Sri Lanka is truly enchanting and will suit any traveler’s interests with its top tourist attractions. The small island nation is full of adventure sports such as surfing and trekking.
There are a variety of highly religious sites for religious devotees and amazing historical tourist attractions for history buffs in Sri Lanka. However, no one can deny the amazing natural beauty of Sri Lanka. Whether it’s a great surf break, a visit to the historic site, or a pilgrimage, lush greenery and exotic animals are never far away.
1. Sigiriya Rock Fort
The Sigiriya Rock Fort is truly impressive. The rock walls rise 200 meters from the ground, only to give way to the flat plateau at its summit. There are steep stairwells to hit the top and a lot of frescoes to marvel at on the way up. You will find the remnants of an ancient civilization at the top, including the relics of the palace and the monastery.
It would have taken real engineering creativity to construct a structure at this height so many centuries ago. There are many significant caves and gardens around the rock fort; impressively, some of the world’s first landscaped gardens.
2. Yala National Park
Yala National Park is made up of breathtaking views and a real abundance of Sri Lankan wildlife. It has the highest leopard density in the world, so the chances of seeing it are very good.
While leopards are the main attraction here, they are closely followed by elephants, sloth bears, and crocodiles. The park is divided into five blocks, some of which were used by hunters before Yala became a national park in 1938. Ensure that you have time to visit the very informative visitor center at the entrance to the park for an interesting view of the area.
3. Galle Fort
It’s quick to get lost in the cobblestone alleys and streets of Galle Fort. Nowadays, the area is full of trendy restaurants, hotels, clothing, and souvenir shops. At the same time, snake charmers and buskers line the seawall.
But the fort was not always such a cosmopolitan place. A simple fort was founded by the Portuguese when they landed on the island for the first time in 1505. When the Dutch finally took possession of Galle, they made a number of changes, including the immense sea wall still lining the fort. Galle Fort is an outstanding example of what the convergence of European and Asian architecture looks like.
4. Adam’s Peak
There is a footprint set in stone at the top of Adam’s Peak. It has spiritual significance for a variety of different religions, but there is only a Buddhist monastery at the summit. To the Buddhists, the footprint is that of the Buddha; to the Christians, the footprint is Adam’s; and to the Hindus, the footprint is attributed to Shiva.
A site is a popular place for pilgrimage, particularly on full moon nights. The walk to the top of the mountain to see the footprint is through a steep staircase with more than 5000 steps. The trail is lined with a lot of tea stalls and food shops that serve as places of rest. Many people launch their walk at 2:30 a.m. To get to the summit in time for sunrise.
5. Temple of the Tooth
The Temple of the Tooth is the holiest location. The temple contains one of the Buddha’s teeth. Legend has it that the tooth was taken from the Buddha on his deathbed, then smuggled from India to Sri Lanka. It was smuggled into the hair of a princess after the kingdom of her father had been besieged.
It quickly became an item of great significance and was praised and paraded throughout history. However, a variety of attempts have also been made to snatch or break a tooth. Twice a day, pujas are held to commemorate the relic and give tourists and devotees a chance to get a glimpse of the tooth inside the casing.
6. Arugam Bay
The Bay of Arugam is admired by surfers. This small town on the east coast of Sri Lanka embodies a quintessentially comfortable surf lifestyle. The main Point surf break is within walking distance of the city center but is recommended only for experienced or intermediate surfers.
Otherwise, Whiskey Point or Peanut Farm are two perfect surfing beaches for beginners and advanced surfers; a short tuk-tuk ride will take you there. Often elephants and peacocks can be spotted beside the road, just outside the city. The main strip in the town of Arugam Bay is lined with restaurants and hotels where you can dine from typical Sri Lankan curry to full English breakfasts.
Mirissa is the perfect beach getaway in Sri Lanka. The scenic long beach is flanked by tall palm trees and lined with new restaurants and hotels. Restaurants provide western-style food at Sri Lankan prices. Parrot Rock is just off the beach. It has a small staircase leading to the top, providing fantastic views of the ocean and the coastline.
Day trips from Mirissa include watching whales, snorkeling, and surfing. Weligama, only a few kilometers from Mirissa, is one of the best surfing beaches in Sri Lanka. Come happy hour and throughout the evening, several restaurants turn their venues into beach clubs and pump out drinks and songs.