17 Best Things To Do In Sigiriya, Sri Lanka (2024) - Feel Free Travel Blog
17 Best Things To Do In Sigiriya, Sri Lanka (2024) 17 Best Things To Do In Sigiriya, Sri Lanka (2024)

17 Best Things To Do In Sigiriya, Sri Lanka (2024)


Written by Josh Band

Posted, 24th April 2024

Ready to find some fun things to do in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka?

Then look no further as we run group travel tours in Sri Lanka and Sigirya is one of our favourite places to visit! We are experts in Sri Lanka, so we think our opinion is pretty valid 😎.

Sigiriya town is home to the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress and is best known for the iconic structure – especially as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but there’s so much more to do than hike up the ancient rock!

Read on to find out the top things to do in Sigiriya and get all the information that you need to figure out how you should spend your time there.

Things To Do In Sigiriya

Sigiriya is full of amazing and unique things to do and it’s not particularly hard to cram an itinerary tightly. Honestly, there is so much to do there that you could spend a lifetime in Sigiriya and still find new things to do! But to help you plan your trip, here is a list of our favourite things to do in Sigirya:

⁠1. Climb Pidurangala

Pidurangala Rock is a lesser-known hiking spot near Sigiriya’s town compared to the iconic Rock Fortress. Still, the panoramic views at the top make it a must-have activity on your itinerary!

The hike is quite steep and challenging in some parts, with lots of rugged rocks to climb over, but the challenge is well worth it – especially as you get a view of Sigiriya itself.

Taking on this climb allows you to see some of Sri Lanka’s best natural landscape with caves, waterfalls, rainforests and unique wildlife dotted along the route. Keep an eye out for some ancient ruins too!

2. Visit Dambulla Cave Temple

Dambulla Cave Temple (Golden Temple of Dambulla) is a popular attraction in Sigiriya and is one of the most-visited religious sites in all of Sri Lanka.

The temple has been carved into a huge rock and is home to hundreds of shrines with murals and intricate statues of Buddha.

It’s not just one cave, but an entire network which can take quite a while to explore. Each area has its own unique story to tell and represents a different belief in the Buddhist faith. It’s fascinating.

3. Admire the Giant Golden Buddha

While you’re visiting the Dambulla Cave Temple you can’t miss seeing the Giant Golden Buddha (and it’d be pretty hard to)!

The huge statue is the largest of its kind in Sri Lanka and is in a beautiful location for photographs. 

Located right by the Cave Temple, the statue symbolises peace and compassion and serves as a reminder of the rich spiritual community in the country.

Remember to be respectful as it is a religious site. A common mistake which we see people make is to turn their back to the Buddha to take selfies. You should never turn your back on a Buddha statue, it is seen as disrespectful.

Remember to be respectful as it is a religious site. A common mistake which we see people make is to turn their back to the Buddha to take selfies. You should never turn your back on a Buddha statue, it is seen as disrespectful.

4. Dambulla Produce Market

Dambulla Produce Market is the largest fruit and vegetable market on the whole island. While it is largely aimed at wholesale vendors, many locals and tourists also go to get a good deal.

The market is divided into two huge halls with fresh fruits and vegetables stacked on display for you to choose from. 

Produce comes from all over the island, not just locally, and you can be sure to get some good deals with the sellers. Why not pick up some fresh veg and make your own delicious meal?

Make sure you read our top tips on how to haggle to get the most for your money.

5. Lake Safari & Local Village Visit

A lake safari and village visit is one of the best ways to get a feel for the real Sigiriya. The tour consists of two main parts, an insight into the way of life in a local village, and a boat trip.

A village visit is the best way to learn about the lives of the locals and you’ll get a hands-on tour of the village on some traditional transport, including tuk-tuks, catamarans, canoes and bull carts.

Exploring the water by boat is another key part of the tour, where you can also see locals carrying out some traditional farming techniques.

6. Find the Perfect Spot for a Shot of Sigiriya

The iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress is a highlight of Sri Lanka’s natural landscape and is an unmissable site for testing your photography skills.

But, finding the perfect location to take a picture of the fortress can be quite tricky. While the Pidurangala Rock is a great vantage point for a photo shoot, you’ll likely want some more shots from another angle.

Spending a couple of hours on an adventure to find the best shooting location can turn into quite an adventure, and who knows what treasures you’ll stumble across along the way?

7. Learn to Cook Like a Local

Sri Lanka has many incredibly tasty dishes which are bursting with flavour and spices. Or in some cases, burning with flavour and spices…

Sigiriya is a great location to take your food experience a step further and learn how to prepare and cook some traditional meals. It’s the perfect place due to the huge produce market being just down the road in Dambulla.

With skilled and experienced chefs there to help you, you’ll be whipping up a storm in the kitchen in no time! The best part is most cooking classes give you the recipes so you can replicate the dishes when you get home.

