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Sri Lanka punktet neben den Sehenswürdigkeiten auch mit traumhaften Stränden, Bild: Anton Gvozdikov / shutterstock

The most beautiful destinations & sights in Sri Lanka

Paradisiacal beaches, impressive national parks and breathtaking temple complexes: Sri Lanka is rich in sights, attractions and excursion destinations. There is guaranteed to be something suitable for every holiday. After all, diversity is very important. Every year, many millions of visitors from all over the world visit the island state in the middle of the Indian Ocean for themselves. Sri Lanka is also known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean – and rightly so. After all, you can collect an incredible number of impressions here that you will probably never forget.

Numerous dream beaches on 1,000 kilometres of coastline and diving paradises

Coral Reef Sri Lanka
A coral reef in Sri Lanka, Image: Dudarev Mikhail / shutterstock

Thanks to the approximately 1,000 kilometers of coastline, the coastal regions of Sri Lanka are of course predominantly characterized by beautiful beaches and idyllic bays. Thanks to the tropical climate, there are pleasantly warm temperatures in the air and in the water all year round. This means that bathing season is also all year round. Some of the most popular places for a beach and water sports holiday are located in the southwest of the island. These include Mirissa and Beruwala. In addition to plenty of space to relax on the wide sandy beaches and have fun swimming in the beautiful blue water, there are also plenty of water sports opportunities here. One of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka is Nilaveli beach in the northwest of the country. Hikkaduwa is considered a Mecca for divers and surfers on the island. The dive station is located about 100 kilometers south of the capital Columbo in the middle of the Hikkaduwa Marine National Park. More than 170 different species of fish and countless other sea creatures live here.

Capital Colombo: Bazaar flair, exciting museum insights and temples

For most holidaymakers, a trip to Sri Lanka begins in the capital Colombo. After all, it is home to the country’s only international airport. You should definitely take your time to explore the cultural and economic center of the island state. After all, there is a lot to discover here. If you want to enjoy exciting market hustle and bustle in the middle of the city, the Pettah bazaar district is the right place for you. Here you can really find everything your heart desires.

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The numerous museums such as the large Independence Museum or the Colombo National Museum are always worth a visit. In the latter, there are incredibly exciting insights into Sri Lanka’s eventful history. The magnificent Old Parliament Building and St. Anthony’s Church are also among the city’s top attractions. If you are looking for relaxation from a stroll through the city, Viharamahadevi Park is the right place for you. In the largest park in the city, there is a small animal park and a large Buddha statue, among other things. In and around Colombo there are also numerous impressive temple complexes.

One of the most important Buddhist sites in the country can be found about 12 kilometers from Colombo on the banks of the Kelaniya River: the Kelaniya Temple. Of course, there are also numerous sights outside of Colombo in Sri Lanka. For example, if you are traveling in the center of the island state, the city of Kandy should not be missed either. Among other things, the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the so-called Temple of the Tooth, is located here. Not far away, you will find the well-preserved remains of the former royal palace. The archaeological site, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most famous sights in the country. If you want to enjoy Sri Lanka from above, you can enjoy a beautiful view over a large part of the country from the rock temple Dambulla. Both the Temple of the Tooth and the Rock Temple are important parts of the so-called cultural triangle with countless cultural treasures. The cultural triangle can be explored as part of guided tours or on your own. Also not to be missed is the 200-meter-high Sigiriya Rock. The so-called Lion Rock with the historic rock fortress is one of the most important landmarks of Sri Lanka.

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Breathtaking nature: elephants, sloth bears and colourful butterflies

Yala National Park in Sri Lanka
Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, Image: GinaKoch / shutterstock

Sri Lanka is also famous and loved for its breathtaking nature. Most of the island is characterized by jungle. A fascinating flora and fauna has settled here in the past centuries. If you want to immerse yourself in this nature, you should definitely visit one or the other national park in the country. There are quite a few of them throughout the country. One of the most beautiful is the Yala National Park on the southeast coast. In the 1,300 square kilometer national park, leopards, sloth bears and elephants can be found, among other things. On the coast, you can also watch whales in their natural habitat.

Birdwatchers also get their money’s worth in Sri Lanka. A real insider tip for holidaymakers and locals, away from the big tourist centres, is the Gal Oya National Park. In the middle of the park is the Senanayake Samudra, the largest lake in Sri Lanka. If you have time, you should treat yourself to a traditional boat safari with locals and can also take a look at the traditional way of life of the island’s indigenous people. Probably the greatest diversity of flora and fauna can be found in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve in the southwest of the country. The reserve, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, includes the largest contiguous rainforest area in the country. If you are looking for native animal and plant species, you will definitely find what you are looking for here. Among other things, there are more than 60 different species of butterflies in the most dazzling colors