Best places to visit in Sri Lanka

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We are annual travelers to Sri Lanka, for two reasons. Firstly it’s a beautiful country, with so much to see and do on a small island. But also Shams family is from Sri Lanka. On our annual visit, we will travel to places we haven’t been too, but also return to some places we have fallen in love with. So here are just some of the Best places to visit in Sri Lanka.

Best places to visit in Sri Lanka

In our opinion, we have chosen 8 of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka, that you cannot miss


The capital city of Sri Lanka is Colombo, and our home when we visit. We have fallen in love with Colombo Fort, and the Dutch Hospital, due to it’s great vibe. The Dutch Hospital is considered the oldest building in the area, that now accommodated some lovely shops, and restaurants.

Things to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka

A very short distance from Colombo Fort and the Dutch Hospital is Pettah Market, with a lively atmosphere, open markets. You might sneak a little bargain. 

Sri Lanka is well known for it’s flora and fauna, and Cinnamon Gardens is the ideal spot with many different species of plants and flowers. 


Located on the south west coast of Sri Lanka, and a great spot to relax on the lovely sandy beaches while soaking up the Sri Lankan sun. This is a quieter beach, giving you full advantage to explore the area, or relax by the sea without the crowds. This is the best place for budget friendly traveler, for hotels, guest houses, and hostels are plentiful along the seafront, with a small handful of luxury hotels. 

For more information on traveling to Hikkaduwa then read our post on Things to do in Hikkaduwa.

Hikkaduwa Beach in Colombo Sri Lanka
Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka


We love Galle so much, that we have now visited twice, and we certainly couldn’t get board of visiting again. Galle is located on the south west coast of Sri Lanka, offering stunning beaches, and Galle Fort. Galle Fort was first built by the Portuguese on their invasion, before the Dutch seized and fortified it to what we see today.  

Trip to Sri Lanka

Cricket lovers, will enjoy watching the match from inside Galle Cricket ground, with the Galle Fort in the backdrop. How about getting free tickets to see a cricket match, by sitting on the ramparts of the Fort, and watching the match from a distance. 

Galle Fort is one of our favour places in Sri Lanka which is why it has to be on this list of Best Places to visit in Sri Lanka
Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka


Just a short distance from Galle, and another beach location, which tends to be more favorable with travelers. The beach was covered with travelers basking in the sun, before heading off on their adventures around Sri Lanka. 

Spotting a Leopard in Yala National Park, Wildlife is a varied thing to do in Sri Lanka
Leopard at Yala National Park

Yala National Park 

If you are keen on wildlife, and have never done a safari before, then Yala National Park is great for beginners. You will be taken out in a jeep, and will spend the entire day in the park spotting many animals. The many animals you will see are birds, elephants, deer, buffaloes, monkeys, and crocodiles. The most difficult animals to find, are the sloth bear and the leopard.

Wildlife at Yala National Park, in Sri Lanka
Spotting a monkey at Yala National Park has to be one of the Best Places to visit in Sri Lanka
Monkey, in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka


The once capital of the last Sinhalese Kingdom, that now holds an important relic in the temple in Kandy. The highlight of the trip is exploring the famous Temple of the Tooth, witnessing pooja (offerings and prayers), and really just taking in the culture that Sri Lanka has to offer. 

To find out more about visiting Kandy, then check out our post on Things to do in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Kandy Lake, in Kandy Sri Lanka
Kandy Lake, in Kandy Sri Lanka


This is another of our favorite spots, so much so, we have visited here twice. What draws us to Sigiriya, are the views from the once palace at the top. This does require climbing a large number of steps to reach the top, but this can be taken in your own pace and well worth it. It is really surprising how the beautiful this fortress must have looked many years ago. 

One thing you can't miss is the wall fresco's in Sigiriya Rock
Fresco’s on the wall of Sigiriya Rock, in Sri Lanka
Sigiriya Lion Rock, Sri Lanka

Pinnawella Elephant Orphanage 

We fell in love with elephants the moment we first saw one in Sri Lanka, which lead us to visit Pinnawella Elephant Orphanage. The staff at Pinnawella do an amazing job, looking after these orphaned Elephants, and a memory that will stay with you forever. The highlight, is watching the elephant’s bath in the local river, and feeding the baby elephants, which is guzzled down in a flash. 

Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka
Pinnawella Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka

Backpacking around Sri Lanka, is a great way to see the country on a budget, for more information click on how to backpack Sri Lanka: a complete guide

Sigiriya Rock, best places to visit in Sri Lanka
Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka

Your say

Have you been to Sri Lanka? Where was your favourite place to visit in Sri Lanka? Have we missed anything from this list, that you feel should be on here? Let us know, by leaving a comment below.

Continue your Sri Lankan travel planning, with these useful posts:

Colombo Clock Tower, Sri Lanka
Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Best Places to visit in Sri Lanka
Best Places to visit in Sri Lanka
Top Places to visit in Sri Lanka
Top Places to visit in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka