Kings ruled the central plains of Sri Lanka from Polonnaruwa 800 years ago, when it was a thriving commercial and religious center. The glories of that age can be found in the archaeological treasures that still give a pretty good idea of how the city looked in its heyday. You'll find the archaeological park a delight to explore, with hundreds of ancient structures – tombs and temples, statues and stupas – in a compact core. The Quadrangle alone is worth the trip.
That Polonnaruwa is close to elephant-packed national parks only adds to its popularity. And with good accommodation and plenty of bikes for hire, the town itself makes a pleasant base for a day or two.
Nearby Kaduruwela, 4km east of Polonnaruwa, has the lion's share of banks, shops and other facilities.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Polonnaruwa.
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Polonnaruwa.