Discover the Beauty of Sri Lanka: Top 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit

Year-end holidays are approaching, and that means the travel season is upon us! This time around, if you’re still wondering where to spend your holidays, why not try something new and plan a trip to Sri Lanka? 

This island country is home to many natural wonders and attractions. From pristine beaches and scenic hills to beautiful temples with significant historical and cultural, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean has so much to offer! Read on and find out more about the most wonderful places to visit in Sri Lanka!

Stunning places to visit in Sri Lanka you won’t want to miss

1. Sigiriya

Image credit: Dylan Shaw

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is an ancient fortress upon a rock stretching almost 200 metres in height. The rock is a result of a lava plug left over from an extinct volcano, surrounded by scenic gardens and reservoirs. Back in the 5th Century BC, it served as a rock-shelter mountain monastery and had caves prepared by a group of Buddhists. Now, it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka.

To get here, tourists can take the bus or tuk-tuk from the nearby city of Dambulla. Besides the rock itself, visitors are also encouraged to visit the Sigiriya Museum to understand more about its history and take a glimpse of the frescoes as well as artefacts. 

2. Kirinda Vihara Maha Devi Temple

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Kirinda Vihara Maha Devi Temple, also known as the Kirinda Temple, is another beautiful place in Sri Lanka not to be missed. The temple sits on the top of a rocky hill and by the south coast of Sri Lanka, with the temple boasting stunning coastal views that make it a truly unique location. Dedicated to Queen Viharamahadevi, Kirinda Temple houses several Buddha statues, shrines, and a white stupa. Apart from being a place of worship, this place is also well known for its astonishing sunset views!

3. Galle Dutch Fort

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Having gone through extensive reconstruction work, the Galle Fort or Galle Dutch Fort with more than four centuries of history retains its beauty to this day. As a result of Sri Lanka’s colonial past, this place has a seamless mix of European architecture and South Asian traditions, allowing visitors to go back in time and experience its rich history. 

Galle Fort houses several primary archaeological and architectural heritage monuments like the Galle Lighthouse, Galle Clock Tower, Old Colombo Dutch Hospital, and the National Museum of Galle. More than the stunning buildings and panoramic ocean view, the area is also home to many boutique shops, art galleries, cafes and even hidden bars, making it an amazing destination worth spending a whole day exploring.

4. Coconut Tree Hills

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Nestled by Mirissa Beach, Coconut Tree Hills has a reputation for being one of the most gorgeous tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. Boasting plentiful tall coconut trees, blue skies, and a pristine beach that stretches far, it definitely is the perfect photo-taking spot for your Instagram feed.

Here, you can indulge in a plethora of fun activities, such as sunset watching, fishing, and visiting bougie beach bars. You can even pay for a boat tour from the months of November to April to catch a glimpse of whales in the water!

5. Damro Labookellie Tea Centre and Tea Garden

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Chilly and swoonworthy, Damro Labookellie Tea Centre and Tea Garden is another one of the prettiest and (literally) coolest places to visit in Sri Lanka. Situated in Nuwara Eliya — a city known for its enchanting landscapes and cool weather — it stands at an altitude of 5,000 feet and is the oldest tea centre in the country. 

Just like in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands, visitors can enjoy a cup of freshly brewed tea and delectable tea cakes of different flavours, while overlooking the lush tea plantations, all whilst enjoying chilly weather. There’s also a tea factory where you can learn about tea creation and a wide range of homegrown tea products that you can bring home as souvenirs!

6. Hiriketiya Beach

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Being an island in and of itself, Sri Lanka does not lack beautiful, sandy beaches. One of the most famous beaches you can visit is Hiriketiya Beach. This charming hidden gem is ideal for travellers who are seeking a peaceful getaway. Visitors normally enjoy surfing and sunbathing here. There are also tons of cafes, seafood restaurants, and bars along the beach. Sipping a glass of cocktail while appreciating the ocean view — sounds just like paradise to me!

7. Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque

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The Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque is the perfect place to visit in Sri Lanka if you want to elevate your Instagram feed. Featuring an Indo-Saracenic architectural style and a vibrant red-and-white colour combination, this charming mosque allures visitors from all over the world. Designed by H L Saibo Lebbe back in the twentieth century, it features red and white spirals, checkered patterns and stripes which makes it stand out from the ordinary structures around it. Once arrive, get your camera ready to take some IG-worthy pictures!

Also known as the Red Mosque, it is located in the town of Pettah, only approximately 4km away from the heart of Colombo. Apart from the Red Mosque, there are also other things to do in Pettah. For instance, you can visit the famous Pettah Market to hunt for some delicious street snacks.

8. Hummanaya Blow Hole

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One of the most unique places to visit in Sri Lanka is definitely Hummanaya Blow Hole. It is the second-largest blowhole in the world! When the blowhole is active, visitors can witness water shooting up like a fountain. You’ll also hear the sound of “hoo” from afar, it’s also where the name Hummanaya derives from. 

To get to this natural attraction, you have to walk for about 300 metres and pay an entrance fee of 250 Sri Lankan Rupees. The water typically shoots up as high as about 25 feet during peak season, which ranges from July to September. So, remember to time your visit right to experience this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.

9. Yala National Park

Image credit: Yala National Park Official Facebook Page

Nestled amidst the lush forest of the southern part of Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is a must-visit tourist destination when you’re in the country. You’ll be able to see wildlife such as the popular Sri Lankan leopards, crocodiles, water buffaloes, elephants, and wild boars while you’re here. From peacocks to eagles, this massive park also boasts a large amount of bird species. What’s more, visitors can also opt for an overnight stay in the park’s elephant hotel for a more thorough experience. 

10. Nine Arch Bridge

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Also affectionately known as the Bridge in the Sky, the Nine Arch Bridge is a viaduct officially opened in the 1920s and is believed to have only been constructed with cement and stone bricks. It is one of Sri Lanka’s most postcard-worthy locations. You can hop on a sightseeing tour on the train that travels around Sri Lanka and goes on for up to five days, or watch the captivating sight of bright, colourful trains passing the railway. Either way, this place boasts a mesmerizing sight to behold!

And there goes our list of the best and most gorgeous places to visit in Sri Lanka. There are so many more places to visit on this charming island and all that’s left is for you to explore it yourself!