Sri Lanka Kandy skyline
Sri Lanka Kandy Royal Botanical Gardens Peradeniya
Sri Lanka Kandy architecture

Central Kandy is one of Sri Lanka’s most significant religious sites, being home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – a tooth from Buddha himself.

The golden-roofed temple is actually part of the Royal Palace complex, which includes several museums and temples.

The highlight is the 10-day Esala Perahera (Festival of the Tooth), when the tooth is paraded around the city by 65 decorated elephants, normally held in late July into early August. The festival has its roots back to the arrival in Sri Lanka of Kandy’s sacred tooth back in the 4th century AD.

Kandy is an excellent base for exploring the Cultural Triangle as it has good road and rail connections, plus a multitude of cafes, bars and restaurants. A major attraction is Kandy’s contrasting architecture, with crowded markets rubbing shoulders with grand colonial buildings and gold-shrouded Buddhist temples.

Kandy’s fierce sense of pride was part of the reason it became the last Buddhist bolthole, resisting Portuguese and Dutch forces in turn for three centuries before finally succumbing to the British in 1815. It’s no mere stark historical site either – consider timing your visit to coincide with one of the lively cultural events that bring life to the streets throughout the year.

The Kandy area played a key role in the ferment of political and religious pressure that built in the run-up to the terrorist attacks of 2019. Steer clear of political and religious conversations here, even if you think you know the other person’s viewpoint, as unintentional offence can easily be caused.

Sri Lanka undiscovered

An expert guide to Sri Lanka's hidden gems

From ancient ruins to a vibrant and welcoming contemporary culture; from lazy afternoons on glorious beaches, to hikes through the rolling hills of tea country and wild elephant spotting in untouched national parks; Sri Lanka is a destination that truly has it all. Despite having its hard-won stability rocked by occasional political disputes, Sri Lanka's tourism infrastructure is developing in leaps and bounds. Hospitality is warm and abundant, transport is convenient, and accommodation – particularly in the independent boutique sector – is more

16 days

Complete Sri Lanka

Ancient temples and endless beaches
View itinerary
14 days

Slow travel Sri Lanka

Culture, countryside and beaches
View itinerary
16 days

Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle and Maldives beaches

Luxury Sri Lanka and Maldives adventure
View itinerary

Kandy Tours

Yala National Park, Kandy, Minneriya National Park

Highlights of Sri Lanka Luxury Tour

14 day luxury tour visiting the highlights of Sri Lanka

14 daysFrom £3,175
Gal Oya National Park, Anuradhapura, Ella

Off the Beaten Track Sri Lanka Tour

17 day tour exploring the Sri Lankan outskirts

daysFrom $3,275
Kandy, Wilpattu National Park, Dambulla (and 3 more)

Sri Lankan Family Summer Holiday

16 day family friendly tour across Sri Lanka

16 daysFrom £2,180
Yala National Park, Kandy, Minneriya National Park

Sri Lanka Ultimate Honeymoon

15 day Sri Lankan luxury honeymoon tour

15 daysFrom £4,335
Kandy, Gal Oya National Park, Arugam Bay

Family Summer Holiday Sri Lanka Tour

14 day family friendly summer holiday tour in Sri Lanka

14 daysFrom £2,900
Yala National Park, Kandy, Anuradhapura

Treasure Island

23 day Sri Lanka luxury tour

23 daysFrom £4,200

Kandy Travel Companies

South Asia, Southeast Asia


Tailor-made luxury holidays to Asia
Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia

Experience Travel Group

Immersive Holidays That Give Back
South Asia

Bespoke India Travel

Making India incredible!

Why Horizon Guides?

Impartial guidebooks

Impartial travel guides

Our guides are written by the leading experts in their destinations. We never take payment for positive coverage so you can count on us for impartial travel advice.

Expert itineraries

Expert itineraries

Suggested itineraries and routes to help you scratch beneath the surface, avoid the tourist traps, and plan an authentic, responsible and enjoyable journey.

Specialist advice

Specialist advice

Get friendly, expert travel advice and custom itineraries from some of the world's best tour operators, with no spam, pressure or commitment to book.