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Updated by Joanna James on May 05, 2020
Headline for 5 Beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka - A real-life treasure island
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Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka - A real-life treasure island

The tear-shaped gem of the Indian Ocean is irresistible to every proponent of wanderlust, with its diverse topographical terrains, a fascinating heritage of kingdoms and colonies, fast-developing cosmopolitan cities, and impeccable hospitality. Here are 5 UNESCO-approved hotspots to visit.

1

The Lion Rock Fortress

An imposing presence over the quaint, nature-kissed town of Sigiriya'; this mammoth rock-hewn Lion is a masterpiece in architecture and engineering, hosting endless treasures for those intrigued by art, history, and culture. This excursion will yield a picturesque glimpse back to bygone times, and the ingenuity that inspired the vivid frescoes, water gardens, and symmetrical rock landscapes will take your breath away. If you're looking for things to do in Sigiriya, there are plenty, from hiking up the fortress itself to embarking on an elephant safari, visiting the nearby national parks, and even soaring up in a hot air balloon. Therefore, choose from Dambulla hotels with sophisticated amenities like the Aliya Resort, to serve as a tranquil oasis from which you can explore your lovely surroundings.

2

The Hill City of Kandy

A picturesque Colonial town raised by the hills, Kandy is full of gracious, old-world charm and intimate encounters with nature. This is the kind of place where time stands still and remnants of history stand out with distinction; from the exquisite Royal Botanical Gardens, the Ceylon Tea Museum steeped in verdant vistas, idyllic Victoria Golf Course, and the serene Kandy Lake promenade.

3

The breathtaking Central Highlands

Right out of an Epic Fantasy, the Horton Plains is a beautiful plateau cradled by misty wooded hills that sparkle back filigreed waterfalls and winding rivers. From this glorious medley of cloud forest and highland sanctuary, which ends with an exhilarating 700m drop coined as the World's End, one can glean a sublime glimpse of the ocean and capture intimate interactions between the vast assortment of animals and birds in their enchanting habitat. When visiting this UNESCO-listed fairyland, be sure to bring along your camera and binoculars, and enlist the help of a guide to truly appreciate the subtle splendour of this ecosystem. Besides the panoramic view, keep your eyes peeled for the signs of unique biodiversity, from hummingbirds playing among blossoms, and majestic Mountain-hawk eagles, to the rare saucer-eyed Red Slender Loris. The Knuckles Mountain Range presents a thrilling hike for adventure-lovers and naturists alike; amidst riverside forests, seas of grassland, and unexpected waterfalls.

4

Sinharaja Forest Sanctuary

An ethereal tropical ecosystem in the Southern lowlands of Sri Lanka, the intricate artistry of valleys, woods, streams, and rivers form a fairytale home for 830 endemic species of flora and fauna. Some of the multitudes of rare creatures you may encounter include the majestic leopard, intriguing purple-faced Langur, Indian Elephant, jungle squirrel, and hump nosed lizard. You will also find yourself amidst a rainbow-hued potpourri of butterflies and birds; from the Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon and White-headed Starling to the Blue Magpie and Green-billed Coucal.

5

The storybook Galle Fort

A true portal to the past, this Heritage seaside town is an irresistible blend of longstanding Colonial architecture and modern artisan boutiques, with the abundance of palm trees amidst the cobbled streets and splendid ramparts exuding the tropical Lankan ambience. Here, there is plenty to see and do, from watching the sunset from the bastions, capturing a gorgeous picture near the lighthouse, watching a cricket match at the beautiful cricket ground, and exploring the warren of vintage buildings holding contemporary delights.