8. Hike Lion’s Rock / Sigiriya

The Lion’s Rock Fortress is the most iconic landmark in Sigiriya and is what gives the small town its name. 

Visiting the rock is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka – it’s a must.

You simply can’t visit Sigiriya and not climb the rock, taking in the views as you go. The rock was once dubbed a capital and had a palace built on top of it, the remains of which are still standing today.

It takes around two hours to climb the rock but a museum visit would add to this length. There is an entrance fee to Sigiriya Rock (museum fee included) of around £24 ($30).

9. Take a Jeep Safari at a Nearby National Park

Both Minneriya and Kaudulla National Park have an incredible range of wildlife that are amazing to see and photograph.

With an endless number of bird species, majestic leopards and huge elephants to spot, a jeep safari promises to be an exciting and unique experience.

The expert guides know exactly where to take you to spot as many animals as possible and your money goes towards conservation efforts to keep the national parks pristine.

There are many animal encounters in Sri Lanka which claim to be ethical but they are not. Sticking to the National Parks is a good way to ensure you aren’t supporting animal abuse.

10. Take a Day Trip to Kandy

Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage city that is one of the most-visited places in all of Sri Lanka by foreign travellers. If you are backpacking Sri Lanka, it’s an unmissable stop on your trip.

The most memorable experience about a day trip to Kandy is the beautiful train ride to get there, with amazing views of luscious green forests and endless tea plantations.

There are plenty of things to do in Kandy such as a visit to the famous Temple of the Tooth Relic and a walk around the Peradeniya Botanic Gardens.

11. Visit Sigiriya Museum

The Sigiriya Museum is an important place to visit to get a deeper understanding of the cultural significance of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

The museum has a range of exhibits including multimedia guides which allow visitors to step back in time and experience the life of ancient civilizations.

Glass panels in the museum allow you to see an overhead view of the rock’s main attractions including the water gardens, the mirror wall and the summit. It’s one of the more unique photo angles, that’s for sure.

12. Head North to Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is another ancient UNESCO World Heritage location that is popularly visited by travellers from Sigiriya.

The city is full of ancient ruins that have been very well preserved, despite being nearly a thousand years.

You can easily get a bus between Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa, and lots of people choose to explore the city by bike. There are a number of hire stands dotted around the city but if you’d prefer a tuk-tuk ride, then these are also very cheap.

All you have to do is walk near the entrance and you’ll hear the shouts of “tuk-tuk, tuk-tuk” and you’ll know where to go if you want a ride.

After buying your entry ticket, you’re free to explore as much as you’d like and a site map will help guide you around the ruins.

13. Cycle Around Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is an older city than Polonnaruwa but it is more run down as it has not been preserved as well. Still, the city is worth visiting as the ruins are still very interesting to see.

Again, one of the most popular ways of exploring the ancient city is by bike, which you can rent for next to nothing from local vendors.

You can choose to explore under the care of a local guide for a more detailed experience or view the remains of the city and villages for yourself.

With over 42 routes to choose from, you can easily spend all day in Anuradhapura, making it a great day trip location from Sigiriya.

14. Explore Trincomalee

While we know that many of our best things to do in Sigiriya are outside the town itself, it’s impossible not to include them because they’re just so close nearby! Trincomalee is jam-packed with things to see and do, and it’s another great place to visit if you’re staying in Sigiriya.

Located on the east coast of the island, with some of the best beaches (which are far less crowded than the southern coast), Trincomalee is a fabulous place to visit to get away from city life for a while.

Some of the best things to do include snorkelling at Pigeon Island, hiking Diamond Hill and whale-watching tours along the coast.

15. Try Delicious Rotis

Sigiriya is home to some of Sri Lanka’s most delicious culinary delights and rotis are a specialty here. 

The savoury flatbreads come stuffed with some of amazing fillings like spicy vegetables, boiled meats and blitzed fruits. Served with creamy and zesty curries and piping hot off the grill, rotis are a must-try street food while visiting Sigiriya.

You can also get sweet rotis with toppings like chocolate, Nutella, jam, sugar, lemon, and they make for a nice dessert. We definitely don’t have one every night during our group tours…🙈

16. Get a Traditional Ayurvedic Massage

Sigiriya is a great spot in Sri Lanka for indulging in one of the top relaxation experiences on the island.

Traditional Ayurvedic massages are ancient healing practices that target tension in the body, aiming to rejuvenate the senses and feel soothing. The experience consists of therapeutic touch and the use of herbal oils to provide a relaxing feeling.

Whether you’re feeling stressed, just want to try it out or are feeling up for a spa day, a traditional massage would be amazing in Sigiriya’s natural surroundings.

