• Sigiriya Rock Fortress


Sigiriya Rock Fortress Sri Lanka

Arguably Sri Lanka’s most iconic historical attraction, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sigiriya Rock Fortress rises magnificently from the forested central plains and represents an enigmatic fragment of a once mighty kingdom.

Spiritual adventure with spectacular views

The near vertical walls of the giant rock face loom imposingly over visitors, but for those who take on the challenging climb to the summit, the reward is great - you’ll experience elaborate engravings, fortress ruins and stunning panoramic views.

Dating back to around the 5th century, Sigiriya Rock Fortress is steeped in history and legend, made all the more intriguing thanks to its position on top of a 200-metre tall rock.

As you enter the site leading up to the rock, you’ll wander through some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world, known as the Water Gardens, the Boulder Gardens and the Terraced Gardens.

Reaching the fortress requires a fairly intense climb up the rock face via around 1,200 steps. The climb features detailed alfresco, painted on the rock face, ancient scribbled messages on the once iridescent “mirror wall”., and the giant stone claws of Lion’s Gate about two-thirds of the way up the climb.

Having reached the summit, visitors are greeted by the impressive fortress ruins including walled spaces, stairs and pools that represent a once lavish royal palace. However, despite the fascinating architecture, it is the scenery that steals the show. It is easy to spend hours drinking in the stunning panoramic vista, an ocean of green forest pocketed by islands of grassy plane and glistening lakes stretching to the horizon. Gazing out onto the view from Sigiriya Rock is like stumbling into a painting.


Top Tips from our Experts


Brand & Advertising Campaign Manager

"Visit and climb Sigiriya as part of a guided tour around Sri Lanka. Surrounded by the historic Polonnaruwa and Minneriya National Park, you can easily spend a few days exploring the area."


Content Editor

“Try to time your visit early in the morning to avoid queuing on the stairs and escape the heat of the midday sun. Early in the day, the staircase is shaded from the sun and, if you are quick, you'll catch the mist evaporate from the surrounding landscape.”


Destination Manager

“Make sure you have entrance fee with you in cash and ensure you take a bottle of water with you for the climb, which can take between 1-2 hours up and about half that time down.”