Wanderlust recommends travellers what to see and do in Sri Lanka
For first-time travellers to Sri Lanka, the editors of Wanderlust have compiled a list of their recommendations for the country, a small nation with a wide variety of activities and sites. Nature-lovers will love the country’s pristine beaches and national parks, and more adventurous types can venture into its jungles and mountains ranges. For those drawn to culture and history, the country also boasts numerous World Heritage Sites.
A tiny country at the tip of India, Sri Lanka is packed full of incredible natural beauty, ancient culture, friendly people, and diverse wildlife.
One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Sri Lanka is famous among travellers for its serene beaches, mountains, and dense jungles. The small country is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it a popular destination among those with an interest in history and culture.
So where do you go, when there are so many beautiful, historic sites to choose from? The editors at Wanderlust.co.uk have compiled a list of Sri Lanka’s must-see destinations to help first-time visitors plan their Sri Lanka bucket list.
Temple of the Tooth
Located in the holy city of Kandy, the Temple of the Tooth is believed to house the upper right canine tooth of the Buddha himself. It is believed to have been taken from the Buddha as his body lay on his funeral pyre. Each day, white-clad religious pilgrims pay their respects by offering frangipani petals and lighting votive candles.
Check out the wildlife in Yala
Sri Lanka is famous for its wildlife, and boasts numerous national parks where visitors can get a bird’s eye view of animals such as the spotted leopard. Hugging the Indian Ocean, Yala has been a wildlife sanctuary since 1900 and a national park since 1938.
Have tea in Nurweya Eliya
Known in Sri Lanka’s tourist industry as “Little England,” Nurweya Eliya is a center of the country’s tea industry. Visitors can spend a day here, strolling among the terraced tea estates and shopping for samples to bring home.
Take the train
The Sri Lankan countryside is breath-taking and deserves to be explored. The country’s roads, however, can be trying. A better option is to take a train, and the route from Colombo to Nurweya Eliya offers incredible scenery.
Perhaps one of Sri Lanka’s most striking sites, Sigiriya is one of the country’s World Heritage Sites. A massive outcropping of rock, it is topped with a fortress dating back to the 5th century AD.
With so much incredible scenery and so many winding roads and trails, Sri Lanka is a great destination for hikers. Some of the country’s most popular hiking trails are around the Knuckles Range, but hikers in this area are advised to use a guide, as it’s easy to get lost.
Befriend orphaned elephants
If you’ve ever wanted to see elephants up-close and personal, one of the best ways to do that is to go to Pinnewala, where 80 orphaned elephants take their daily drink. From the restaurants lining the banks of the river, visitors are treated to great views of these wonderful creatures.
With so many scenic and culturally significant destinations, Sri Lanka is a small country with a wealth of choices for travellers.
Talk to a specialist
Call 020 7644 1770 to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.
Opening hours 09:00 - 20:00 GMT
Popular Holidays In Sri Lanka Browse all
Enjoy a relaxing stay in an ideal setting surrounded by lush frangipanis, swaying palms and the glistening blue waters of Bentota's beaches.
- Discover Sri Lanka's cultural wonders from a soothing luxury retreat oozing 18th century charm
- Bask in acres of lush gardens framed by frangipani trees and facing a secluded golden sand beach
- Be wowed by the Dine by Design concept, allowing you to eat out in an array of scenic settings
Enjoy a wonderful beachside haven of tranquillity, days of luxury and the chance to see the island's green hills carpeted by lush plantations
- All rooms feature a Balcony or Terrace with spectacular views
- Enjoy the huge selection of activities including Volleyball, Tennis, Squash & more
- Relax at the Ayurveda Wellness & Spa with the best quality services that will make your stay unforgettable
The land of endless natural beauty, with ancient sight and cultural treasure, you'll be sure to embark on a holiday of a lifetime
- Unforgettable experience at Yala Safari
- English speaking chauffer guide during the roundtrip
- Transport in a comfortable vehicle
Private tour visiting many great cities such as Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Kandy
- The Highlights of Sri Lanka Private Tour showcases some of the most interesting cultural and historic sites in the world
- Enjoy the game drive through Minneriya National Park which is a home to sambar deer, leopards and elephants and features the ancient Minneriya Tank
- English speaking chauffer guide for the entire round tour
Soak up the sunshine that pours down on Sri Lanka's Indian Ocean coastline at Tangerine Beach. Make the scenic resort...
Sri Lanka is the land of endless natural beauty, with ancient sight and cultural treasure, you'll be sure to embark on a...
The Highlights of Sri Lanka and beach Tour showcases some of the most interesting cultural and historic sites in the...
There are few better places from which to enjoy the calming effect of the Indian Ocean breeze than at Avani Kalutara in...
Take a trip to Sri Lanka and enjoy the warm hospitality at Avani Bentota. It is a resort located along the popular...
Discover a world of peace and relaxation at the all-inclusive Mermaid Hotel Club in the gorgeous Kalutura Beach, Sri...