Sri Lanka has eight World Heritage sites, which together celebrate and protect the country's cultural, historical and natural marvels, and highlight the immense diversity of this small Indian Ocean island nation.
Sri Lanka's UNESCO World Heritage sites include the former capital and Buddhist pilgrimage site of Anuradhapura. Then there's the fantastically preserved ancient city of Polonnaruwa and the impressive ruins around and upon the Lion Rock at Sigiriya. These, alongside the sacred cities of Kandy and Dambulla, constitute Sri Lanka's ‘Cultural Triangle' and are easily included in a tailor made travel plan. The Old Town of Galle and its fortifications, on the coast, is the last of Sri Lanka's six cultural centres on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In addition, two of Sri Lanka's excellent natural reserves are also protected under the UNESCO banner. These are the Central Highlands and the beautifully dense Sinharaja Forest Reserve, home to an extraordinarily biodiversity of plants and animals. Combining these natural treasures with the cultural attractions mentioned above is a popular way to experience the best of Sri Lanka travel.
Top itineraries in World Heritage Sites and National Parks
Visiting Sri Lanka's most impressive ancient monuments and beautiful beaches in utter luxury, enjoying the services of a private driver throughout and staying in only the finest hotels. Think beach villas and palatial country manors.
From sweeping tea plantations to UNESCO-listed treasures and the wildlife of the Yala National Park, spend two memorable weeks exploring the history, culture and beaches of this Indian Ocean gem, a land of smiles that's long made it a travellers' favourite.
A week-long trip to Sri Lanka, including the Sinharaja Rainforest, Yala National Park, and whale and dolphin watching on the south coast
Top places to stay in World Heritage Sites and National Parks
An award winning designer boutique and historic property that offers excellent personal service, set in an ancestral manor house that was built in 1804. A lovely small and intimate hotel, it can be booked as a whole for celebrations with friends.
Ulagalla is set in a 150-year-old mansion that is an ancestral estate of local Anuradhapura nobility.
Where to go in World Heritage Sites and National Parks
The Yala National Park in the south of Sri Lanka is the country's second largest and most popular national park. A diverse landscape is made up of wide-open plains, thick forest and a beautiful coastline with towering sand dunes.
Galle was said to be the ancient city of Tarshish. As legend has it, the port traded not only with Persians and Egyptians, but also with King Solomon. The place suits this romantic notion, for it remains something of a time warp and preserves a distinctive character - European architecture with Sou…
The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is the last area of true virgin rainforest in Sri Lanka and an increasingly popular ecotourism destination. The reserve area has been under guard since 1840, when the British first drew a protective line around it.
Dambulla is part of the revered Cultural Triangle and is situated to the north of Kandy, in the Central District of Sri Lanka. The cave temple complex, for which Dambulla is rightly famous, is the best-preserved complex in Sri Lanka - and, as such, the site makes a fascinating addition to a tailor …
When to go to World Heritage Sites and National Parks
World Heritage Sites and National Parks articles
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