#01 Cricket

Take part in a knock-around on the beach, or join the crowds of cricket-crazy spectators for a Test match in Colombo or Kandy.

#02 Adam’s Peak

One of Sri Lanka’s foremost pilgrimage sites, this soaring summit bears the revered impression of what is said to be the Buddha’s own footprint, and offers the island’s most magical – and enigmatic – views.

#03 Galle

Sri Lanka’s most perfectly preserved colonial townscape, with sedate streets of personable Dutch-era villas enclosed by a chain of imposing ramparts.

#04 Yala National Park

Sri Lanka’s most popular and rewarding national park, home to birds, monkeys, crocodiles and elephants, as well as the island’s largest population of leopards.

#05 Rice and Curry

Eat your way through this classic Sri Lankan feast, with its mouthwatering selection of contrasting dishes and flavours.

#06 Birds

Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s classic birdwatching destinations, with species ranging from delicate bee eaters and blue magpies to colourful kingfishers and majestic hornbills.

#07 Kataragama

Join the crowds thronging to the colourful nightly temple ceremonies at this remote pilgrimage town, held sacred by Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims alike.

#08 Anuradhapura

This vast, mysterious ruined city bears witness to the great Sinhalese civilization that flourished here for some two thousand years.

#09 Sigiriya

Climb the towering rock outcrop of Sigiriya, home to the fascinating remains of one of the island’s former capitals, complete with ancient graffiti and elaborate water gardens.

#10 The Pettah

Colombo’s colourful, chaotic bazaar district offers an exhilarating slice of Asian life.

#11 Whale and Dolphin Watching

Take to the waves in search of magnificent blue and sperm whales, or pods of acrobatic spinner dolphins.

#12 Polonnaruwa

Quite simply the island’s finest collection of ancient Sinhalese art and architecture.

#13 Bentota

The unspoilt southern end of Bentota beach is home to a fine selection of luxury beachside hotels.

#14 Kandy Esala Perahera

One of Asia’s most spectacular festivals, with huge processions of magnificently caparisoned elephants, ear-splitting troupes of Kandyan drummers and assorted dancers and acrobats.

#15 Ayurveda

Sri Lanka’s ancient system of healthcare uses herbal medicines and traditional techniques to promote holistic well-being.

#16 Arugam Bay

This remote east coast village has great sand and surf, lots of local wildlife and an appealingly chilled-out atmosphere.

#17 Kandyan Dancing and Drumming

Traditional Sinhalese culture at its most exuberant, with brilliantly costumed dancers performing stylized dances to an accompaniment of explosively energetic drumming.

#18 Dambulla

These five magical cave temples are a treasure box of Sri Lankan Buddhist art, sumptuously decorated with a fascinating array of statues, shrines and the country’s finest collection of murals.

#19 Mirissa

Laid-back beachside village with a fine stretch of sand and world-class whale-watching.


#20 Beautifully situated amidst the central highlands, this historic city remains the island’s most important repository of traditional Sinhalese culture, exemplified by the great Esala Perahera festival and the Temple of the Tooth.

Planning your trip to Sri Lanka

Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Sri Lanka features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

25 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
16 evocative pictures of Sri Lanka

16 evocative pictures of Sri Lanka

After a couple of weeks travelling across Sri Lanka, photographer Nori Jemil shares why this Indian Ocean island is a perfect subject. Here are 16 of her favour…

04 Oct 2016 • Nori Jemil insert_drive_file Article
More featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month