Sacred cities, golden temples, rock fortresses, protected forests, colonial landmarks - for a small island, Sri Lanka has an incredible amount of historical and cultural interest that dates back nearly 3000 years and an equally astounding array of natural wonders too.

It is no surprise, then, that no less than eight destinations are recognised as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. All of these are well worth a visit – whether you plan your stay around them, or just check them out as part of your overall tour. Dotted around the country they include: the Sacred City of Anuradhapura, Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Ancient City of Sigiriya, Golden Temple of Dambulla, Sacred City of Kandy, Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications – which are of cultural interest; and the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, Knuckles Mountain Range, The Peak Wilderness Protected Area, The Horton Plains National Park, and Sinharaja Forest Reserve which are nature’s creations. While each site can perhaps be taken in on a day trip, you should ideally spend more time to really explore each one to fully appreciate their amazing natural and man-made features – the uniqueness that makes them globally renowned conservation areas.