Discover the magic of Sri Lanka's cultural hub in Kandy

Surrounded by rainforests, we recommend exploring the culture of this historic city

The last capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom and Sri Lanka’s second-largest city, Kandy is the undisputed cultural center of the island. Kandy is hidden away in the hills and surrounded by tropical rainforest, and is renowned as one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka for scenery. This is a bustling city with a small-town atmosphere, where honking tuk-tuks zip through narrow roads, and sidewalks are dotted with colorful silk saris worn by local women. 

The ancient city is a trove of tradition, home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the country’s most sacred Buddhist shrine, said to hold Buddha’s tooth. It also holds the vibrant Esala Perahera festival, held in July and August, a vibrant addition to any vacation in Sri Lanka. The vibrant Kandyan culture can be found all year round, in the magnificent Old Royal Palace Compound or through the stunning Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya. 

The Sri Lanka Tea Country is best discovered in Kandy, perhaps on a tea factory tour or outside, where you may breathe in the heavenly scents of the sprawling fields. No trip to this city is complete without a visit to the Big Buddha, an ancient temple at the top of a hill. Here you’ll find the most impressive view over Kandy, complete with the sparkling lake and twisting hilltops. Kandy is a feast of Sri Lanka culture and history, and with so much to see and do, it’s easy to see why this city is a highlight for any trip to Sri Lanka. 

Your Luxury Kandy Trip Ideas

Elevate your Sri Lanka vacation with a trip to Kandy, the cultural hub of the country. The city runs a scenic railway to Hatton and Ella, making it an easy addition to any Sri Lanka itinerary; for example, our Summer Sri Lanka Holiday features a tour of Kandy’s cultural hub. 

Your Luxury Accommodation Options in Kandy

In Kandy, we work with the Jetwing Kandy Gallery, a riverside hotel that epitomizes the common blend of Sri Lankan hotels that mixes luxury and culture. Enrich your exciting Sri Lanka itinerary with stays in luxury resorts in scenic spots.

More Sri Lanka travel inspiration from Wayfairer customers and travel specialists