UNESCO World Heritage Sites Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The UNESCO Sites in Sri Lanka have resulted in recognizing of 8 cultural and natural landmarks as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka and 3 locations on the Sri Lanka UNESCO tentative list. These tourist sites in Sri Lanka are acknowledged for their unique and valuable cultural, natural, artistic, and historical significance and are preserved for future generations.

In addition to these 8 sites in the Sri Lanka UNESCO list, there are many other places to travel to Sri Lanka that are being considered for UNESCO recognition. These sites, listed on the tentative list, showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage and are waiting for approval to join the prestigious and famous World Heritage Sites list.

To help visitors discover these remarkable Sri Lanka tourist attractions, we have put together an interactive map of the UNESCO sites in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka UNESCO Map

Click markers to show information and photo.

Sri Lanka UNESCO Map Placeholder
Sri Lanka UNESCO Map

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka

There are 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. All of these eight sites are listed under the Cultural category.

  • Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
  • Ancient City of Sigiriya
  • Sacred City of Anuradhapura
  • Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications
  • Sacred City of Kandy
  • Sinharaja Forest Reserve
  • Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka are protected locations for their cultural and natural importance.

Ancient City of Polonnaruwa

This historic site was once a thriving city and the second capital of Sri Lanka. It showcases the impressive architecture and engineering feats of the ancient Kingdom of Polonnaruwa, including the famous Lotus Bath, the Royal Palace, and the iconic statue of King Parakramabahu.

Ancient City of Sigiriya

This fortress-palace is known for its stunning frescoes, water gardens, and the Mirror Wall. It was built on top of a massive rock column and was once a royal palace and Buddhist monastery. Visitors can explore the ancient ruins and climb to the top for breathtaking views of the surrounding jungle.

Sacred City of Anuradhapura

This ancient city is considered one of Buddhists’ most important pilgrimage sites. It was a political and religious center for over 1,300 years and is home to numerous temples, stupas, and monuments, including the iconic Ruwanwelisaya Stupa and the sacred Bodhi Tree.

Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications

This coastal city is home to a well-preserved fortification built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and expanded by the Dutch in the 17th century. The fortifications and the old town within it are a testament to Sri Lanka’s rich colonial history, and the old town is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Sacred City of Kandy

This hill town is home to the Temple of the Tooth, a revered Buddhist shrine that houses a tooth relic of the Buddha. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese Kings and is known for its stunning Peradeniya Botanical Garden and vibrant cultural and artistic traditions.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

This protected rainforest is a biodiversity hotspot, home to various endemic species, including birds, reptiles, and mammals. It is considered one of the last remaining areas of primary tropical rainforest in Sri Lanka and is a must-visit for nature lovers and hikers.

Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple

This temple has five caves, each filled with Buddhist statues and frescoes. It is considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka and is a testament to its rich cultural heritage.

Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

This region is home to rolling hills, tea plantations, and stunning natural scenery. It is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers, offering opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and visiting historic sites and tea factories.

Sri Lanka UNESCO tentative list

  1. Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara
  2. Seruwila to Sri Pada (Sacred Foot Print Shrine), an Ancient pilgrim route along the Mahaweli River in Sri Lanka
  3. Ancient Ariyakara Viharaya in the Rajagala Archaeological Reserve

Tours in Sri Lanka

Our choices of tours in Sri Lanka are divided into thematic features such as the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, the Ancient City of Sigiriya, the Sacred City of Anuradhapura, the Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications, and the Sacred City of Kandy Experience.