Temple of the Tooth

Attraction

Cultural Cities Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s cities are home to a wealth of captivating culture, from ancient temples and rock caves, to historic architecture and traditional crafts. Enjoy mouth-watering cuisine and gain a fascinating insight into Sri Lankan life.

Picturesque cities, towns and villages 

Whether you want to explore the cosmopolitan capital or admire the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the famous ‘Cultural Triangle’, here’s a few of our favourite cities to visit:

Colombo

Sri Lanka’s lively capital combines modern living with a strong sense of history. Colombo is an ideal place to begin or end your Sri Lankan adventure, offering easy access to many more destinations, including Bentota to the south, Negombo to the north, and Kandy in the hill country. Stroll along the scenic seafront promenade at Galle Face Green, explore multi-cultural Pettah, with its colourful markets and bustling tuk-tuk-filled streets, or head for the bright lights of the Colombo Fort district to sip cocktails in rooftop bars. 

Kandy

Surrounded by rolling hills and tea plantations, the tranquil cultural city of Kandy is famous for its sacred Buddhist sites. The ancient Temple of the Tooth is perhaps the most popular, with its intricate 16th-century carved shrines said to house a tooth belonging to Buddha himself. Away from the temples, you can unwind next to the calm waters of Bogambara Lake, or stroll through the serene Royal Botanical Gardens with their shady palms and exquisite orchid collection.

Galle

Situated on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, this historic port city is known for its wonderful UNESCO-listed old town district. Visit the impressive 17th-century Dutch colonial sea fort, revel in the ambiance of the eclectic shops and cafes scattered throughout its picturesque streets, and prepare to be wowed as you watch the sunset from Galle’s spectacular lighthouse viewpoint.

Anuradhapura

Sri Lanka’s former capital is the oldest city in the Cultural Triangle, dating back to the 4th century BC. Visit the city’s evocative sacred ruins, built around a cutting from Buddha’s ‘tree of enlightenment’, to discover a huge UNESCO site containing soaring stupas (dome-like structures used for worship), tranquil reservoirs and magnificent, gently crumbling temples.

Negombo

Life in this colourful city is centred around the ocean. Whether you’re watching the fishing boats glide by, dining on fresh seafood, or simply feeling the sand between your toes as you take a sunset beach stroll, Negombo offers the beauty of a coastal destination alongside the pleasures of a lively city. 

Top Tips from our Experts

Jas

Destination Specialist

“While visiting Kandy, don’t miss the chance to witness the Sigiriya Rock Fortress – an ancient citadel north of the city. Rising dramatically out of the misty jungle, it’s known locally as the Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Christie

Destination Executive

“Umami meets spice on Colombo’s Galle Road – a bustling street that’s populated by local street food stalls and cafés. Going by foot is the best way to see – and sample - as much as you can.”