UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is an important landmark in the world chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a protected area. The places selected to be UNESCO World Heritage Sites are usually in a historical location with cultural and anthropological importance. Sri Lanka is home to eight such sites—six cultural and two natural


Sri lanka is encircled in clean, golden sands, with warm, azure blue seas. Pristine beaches are found all around the island providing year round choice of destinations. Though today Sri Lanka’s beaches are far from a secret, a degree of insider knowledge helps when it comes to picking the right stretch of coast to suit you. Whether you’re looking for social atmosphere or serious solitude, somewhere good to swim or with waves to surf, here are some pick of the top beaches in Sri Lanka.

West Coast

Sri Lanka’s west coast shows the island at its most developed and it’s most touristic. A string of fine beaches, backed by hundreds of hotels and guesthouses, peppers the coast from Negombo in the north to Hikkaduwa in the south.

South Coast

The south coast is one of Sri Lanka’s most rewarding areas to visit and the region offers gorgeous beaches, colonial towns, and superb wildlife parks. In addition, this coastline is home to a selection of some of the island’s most alluring places to stay, from luxurious beach hotels to atmospheric colonial-era villas. Travelers can find a never-ending range of things to do and see here.

East Coast

Sri Lanka’s east coast is unquestionably beautiful, but was off the tourist trail for many years due to the long-raging civil war. However, in the years following the end of the civil war in 2009, there has been slow and steady reconstruction and the region now looks to the future with renewed confidence.

Hill Country


The ‘Hill Country’ or ‘Up Country’ are terms broadly used to describe the mountainous regions of the centre of Sri Lanka. Covered with tea plantations and National Parks, these beautiful hills and mountains are home to some of the country’s most unique and historic accommodation. The cool climate provides a beautiful contrast with the often scorching coastline.
The old British hill station of Nuwara Eliya is now a favourite retreat for locals looking to escape the heat of the lowlands. It’s misty and rainy much of the year – but provides a strange and atmospheric step back into colonial history.
Here you’ll find several historical tea planter’s bungalows to stay in amidst working plantations, making your experience all the more special. A walk, a drive or a train journey through the incomparable scenery around Haputale, Ella and Bandarawela is a must.
If you’re the adventurous type, you can climb ‘Adam’s Peak, the revered mountain which flings out a mystical shadow at dawn and has inspired all the major religions to claim it as their own.
The region around Haputale, Bandarawella and Ella is colloquially known in Sri Lanka as the ‘health triangle’ due to the lovely fresh air found here. There are lovely walks around here, and as it is located on the very southern edge of the hills: when the cloud breaks, you often peak through to incredible views down to the plains below and even the sea 60km away as the crow flies.
A little further down the hill towards the south, you will find incredible wildlife and very few people at picturesque Belihul Oya.
In the lower hills, Kithugalla is carving out a reputation as the adventure capital of Sri Lanka. Previously best known as the film ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’, Kithugalla’s main draw is now white river rafting. The birding and walking in this area is also excellent.

National Parks

Despite its small size Sri Lanka boasts of one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world whether in plants or animals and is included among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world. Of the ninety-one species of mammals found in Sri Lanka Asian elephants, sloth bear, leopards, sambar and wild buffaloes engages the majority of the attention of wildlife enthusiast.

Meanwhile the ocean around Sri Lanka is home to large families of cetaceans including the mighty blue whales, sperm whales and lively dolphins. Altogether 26 species of cetaceans rule the waters surrounding the country, making it one of the best locations for whale and dolphin watching.

Despite the mighty elephants and rare amphibians found in the country birds are the glory of the Sri Lanka’s wildlife. Boasting nearly 433 bird species of which 233 are resident Sri Lanka holds 20 endemic species while another 80 species have developed distinct Sri Lankan races, compared to their cousins in Indian mainland.

Although less celebrated, Sri Lanka has one of the richest diversity of amphibians in the world, containing over 106 species of amphibians of over 90 of which are endemic. The country has long claimed to have the highest amphibian species density in the world with a high concentration in the Sinharaja rainforest