Stronghold of the Sinhala Kings and capital of Sri Lanka’s hill regions, Kandy is perhaps the most beautiful and romantic city in the island.
Surrounded by green hills and with a large lake in the town centre, Kandy combines the sophistication of a modern city with the timeless appeal of ancient temples.
Temple of the Tooth
The most famous is the gold-roofed Temple of the Tooth, where a simple wooden structure contrasts with the lavish golden roof and exuberant Buddha statues. The temple houses the tooth of the Buddha and bustles at night with pilgrims attending a lively ceremony involving several drummers.
Sri Lanka has a majority Buddhist population and their main festival, the Esala Perahera, is a ten-day pageant that transforms Kandy during July or August. Timed in accordance with the lunar calendar, it is a wonderful spectacle with dozens of robed elephants, dancers and musicians thronging the streets. The dates are announced about a year in advance. In festival times, a stay in Kandy is an assault on the senses.
Outside Kandy, there are two particularly fascinating places to visit.
The nearby botanical gardens are renowned worldwide, bringing together countless species from every part of the island.
As night falls, cultural shows take place in a number of venues around Kandy. Offering a snapshot of music and dance on the island, they may conclude with a dramatic fire walking demonstration.
Kandy is also a good place to shop, with gems and jewellery especially good value.
Two or three days here are needed to explore the many facets of this holy town and the beauties of the surrounding area. Centrally located, Kandy is easily accessed from Colombo, the Cultural Triangle and Nuwara Eliya. If travelling on, a scenic train journey runs from Kandy up to Nuwara Eliya, in the heart of the tea country.
Suggested itineraries featuring Kandy
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Kandy, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Kandy
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Kandy
- Pallepolla 24 miles away
- Nuwara Eliya 24 miles away
- Hatton 28 miles away
- Adam's Peak 35 miles away
- Horton Plains 35 miles away
- Dambulla 40 miles away
- Bandarawela 41 miles away
- Sigiriya 47 miles away
- Polonnaruwa 52 miles away
- Minneriya National Park 53 miles away
- Negombo 56 miles away
- Uda Walawe National Park 57 miles away
- The Cultural Triangle 58 miles away
- Colombo 60 miles away
- Sinharaja Biosphere 64 miles away
- Wadduwa 65 miles away
- Anuradhapura 72 miles away
- Bentota 75 miles away
- Yala National Park 77 miles away
- Passikudah 78 miles away
- Tangalle 89 miles away
- Galle 92 miles away
- The Southern Coast 94 miles away
- Trincomalee 98 miles away
- Jaffna 170 miles away
Accommodation choices for Kandy
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Kandy. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Kandy
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Kandy, and which use the best local guides.