TOP Five things to do at Nuwara Eliya | Sri Lanka Travel Blog

I am back in India but when I close my eyes and dream, I dream of a magical place and this magical place happens to be Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka. When the plan for Sri Lanka was made I had not even heard about it, and on top of my list was Sigiriya (which is actually worth all the hype) yet it was this little place up in the mountains that actually stole my heart. From my initial struggles to pronouncing it' name, my co-traveller and friend Ami helped me with that, I’ve now come to recommend Nuwara Eliya to anyone who’s planning a trip to the island nation. 

We drove into Nuwara Eliya late in the evening and as the gorgeous tea gardens appeared, so did the clouds. It was a perfect mix of beauty and mystery and that's when I knew that this love affair was meant to last a lifetime. Nivedith, Samarpan, Veidehi and I explored the town on foot, had coffee which was surprisingly average and then checked into our lovely hotel - The Blackpool, about 30 minutes drive from the town itself. 

The next morning was perhaps the most beautiful during my entire Sri Lanka trip. I woke up before anyone else did and saw the sunrise flying with my drone up in the air. The morning light was surreal and with it the tea gardens truly came alive.

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
Nuwara Eliya early in the morning

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
Nuwara Eliya in the evening

Nuwara Eliya

So what exactly is Nuwara Eliya? Nuwara means light and Eliya means city, so Nuwara Eliya is the City of Lights. Unlike the rest of Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya is a fairly new city and was founded by the British as the climate was found to be suitable for civil servants and tea planters - think Darjeeling, Nainital, Shimla and you'll get the idea. However, unlike most of these places in India, Nuwara Eliya still retains quite a bit of old world charm and pristine beauty. 

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
Tea gardens at Nuwara Eliya

The weather matched perfectly with what they loved back home and back then it was also known as Little England. Eventually it became the the hub for tea plantations and continues to be the jewel in the crown of the tea industry of Sri Lanka.

So if you plan to visit, Nuwara Eliya what all is there to do? Well, hopefully, this guide will help you plan your trip.

Nuwarya Eliya - travel video

If you are the kind of person who loves to watch travel videos, here's one from Nuwarya Eliya.

1. Explore Nuwarya Eliya town

I would stay start your explorations of Nuwara Eliya with the two itself. It’s a small place and you can do it all on foot. If you have a car park it at the main car park near the city square and then walk around. I especially loved the Post Office - it’s an old beautiful building and welcomes tourists to come and take pictures there. It’s a must-visit. 

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
Town Square of Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
That's me at the old Post Office :)

Also check out the street-food there. We could easily get both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options (as my friends are meat eaters) and everything was delicious. However, eating food made me crave for coffee and we found this lovely cafe called Nuwara Eliya Coffee Center which is located right in the city centre. 

2. Visit a Tea Estate

Nuwara Elitya is all about tea and the best way to experience tea would be by visiting a tea garden and joining in for a tea tasting session. I visited the Damro Tea Estate and it’s one of the better known tea brands from the region. Tea tasting is a lot like wine tasting, but the good thing is that you can drive after you’ve tried all kinds of different teas. The good tea from Sri Lanka can be quite expensive so it’s also a good way to know which tea you like before you actually buy a lot of it.

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
Damro Tea Estate

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
Tea tasting

I absolutely recommend it.

3. Seetha Eliya

Sri Lanka is closely linked with the Indian epic Ramayana, and Sita was kidnapped and held captive in Lanka by Ravan. It is believed that it was at the Seetha Amman Temple in Seetha Eliya where Sita stayed during her time in the country. Hanuman his also believed to have met Sita here and given Ram’s ring to here as back in the days it was part of Ashok Vatika.

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
Lakshman, Ram and Sita at Seetha Eliya

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
Seetha Eliya from above

The temple now is relatively new but it’s the faith of people that bring them here. It’s also a part of Ramayana trail in Sri Lanka which is quite popular with Indian visitors.

4. Lake Gregory

Lake Gregory is a manmade lake which was built to meet the growing requirements for water in the region once it became a hub for tea plantations. The lake gets filled with the water of Halagala stream and was commissioned in 1873. Today it is a very popular place to visit for both the locals as well as visitors like us. There’s lots that you can do here including boating, coffee and long walks. The gardens are beautifully maintained and it’s wonderful to take a walk around the entire lake.

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
Lake Gregory

5. Be a non-tourist

And my final recommendation for Nuwara Eliya is to do nothing but chill and relax. It is one of those places which you can truly move to and just be. You can take long morning walks, sit at cafes and read books, make friends with locals and live a slow life. I couldn’t do all this on this trip (I did do something like this later in Kandy, but that’s another story for another day) and I would love to come back again for all this. 

Bonus tip - explore the waterfalls

Here's a quick bonus tip, if you have your own vehicle and are willing to explore around the town as well. There are numerous waterfalls in the vicinity and it's worthwhile visiting some. We visited the Ramboda Falls which is an hour or so away from Nuwara Eliya.


Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
Ramboda Falls

To reach Nuwara Eliya

The easiest way to reach Nuwara Eliya would be from Colombo. 

By train

Travelling from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya by train is what I would recommend. Nanu Oya railway station is located close to the city and its on the popular Colombo-Kandy line that I have traveled on. Trains in Sri Lanka are really charming and this journey is especially beautiful.

By road

You can of course take a bus or a taxi from Colombo and come here. The journey is gorgeous and you can stop anywhere and enjoy the scenery. There are numerous waterfalls on the way.

Road journey to Nuwara Eliya

Here's a video of our travel from near Sigiriya to Nuwarya Eliya. 

Stay at Nuwarya Eliya

Nuwarya Eliya is a popular location for tourists and there are many places to stay. We stayed at The Blackpool and it’s a lovely place, though a bit outside the city. 

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
View from my breakfast table

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, travel guide, tips, places, tea, photography
The Blackpool

Planning a trip to Sri Lanka

If you are still in the planning stage for visiting Sri Lanka, this following guide will come handy, especially when it comes to all the COVID-19 related requirements.


You can read the guide here - Planning a trip to Sri Lanka.

Other places to see in Sri Lanka

Here's my playlist for all the different places to see in Sri Lanka. It's a comprehensive guide with over 15 videos.

Comments

  1. Very informative, Loved your vlog series from Sri Lanka.
    Merry Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow this blog is awesome. Wish to see this much more like this. Thanks for sharing your information!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very informative, Loved your vlog series from Sri Lanka.
    Merry Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a wonderful place in Sri Lanka. Want to visit there someday. I like the all views, places and nature of Nuwarya Eliya. I have been dreaming that kind of place. Keep sharing to us and keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for five things to do at Nuwara Eliya Sri Lanka. it was really help and it was a nice place to go. thanks for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. i will be very happy to be there some day thanks for the information

    ReplyDelete

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