Fascinating historical buildings and archaeological gems for history-lovers, striking mountains and gorgeous beaches for those who want to spend time in nature, enigmatic temples for spiritual inspiration, the small land of Sri Lanka has something to offer for every kind of traveler. Abundant wildlife, jungle and palm trees, rolling hills and lots of greenery – the landscapes are magnificent, just as the charming and welcoming locals. In case you still doubt whether that’s the right destination to choose for your next trip, here’s a list of several places to visit in Sir Lanka that might convince you.
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Scenically located in the south of Sri Lanka’s central highlights, Adam’s Peak, a tall conical mountain, reaches up to 2243 meters. It’s been inspiring travelers and pilgrims for many years, as a holy site and sacred mountain. Buddhists call it Sri Pada (Sacred Footprint) and believe a rock formation near the summit is Buddha’s footprint. According to Hindu tradition, the footprint was left by Shiva. The name Adam’s Peak comes from Christian and Islamic traditions, referring to the mountain as a place where Adam first set his foot when he was sent from heavens to Earth. All of the names are poetic, but there’s one more that sounds most lyrical of all – the peak is also said to be a place where butterflies come to die and thus called Samanalakande, the Butterfly Mountain. There are many butterflies in the region indeed. Add the magnificent landscapes, and it becomes clear why Adam’s Peak is among the most magical places to visit in Sri Lanka. Most stunning when the sun rises, Samanalakande offers marvelous views of surrounding hills and misty clouds floating below, occasionally gently skimming over the mountain’s top. To climb up, you can use a path made of numerous steps; it takes approximately 2-3 hours.
The town of Galle, with its mixture of colonial architecture and exotic ambiance, is a real gem among the places to visit in Sir Lanka. The white Dutch buildings look surprisingly natural with palm trees in the background and nicely sooth the atmosphere of this tropical town. Even a bus or a train trip is a pleasure, since the routes wing along the coast and offer extraordinary views. There is a lighthouse, lovely churches and temples, a museum and historic fort. Little boutique shops, cafés and family run guest-houses make you feel warm and cozy, so much you’d like to stay in Galle for weeks. The town owes charm not only to the setting though, but also many artists who live there, as well as the hard-working folks hired in local offices and companies. Even though they run around the town full of energy, it’s still just as peaceful as vibrant.
Yala National Park
Sheltering many exotic species, Yala National Park gives its visitors an opportunity to witness scenes most of them have only seen in National Geographic documentaries. Even though we know tigers, buffaloes, leopards, and crocodiles indeed exist, for most people seeing them in their natural habitat is an unbelievable experience. Monkeys are cheerfully jumping through the trees, elephants plodding so that the ground’s almost shaking, snakes and lizards crawling on the earth and graceful birds flying above all this spectacle. The diversified wildlife plus beautiful sceneries made of wetlands, evergreen forests, grasslands and sandy beaches tempt many tourists to visit Yala, making it the most popular national park in Sri Lanka.
Colorfully mystic, the holy town of Kataragama is one of Sir Lanka’s most important religious sites. Sacred for Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and indigenous Vedda people, this small town is multi-religious and beautifully diversified. An intricate temple dedicated to Kataragama Deviyo, a powerful deity believed to be Sri Lanka’s guardian, gathers pilgrims of various beliefs. In July and August, Kataragama becomes the most vivid of all the places to visit in Sri Lanka, that’s because of the Hindu festival held at this time of the year. It’s busy also during Poya, the Buddhist holiday, but otherwise, Kataragama is a rather quiet place. Located close to the Yala National Park, it’s worth visiting especially if you’re also going to the park.
The ancient sights of Anuradhapura are like nothing else, impressing and astonishing. Wonderfully preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lanka have been admired for centuries, not losing even a bit of their charm. The sacred Buddhist Bodhi Tree Temple and marvelous Ruwanwelisaya stupa are Anuradhapura’s greatest highlights, both of them considered to be architectonic and religious treasures. As you enter the town, old monasteries, temples, and dagobas make you feel as if you just moved back in time. Walking around the city is an experience in itself, but don’t forget to pay a visit to Anuradhapura’s museums. The Archaeology Museum and the Folk Museum will surely help you to understand the history of this outstanding place.
Not so touristy yet unquestionably captivating, Sri Lanka’s a great destination. Are you feeling like to go there yet? Let us know!