With Sri Lanka, still known today under the old name Ceylon, you travel the island state, which is only 31 km away from the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. This island seems almost tranquil next to the large neighboring country – but it was there where you encounter high valleys, many rivers and tea cultivation in between, mangroves, long sandy beaches, cloud and dry forest and large areas of original rainforest with a unique variety of animals and plants, once one of the centers of ancient Buddhism. In addition, there are relics of Ayurveda and that the island and over 20 offshore islands are now inhabited by a multi-religious and multi-ethnic population. The cultural heritage that Sri Lanka has to show is correspondingly rich, and accordingly diverse also that, what culture can be discovered in social interaction… especially in the large conurbation on the west coast, in Colombo. The capital gives an insight into the historical development of the island, which also includes the time as a colony of Portugal and the Netherlands and the later affiliation to the British Empire. For those interested in cultural history, we recommend a visit to the National Museum or the Dutch Period Museum. Nature lovers, on the other hand, shouldn’t miss the plant splendor in Gordon Garten or the magnificent bird house in Dehiwala Zoo. If you want to marvel at more of the natural beauty of Sri Lanka, you can choose from almost 80 national parks. The selection of sacred buildings worth seeing – be it temples, mosques, churches or monasteries – is even more extensive.
Those who spend their holidays in Sri Lanka cannot avoid the capital Colombo. The 800,000-inhabitant city, which is located on a peninsula off the coast of the beautiful island state in the middle of the Indian Ocean, offers a lot of South Asian flair in addition to its numerous sights. Bandaranaike International Airport is about 35 kilometers north of Colombo, the only international airport in the country. This is regularly served by the major airlines. Colombo also has one of the largest ports in Asia.
Many locals and tourists like to call Kandy the most beautiful city in Sri Lanka. It is located in the middle of the country, surrounded by a picturesque hilly landscape that is covered by forests. The landmark of Kandy is the so-called Temple of the Sacred Tooth. The city’s attractions also include the Botanical Garden, which is famous all over the world. There is a lovely lake in the middle of the city. Kandy is also the religious and spiritual center of the country that many religious communities live together here. The university opened in 1835 and is the largest in Sri Lanka. The man-made Kandy Lake gives the city a very special flair. A walk around the lake takes just under an hour.
Anuradhapura is one of the most beautiful and oldest cities in Sri Lanka. The city is located in the province of North Central, around 90 meters above sea level and has around 60,000 inhabitants. Anuradhapura today consists of two parts, a new center, which was only built in the 20th century, and the district of the old ruins.
The main attraction of Dambulla, which is located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, are the five rock caves. In them, visitors can expect numerous Buddha statues as well as fantastic ceiling and wall paintings. They are among the most beautiful portraits that have ever been created in Sri Lanka. There is a small museum in front of the Dambulla rock caves that has some copies of the great works of art on display. The ascent to the cave temples is first via a rock path and then via 250 steps that have been carved into the rock. The first three cave temples were created in the first century BC, while the other two were not built until the 18th century.
Nuwara Eliya is affectionately known as the “city above the clouds” by the locals in Sri Lanka. It is located at an altitude between 1,900 and 2,000 meters in the province of Central between the three highest peaks in the country. Nuwara Eliya is a popular vacation spot for tourists and locals, as the temperatures in Sri Lanka’s highest city barely exceed 25 degrees and the air is fresh and dry. The cityscape is “very British” because it was the English who designed the houses and gardens according to their plans. The parks here have extensive lawns, villas and golf courses are laid out in a country house style. The region around Nuwara Eliya is characterized by tea plantations. The best tea on the island, Broken Orange Pekoe, a tea that grows best in the highlands, grows here.