Colombo is the capital and largest city of Sri Lanka and as such it is a popular tourist destination. For those wishing to stay in the city there are a great many hotels and restaurants as well as numerous places for shopping. Colombo has a selection of museums including the Colombo National Museum for those who are interested in finding out more about Sri Lanka.
The old town of Anuradhapura is an ancient city and archaeological site which was the capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom until around 1100 AD. Amongst the sites to see here is the Bodhi Tree Temple which is the second most sacred place in Sri Lanka, and the fully restored Ruwanwelisaya stupa.
Polonnaruwa is also an ancient capital and is sometimes favoured over Anuradhapura because it is more compact and easier to walk around and see everything. Things to see at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Polonnaruwa include the ruins of the Royal Palace and Buddhist temples.
Ancient City of Sigiriya
The ancient city, or rock fortress, of Sigiriya is another of Sri Lanka’s World Heritage Sites which features a large rock fortress with ruins of a castle which dates back to the 4th century AD.
Other Sri Lanka World Heritage Sites
In total Sri Lanka has an impressive seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition to the above these include – Sri Dalada Maligawa (or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic); the town of Galle and Galle Fort; Dambulla Cave Temple (or the Golden Temple of Dambulla) and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve which you can read more about below.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
The Sinharaja Forest Reserve, as well as being a World Heritage Site, is also a national park and a World Biosphere Reserve. This area may be small, but it features a great diversity of flora and fauna and many smaller species of animals including amphibians, reptiles, insects and birds.
Yala National Park
For visitors who are interested in seeing larger animal life, Yala (also known as Ruhunu) National Park is an excellent place to see this. Wildlife such as elephants and leopards may be spotted here.
Horton Plains National Park
Horton Plains National Park is another great place to see wildlife which includes the Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, leopard and the Purple-Faced Langur as well as the country’s six endemic highland birds. In addition, Horton Plains has some spectacular landscapes too including the sheer rock face of ‘World’s End’ and the scenic Baker Falls.