An epic coastal scenery, intense culture, unique and tasty cuisine, and loads of interesting things to do make the north of Sri Lanka a must-visit during your Sri Lanka tour. Unfortunately, not many have yet explored and realized the touristic value of this region – which gives you all the more reason to visit as there are high chances you can have the entire place to yourself!
Wondering what are the popular destinations of North Sri Lanka?
- Point Pedro
Blue Lanka Tours considers the north as one of the best parts of the country and has specially designed tour itineraries to explore the region. Get in touch with our team for more information if you are interested in tailor made itineraries to combine the north with other parts of your Sri Lanka tour.
In this article, we talk about 10 specialties of north Sri Lanka and why you should not miss visiting this region.
1. Mouth-watering Indian-influenced cuisine
The food in the northern region of Sri Lanka is delicious. It is comparatively spicier than other parts of the country and has more of an Indian influence to the cuisine. A variety of dosas, idly, sambar, chutney, vada and more is what locals eat. Vegetarians will be thrilled as most of the restaurants in north Sri Lanka are vegetarian.
2. Scenic drives cutting through the distance
The overall traffic in this region is less chaotic, roads are recently developed and in good condition, urbanization is at a minimum, thus leaving so much for tourists to explore. Don’t be surprised to find isolated beaches, cozy villages and a whole lot of friendly smiles!
3. Exotic beaches
While most of the attention of Sri Lanka’s stunning beaches goes to the south coast, the northern coastline is as impressive and much less crowded. While surf is not available on these stretches, there are plenty of clear, swim safe, turquoise waters accompanied with powder-white sand beaches. The water is actually cooler in this region and provides the much-needed refreshment for the otherwise hot days in north Sri Lanka.
4. Charming Hindu Temples
Because the majority of Sri Lanka’s north has Hindu-practicing citizens, you will come across dozens of Temples scattered around the Peninsula. These Temples are exceptionally detailed and colorful, thus making the landscape a cheerful one and a delight to explore. Don’t just observe the temples from outside. Take some time to visit a few from the inside to experience the real charm. Men may have to take off their shirts and women will be asked to cover their shoulders, arms and legs.
Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil in Jaffna is the most popular one, dating back to the 15th Century, dedicated to Lord Murugan – the God of war, love and beauty. The best time to visit this temple is at sunset – when the golden colors of the temple change with daylight.
5. Eccentric islands to explore
North Sri Lanka is surrounded by a few peculiar little gems, waiting to be explored! Kayts, Karaitivu, Punkudutivu, Nainativu and Delft are worth visiting to observe some unusual scenery and an experience of being at the end of the world.
Kayts is the biggest island of the lot and is home to a pretty church that has been restored recently. From here, you also have waterfront views of the ancient Dutch Fort (which is now converted into a hotel), which seems like it is floating in the center of the waters that separates Kayts from its neighbor island.
Karaitivu is where Jaffna’s most popular beach is located – Casuarina Beach. Nainativu has a couple of shrines you can visit and the Delft Island offers stunning landscapes to mesmerize your imagination.
6. Soak in the vibes of the provincial capital – Jaffna
There’s nowhere else on the island that gives you the vibes that you get in Jaffna town. Because it has been largely inaccessible for the three decades of the civil war, today it seems like a place where time has stood still. It feels like a big village where bicycles are more prominent than cars, a lot of vintage cars are spotted on the roads, and overall, things move a little slower around here. Wander the mini streets, soak in the architecture, converse with locals and reach the fort for a jaw-dropping sunset.
7. Learn about Sri Lanka’s tragic history
North Sri Lanka was the core of the thirty-year civil war in Sri Lanka. The conflict led to the restricting development in the region and was a defining feature of the country for a very long time. Official remnants of the war can still be seen today but are quickly vanishing as the army is determined to ensure no physical reminders prevail. A guide will help you identify these ruins and provide more information on each.
8. Enjoy ice cream!
It has been noted that Sri Lankans love ice cream – but in the north, it is extreme! Everywhere you go, ice cream is available – cheap, delicious, and in creative ways. Ice cream combos are available with fruit salad, jelly varieties, wafer crackers, peanuts and more! Rio Ice Cream joints in Jaffna offer an authentic experience of eating ice cream in the north.
9. Away from the tourist crowd
Majority of the tourists to Sri Lanka travel north only as much as Anuradhapura. This makes it all the more reason for you to explore off-the-beaten tracks and experience unique destinations of Sri Lanka, apart from the usual south coast, hill country and wildlife landscapes. With lesser tourists around, you have the opportunity to make the most of an authentic tour of Sri Lanka.
10. Interact with friendly Sri Lankans
Once again, with lesser tourists in the north, there is more of an opportunity to interact with friendly Sri Lankans and learn more about their daily lives. While there is not much we can add to explain this point, the best way to believe us is to come see for yourselves!