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Best places to visit in the Hills of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Hill Country is the island at its most scenic, a mist-wrapped land of emerald peaks and amazing views, of hillsides carpeted with tea plantations and graced by astonishing waterfalls.

This is a place where you can wear a fleece in the daytime and cuddle up beside a log fire in the evening. Where you can enjoy a memorable meal in the eternal city of Kandy or at a roadside shack in lovely Ella. A region where you can walk to the end of the world, stand in the footsteps of the Buddha and be surrounded by a hundred wild elephants. Ride a train utterly bewitched by the vistas. Paddle a raft down a raging river.

Enjoy the excitement that surround Sri Lanka’s hills and then savour the silence on a mist-wrapped mountaintop.


Kandy City in the Central of Sri Lanka was the last Kingdom with an independent monarchy. The city is Sri Lanka’s second-largest city and is surrounded by mountain ranges and tea plantations. Due to its 3-hour distance from the capital Colombo, Kandy is a crowd favourite for travellers wanting to spend two or three days visiting its colonial buildings and religious sites.

While most guidebooks mention Kandy city as the main attraction, there are more remarkable sights to see outside the city in the rainforest area.

What to see in Kandy?

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic:

The Temple of the Tooth, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, is a beautiful golden-roofed Buddhist Temple in the heart of Kandy. A royal palace complex of one of Kandy’s former Kingdoms houses the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

Plan an early-morning visit to skip the crowds and see the legendary tooth relic of Buddha (yes the actual Buddha!). No expense is spared to protect the tooth, which is enclosed inside several golden boxes, covered in jewels.
It is one of the most sacred places of worship among Buddhist people in the world. Plan your visit during the rituals, held three times a day at dawn, midday and in the evenings. Apart from the Tooth Relic that is enshrined in a majestic golden casket, attractions of the Sri Dalada Maligawa include the Royal Palace and many fine paintings as well.

This was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.

Royal Botanical Gardens – Peradeniya

Located in Peradeniya a town close to Kandy, the Royal Botanical Gardens are the finest of its kind in all of Asia. The garden 147 acres in size is famous for its countless (4000+) species of plants & over 10,000 trees. It is famous for its vivid collection of orchids, the Giant Bamboo of Burma, the Cannonball tree and the Double Coconut Palm known for producing the world’s largest seed.

Take a stroll through the country’s largest garden or relax in the grass and get lost in the true wonder of nature.

Elephant Orphanage – Pinnawala

Located about 1.5 hours away from Kandy Town, the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a must visit for any animal lover. This wonderful establishment is not just an orphanage but is also a nursery and breeding ground for elephants. gives you the rare opportunity to get personal with a whole herd of elephants.

It is a truly memorable experience to observe how the elephants are taken for baths, fed milk in bottles and given plants as meals.

Apart from meeting these gentle giants, you can go shopping for elephant-motif souvenirs such as clothing, crafts and special stationery made out of recycled elephant dung.

Most scenic train journey- Kandy to Ella Train

Kandy is the starting point of one of the world’s most beautiful train routes – a stunning 7 hour journey through lush tea plantations, rolling rice feilds and endless mountain views. The views on both sides of the railway are breathtaking and scenery continually changes throughout the trip.

The train also passes through multiple tunnels. Kids on the train scream the entire time until the train finally emerged. It is a great game for them.

The train is famously known for allowing tourist to hang out from the sides — while moving at full speed. So feel the wind blow through your hair and across your skin, as you dangle your feet outside the door of the open train- an exhilarating experience that allows you to see nature in a totally unique way!

Nuwara Eliya

One of the most loved locations in the hill country, with its pleasant weather and beautiful scenery, Nuwara Eliya is a popular vacation destination. It is fondly known as little England for its overall charm and the constant chilly weather.

The English translation of the name of this town is “city on a plain” or “’city of light”, and just that it is. Located amidst the hills in the central province of Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya is the highest point (6000 feet) above sea level and is blessed with a cold climate throughout most of the year.

