Which part of Sri Lanka is the best? Where to travel in Sri Lanka

As one of the most scenic countries in the world, it can be hard to choose where to travel in Sri Lanka - we showcase the best parts in this guide

As one of our closest neighbors, Sri Lanka is teeming with wonders and places to explore. In fact, each part of the country has something to offer for travelers, whether it be nature, camping, safaris, pristine beaches, or cultural curiosities in big cities.

Once travelers have applied for the Sri Lanka visa for Indians, it is time to create a fun-filled itinerary. Here are some of the best parts of Sri Lanka to generate inspiration for a future trip.

For the best beaches: Southern Sri Lanka 

Sri Lanka was voted the 2nd best island in the world by Condé Nast Traveller readers in 2020, and one of the deciding factors was the country’s idyllic beaches. From palm-lined promenades to white sand, surfing spots, and everything in between, southern Sri Lanka has all of the hallmarks of a perfect and relaxing vacation.

Travelers making their way from Colombo to Galle should take a break in the middle of the route and enjoy the peaceful beaches of Induruwa — a welcoming respite from the hustle and bustle of the capital!

Just an hour outside of Galle and near the southernmost part of Sri Lanka is the small town of Mirissa, famed for its crystal clear waters, Ayurvedic massage centers, and wildlife watching opportunities.

For a truly extraordinary experience, visit the village of Koggala. Situated on the edge of a lagoon, Koggala is known for its cinnamon plantations, luxurious resorts, and the famous stilt fisherman that grace Sri Lanka travel brochures.

 For stunning nature, beautiful gardens, and tea plantations: Central Sri Lanka 

Besides hosting a multitude of popular tourist attractions, central Sri Lanka is abundant in emerald-green tea plantations and nature.

Starting in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural capital, travelers can find the country’s largest botanical garden (the Royal Botanic Gardens), the azure waters of Kandy Lake, and a serene bird paradise at Udawattekele Sanctuary.

Further up north is the famous Sigiriya Rock, a spectacular natural landmark towering almost 200 meters above its surroundings. It is well worth the two hour journey up to the top of the rock, where adventurers will be met with a jaw-dropping panoramic view and a sense of achievement.

Of course, one can’t forget the rolling green hills dotted with tea shrubs in Nuwara Eliya!
This small and charming city is unlike any other part of the country. In fact, it has an uncanny resemblance to an English village more so than a typical city in Sri Lanka, so it’s no wonder why it was named ‘Little England.’

Thanks to its high elevation and cool climate, Nuwara Eliya is the most important place for tea production in Sri Lanka. Travelers can enjoy staying at a hotel with panoramic views of the lush viridescent hills outside their window, or hike along the tea plantation and learn more about Sri Lanka’s production of one of the most loved drinks around the world.

 For heart-racing safari adventures: East Sri Lanka 

Although the lion may be the symbol of Sri Lanka, the eastern part of the country is home to another big cat: the leopard.

Yala National Park is the second largest national park in Sri Lanka and the most visited.  Travelers come to Yala because it has the highest density of wild leopards in the world, which is truly a feat because there are less than 1,000 leopards remaining in the wild in Sri Lanka.

Those in search of the elusive leopard can do so by hiring a driver and guide, who will take groups of travelers through the national park.

Yala is also home to more than 40 varieties of mammals, including elephants, bears, jackals, deer, peacocks, and crocodiles.

More of a marine person? The east coast of Sri Lanka has more than a dozen species of dolphins and whales that can be seen during the peak season in March. The city of Trincomalee, in northeastern Sri Lanka, is noted as being one of the country’s best hotspots to see blue whales, as well as a paradise for both snorkelers and scuba divers.