17. Give Back at Hela Bojun Hala

Last but by no means least of the best things to do in Sigiriya is to give back. Hela Bojun Hala food outlets are must-visit locations for food in Sigiriya.

These food courts employ local women, helping them to get onto the path of owning their own businesses by developing their entrepreneurial skills and giving them an opportunity to learn to cook.

The Hela Bojun Halas have a wonderful sense of community and the women will always greet you with smiling faces and warm welcomes.

With various workstations and plenty of dishes to choose from, it can give you a very heartwarming feeling to give back to these women and know that your payment is making a difference.

Is Sigiriya Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! Sigiriya is definitely worth visiting! Sigiriya is nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka and is named after the ancient rock fortress. The town has so much history, culture and nature all rolled into one.

Its most iconic landmark is Sigiriya Rock (Lion Rock), which rises from the ground, above the beautiful green landscape and gives some incredible views from its summit.

Visiting Sigiriya allows you to learn about the rich history of the entire region and explore the life of ancient civilisations. The remnants of the royal palace, water gardens and decor makes an amazing sight, and one that you won’t forget.

Sigiriya is also a great starting location for a huge range of attractions in nearby towns and cities. The nearby Dambulla Temple Cave is one of the most-visited places while safaris at the Minneriya or Kaudulla National Parks may be more up your street if you prefer to spend time in nature.

Sigiriya is definitely a destination worth visiting or passing through if you’re visiting Sri Lanka!

How Many Days in Sigiriya?

Sigiriya can be easily explored in a handful of days and some people even decide to pass through on a day trip.

If you’re mainly focused on just seeing the Sigiriya Rock, then we’d recommend just spending the night in the town. This will allow you a chance to climb it, view it from some other angles, visit the museum, take in the beautiful natural surroundings and also try some of the delicious local cuisine.

However, there are plenty of things to do nearby Sigiriya and there are plenty of day trip options. If you’re interested in expanding you itinerary to include some of the great things on our list then we’d recommend around three days in Sigiriya.

Best Time to Visit Sigiriya

The best time to visit Sigiriya is when the weather is at its peak. The dry season is between May and September, which gives clear skies, few showers and comfortable, warm temperatures.

You want good weather for exploring Sigiriya to ensure you can make the most of the outdoor activities like climbing and exploring the Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

These months are also when tourism is at its highest, which is good as it will mean an increase in transport services and better accommodation options.

If you are set on avoiding crowds then you could stretch to visiting in April or October, but you may find that the weather is quite rainy and there will be fewer options for tours and hotels.


Below are some common questions related to things to do in Sigiriya along with our expert answers to each question.

What is the special thing on Sigiriya?

Sigiriya is so special as the huge, natural rock was transformed into a beautiful fortress, the ruins of which still remain. Sigiriya Rock was designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 and has become a highly visited tourist attraction.

How long should I spend in Sigiriya?

Stays in Sigiriya will likely range from one to three days depending on what you’d like to do while visiting the region.

Why do you think Sigiriya is a must see?

Sigiriya is a must see location as it has been so well preserved and is a place with a wealth of cultural history. There are so many beautiful areas to explore in the rock fortress and nearby village.

Conclusion: Things to Do in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

While the Sigiriya Rock Fortress is an incredible place to visit, there is so much more to do in Sigiriya.

With some incredible nature, opportunities to explore ancient cultures and a wonderful local community, Sigiriya should definitely be a stop on your Sri Lanka itinerary.

It’s also a great place to stop in for some day trips to other nearby towns that may be more crowded.

We hope you now have some more things on your Sigiriya to-do list and have an amazing time if you choose to visit! And if you want us to show you around, make sure to join us on our Lanka Loop tours.

Whether you’re looking to travel solo or bring a friend along for the ride, our group tours in South East Asia & Australia are the perfect balance of culture, adventure, chill time & nightlife. You’ll arrive as strangers and leave as the best of friends.

Here are a few useful links to help with that planning;
👉🏼 View all Trips
👉🏼 Frequently Asked Questions
👉🏼 Check out our Reviews
👉🏼 Why choose us?
👉🏼 How does it all work?

If you’ve got any burning questions or just need a little travel inspo… jump in the DM’s with the team via either Whatsapp, Livechat or Instagram.


Written by Josh Band

Josh is one of our travel writers here at Feel Free Travel. You'll find him anywhere in the world typing away at what he sees in front of him. When he's not submerged in his laptop, he'll be in a local gym he's found while travelling or hiking up to the nearest viewpoint, especially if there’s a sunset pending.

Posted, 24th April 2024


Written by Josh Band

Josh is one of our travel writers here at Feel Free Travel. You'll find him anywhere in the world typing away at what he sees in front of him. When he's not submerged in his laptop, he'll be in a local gym he's found while travelling or hiking up to the nearest viewpoint, especially if there’s a sunset pending.

Posted, 24th April 2024

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