Sri Lanka's Dry Zone

07 Tourism Hot Spots in Sri Lanka’s Dry Zone

Exploring the Hidden Gems – 07 Tourism Hot Spots in Sri Lanka’s Dry Zone

Sri Lanka is renowned for its stunning beaches, lush green landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. However, the island nation has much more to offer than just its coastal beauty and tropical rainforests. The Dry Zone in Sri Lanka, which covers the northern and north-central regions of the country, is a fascinating destination that often gets overlooked by tourists. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey through some of the hidden gems and tourism hot spots in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka.

The Dry Zone landscape of Sri Lanka is an experience in itself. This is where vast swathes of land greets you, with a lone bird atop an ancient log often found in arid tanks, left overs of Sri Lanka’s rich hydro civilisation, used to water irrigation in a land that depends mostly on agriculture.

  1. Anuradhapura
Sri Lanka's Dry Zone

Anuradhapura is one of Sri Lanka’s ancient capitals in Sri Lanka’s Dry Zone and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city is a treasure trove of archaeological and historical wonders. Marvel at the towering dagobas, explore the sacred Bodhi Tree, and visit the ancient monasteries. Anuradhapura offers a unique insight into the island’s rich Buddhist heritage and is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

  1. Polonnaruwa

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Polonnaruwa served as Sri Lanka’s royal capital after Anuradhapura. The ruins of this city include well-preserved palaces, monastic complexes, and remarkable stone sculptures. The Gal Vihara, with its magnificent rock-cut Buddha statues, is a highlight for any visitor.

  1. Mihintale

In Sri Lanka’s Dry Zone, Mihintale is a sacred mountain that plays a pivotal role in Sri Lankan history. It’s believed to be the spot where Buddhism was first introduced to the island. Climb to the summit for panoramic views and explore the various monasteries and relics scattered throughout the area.

  1. Dambulla Cave Temple

Perched on a hill, the Dambulla Cave Temple is a remarkable complex of cave temples adorned with intricate murals and statues. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an awe-inspiring place to learn about Buddhist art and history while enjoying breathtaking vistas.

  1. Sigiriya
Sri Lanka's Dry Zone

Sigiriya, located in Sri Lanka’s Dry Zone, is also known as the “Lion Rock,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is arguably one of the most iconic landmarks in Sri Lanka. This ancient rock fortress features stunning frescoes, water gardens, and a breathtaking view from the top, where the ruins of a palace once stood. The climb to the summit is an adventure in itself.

  1. Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park is a wildlife haven in the Dry Zone. It’s renowned for its large gatherings of Asian elephants during the dry season, known as “The Gathering.” Taking a jeep safari to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience.

  1. Yala National Park
Sri Lanka's Dry Zone

While not exclusively in Sri Lanka’s Dry Zone, Yala National Park is close enough to warrant a visit. This park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including leopards, elephants, and a variety of bird species. A safari through Yala offers the chance to witness nature at its finest.


The Dry Zone in Sri Lanka may not be as well-known as some of the country’s coastal areas, but it offers a unique and enriching experience for travelers seeking history and natural beauty. From the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to the iconic Sigiriya Rock, these hot spots in the Dry Zone are sure to leave you with lasting memories of your journey through this extraordinary region. So, next time you plan a trip to Sri Lanka, don’t forget to explore these hidden gems that make up the heart of the island’s heritage.

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