The Most Beautiful City in Sri Lanka: Discovering a Tropical Paradise

Choose the city you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Mar 1, 2024 05:22
Welcome to StrawPoll, where we settle debates and fuel conversations by ranking the best of the best! Today, we embark on a captivating journey to discover the most beautiful city in the enchanting island nation of Sri Lanka. With its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes, Sri Lanka is home to a plethora of picturesque cities that beckon travelers from around the globe. We've curated a list of the top contenders vying for the title of "Most Beautiful City in Sri Lanka," and now it's your turn to make your voice heard! Cast your vote for your favorite city, or suggest one that we may have missed. Together, let's unveil the hidden gem that truly encapsulates the breathtaking beauty of Sri Lanka, and inspire fellow wanderlusts to embark on their own unforgettable adventures.

What Is the Most Beautiful City in Sri Lanka?

  1. 1
    The historic city of Galle boasts a charming blend of Dutch and Portuguese colonial architecture, stunning beaches, and a vibrant cultural scene. The city is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Galle Fort, a must-see attraction in Sri Lanka.
    Galle is a breathtakingly beautiful city located on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Its charm lies in its well-preserved colonial architecture, picturesque beaches, and vibrant cultural heritage. The city is known for its historic Galle Fort, making it a popular destination for tourists from around the world.
    • Location: Southwestern coast of Sri Lanka
    • Architectural Style: Colonial
    • Main Attraction: Galle Fort
    • Historical Significance: Portuguese and Dutch colonial history
    • Cultural Heritage: Blend of European and Sri Lankan influences
  2. 2
    Nestled amidst lush hills and surrounded by tea plantations, Kandy is a picturesque city that is famous for its centuries-old temple of the Tooth Relic, breathtaking botanical gardens, and traditional cultural performances.
    Kandy is a picturesque city located in the central province of Sri Lanka. It is renowned for its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and religious significance. Nestled among lush green hills, Kandy captivates visitors with its tranquil lakes, stunning gardens, and charming colonial-era architecture. The city is also home to the sacred Temple of the Tooth, a significant Buddhist pilgrimage site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Location: Central province, Sri Lanka
    • Natural Beauty: Surrounded by lush green hills
    • Cultural Heritage: Rich historical importance
    • Religious Significance: Home to the sacred Temple of the Tooth
    • Tranquil Lakes: Picturesque lakes in the city
  3. 3
    Sri Lanka's bustling capital city is a vibrant hub of culture, history, and commerce. From its iconic landmarks such as the Galle Face Green and the Gangaramaya Temple to its vibrant street markets and trendy cafes, Colombo has plenty to offer visitors.
    Colombo is the vibrant capital city of Sri Lanka, situated on the western coast of the island. It serves as the commercial and financial hub of the country, offering a blend of colonial charm and modern city life. The city is known for its diverse culture, bustling markets, historic landmarks, and beautiful coastal areas.
    • Transportation: Major transportation hub with an international airport
    • Culture: A diverse mix of cultures and religions
    • Location: Western coast of Sri Lanka
    • Population: Approximately 5.6 million
    • Area: 37.31 square kilometers
  4. 4
    As one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Anuradhapura is a fascinating destination for history buffs. The city is home to a vast complex of ancient Buddhist temples, stupas, and monasteries, including the famous Sri Maha Bodhi tree.
    Anuradhapura is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most sacred cities in Sri Lanka. It served as the ancient capital of the country from the 4th century BCE until the 11th century CE. Anuradhapura is renowned for its well-preserved ruins, ancient temples, and religious monuments that reflect the rich cultural and architectural heritage of Sri Lanka.
    • Location: North Central Province, Sri Lanka
    • Founding: 4th century BCE
    • Status: UNESCO World Heritage Site
    • Importance: Sacred city
    • Religious Significance: Buddhist pilgrimage destination
  5. 5
    The ancient fortress of Sigiriya is one of the most iconic landmarks in Sri Lanka. The UNESCO World Heritage site features a towering rock formation that is home to an ancient palace, stunning frescoes, and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
    Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress located in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka. It is considered one of the most beautiful and historically significant landmarks in the country. Sigiriya rises 200 meters above the surrounding plains and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The fortress complex includes remnants of an ancient palace, extensive gardens, and exquisite frescoes.
    • Height: 200 meters
    • Location: Matale District, Sri Lanka
    • Age: Built in the 5th century AD
    • Architectural Style: Ancient Sri Lankan
    • Frescoes: Well-preserved ancient paintings
  6. 6
    Nestled amidst the misty hills of Sri Lanka's central highlands, Ella is a charming little town that is beloved by nature lovers and adventure seekers. Highlights include hiking to Ella Rock, visiting the picturesque Ravana Falls, and sipping tea at one of the many tea factories in the area.
