Discover the best places to visit in Sri Lanka and quench the wanderlust in you. 

If you have been wondering where to travel next, then you must know that an utterly fantastical country awaits your arrival. Immaculate beaches, perennial ruins, and oodles of undeniably irresistible experiences are what Sri Lanka gifts you. A traveller never runs short of things to do and places to visit in Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka tourism is back on track welcoming fully vaccinated rovers. It’s time to tick off this enigmatic destination from your dream travel list. 

Best Country to Travel to 

An enticing mix of sensory delights, Sri Lanka is a must-visit for globetrotters who long to be awed and inspired at the same time. One of the best countries to explore, Sri Lanka’s tourist attractions offer an unadulterated escape from the usual. Countless travellers passed overhead while making their way to some other place but now the equation has changed. 

With a myriad of alluring tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, the country is now making more and more travel enthusiasts touch down. And while you journey across this incredibly hospitable and amazingly green paradise, don’t forget to visit some of the most riveting Sri Lankan tourist places. 

Here is a run-down of some of the top things to do and places to see in Sri Lanka! 

  • Gal Vihara, Polonnaruwa 

One of the most captivating places to visit in Sri Lanka, Gal Vihara is a monument worth witnessing. An epitome of excellence, this rock temple of Buddha was fashioned in the 12th century by king Parakrama Bahu I. Featuring an exceptional series of Buddha’s sculptures carved out of a large chunk of large granitic (granite gneiss) rock, Gal Vihara is a sight to behold. Each representing a different stage in Buddha’s life, these group of images are a superlative example of ancient Sinhalese sculpting. 

  • Udawalawe National Park, Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces 

A window to wilderness and exotic wildlife, National Parks are one among the nation’s finest places to visit in Sri Lanka. Opting for safaris around the park, especially Udawalawe National Park offers a great chance to spot sambars, wild buffaloes, spotted deer, and a passel of primates. Elephant watching at Udawalawe National Park surpasses several National Parks popular in East Africa. Alongside the elephants, the park is also home to around 210 species of birds, sloth bears, water monitor lizards, and the occasional leopard.  

  • Jaffna Fort, Jaffna 

Listed in the top choice of places to visit in Sri Lanka, Jaffna Fort built by the Portuguese colonialists back in 1619, during the invasion of the Jaffna Kingdom, carries a lot of historical relevance. Overlooking the Jaffna Lagoon, the fort featuring gateways, moats, and walls, opens up to wonderful views of the surroundings that come alive from its ramparts.  

  • National Museum, Colombo 

An explicit specimen of Sri Lanka’s history, culture, and crafts, the National Museum showcases intriguing details of the country’s colonial past. Guns, swords, 19th-century paintings, the splendid royal throne, and several other antique paraphernalia make it a powerhouse of the display. The National Museum is one of the most exciting places to visit in Sri Lanka.  

  • Arugam Bay Beach, Arugam Bay 

The palm-fringed Arugam Bay Beach adorned with unending sand is an ultimate spot to kick back and relax. The azure waves kissing the caramel-coloured shores, soothe both the eyes and the soul. Travellers on a lookout for solace and seclusion, Arugam Bay Beach is going to be an ideal spot to hit among numerous other places to visit in Sri Lanka.  

  • Anuradhapura World Heritage Site 

One of South Asia’s most evocative ruins is that of Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka. Large expanses of this complex characterize a rich and unique collection of architectural and archaeological wonders – giant dagobas (brick stupas), crumbling primordial temples, and archetypical pools existing from more than a millennium (377 BC to 1017 AD). Anuradhapura World Heritage Site, a must-see attraction topping the list of places to visit in Sri Lanka.  

  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress 

Lion Rock is an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in central Sri Lanka. Renowned for its architectural and historical significance, it is one of Sri Lanka’s tourist places that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fortress was built in the 5th century by King Kashyapa and features a massive column of rock nearly 200 meters high. Visitors can see frescoes, a mirror wall, and the remains of a royal palace at the summit. The site is surrounded by extensive gardens, reservoirs, and moats, making it a testament to ancient urban planning.  

  • Dambulla Cave Temple 

Also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in central Sri Lanka. This sacred pilgrimage site has been a place of worship for over 2,200 years. The complex consists of five caves, which contain over 150 statues of Buddha, Hindu gods, and Sri Lankan kings, as well as stunning murals covering more than 2,100 square meters of wall space. The temple's tranquil and spiritual atmosphere, combined with its rich history and art, makes it one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka for both devotees and tourists. 

  • Yala National Park 

Yala National Park is a wildlife sanctuary in southeastern Sri Lanka, renowned for its high density of leopards. Covering an area of 979 square kilometres, it is the second-largest national park in the country. Yala is home to a diverse range of ecosystems, including moist monsoon forests, dry monsoon forests, semi-deciduous forests, grasslands, and marine wetlands. The park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering sightings of elephants, sloth bears, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species, in addition to the elusive leopard. Safaris in Yala provide an unparalleled opportunity to witness the richness of Sri Lanka's biodiversity. 

