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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
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Must Visit Places in Sri Lanka – The Travel Highlights of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of South Asia's most vibrant and exciting destinations. Known for its rich heritage and culture, the island of Sri Lanka has many amazing attractions and places of interest.

1

Sigiriya

Sigiriya is one of the most popular and awe-inspiring places in Sri Lanka. The town of Sigiriya, located in the district of Dambulla, rose to prominence in the 5th Century, when King Kashyapa made the town the seat of his Kingdom. The main attractions in Sigiriya are the breathtaking Lion Rock and the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The Lion Rock is a 200m tall column of rock upon which King Kashyapa built the magnificent Rock Fortress. Despite being built almost 1500 years ago, many of the features of this stunning fortress are still standing today, including the famed Mirror Wall, the marvelous Sigiriya Frescos, and the beautiful water gardens, boulder gardens, and terraced gardens. Also, make sure you stop off and explore the archeological and historic ruins in the nearby city of Anuradhapura.

2

Galle

Galle, located on the Southern tip of Sri Lanka, is another historic city of Sri Lanka. Galle was known throughout the ages as being an important trade port. The main highlight of Galle, however, is the Galle Fort. The Galle Fort was built in the 17th Century by the Dutch colonists and is regarded as being an archeological attraction of immense cultural value. The vast fort is walled by towering ramparts and gateposts, and the fort itself houses many structures which boast traditionally Dutch architecture. Additionally, the fort houses many historic churches, museums and a host of fancy restaurants and shops. Other attractions in Galle include the Galle International Cricket Stadium and the Lighthouse Beach.

3

Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna

Located along Sri Lanka's Southern belt, Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna are two neighboring towns known for being top coastal destinations. Hikkaduwa has a long reputation for being one of Sri Lanka's best coastal destinations as the stretch of beach in Hikkaduwa is simply amazing. Hikkaduwa is, therefore, a major tourist hub and has many hotels, including Aitken Spence Hotels. Hikkaduwa is also known for being a great place for water sports, especially surfing. Unawatuna also has a pristine stretch of beach and is an excellent location for water sports and spending hours on the beach. Finding accommodation in Unawatuna as there are many hotels in the area which offer excellent services, much like most hotels in Sri Lanka. Both these towns also have an assortment of restaurants, pubs, and bars.

4

Pinnawala

Sri Lanka is blessed with being home to the Asian Elephant. Elephants are fascinating creatures and it truly is a treat to interact with these gentle giants. Pinnawala is a great place to visit if you are fascinated by elephants as it is home to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, an attraction promoted by many hotels in Sri Lanka. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a large sanctuary for elephants, where people can visit to witness elephants. Visiting the elephant orphanage allows you to see elephants being taken to a nearby river to bathe; you will get to feed elephants, and even get to witness young elephant calves being fed milk. A few meters away from this amazing elephant orphanage is the recently opened Pinnawala Open Air Zoo, which has some of Sri Lanka's most iconic creatures, including deer and leopards.

5

The Hill Country

The Hill Country of Sri Lanka is known for its breathtaking scenery and rich heritage. The Hill Country is the term given to collectively identify the places in the central mountainous area of Sri Lanka. You can go to Kandy and pay homage to the holy Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, you can go to Nuwara Eliya in April to watch horse races, you can go to Bogawanthalawa to be mesmerized by the breathtaking beauty of the tea plantations, you can visit Horton Plains and explore its wildlife and forests, and you can also explore the mysterious and exciting Singharaja Rainforest.

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