    Located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, Ella is a picturesque hill town known for its abundant natural beauty. Surrounded by lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and tea plantations, Ella offers breathtaking panoramic views of the mountains. The town exudes a serene and peaceful atmosphere, attracting tourists from all over the world.
    • Elevation: 1,041 meters (3,415 feet)
    • Scenic Train Ride: Ella Railway Station is renowned for one of the most scenic train routes in the world
    • Demographics: Population of around 10,000 people
    • Waterfalls: Ravana Falls, Bambaragama Falls, and Diyaluma Falls are some of the famous waterfalls in the vicinity
    • Hiking Trails: Ella Rock and Little Adam's Peak offer rewarding trekking experiences with stunning viewpoints
  7. 7
    The ancient city of Dambulla is home to a spectacular complex of Buddhist temples and cave shrines that date back to the 1st century BCE. The temples are adorned with stunning frescoes and intricate carvings, making them a must-see attraction in Sri Lanka.
    Dambulla is a city located in the Matale district of Sri Lanka. It is best known for its magnificent Dambulla Cave Temple, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla. The city is situated in the central part of the country, surrounded by lush greenery and offers breathtaking views of the countryside.
    • UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Dambulla Cave Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its cultural significance and historical importance.
    • Historical Significance: The cave temple complex has a rich history dating back to the 1st century BCE, and it has served as a Buddhist pilgrimage site for centuries.
    • Five Major Caves: The temple complex is composed of five major caves, which house numerous statues and intricate wall paintings depicting the life of Lord Buddha.
    • Largest Cave Temple Complex in Sri Lanka: Dambulla Cave Temple is the largest cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, spanning an area of approximately 2,100 square meters.
    • Golden Buddha Statue: One of the main attractions of the temple is the 14-meter-long golden statue of Lord Buddha, which is the largest in Sri Lanka.
  8. 8
    Nuwara Eliya
    A.Savin · FAL
    Known as Sri Lanka's "Little England," Nuwara Eliya is a charming colonial-era town that is nestled amidst rolling hills and verdant tea plantations. Highlights include visiting the Horton Plains National Park, taking a scenic train ride, and exploring the town's many gardens and parks.
    Nuwara Eliya, also known as Little England, is a charming city located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. With its lush green landscapes, cool climate, and colonial-era architecture, it is often hailed as one of the most beautiful cities in the country.
    • Altitude: 1,868 meters (6,128 feet)
    • Climate: Cool and temperate, with temperatures ranging from 12°C to 24°C (54°F to 75°F)
    • Natural Attractions: Hakgala Botanical Garden, Horton Plains National Park, Ramboda Falls
    • Architectural Highlights: Victoria Park, Queen's Cottage, Grand Hotel, Hill Club
    • Tea Plantations: Surrounded by picturesque tea estates and known for its production of Ceylon tea
  9. 9
    The ancient city of Polonnaruwa was once the seat of power for Sri Lanka's medieval kings, and today it is home to a vast array of well-preserved ruins and monuments. Highlights include the Royal Palace, the Gal Vihara, and the Lankatilaka Temple.
    Polonnaruwa is an ancient city located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is renowned for its well-preserved archaeological ruins that showcase the grandeur of the ancient Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. The city served as the capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to the 13th century AD.
    • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Polonnaruwa has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, demonstrating its cultural and historical significance.
    • Sacred Quadrangle: The Sacred Quadrangle is a complex of religious buildings comprising temples, statues, and stupas. It is a major highlight of the city.
    • Gal Vihara: Gal Vihara is a rock temple housing four exquisite Buddha statues carved out of granite. It is considered a masterpiece of Sri Lankan ancient art.
    • Royal Palace Complex: The Royal Palace Complex consists of various buildings and structures that played a crucial role in the governance of the ancient kingdom.
    • Polonnaruwa Vatadage: Vatadage is a circular relic house built to protect sacred relics. The Polonnaruwa Vatadage is a fine example of ancient Buddhist architecture.
  10. 10
    Nestled on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, Trincomalee is a picturesque city that boasts some of the country's most beautiful beaches and coral reefs. Highlights include visiting the Koneswaram Temple, snorkeling at Pigeon Island, and exploring the city's many historic sites.
    Trincomalee is a stunning coastal city located on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. It is known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rich cultural heritage. The city is surrounded by natural beauty, with lush green hills and scenic landscapes.
    • Location: Eastern coast of Sri Lanka
    • Beaches: Trincomalee offers beautiful sandy beaches, including Nilaveli, Uppuveli, and Marble Beach
    • Historical Sites: The city is home to historical landmarks like Fort Frederick, Swami Rock, and Koneswaram Temple
    • Marine Life: Trincomalee is renowned for its vibrant coral reefs, providing excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving
    • Whale Watching: The waters off Trincomalee are known for seasonal whale sightings, particularly blue whales