  • Galle Fort 

Known as the Dutch Fort it is a historical fortification located in the coastal city of Galle in southern Sri Lanka. Built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and later fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century, the fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a well-preserved Sri Lankan tourist place which is an example of European architecture blended with South Asian traditions. The fort's ramparts, cobblestone streets, and colonial buildings house a vibrant community with boutique shops, cafes, and art galleries. Exploring Galle Fort offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka's colonial past and its enduring charm. 

  • Kandy and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic 

Kandy, a city in central Sri Lanka, is known for the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world. The temple houses a tooth relic of the Buddha, making it a significant pilgrimage destination. Kandy was the last capital of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is surrounded by lush mountains and is home to the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Kandy Lake, and the annual Esala Perahera festival, a vibrant procession featuring dancers, drummers, and elephants. 

  • Nuwara Eliya 

This is one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka for a unique experience. It is referred to as "Little England," is a picturesque hill station in central Sri Lanka. Known for its cool climate, colonial-era architecture, and lush tea plantations, it offers a serene escape from the tropical heat. Visitors can explore tea factories, enjoy scenic walks, and visit landmarks like the Gregory Lake and the Hakgala Botanical Gardens. The town's architecture reflects its British colonial past, with quaint cottages and historic hotels. Nuwara Eliya is also a popular base for treks to Horton Plains National Park and World's End, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. 

  • Ella 

Ella is a charming small town in the Badulla District of Sri Lanka, known for its breathtaking views and natural beauty. Nestled in the hills, it is a popular destination for hiking and adventure enthusiasts. Key attractions include the Nine Arch Bridge, a colonial-era railway bridge set amidst lush greenery, and Little Adam's Peak, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Ella Rock is another popular hike, providing stunning vistas from the summit. The town's relaxed atmosphere, coupled with its cafes and guesthouses, makes Ella an ideal Sri Lankan tourist attraction for travellers seeking tranquillity and outdoor activities. 

  • Horton Plains National Park and World's End 

Horton Plains National Park is a unique ecological zone located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. It is characterized by montane grasslands and cloud forests and is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna. The park's most famous feature is World's End, a sheer cliff with a dramatic drop of about 880 meters, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The park is also known for Baker's Falls, a picturesque waterfall. Horton Plains is a popular destination for hiking and birdwatching, with several trails that allow visitors to explore its natural beauty and observe endemic wildlife.

Things to do in Sri Lanka 

With so many amazing places to visit in Sri Lanka, of course there are a variety of things to do.

  • Surfing at Arugam Bay Beach: If you're a fan of surfing, Arugam Bay Beach is the place to be! It's known for its fantastic waves and is a favourite spot for surfers from around the world. The vibe is super chill, and the beach is just beautiful.
  • Train ride from Kandy to Ella: This train journey is like something out of a movie. You'll pass through stunning landscapes, with tea plantations and misty mountains that will take your breath away. It's a great way to see the beauty of Sri Lanka's hill country.
  • Tea estates of Bogawantalawa: The tea estates in Bogawantalawa is one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka. They're spread out over rolling hills, and the greenery is just incredible. It's the perfect place to learn about tea production and enjoy some fresh brews.
  • Lion Rock Hike: Lion Rock is an iconic landmark in Sri Lanka. The hike up can be a bit challenging, but the views from the top are totally worth it. Plus, you'll get to see the ruins of an ancient fortress.
  • Hot Air Ballooning at Kandalama: Imagine floating above the landscapes in a hot air balloon. It's a peaceful and unique way to experience the beauty of Sri Lanka, especially at sunrise when the views are most spectacular.
  • Plunge into Glen Falls: If you're in Nuwara Eliya, don't miss out on Glen Falls. It's a lovely waterfall where you can take a refreshing dip or just relax by the water.
  • Sample Sri Lankan Cuisine in Colombo: This is not a typical Sri Lankas tourist attraction but an experience you must not miss. Sri Lankan cuisine is full of flavours and spices. Colombo's streets are the best place to try a variety of dishes, from street food to fancy restaurant meals.
  • Wildlife safari at Uda Walawe National Park: This national park is famous for its elephant population. Going on a safari here is an incredible experience where you can see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Spot dolphins and whales at Mirissa Beach: If you're visiting between November and April, don't miss the chance to go on a dolphin and whale-watching tour in Mirissa. It's an amazing experience to see these marine animals up close.
  • Paddle past scenic villages: Galle is a beautiful coastal city with a rich history. Paddling through the waters around Galle is a relaxing way to explore the area and see the picturesque villages and landscapes. It is one of the places to visit Sri Lanka for couples and families alike.

Best time to visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a year-round magnet for ardent travellers, although the best time to visit Sri Lanka is between December and mid-April as it is considered to be the peak time to unfurl the charms of this place.

Where to stay in Sri Lanka? 

There are several resorts in Sri Lanka, yet for a luxurious and comfortable stay best would be to enjoy a pleasing halt at Club Mahindra’ s partner hotels. Unwind amidst tranquil environs and make the most of world-class amenities.

Sri Lanka is infectious, as it gets in your veins and one would know this only after wandering across this enthralling destination. Plan out your trip properly so you do not miss out on the best places to visit in Sri Lanka. Head out for a journey across this country that is meant to enchant you completely. 

Related Article: Our Dream Sri Lankan Adventure

About Club Mahindra

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 290,000 members , who can holiday at 140+ resorts in India and abroad.

Read More

Checkout our resorts