Sight Map Sri Lanka
TurtleMap - The Interactive Sight Map of Sri Lanka Cultural Highlights, Beaches, Activities, Nature and Wildlife
As roamers and good explorers say: Before the calm, there’s the storm! So our amazing trip to Sri Lanka couldn’t be any different! Prior landing, there were months and months of thorough research, in order to create our very own itinerary. Not only we checked what “mainstream” was saying about the place but mainly what other travellers or locals advise. We wanted to see the highlights but also discover “secret spots” and less to none commercial gems. To ease your way we have come up with a sight map Sri Lanka.
This virtual map pin-points all places we know or have heard of. It features the must-sees as well as rarely known places. Whether it is a city, historic monument, temple, national parks with a large variety of animals, great landscapes, paradise, beaches, surfing or diving spots – you can find it here!
As much as we would love, of course, we haven’t been to all these places. However, you can always find helpful links to other sites with all the info you need. If you have discovered another place or want to share experiences from your own trip, feel free to comment! It will become an important part of our Turtlebu map!
Don’t forget to have a look underneath the map to find some tips on highlights and must-sees.
Cities & Villages
Historic Sights & Museums
Cities & Villages
Sri Lanka is not famous for its buzzling international metropoles. However, its big cities give you a nice feeling and impression of typical Asian urban lifestyle. Discover religious cultural heritage, ancient colonial buildings, local markets and feel the atmosphere of South Asia. The numerous “cute and enchanted” villages, give Sri Lanka its charm. Places are sometimes very stereotypical Asian, others are very colonial. The stunning landscapes they are surrounded by captures their visitors to stay.
In our opinion any Sri Lanka trip would not be complete without visiting the following places:
Historic Sites & Museums
The remains of the early Buddhist civilizations represent some of the most popular sights. Ancient temples can be found in every corner of the country. Sri Lanka also has some beautiful churches and mosques that brings visitors into a spiritual mood. Furthermore, beautiful colonial relics from the Portuguese, Dutch and British make the past a present. Museum lovers can also get their share when visiting one of the museums featuring Sri Lankan history. They are mostly located around the bigger cities.
Our must-sees in terms of historic sights and museums are:
- Galle Old Town: A masterpiece of acient colonial architecure.
- Ruins of Polonnaruwa or Anuradhapura: Discover the relicts of the ancient Buddhist civilizations.
- Buddhist Temples: Our favorite temples were the Cave and Golden Temples in Dambulla and the Temples around Kandy.
- Tea museums: See tea pickers at work and leaves being processed in one of the factories of the highlands. Most factories can be found in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya or Ella). Read the report about our visit of a tea factory.
Despite its small size, Sri Lanka is characterized by a wide range of landscapes: dense rain-forests, extensive flat green lands, endless hills with tea plantations and vast sandy tropical beaches. This and the local climate make it a paradise for humans and animals.
Even though every spot of Sri Lanka is just wonderful in terms of nature experience, we found that the following places should not be missed:
- Sigiriya Rock: This iconic and red odd-shape rock creates the perfect photo scene.
- Hill Country and Tea Fields: Between Kandy and Ella stretch green mountains and endless tea fields that can be discovered by hiking or during one of the world’s most scenic train rides.
- Tropical Beaches: You just cannot miss the paradise beaches of the country! Where to go depends of the time of the year. We found the best beaches of the South Coast in Tangalle.
Sri Lanka has an astonishing wealth of wildlife throughout the country. At the same spot you may found elephants, leopards, water buffaloes, wild boars, monkeys, crocodiles, peacocks and listen to the beautiful sounds of the birds around. You may encounter wild animals during a safari or just on the streets while travelling. You also have the chance to take the boat and watch dolphins and whales in their natural habitats.
In our sight map Sri Lanka we have indicated all National Parks. The perfect spot largely depends on the time of the year you are travelling and which animals you want to encounter. However, the most popular for visitors are:
- Leopards and a large variety of other species: Yala National Park is by far the best place if you want to see leopards. Furthermore, it is also the best spot if you are keen to see a large variety of mammals (e.g. elephants, monkes, crocodiles, water buffaloes, peacocks) during the same trip.
- Elephants: Udawalawe National Park, Wasgamuwa National Park, Minneriya/ Kaudulla National Parks are great places to observe large groups of elephants. The parks have reservoirs where the animals gather around all year but especially during dry season.
- Birds: The country is also a paradise for birdwatchers with a large variety. Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Horton Plains National Park belong to the most famous ones.
- Dolphins and whales: 10 months per year Sri Lanka’s coast is home to these kings of the ocean. As the animals travel around the island the spots vary according to the season. Mirissa, Kalpitiya and Trincomalee are the main destinations for observers.
- Turtle nesting and hatcheries: If you want to observe turtles then you should check out the beaches of Induruwa and Kosgoda as well as Rekawa.
- Fish: Do not miss to take a dive or snorkel trough the coral reefs around Unawatuna, Bentota and Pigeon Island to see a large variety of species.
Sri Lanka is a great place for beach lovers. The different climate zones of the island guarantee that there is a great spot during any time of the year. The paradise tropical beaches are spoiled with palm trees, long stretches of white sand and crystal clear waters.
There is an incredible amount of good beaches as you will find on our map. For the different times of the year, we recommend the following destinations.
- October – April: Visit the west or south coast during this time. The beaches around Bentota are the most famous ones. Regarding the south coast, check out our travel report on the beaches to read our own experience.
- April – September: Relax at the east coast if you are travelling during summer. Beaches north of Triconmalee and around Arugam Bay are the most visited ones.
The country offers adventure activities such as surfing, white-water rafting, snorkeling or diving. Afterwards you can relax with Aryuvedic Spa, the traditional health treatment method of the nation.
The hot spots to make crazy experiences and get active are:
- Surfing: The most famous spots for surfers are Arugam Bay, Unawatuna, Bentota, Negombo Beach and Kalpitiya.
- Watersports: Unawatuna and Bentota offer a large variety of watersports like surfing, diving or banana boat. These are the perfect places if you want to profit from a large variety of activities.
- Wild Water Fishing: Fans can easily book boat trips from Trincomalee, Unawatuna and Bentota.
- Diving and Snorkeling: The coral reefs around Unawatuna, Bentota and Pigeon Island are great spots to explore the underwater world.
- Rafting and Climbing: Do not miss to visit Kitulgala if you are keen on adventures conquering wild waters or high rocks.
- Aryuveda: Treatments can be found all over the country. However, the most relaxing atmosphere you will either find during a tropical beach stay or after a long hike in the hill country.