Although Anuradhapura dates from the 4th century BC, Sri Lanka’s first Buddhist capital is not merely an ancient relic.
The Sacred Bodhi Tree
It remains a devout holy city centered round the Sacred Bodhi Tree, believed to be grown from a cutting taken from the original Bodhi tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment.
Pilgrims dressed in white mingle with brightly-robed Buddhist monks, while irreverent langur monkeys play among the ruins. The site is scattered over a couple of square miles, punctuated by immense bell-shaped dagobas housing Buddhist relics.
The city’s other treasures include the elaborately carved moonstone of Mahasen’s Palace, ancient bathing pools and the serene Samadhi Buddha.
Suggested itinerary featuring Anuradhapura
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Anuradhapura, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Anuradhapura
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Anuradhapura
- The Cultural Triangle 32 kilometers away
- Dambulla 58 kilometers away
- Sigiriya 58 kilometers away
- Minneriya National Park 63 kilometers away
- Polonnaruwa 80 kilometers away
- Pallepola 83 kilometers away
- Trincomalee 95 kilometers away
- Kandy 119 kilometers away
- Passikudah 136 kilometers away
- Negombo 141 kilometers away
- Jaffna 155 kilometers away
- Nuwara Eliya 158 kilometers away
- Hatton 162 kilometers away
- Colombo 169 kilometers away
- Adam's Peak 171 kilometers away
- Horton Plains 175 kilometers away
- Bandarawela 180 kilometers away
- Wadduwa 194 kilometers away
- Uda Walawe National Park 211 kilometers away
- Bentota 218 kilometers away
- Sinharaja Biosphere 219 kilometers away
- Yala National Park 230 kilometers away
- Galle 258 kilometers away
- Tangalle 261 kilometers away
- The Southern Coast 269 kilometers away
Photos of Anuradhapura
Accommodation choices for Anuradhapura
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Anuradhapura. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.