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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 16, 2024
Headline for Top 5 Must-Visit Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka - Fascinating history explored in the charming teardrop
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 Must-Visit Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka - Fascinating history explored in the charming teardrop

The scenic island nation amidst the vast Indian Ocean, so minuscule yet brimming with history, treats island visitors to a whole host of enchanting attractions to explore. Tour the many beautiful heritage sites Sri Lanka has to offer and savour a dose of fascinating history.


Sigiriya Rock Fortress - Mind-blowing fascination abounds

The crown jewel of the Indian Ocean island nation is not without reason and will have you in total awe, just as the multitude of daily visitors to the ancient rock fortress. Sigiriya — or Lion Rock, as the world outside the tropical island knows it — lies in the heart of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, chock full of historical and archaeological significance. The imposing column of granite soaring high amidst the dense green forest — while indeed a sight that’s as scenic as it gets, the real treat lies 180 metres high at the top of the mind-blowing rock fortress. The trek up the good 1,000 steps to the top of the rock is going to be heart-pumping, but you can rest assured that it certainly won’t be in vain — panoramic scenic views vow.


Dambulla Royal Cave Temple - Striking colour, culture and religion

Heading back from spectacular Lion Rock, the massive golden Buddha of the Dambulla Royal Cave Temple in the neighbouring town of Dambulla is a sight that never fails to catch your eye. While the majestic seated Buddha is what draws the impromptu visitors, the temple is best known for its ornate caves — arguably the best-preserved cave monastery in all of Sri Lanka, adorned by intricate Buddha sculptures and striking wall paintings galore.


Old Town of Galle - The unmissable seaside

Your visit to Sri Lanka would be incomplete without a visit to the picture-perfect coastline of Galle in the south, which boasts both stunning seaside views and a rich cultural heritage. Galle Dutch Fort is what many travellers to the city look forward to and is also a popular destination on many Sri Lanka heritage tours, such as the likes offered by Walkers Tours, but there’s more to the beachside city to give you your fill of island culture, history and heritage.


Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic - The crown jewel of the hill capital

The cultural capital of Sri Lanka and the gateway to the central highlands — Kandy, would hardly be the tourist hotspot it is today if it wasn’t for the city’s undisputed crown jewel — the majestic Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. The golden-roofed temple houses what is probably the most precious relic of all Buddhists around the world — a tooth of the Lord Buddha himself — and is secured in the sanctum of seven diminishing golden caskets.


Anuradhapura - Quaint charm in the mediaeval city

Occupying much of the north-central plain of Sri Lanka, the ancient city of Anuradhapura is unlike anything in the Indian Ocean island nation. The city is what could be best described as a “temple town”, where a whole host of centuries-old temples call the city home — certainly an unmissable destination for all history buffs to Sri Lanka.