Defined by many as one of the finest islands in the world, Sri Lanka has seduced travelers for centuries. It has so much variety to offer and is definitely a place you must visit once in a lifetime. Here you have plenty of things to explore -from beautiful beaches to ancient ruins, from picturesque cities to local temples, not to mention the amazing diversity of its wildlife.

Here is a list of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka for first-time visitors that will transform your travel into a life-changing experience.

Yala National Park

Sri Lanka is a wildlife lovers paradise, one of the best places in Asia for seeing wildlife. Indeed in Yala, the most famous National Park in the country, you will be surrounded by an incredible variety of species. Experience a Safari from Colombo to watch closely this amazing wildlife. Located in the south-east part of the Island, Yala has the highest concentration of leopards in the world. In addition, it hosts many other species as Buffalos, Elephants, Monkeys, Crocodiles and a huge variety of Birds. If you are animals and nature lovers, this is one of the most incredible places to visit in Sri Lanka!


Rich history, eclectic culture and buzzy culinary scene, the Sri Lankan capital deserve to be more than just a side note to the rest of the country. Discover all the activities and tours of Colombo. Visit the National Museum, grab a tuk-tuk, go to the spectacular Gangaramaya Temple and to the Beira Lake. These are just a few things you can do to visit this beautiful and controversial city where you never get bored!

Nuwara Eliya and Tea Plantations

Nuwara Eliya is better known as Little England of Sri Lanka. The climate, surroundings, and architecture of this area are different than other villages. Thanks to its cooler climate, it is the most important area for tea production in Sri Lanka. The area holds many natural beauties, like waterfalls, hills, tea plantations, and the towering Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka. This place is a must to visit in Sri Lanka, and once you get there don’t forget to have a cup of tea!

Adam’s Peak

Adam’s Peak, Sri Pada for the locals, is a 2.243 m mountain in the central region of Sri Lanka. This beautiful peak has been an important pilgrimage site for the last 2 thousand years. According to the Buddhist tradition, it is a footprint of Lord Buddha. For Christians instead, it is Adam’s first step after being exiled from the Garden of Eden. Hindus believe, on the other hand, that is Lord Shiva’s footprint.

The suggested option is to start the trekking in the night to get on top of the peak just before the sunrise. Something you will hardly forget! The trekking is quite challenging, it takes most people 2-4 hours to summit and 1-2 hours to come back down. But visiting this place is definitely worthed. With no doubts, this is one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka. It is important though to avoid the crowds: better to avoid the Sri Lankan New Year (mid-April), full moon, and even the weekend.

Arugam Bay

Whether you are looking for some epic waves to surf or you just want to relax and enjoy the beach life this is the right place for you. This beautiful bay is located in the dry part of Sri Lanka and is famous for being one of the best surf spots in the country. But there’s more: peaceful atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and a relaxing vibe, very different from the more touristic and crowded south-west coast.