Welcome to Nuwara Eliya!
Nuwara Eliya is a small town up in the mountains. Actually, it is located in the coldest area of Sri Lanka, where temperature can drop to plus 5 degrees Celsius. Moreover, this is country’s most important area for tea production. Here you will see waterfalls, hills, tea plantations, and the highest mountain of Sri Lanka itself. As Nuwara Eliya is very touristy, most of the sights have entrance fee and it is quite high for foreigners. So this time check out our TOP 5 FREE Must-See Places in Nuwara Eliya. The TOP 5 Must-See Places with the entrance fee can be seen below.
1. Visit some of many waterfalls
The most famous waterfall here is called the Lover`s Leap. The legend says that a Prince who lived in Nuwara Eliya had fallen in love with a beautiful girl from a nearby village, but the King did not support this kind of union. So the Prince climbed up to the top of the rock with his beloved one and they both jumped in the fall. Since then the place is called the Lover’s Leap. The waterfall is about 30 meters high and falls off from a huge rock. Even if it is not possible to hike up to the very top of the fall, there is a stop with a water basin, where you can enjoy the views in the middle of the fall.
In the nearby village of Nanu Oya you also can find a wonderful waterfall, which is possible to reach by walking through the village. There are railway tracks going just above the waterfall, and before that you will find a small Buddha statue. This place is not crowded at all and perfect to enjoy just the nature itself.
And then there are Glen Falls – the second largest waterfall in the city after the Lover’s Leap.
2. Go to the Seetha Amman Kovil
This temple is located a bit outside the town. And it is better known from the Hindu legend which says this was the exact place where Sita, Lord’s Rama`s wife, was held captive by Sri Lankan King Ravana. According to the legend, Lord Hanuman – the Monkey God – was sent to save the captivated queen, so in the temple the Lord`s Hanuman’s footprints can be seen. This is also an entree-free place, though you will be expected to leave donation.
3. Get lost in the tea plantations
Yes, the hike around those many tea plantations is also for free! There are some free tea-factory tours, but you can do it by your own as well! E.g. take a random trail on many stairs on the way to Nanu Oya Waterfall. There are so many small routes leading trough the tea plantations! And don’t forget to try a cup of tea! It will not be for free, but it’s a great opportunity to taste Sri Lankan tea in the main tea region itself! There are many tea factories on the roadsides, so you need just to choose! Plain tea usually costs 50 LKR, flavoured tea goes from 130 LKR to 300 LKR per cup. Vanilla tea, strawberry tea and many others. Each factory has also its special recipes. Enjoy!
4. Enjoy the panorama from Shanthipura View Point
Nuwara Eliya is located on the top of the mountains, so from many peaks all the town is visible, though do not miss the main view point! From here you will be able to see waterfalls, tea plantations and every corner of the town!
5. Go shopping in Nuwara Eliya Bazaar
Stroll down the streets of city’s market known as the Bale Bazaar. Along with souvenirs and traditional handicrafts it is interesting to find so many winter clothes here! Yes, the weather in Nuwara Eliya is totally different than the rest of the country! And, if you are freezing as well, here you can buy winter jackets as cheap as 400 LKR!
Other sites to visit for an entrance fee are these:
1.Haggala Botanical Garden, which is one of the highest set of Botanical Gardens in the world.
Entrance Fee: 1100 LKR
2.Gregory Lake was used for water sports and for recreational activities during the British rule, and currently you can enjoy the boat rides here.
Entrance Fee: 250 LKR
3.Victoria Park, which was originally used as the research field for Haggala Botanical Garden. Good for bird watching and getting to know the various plants.
Entrance Fee: 300 LKR
4.Moon Plains are home to wildlife elk, wild buffaloes, deer and many types of birds. The main point of interest is the viewpoint of the Mini World’s End – sharply dropping cliff that gives amazing view of the surrounding landscape.
Entrance Fee: 50 LKR entree fee and 2 000 LKR for the jeep (compulsory)
5.Horton Plains National Park is an hour ride from Nuwara Eliya and is the highest plateau in the island offering great hiking opportunities among the unusual high altitude vegetation. It is possible to see Leopard, Sambar and the endemic Purple-faced Langur here, also different species of birds. There is a World’s End – that is a steep slope from the cliff, offering unforgettable views.
Entrance Fee: Be careful here. Locals ask a random price just by looking at you. Some are asked 8$, others more than 30$.
Nuwara Eliya is a beautiful town located in a spectacular region to visit. If you are a nature lover, do not skip this place! Moreover, you can take the train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, which takes one of the most beautiful train routes in the world. Enjoy!