What to see in Sri Lanka and sites of interest

September 25, 2019

Sri Lanka is the ideal destination where you can combine culture and relaxation: its lush and wild nature, its historical sites and colonial buildings are a part of a charming country.

Vihara Temple's Buddha statue

Anyone who is going to leave for a trip to Sri Lanka, in addition to comfortable clothes, sunglasses and comfortable shoes, should bring a good camera because the attractions to be immortalized are plenty. Marco Polo has defined it as the "most beautiful island in the world"; today, former Ceylon is dubbed India's tear because of its shape and position.

With its lush and wild nature, its historical sites and colonial buildings, Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for those who want to combine relaxation and culture. To all of this, add the meeting with welcoming populations.

When to go to Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka there are two different monsoons, due to which different seasons can occur in different parts of the island during the same period. The northeastern monsoon hits east from November to the February. The south-west monsoon brings rains from April to September to the south and west.

Because of the proximity to the Equator, the temperatures remain mild and constant almost the whole year. It is important, however, to choose well which part of the island to visit according to the period, to avoid the monsoon.

Places of interest in Sri Lanka: what to see

In Sri Lanka there is no lack of attractions for all tastes, from archaeological ruins and temples, to natural parks for safaris, to beautiful beaches. You can travel as a couple, alone in a group and also with the family.

Not to be missed is undoubtedly the Cultural Triangle, made up of the three cities of Kandy, the spiritual capital of the island, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, both former capitals of the kingdom and today well preserved archoelogical sites.

For those planning a tailor-made tour, here are the places of interest to be included in the itinerary.

Sigiriya Fortress

The Rock of Sigiriya is one of the iconic sites of Sri Lanka: it is an ancient fortified city on a rock, built in the shape of a lion. Unesco World Heritage Site, it was built by King Kasyapa in the fifth century.

Even today you can admire the remains of the ancient palace, gardens and fountains.

Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka
Sigiriya Rock


Anhuradapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka and still today boasts perfectly preserved ruins.

Not far from Colombo, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and in it you can admire several places of Hindu and Buddhist veneration.

Anuradhapura buddhist stupa, Sri Lanka
Anuradhapura buddhist stupa

Golden Temple of Dambulla

The Golden Temple of Dambulla, or Cave Temple, is a World Heritage Site.

It is located 148 km from Colombo, the capital, and it is fascinating for its caves, inside which there are statues and religious paintings that recall the life of Buddha.

Cave temple in Sri Lanka
Dambulla or Cave temple

Kandy and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth of Buddha

The main reason for visiting Kandy is the Temple of the Tooth, where a relic of the tooth of Buddha is said to have been preserved.

This is why Kandy is the religious capital of Sri Lanka. Between July and August the most important religious festival of the island is celebrated, the Esala Perahera, full of music, dances and colors.

Kandy's Temple in Sri Lanka
Temple of the Sacred Tooth of Buddha


Polonnaruwa is a former capital of Sri Lanka, today one of the best preserved archaeological sites in the country and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can admire the Royal Palace, the Quadrangle and the Rock Temple: some of the most beautiful ancient ruins on the island.

Monk praying at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Monk praying at Polonnaruwa


Galle is a city with a strong European colonial imprint (Dutch and English), located at the south-western end of the country.

Overlooking the sea, it should be included in the itinerary to see the famous fort, but it is also a modern city with many shopping opportunities. Galle is also the ideal starting point to explore the beautiful beaches of the south coast of Sri Lanka.

Landscape of Galle's fort
Fort of Galle

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is a picturesque hill station, with mountain slopes covered with tea plantations, once beloved by English settlers who came here on holiday.

The natural landscape here is very charming and relaxing. Also to be discovered are the beautiful waterfalls immersed in the vegetation.

Mountains of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Mountains of Nuwara Eliya

Adam's Peak

Adam's Peak is a sacred mountain loved by both pilgrims and hikers. To climb to the top you need to take a strenuous staircase, but once you arrive, from the top you can enjoy a splendid view.

Also called Sri Pada, this mountain is important for Buddhism and is located in the south-western part of the country.

Yala National Park

Who said that safaris can only be made in Africa? Nothing could be more wrong! They are also made in Asia. In Sri Lanka there is Yala National Park, where elephants, leopards and many species of reptiles and birds are sighted.

It is necessary to go to Palatupana to visit the park and from there access through the visiting center.

Yala National Park in Palatupana
Yala National Park


Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage takes care of the endangered or wounded specimens. In this center not far from Kegalle, elephants are protected and fed by mahout, men who care for them.

It is possible to visit the center and interact with the animals.

Pinnawala's elephants, Sri Lanka
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

And then of course there are the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, to give yourself a little relaxation after a long sightseeing tour.