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 centred 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 20 miles away
- Sigiriya 36 miles away
- Dambulla 36 miles away
- Minneriya National Park 39 miles away
- Pallepola 50 miles away
- Polonnaruwa 50 miles away
- Trincomalee 61 miles away
- Kandy 72 miles away
- Negombo 85 miles away
- Passikudah 85 miles away
- Nuwara Eliya 96 miles away
- Hatton 98 miles away
- Jaffna 99 miles away
- Colombo 103 miles away
- Adam's Peak 104 miles away
- Horton Plains 107 miles away
- Bandarawela 111 miles away
- Wadduwa 118 miles away
- Uda Walawe National Park 129 miles away
- Bentota 133 miles away
- Sinharaja Biosphere 134 miles away
- Yala National Park 142 miles away
- Galle 158 miles away
- Tangalle 161 miles away
- The Southern Coast 165 miles 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.