated just downstream of the main fall. These awe-inspiring cascades are nestled along the picturesque Kotmale River.

  • Address: XJ2X+M6V, St. Clair's Waterfalls, the Tawalantenne - Talawakele Rd. in Sri Lanka.

  • Famous For: St. Clair Falls, affected by the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project, amongst the six waterfalls.

  • Best Time To Visit: Plan your journey during the monsoon season, which usually extends from April to June and then from October to December.

  • Things To Do: Waterfall hunting; Relaxing; Photography; Enjoying

  • How To Reach: You have several options to travel from Colombo to St. Clair's Falls, including plane, bus, taxi, train, or car. However, there isn't a well-defined path to reach the waterfall's base, so you'll need to descend through tea plantations and forested areas.

  • Where To Stay: The highest-rated hotels in this location are Oliphant Boutique Villa By Amaya, The Argyle - Luxury Boutique Hotel and Langdale Boutique Hotel

  • Timings: Open 24 hours

  • Ticket Price: Free entry

Sinharaja Forest Reserve - A Natural Paradise

Sinharaja Forest Reserve, otherwise called "Kingdom of the Lion" and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a haven for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. This lush reserve is a sanctuary for numerous bird and mammal species unique to Sri Lanka, with an astonishing 95 percent of endemic birds and over 50 percent of endemic mammals calling it home. The forest is enveloped in a blanket of rain clouds throughout the year, creating a mesmerising atmosphere. It ranks among the top attractions in Galle, offering a chance to savour the unhurried rhythms of wildlife and the grandeur of dense, evergreen rainforests.

  • Address: Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Southern Province

  • Famous For: Lion and wildlife

  • Best Time To Visit: January to May and from August to December

  • Things To Do: Hiking and Trekking

  • How To Reach: You can take the train from Colombo Fort to Matara and then catch a bus from Matara to Deniyaya to reach your destination.

  • Where To Stay: Sinharaja Birder's Lodge, Birds Paradise Hotel, Blue Magpie Lodge Sinharaja, Dolagawa. Hotel in Deniyaya and Rosewood Manor

  • Timings: Open daily from 6:30 am to 6 pm

  • Price: Ticket prices vary, ranging from approximately INR 260 to INR 460. 

Anthony's Church - A Place of Miracles

St. Anthony's Church in Sri Lanka is revered and draws visitors worldwide, especially on weekends, Tuesdays, and major festivals. This holy site is believed to be a source of miracles. Originally a humble mud structure, the church underwent expansion in 1806. The church's main altar houses a statue of St. Anthony, which was brought from Goa and protected by a bullet-proof glass container. Tuesdays are particularly significant, with special masses and benediction services in Tamil, English, and Sinhala throughout the day. The church serves in Tamil and Sinhala on weekdays, while weekends feature Tamil, English, and Sinhala services.

  • Address: Bandarawela, 90100, Ella

  • Famous For: patron saint of lost things

  • Best time to visit: Nov - Feb

  • Things To Do: Exploring paintings, murals, stained glass and art gallery

  • How To Reach: One can go there by flight to Colombo International Airport or train to Kochchikade Railway Station. Then, take a bus or taxi to St. Anthony’s shrine. 

  • Where To Stay: Riviera Resort, Hotel East Lagoon, D&J Stamford Hotel, and Hotel Naaval are the best places to stay in Sri Lanka. 

  • Timings: 7:00 am- 5:00 pm

  • Price: Free Entry


Sri Lanka is a captivating destination that offers something for every traveller. Whether you're fascinated by ancient history, eager to explore lush forests, or want to relax on beautiful beaches, Sri Lanka has it all. You cannot afford to miss iconic sites like Sigiriya, Adams Peak, and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, each offering a unique experience and stunning natural beauty. 

Ensure Peace of Mind When Traveling With Travel Insurance 

Before moving ahead on your Sri Lankan adventure, it's wise to consider travel insurance. This coverage provides peace of mind by protecting you from unexpected events such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost belongings. Select a travel insurance cover from ACKO that aligns with your needs and covers the activities you plan to enjoy in Sri Lanka. While the country is generally safe for travellers, having insurance ensures a worry-free trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the frequently asked questions on Places to Visit in Sri Lanka


What are the top historical sites to explore in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka boasts a rich history, and must-visit historical sites include Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, and the ancient city of Anuradhapura.

How can I experience Sri Lanka's wildlife and nature? 

For a wildlife adventure, visit Yala National Park to spot leopards or explore the lush Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with biodiversity.

Are there beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka? 

Absolutely! Sri Lanka is renowned for its stunning beaches. Don't miss the pristine shores of Unawatuna, Mirissa, and Arugam Bay, perfect for sunbathing and water sports.

What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka? 

The perfect time to visit Sri Lanka is from November to March, when the weather is dry and pleasant. However, if you prefer fewer crowds and lush green landscapes, consider the monsoon season from April to June and October to December.

How can I explore Sri Lanka's cultural heritage? 

To immerse yourself in Sri Lanka's culture, visit the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, and experience traditional dance performances in Colombo.

How can I get around Sri Lanka efficiently? 

Travelling within Sri Lanka is easy. You can use the extensive train network for scenic journeys, hire a tuk-tuk for local exploration, or take advantage of the many buses and private drivers available for longer trips.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet and is subject to change. Please consult an expert before making any related decisions.


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