Until the 19th century, there was not much of commercialization in the hill country of Sri Lanka. After the British stepped in, they explored these lands and realized that these valleys, along with the perfect rainfall and sunshine weather combination were ideal for cultivating aromatic teas. Hence the country began its tea production and soon became popular for its premium quality tea in the export market. With the initiation of this commercial line, Sri Lanka tourist attractions became popular in the hill country and the beauty of the natural environment attracted tourists to the upcountry towns time and again.
Kandy remains a legendary city in the list of places to visit in Sri Lanka. At present, it has developed into a busy yet romantic city that revolves around a picturesque lake. The kingdom of Kandy was attacked several times in the past by the Portuguese and the Dutch. Yet they held onto their independence strongly while other cities around the island were accepting defeat to the invading Europeans. This enduring position during colonial turbulence resulted in the city preserving several ancient traditions until they too surrendered to the British in 1815.Today, Kandy is the second-largest city in the island and is known as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. At the centre of the city you will see a bunch of colonial-era buildings that retain its countrified charm along the busy roads of Kandy.
1. Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Seated on the bank of the lake at the eastern side of Kandy’s town center is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which is one of the most important places to visit in Sri Lanka. Being one of Sri Lanka’s most important Temple, the significance here, as its name suggests, is that it houses the relic of Lord Buddha’s tooth. Not only does this attract pilgrims from around the island but is a major Sri Lanka tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world. A visit in July/August to Sri Lanka can be highly recommended as this is the season for the most colorful festival in Sri Lanka known as Kandy Perahera happens.
2. Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
Approximately 6kms southwest of Kandy, enveloped in the Mahaweli River lies the massive 60 hectare Royal Botanical Gardens. These botanical gardens are the finest of its kind and include over 4000 types of flora such as orchids, spices, palm trees and medicinal plants.
3. Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
About a half hours drive west from Kandy center, you will reach the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage which is an interesting place to visit in Sri Lanka. Here you can experience the natural habitat of elephants. Around mid morning is a good time to visit and see the spectacular sight of about 80-100 elephants bathing and splashing and enjoying themselves in the river.
Also known as the “city of lights”, Nuwara Eliya is a beautiful town located on a large, green valley amidst the hills. Stationed at over 6000 feet above sea level, not only is the town blessed with the chilliest climate in all of Sri Lanka, it is also an unmatchable sight of mountains, meadows and greenery. Developed in the 19th century British era, the city has a feel of an English country town.
1. Gregory Lake
Situated at the heart of the town is the 90 hectare Lake Gregory built by a British Governor in the 19th century. It was used for water sports and recreation then and still is used for the same purpose today.
2. Horton Plains
A visit to the highest plateau in the island is a popular Sri Lanka tourist attraction. Here you will find a uniquely breathtaking view of grasslands mixed with patches of forests, high altitude vegetation and an ideal excursion for nature lovers, hikers and bird watchers. In addition to the popular leopards and samba deer, you will find over 400 species of birds and over 700 different types of flora in these grasslands.
3. Adam’s Peak
If you are a fit and adventurous mountaineer, climb the 7000 foot high Adam’s peak and watch the sun rise from right next to your eyes!
4. Tea Factory Visit
Being surrounded by several tea estates in the hill country of Sri Lanka makes it impossible to avoid a visit to one of the tea factories for an exciting tea plucking experience and knowledge on the process of tea manufacturing.
Ella is a small village located high in the mountains and offers an amazing panoramic view of the hill country and is popular as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Sri Lanka. A night or two at this relaxing Sri Lanka tourist attraction will definitely be worth it. Used as a base for most trekking expeditions, this town offers splendid views of the Ella Gap, Ravana Falls and the Little Adam’s Peak.