Missing your favorite city?


Ranking factors for beautiful city

  1. Scenic beauty
    Consider the natural landscapes such as mountains, beaches, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and lush greenery that surround the city.
  2. Architecture and historical sites
    Take note of the city's historical buildings, cultural sites, ancient temples, and architectural marvels, which add to its beauty and charm.
  3. Cleanliness and sustainability
    Evaluate the cleanliness of the city and its efforts towards sustainable development and preserving the environment.
  4. Climate and weather
    A city with pleasant weather and agreeable climate conditions adds to its overall beauty.
  5. Parks and gardens
    The presence of well-maintained parks and gardens for public use enhances the attractiveness of a city.
  6. Infrastructure
    Well-planned and functional infrastructure such as roads, public transportation, and facilities for pedestrians and cyclists are important factors in evaluating a city's beauty.
  7. Culture and heritage
    The richness of the city's local traditions, arts, food, and heritage contribute to its overall appeal.
  8. Urban design and planning
    A well-planned city with aesthetically pleasing buildings, public spaces, and landscapes contributes to its beauty.
  9. Safety and security
    A safe and secure atmosphere is essential to make a city attractive for both locals and tourists.
  10. Vibrant and diverse community
    A city that promotes inclusivity and boasts a diverse and welcoming community adds to its beauty.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful city in Sri Lanka. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or city is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 175 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each city once every 24 hours. The rank of each city is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most beautiful city in sri lanka

Sri Lanka, also known as the "Pearl of the Indian Ocean", is a tropical paradise known for its stunning beaches, lush greenery, and rich cultural heritage. With a history dating back over 2,500 years, Sri Lanka has been shaped by a diverse range of influences, from ancient kingdoms to colonial powers. When it comes to beautiful cities in Sri Lanka, there are plenty of options to choose from. From the bustling capital of Colombo to the historic city of Galle, each city has its own unique charm and character. Whether you're looking for breathtaking natural scenery, fascinating cultural landmarks, or vibrant urban energy, there's something for everyone in Sri Lanka's cities. So, what is the most beautiful city in Sri Lanka? That's a tough question to answer, as each city has its own unique appeal. Some may argue that the ancient city of Anuradhapura with its towering stupas and ancient ruins is the most beautiful, while others may be drawn to the lush greenery and stunning waterfalls of Nuwara Eliya. Ultimately, the answer will depend on your personal preferences and what you're looking for in a beautiful city.

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