Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, has a long history as a port on ancient east-west trade routes, ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. That heritage is reflected in its its architecture, mixing colonial buildings with high-rises and shopping malls. The imposing Colombo National Museum, dedicated to Sri Lankan history, borders sprawling Viharamahadevi Park and its giant Buddha
The vibrant, jam-packed Pettah bazaar district's thousands of vendors offer everything from spices and tea to textiles and jewelry. Galle Face Green is an oceanside promenade popular for picnicking and strolling. The city's diverse religious landmarks range from the ornate, red-and-white-striped Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque and the historic Dutch Reformed Wolvendaal Church to the Buddhist Gangaramaya Temple complex. International matches of cricket, Sri Lanka's national passion, are played at Premadasa Stadium. The city is also a major hopping-off point for beaches in the island nation's south.
Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It's set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city's heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling. Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine, celebrated with the grand Esala Perahera annual procession.
Near the Temple of the Tooth is the National Museum, housed in a former palace, with exhibits showcasing Kandy's role as the last kingdom of Sri Lanka. In the nearby Peradeniya suburb, the Royal Botanic Gardens is known for its orchid collection and massive palm trees. The Ceylon Tea Museum, in a former tea factory, has a library and exhibits that explore Sri Lanka's history as a major exporter of the beverage. Kandy is also a gateway to the Knuckles Mountains, a popular destination for hiking and camping.
Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna district located on a peninsula of the same name. With a population of 88,138, Jaffna is Sri Lanka's 12th largest city. Being strategically located and known for rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, Jaffna is approximately six miles away from Kandarodai which served as a famous emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna's suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna kingdom. Prior to the Sri Lankan civil war, it was Sri Lanka's second most populated city after the commercial capital Colombo. The 1980s insurgent uprising led to extensive damage, expulsion of part of the population, and military occupation. Since the end of civil war in 2009, refugees and internally displaced people have started to return to their homes and government and private sector reconstruction has begun. Historically, Jaffna has been a contested city. It was made into a colonial port town during the Portuguese occupation of the Jaffna peninsula in 1619 who lost it to the Dutch, only to lose it to the British in 1796.
Habarana is a small city in the Anuradhapura District of Sri Lanka. The location has some mid-range and up hotels aimed at package tourists, and is a departure point for other nearby locations of greater interest. Habarana is a popular tourist destination for safari lovers as it is the starting point for safaris in the nearby Habarana jungle and the Minneriya sanctuary which is heavily populated by elephants. Elephant back riding is also an attraction in this small city. Habarana is situated nearby to the ancient rock fortress and castle/palace ruin of Sigiriya and is situated on the main road from Colombo to Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa. The population of the city is expected to be in the area of 5000-10,000. The area has some of the best hotels in the country and the greenery and wild life has added value, making the location attractive for tourists.
Hambantota is the main town in Hambantota District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka. This underdeveloped area was hit hard by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and is undergoing a number of major development projects including the construction of a new sea port and international airport finished in 2013. These projects and others such as Hambantota Cricket Stadium are said to form part of the government's plan to transform Hambantota into the second major urban hub of Sri Lanka, away from Colombo
Yala National Park
Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names such as, Ruhuna National Park and Kumana National Park or 'Yala East' for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres and is located about 300 kilometres from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds. There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. Among the largest is Lunugamvehera National Park. The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands
Minneriya National Park
Minneriya National Park is a national park in North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The area was designated as a national park on 12 August 1997, having been originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938.contact number +94774940760 The reason for declaring the area as protected is to protect the catchment of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD. The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephant population dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts. The park earned revenue of Rs. 10.7 millions in the six months ending in August 2009. Along with Kaudulla and Girithale, Minneriya forms one of the 70 Important Bird Areas of Sri Lanka. The park is situated 182 kilometres from Colombo
Bentota is a resort town on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast. Its long Bentota Beach stretches north, where it becomes a sandy strip known as Paradise Island, parallel to Bentota Lagoon. Coral-rich dive sites include Canoe Rock. On Bentota River, centuries-old Galapota Temple has a large Buddha statue. Southeast is Lunuganga, the estate and gardens of architect Geoffrey Bawa. Northeast is his brother Bevis's Brief Garden.
Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It’s known for Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. Stone sea walls, expanded by the Dutch, encircle car-free streets with architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. Notable buildings include the 18th-century Dutch Reformed Church. Galle Lighthouse stands on the fort’s southeast tip.
