Top ChoiceMonument in Polonnaruwa

Gal Vihara

Gal Vihara

This is a group of beautiful Buddha images that probably marks the high point of Sinhalese rock carving. They are part of Parakramabahu I’s northern monastery. The Gal Vihara consists of four separate images, all...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Temple in Anuradhapura

Abhayagiri Dagoba

Abhayagiri Dagoba

Dating back to the 1st century BC, this colossal dagoba was the ceremonial focus of the 5000-strong Abhayagiri Monastery. Originally over 100m high, it was one of the greatest structures in the ancient world, its...

Top ChoiceFusion in Negombo

Lords Restaurant

By far Negombo’s most creative eating experience, with dishes that are a hybrid of Western and Eastern flavours. Martin, the British owner, is a rare thing among expat restaurant owners in that he actually works...

Top ChoiceInternational in Unawatuna

Bedspace Kitchen

One of the most progressive, enjoyable restaurants in the country, Bedspace Kitchen has it all right. Around 95% of their ingredients are sourced in Sri Lanka, most are organic and local, and the menu is concise...

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Polonnaruwa

Quadrangle

Quadrangle

A short stroll north of the Royal Palace ruins, the area known as the Quadrangle is literally that – a compact group of ruins in a raised-up area bounded by a wall. It’s the most concentrated collection of...

Top ChoiceViewpoint in Horton Plains National Park & World's End

World’s End

World’s End

The Horton Plains plateau comes to a sudden end at World’s End, a stunning escarpment that plunges 880m. The walk here is 4km, but the trail then loops back to Baker’s Falls (2km) and continues back to the...

Top ChoiceMonument in Wellawaya

Buduruwagala

Buduruwagala

The beautiful, 1000-year-old, rock-cut Buddha figures of Buduruwagala are the region's biggest attraction. The gigantic standing Buddha (at 15m, it is the tallest on the island) here still bears traces of its...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Site in Tangalla & Around

Mulkirigala Rock Temples

Mulkirigala Rock Temples

Dangling off a rocky crag 16km northwest of Tangalla and nestled away among a green forest of coconut trees are the peaceful rock temples of Mulkirigala. Clamber in a sweat up the 500 or so steps and you’ll...

Top ChoiceHindu Site in Trincomalee

Kandasamy Kovil

Kandasamy Kovil

This revered temple at the summit of a rocky outcrop is one of Sri Lanka’s pancha ishwaram, five historical Hindu temples dedicated to Shiva and established to protect the island from natural disaster. It houses...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Stupa in Anuradhapura

Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba

This magnificent white dagoba is guarded by a wall with a frieze of 344 elephants standing shoulder to shoulder. Apart from a few beside the western entrance, most are modern replacements of the originals from...

Top ChoiceNational Park in Uda Walawe National Park

Uda Walawe National Park

Uda Walawe National Park

With herds of elephants, wild buffalo, sambar and spotted deer, and giant squirrel, this Sri Lankan national park is one of the nation's finest. In fact, for elephant-watching, Uda Walawe often surpasses many of...

Top ChoiceChurch in Mannar Island & Around

Our Lady of Madhu Church

This mainland church is Sri Lanka’s most hallowed Christian monument (though it's thought to be have been constructed over an ancient Hindu shrine). Its walls shelter Our Lady of Madhu, a diminutive but revered...

Top ChoiceNational Park in Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park is a fantastic maze of waterways, lagoons and dunes that glitter like gold in the dying evening sun. This wonderland provides a home to thousands of colourful birds ranging from diminutive...

Top ChoiceHindu Site in Jaffna

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil

This huge Hindu temple, crowned by a towering god-encrusted, golden-ochre gopuram, is one of the most significant Hindu religious complexes in Sri Lanka. Its sacred deity is Murugan (or Skanda), and during...

Top ChoiceNational Park in Kumana National Park & Kumana Reserve

Kumana National Park

Kumana National Park

This 357-sq-km park, once known as Yala East, is much less frequently visited than its busy neighbour, Yala National Park. Consequently, it's a far less zoo-like experience and it never feels too crowded here,...

Top ChoiceFort in Yapahuwa

Yapahuwa Rock Fortress

Yapahuwa Rock Fortress

The steep ornamental staircase of this dramatic rock fortress is perhaps its finest feature, and once led to the Temple of the Tooth. One of the lions near the top of the staircase appears on the Rs 10 note. The...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Site in Anuradhapura

Sri Maha Bodhi

The sacred bodhi tree is central to Anuradhapura in both a spiritual and physical sense. It was grown from a cutting brought from Bodhgaya in India and is said to be the oldest historically authenticated tree in...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Temple in Dambulla

Cave Temples

Cave Temples

The beautiful Royal Rock Temple complex sits about 160m above the road in the southern part of Dambulla. Five separate caves contain about 150 absolutely stunning Buddha statues and paintings, some of Sri Lanka's...

Top ChoiceFort in Jaffna

Jaffna Fort

Sections of this vast complex overlooking the Jaffna lagoon have been recently restored, though much work continues. Once one of the greatest Dutch forts in Asia, it was built in 1680 over an earlier Portuguese...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Temple in Ridi Vihara

Ridi Vihara

The primary attraction at this Buddhist temple is the golden standing Buddha statue in the main cave called the Pahala Vihara (Lower Temple), which also houses a 9m recumbent Buddha resting on a platform...