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7 highlights of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of those countries that gets under your skin. Once you’ve been, you’ll want to go back time and again - and there's plenty to see and do. But for first timers, here are a few of the experiences you simply mustn’t miss.


Climb Sigiriya

The iconic Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress that rises dramatically from the country’s vast central plains, visible for miles around. Built atop megalithic rock nearly 200 metres high, the 5th century 'Sky Fortress' is a magnificent sight to behold. An early start to climb Sigiriya before the crowds and heat of the day is rewarded with magnificent views from the 200m summit across the surrounding jungle-clad countryside.  
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Spot Leopard in Wilpattu National Park

Travel into Sri Lanka’s dry zone on a jeep safari in search of the elusive leopard. The park is so-called because of its ‘willus’, natural water basins that fill with rainwater. The park has nearly 60 of these lakes in total and is world-renowned for its leopard population, as well as being home to elephant and sambar deer and some spectacular birdlife.
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Visit Kandy, Relic of the Sacred Tooth

Sri Lanka’s most revered Buddhist relic, where one of Buddha’s teeth is housed in a jewelled golden casket. The Holy Tooth – said to be Buddha’s left canine – was brought over from India 1,500 years ago and every year, during August’s full moon, it is paraded around the town with great pomp and ceremony. Year-round, Buddhists come from all over the world specifically to see this spiritual temple complex, which comprises a series of smaller temples, exhibits and shrines. Visit Kandy on our Secrets of Sri Lanka tour.
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See elephants in the wild in Udawalawe

Declared a National Park in 1972, Udawalawe is characterised by rolling grasslands, rainforest,teak plantations and scrub lands. The park is recognised for its large elephant population, but is also home to a huge plethora of bird species as well as deer, jackal, leopard, wild boar and buffalo. Explore the park by jeep, looking out for herds of elephant as well as other mammals and magnificent birds of prey. You’ll also have a chance to visit the Elephant Transit Home, where orphaned young elephants are cared for until they are old enough to be reintroduced to the wild.
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Eat delicious seafood in Unawatuna

Sri Lanka’s coastal town of Unawatuna is home to golden sandy beaches, laid-back cafes and plenty of activities. Whether you’re after some relaxation at the end of an action-packed tour, or prefer to keep busy and try new pursuits, you’ll enjoy a couple of days in these picturesque surroundings. The seafood here is some of Sri Lanka’s finest. Choose from tasty fish curries, often wrapped in banana leaves, and fresh jumbo prawns, grilled on beachside barbecues.
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Sip tea in a tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya

Known as ‘Little England’, Nuwara Eliya was once a hill country retreat for homesick British people – and still today it is home to red phone boxes, pretty rose gardens and colonial Victorian architecture. It’s also an important tea growing region, where rolling hills and plantations stretch as far as the eye can see. Visit a tea-making factory and try the freshest tea you’ll ever taste.
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Join the pilgrimage to Adam’s Peak

Known locally as Sri Pada, the sacred Adam’s Peak is an important pilgrimage site. There is a depression at the mountain’s peak believed to be an imprint of Buddha’s left foot. As well as bring an important Buddhist site, it’s also visited by Hindus, Muslims and Christians, all with their own beliefs and reasons for visiting this special site. Walking here in the early hours before morning light with so many others is a memorable experience. Choose departures of selected Sri Lanka tours between December and April and you’ll be able to join the sunrise pilgrimage to Adam’s Peak.
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Explore our Sri Lanka tours

Ready to see these Sri Lankan highlights for yourself? Browse our range of thrilling tours and choose from cultural, cycling, walking or family adventures. 
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