The Old Gate, the fortification’s original entrance, bears the insignia of the Dutch East India Company. The gate leads to the National Maritime Museum, with exhibits focusing on seafaring and marine life, including a whale skeleton and items salvaged from shipwrecks. Galle National Museum, in a 1656 building, displays southern Sri Lankan artifacts such as ritual masks and woodcarvings, and objects from the colonial era. Just outside the northern fortifications, the Galle International Stadium hosts cricket matches with Indian Ocean views.
Negombo is a city on the west coast of Sri Lanka, north of the capital, Colombo. Near the waterfront, the remains of the 17th-century Dutch Fort now house a prison. Negombo Lagoon, lined with fishermen’s huts, feeds into the Dutch-era Hamilton Canal. The canal leads south to Colombo. Neoclassical St. Mary’s Church, completed in the 1920s, features a ceiling decorated with vivid religious paintings.
Angurukaramulla Temple is known for its large Buddha statue, colorful murals and entrance shaped like a dragon's mouth. Just north of the city, Negombo Beach is lined with coconut trees and mangroves. It offers opportunities for diving, with coral reefs and a 20th-century shipwreck offshore. Local fishermen sell their catches directly on the beach and at the fish market nearby. Southeast of the city, Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens is filled with rubber trees and tropical plants from around the world.
Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. The naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns, and shelters monkeys and blue magpies. Nearby Seetha Amman Temple, a colorful Hindu shrine, is decorated with religious figures. Densely forested Galway's Land National Park is a sanctuary for endemic and migratory bird species, including bulbuls and flycatchers.
Nearby Gregory Lake, a reservoir created in the 1800s, offers boating and horseback riding. To the north is Pidurutalagala, Sri Lanka’s tallest peak, ringed by a forest reserve. The surrounding countryside is dotted with waterfalls, including the multiple cascades of St. Clair’s Falls. To the southwest, a trail climbs pyramid-shaped Adam’s Peak, a pilgrimage place for several religions. South of Nuwara Eliya, Horton Plains National Park occupies a high-altitude plateau and is home to sambar deer and leopards. The park ends at the sheer precipice of World’s End, which offers views of the lowlands.
Ella is a small town in the Badulla District of Uva Province, Sri Lanka governed by an Urban Council. It is approximately 200 kilometres east of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 1,041 metres above sea level. The area has a rich bio-diversity, dense with numerous varieties of flora and fauna. Ella is surrounded by hills covered with cloud forests and tea plantations. The town has a cooler climate than surrounding lowlands, due to its elevation. The Ella Gap allows views across the southern plains of Sri Lanka
Trincomalee also known as Gokanna, is the administrative headquarters of the Trincomalee District and major resort port city of Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Located on the east coast of the island overlooking the Trincomalee Harbour, 113 miles south of Jaffna and 69 miles north of Batticaloa, Trincomalee has been one of the main centres of Sri Lankan Tamil language speaking culture on the island for over two millennia. With a population of 99,135, the city is built on a peninsula of the same name, which divides its inner and outer harbours. People from Trincomalee are known as Trincomalians and the local authority is Trincomalee Urban Council. Trincomalee city is home to the famous Koneswaram temple alluded to in its historic Tamil name Thirukonamalai and is home to other historical monuments such as the Bhadrakali Amman Temple, Trincomalee, the Trincomalee Hindu Cultural Hall and, opened in 1897, the Trincomalee Hindu College. Trincomalee is also the site of the Trincomalee railway station and an ancient ferry service to Jaffna and the south side of the harbour at Muttur
Anuradhapura is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka and the capital of Anuradhapura District. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was the third capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata, following the kingdoms of Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara. The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the center of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. The city lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka's North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. It is believed that from the fourth century BC until the beginning of the 11th century AD it was the capital of the Sinhalese. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles
Dambulla is a large city, situated in the Matale District, Central Province of Sri Lanka, situated 148 km north-east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. Due to its location at a major junction, it's the centre of vegetable distribution in the country. Major attractions of the area include the largest and best preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka, and the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, famous for being built in just 167 days. The area also boasts the largest rose quartz mountain range in South Asia, and the Iron wood forest, or Na Uyana Aranya. Ibbankatuwa prehistoric burial site near Dambulla cave temple complexes is the latest archaeological site of significant historical importance found in Dambulla, which is located within 3 km of the cave temples providing evidence of the presence of indigenous civilisations long before the arrival of Indian influence on the Island nation
Udawalawe National Park
Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. Before the designation of the national park, the area was used for shifting cultivation. The farmers were gradually removed once the national park was declared. The park is 165 kilometres from Colombo. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants. It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country.