This town was developed as recently as the 19th century and its breathtaking natural beauty, luscious tea estates and one of kind waterfalls are what lure visitors here.

Due to the high altitude, Nuwara Eliya has a much cooler climate with a mean annual temperature of 16 °C. But the temperature changes and sometimes it can be like 3°C. In the winter months it is quite cold at night, and there can even be frost.

What to see in Nuwara Eliya?

Gregory Lake

A beautiful and much sought after tourist attraction in Nuwara Eliya is Lake Gregory that is located at the center of the town. This is a man-made lake built during the British rule and is used for recreation and water sports today.

The holiday makers can enjoy a leisurely walk on the paved walk ways, with swan shaped paddle boats for the more adventurous.

Horton Plains


Horton Plains in Sri Lanka, is the coldest and windiest location in the country. It consists of ecosystems such as Montane evergreen forests, grasslands, marshy lands and aquatic ecosystem. At an altitude of 2,100 meters above sea level, Horton Plains spreads across over 3,169 hectares of the highest tableland of the island.

On the southern edge of the Horton Plains at an altitude of 2140m is famous world’s End, an escarpment that fall sheer 900 meters straight vertical drop. At a distance of 200m beyond World’s End, the trek turn off the ridge inland to another lovely attraction: Baker’s Falls named after Samuel Baker.

Adam’s Peak

Adam’s Peak is the fourth highest mountain with the height of 2244m and the climb to Sri Padaya or Adam’s Peak Mountain in Sri Lanka’s hill country is just a magical experience. It’s a magnificent creation of nature that has been respected for centuries. Apart from the religious attraction for Mount Sri Pada(Adam’s Peak), a number of tourists visit it for its geographical position it took almost 5 hours to reach the top.

The sunrise here is absolutely spectacular. To witness this breath-taking site, you will have to start the climb at midnight and continue it all night long to be there by dawn. Visitors to Sri Lanka admit that it could be the most amazing sunrise view in all of Sri Lanka, or perhaps even in all of Asia….

Visit a Tea Factory

To see where your morning cup of tea originates, visit a tea factory while you are in Nuwara Eliya.

From unique tea plucking experience you can witness the full process of how tea is manufactured and then graded and packed for export to all corners of the world.


Once a simple town in the hills, the beautiful Ella has emerged as one of the most popular destinations in Sri Lanka, with its breath-taking waterfalls, greenery and hills.

With astonishing views of the Ella Gap, Ravana Falls and the Little Adam’s Peak, this small, yet beautiful town of Ella is a must visit during your holiday in Sri Lanka. Get set for a night of two of absolute relaxation alongside some of the most exquisite scenery that the country has to offer.

Mini Adams peak

Mini Adams peak is the closest and easiest hike in Ella. We recommend this as a must do and you would absolutely love the experience.

Nine Arch Bridge

The glorious Nine Arch Bridge between Ella and Demodara train stations is one of the engineering marvels in the early 20th century.

This bridge, which is almost 100 years old, has been built with blocks of stone and cement without any strengthening iron or concrete. The giant arches take the bridge on a curved path to link to mountains. The Bridge was commissioned in 1921 under the British Government.

Ravana Falls

Ravana Falls is another must visit in Ella. Hill country of Sri Lanka is quite popular for beautiful waterfalls and Ravana Falls is right at the top.

The falls are quite impressive, and you can climb over some of the rocks to get a closer look.

If you love water and wanna have some splash time, enjoying some hours in the water fall, then this is the place in Ella. You can spend sometime swimming, but be safe as the rocks are slippery.

Adventures with Flying Ravana

Flying Ravana is Sri Lanka’s first ever zip-line, located amidst the luscious green estates of Ella. The two-wire zip-line stretches for more than half a kilometre, slides at 80kmph and offers a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful hills of the island.
The adventure park is exclusively designed for adventure enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies who prefer a not so ordinary hillside experience, offering ATV/quad bike rides, Abseiling, Archery and Air rifling for a gripping outdoor experience.


Compiled by: Ajith Weerasekera

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