Cities in Sri Lanka

Colombo

Colombo, Sri Lanka's largest city, a beehive of commotion with more than a million inhabitants.The capital city of Srilanka with it's frenetic traffic and general chaos is a little too much for most to handle but Colombo is, however, worth a look, offering colour and some interesting attractions, like the national museum, the Pettah bazaar and some lovely temples. 

Negombo

Negombo situated by the shores of a lagoon by the same name once has been a trading port for Portugese and Dutch and is a ideal place for those who want quick access to and from the airport. Attractions in the city are the old Dutch fort gate built in 1672 now a part of the prison, the Dutch Canal which was then a supply route to the Dutch administration, old churches and fishing villagers. The 100km long canal running through the town is still being used and is an attraction for those who want to see the country from a different perspective. 

Galle

The capital of the southern province is a city with a colourful history. UNESCO declared World Heritage Site the magnificent Dutch fort is the most popular attraction of the town. 300 year old Dutch atmosphere is still very much alive around the fort and amidst its many historical buildings not invaded by the skyscrapers. The beautiful beach of Unawatuna is just 6km south east of the city centre.

Kandy

This sacred Buddhist site, popularly known as the city of Senkadagalapura, was the last capital of the Sinhala kings whose patronage enabled the Dinahala culture to flourish for more than 2,500 years until the occupation of Sri Lanka by the British in 1815. It is also the site of the Temple of the Tooth Relic (the sacred tooth of the Buddha), which is a famous pilgrimage site.Kandy is situated 488 meters above sea level and was Sri Lanka's capital in the 16th century. Today, it is known as a city of culture and beauty, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa is one of the earliest tourist beaches of Sri Lanka famous for its sandy beaches and superb waves for surfing. Once a popular coral reefs at Hikkaduwa are now nearly extinct. There are many hotels and guest houses to suit any budget with varying quality and comfort. 

Nuwara Eliya

Situated at around 2000m above sea level and surrounded by lush tea plantations Nuwara Eliya is the main hill resort of Sri Lanka and the heart of the tea industry. Once a pleasure retreat of the European planters the town is still very much an English town with many English style bungalows and buildings. Nuwara Eliya is a good escape for those who miss cool breeze in tropical Sri Lanka at any time of the year. Local tourists flock to this town in their 'season' from March to May when it is the hottest duration for the town, April being the busiest. 

Bentota

Across the river from Aluthgama, you can find refuge in Bentota a gentle leafy sprawl of hotels and guest houses spread along the coast. The sea is calm here, as are the waters of the river, the bentota Ganga, which is ideal for watersports and boat rides as far as 35km (23 miles) upstream. Travel just 5km (3miles) up the lazy river in the noonday sun and explore the few remains of the Galapata Vihara, dating back to the 12th Century. Legend claims it was built by a minister Parakramabahu the Great (AD 1153 -86) who was responsible for most of the wonders at the Medievel city of Polonnaruwa. 

Dambulla

Dambulla is a part of the Cultural Triangle declared by UNESCO is on the main road from Sigiriya to Kandy about 19Km from Sigiriya. There are over 80 caves in the surrounding and some of them have been used by the monks as meditation locations. Major attractions are spread over 5 caves, which contain the statues and the paintings. Since it's founding in the 1 century BC by King Valagamba, many improvements and additions have been carried out to the sculptures and paintings over the years.

Sigiriya

Sigiriya is one of the main archaeologial attractions in Sri Lanka, and is a UNESCO world heritage site. The site contains the ruins of a 5th century palace, which sits on top of a huge sheer-sided rock. From the top of the rock there are views over the whole of the plain below.
The site is famous for the frescoes depicting female figures, and for the lion gate with its huge lion's paws either side of the staircase ascending to the palace. At the foot of the rock are the remains of the water gardens

Unawatuna

Sublime Beach : Unawatunna is a world famous bay beach located in the southern coast of Sri Lanka. A 15 minute drive from the city of Galle, Unawatunna boasts one of the most visited beaches in the island. With a clam body of water owing to its Bay shape, the Sandy beaches of Unawatunna look afresh each day. With high - tide in the night constantly cleansing the beaches, Unwatunna posses the ability to be swimmer friendly all year long. 

