Sri Lanka is one of the places that remind you of those perfect, straight-A students in college who was drop dead gorgeous, was nice to everyone, athletic and had great hair. It’s a country that is stunningly beautiful, intoxicatingly exotic and seemingly simple at the same time. Chock full of timeless ruins, golden beaches, romantic landscapes and lush tea groves, there is certainly no shortage of beautiful places in Sri Lanka.
We got down to creating an arbitrarily defined numerical list of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka that are so beautiful, it’ll take your breath away and definitely spark your wanderlust. We promise!
Built by the eccentric King Kasyapa in the 5th century, Sigiriya is one spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient rock citadel is often regarded by locals as the ‘8th Wonder of the World’ and it’s not hard to see why. Rising dramatically from the central plains, Sigiriya is a treasure trove of remarkable frescoes, water gardens and ancient architecture. And then, there’s the spectacular view from the top with the rolling hills and the lush jungle in every direction.
#YohoTip It’s always best to visit Sigiriya in the morning to avoid the crowds. Base yourself at one of the many budget hotels in Sigiriya and you could easily visit this amazing landmark and get back in time to rest those tired legs.
Spend your days soaking up the warm sun lounging on a hammock and whale watching at this pristine little beach hideaway. This little slice of tropical paradise has won the hearts of vacation-goers, both locals and tourists. With some of the best sunrises and sunsets in the island, Mirissa is definitely worth a visit. Once you get to Mirissa, you’ll be wondering why you ever booked that return ticket home.
A tall, conical mountain located in the heart of Sri Lanka, Adam’s Peak is one of the most breathtaking locations in the island. Climbing up the slopes in the early hours of the morning to watch a truly amazing spectacle of sunrise is an experience that you’ll be hard put to forget. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a biodiversity hotspot, it’s difficult to match the magic and splendour of Adam’s Peak and its surrounding views with anywhere else on the island.
A 19th century hill station, Nuwara Eliya has managed to retain its rose-tinted English charm and colonial ambience with its mock-Tudor buildings, golf courses and gentlemen’s clubs. Replete with rugged mountains, breathtaking waterfalls, beautiful flower gardens and hills carpeted in tea plantations, Nuwara Eliya is one destination you wouldn’t want to leave once you get there.
Some 800 years ago, Polonnaruwa was a thriving commercial and religious hub as well as the bustling second capital of Sri Lanka. Today, the ruins of this ancient garden city are a testament of the city’s former grandeur. Full of archaeological treasures and wonders, from tombs and temples to stupas and statues, Polonnaruwa, especially the Quadrangle, is well worth a visit.