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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Eye-Catching Places in Sri Lanka - Stunning Attractions to Explore in Sri Lanka
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Eye-Catching Places in Sri Lanka - Stunning Attractions to Explore in Sri Lanka

As one of Asia's premier holiday destinations, Sri Lanka packs in a punch in terms of the sheer variety of attractions in a single island. Here are some of the country's top highlights.

1

Adam's Peak

Revered as a sacred mountain by more than one religion, Adam's Peak is a must-visit point of interest for all tourists exploring the emerald isle of Sri Lanka. The summit of this holy mountain is known to contain the footprint of Lord Buddha and is simultaneously considered the seat of Ravana and a biblically significant location as demonstrated by its English name which identifies as the peak of the first man Adam. Thousands of pilgrims make the ascent to this iconic religious hotspot to not only pay homage to the relics atop the mountain but also to enjoy the breathtaking sunrise visible from the vaulted vantage point among the clouds. Travellers based at Theme Resorts & Spas or similar rests in Knuckles will have easy access to the site.

2

Royal Botanical Gardens

Few locations in Sri Lanka are as pristine as the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya. This horticulturist's dream is not only one of the country's oldest botanical highlights but also one of its largest and its convenient location in Kandy means all travellers can explore the leafy confines of the venue. Spread out across a whopping 60 acres, the Royal Botanical Gardens is home to an impressive four thousand plant species and also includes a host of breathtaking corners including bridges and picnic areas. Don't forget to step into the Orchid House and Rose Garden while an alley dedicated to palm trees and other areas devoted to indigenous plants from different parts of the world are also part of the landscape.

3

Mirissa Beach

Renowned as a Sri Lanka resorts haven, Mirissa Beach is a stunning beach holiday hotspot for the masses. White, sandy beaches and water sports are not the only attributes on offer in this little piece of paradise on the coastal line, however, Mirissa is also a prime whale watching and dolphin spotting hub. Whale and dolphin watching safaris depart from the sun-kissed beaches off the coast of Mirissa during choice times of the year when blue whales and spinner dolphins are known to inhabit the seas of the area.

4

Galle Fort

Having hosted the Galle Literary Festival and other red letter events in the local calendar, the southern coast's finest UNESCO World Heritage Site is a landmark of mammoth proportions in the island. With a rich history dating back to 1588, when the Portuguese first constructed the fortress, the defence mechanism was expanded and refurbished by the Dutch as well as the English in subsequent years. As one of the country's most popular UNESCO protected sites, the cobblestone alleys and ancient churches of this city within a city must be seen to be believed.

5

Dambulla Cave Temple

Also dubbed Sri Lanka's Golden Temple, the Dambulla Cave Temple has the distinct honour of being the largest cave temple compound on earth. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the monastery and temple are spread over several natural caves high up on a mountain. Having been a sacred precinct that has attracted pilgrims for centuries, some of the main attractions contained within the temple includes its many Buddha statues and ancient frescoes. Beautifully preserved, this pilgrimage hotspot welcomes visitors from around the world due to its unique location and setting as well as the many religious relics and remnants found within.