Anuradhapura

Anu-radha-pura Kingdom lasted one thousand and five hundred years from 380BC. This city is home to many of the earliest grandest monuments of Sri Lanka. A popular destination of Sinhalese Buddhist's prilgimages because of its many ancient Buddhist monuments. 

Ratnapura

History has it a Rain of Gems fell upon Sri Lanka in ancient times, and no city was more blessed than that of Rathnapura - The Gem Capital of Sri Lanka. Rathnapura and Gems are synonymous terms throughout the world for Gem Mongers. With the Ceylon Blue Sapphire as the flagship stone, Rathnapura has been unearthing gems since time immemorial. Located along the Colombo- Badulla main road in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka, Rathnapura is a commericalised town driven by the Gem Money

Bandarawela

An Urban City in the Hill Country Bandarawela is one of the first major cities to be urbanized along the Colombo - Badulla Main Road. Its strategic location combining roads from four directions , makes its not only a popular travelers rest point but the main business hub between Badulla and the rest of the Hill Country.

Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa lies 216 km northeast of Colombo, 140kms northeast of Kandy and 104kms southeast of Anuradhapura. Sri Lanka's medieval capital (11th - 12th Century AD) is a well-preserved city of ancient dagobas, moonstones, beautiful parks, massive buildings and stunningly beautiful statues. The majestic King's Council Chamber, the Lotus Bath, the Lanka Thilaka Viharaya, the Gal Viharaya (rock temple) and the statue of one of Polonnaruwa's great kings, Parakramabahu, are a few of this capital's memorable sights.

Wadduwa

Situated along the Galle Road ( Colombo - Galle) on the western Coast of Sri Lanka, Wadduwa was considered to be a beach getaway considered to be in close proximity to Colombo ( in terms of travel time) prior to the setting up of the Southern Express Way. As no two beaches in the world are alike, Wadduwa too has its own uniqueness. 

Kalutara

Kalutara is a major city located along the western coast of Sri Lanka. It belong to the western province and is the main city in the District also named Kalutara. The Main attraction in Kalutara is the "Kalutara Bodiya" or Temple. Venerated by Buddhists it is considered as a place of worship with prime importance.

Pinnawala

Located in turn off from just past Kegalle along the Colombo - Kandy main road ( 85 kms from colombo) , travelers head to Pinnawala for one reason and one reason alone : Elephants. Pinnawala houses the largest elephant orphanage in the country. Where Elephants who are left with our parental support are adopted taken care of and if possible released to the wild or given to safe custody of caretakers

Matara

Matara historically belongs to the area that was called the Kingdom of Ruhuna, which was one of the three kingdoms in Sri Lanka (Thun Sinhalaya ???? ??????). Matara was previously called Mahathota. The Nilwala River runs through Matara and there was a wide area where ferries used to cross. Hence, the town was called Maha Thota which was derived from the Sanskrit word Maha Theertha, which means "the great ferry". According to Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula Thera's Paravi Sndesaya King Weerabamapanam made Matara as his capital and named it "Mapatuna".

Beruwala

The most popular beach resorts of the south coast area starting around here and streaches towards Galle and beyond. There are many large hotels catering the tourists but are often busy during the weekends with local tourists.

Mount Lavinia

Located in the Colombo District and about 10 kms from the heart of the City , Mount Lavinia offers the best beaches within close proximity to Colombo. Most known for the famous Mount Lavinia Hotel ( over 200 years old) , one of the oldest hotels in the island, the city itself is has a bustling urban landscape with no indication of a beach in close proximity. A turn off from the "College Road" leads you to the best beach sites in mount Lavinia.