Sigiriya is a small town in Sri Lanka. It is located within Southern Province
Poḷonnaruwa is the main town of Polonnaruwa District in North Central Province, Sri Lanka. Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated Chola invaders in 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader. The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site. Currently the new Polonnaruwa is undergoing a major development project known as the "Awakening of Polonnaruwa" under the concept of President Maithripala Sirisena. It envisions the development of all sectors in Polonnaruwa including roads, electricity, agriculture, education, health and environment will be developed comprehensively
Beruwala is a town in Kalutara District, Western Province, Sri Lanka, governed by an Urban Council. The name Beruwala is derived from the Sinhalese word for the place where the sail is lowered. It marks the spot for the first Muslim settlement on the island, established by Arab traders around the 8th century AD. A large population of Sri Lankan Moors, many of them gem merchants, still live in the town—particularly in the "China Fort". Msjid-ul-Abrar, a landmark of Beruwala and Sri Lanka's oldest mosque, was built by Arab traders on a rocky peninsula overlooking the town. Beruwala is also home to Al-Fasiyatul Nasriya Muslim Balika Maha Vidyalaya, which is the first and oldest girls school in Sri Lanka. It was damaged by the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. Beruwala is the starting point of the 130 kilometres long stretch of beach. In the past few years great strides have been made in the field of resort development in this area. The bay around remains ideal for bathing almost for the whole year.
Horton Plains National Park
Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. This region was designated a national park in 1988. It is also a popular tourist destination and is situated 8 kilometres from Ohiya, 6 kilometres from the world famous Ohiya Gap/Dondra Watch and 32 kilometres from Nuwara Eliya. The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. In Sinhala the plains are known as Maha Eliya Plains. Stone tools dating back to Balangoda culture have been found here. The plains' vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan sambar deer feature as typical mammals and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains. Forest dieback is one of the major threats to the park and some studies suggest that it is caused by a natural phenomenon
Hatton is a town in the Nuwara Eliya District of Central Province, Sri Lanka governed by the Hatton-Dickoya Urban Council. It is approximately 83 kilometres southeast of Colombo and 44 km south of Kandy and is situated at an elevation of 1,271 m above sea level. Hatton was founded during the British colonial times in order to serve the coffee and latter tea estates. The name of the town refers to the village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. A number of the surrounding tea estates are also named after Scottish villages. Whilst Hatton serves as a gateway to Adam's Peak and Sinharaja Forest Reserve, it is better known for its Ceylon tea plantations and industry. The Hatton National Bank and Brown & Co. Ltd. were both founded in Hatton. In 2008 part of the Hatton town, including religious places, was gazetted as a Religious Zone by the Government of Sri Lanka.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests ecoregion, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve's name translates as Lion Kingdom. The reserve is only 21 km from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Because of the dense vegetation, wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry-zone national parks such as Yala. There are about 3 elephants and the 15 or so leopards are rarely seen. The most common larger mammal is the endemic purple-faced langur. An interesting phenomenon is that birds tend to move in mixed feeding flocks, invariably led by the fearless greater racket-tailed drongo and the noisy orange-billed babbler.
Mirissa is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka, located in the Matara District of the Southern Province. It is approximately 150 kilometres south of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 4 metres above the sea level. Mirissa's beach and night life make it a popular tourist destination. It is also a fishing port and one of the island's main whale and dolphin watching locations
Badulla is a major city situated in the lower central hills of Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of Uva Province and the Badulla District
Kataragama is a pilgrimage town sacred to Buddhist, Hindu and indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka. People from South India also go there to worship. The town has the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama devalaya, a shrine dedicated to Skanda-Murukan also known as Kataragamadevio. Kataragama is in the Monaragala District of Uva province, Sri Lanka. It is 228 km ESE of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Although Kataragama was a small village in medieval times, today it is a fast-developing township surrounded by jungle in the southeastern region of Sri Lanka. It houses the ancient Kiri Vehera Buddhist stupa. The town has a venerable history dating back to the last centuries BCE. It was the seat of government of many Sinhalese kings during the days of Rohana kingdom. Since the 1950s the city has undergone many improvements with successive governments investing in public transportation, medical facilities, and business development and hotel services. It adjoins the popular Yala National Park
Kalutara or Kalutota is a major city in Kalutara District, Western Province, Sri Lanka. It is also the administrative capital of Kalutara District. It is located approximately 40 km south of the capital Colombo
Unawatuna is a coastal town in Galle district of Sri Lanka. Unawatuna is a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka and famous for its beautiful beach and corals. It is a suburb of Galle, about 5 kilometres southeast to the city center and approximately 108 kilometres south of Colombo. Unawatuna is situated at an elevation of 5 metres above the sea level.