Top 10 Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

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Surrounded by the vast Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal lies the charming island nation of Sri Lanka that is absolutely worth the money, effort, and time for all visitors. If you are eager to embark on a splendid retreat, then a holiday trip to Sri Lanka is just the thing you need!  

Sri Lanka was popularly described as one of the world’s finest islands by Marco Polo. It has an intense history that dates thousands of years back. Moreover, the astonishing beauty and nature Sri Lanka boasts are simply unparalleled. Check out our exclusive list of top places to visit in Sri Lanka to explore some of the finest attractions and nature’s wonders in this incredible isle.

Top 10 Places You Need to Visit in Sri Lanka

With an abundance of spectacular beaches and breathtaking landscapes all the way from the west coast to the eastern end, Sri Lanka doesn’t fall short of historical, cultural, and natural tourist places, each more picture-perfect than the other. 

Here are 10 places in Sri Lanka that are definitely not worth missing out on if you plan a holiday trip to this exotic island. 

  1. Nuwara Eliya, Ella

Undoubtedly, your trip to Sri Lanka is bound to be unforgettable when you take the train ride amidst the plush green countryside of Nuwara Eliya. This is undoubtedly one of those must-visit destinations in Sri Lanka that one must not miss. 

Without thinking twice about the Sri Lanka weather, stay in the midst of the lush greenery of Ella to take in the best of this heavenly destination. Tourists can walk through the breathtaking tea plantations, hike towards the distant villages, and take a leisurely stroll alongside the train bridges to experience this place’s authentic vibes.

  1. Trincomalee Beaches

Situated on the distant east coast, you can savor the quiet and idyllic beaches of Trincomalee. Swaying palm trees, soft sands, and crystal clear waters are some of the most impressive attractions at the beach that are bound to delight all kinds of travelers. 

This beach is indeed one of the must-visit destinations in Sri Lanka, particularly during the arrival of monsoon season, making it all the more alluring to discover. 

  1. Arugam Bay

On the southeast corner of Sri Lanka rests the remote town of Arugam Bay, which is incredibly renowned for surf tourism and attracts surfers from across the entire world. Brush up your surfing skills at one of the bay’s best schools, like Amigo Surf School and Pappy’s Surf School, before you head over to the swell at Main Point. 

When you are not at the beach, pay a visit to the historic temples of Arugam or the mind-blowing Kumana National Park located nearby. The locals of Arugam are incredibly chill and friendly, making your trip to Sri Lanka all the more worth it. 

If surfing is not something that appeals to you, just relax and unwind on a hammock with your favorite novel and spend a blissful time here. 

  1. Adam’s Peak

Adam’s Peak is a towering, cone-shaped mountain in a different biological site located in central Sri Lanka. Standing at the height of approximately 7,360 feet, the Adam’s Peak stands as a prevalent pilgrimage route for the Buddhists in their religion. 

It is believed there is a mark of Buddha’s very own footprint near the peak. It takes roughly about 2 to 4 hours to climb the ascent. But once you reach the mountain top around dawn and feast your eyes on the glorious sunrise, you will see for yourself why it was all worth it. 

  1. Galle

Visit the most astonishingly well-kept-up colonial town of Galle, situated on the southwest coast, to unwind yourself and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. This town is filled with enthralling seaside views and Dutch-era villas. 

The impressive Portuguese colony from the 16th century is a living and breathing reminder of the time that’s gone by. A significant number of some of Sri Lanka’s most important sights are a must to visit here. 

These include the Unawatuna Beach, the Galle Lighthouse, and the Galle Fort. The marvelous Dutch Sea Fort is home to countless shops, museums, and cafes for all visitors. The striking presence of the most stunning churches is another reason why Galle makes it to the list. 

  1. Yala National Park

Yala National Park is the ultimate place for animal lovers to see the big cats in Sri Lanka. It is home to a massive concentration of leopards worldwide and a safe haven for the aquatic birds and elephants of Sri Lanka. 

Crocodiles, monkeys, and dozens of other creatures chase around the grassy plains and dense forest areas of the Yala National Park, creating an incredibly pleasing sight for your eyes. 

  1. Sigiriya 

Sigiriya, more famously known as the Lion Rock, is a stunning rock palace and fortress located in the district of Matale. This famous UNESCO World Heritage Site is known as Sri Lanka’s most essential and worth-visiting place. 

Experience the one-of-kind affair where you can climb up to the prehistoric ruins, encompassed by the beautiful gardens and pongs, and brilliant frescoes to witness the breathtaking and striking views of the rolling hills in the jungles from atop. 

  1. Mirissa

Love spending some quiet time lounging in a hammock under the sun? Head over to Mirissa, the fantastic beachside village located on the south coast of Sri Lanka. Mirissa is best known for its gorgeous sandy bays. 

The region’s namesake beach is quite popular. Tourists can head out on a fun-filled whale and dolphin-watching boat trip between May and November. The Coconut Tree Hill is yet another destination you must visit to bask in the glorious sunset.

  1. Dambulla

This massive town is home to the largest and most well-preserved cave temple complex on all of the island. It covers an entire area of approximately 22,604 square feet and boasts 5 of the most stunning cave temples. 

They contain an extensive collection of the most impressive Sri Lankan Buddhist artworks and feature many shrines, statues, and murals. The figures and paintings all depict stories of the life of Buddha. Altogether, you can witness a whopping number of 153 Buddha statues across the temple complex.  

  1. Bambarakanda Falls

The Bambarakanda Falls is one of the most peaceful places for sightseeing in Sri Lanka. Undoubtedly, falling from a height of over 263 meters, the Bambarakanda Falls is Sri Lanka’s highest waterfall and is a real treat for your eyes. This surreal location becomes an exceptionally popular hot spot during the hot summer months, serving as the ideal way to rejuvenate yourself.

2021 Traveling Restrictions to Sri Lanka at a Glance

  • Tourist Entry: Partially Allowed
  • Quarantine Required: Yes
  • Testing: Tourists need to present proof of a negative PCR test and will also be subjected to undergo a PCR test upon their arrival to Sri Lanka.
  • Lockdown in Effect: Partially
  • Events: In moderation
  • Shopping: Open
  • Transportation: Operational but with restrictions
  • Restaurants and Bars: Open but with restrictions

See more details pertaining to Sri Lanka’s Entry Restrictions

Sri Lanka ETA

To visit Sri Lanka, you will be needing an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). A Sri Lanka ETA enables foreigners to travel to Sri Lanka through an entirely automated process. This is the officially recognized means of authorization for visiting Sri Lanka for a short duration. 

With the help of Natvisa, you can easily obtain your Sri Lanka ETA by just filling out an online form. To apply for your Sri Lanka ETA visa online, you need:

  • To currently be outside Sri Lanka
  • Have a valid and operational email address.
  • Have a valid password.
  • Make the payment through a major debit or credit card. 

The online visa application process for your Sri Lanka Visa is now smoother, faster, and hassle-free than ever before. You can check out to learn everything regarding the Sri Lanka online visa application process. 


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